4. Lo, I Am With You Always

By John Thiel, Facing Last Day Perils Conference, Study 4, mp3 

We are called upon to persevere through the storms of life that are prophesied for our time. They are prophesied for the purpose that we can identify them and meet them in the precious comfort that is found in Jesus.

We have been given the heralds of the last day and among them is the spirit of Elijah the prophet. It is the testimony of Jesus through the spirit of prophecy and in it are described experiences that are of a devastating impact upon people.

I have found many people that said, I don’t want to read Sister White’s writings, it depresses me. We must not be depressed in view of the many statements in reference to the time of harvest, bundling, the harvest of dissensions, and all those details that are written. It must not depress us but we must find comfort through it all.

Confronted by these disturbing realities, we need a sustaining comfort, an assurance and a security. We need an anchor so that we will not be shaken to pieces or thrown onto a rock and smashed. There is a soul comfort that we need as we meet these prophetic details. Where does a Christian look to for comfort? What is the source of comfort for a believer?

Isaiah 51:12 I, [even] I, [am] he that comforteth you:

This is the Lord speaking. I, even, I, am he that comfortheth you.

Isaiah 51:12 …who [art] thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man [that] shall die, and of the son of man [which] shall be made [as] grass;

As the storms gather around us, humanity will be affected by Satan to such a degree that we will tremble. I’m a person who is absolutely afraid of humanity. I tremble to meet human beings. For me to be where I am and do what I’m doing, is because of the comfort that is found in these words. He says, why should you be afraid of humanity? It’s going to wither away, why are you afraid? I, even, I, am there to help you, to comfort you.

2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

The apostle Paul is speaking a little bit about his position as a servant of God by saying this. I am comforted, he says, that I may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of trouble. When you are in a position of ministry, you tremble for the people because you see them stumbling around and they’re in distress. They come like they came to apostle Paul and they need comfort. The only comfort that a servant of God can give is the comfort that he himself has found. If he hasn’t found the comfort, how can he comfort others? It is in the God of comfort. Of how much comfort? The God of all comfort. There is not a single tribulation or problem that can affect us in these times for which there is not a comfort. In any situation there is a comfort!

Isaiah 43:1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee,

He keeps on bringing something before us. The God of creation, the one who created us, I, even, I. I am the Master of the universe, are you aware who is speaking here?

Isaiah 43:1 …O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel,

When did he receive that name? When he was in anguish of soul and fearful. Jesus came to him and he was fighting.

Isaiah 43:1 …O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called [thee] by thy name; thou [art] mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I [will be] with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Do you think that’s what Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego remembered? God is able to protect us from that fire which was seven times hotter. It will not kindle upon us, but if it does, we’re still not going to submit to Nebuchadnezzar. This point is very important because it was an object lesson for us in the last days when the image is set up and everybody is required to submit to that. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s example is there for us, so that we will stand upright from the rest of the submissions that are being demonstrated by the people around us. Why? Because the God of Jacob has stated, you are mine!

The believer does not just know facts and truth. The believer knows that the study of the Bible facts comes from the one who wants to be personally entwined with them. This is more than just facts of truth. This is someone who says, you are mine and I am going to take care of you. I am your comfort.

We have these beautiful announcements; they’re beautiful words aren’t they? They sort of give you a comfort in reading them but when it comes to the literal experience there are prophetic details that we will not be happy with. We want to remember those prophetic details and realities of our life that we will have to meet, will be so severe that we need not only the words that tell you, I am comforting you, but we need to actually experience the comfort in those moments.

That’s what I have found with many people who I have admired in my youth. There were people that looked like strong spiritual people. I’ll never forget the day that I met up with a lady when I was many years older, after I had known her as a child, I came to her and I thought I was going to be able to have a spiritual conversation with her. I talked about prayer and she said, oh John, when you get my age you will know that even prayer doesn’t help anymore. I went, oh. Haven’t you found a time when you’ve prayed and you’ve prayed and you’ve prayed, and you’ve wanted something different to what is happening around you, and it doesn’t happen, and the prayer isn’t answered? It’s a very personal thing, and you’re not getting answers. Then you come to the point that this lady was telling me about, and I said, what? Of course I was still only a young man and I had to go through certain experiences of my own, and then I knew what she talking about. Yes, and it’s coming worse in the future.

