It seems only a few short days ago, our country was rocked by the bombing that took place during the Boston Marathon. If you watch TV or read the front page of Yahoo, it’s hard not to notice the turmoil our country is in. Our whole world is experiencing the birthing pains that are talked about in this chapter.
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of the birth pains.” ~Matthew 24:6-8 NIV
I have not been one that likes discussion on the end times. Although, given our recent turn in history, I sure can’t deny what is happening. What was written in the Bible hundreds of years ago, is coming to pass. Our nation, and those around us, are feeling the tension, pressure, hate, and disconnect that is described in Matthew and in Revelations. Jesus warns us that things are going to get bad. Really bad. But he encourages us not to be alarmed. Not to worry. He’s got this! “These things must come to pass” (Matthew 24:6). Must is a welcome word that affirms that all events, even the most violent, are under divine plan. Every trial and trouble has a place in God’s scheme. All things big and small, flow out of the purpose of God and serve his good will. When the world appears to be out of control, it isn’t.” (pg. 159)
Jesus also warns us, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming “I am the Christ’, and will deceive many”. Max pointed out that those who try to deceive us will come from our very own churches. They will do/say things “in his name”. They may claim special status, and superior spirituality. They may say things like, “God told me….” “God spoke to me…” or “God led me….” Max reminds us to, “Filter all messages and messengers through these verses: “And who is a liar? Anyone who says that Jesus is no the Christ. Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist. Anyone who denies the Son doesn’t have the Father, either.” (1 John 2:22-23 NLT) (pg. 154-155)
As I laid in bed contemplating this chapter, the warning about deception made me uncomfortable. Deception is the way of the world. We are constantly being bombarded with deceptive headlines, news reports, Facebook posts, and conversation. As I began to question the deception factor, I found myself in the book of Jude. (Jude is a short chapter right before Revelations). Jude was one of Jesus’ brothers. He wrote this short letter to warn Christians about false teachers. Jude reminded Christians about the truth of God’s salvation and told them to stand up for their faith! There is no better time, than now, for Christians to have courage and stand up for their faith!
I don’t think that any of us can deny that we are living in the “end times”. Our world is heavy with birth pains and we can see or hear daily scripture being fulfilled. I would be lying if I said the thought of this didn’t frighten me. There is so much evil in the world. I hate the thought of torture and persecution. However, I believe it’s in our daily walk with God that we will find the strength and the foresight to get through whatever is coming. John Wayne said, “Courage is being scared to death, and saddling up anyway.” This is a quote I carry with me when I travel to events. I like how Max put it better though, “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” Once again, Max points out that through prayer, we can conquer fear.
In your spare time today, I’d like to encourage you to read the chapter of Jude. Look also at 1 John 4:1-21. I’m excited to hear how you view the times we are living in, so please make sure you comment today! Let’s encourage one-another.