Revive Our Hearts Podcast

God Is in Control

Leslie Basham: When some new crisis develops in our world, we've come to expect instant news coverage, instant analysis and an instant response. But that's not always the way God works. Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I, too, have to adjust myself to the fact, as do you, that God works, not in minutes but in millennia. With the Lord, a thousand years are as a day. You see, God is in control. He has a plan. He's fulfilling His purposes. You can trust Him.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

We like to feel like we're in control. But, as we've seen over the last few months, our world doesn't always cooperate with our wish for everything to be neat and orderly. But there is one Person who is in control. Here's Nancy to help us find the peace that comes from trusting in Him.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I'm one of those people who like to know exactly what's going to happen, what I can expect and when it's going to happen and in what order. And, I like having my life mapped out in my little day-timer--I want to know, not only today but next week and next month and next year and the year after that.

And I laugh because I don't use any ink on that calendar on that schedule because, if I do, I invariably have to erase it. So I use pencil because so many things that we plan and we think we know what's going to happen when--when it gets right down to it--we realize we just weren't in control of our schedule. God had other plans.

And I'll tell you, there's a lot of freedom and joy in the Christian life that comes when we begin to turn the time-table over to God. And so our goal is not to fulfill our schedule but to get in line with His schedule.

We've been talking about how to face times like these, times when there are wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines, natural disasters, lack of peace in the world, terrorist threats and so many things that strike fear and terror into the hearts of people but, knowing that we, as Christians, can have peace in our hearts because our hearts are grounded in the Word and the ways of God.

For the last several sessions, we've been looking at Mark, chapter 13. And I'm just amazed at how a conversation that Jesus had with four of His disciples over 2,000 years ago can be so relevant and up-to-date--really more up-to-date than tomorrow morning's newspaper.

And Jesus told His disciples, between that time and the end of the age--which is yet to come--there were things they should expect. They should expect trouble, adversity, persecution, problems, pressures, labor pains. Jesus called them birth pains and said they should expect that those things would get worse and worse.

But He also told them how they were to live in those kinds of times, how they could endure, how they could stay faithful all the way to the finish line.

One of the things Jesus reminds us as we walk through this passage is that we need to remember that God knows exactly what is going to happen and when, not just back in Jesus' day as He prophesied that the temple would be destroyed, but through all of the thousands of years from that point to whenever it is that God wraps up this story, we need to be reminded that God knows exactly what is going to happen and when.

He's established it; He's set it in place. He's set it in motion. And even when it seems to us from our limited human finite vantage point that everything is out of control, the fact is, it's all happening on schedule--on God's schedule, that is. It's all happening according to His plan.

And that goes all the way back to the cross itself. It was in the fullness of time, in God's plan, on His timetable when He knew it was the right time that He sent Jesus to this earth and Jesus went to that cross to provide salvation for our sins.

And all the years leading up to that point and all the years since then, God has had a precise sequence and timetable for every event in human history. And that includes everything that is going to take place in your life, in mine, in your family and in our world between now and the return of Christ. I mean there is nothing that escapes His notice. There is nothing that catches Him off guard.

You say, "Where do you get that principle in Mark, chapter 13?" Well, look at it. Beginning in verse 14 there is a whole series of statements that are time-related. And it's so clear, as Jesus is telling His disciples what's going to happen, that God knows what and when.

Verse 14. "When you see the abomination of desolation standing where it ought not to be, then," this is what you should do.

Verse 19. "In those days, there will be tribulation." God knows exactly in which days, what kind of tribulation and when.

Verse 20. "If the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect whom He chose, He shortened the days."

God determines the duration, the intensity, the length of the trouble.

Verses 24 and 25. "In those days, after that tribulation" He goes on to tell what will happen.

Verse 26. "And then they will see the Son of Man coming."

Verse 27. "And then He will send out the angels and gather His elect." Do you know what that says to me? God has it all planned.

I got an e-mail last week from a woman"¦I actually"¦it's a friend of mine. I had known that there had been some difficulties in her marriage, and I e-mailed and said, "How's it going in your marriage?"

And she wrote back and said, "One minute I think I can see God at work in my marriage. And then in the next few days or weeks, I wonder what ever made me think that! Of course I know He is [working]. I just have to constantly adjust myself to the fact that He works in millennia, not minutes."

That's so good. With the Lord, a thousand years are as a day. You see, God is in control. He has a plan. He's fulfilling His purposes. You can trust Him. That means there's no need to fear. He's got it all scheduled. He knows what's going to happen.