We need a tangible sense during the end time tribulations. We need tangible comfort, not just wonderful words. We need to understand the sense of God’s presence in our life, when all our senses are on maximum stress, when all our heavens fall down around us. Have you had a heaven of expectation? You are looking to see the fruition of everything you’ve laboured for, and then it comes down and there’s nothing left; and you go, well, what was the use of all that? I’ve been through that many times, and in issues of life that were very important to me. It came crashing down.
God came to two men, Hazen Foss, and William Foy, and then He had to go to the woman.

The greatest want of the world is the want of men. {Ed 57.3}

The greatest need of the world is a want of men.

…men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall. {Ed 57.3}

Did William Foy stand for the right though the heavens fall? Did Hazen Foss stand for the right though the heavens fall? This is the want of men, in a time where it is written that it is a shame to the men that women will rule over you, and children will be your oppressors. The Lord is saying, there is a want of men who will stand though the heavens fall. That is when we need a comfort that will hold us firm. Wherein lies a sense of consolation when the heavens fall? Wherein lies it?

The disciples, these strong fishermen who knew how to handle a ship on the sea of Galilee, they had iron-like grips holding on to their oars and they were roaring away in the storm. Yet they were children. Jesus had left them on the sea of Galilee, they were told to go across the sea and they were caught in the storm.

Matthew 14:24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.

Now, Jesus! It’s Him! It’s alright then. The storm was still blowing, the waves were still roaring but it was Jesus, now they were comforted. Peter was so comforted that he said,

Matthew 14:28 …Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

Because it’s Jesus! We can walk on the water.

Matthew 14:29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

Remember the storm was still blowing. Peter was just concentrating on Jesus but all of a sudden there were some waves, some big waves. Suddenly a wave came in between Jesus and him. It is very loaded with spiritual lessons. The wave comes between Jesus and you. Not only that, but Peter looked back.

Matthew 14:30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth [his] hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.

But all that time, there was the roaring wind, then Jesus was there and they were safe.

A violent tempest had been stealing upon them, and they were unprepared for it. {DA 380.3}

They were arguing. They were dissatisfied with each other and with the events around them. As they were there roaring away on the sea of Galilee and they were arguing, the storm was stealing on them and they weren’t ready for it, and all of a sudden it hit.

It was a sudden contrast, for the day had been perfect; and when the gale struck them, they were afraid. They forgot their disaffection, their unbelief, their impatience. Everyone worked to keep the boat from sinking. {DA 380.3}

The boat is sinking? We’re trying to save the boat from sinking? Yes? Have you been through that? Everyone worked to keep the boat from sinking.

It was but a short distance by sea from Bethsaida to the point where they expected to meet Jesus, and in ordinary weather the journey required but a few hours; but now they were driven farther and farther from the point they sought. Until the fourth watch of the night they toiled at the oars. Then the weary men gave themselves up for lost. In storm and darkness the sea had taught them their own helplessness, {DA 380.3}

What teaches us of our own helplessness? When you cannot manage the storm, when you can’t manage the boat anymore, when everything is hopelessly wrought with disaster.

In storm and darkness the sea had taught them their own helplessness, and they longed for the presence of their Master. {DA 380.3}

Jesus had not forgotten them. The Watcher on the shore saw those fear-stricken men battling with the tempest. Not for a moment did He lose sight of His disciples. … As a mother in tender love watches her child, so the compassionate Master watched His disciples. {DA 381.1}

At the moment when they believe themselves lost, what did He wait for? Couldn’t He have come a little bit earlier? What was He waiting for? The moment when they saw themselves lost. Do you get the lesson?

At the moment when they believe themselves lost, a gleam of light reveals a mysterious figure approaching them upon the water. But they know not that it is Jesus. {DA 381.2}

Jacob’s trouble? He thought it was an enemy.

