I hope that you had a blessed Easter. Ours was quiet, spent at home, and we studied the Scripture Matthew, Chapter 24. We began our study of Matthew’s Gospel months ago. How significant that this Chapter presented itself at a time when we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
As someone who relies on Jesus as my only Salvation, Matthew 24 is particularly appropriate for these times in which we live, where there are wars and rumors of wars; famines and earthquakes; false prophets and false Christs; tribulations beyond imaginings; lawlessness and deceit; and love growing cold.
Have we not all seen this? Isn’t it time to throw up our hands, run around the neighborhood, and fall into deep despair? What shall we do? How can we bear it? Well, in times like these, where hatred and discontent are shouted from the pulpit, and division and malcontent is all around us, we can and we must rely on God.
There are those who insist that Jesus was a revolutionary or protester of the government of His times. Yet, this Only Son of God said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” He also said, “Render onto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s,” showing Himself submissive to His Father, yet respectful of government.
There are many false gospels being preached today. There is the “prosperity gospel,” which challenges you to send your money for obscure ministries, preferably by bank card. It teaches that by sending your “seed gift,” somehow your empty bank account will fill, like magic.
Then there is the “word of faith” gospel, which goes hand in hand with the prosperity gospel, by telling you that your faith has personal power. According to “word of faith.” You can command riches to come and bad health to vanish. When this is unsuccessful, it then becomes your fault, because of your weak faith, your unworthy prayers, or that dad-burn sin you’re hiding (or don’t even know you’ve committed); therefore canceling your harvest of ― you guessed it ― money and health. Ya-da…ya-da…ya-da! One wonders how these false prophets sleep at night, knowing that they will face Jesus and have to explain themselves.
Yes, I have been hood-winked by these false teachings. But, no more. I will rely on God and His word to teach me. The Bible is plain spoken, and the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 24, illustrates the concerns of our day. Just realizing that God knows how weary and perverse our world is, and believing Jesus’ reassurance, “See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass…” Then He tells us, “He (or she) who endures [it] (or, as my husband says “out-waits it”) to the end will be saved.”
So, as my eyes grow dim, I rely on Him. As this world becomes more unrecognizable, and hate and false doctrine are shouted from the pulpit, I will endure. As we live out the last days, foretold in Matthew 24, I will believe that God will keep me and my loved ones safe. There is no other choice for me. I cannot change the world. I can only change myself and welcome God’s presence in my heart.
He has sought me all my days. He has captured my heart. He has made Himself irresistible to me, and I hide myself in the shadow of His wings. Bless His name! Praise His holy word! I am His. Wicked, unlovable, whining, thankless me. I will never be worthy, but I accept His precious, priceless gift of Salvation and love.
Jesus, thank You for your sacrifice. Words cannot equal the awe and reverence I feel. With all my heart I thank You. May Your name be praised. May we hide beneath the shadow of Your saving grace, and may we endure this weary world until You come to take us home.
Abraham Lincoln once said, "If you want to know the measure of a man, give him power."
Monday, March 24, 2008