IS IT TIME TO BE AFRAID?

With so many fearful things happening, we need words of comfort and hope. This is one of those – IF we understand that there is no hope and no comfort apart from fearing GOD and obeying HIM. The real question: Is this a time when we SHOULD be afraid, and if so, WHO do we fear – man or God?

“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.” (I Thessalonians 5:1-8)

The apostle Paul wrote those words almost 2,000 years ago. He, and the early church, expected Jesus to come back at any time. They didn’t know what the future would hold, but they wanted to live ready. Paul wrote those words to help the believers be aware. When they say, “Peace and safety,” sudden destruction will surely come.

Our government right now is preaching peace and safety, because, they don’t want people to be afraid or panic. That’s a good thing. However, the message is absent of faith. As a nation, we no longer trust in God, and in fact, have turned away from Him. There’s a pattern in our modern world that goes something like this… When we go through difficult times, we look to our government, doctors, or anyone with superior knowledge, to save us. It’s only when all else fails that we turn to God. That’s a sign of the absence of faith in our present world.

We, in America, are living in a post-Christian nation. Many might argue that point, but in times like this, the fabric of society is tested. It’s easy to say we are people of faith, until our faith is put to the test. America has turned away from God. I saw that back in the early 90’s. We have rejected Him from every area of life – education, government, business, medicine, the home, and most of all, the church. And so, we wonder why these things are happening today! Has God forsaken us? Are we no longer the apple of His eye? The truth is, the problem is not with God; He never changes, the problem is with us.

If you read Romans 1:18-32, you will understand where we are as a nation. It says clearly in that passage, that when people suppress the truth about God and His righteousness, they become fools. Paul states that God is clearly visible to all people everywhere through creation itself. Yet, people have rejected Him. “Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful…”(Romans 1:21) The passage continues to say that God will turn those people over to a reprobate mind. When that happens, men will call evil good, and good evil. That is where we are today. If you take the time to read the entire passage, you will see the progression of depravity in our modern-day culture. What we are witnessing right now, are the early signs of judgment…and, by the way, it’s been going on for quite a while. Yet, we have failed to take heed to what is happening all around us.

A large part of the church in America has bought into the perversion of our day, largely because we fear men rather than God. For example, we have accepted homosexuality as part of the progressive norm, as well as the murder of over 60 million unborn children. God clearly calls those things SIN, but those who accept them have turned away from Him and ignored His Word. As a nation, we have passed laws to permit and protect what He forbids. As a result, the darkness of our depravity continues to grow. Yet, despite of calling evil good, we expect God to bless us – to bless our homes, our nation, and of course, our wealth and investments.

The truth is, obedience brings blessing, and disobedience brings judgment. God made that clear to the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 28. If you obey, you will be blessed; if you disobey, you will live under a curse. Many dismiss that idea because it’s found in the Old Testament – and yet, history proves it still holds true today. Blessing is not automatic; it will not happen just because we hope it will. God’s blessing is the by-product of trusting Him and living according to His Word.

We pray every day that many will wake up and turn to God. Lamentations 3:22-23 tells us that His mercies are new every morning! As long as we have breath, we can turn from our wicked ways, and receive that mercy. And by the way, God’s mercy is a gift that comes wrapped in “repentance.” It begins when we realize that we have sinned against a holy God and our only hope, the only appropriate response, is to turn back to Him. Repentance is not just a thought, it’s an act demonstrated by our actions.

“Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)

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