Beloved in Christ.

As we begin this year with our study of the biblical prophecies concerning the last days, we have evidence of their fulfilment in every news station. The Lord said in Mark 13:8, “For nation will arise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.” Certainly we are seeing nations rise against each other, as well as the earthquakes and famines. However, this is not the end, but rather “the beginning of birth pangs.”

Every mother knows that as the birth gets closer, the contractions or birth pangs become both intense and more frequent. Therefore, we can expect these things to increase as we get closer and closer to the end of this age. We are told in Hebrews 12:26-29:

And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.

As we proceed toward the end of this age, we can expect the shaking to increase until everything that can be shaken will be shaken, and everything that can be removed will be removed. However, we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken, which is why we are taking the time in this study to evaluate with each prophecy what our preparation should be in order for our lives to be established on that kingdom. We will therefore consider the lessons of the recent earthquake and tsunamis, which are manifold and crucial for our times. We can also begin to see in them a pattern that can help us understand the timing of what is coming.

The stress level of the world rose several degrees in 2005. It will continue to rise, but for those who are building their lives on the kingdom that “is not of this world,” the peace level will correspondingly increase. In place of fear, Christians will experience more faith, hope, and love. This is the year of the joy of the Lord.

How can we feel joy when there is so much strife and suffering around us? We can if our lives are more in Christ and in the heavenly places than on the earth. The Lord is not sitting in the heavens wringing His hands, worrying about what is coming, and neither are those who are abiding in Him. More and more true Christians are going to stand out as a very different spirit than anyone else on the earth.

This does not mean we are callous toward the suffering. However, all of the suffering on earth is the result of the fall of mankind and our separation from God. The only remedy to the suffering is mankind’s repentance and reconciliation with God. That is what we are here for—to help the world be reconciled to God.

We should be thankful for the nations that are coming to the aid of the disaster victims. This is the right and noble thing to do. However, we are coming into the time when no amount of human effort will be able to cope with what is happening. That is because we are coming to the time when all of creation will learn that we cannot live unless we are in harmony with God. What is coming will be far beyond human remedy, but God will come and save us. This is not the end—it is the beginning! A new beginning for the whole earth!

Every birth is painful and messy. However, when the child is born, the joy is so great that the pain is quickly forgotten. King David perceived the Age of Grace a thousand years before it came, and lived in it then, thus becoming a prophecy of what was to come. We, too, are called to live in the age to come, now!

We are called to live by the powers of the age to come and grow in them. This must be our day by day pursuit. It must be our goal to be much closer to the Lord by the end of this year than we are now. We must grow in faith, love, joy, peace, and patience...we must also grow in the power to demonstrate these to the world that is going to be increasingly desperate for them.

This year will be a year for the most rapid spiritual growth that the church has experienced since its inception. We saw many great miracles last year just as we were promised, but we will see many more and much greater ones this year. However, the reason we see miracles is because we need them. It will be worth it to get closer to the Lord and see His kingdom coming. Never forget that when we see these things happening, it is time to look up and rejoice because our redemption is drawing near!

Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret, it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land. Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; and you will look carefully for his place, and he will not be there. But the humble will inherit the land and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity (Psalm 37:1-11).


Pastor Chris.

JAN 2006