"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32

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Monday, November 12, 2012

LIVING IN THE LAST DAYS – Part 7 & 8

by A. M. Kisly 

More Problem Areas We Will Encounter in the Last Days!

Matthew 24:5-8

For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
All these are the beginning of sorrows.

I apologize for have gotten away from this series.  As you know the Lord directs our steps.  Things pop in and out of our lives that need focus and attention and we must follow the Lord's direction. 

In our last post in this series, we covered parts 5-6 dealing with a couple of problems areas we will encounter in the last days.  In this segment we will continue on with this same thought, dealing with physical upheavals and spiritual warfare...something we can all relate to. 

In the past couple of weeks we've seen the Northeast portion of the United States hit with Hurricane Sandy which turned into a Super Storm after colliding with another storm system to the west.  We've read the news, people are suffering, they've been heaved from their homes and are living in desolation..no roof over their head, no electricity, no heat, no water.  As organizations and ministries rush to aid in this tragedy, this is just the beginning of the sorrows that lay ahead.

Just this past week we've received an urgent prayer request from the churches in Syria,


"The letter expresses incredible courage, faith and resilience in the face of increasingly dire conditions. It is clear that Syria is experiencing a war within a war. Christians are caught in the crossfire and are being driven from their homelands on account of their faith. This is a complex situation, but we need the media to tell the story of what's really happening to the Church. The astonishing spiritual maturity of suffering Christians in Syria should prompt us all to prayer and action.
"

I could write volumes of examples and events happening around the world....yet are people heading the warnings?  Is the Church?

The Church is also battling intense Spiritual Warfare.  Every kind of immorality is being thrown in our face. We are witnessing apostasy in the church.  The church is sick, she has compromised with the world and the world's philosophies and as a result we are watching a great departure from biblical truth.

What is the Christians response to these events?

Let's begin: 




Living In The Last Days - Part 7
*This series is used with permission by the writer, Quek Koh Choon

PHYSICAL UPHEAVALS

Somewhat related to the major area of persecution is the area of physical upheavals in this world which is associated with pain and suffering. This will become more and more frequent as we approach the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus. "You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs" (Matthew 24:6-8).

The phenomena of wars, earthquakes and famine are not something uncommon today; in fact, we need only to look at the newspapers each day and almost without fail, we will read about such events in various parts of the world. Civil wars and disorders in Sri Lanka, Ireland and many African states are ongoing. Famine, droughts, floods - these are happening in increasing frequency in many parts of the world and in a manner that is bizarre and unprecedented. Earthquakes are constantly in the headlines - whether it be in Taiwan, Turkey, Japan, China or Indonesia. In 1995, in one month alone, twenty earthquakes were recorded, measuring about 7 on the Richter scale, in various places. And earthquakes are still taking place in increasing frequency and intensity. 

Note: 500 plus earthquakes were recorded in the last 3 days alone just in California.


The physical upheavals are not abating and some scientists are predicting more disasters and catastrophes coming our way, with global warming, deforestation and thinning of the ozone layer among the many problems that have to be addressed. Knowing that the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat and the earth and its works will be burned up, it is therefore not surprising that physical upheavals are getting more intense and frequent. 

As God's children, we need to be wholesome in our attitude towards such areas. There is definitely a place to care and to pray for those undergoing suffering and pain; yet at the same time, we must not lose sight of our priorities and the consciousness of the spiritual and eternal needs and consequences. As we recognize the fact that the things of this world are passing away, let us not be caught up with pursuing them and giving our lives to achieve all these that will go up in flames. While we are to be responsible citizens, we must be careful not to end up giving our lives crusading for such issues to a point that we are no longer effective as God's ambassadors in more critical issues of life.

Even in the area of lobbying for conservation of the environment, there can be spiritual dangers involved. I read of groups whose zeal for the preservation of nature borders on worshipping nature.

(I'll interject here:  Most of us have already heard of the Green Agenda or Agenda 21, yet few are familiar with the root system of belief that is the driving force behind them.  I'm not talking about conservation (which is actually a good thing) but rather a masked spiritual agenda under the guise of conservation, pushing for a one world system of government, religion and economy.  See http://www.green-agenda.com/)


Such groups gather together to sing songs in praise of nature and their form of activities resembles suspiciously the Christian worship service, except that the object of adoration is not God but nature. So in what appears to be generally positive and responsible, the cry to preserve the environment and nature, we see the real dangers that can lead God's people onto the wrong path in worship. The evil one specializes in using what seems innocent and harmless to create diversion, deception and destruction. Let us be mindful of his ways


The world is not getting any better. The Scriptures reveal that evil men and imposters will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. Difficult times will come in the last days and immorality, sin, corruption and all forms of evil will be on the rise. Physically, the world is going to see more upheavals and chaos, culminating in the day when the "sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken" (Matthew 24:29) before the Lord comes again. Let us therefore keep our hearts and spirits on the right track and not lay up treasures on earth which finally will be burned and destroyed.

During times of such physical upheavals, it is helpful to ponder over what is recorded in the Scriptures. "And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4). If we persevere in faithfulness, we can truly look forward to such a day with the Lord. 

