Reading the signs?

Earlier this week I was sad to I read about American journalist, James Foley being beheaded by ISIS.  It is tragic what this group is doing around the world!  We hear not only of ISIS but of multiple terrorist groups armed and determined to wipe out anyone that does not follow their radical beliefs. They target Jews, Christians and fellow moderate Muslims with abandon. We are living in some pretty dark times. With wars, rumors of wars, great persecution, natural disasters and an overall increase in sin we don’t have to look too hard to believe that we are living in the end times. How long things will go on for before Jesus returns, we don’t know but it sure is closer than it was but a few years ago.

Let’s take a look at just some of these signs from the book of Matthew.

Matthew 24:1-14 NIV 

24 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

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

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 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.

Does any of this sound familiar? All it takes is for us to turn on our tv news channel or open a newspaper and we can see each and every one of these things happening right now in our time. We have brothers and sisters in Christ worldwide that are dying for their faith at the hands of their persecutors, all because they will not renounce the name of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.   Wickedness is everywhere. We hear daily of family members killing other family members, adultery, sexual sin, murders happening in each and every one of our neighborhoods.   Famines and earthquakes are at an all time high along with other various natural disasters. Nations are definitely rising against nations and kingdoms against kingdoms.  There are too many cults and cult leaders to list here preaching a false gospel that denies the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the need for salvation rather promoting themselves and their false ideology. With modern technology and the ease of travel, the gospel is now being spread in countries that would never have had access to the gospel before. The message of salvation is being preached throughout the world!

Though the Word of God tells us that no man knows the day or hour when Christ will return, we do know from the signs that the time is getting closer. With that in mind, God does not want us to walk in fear or trepidation.  Jesus said, “See to it that you are not alarmed,”  instead we are  to walk in peace knowing these things must come to pass before we see our beautiful Lord and King face to face.  It is so important that we use the time God has given us to share the gospel to those who need to hear! We need to daily demonstrate the love of Christ to a world looking for answers. People are wondering what on earth is going on in this crazy world of ours right now and we have the answers. We don’t need to be caught off guard. Our Bible tells us what must happen before Jesus returns.

It is imperative that each follower of Christ  live each day knowing that the Lord could return at any time. Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:36-44 NIV

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

I want to be ready when He returns! I want to be busy doing His will! I want to be excited, and without shame, to see Him face to face!

Father, I ask that you prepare our hearts for the days we are living in. Please keep our hearts tender before You. Let us be sensitive to the chastening of Your Spirit and let us repent of those things that are holding us back from following You with abandon. Give us wisdom to be able to read the signs of the times and to live our lives accordingly. Give us a deeper love for the lost so that we won’t hesitate to share the gospel with them. Give us a deeper love for You Jesus so that we will walk intimately with You as we wait on Your return. We ask it all in your precious name, the name of Jesus. Amen

 Take courage. We walk in the wilderness today and in the Promised Land  tomorrow.~Dwight L. Moody