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The End of the......

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....Wicked?

Why do the wicked seem to flourish around us?
 
We why do we struggle?
 
We try to do what's right. We follow the Lord the best we can. And sometimes we wonder why we still struggle and the wicked seem to "flourish" and prosper?
 
We ask the Lord, "Lord where are you?" "When will I receive justice?" And it seems to just go on and on! And we feel as if we are, "swimming up a water fall!".
 
We see it go on around us in the world. The wicked seem to flourish and get away with so much wrong that we become so disocuraged! And its easy to see why!!
 
We watch them prosper, while we struggle! And it can be very frustrating. And because of this we sometimes become "envious", as Asaph had in Psalm 73:
 
 "Truly God is good to Israel,
         To such as are pure in heart.
   But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
         My steps had nearly slipped.
   For I was envious of the boastful,
         When I saw the prosperity of the wicked."

                                    (Psalms 73:1-3 NKJV)
 
And if we were ALL honest we would have to admit that the life of one who does, "wickedness", can sometimes be appealing! Not that we would want to go around doing wicked things to others. But because they do not seem to struggle the way we do as believers!
 
But there are some things that we MUST understand in this!
 
First, as  believers we have the evil one to contend with:
 
 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."

                                           (1 peter 5:8 NKJV)

Now, with this, we must understand that the evil one does seek to destroy those who are not believers also.

In fact those who think they are, "in", with the evil one (Satanic worshippers) are just as much in trouble (even more so!) Afterall we know that apart from Christ there is NO salavation (John 14:6)! Not for anyone!!

But as believers, the evil one wants to silence us! To keep us from spreading the gospel message. Why? Well, its like the old saying, "misery loves company". And the evil one knows that he has already lost and he wants to take with him as many as possible! He knows his time is short here on earth (Rev. 12:12).

So he will harrass us and do anything and everything possible to stop us from serving God's purposes in our lives (for more info click here: Satan-"father of all lies"). And being "under-handed" as he is, he will do whatever it takes to silence us! Or get our minds off serving the Lord!! From the TV, to personal problems, struggles, or whatever it takes!!!

So the evil one will cause us problems. We will always struggle with this! It is just a fact!! It comes with the "territory" of being a child of God!!! But that's okay, afterall our Father is much BIGGER!

He created all things:

  "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

                                        (Genesis 1:1 NKJV)

And if He created all things? Which we know He did (Rev. 4:11!)! Than no one, or no thing, is too small, or too big for Him to take care of!!

But this life can still be a struggle for us at times. For we are in the world that is under the "sway" of the wicked one:

 "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one."

                                            (1 John 5:19 NKJV)

So we as believers will "contend" with the darkness of this world, its just the way it is!

You see darkness does not comprehend the light:

 "And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."

                                              (John 1:5 NKJV)

And it will never understand us, or what we are about!

Now, those who do evil are not harrased as those who are the Lord's.

Afterall, if the evil one already has these on his side, why would he bother them if they are his? Of course he wants to do all he can to keep them from the Lord! Such as making sin look more "appealing", or using pride and other sinful emotions to keep others from the Lord. Convincing people that following the Lord is not "fun". Or it is impossible. Or convincing others that God does not exist! Anything to keep them away from the truth!!

But the REAL threat for him and his "agenda", comes from God's people! The devil knows he HAS already lost and does not want the truth to get out!

That truth being that God is still God (Isaiah 45:18), that God sent Jesus to save sinners (all who accept HIM as Lord and savior as in John 3:16). And that there WILL be a judgment day for those who do not turn to Christ (Rev. 20:15)!!!

He (Satan) does not want us out, "spreading the news", as Frank Sinatra would sing (no pun intended)!!

Now we must also realize something. Even though we are harmed at times. And have been mistreated. It does NOT mean that God does not care about what goes on! We must remember that we do live in a "fallen" world. Adam and Eve chose the evil over the good that they were offered by God. They had been warned! But they still allowed Satan to persuade them to sin against the Lord (Genesis 3). Which we ourselves do also! Do we not?

Because of Adam and Eve's disobedience, we have sin (sickness, disease, death) in the world. It was all acomplished, "via" free will. So we only have the human race to blame for this! It cannot be blamed on the Lord!!

And because of our free will. The Lord gives us the choice to choose to do right, or wrong. It is up to us!

And many of us wish that the Lord would intervene more. And at times He does. But also, because He gave us free will. And that He is righteous:

  "The LORD is righteous in all His ways,
         Gracious in all His works."

