Progress in a time of crisis

New Year Message 2009

The New Year 2009 begins in a period of economic recession. Great financial experts and leaders of countries do not know how long the recession in some countries will last. They hope that the present developments will last at the most for a few years. About one thing they are sure: There is coming a time of great negative changes in many aspects of society. Systems on which society had placed its trust will collapse and many will be ruined by it. I know that I paint a situation you more then likely are aware of. Many are quite pessimistic about the future economic developments. 

Often it seems to us that even in the work of God there is instead of progress also a recession. The church in the western world is diminishing in members. One result of this is that everywhere big, old church buildings cannot be maintained and without extra subsidies church boards or foundations have to find another destination for them or they need to be demolished.

Do we have some good news in these days? Sure enough, we have! As a Christian we proclaim that even in these days of crisis Gods plan of world redemption will make progress.  From Gods point of view in His plan that spans the centuries each day is a day of progress, Somebody asked me: “ How can the progress of Gods Kingdom even in a period of crisis in my life be realized? That is indeed a question that we should not ignore.

I would like to react to it with pointing to our position in Christ. The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:6 that we are given a place in Christ in heavenly places. I will try to make this truth more real for us. Just imagine that you have a difficult time in life but you decide nevertheless to take a flight to a holiday destination. You sit in the airplane and look through the window to the world below. Everything on earth seems so small. You are not aware anymore of what is happening there, the struggles, the worries, the pain, they don’t seem to exist any longer. It becomes a wonderful, restful experience, that is very real and it does you so much good. Now try by faith to realize the practical consequences of our sitting with Christ in heavenly places in your experience of all kinds of earthly circumstances, especially the worries and difficulties. From your high position in Christ you will of course think different about them, they become of less importance to you. You are in the spirit of the Lord in another reality. As a Christian you are by faith in the Lord going to look from the heavenly sphere in a completely different way on the worries and cares of your life. Circumstances are possibly not altered, but you are inwardly changed, the peace of the Lord controls you and that is more important than anything else. When you know that you are one with Christ you lay all your cares and difficulties in His hand and you rejoice in Him. Being in unity with Christ, obeying Him in all things brings Gods dynamic presence and providence in your sphere of life and enables you to go forward with Him.

Our position in Christ however does not mean that we should become indifferent and passive about our earthly affairs. The apostle Paul knew very well that believers live in two worlds: an earthly and the heavenly one. That is the reason why he wrote in Ephesians 1:1, ”to the saints in Ephesus and the faithful in Christ Jesus.”  The conclusion we make is that though we live in this world, by faith in Christ we live spiritually with Him in heavenly places and from this position we look on our life. Gods plan of redemption shall continue to make progress, His plans will not fail. Each day He will be a step forward and not backward. I wish you, my reader, wherever you are, that you are going to be a participator in Gods progress in 2009.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth,
will grow strangely dim,
in the light of His glory and grace

T. J. de Ruiter, Pentecostal Pastor & Teacher  in The Netherlands 1 januari 2009

Information? Contact....  Pastor T. J. de Ruiter
Site 'Inspiration & Insight' Dir.GM  since 1997 / page since 1 January 2009 /  update 3 September 2011 /  Pastor T. J. de Ruiter, The Netherlands