Thursday, December 29, 2011

The New Year is Around the Corner, But Will We Make It

The year 2011 is ending and 2012 is coming.  Some believe that due to some Mayan calender, the apocalypse will happen before next Christmas  When I look at the condition of the world we live in, I sometimes wonder why God would even wait that long.  Considering the Word says that no man knows the day or the hour, we can know that the end will not come that day, but anywhere from now until December 20 is still wide open.  So why does the Lord tarry when the world grows worse and worse in rebellion to the God who created it?  The Bible gives us the answer.
The Lord is not slack concerning [His] promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.  2 Peter 3:9 NKJV
The Lord tarries because of His great mercy and patience.  When I look at the state of things today, I can see just how great His mercy and patience really are.  In this past year, society is shifting more and more to accept homosexual marriages.  Even more of the church is shifting in favor of that abominable position.  Entertainment sex has moved from the backrooms of seedy video stores to prime time television.  Sure it is not overt pornography, but it is enough to breed desires in children who do not know better.  Even in our children's entertainment, sex and dating are becoming regular themes as is homosexuality.  In fact, I can not even go to the Fox News website without seeing promiscuous pictures right on the front page.  Society is relishing more and more in its sin each and every year.  Many of these same people believe that unless they do something really bad like neglect to go green, they are all heading to a better place.  The Word says something very different.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.   1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NKJV
Atheism is also a growing movement as more and more people not only reject the true and living God, but reject the very idea of any god at all.  Mankind seems to be moving in the direction of desiring to be its own god.  Churches are getting kicked out of more and more places in America.  Around the world, the so-called Arab Spring has only fueled the fires of persecution of Christians in those countries.  Many are fleeing, many others are being tortured, imprisoned, or killed for their faith.  These are the martyrs and heroes of the faith we barely hear about.  What they suffer in secret to the world, God will reward them openly in eternity.  They will one day rule their former oppressors with Christ until those oppressors meet their ultimate judgement.  Back to America, Christians are being marginalized more and more by a society and government that reject fundamental Christianity. While they may seem to rule the day today, their day of judgement will come. 
When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both [the number of] their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they [were], was completed.  Revelation 6:9-11 NKJV 
As for the church, I do not even know what to say.  Christians, or so-called Christians, are abandoning the Word of God for popularity, emotional experience, justification of sin, prosperity, and just about any other fleshly desire you can hide under a pseudo-spiritual robe.  It is no longer about loving the Lord for what He has already done for you, but about seeing what else you can get out of the deal.  So many teachers are caught up in the variety of heresies that are popular in the church today.  Sadly, these are the people we hear about and not the real heroes in martyrs who suffer for the sake of Christ.  For these teachers, suffering is having to settle for a Mercedes instead of a Bentley.  For their followers, they give all they have not for the hopes of eternal treasures but for wealth and prosperity in this life.  Other churches have forsaken any teaching about sin and Hell because they would rather be popular than be offensive.  They forget that we are supposed to be rejected by the world.  They do all they can to build ramps, signs, and bypasses for the stumbling block that Christ is supposed to be.  And, finally, there are churches that are now deciding that God was wrong when he called certain things like homosexuality sin.  They allow pastors to openly live in sin and even celebrate that sin by blessing relationships that are an abomination to God.  How I wish for the church to come back to true doctrine, but the current movements in the church are anything but a move back to true Biblical doctrine.  Our time will come as well. 
For the time [has come] for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if [it begins] with us first, what will [be] the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?  1 Peter 4:17 NKJV
With all I said, I often wonder just how much patience God has for this world.  In every conceivable way, the world is ripe for judgement.  We must understand that every day the Lord does not return and every day that exists before the Tribulation period is a gift from God allowing for just one more soul to be saved before the end comes.  While I have a burning desire for the return of the Lord, I also have many friends and family who still  need to be saved.  I know many of you do as well.  We must feel the urgency to reach those whom we love for Christ because time is short.  The Lord very well could return in 2012.  In fact, there are still some days left in 2011 that He can return.  There is never a guarantee of a tomorrow, reach out for the lost today. 
He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!  Revelation 22:20 NKJV

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