Perseverance

“Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The Lord hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie.  Therefore thus saith the Lord ; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the Lord.  So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.”

Jeremiah 28:15-17

There is a storm coming.  It is darkening the skies around us this very moment, threatening with flashes of light and rolling thunder.  It was once in the distance but, today, it has rolled upon us.  The time remaining is short before the full fury of this storm is released.  However, all things being considered, that day is not today (at least not the day I am writing this).

The signs are beginning to declare what He has already told us, but there is one thing that Jesus said which gives us hope for the present in awaiting that future.  That hope is not for us who are saved, but for those who are yet to be saved.  Jesus told us that all these things: wars, threatening of wars, famines, floods, earthquakes, and the like would be worse than the world has ever seen prior.  Even then, it would only be the beginning of sorrows.

We are not, as yet, living in that time.  What we see today appears bad, really bad, especially with instantaneous worldwide media coverage of everything happening.  But, times have been worse.

• The Crusades and the events leading into them.
• The bubonic plague.
• The flood, with only 8 surviving!
• The enslavement and deaths of millions to build empires.
• World Wars I & II

These are but a few examples, but history is filled with more that make this world we live in tame by comparison.  Please, don’t misunderstand, there are many atrocities today.  By no means are today’s troubles to be minimized.  They are serious and prayers should be lifted up to God for change, but they are no worse than we’ve already seen throughout history.  Because of this simple truth, we should identify with Jeremiah.

There are those out there, professing Christians, who claim to be prophets.  That is what they call themselves.  To be certain, there is no disputing their salvation.  If they are the Lord’s then they are His, and no other.  However, the message they (collectively) present is based on judgement.  They see the things happening in this world and they take upon themselves the role of judge to the world.  The problem is, judgement of the world is reserved for One and He has decided to reserve His judgement in favor of grace until such time as only He knows.

Yes, believers are to judge one another by each other’s fruit, but not so the world.  We are called to bring the gospel to the lost and the dying.  We are to exhibit the grace given to us by giving it to others.  Even in our judgement and correction of one another, brothers and sisters, we are to do so in truth and in love, because that is how we will be recognized as Christians by the world.

So, with a humble spirit, following the conviction in my heart to correct, and the love I have for my Christian siblings and the world around us, I offer this morning some truth:

God has placed us on this earth right where we are in this very moment to be the salt and the light, not to rub into wounds, stinging and not to blind, turning away.  We are to bring the sweet savor of Christ and the warm glow of His Love to the lost and the dying.

The time may be short, and we are to always look to the Heavens, being ready, but we are to stay put until then.  We cannot cause our own rapture by proclaiming a date.  We cannot leave when we choose.  Why then are we seeking to do so?  Our focus should be solely upon the relationship we already have with God the Father through Christ Jesus.  If our focus stays upon Him, He will, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, bring about opportunities to speak to the lost and reach those whom He desires.

There is truly never a need for us to preach doom and gloom.  Repentance and change, yes.  The End Times, no.  No one will ever come to Jesus because of the fear of eternal Hellfire.

They are coming to Him because they were drawn by the Father for their need of Him.  There is no other way it is done.  When they seek, following that draw, we are here for clarity in pointing them to Jesus Christ and Him crucified, because they must go through Jesus to reach their drawing Father.  That’s how we each got where we are.  That’s how everyone who will be saved will come.

Furthermore, every believer has the feeling that tonight will be the night we are called home.  This sense is given to our spirit man upon his birth that we may fear the Lord and desire to obey Him.  This feeling should never fade because it’s purpose remains.  (Sadly, it does over time, but only because we become familiar with it).  This does not mean the rapture really is tonight, or tomorrow night, or Sep 23, or any other specific date.

If you think God has revealed to you a specific date/time/holiday that His plans will come to fruition, I’m asking you to re-evaluate using discernment and the Word; because, if you hold to it, you are doing so in pride.  Let it go and come back into the fold.  God loves you.  The church loves you.  I love you.  You are my brother/sister/friend.  There is no more condemnation.

Like Paul, I want to be raptured today, too, but also like Paul, I want to stay and see all my family and those around me saved.  I know this is the heart of God on the matter, therefore, I extend grace to all who have prophesied falsely but I admonish you that we are to persevere right where we are.

Jeremiah knew Judah would remain captive serving Nebuchadnezzar for the span of 70 years, even when Hananiah prophesied otherwise.  Jeremiah told Hananiah that he was wrong.  Hananiah died believing his own prophesy.

When we attempt to get someone to see Christ in fear, because of our own pride, we work against God’s salvation plan.  When our predictions prove wrong once the time has passed, those who thought they believed through fear, if not truly, will doubt again and walk away in unbelief.  They will die.  Christ came to bring life and life more abundant, not death.  So, persevere in the gospel of Truth, Christ Jesus crucified, right where you are and do not seek to flee this world.  Keep your mind on Heavenly things, but remain here abiding in Christ’s Love, persevering until the time actually comes to go Home.

SDG

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