reMEMber!                                    Issue 121
                                                                         4th Q tr., 2016
                There are two theories
            for arguing with a woman.
                   Neither works.
                   (Will Rogers)





New reMEMber Heading


Well, 2016 is now history and a whole new year is set before us.  And, as always, I am going into this new year with a lot of OPTIMISM about what it will hold for us (America, the Church, my family, and myself).

I don't know if there really is such a thing as "the eternal optimist", but I guess if there is, I'm about just as close to being one as anybody could be.  And, the main reason for that, of course, is because I know I'm on the winning team.  I have put my full faith and trust in Jesus Christ and I know that according to His Word, we will ultimately be victorious over sin, death, and the grave.  Hallelujah!

There is certainly nothing WRONG with having such an optimistic attitude about the future when you are building on that SOLID ROCK (Jesus) as your foundation.  But I'm afraid that many people here in our "land of the free" are optimistic for the wrong reasons.

Let me explain.

1.    Our Economy
We've just come through the presidential election and many people are very optimistic because Donald Trump has been elected as our next president.  They think he is going to revive our struggling economy by bringing jobs back that have gone over seas and by de-regulating the business world from the environmental "strangle-hold" on it... by reducing corporate taxes to encourage the re-investing of profits into expansion projects... by starting a mega-construction program to rebuild America's infrastructure (highways, hospitals, etc.)... and, by repealing Obamacare.

Financial optimism is already showing up in the markets as the Dow Jones Industrial Average has hit the record breaking level of 20,000.

2.    Illegal Immigration
Many Americans believe that Trump is going to "build the wall" on our border with Mexico and put an end to illegal immigration and the highway of drugs entering the country on our southern border.  Also, according to his campaign promises, he plans to deport illegal aliens, starting with those who have criminal records.

3.    Foreign Affairs
Most Americans would probably agree that our relationships with other nations of the world are in a terrible state of affairs.  Republicans are hounding on the assertion that for the last eight years, we have been "courting our enemies and betraying our friends".  

Since the beginning of the "Arab Spring" uprisings in 2011, that swept through north Africa and the Middle East, resulting in the overthrow of many governments (dictators?) and the massacre of thousands of innocent lives and the ongoing six year old civil war in Syria... and, with the rise of the blood thirsty terrorist group known as ISIS... most would agree that we've have done nothing but "fan the flames" in those countries.

Many also point to our "deal" with Iran that has allowed them to continue their nuclear program and our apparent helplessness in halting the nuclear weapons program in North Korea.  

Add to these the blatant territorial aggression of Russia as Vladimir Putin thumbs his nose at the rest of the world.  Even though he invaded the neighboring nation of Ukraine and militarily TOOK the entire crimean penninsula, we showed nothing but weakness and indecisiveness.   

We've also witnessed the spreading malignancy of ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, the Houthis, and other terrorist groups, making it clear that America is failing miserably in its war on terrorism.

And, on top of that...
We've witnessed the unprecedented slander against, disrespect of, and intense strain with our one true democratic ally in the Middle East... ISRAEL!  As in no other time since their national establishment in 1948, America has shown great bitterness toward Israel in the last eight years by trying to take half of their tiny country and give it to their enemies.  And now, the icing on that cake has been lavishly applied as the Obama administration stabbed Israel in the back by refusing to vote against a UN resolution that declares she has no legal right to live on or build homes in Samaria, Judea, and east Jerusalem.  This, of course, also denies them all rights to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, their most holy site.

But, many Americans now see "a new day coming" with Donald Trump as our president... a day when his stronger, more conservative stance on foreign affairs will strengthen our national safety and lead the world to more stability and peace.  The anticipated presidential corrections in these three areas of national concern and others have many Americans overflowing with OPTIMISM.  

Since Trump's policies closely resemble my own thinking, I must admit that his presidency is part of the reason for my optimism also... at least as far as our country is concerned.  It may even result in less persecution against the church and conservative evangelicalism.  Of course, that would be great! 

But a word of warning is needed here.  Whether Donald Trump can actually deliver on all of his campaign promises or not remains to be seen.  However, I can assure you that the one essential need in the United States to "make it great again" is something that Donald Trump cannot deliver.

