Wow! Can you believe the news stories as of late? A soldier is beheaded in the streets. A women flushes a newborn baby down the sewer. Insurgents attacked an unarmed International Red Cross camp in Afghanistan. Sometimes it is as if people have lost their minds!
Scripture tells us that these things are going to happen. 2 Timothy 3:1-4 says:
“1 But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]. 2 For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane. 3 [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good. 4 [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.”
The world has also seen its share of disasters. Tornadoes have ravaged Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and other parts of the United States. Earthquakes have been occurring in diverse places. There have been floods and volcanic activity. All of these things were foretold. Jesus spoke to His disciples in Matthew 24 about the coming days of tribulation. He advised them to be vigilant and watchful, for His coming would be like a thief in the night.
So while the world goes mad, are you ready for Christ’s return? Are you watching for Him?
It is such a sad day, and it is difficult to hold back the emotions that literally choke you. The devastation of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado is overwhelming. Having happened only a few hours ago, rescue workers are still shifting through the rubble searching for survivors and casualties. Only days ago, a huge tornado tore through the communities of Granbury and Cleburne, Texas, just southwest of Dallas. Not so long ago, the peaceful town of West, Texas was devastated by a fertilizer plant explosion that affected virtually every family in the little Czech town. The Czech Bakery is a favorite stop for me when I travel to the Hill country of our beautiful state, and the people there are always warm and welcoming. The people of Texas and Oklahoma, for the most part, are good people. Sure, we have our downfalls, but for the most part, there are kind people living in this region. It hurts to see people hurting.
I recall the words of Chuck Colson in a song introduction by Steven Curtis Chapman when I think of the volunteers responding to Oklahoma, the firefighters in hundreds battling the 6-alarm condominium fire in Dallas, and those pouring in to help restore the town of West, Texas;
“Where is the hope? I meet millions who tell me that they feel demoralized by the decay around us. Where is the hope? The hope that each of us have is not in who governs us, or what laws are passed, or what great things that we do as a nation. Our hope is in the power of God working through the hearts of people, and that’s where our hope is in this country; that’s where our hope is in life.”
The only hope we have in life is our faith in Jesus Christ, and His amazing work through those around us! The Bible says in 1 John 2:17 that the world will pass away, but those that do the will of God in their lives and carry out His purposes will abide forever. We need not fear the things that happen on this earth if we have placed our total trust and faith in Jesus! It is so hard to imagine something so horrible happening to your friends and your family, to lose everything in an instant. When I think about it, it scares me so much. What would my family do? Where would we turn? How would we survive? But, do you know what? God takes care of His own! Sure, we are going to be scared when ravaging storms come our way! That is the human side of us! But if we have committed ourselves to God, what do we really have to fear? If we survive, God will surely take care of us! If we lose this life, we have gained, for we will be in the presence of the Lord!
My heart hurts for the people of Oklahoma, and our very own Dallas firefighter tonight. But something inside me tells me that the story is not over for those innocent children, and for that valiant firefighter. I do not know the spiritual condition of any of the victims of these horrific events. I would hope and pray that they knew Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. May God bless and comfort the families of the victims of this tragic day in American history.
While listening to a new Christian radio station this morning, the radio personality reminded listeners that as believers in Christ, no matter how hard we try, we can truly never be good enough. We can not earn our way into God’s “good graces” or buy our way into Heaven by our works. Also, we can not change ourselves, no matter what we do. We will always fall short! But we do not have to try to change, because that is God’s job! God is working miracles in us each and every day, from the moment that we allow Jesus Christ to enter our hearts. Rabbi K. A. Schneider made an analogy in his program last evening about God’s method of changing us. He compared God’s transformation of us to using a crock pot. God does not make changes in us quickly, but rather He changes us slowly like placing food in a slow cooker…slowly simmered and cooked over time, rather than quickly cooked over a hot fire. That is so true! God takes His time, slowly and carefully changing us so that we take on the likeness of His Son. We are transformed over time…in His perfect time.
When I think of this concept, being a foodie, I recall how a fine wine is allowed to age over time, or how a wonderful cheddar cheese is allowed to age and sharpen. Although those products might taste just fine if consumed soon after production, by allowing them to develop their flavors over time, they are so much more amazing and delicious. In our transformation, as we develop over the months and years, we take on more and more characteristics of our Lord. We learn to love others are He did. We learn to give and share rather than to always take. The Holy Spirit dwells within us, and we begin to develop the fruits of the Holy Spirit…love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Why not allow God to change you in His time? Stop…let go…let God!