                                    (Psalm 145:17 NKJV)

He gives us the freedom to do as we wish! If He were to intervene everytime there would no longer be free will!! But of course with all this said, the Lord loves us and knows what could hurt us most of all! More terrible than anything we could suffer on this earth. To be eternally condemned for all eternity (Rev. 20:15)!!

So, He gives us the choice to accept salvation through His Son Jesus (John 3:16)!!! If only we call on Him in a sincere and repentent heart:

  "And it shall come to pass
      That whoever calls on the name of the LORD
      Shall be saved.’
 

                                    (Acts 2:21 NKJV

So the Lord knows which is worse for us. Eternity in hell, or temporal suffering here on earth! Now it does not mean that He wishes harm to us. Nothing could be further from the truth!

In fact God cares very deeply, and takes notice of ALL the suffering that you go through:

  "Justice is turned back,
      And righteousness stands afar off;
      For truth is fallen in the street,
      And equity cannot enter
       So truth fails,
      And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.

Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him
      That there was no justice."

                                    (Isaiah 59:14-15 NKJV)

Just as He did in Isaiah's time! And what did He do because of this? What He had planned to do so long before that! From the time Adam and Eve "fell" (sinned) in the garden.

He promised us Jesus as our Lord and Savior:

  "He saw that there was no man,
      And wondered that there was no intercessor;
      Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him;
      And His own righteousness, it sustained Him."

                                            (Isaiah 59:16 NKJV)

You see there is not a day, hour, minute, or second, of your suffering, that has escaped His eyes! Be assured of this!!

Even though we do not see it. Every time we are mistreated and hurt, God cries for us! There is not a tear that He sheds, that does not have to do with the fact He loves all of us so much. Whether it is those who follow Him, or those who do not. And He wants better things for all of us. And does not take pleasure when people hurt us. That's why He gave us Jesus! And that is why nothing escapes His eyes!!

....NOTHING:

  "And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."

                                          (Hebrews 4:13 NKJV)

So the things going on in this world are not without being seen! Although many seem to think so.

Especially the wicked! They believe they can "do as they wish", without any consequences!! As Asaph goes on to say in Psalm 73:

 "For there are no pangs in their death,
         But their strength is firm.
   They are not in trouble as other men,
         Nor are they plagued like other men.
   Therefore pride serves as their necklace;
         Violence covers them like a garment.
   Their eyes bulge with abundance;
         They have more than heart could wish.
   They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression;
         They speak loftily.
   They set their mouth against the heavens,
         And their tongue walks through the earth
         
    Therefore his people return here,
         And waters of a full cup are drained by them.
    And they say, “How does God know?
         And is there knowledge in the Most High?”
    Behold, these are the ungodly,
         Who are always at ease;
         They increase in riches."

                                    (Psalm 73:4-12 NKJV)

And as Asaph just said, they do! Do they not? They wear, "pride as a necklance"! They just go on doing wicked things! Hurting God's people. Blaspheming God. Hurting themselves. Spreading their "venomous" ways! And thinking that they answer to "no one" for  their behavior!!

And what we tend to forget in our suffering is that with God there IS still justice! We think that because things do not seem to go our way that we have lost. But nothing could be further from the truth!

And also the Lord NEVER allows the evil one, or his schemes to destroy us:

  "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD,
         And He delights in his way.
    Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
         For the LORD upholds him with His hand."

                                      (Psalm 37:23-24 NKJV)

So in times when it seems like "all is lost". It is not! Not in the least!!

Often times, the things that we go through in this life are only a "proving ground" for us!

What does that mean? It means that the things that we go through help, "mold us" into the people God is calling each and everyone of us to become (John 15:2)! And this takes time (for more info click here: The "reality" of the real Christian life!)!!

You see someone once said that the trials and struggles of this life are preparing us for the next! What is the next? Eternity with the Lord of course!

And do not the struggles and trials of this life help us to become better people? Of course! But it does take the Lord and the work of His Holy Spirit within us to accomplish this!!

You see personally, I have myself struggled and asked the Lord, "Lord, I try to do whats right, but I still feel like I am swimming up a waterfall!" "Why do the wicked get way with so much and your people struggle?"

And it weighs heavy on all our hearts! And with this we forget that God has not ceased being who He is. His righteousness endures forever:

  "His work is honorable and glorious,
           And His righteousness endures forever."

                                       (Psalm 111:3 NKJV)

God is completely righteous. And because He is, He cannot (nor will He) change His nature! When He warns all of us. Ourselves, those around us, the world, that sin IS punished. He means it! For those of us who turn to Him (through his Son Jesus) we are accepted into His kingdom as Sons and Daughters!!

But those who do not? Not ever? According to His word He will punish them at the judgement: 

 "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
      Some to everlasting life,
      Some to shame and everlasting contempt."