And then, let me just give you the other side of that coin. Not only should we take comfort in the fact that God knows exactly what is going to happen and when, but on the other side of that coin, we need to be content with the fact that we don't know.

Jesus said in verse 32, "But concerning that day or that hour," He's talking about the return of Christ, "no one knows." Now, He's just told us that God knows. But He said, "No one else knows, not even the angels in heaven nor the Son but only the Father."

Therefore, verse 33, "Be on guard. Keep awake!" And that word means "be constantly awake. For you do not know when the Master of the house will come."

See, that's kind of scary, not to know. Well, it would be if it were not for the assurance that God does know. And that's why we need to relax with not knowing. Don't try and figure it all out.

Dallas Holm is a Christian singer whose wife, Linda, received news some years ago that she had a malignant lump in her breast. Subsequently she underwent a mastectomy and spent six months in chemotherapy.

And as Dallas and his wife walked through this period, Dallas said in an interview, "Sometimes in our valley and in our sorrow, we believe if we just knew what God was doing that would settle it."

Dallas went on to say, "I'm not sure that would make any difference." Faith is when you don't know, when it doesn't make sense, when you can't understand. But you trust in God.

And I want to tell you, in your marriage, God knows the outcome. God knows the outcome with that rebellious son or daughter that you're crying yourself to sleep at night trying to make sense of what's going on in this family.

God sees.

God knows.

God cares.

God has a plan.

And God is fulfilling His plan. He has a timetable. He knows. And you need to be content with mystery.

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss isn't done. She'll be back with an important final point. Before she comes, let me tell you how to get a copy of today's program on cassette or CD. It's a special series based on Mark, chapter 13, a passage that God laid on Nancy's heart during this time of conflict and crisis in our world. If you follow along with the Revive Our Hearts schedule, you may have noticed that we juggled things a little bit to bring you this series in a timely manner.

To get a copy on cassette or CD, you can give us a call and ask for the series, "Wars and Rumors of Wars." Here's our number. 1‑800‑569‑5959. 

Or go to our Web site, ReviveOurHearts.com and order there. When you order or make a donation of any amount, we'll say thanks by sending you Nancy's booklet In Times Like These. It will help you to know how to effectively pray for our nation and world during this time of conflict. You can send your donation to Revive Our Hearts.  Now, again, here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: As we finish this study on Mark, chapter 13, and view Jesus' words in light of living in troubled times, there's one final word of encouragement I want to leave with you.

It's a word Jesus left with His disciples, and that is that we need to keep our eyes on the finish line. Read with me in Mark, chapter 13, verses 26 and 27 and know that these verses fall right after a time when Jesus talks about "great tribulation."

"The sun will be darkened. The moon will not give its light. The stars will be falling from heaven. The powers in the heavens will be shaken. Great tribulation," Jesus says, was coming.

But then verse 26, "And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send out the angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens."

As you walk through this Christian life, as you endure the labor pains, the birth pains of these end times, if you just look at what's going on in your immediate circumstances, you're going to be frustrated and fearful and maybe even terrified. You'll be tempted to give up or to become disillusioned or bitter at God.

But, if you'll lift your eyes up, if you'll look ahead to the end of the race, you'll see something that will give you the courage and the faith to persevere in the darkest, deepest valleys and the most difficult days. And what is that that you'll see?

It's the return of Christ. "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory." You see, the return of Jesus Christ is the hope that has given faith and courage to Christians for over 2,000 years--the certain promise of Christ's return in power and in glory.

You know what that return means? It means the end of the birth pains. It means the end of the labor pains. It means the end of the sorrows, the end of the suffering; and it means that what you and I have to look forward to is that Jesus Christ is King, is Lord. And He will reign and He will rule forever and ever and ever and ever. And of His kingdom there will be no end.

Thank You, Lord, for Your incredible promises and for the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Thank You for the promise that one day all pain and sorrow and death and night, all of these things will be done away with--no more tears--just joy and life eternally in the presence of Christ.

And so, Lord, by faith we see that day coming. We live in light of it. Now I pray that You would help us to be faithful, to take advantage of every opportunity to offer to the world around us the hope of the Gospel that is ours in Jesus Christ.

Keep us faithful, Oh Lord. And thank You for that day when the Son of Man will come and we will see Him coming in the clouds, with power and great glory. And we will be united to live with Him forever. We live this day in light of that final hope. I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

 

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