The One who has come for their help they count as an enemy. Terror overpowers them. {DA 381.2}

Here comes Jesus to help them when they thought they were lost anyway and now it makes it even worse. This is not written just for a story. This is written for you and me. This is what we will meet. We read this so glibly and think, oh, those poor fellows. Well, it’s your and my experience in this storm that we are in now, and it’s only going to get worse.

Terror overpowers them. The hands that have grasped the oars with muscles like iron let go their hold. The boat rocks at the will of the waves; all eyes are riveted on this vision of a man walking upon the white-capped billows of the foaming sea. {DA 381.2}

They think it a phantom that omens their destruction, and they cry out for fear. Jesus advances as if He would pass them; {DA 381.3}

Are you picking up how God deals with situations? We who have entrenched within ourselves, in our human nature, a character of, I can handle this. I will work at it and I will with my iron fists hold on to the oars of life and I’m going to get myself through it; then at the last moment He comes and He makes it worse. It appears worse than if He wouldn’t have come. As it appears worse, they cry out for fear and instead of Jesus immediately turning around and saying, it’s alright, it’s me, He goes and walks past. Then as He walks past, they see that it is their beloved Master.

…they recognize Him, and cry out, entreating His help. Their beloved Master turns, His voice silences their fear, “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” {DA 381.3}

This is important for us. We need tangible living truth in a world where everything else is folding up around us. Religiously, politically, in nature, and socially. When the heavens fall the world is in need of men.

The disciples went through that experience and they still didn’t quite learn it. Did the Jews and the disciples learn from all this? When it came to the crucifixion, what happened to the disciples? He had warned them, He had given them details. The Jews were given the details. Did His disciples manage to go through that storm? They did not. They failed miserably. When their heavens of expectation of what the teachings of Jesus were, that now they’re going to be safe and sound with Jesus, when their Lord and Master was being crucified and with all the preliminaries before that, they were saying, what? We thought it would be He that would redeem us. They had really shattered hopes. All their heavens fell.

Luke 24:36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace [be] unto you. 37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.

What was the scene? This was after the crucifixion and they were all huddled together in the upper room and now Jesus Himself who if they would have known what He was doing in going to the cross, would have been a comfort to them. Now He comes into their presence and what were they doing? Just like what they were doing in the boat. They were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit!

Luke 24:38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?

Is that not what happens when our heavens fall? We are troubled. Our thoughts arise in our hearts.

Luke 24:39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

This kind of comfort is needed now and hereafter. A comfort where Jesus says, look, it’s me, you are afraid, you are perplexed by the circumstances that surround you, and I am here to help you and you think it’s an enemy. Think about it. The very help that Jesus wants to send us we regard as an enemy to my soul. That is part of the equation.

The storms of the end are upon us. Christian society is being tossed by every wind of doctrine. Look around you. People are truly in a doctrinal mess. The waves are tossing to and fro and throwing about the people to throw them into chaos of what to even believe, let alone how to survive after you believe. They are tossed about by dissension on top of all that. Storms of strife. I’ve watched it over the years amongst all Adventist circles.

Times that will try men’s souls are just before us, and those who are weak in the faith will not stand the test of those days of peril. {5T 273.1}

The spirit of prophecy is saying if our faith is weak, if like the disciples with their iron-like grip on the oars we finally wither, it doesn’t matter how strong we think we are, faith is the hand. If the faith is weak, they float about aimlessly.

This is the time in which we are living now, because that was written then. She said that the times that will try men’s souls are just before us. That was in 1888 onwards.

A storm is coming. {8T 315.2}

What kind of power is it?

…relentless in its fury. {8T 315.2}

What does relentless mean? You wish it would stop but it only gets worse. It does not abate. You are looking for relief out of it and it’s relentless. That is the storm she said was coming.

