An Exhortation for All Followers of Jesus in Troubled Times Source: www.asiaharvest.org Date: June 15, 2020 E-Bulletin #83 An Exhortation for All Followers of Jesus in Troubled Times www.asiaharvest.org "Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 'Make level paths for your feet,' so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed" (Hebrews 12:13). Dear Friends, Recently, many believers around the world have contacted us to express their fears. With events like the Coronavirus lockdowns followed by the violence on the streets of America, and economic uncertainties, people are confused and scared. Satan is the author of confusion, and as the world system stumbles deeper into decay because of people's sin, many are bewildered, not knowing who they can trust, or if anyone can be trusted at all. Having served Jesus Christ under the noses of hostile governments for decades, we know something about fear. It is a deadly toxin, which can distort our minds and hearts and drag us away from life-giving, daily fellowship with God. If we allow it, fear can make us easy prey for Satan, who loves to get our hearts off Jesus and onto the news, social media, and all kinds of worries. The Lord warned us of this danger when He said: "The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful" (Matthew 13:22). World events are only going to get progressively worse as the world spirals toward anarchy, before the great and glorious return of Jesus. He will come to bring judgment and to clean up the mess we have made: "Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short" (Revelation 12:12). How can a Christian strengthen their heart and mind to survive the dark times ahead? Our answer is one that you have probably never heard from a Christian organization before: do NOT 'read' God's Word! People read newspapers, novels and webpages, but the Bible instructs us not to merely "read" the Word but to "Study to show yourself approved by God, a workman who needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). It's not enough just to have a few favorite Bible verses, or to pick and choose bits of Scripture that make us feel good. To be healthy, a person needs to enjoy the full banquet of God's Word, and not just grab a few snacks here and there. Throughout the Scriptures, we find the people God used greatly were those who diligently studied His Word, for example: "Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel" (Ezra 7:10). To survive the end times, we must study whole books of the Bible, and invest time each day in getting to know the Lord through His Word and in prayer. It's time to get serious, or our faith will not survive the storms ahead. God's Word will give us discernment and wisdom, enabling us to navigate through this life. We not only need wisdom as we live in this world, but we also must discern truth from error in today's Church. Each day, thousands of pulpits and the airwaves are spewing out a false gospel that has stripped the Christian message of key words like repentance and holiness, and crucial teachings of the Lord Jesus, such as: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23). Friends, the gospel has become distorted because many preachers are cowardly and do not want to 'offend' listeners. If a believer gives in to this delusion, they often end up ensnared by myths and conspiracies, as Paul wrote to Timothy: "For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths" (2 Timothy 4:3-4). The only way to be able to wade through the quicksand of deception that has engulfed many churches and whole denominations today is by cultivating a deep knowledge and love for the Word of God, and then in faith and by the power of the Holy Spirit, living out the gospel and sharing it with others. Many people over the years have told us they simply don't have time to study God's Word. Usually that is untrue, as they never seem to lack the time to watch television, surf the internet, or gaze at their phone for hour after hour. Friends, it's time for all believers to get serious and to make wise decisions. We have never seen anyone fall away from the Lord who was strong in His Word, nor have we seen anyone strong in Christ Jesus who was neglecting His Word. May God bless you as together we serve the Church in Asia. The team at Asia Harvest www.asiaharvest.org The China Chronicles Read the ground-breaking and inspirational series of books by Paul Hattaway about how God grew the Church in China from just a few million believers at the advent of Communism to over 100 million today! Full of first-hand testimonies from church leaders that have never been publicly shared before, The China Chronicles will encourage your faith, while the lessons learned by Christians in the furnace of affliction will help fortify you for when persecution comes. Available from the Asia Harvest online bookstore and as ebooks. An Asian Harvest - The Autobiography of Paul Hattaway Read the gripping book that is greatly encouraging thousands of Christians around the world. You can click on a link above to order a book, or if you donate to a project, please indicate that you would like a complimentary copy and we will gladly send you one. If you give online, add a note mentioning the book you would like when you place your donation.