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The love of many…

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Of all of the different things that Jesus taught his followers while he was here on earth, one that holds significant interest to most Christians today is his teachings on what we now call the “End Times”.

Literally thousands of books have been written by men and women who claim to have unique insight into these teachings, and little wonder because it seems there is an insatiable appetite for all things related to the ‘end of day’s as we know them. Major Christian publishing companies consider these books to be “cash cows” because they sell so well, hence the market saturation of these books.

There are so many books written that they have to be categorized into sub sections such as:

Prophecy

Armageddon

Revelation                       

Coming of the Lord

Tribulation, and many more.

I must admit that while I have read a few of them, I am not a fan of these books for the simple fact that all of them are largely nothing more than the authors own private interpretation of The BOOK. Far too many of them propose theories and ideas that are completely contrary to what the Bible says, and while I enjoy the learning process I cannot go along with teachings that ultimately place less emphasis on God’s word than the author’s opinions.

With that said, I draw your attention to the book of Matthew, chapter 24. This particular chapter is one that most students of prophecy and all things “End Times” recognize as one of the most important of all.

The first seven verses of this chapter find Jesus revealing several things that will be taking place upon the earth prior to his return. He actually refers to these things as “the beginning of sorrows”. It is what Jesus says next that causes people so much anxiety and fear because this is where it gets personal. Read along with me from Matthew 24: 9-13.

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”

We must ask ourselves who is this “you” that Jesus said will be delivered up to tribulation and killed? We know that Jesus was speaking specifically to his disciples about these matters, so we can easily make the case that it was the disciples who were to be delivered up and killed. History in fact reveals that all of the disciples except John died a martyrs death, thus fulfilling the words of Jesus.

Yet we must also realize that God’s word is eternal, making it applicable for every generation and period of history. Indeed, history shows us that there have been many attempts to purge the world of Christianity. Wars, Inquisitions, laws, etc have all been used over the past two thousand years to try and eliminate Christianity from the earth.

Today, this trend continues at an alarming rate. According to Open Doors USA ,in just the last year* there have been:

  • Over 245 million Christians living in places where they experience high levels of persecution
  • 4,305 Christians killed for their faith
  • 1,847 churches and other Christian buildings attacked.
  • 3,150 believers detained without trial, arrested, sentenced or imprisoned

So we see that when Jesus said “they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you“,his words are just as applicable today as they were that day when He spoke them to his disciples. What is so problematic about this persecution of the church is that in America we have so far managed to escape the wrath that is being felt by our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world, and this has left us disinterested at best.

This, however, is about to change. While it is true that we are not facing the prospect of being beheaded or our churches burned to the ground(YET), persecution of Christians in America is alive and well. For those who believe that persecution will never happen here, or that it is some far off generation that will have to deal with it, consider the following:

There is increasing intolerance of traditional Christian values in this country. Those that hold to traditional Biblical values are now seen as bigots, racists, and close-minded.

Let a conservative Christian politician be nominated for a Federal Court position and watch how the nominee’s Christian values are called into question, as if his or hers values would somehow prevent them from rendering a proper verdict.

If you dare to refuse to bake a cake or issue a marriage license for same-sex marriages, you better be prepared to spend your life’s savings on attorney fees.

In addition to the ridicule and hatred that Christian college students face on campus today, a move is underway to remove a college’s accreditation unless they conform to a more secularist ideology. And let us not forget the schools that have banned the pre-game prayer before a Friday night football game.

Aside from the obvious ‘because Jesus said it would’, why are we as a nation headed in this downward trend?

The answer is found in the text from Matthew 24 that I included above.

“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold”.

The love of many is growing cold. What happens when love grows cold? We see the answer on the news every night. Another mass shooting. An increase in the suicide rate. The rise of injustice. An ever increasing number of innocent children gunned down. Perversion and child pornography at an all time high.

All of these and so many more are a direct result of hearts grown cold. No feeling for their fellow man. Total indifference to the plight of the unfortunate. Hearts so cold that walking past the homeless draws not an ounce of compassion. No concern for the millions who do not have enough to eat.

This is love grown cold.

Ice cold.

And it’s only going to get worse.

Much, much worse.

Jesus said that ‘he that endured to the end would be saved‘. We must be doing what we can to present Jesus to a cold and indifferent world because He is their only hope.

My prayer is that every Christian takes this seriously and act upon it.

Ron

 

 

 

* 2019 World Watch List reporting period, November 1, 2017-October 31, 2018

 

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Being a ‘Daniel’ in a hostile world

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Being a person who reads a great deal, it is obvious to me that the world has embarked upon the next phase of open rebellion against God. Not only has God’s word been relegated to the status of mere stories and fables by the secular media, but His children are under the most intense mental and physical persecution since the Inquisition.

If scripture is to be believed, and of course I do believe every word of it, what we are witnessing is just the beginning of what will eventually turn into The Great Tribulation that Jesus prophesied about in Matthew 24. [1]

Additionally, Paul told the church of the Thessalonians that before the second coming of Jesus, there would be a great falling away and the man of sin would be revealed. Meaning, the people of God would fall away from the truth, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, and the Anti-Christ would then come on the scene. [2]

What must our reaction be to these current and soon coming events? Well, I believe we should take the approach of the prophet Daniel, who as a young man was taken away captive along with the rest of Israel and remained in a strange land for 70 long years. [3]

Because Daniel had what the Bible refers to as an “excellent spirit”, God exalted him above his contemporaries and placed him in a very high level position within the government of Darius, king of Persia.

Jealous of his favor with the king, his fellow leaders plotted against him, hoping to trip him up in the manner in which he served the Lord. Here is where it gets really interesting. When Daniel knew that the trap had been set, what was his reaction?

He went home, opened his windows, and prayed toward Jerusalem three times a day just as he had done every other day. In other words, Daniel refused to become alarmed at the king’s decree, even though he knew that by not abiding by it, he could be put to death.

Because he possessed a different spirit, or more accurately because he was filled with the Spirit of God, he refused to be conformed to the world around him. He was determined to live his life God’s way, and God blessed him because of it.

As we see spiritual darkness covering our nation, and indeed the entire world, we must be ready to answer the call to obey God rather than man, just as Daniel did. We must purpose in our hearts that we will not bow down to the whims of a society that has forsaken God.

In the near future, there can be no doubt that new laws will be enacted to further quench the work of God. Existing laws will be changed to suit the Anti-Christ agenda that is alive and well upon this planet. All of this will leave God’s people with a decision to make. [4]

Will we conform to a society that is morally bankrupt and spiritually dead, or will we hold fast to God who will see us through these troubled times?

One thing is for certain, and that is that with God’s help, I will cling to the Savior who died for me upon The Old Rugged Cross. With His help, I will be a Daniel in this hostile world that we live in.

My prayer is that you will join with me in standing firm for God.

Be blessed,

Ron

[1] Matthew 24: 15-22

[2] 2nd Thessalonians 2:3

[3] Daniel: chapter six

[4] “The demise of religious freedom in America” 

 

 

 

 

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.  Daniel 6:10   NKJV