                                     (Daniel 12:2 NKJV)

And what they have done to the Lord and to all of us here...? It is ....NOTHING compared to how they will suffer in the end:

  "And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire."

                                  (Revelation 20:15 NKJV)

And they shall go forth and look
      Upon the corpses of the men
      Who have transgressed against Me.
      For their worm does not die,
      And their fire is not quenched.
      They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

                                (Isaiah 66:24 NKJV)

You see the things we have suffered have not escaped God's eyes, nor His knowledge. When we cry out to Him? He hears us!! But just because it may seem that for now that nothing has happened. It does NOT mean that it is "swepted under" a rug! God will call it back into "reckoning"!! That is, there will be a judgment day. And all unrepentant sinners will be punished!

But the question for all of us, that have suffered by the hand of the wicked? It is this, what are we to do? What is our part? How should we look at this?

You see as believers we should NEVER want to see revenge on anyone!

We should love our enemies:

  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."

                                   (Matthew 5:43-45 NKJV)

And just as the Lord does not take pleasure in the death of a wicked person:

 "Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?"

                                    (Ezekiel 18:23 NKJV)

We should not either! NEVER....ever!!

In fact we ought to love them! Pray for them and forgive them!! As we are called to do!!!

You see as hard as it may be, it is our place to forgive.

Remember what Jesus said about forgiveness?

When Peter asked Him?

  "Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 
 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. 
“But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.  Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 
“So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses
.”

                            (Matthew 18:21-35 NKJV)

And we MUST forgive them from the heart!

And we should pray that they come to Christ!!!!

And if they never repent, turn from their wickedness? Their fate in the end, will be much more heart breaking than the pain they have caused us and, others!

The pain we suffer can be awful, but NOTHING compared to the judgment of those who do no turn to Christ!  ....think about it!!

You see we all struggle with what goes on around us! The wicked seeming to "flourishing". Bashing God and His people. They seem to "get away" with it.

You see Asaph, much like us. Had these same thoughts:

 "Behold, these are the ungodly,
          Who are always at ease;
          They increase in riches."

                                    (Psalm 73:12 NKJV)

And just like us, he wondered, "why Lord?"

And he struggled with it:

  "Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain,
         And washed my hands in innocence.
   For all day long I have been plagued,
         And chastened every morning.

   If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
         Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children."

                                 (Psalm 73:13-15 NKJV)

But then Asaph went to pray. And the Lord spoke to His heart. And He began to really understand:

  "When I thought how to understand this,
         It was too painful for me
    Until I went into the sanctuary of God;
         Then I understood their end.         

    Surely You set them in slippery places;
         You cast them down to destruction.
    Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment!
         They are utterly consumed with terrors.
    As a dream when one awakes,
         So, Lord, when You awake,
         You shall despise their image

                                 (Psalm 73:16-20 NKJV)
         

And Asaph was greived when he realized how sad an end it is, for those who do wickedness:


  "Thus my heart was grieved,
         And I was vexed in my mind.
    I was so foolish and ignorant;
         I was like a beast before You."

                                       (Psalm 73:21-22 NKJV)

And he also realized, that God is still his God. That following Him, is not in vain:

   "Nevertheless I am continually with You;
         You hold me by my right hand.
    You will guide me with Your counsel,
         And afterward receive me to glory
         
    Whom have I in heaven but You?
         And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
    My flesh and my heart fail;
         But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

                                  (Psalm 73:23-26 NKJV)

 And there is justice:
         
    "For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish;
         You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry."

                                   (Psalm 73:27 NKJV)

And That he would keep trusting God:

     "But it is good for me to draw near to God;
          I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,
          That I may declare all Your works."

                                      (Psalm 73:28 NKJV)

You see everyone it comes down to this.

We can either draw closer to God. Have a better understanding of the world around us. Realize that this is a broken world we live in and therefore full of broken people who need Christ. Love and pray for those who hurt us. Become a "little" more like Christ. 

....Or we can become bitter. And risk everything and become like the very people that hurt us so spitefully!

And if you truly know Jesus?!? You know it is not worth it!

You see the, "end of the wicked"? It is not a pretty picture. What they think they have gotten away with. They will not! And to think of the pain that they will suffer is so horrible. So much worse, than the pain and suffering they have caused us, and for all eternity! To NO end!!

It's a grievous thing to think of the end of the wicked.

And here's some "food for thought":

 "Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."

                                        (2 Peter 3:1-9 NKJV)

Rev. John Heintzman
Evangelist Non-Denominational
POHOM
 
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POHOM Columbus, Ohio
 
 
 
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