Are we prepared to meet it? We need not say: The perils of the last days are soon to come upon us. Already they have come. We need now the sword of the Lord to cut to the very soul and marrow of fleshly lusts, appetites, and passions. {8T 315.2-3}

Back there she said, don’t say it’s coming, it’s already upon us. So where are we? The fact is that the weak faith of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination caused them to fall entirely as the storm of the First World War came. They fell entirely. Then came the faithful ones and the storm continued. Then came the Second World War and they tried to hold on, and they did. Then there was that time of peace after the Second World War but in that time of peace it was a time of men’s hearts failing them for fear of what is to come. It wasn’t a time of peace, really, it was war continuing, the cold war with its fears and all of the developments of what they term as global warming with all its ferocious storms in nature, etc.

Minds that have been given up to loose thought need to change. “Girding up the loins of your mind, be sober and set your hope perfectly on the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; {8T 315.4}

Everything in the world is in agitation. The signs of the times are ominous. Coming events cast their shadows before. The Spirit of God is withdrawing from the earth, and calamity follows calamity by sea and by land. There are tempests, earthquakes, fires, floods, murders of every grade. {DA 636.1}

How true that is today? It is rampant around us. Murders of every kind.

Who can read the future? Where is security? {DA 636.1}

We want comfort. We want security.

There is assurance in nothing that is human or earthly. {DA 636.1}

Does that mean there is no human being that the Lord can send? It doesn’t mean that. If the human is relying on human then there is no help.

Rapidly are men ranging themselves under the banner they have chosen. {DA 636.1}

The people in their different churches, in the Muslim world and in the Catholic world, they’re bundling, they’re gathering around that which they have chosen as their security. It’s only adding to the storm.

Rapidly are men ranging themselves under the banner they have chosen. Restlessly are they waiting and watching the movements of their leaders. {DA 636.1}

Come on, let’s get to it! They want to conquer. They want to fight.

There are those who are waiting and watching and working for our Lord’s appearing. Another class are falling into line under the generalship of the first great apostate. Few believe with heart and soul that we have a hell to shun and a heaven to win. The crisis is stealing gradually upon us. The sun shines in the heavens, passing over its usual round, and the heavens still declare the glory of God. Men are still eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying, and giving in marriage. {DA 636.1-2}

It’s stealing upon everybody. We are growing up in this atmosphere of warfare and storm and we don’t even realise what the storm really is until something else hits us and as it gets worse we suddenly realise we are in a storm and it’s all something to do with the past anyway. We need assurance, tangible assurance. We need security, a rock. The Lord is speaking to us today in this ridiculous chaos:

Isaiah 43:1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not.

That’s what Jesus said to the disciples, fear not, it’s me.

Isaiah 43:2 When thou passest through the waters, I [will be] with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3 For I [am] the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.

He is turning our attention not only to the fact that He is the Creator, but that He is our Saviour, and we look to the cross of Jesus because that is where He demonstrated His saving grace. There at the cross and in Gethsemane, He was going through the storm that we meet where He came to the conclusion that the Father had forsaken Him. Just like the disciples in the sea, they thought they were going to die. My God, My God, where are you? Jesus where are you? Help! That’s what Jesus was in, in the midst of the storm. But He didn’t dwell there. He conquered it and showed us the way out so that we can be the people who in the last days will survive as He did.

He says, I will be with you even until the time of the end. Even. Jesus’ presence is the only way by which we can survive. Can we trust Him? Herein lies our security.

Christ should never be out of the mind. The angels said concerning Him, “Thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Jesus, precious Saviour! assurance, helpfulness, security, and peace are all in Him. He is the dispeller of all our doubts, the earnest of all our hopes. {TMK 166.3}

Earnest means you’ve got it in potential but you haven’t seen it yet. It’s an earnest, a down-payment.

How precious is the thought that we may indeed become partakers of the divine nature, whereby we may overcome as Christ overcame! Jesus is the fullness of our expectation. {TMK 166.3}

Not our circumstances, but Jesus. Jesus is the fullness of our expectation.

He is the melody of our songs, the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. He is living water to the thirsty soul. He is our refuge in the storm. He is our righteousness, our sanctification, our redemption. {TMK 166.3}

He is, and if He is.

