What’s Next?

 

As I was praying this week I saw in my spirit a map of the United States with a line drawn down the middle of it. This line divided the whole into two halves. It was as if there was a division that was made between the east and the west, with one half going to the left and the other to the right. As I continued to pray I believe that God gave me some understanding of that picture as being where our nation stands right now. We are a divided nation; that was proven this week through the results of our election. In most of the early results we could see that people were divided almost equally between President Obama and Mitt Romney. It could have gone either way and it was almost like we were hanging in the balance.

I believe this election has shown us where we are spiritually; it has identified us in the grand scheme of God’s plan for the future. The scene is set for the return of Jesus Christ and it’s important for us to pray and seek God’s will as to each of our individual parts in the future of our families, our nation, and our world. It is an exciting time that we live in, even though there are things that we may not agree with and may be disappointed in. I read a statement that someone posted on Facebook after the election that said: “Well, someone has to live in the last days, it might as well be me”. There are some things that definitely have to take place before the return of Christ. I believe we are setting the stage to usher in the return of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

So, what are we to do now?

Be alert! Watch and pray! Be salt and light to those around us. Keep the faith by fighting the good fight of faith. Evangelize the world. Occupy the land and endure til the end!

Matthew 24:1-8 Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. “All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

I believe in this portion of Scripture that Jesus is admonishing us to watch what is taking place in Israel, be aware that there will be false Christ’s who will try to deceive people, and that there will be catastrophic world events. He lists these things as the “beginning of sorrows”. Some of these events have been happening for years and are simply growing worse. We can know that we are in the beginning of the end just by looking around us. The “beginning of sorrows” is actually a phrase that in the Hebrew means “birth pangs”. There are certain things that take place when a woman is going into labor that indicate that the birth of the baby is near. The contractions are not always rhythmic and strong until later in the birthing process but she can know that it is time when she sees and feels certain changes taking place in her body. We say that she is having labor pains! So it is for us, when we see certain events happening in the world we can know that the time of Jesus’ return is getting closer.

Verse 6 “….See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”

The events that we see happening worldwide all indicate that Jesus’ return is drawing near. But Jesus Himself said to not be troubled by these things because they must come to pass. There are some things that simply must be fulfilled before He can come again. We are to use these world events as signs of the times and as an indicator of where we are in the birthing process, but to understand that the end is not yet. It is not yet the time for the fulfillment of the promise of His return.

Matthew 24:9-14 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. “But he who endures to the end shall be saved. “and this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

The Amplified Bible says this in verse 9: Then they will hand you over to suffer affliction and tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.

We see this already happening in countries all over the world. We here in the United States do not know the sting of persecution to the point of death, but I believe that we will have an opportunity to experience that as we draw nearer to the time of Christ’s return. Things just simply have not been that bad here because, I believe, of our founding forefathers who established our country on the principles of Almighty God. We have up to this point been a nation where Christianity has been widely embraced and have practiced the principles of God that brings blessings instead of curses. But we’ve seen in the events leading up to this election that God is no longer wanted in some parts of our political process. I believe that we are tilting to the opposite side where at some point Christianity will be in the minority. It will touch everyone as false prophets spread a false religious doctrine, family members become loveless and split to the point of turning each other in to the authorities. This is the beginning of the end! But, notice one thing:

verse 13 But he who endures to the end will be saved.

What does it mean to “endure”? Is it just holding out until help comes? I can see the picture of the little cat holding on to the close line with it’s little paws gripping tightly and a frightened look on it’s face and the caption that reads, “if I can just hold on til the end”! But no, the word “endure” in the Greek is hupomemo and it means to hold one’s ground in conflict, bear up against adversity, hold out under stress, stand firm, persevere under pressure, wait calmly and courageously. It is not passive resignation to fate and mere patience, but the active, energetic resistance to defeat that allows calm and brave endurance.

To endure is to fight bravely til the end; to occupy and possess the land until Jesus returns. We are soldiers of the Cross; the army of God; brave warriors who reign with Christ Jesus when He returns. Our stance is one of action, not a wimpy passive, “if I can just make it to the end I’ll be saved” type of attitude! We have a job to do!

Verse 14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

Who’s going to preach the gospel to the world if we don’t do it? Who’s going to be the ones that witness to the nations if it is not us? Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-20:

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

We have been given a job to do. It’s up to us to take the authority that Jesus has given us and use it to make an impact in the lives of people all over the world. He is with us, even to the end of the age! He is here to empower us to endure to the end, through the power of His Spirit within each and every believer. We are not to just sit back and take the attitude that “oh well, this all has to come to pass so I might as well sit down and wait until it all happens so I can go to be with Jesus.” NO, we are to be world changers and history makers for the kingdom of God! We live in an important day and age and we have been born for such a time as this! If someone has to live in the end times, then it might as well be me! I will be a witness for Jesus! How about you? Will you join me in impacting the world for the kingdom of God?

Father, I come before You this morning asking that You would be glorified in Your people as we continue on towards the return of Your Son. Father, I pray that we will all seek Your will for our lives and what part You would have us play in preparing for His return. Father, may many come to salvation through our efforts to fulfill the mandate that You have given us to disciple the world. Help us to fight the good fight of faith and not to become weary and discouraged when we see the events unfolding that must take place in these last days. Give us the courage to continue on when we are disappointed in what is going on around us. Give us a vision of the great awakening that we will see as we do the work that You have called us to do. I pray for those who don’t know You, that You will soften their hearts towards You and make them ready to receive the witness of those of us who will be sharing Your word with them. Open the eyes of the blind and pull down the veil that hangs over their minds that the deceiver is using to blind them to the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ so they might be saved. Father, I pray that You will continue being longsuffering in Your promise to send Jesus back until more have an opportunity to receive Him into their hearts and be saved. Thank You for the privilege of living in such a time as this! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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