15 January 2013

It's Scary Out There, So What's a Person Do?

The men who wrote the letters we now call "books" in the Bible didn't know what we know about the current days, but they saw them from afar, as God gave them the vision to see it. Did you think that any of this caught Him by surprise?

The apostle Paul wrote,
"Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people." (2 Timothy ch. 3)*
Sounds like a pretty accurate description of modern times to me.

Jesus Himself was asked about the "end of the age" by His disciples. He said, in part,
"Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities, claiming, ‘I am the Anointed, the Messiah.’ They will deceive a lot of people. When reports come in of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history; this is no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Famines and earthquakes will occur in various places. This is nothing compared to what is coming. 
"They are going to throw you to the wolves and kill you, everyone hating you because you carry my name. And then, going from bad to worse, it will be dog-eat-dog, everyone at each other’s throat, everyone hating each other.
"In the confusion, lying preachers will come forward and deceive a lot of people. For many others, the overwhelming spread of evil will do them in—nothing left of their love but a mound of ashes. “Staying with it—that’s what God requires. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be saved. All during this time, the good news—the Message of the kingdom—will be preached all over the world, a witness staked out in every country. And then the end will come.
 . . .
"This is going to be trouble on a scale beyond what the world has ever seen, or will see again. If these days of trouble were left to run their course, nobody would make it. But on account of God’s chosen people, the trouble will be cut short.
“If anyone tries to flag you down, calling out, ‘Here’s the Messiah!’ or points, ‘There he is!’ don’t fall for it. Fake Messiahs and lying preachers are going to pop up everywhere. Their impressive credentials and dazzling performances will pull the wool over the eyes of even those who ought to know better. But I’ve given you fair warning." (Matthew ch. 24, verses 4-14, 21-25)*

So deceivers will have enough charisma to sway even the believers, if we're not careful & prayerful. So what's a body to do?

That other Paul said,
"Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers—why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk! There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us." (2 Timothy ch. 14-17)*

In other words, He's given us everything we need to get through. He never said it would be easy; in fact, Jesus promised that it would be hard sometimes.
"I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” (John ch. 16, verse 33)*

Nothing could be more futile than trying to deal with everything that's happening around us, than to try it in our own strength. We're in great need of God's strength and provision.

Don't go it alone. He promises to help! Ask for that help, and He'll come through, every time.

* All verses quoted from The Message


Old NFO said...

Concur, and maybe NOT the way we expect/hope, but he DOES come through...

Matt said...

+1 to Old NFO

Rev. Paul said...

NFO, as He declared in Isaiah, "My ways are higher than your ways..." And sometimes, the answer is "No." But yes, He always answers.

Matt, agreed! Thanks.