Living In The Last Days - Part 8


SPIRITUAL ATTACKS

We go on now to look at another major problem area which we will encounter in increasing measures as we live in the last days. This is the area of increased activity of the evil one in spiritual attacks and warfare.

We see an example of such attacks in the life of Job in the Old Testament. We can remember Job encountering various painful problems in the family, in his possessions, and even in his social life and physical well-being, all as a result of attacks from the evil one. We are aware also that these attacks came about not because of any significant ground that had been given on Job's part. The Lord God had allowed these because of His confidence in Job and because of His being pleased generally with Job's life. We see therefore that spiritual attacks from the evil one can take place even in the lives of those whose general direction in life is pleasing to God. 

The apostle Paul himself and the other apostles also encountered such forms of attacks, directed at their personal lives and ministry, and these, as far as we know, were attacks not because of any major failure in their lives. However, the Scriptures do indicate that attacks of such nature may come about because of moral failure or spiritual ground given to the evil one. We see this being referred to in 1 Corinthians 5:1,5 and 2 Corinthians 2:10-11. The evil one is certainly looking for opportunity to take advantage of situations or areas of weaknesses in the lives of believers to launch various forms of attacks.

It is with this in view that the apostle Peter urged the children of God to be vigilant and alert in 1 Peter 5:7. Like a roaring lion, the prince of this world is waiting to pounce on his victims. It becomes easier for him to operate if God's people are not conscious of spiritual warfare. Their ignorance, indifference and lack of alertness may render them more prone to being manipulated by the prince of darkness. There needs therefore to be a healthy awareness of the spiritual realm and the principles of spiritual warfare and, yet, without being preoccupied with spiritual attacks.

Spiritual attacks and activity of the evil one will be more pronounced in the context of the last days (see Revelation 2:10; 13:5-19; 16:13-14). There are clear indications that the activity of the evil one and his forces will increase in tempo and intensity and their objective will be to hamper or destroy the work and people of God. Also, the forces of darkness will seek to rally the people of the world and their leaders to their side. Here, let us note that in trying to do this, they will perform signs and wonders to deceive and impress even the believers. We cannot therefore allow such acts to be the basis for our differentiation between the activity of God and the activity of the evil one. Supernatural acts need not be acts of God. The devil can dress up as an angel of light. Perhaps one reason for the increased activity of the forces of darkness can be found in Revelation 12:12. The time for the evil one is truly limited and he realizes that his time is running out. Hence, he will seek to do as much damage as he can in the remaining time he has.

In the light of all these, how should God's children respond? As we encounter the attacks of the evil one in increasing pressure, let us not be discouraged, particularly if the attacks are not as a result of our own moral failure. Instead, let us take heart in the fact that because his time is limited, the evil one is desperately seeking to establish as much influence as he can and the various attacks could be an indication that we are on the right track in our lives and ministry. John 16:33 is one verse we can cling to as the basis for our confidence in the last days. Let us take courage that the Lord Jesus has indeed overcome the world. Victory has been secured by Him and victory is certain in Him if we learn to cling to Him. John 14:27 is another reassuring verse. In the midst of all the increased activity of the evil one, let us not be troubled or fearful in our hearts. Let us learn instead to rest in the Lord and to continue to experience continuous peace in our hearts.

At the same time, let us pay heed to the words of the apostle Paul as we seek to do battle (see Ephesians 6:10-18). We need to be strong in the Lord as we realize who our foes are. We must learn to take up the full armor of God and be ready for battle, to resist in the evil day and stand firm in God. It is a time for us to be alert and sober. It is also a time for us to live well for the Lord, giving no room and no ground for the evil one to take opportunity to hurt us in this spiritual battle. The battle cry is to persevere and to endure. Let us fight the good fight and finish the race.

"And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death" (Revelation 12:11). Notice the three aspects that contributed to the victory of the saints over the evil one. The first has to do with the blood of the Lamb, with what the Lord Jesus has accomplished on the cross. This is the basis of their confidence and victory. The blood of the Lamb cleanses them; it gives them the victory over sin and death such that the evil one, the accuser of the brethren, has no ground to hurt them. The other two aspects, the word of their testimony and they did not love their life even when faced with death, indicate the quality of the lives of these dear ones in the Lord. With such a stand, they were able to overcome the evil one.

Although the attacks are designed to weaken and destroy, yet these very attacks are used by God to strengthen the lives of His people who manifest wholesome and commendable qualities in their lives. It therefore comes as no surprise that such ones overcome the evil one despite the increased intensity and tempo of spiritual attacks. The pressures take their toll on the weak soldier, but for the warrior, the very same pressures would mold and make him to be battle seasoned and fighting fit.

Persecution, physical upheavals, spiritual attacks - all these can break and discourage the people of God - yet paradoxically, they can also serve to make and strengthen the character and quality of the lives of those who respond well. Our attitude, our responses and our choices in God would make the essential difference. Let us determine to keep the banner of the Lord flying and to endure until the Lord Jesus comes again.

Also read: 
Part 1 , Part 2  , Part 3 , Part 4 , Parts 5-6

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