Know the Time

Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more” (Ps 83:4). When Karen and I (mostly Karen) began homeschooling in the 1980s, we did not much think about grand things. We mostly simply wanted to arrive on time to mid-week church just one time. That was particularly embarrassing since I was the pastor and leader of the Bible study. Just once. Never happened.

Yet, in the midst of controlled chaos (that you all know so well), there was a sonorous hope that empowered us. We were doing the right thing, we knew it, teaching our children. We were making a difference. Those were the days!

In retrospect, we were living the end of an age. Camelot was disappearing. The end of the Christian era. The post-Christian era was about to begin.

Know the time!

When our children were younger we raised 4-H Suffolk sheep. Sturdy fences surrounded 10 acres of alfalfa pasture and bubbling spring water. With maximum temperatures of 80 degrees in the summer, Suffolk Sheep frolicked and procreated with security and joy. However, in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania, like so many other places, nefarious coyotes, even inquisitive black bears, and packs of wild dogs wandered down from distant woodlands and meadows. An old shepherd warned us, “The fences are not to keep the sheep in but to keep the critters out.” He was right. Angry, ravenous predators lurked outside our green pastures. Electric fence reinforced with barbed wire keep predators out and helpless sheep in.

In case you haven’t noticed, the fences are down. The enemy is rallying against the People of God.

I do not fear though. And either should you! He is more than able to defeat our enemies! “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready” (Rev 19:7). “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Rev 21:2).

Know the time!

The Kingdom of God will always be a place of conflict in the world. In the long run, it is really no contest at all.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

Your children, all of us, will not merely survive, exist. We shall take back what is rightfully His. We shall be more than conquerors in Christ Jesus!

Your students will infiltrate the university, the courthouse, the government building, the world. Cleverly disguised as lawyers, physicians, university professors, engineers these dynamic young Christians—your children—will turn the tide of history. I know it.

In summary, there has been a season of peace for followers of Christ in the western, European and Asian world. But know that a season of persecution is to come. The fences are down. “However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name” (1 Peter 4:16-17).

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-37)

Know the time!

2 Responses to “Know the Time”

  1. A Ward says:

    Hi Jim!
    I was thinking about you the other day and started looking to contact you to find out what you’ve been doing. Apparently, you’ve been doing quite a bit! Let me hear from you. Miss you at Stone.
    Anne Ward

  2. Steve King says:

    Dr. Stobaugh,
    An excellent word. What an amazing time we live in.