If you don’t keep your eyes focused on Him which means studying His life as given in His word picturing everything, looking at His looks towards us through His word, if we don’t do that but we get distracted and we talk about everything else, if you are talking about other things and people around, are you talking about Jesus? Are you thinking about Jesus? No. You’re looking at the storm as Peter did. I don’t know how long it takes for humanity to wake up because the moment that there is something that is happening around us, we talk about what’s around us instead of talking about Jesus. Then we wonder why everything is going down around our ears.

Unless we pick up on the counsel of the spirit of prophecy, we will go down with the rest of them because we are not keeping Jesus in our minds continually unbrokenly. That is the answer and I know it to be the answer because it’s the only reason I’m still around. I have gone through hell. The only knowledge of how I have survived is in putting in practice what I have put in practice. This is the only way by which you can survive in this madness in which we live today. It’s a madness and you can’t get your head around it. You try to reason this way and that around the dilemmas that meet you in the circumstances of church, social and political realms, and it’s a madness that makes no sense anymore.

I’m a person who likes to see sense but nothing makes sense but Jesus.
Christ should never be put out of the mind, never, because He is the person in His living experience. Because we look for a tangible experience that will help us to comfort us and we have been given Jesus as an atonement with us, it’s a living reality that we need to see livingly, and that is the only thing that will help us through. A tangible reality, not just beautiful words. We need to take hold of Jesus. Hence, what is to be our exercise to be able to stand when the heavens fall in your personal experience?

Times that will try men’s souls are just before us, and those who are weak in the faith will not stand the test of those days of peril. The great truths of revelation are to be carefully studied, for we shall all want an intelligent knowledge of the word of God. By Bible study and daily communion with Jesus we shall gain clear, well-defined views of individual responsibility and strength… {5T 273.1}

I will get clear and well-defined views of my personal responsibility and then when I realise that’s my responsibility and I haven’t got the strength, I will get strength as well.

…to stand in the day of trial and temptation. He whose life is united to Christ by hidden links will be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. {5T 273.1}

Do you have hidden links? You can’t talk about those because they’re hidden and they are your own. This is what the five wise virgins had. The five wise virgins had a hidden link inside of them so that although they did fall asleep, when the bridegroom came with all the circumstances that flawed the five foolish, they were able to stand. The five foolish were saying, we need your help! Please give us something! Can you give your hidden links to someone else? Not at all. These people have a personal intimacy and communion with Jesus by Bible study and meditation. The outpouring of the latter rain is the Holy Spirit interpreting for us, not what we are interpreting. So they have the oil in their vessels, not only in the lamp.

This is where our exercise must be, in the presence of Jesus when the storms are wild around us and we even thought that it was an enemy and we suddenly discover, ah, no, this is right, I can recognise Jesus is there, Lord help me. In this way we will survive like the disciples in the storm.

What is the call that God is giving us?

Isaiah 26:20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.

The angel had said to Daniel, I will show you the end of the indignation and this was in reference to the end of the 2300 days prophecy. After the 2300 days came to their conclusion, He says come my people, enter thou until the indignation be overpast.

Isaiah 26:21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity:

Do you remember how He punishes? He lets people turn against each other, and that’s what we’ve seen in the First and Second World War, and before.

Isaiah 26:21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.

He is saying, come and shut thy doors, come and hide yourself. But where?

What are the chambers in which they are to hide? They are the protection of Christ and holy angels. The people of God are not at this time all in one place. They are in different companies, and in all parts of the earth; and they will be tried singly, not in groups. Every one must stand the test for himself (RH Nov. 19, 1908). {4BC 1143.6}

Where is our assurance? Where are we to hide? In Christ and the holy angels. It means studying God’s word and holding communion with Him in His word and keeping that communion in your mind all the time so that as soon as a wave comes up, you are looking at Jesus and you keep on walking on. This is what the Lord wants us to engage in.

May God help us to enjoy His beautiful presence.


About The Typist

Sabbath Sermons is a small resource information ministry in Australia standing upon the original platform of the Adventist truth. We are dedicated to spreading the special 'testing truths' for our time and are not affiliated with the various denominations. This website is administered by lay members only

Posted on 14/03/2014, in Facing Last Day Perils (Conference). Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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