Several weeks ago I had a bad day. It was one of those mom meltdowns about the world that our children are growing up in. It was around Memorial Day, and like many others I was thinking about all of the men and women that have fought and died for this country. I couldn’t help but wonder what they would think if they were able to see what has become of that in which they fought so hard to protect. When you look at the downward spiral of our world in recent years, it is truly terrifying to think of where it will be when our children are teenagers, adults, parents, grandparents, should Jesus not return before that time. So much control has been taken away from us as parents, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to guard the hearts of our children.
During said meltdown my husband comforted me as he always does during these hormonal and tear-filled sessions. (He is really good about that!) Recently, he had begun listening to sermons from a variety of pastors during his car ride to and from work. (How awesome it is to have a husband that fills his mind with God’s word, so that he, in turn, can encourage and lead his family?!) Some current favorites are Dustin Bates, the pastor from our home church in Allen, sermons from Gateway in Dallas, and anything and everything from Mark Gungor, the pastor and author from Green Bay, Wisconsin. I will write about him one day as he is my all time favorite and has taught me the majority of my Bible knowledge.
The day after my freak out moment (ok, I was in a funk for about a day), he came home telling me about this amazing sermon that he listened to from Gateway. It was from Pastor Jimmy Evans, a man known for his marriage ministry, who also has studied the book of Revelations and the end times as a hobby for over 40 years. (My first thought was that this guy must be hard up for entertainment…Revelations for 40 years? Ugh!) This sermon was basically about how awful the world is, but how as Christians we should be rejoicing. These signs of the times means that Jesus is coming soon to take us home! By sharing a few tidbits that he heard during this sermon, he was able to encourage me and bring me some peace about the world we live in.
As is turns out, this sermon was part 1 of a 5 part series called The Tipping Point (linked below). He continued to listen to them and share with me about them each day, but I never thought much beyond that. Last week we had some extended family in town for a funeral, and my aunt and uncle, who are also our former Sunday School teachers, were among the family visiting. Ironically, they started talking about this exact same series they had also been listening to. I took it as I sign that I just needed to listen to them for myself.
Two days later I turned on part 1 of the series while getting ready for the day. When the first one ended, I immediately listened to the second sermon, then the third. I could not stop listening. Oddly enough, these sermons about the end times were so comforting, encouraging, and uplifting to me. Some of it was information that I knew or had been told but needed to be reminded of, but so much of it was new to me as well. In a matter of hours, I had listened to the first three sermons while just going about my day. The next day I listened to the final two sermons.
Folks, none of what is happening in the world is a surprise to our Lord. He isn’t shocked by the turn of events in recent times. Let us not forget that our God knows all. It is quite surprising to hear in these sermons how the things of this world are lining up directly with scripture. I won’t try to explain any further here, as I would never do it justice in comparison to Pastor Evans. I strongly encourage anyone that is having a hard time accepting the world we live in to take the time to listen to these messages. Really, I think everyone should listen to them. Through them God gave me peace in what was and is a very big thing to me.
So where does the “joy in the little things” come in, you ask? Since being reminded in such a big way that God is, in fact, in control of this crazy world and that there is a plan to this seemingly endless madness, I have noticed that I don’t get worked up about the things I read and hear that would have previously really upset me. As any mother knows, getting into a funk coupled with a crazy toddler that is determined to prove she is now two years old based on her tantrums, is a really bad combination. Take out the funk that I was previously allowing myself to slip into and every part of each day becomes a bit sweeter. I don’t look at my daughter and rub the baby bump that holds my son and fear for their future. The master of my life will, God-willing, be the Master of their lives as well should they so choose. I can ask for no greater protection for my children. And if either I or they are among those that get to experience the second coming of Christ, how awesome it would be.
So you see, the peace I found in this big thing of our crazy world also brings me daily joy in the little things each new day brings.
I am reminded of the words in Chris Tomlin’s song “Our God”.
“And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?”
Nothing can stand against our God.
Below are linked the 5 parts to the Tipping Point series. I encourage you to take the time to listen to and share them. Seriously, just do it! The links are for online viewing but you may also find them in the Gateway church podcasts. That is what I found most convenient while going about my day. May they bring you as much peace as they have to me.
Israel at a Tipping Point
Truth at a Tipping Point
Technology at a Tipping Point
Time at a Tipping Point
Morality at a Tipping Point