Archive for January, 2022

The Signs of the Times; Are You Truly Saved?

If you’re pressed for time, or if you already understand the biblical signs of the times, I invite you to skip to the end of this post to the prayer so that you can commit or recommit your life to our Lord.  The best protection for peace, safety, and provision you have in this scary and uncertain time is by pressing into God and studying His Word.

Over the last couple of years we’ve had a lot of misinformation thrown our way, mostly in politics, but also in science and, unfortunatly, theology and religion.

In my opinion, this misinformation is the root of the unrest, unhappiness, and flat out hatefulness being manifested today. As Christians, however, we should not be surprised at misinformation or, frankly, at anything happening in the world today. Indeed, the Bible talks about some signs of the times as an indicator of the end of our current world, and I believe we’re seeing many of these Biblical signs today. 

Simply take a look at Matthew 24:4-14, with a few of my notes in parenthess:

Jesus answered: Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 

(We see deception and lies running rampant, and we’re being warned here to be on guard.  We’ve also heard some political-Christians and others refer to some political figures as a savior or even “The Savior,” conjuring notions of Jesus, which is frightening on its own. Frankly, until the last four or five years, I never quite understood various biblical passages describing people who see but don’t perceive, hear but don’t understand. These days, I see it happening all the time. What, exactly, are we to do when some public figure actually tells us not to believe what we see? Some commentaries say that messianic pretenders don’t have to say they’re Jesus — merely that they represent Jesus – in order to deceive and to “sanction lawlessness.” (Baker))

You will hear of wars, and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 

(We’ve heard about wars and rumors of wars for many years, but in my opinion, the calling out of nations and kingdoms here seems to intend to encompass more than just what we normally think of when we think of “nations against nations.”  Even secular dictionaries have defined a “nation” as a specific ethnic group, or a large body of people, associated with a particular territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to possess a government peculiarly its own. So, when looking for an intensifying of “nations against nations,” we look not only to traditional international conflict, but also within our own borders, such as what is happening with the controversy surrounding the 2020 election and the division of the people in the USA.)

There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

(We’ve had more extraordinarily severe natural disasters in the past several years, and this is exactly what Jesus meant – not that we’ll see things we’ve never seen before, but that there will be an intensifying of these things that will be noticeably worse. And, indeed, what we’ve seen has been noticeably worse, if not altogether unprecedented in severity, with destruction from fires, volcanos, floods, tornados, in addition to changes to global climate, drought (which tends to precede famine), pandemics, cyber-attacks, and yes, earthquakes.  All of these are the earth telling us that it is suffering and we suffer as well.)

Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other.

(According to at least one media outlet, Christian persecution increased in 2021, with over 340 million Christians affected. This means that about 1 in every 7 Christians has experienced or is experiencing persecution. This increase is due, in part, to the need caused by various natural disasters to sort people for various benefits; for example, with the pandemic came an opportunity to overlook Christians when it came to food and aid distribution.  And note the subtlety of the persecution. It’s not what you might think, with Christians being jailed or tortured. It’s often simply people disregarding or ignoring Christians for various reasons simply because they are Christians. Some of this is self-inflicted. Right now, we have a fairly large division in the Church, with at least one side seemingly in an open war of hate and unloving actions against the other. And that’s within the church! Look, I’m not going to mince words. If you see someone post something on Facebook about loving God within minutes of posting another thing about “hating libs,” you know there’s something really wrong with the church.)           

 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 

(Where do I start? The years 2020/22 may as well be called the years of the false prophet. False prophesy about the pandemic, about the election, about a “new revival.” Let’s face it –prophets can get things wrong. But what this latest series of prophesies shows us is that these so-called “prophets” – even when wrong – do nothing to apologize, repent, or otherwise alter their original prophesy. In fact, in one notable case, a pastor who dared to repent and recant his prophesy over the election was actually attacked by his own flock for “giving in.” Eventually, he abandoned his ministry altogether due to the unprecedented hatred to do merely what the Bible says a prophet should do. And yet, there appears to be no end to the number of people lining up to announce that they are “prophets of God” with an important worldly message for all Christians. Look, I believe in modern day prophets. But if you hear from one, you really, really need to check and re-check that prophesy by assessing what they say – and how they react to being wrong – with the Bible.)

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 

(We see the love of people for each other has grown incredibly cold in the many actions that we are witnessing on airplanes, in restaurants, in grocery stores, and in hospitals. You only need to look as far as your social media account (I suppose mine is mostly FB) through the constant posting of hateful memes ungodly discussions when someone merely disagrees with another. I suppose isolation and the increased anonymity of the Internet have some part to play in all this, but that just means we must work to make sure our own love does not grow cold.)

but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

(Now to our HOPE.  Those of us standing firm will be saved.  Standing firm means operating out of obedience to God and his main commandments as stated in Mark 12:30-31; “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.[b] There is no commandment greater than these.”  Those of us who are dedicated and have committed ourselves to God and who practice operating out of love will be and are saved!  Are we always perfect in operating out of love?  No, I wish we were, but we should be striving for perfect love to all of God’s people – regardless of personal preferences, political or religious affiliation, cultural heritage, etc.)

I’m not saying that the world will end tomorrow – but what if it did?  In fact, when people ask me worried questions about eschatology – i.e., “End Times” (including notions surrounding the book of Revelation, the tribulation, resurrection of the dead, etc.), I often tell them that they should be far more worried about their own personal end time. And that could happen at any moment. After all, people have been predicting the end of this world for a long, long time, and those people have all passed. So, are you absolutely certain, beyond a shadow of any doubt that you are in good standing with God?  Whether you are or not, I invite you to pray this prayer, out loud and activate your future with the Lord.  Then get out your Bible and try to read it for a few minutes every day and see what new insights and blessings the Lord shows you.

PRAYER:

God, I come to you today and I admit that I have fallen short of your plans and expectations for my life and I ask for your forgiveness. Lord, I admit that I know that you sent Jesus to come into the world in human form to die on the cross for my sins and to fix my relationship with you, and I know that Jesus doing so is the only way a person like me could ever be in a right relationship with a perfectly holy God. I know that Jesus died and was raised from the dead and is now seated next to you in Heaven. Thank you Father that you wipe every sin away and that you love me. Lord, your word says to love others, and so please show me how to love your people here on earth. I want to live my life for you and to be a blessing to others. I want to follow your commands. I pray all of these things in the name of Jesus, Amen.

If you’ve prayed this prayer, I invite you to messenger me or post it here so that I can specifically pray for you for all of the blessings promised to us and for wisdom, knowledge, peace and safety during this time we are in today! 

Feel free to pray this prayer often — even every day — as each day brings not only new challenges, but also new opportunities for overcoming those challenges and to bless others.


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