Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Current Weather : The End is Nigh


I did have a subject in mind today, but there is a lesson God has been sharing with me this week through difficult circumstances.  Here in New Jersey, we had a major blizzard into early Monday morning.  There was not much warning for it as just two days before the storm they were only calling for a small chance of snow showers.  Suddenly, Christmas morning those forecasts changed (which have gone back and forth all week but no one predicted the amount of snow we ultimately got).  We were in the bull's eye of a terrible storm and it hit us and hit us hard.  The roads are still in terrible shape and getting to and from work has been rather harrowing.  Just this morning, I truly believe the Lord kept my car straight at one point and pushed me up a hill at another.  This week has been humbling, convicting, and reassuring.  I want to share those thoughts today as I take you through my struggles leading up to the storm and dealing with its aftermath. 

First of all, I let my emotions get the best of me as the reports went back and forth.  This is especially true Christmas warning when suddenly it looked like we were going to get hit really hard.  I was unable to shake the mood all day on Christmas of what I was about to go through.  I have a job where I have no choice but to go to work.  More accurately, I work at a place where I have no choice.  My job is really not that important.  My real error was in that I was listening to weathermen more than I was to God.  Then I was thinking about how so many of us do that.  We listen to weathermen more than we do to God's word.  We plan our lives around their warnings even with their track record of not being able to predict the weather with great accuracy.  If there is a storm coming, we share that news with our friends and family, news reports cover it constantly, and we do all we can to prepare.  Weathermen are often wrong yet they have become our modern day prophets whereas the Word of God is never wrong in its predictions yet we often ignore its warnings.  There is one great warning in Scripture, one storm of a magnitude we can not even comprehend.  The blizzard we had pales in comparison to the earthquake in Haiti, the tsunami in Thailand, and even Katrina, but all of those are nothing compared to what is coming. 
So they asked Him, saying, "Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?" Luke 21:7 NKJV
Weathermen take many factors into account when predicting the weather.  They study storms, history, computer models, and from all that information they try to pinpoint when a storm will come and what its character will be.  What the apostles were asking Jesus was to explain when the temple and Jerusalem were going to be destroyed.  They wanted to know tomorrow' s weather, but Jesus gives a very long range report.  He speaks of what they will go through but expands His answer to explain the very end of time as well.  Jesus is speaking to us just as much today about the end times as he was to the apostles about the destruction of the Temple.  The short-range forecast ends in verse 24 where the forecast for our time picks up.
And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.  Luke 21:24 NKJV
And this is where we are today. We are in the times of the gentiles and if we pay close enough attention we can hear the thunder roaring in the distance of the coming storm. 
And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; "men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  Luke 21:25-27 NKJV
Jesus now goes on to give a synopsis of the Great Tribulation.  Revelation gives a much more detailed description, but needless to say it will be a terrible time.  God's wrath will be poured out on all the earth.  Nations will be in distress and the hearts of men will fail them for fear of what is happening and what is still to come.  It will be a time of misery, a time of death and destruction, and a time of sadness and pain.  That time is appointed by God and will come and it can come at any time. 
Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near. Luke 21:28 NKJV
And while this time will be a time of terror, misery, and pain for all the earth, it is the time of our redemption for those of us in Christ.  Jesus is coming and we must ready ourselves to be received by Him when he comes.  Look at the signs of the times and look up for our Lord's return is closer than ever.
Then He spoke to them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.  Luke 21:29-33 NKJV
Jesus gives a parable of trees saying how we can discern seasons by the actions of trees.  If they are budding, we know that Summer is near.  Just like we look for those signs for Summer, we need to look at the signs of the end times to know that our Lord's return is near.  Scripture gives us several signs to look for.  First of all, we look to Israel being reunited as a nation.  That has happened.  We are told that the Son of Man will return when the Gospel is preached to all nations.  Jesus is being preached everywhere whether their governments allow it or not.  We are told that there will be a great falling away in the church.  I do not think any honest Christian can deny that is happening and has been happening for quite some time.  The signs are there brothers and sisters, the Lord is returning soon!
But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.  Luke 21:34-35 NKJV
In other words, Jesus is saying "Pay attention!"  This day will come and if you are not looking for the signs, it will come without warning.  We can not spend our time partying and getting drunk and we can not fill our lives with the cares of this life.  We have to act like Jesus can return today.  Think of how many people even around you who do not know the Lord.  If you knew a storm was coming that was going to put them through misery of the likes that the world was never seen, would you not warn them?  I warned everyone on Christmas about the storm that was coming, but did I warn my family of the storm of God that will engulf the entire world?  If you believe the Word of God to be true, how can you not be out there warning everyone we know that God's wrath is on the verge of being poured out on all the earth. 
Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man. Luke 21:36 NKJV
This in interesting.  The Bible is filled with promises of God's comfort through hard times and rejoicing through trials of any kind, but when it comes to the Great Tribulation even our Lord says "look, you do not want to go through this, it is better to just pray to avoid it."  That is how bad it will be. Praise be to God that through the death of Jesus, we all who are in Him are worthy to escape these things.  Through faith His righteousness is imparted to us and by that we are counted as worthy.  But that gift comes with a calling and that calling is to share that news with everyone else.  We must warn the world as to what is coming. We must tell the world that a storm of unimaginable proportions is coming and we know the only way of escape. That is our duty under God. 

I am sure you all remember the tsunami that came seemingly with no warning and killed over 100,000 people.  What if you knew days, weeks, months, or even years ahead of time that the tsunami was coming.  Maybe you did not know the exact day and time, but you knew what signs to look for and you see those signs happening all around you.  What if you also knew how to avoid being killed when that tsunami did eventually come.   What if you knew all of that, saw all of those signs, and then decided that you had other more important things to do or had some drunken party to attend or what if you just did not care and decided to sit on that information.  On who's hands would that blood have been when those innumerable people were killed by something you knew was coming and you knew how to avoid.  The same is true for the souls of all those who will perish by your lack of obedience to warn others of what is to come. 

Jesus does not tell us when and He tells us we will not know exactly when, but a great storm is coming.  He gives us the signs of its coming and those signs are coming to be before our very eyes.  The end is near, Jesus is near.  Please, we must warn others before it is too late..  It may have been bad to have been stranded in the snow because that person did not listen to a weather report, but how much worse will be it to be stranded on this earth during the Great Tribulation because we did not share what is to come. 
Then He also said to the multitudes, "Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, 'A shower is coming'; and so it is. And when you see the south wind blow, you say, 'There will be hot weather'; and there is. Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?" Luke 12:54-56 NKJV

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