Even if the economy soars and the illegal immigration problem is resolved and our relations with Israel are greatly improved and terrorism is defeated and EVEN if a relative peace is achieved on the planet... ONE THING WILL NOT CHANGE!  You see, America (and the whole world) has been in a spiritual nosedive for many decades.  Materialism has become the god of America and the fundamental doctrines of Christianity are being quickly abandoned.  As much as our new president may do to help our nation, I don't think he has any desire or ability to change the spiritual decline of this country.

Secondly, IF our national economy does improve (and I hope that it does), this will only add to the spiritual rebellion against the God who made this country great.  If there is one environment that really serves to draw people away from God, it is the environment of material success. When people begin to put their trust in their bank accounts, they inevitably forget about trusting and serving God.  It is only in times of hardship and calamity that people turn to God for help.  It is only then that people (in general) recognize that they need the loving hand of God to see them through.  So, even though we all want to see our nation prosper, spiritually speaking, it will be bad for our country.  

Until there is a real spiritual revival and turning back to God... until there is a sweeping move of the Holy Spirit in the land leading people to repentance from their sinful ways, the spiritual decline in our land will continue.  And, as much "good" as our next president may be able to accomplish, I doubt that he will even attempt to encourage spiritual renewal.

So, the question is... Will America experience some secular improvements over the next four years?  Perhaps.  It's possible, but only God knows the future.  Unfortunately, this will not help our spiritual departure from God... AND, it may even accelerate it.

On the other hand, there is (possibly) some good news to this besides the idea of a stronger, more prosperous nation.

The scriptural passage that gives us the most details about the coming Rapture of the Church is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.  

1 Thess. 16  -  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 
17   Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 

In the very next chapter, just a few verses after making this great explanation of the Rapture, Paul says:

1 Thess. 5:2  -  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 

3    For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 

These verses are obviously a continuation of Paul's explanation of the Rapture.  The idea of it happening UNEXPECTEDLY (like a "thief in the night") applies only to those who are not Christians because he goes on to say in the next verse:

4    But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 

But notice that it also says that it will happen when they (those non-Christians who are not expecting it) are saying "Peace and safety".

In my description of the current sad national and international situation at the beginning of this article (which has been the case for at least the last eight years), it is clear that no one has been saying "peace and safety".  In fact, the news headlines have been more about "wars and rumors of wars" which the Lord said would NOT be a sign that the end of the age had come.

Matt. 24:6  -  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars:  see that ye be not troubled:  for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

The change from pessimism to optimism can happen very quickly.  An example would be WWI.  There was enormous bloodshed and destruction in the first world war.  It was a very dark time in world history.  But when it was over, people called it "the war to end all wars" and Americans became "giddy" with optimism as we entered into the exhilirating time of the  "roaring twenties".  Very quickly, people went from pessimism to optimism.

So... IF the economy, immigration, terrorism, etc. situations improve dramatically, it may be a time when people will say "Peace and safety", not knowing that the destruction of the Rapture is upon them and "they shall  not escape"!

Even so, come Lord Jesus!!!

Our   Upcoming   Schedule
Jan. 14  (11:30 AM)  -  University Baptist Church in Lake Charles;  Bro. John Astling, pastor.

Jan. 22  -  Bethel Baptist Church in Colfax, LA;  Bro. Carl Gulde, pastor.

Jan. 23-24  -  Attending the Louisiana Baptist Evangelism Conference at Temple Baptist Church in Ruston, LA.

Jan. 29  -  Feb. 1  -  Dublin Baptist Church in Carson, MS;  Bro. Robert Sones, pastor.

Feb. 20-Mar. 3  -  Israel!

Mar. 12-15  -  Fifth Ave. Baptist Church in Oakdale, LA;
Bro. Larry Farris, pastor.

Mar. 19-22  -  Faith Baptist Church in Bastrop, LA;  Bro. Bodie Spicer, pastor.

Mar. 24-26  -  Corinth Baptist Church in Darden, TN;  Bro. Don Franks, pastor.





Would You Pray About Joining Our Ministry? 


Maranatha Evangelistic Ministries has a program for ministry partners. For a contribution of $20 a month, folks can join our "Maranatha Partners" team. We send a monthly update letter toour Maranatha Partners. And, from time to time, to show our appreciation, we will provide CDs, books, and other materials to help in your personal Bible study. Will you pray and ask the Lord if you should be a part of this work of preaching about the soon return of our Lord Jesus?