First Edition—January 2, 2009

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come…” 2Ti 3:1
Well, we have made it to 2009! Judging from what we have experienced in the last year, what might we expect from this coming year? I thought things were bad back in 1976, and never expected to see the year 2000. As I look back over these past 30 some years, I am amazed at how many blessings we have been given, in spite of a nation and world that continues to do all it can to dismiss Jesus Christ from its record of history and from all public discourse.
I am as firmly convinced as ever that we live in the “last days,” and that Jesus Christ is coming soon. It also appears self-evident to me that our world is rushing like a runaway train toward self-destruction. Here at home, in the good old USA, every form of degeneracy is trumpeted as freedom, and the call for “tolerance” of every mindless perversion increases in concert with a fascist hatred and suppression of all who do not embrace such “liberation.”
Our government has decided to bail out everyone, except the hard working American taxpayer. Billions of dollars go down into political sinkholes without oversight or accountability. All of this to “save” our economy from collapse. Now a further trillion dollar “bail out” is reportedly in the works. Throughout this entire charade, the American people have made it clear that, by far, the majority, are opposed to these socialistic measures, but to no avail. Our “representatives” no longer represent anyone but themselves. Note that in the midst of this economic crisis they vote themselves a raise.
Keep in mind a couple of points I made earlier. First, I did not think we would ever make it this far. Second, I am overwhelmed by the grace and blessings which God has given, in the midst of some very trying times. So from this I draw a few conclusions, which will guide this posting, which I will continue in between travel overseas and here at home. As Nan and I prepare to head for Papua New Guinea in two days, I offer the following thoughts for your consideration as we look into the misty future:
1. We ain’t seen nothing yet!
 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
And there will be earthquakes in various places,
and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginning of birth pangs. Mar 13:8
When Jesus spoke of the “signs of the times” He compared them to birth pangs. Of two things we can be certain, therefore. First, these conditions will come with increasing frequency. Second, they will be more and more intense. The world refuses to accept that contrary to the so-called wisdom of this age, increasing natural disasters are not due to global warming. They are, however, man- made, in the sense that they are the result of this world’s continued rebellion against God. We can be sure they will get worse in the days ahead.
2. The best is yet to come!
 Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
In My Father’s house are many
mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for
you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where
I am, there you may be also. Joh 14:1-3
For every believer in Jesus Christ the future is bright. As temporal conditions worsen, our eternal prospects shine ever brighter. Not only can we look confidently to our Lord’s return, but we have His presence to cheer and guide us in the present time. Whatever we may face, He will be there sustaining and strengthening us, as always. To live by faith is to live with a Bible-based optimism.
3. We have every reason to celebrate, all year long!
 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those
who are the called according to His purpose.” Rom 8:2
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ for you.” 1Th 5:18
When we live in the fellowship of Him who controls history, we have the ability to “rejoice always.” While temporal conditions are merely a shadow, we live in light of eternal realities. Knowing that Jesus Christ is our shield, we know that nothing can touch us apart from His “good and acceptable and perfect will” (Rom 12:2).
4. Whatever we may need in coming days, we need wisdom more.
 “Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom … Pro 4:7
Wisdom is justified by her children. Mat 11:18
Far greater in value than any earthly possession is the wisdom that comes only from God. What could be greater than to have the guiding hand of Him who controls the course of human history? If we face the uncertain future with the certainty that He will freely give of His wisdom to all who ask in faith (Jam 1:5), then we need have no fear. If we have Christ we possess the wisdom of God (1Co 1:30). All we need to do is to lay claim to our birthright by faith.
5. The worse things get, the greater our investment opportunities.
 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads,
because your redemption draws near. Luk 21:28
See then that you walk carefully…redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Eph 5:15-16
How greatly it changes life when we live for eternity! As conditions get worse, more and more people are willing to give the Gospel a hearing. God will use these challenging times to shake the pride and open the eyes of many to His Word. We need to be prepared to invest in eternity by planting the seeds of Scripture truth at every opportunity. By doing this we lay up treasures in heaven which cannot fade away.
6. There is one great certainty that dominates all future uncertainties.
Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe
also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions;
if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place
for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will
come again and receive you to Myself; that where
I am, there you may be also. Joh 14:1-3
As the old saying goes, “I may not know what tomorrow holds, but I know Who holds tomorrow.” Throughout his life of severe trials and sufferings Paul rested in the fact that he knew the One in whom his faith rested (2Ti 1:12). The words above, spoken by Jesus to the disciples in the Upper Room on the night of His betrayal, should be to us a source of great stability and hope. Let’s look beyond the shifting sands of time to the solid Rock of our salvation.
7. The greatest darkness always precedes the dawn.
 “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a
dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 2Pe 1:19
Peter pictures the Christian as a pilgrim on a journey through a dark night. His only light is the lamp of the Word of God. In due time the dawn will come, that is the return of our Lord and Savior. Until then, we must keep our eyes on the “morning star” which is the revelation of Jesus Christ through His Word. In the growing darkness of our age, we cannot help but see beyond to the coming dawn of righteousness.
When I return from PNG in late February, I will continue this thread with thoughts and ideas that come to me either in my study of the Word or my experience day-by-day. It is my prayer and hope that I might use this means to encourage and strengthen your faith, and to stir you to action, as you are led by the Spirit of God. I will do my best to supply you all with some spiritual ammo for your fight. May we all stand firm in our faith, and be found at our post when He comes!
Please remember us in prayer while we minister in Numba village, Papua New Guinea. I will be teaching the Book of Romans to the graduate students of Ese Bible Institute while Logan teaches the current class Bible Doctrine Survey. Nan and Des will be doing some ministry with women, children and Sunday School teachers. After we finish the two-week course in Romans, Nan and I plan to go on foot from village to village and share the Word with those that are hidden away in remote mountain areas. As always, we value and appreciate your cooperation in God’s work through support and prayer.
And do this, knowing that now it is high time to awake out of sleep;
for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the
works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light…But put on the
Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts. Rom 13:11-14
In Christ,
Gene Cunningham
January 2, 2009

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