Publication: Pastoral Letter, November 2002
Dear Friend in Christ:
Greetings in the name of our Lord! I pray this letter finds you and yours well this month. The days in which we are living are definitely perilous, and the nations are in an uproar. In times like these, it’s good to turn to God’s Word, to gain insight and comfort. I want to share something with you from Scripture this month that I pray will draw you closer to Him and to His will for our lives and our destinies.
One of my favorite Psalms is the second Psalm. It puts much of our current international climate into perspective, and helps us to understand the purpose and resolve of our Sovereign God. Psalm 2 begins with questions that are as relevant to us as they were to the people of that day: “Why are the nations in an uproar? Why do they devise foolish and useless plans? Why do leaders, kings and dictators take their stand against the Lord’s anointed King?”
Listen to their battle cry: “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!” What fetters and cords are they seeking to break? It is clear from this Psalm that the nations are referring to the rule of the Lord’s anointed King. It is about power and who gets it.
Hatred for God and those who enjoy the favor of God is as old as Cain and Abel. Cain’s jealousy over God’s approval of Abel festered into hatred and finally murder. It would be easy to trace this dynamic throughout history.
Evil and its existence in humanity is a serious problem to those who believe in the innate goodness of mankind. Secular humanists and their more recent offspring deny the Sovereign right of God to reign and anoint those who will rule on His behalf. They do not merely ignore or deny God and His anointed; they hate Him. They devise schemes to destroy Divine law and authority. It is about power. Their assertion is, “We are god and we will rid ourselves of restraint.”
It is an attitude that accounts for the killing of prophets, the strife over lands, the persecution of the followers of Jesus, and the Crucifixion itself. The Cross represents the very heart of the conflict. The Resurrection testifies to the futility of godless schemes.
It is important that we note God’s response to this assault, and that we take our cue from Him. In Psalm 2:4-9, we see God sitting enthroned in the heavens, out of reach by mortal hatred. He laughs at their rage. He is not anxious, insecure or “flailing about” to defend Himself and His purpose. He scoffs at those who deny His position and devise means to overthrow Him.
But God does more than laugh and scoff, He speaks to them in anger and terrifies them with His fury. I am reminded of the assault on Jesus during His earthly ministry, how He bore it with peace even unto death. However, while the wheels of judgment turn slowly, they do turn. I wonder at the awesome terror that descended upon Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Jesus had correctly said, “do not weep for me, weep for yourselves and your children.”
I am also reminded of Hitler’s glee over his war victories in 1939-1941, his attacks on helpless neighbors, and persecution of Christians and barbaric slaughter of innocent Jews. But what terror descended upon him as the noose of justice tightened and he finally took his own life?
God says to the raging heathen, “As for me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My Holy Mount.” Then in verse 7, the Messiah declares this decree of the Lord, “Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee. Ask me and I will give you the nations and the ends of the earth for your possession.” The Lord continues, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron” (see Revelation 19:15).
Note that the Sovereign God issued a decree from heaven and eternity that His Son would reign over all nations with a rod of iron_sole authority. This is very troubling to those who despise God and His Sovereignty. The phrase “rod of iron” must drive them into a rage.
Those who become enraged do not take well to warnings. History testifies that some rulers such as Pharaoh and many others have steeled themselves against reality and finally, insisted upon destruction. The Lord advises that His enemies should instead exercise discernment and worship in reverence; that they would be wise to worship His Son lest He become angry and destroy them. He is calling for repentance and warns of the consequences if they do not.
Then the Lord gives His people advice and a promise, “how blessed are those who take refuge in Him!” This advice and promise imply that if we follow Him, we will be attacked by enraged and lawless people, who associate us with the Anointed One that they hate_just as He was attacked. Indeed, we also are anointed with the same Spirit that rested upon Him. We also are called to reign with Him. But if we are seated in Christ in heavenly places, if we flee into Him as our sanctuary, we can be blessed even as the warfare wages. And it will intensify – so we must continue in our seeking of Him.
These are intense days. But we are not without hope. And we are continually pressing into Him. He will help us as we do, and He will help us to help others seek Him as well.
THIS MINISTRY & YOU
Here at CSM Publishing, we are primarily committed to teaching the Word of God. We do so through this monthly Pastoral Letter, through One-to-One Magazine, books and tapes, and our Bible study curriculum, The Covenant and the Kingdom. The latter has been translated and published in many languages. I want to share some brief highlights of how you – your prayer, financial support, and friendship – have been a part of many significant outreach efforts through CSM.
CSM and its predecessor, New Wine Magazine, have spawned numerous churches and ministries around the world. One such ministry is Integrity Media, now the world’s largest publisher of praise and worship music. (Integrity Media is not affiliated with CSM.) The Lord has caused us to be catalytic in launching and supporting ministries through the years that have blessed countless lives globally.
We support Conquista Cristiana, a Spanish-language magazine under the leadership of Hugo Zelaya that reaches thousands of Christians and leaders throughout the Latin world. Over the years, we have contributed more than $600,000 to that ministry.
CSM has continued to support International Outreach Ministries, a missionary organization founded by Paul Petrie and now headed by . In the early 1990s, CSM sowed in excess of $200,000 sustaining this ministry, which is now becoming an independent, but cooperating agency.
CSM is playing a key role in the support of Hidden Treasures in Costa Rica, led by Enrique and Charlyn Mejia. Hidden Treasures helps support and educate more than 20 needy children. Even many of the mothers_themselves in desperate situations_are coming to Jesus Christ.
Throughout our history, we have not only sent ministry materials to prisoners across the United States, but we have also directly supported effective prison outreaches, such as Rivers of Living Waters Ministries, led by Jim Newsom.
For more than a decade, CSM has sent monthly support to the Taunton Family Children’s Home, located near Panama City, Florida.
In addition to these ministries, CSM helps to support me in reaching more than 70 nations, and extending pastoral care to leaders worldwide. And, we continue to support churches that seek to establish a local model of New Testament Christianity.
Our desire is to go further to reach young leaders through camps and an improved interactive website…and we are continuing to work toward establishing a Bible training institute. Meanwhile, we will continue to focus on the personal responsibility of each believer to build relationships with new believers and with those who yet still seek Jesus…to encourage, equip, and inspire believers to share life.
CSM is a voice for biblical theology advocating one-to-one relationships and evangelism, reaching out to the next generation. May I sincerely ask you to prayerfully consider standing with us in four key areas?
First of all, please remember us in your prayers each day.
Remember us in your giving.
Ask your pastor to consider CSM in your church’s 2003 budget.
Tell your friends about this ministry and our publications, and let us know how we can serve your friends.
Since the events of September 11, 2001, giving to charities and non-profit ministries has been significantly down in most places, and that has been true for CSM also. But we believe the Great Commission is a priority. Now more than ever, with your support and partnership, we can be fruitful in our generation, just as those who have gone before us were fruitful. The need is urgent; the opportunity is great; the time is short.
I marvel at those words written by the Psalmist 3,000 years ago. I marvel at how God fulfilled His promise, that His Son came and triumphed, and that even today, nations are hearing the Truth. And while many rage, many more than ever before worship the Son. May you be blessed in trusting Him.
Scripture Reference: Psalms 2:4-9, Revelation 19:15