“8 And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore[a] do not go after them. 9 But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately. 10 Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. 13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. 14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer;15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head shall be lost. 19 By your patience possess your souls” (Luke 21:8-23 NKJV).
This is not an opinion about end of times prophesy. There are plenty of those already, and the Bible tells us all we need to know.
This is an article about trust, hope and what God expects of Christians regardless of current events. We read the news every day of Christians persecuted worldwide, disdain for Christianity in our own country, wars, increased violence, propaganda, dishonesty and oppression. The natural human response is fear; however, God commands a different response, even in warning of sufferings. Even in suffering, we can advance God’s kingdom.
Satan smells fear like a hungry animal, and we are to be wary, “Be sober, be vigilant; because[a] your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour “ (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV). Fear is a weapon the enemy likes to use against us, and to open ourselves up to that leaves us vulnerable to sin and to turning away from God, attempting to rely on your own resources.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV). God reminds us many times not to fear, but to put our trust in Him, who protects, comforts, empowers and provides. “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV). The word “trust” occurs (depending upon the translation) 147 times. and the word “hope” occurs 126 times; however, the messages of trust and hope are far more plentiful. We have plenty of reminders that God always fulfills His promises, “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made” (Psalm 145:13 NKJV).
God is power, peace, safety and might, and his grace is never withheld from believers. He encourages us to trust Him, even in the worst of times, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, even though the earth be removed, though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah. […] He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and cuts the spear in twor; he burns the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah” (Psalm 46:1-3, 9-11 NKJV). Praise Him when life is good, and praise Him when life is harsh, for He is constant throughout. Keep your eyes on Him; to focus on events at hand is to do otherwise.
Peter urges us to grow in our relationship with God, to walk right and not let our spiritual growth stagnate, for we cannot draw water from empty wells. In 2 Peter, he urges us to engage in four specific activities:
- Godly living: through Christ, we have been given everything necessary to live godly lives, free of corruption, and we are to remember our divine nature;
- Reliance on Scriptures: Inspired by the Holy Spirit, God’s Word is everything;
- Opposition to false teachings: The Holy Spirit grants us discernment to detect deceptive teachings, and we are to stand firm on God’s Word regardless of the popular teachings of the day;
- Watchfulness: Look for the return of Christ, avoiding sinful traps or becoming lax in our thinking. God’s promise of judgement should prompt us to diligently encourage others to repent now and believe in Jesus Christ, His death and His resurrection, saving us all from eternal death should we choose Him.
“And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” (Mark 13:13 NKJV).
With everything that is going on in the world right now, how should Christians respond? As God has always commanded us to respond.
- Fear (newstrength.wordpress.com)
- Jesus Paid It All … (thelivingwordministries.wordpress.com)
- What Is Your Strength (clarksvilleonline.com)
- Hold fast to the Word (davidcampbelljr.wordpress.com)