The Battle Ahead: Are You Fit, Prayed Up, Ready?
It is always good to consult Scripture, especially in times of great turmoil. The Word of God is a light, a comfort, a guide, a source of peace, a Rock, a firm foundation. So much violence and so many atrocities in the world cause us enormous grief and stress. There is only one Source of Truth in a world filled with lies and mayhem: God’s Word. “Thy Word is truth,” says the everlasting Christ. (John 17:17) We are sanctified by His Truth. We are set free by His Truth. (John 8:32)
It is intriguing to consider what the Word says about the Word. (John 1) Jesus is the Word, the Living Word, the Bread of Life. He is the Word that came forth from the Father, the Word that created all things, including you and me. (Col. 1:16) He knows us far better than we know ourselves, and He is with us through the storm, all the way to the glorious end He has prepared, an end which is really the Beginning.
As we approach the end with great expectation of the Beginning, He tells us the Truth, conditioning that hard Truth with reassurance:
“Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3)
The hard Truth we read in Matthew 24 starting in verse 4:
“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. 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.”
We who endure are the witness. Our sacred duty is to endure, and to encourage one another to endure. In this we take heart and remember our Lord’s instructions shared by Paul in Ephesians 6:10-20: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
We will be betrayed, even by those who call themselves believers, by relatives, by people we thought friends. We will be persecuted, hauled before human rights commissions and tribunals, we will be slandered and reviled, punished and executed, but through it all, may we be found “strong in the Lord,” speaking boldly as we ought to speak, taking our stand without apology, for His Name’s sake, and for the sake of the lost, that by our witness and His power, they may find their way to our Eternal Home, the Beginning, the Everlasting Kingdom where “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain . . . ” (Revelation 21:4)
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