Abiding in Christ or Crisis?

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Unless you’re in complete denial or totally blind to reality, you know we’re in a horrific mess. Though the stock market looks grandiose, we’re on the verge of economic collapse, and among other things, we’re facing the worst terrorist enemy we’ve ever known, according to the Pentagon, whose growing army is murdering by beheading, crucifying, burying alive or to a “lesser crime,” enslaving and trafficking its kept-alive women victims.

The radical Muslim objective
You see, the Muslims have a End Times’ version as well, believing that their messiah will come to reign over their “true believers,” but rather than do so by proclaiming a gospel of sweet salvation and forgiveness, as in our Christian gospel, they prepare the way by annihilating every Jew or Christian on planet earth (you might find Joel Rosenberg’s novel, The 12th Imam, interesting from that perspective). For the time being, they’ve added “American” to that list. Webster defines annihilate as “destroy utterly; obliterate. ‘a simple bomb of this type could annihilate them all,’ destroy, wipe out, obliterate, wipe off the face of the earth.” Though not every Muslim shares this objective, those who oppose them – even their Muslim brothers as we have seen — are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.

When Jesus talked about the time before his return, he likened it to the “days of Noah.” An excerpt from “Let Us Reason (http://www.letusreason.org/Proph.8.htm) explains:

Jesus spoke far ahead of his time relating to us what life would just prior to his coming. He says in Matt. 24:37-38: “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,” (Gen.6-7). The earth being flooded? Certainly no one outside the Church believes this, since this would prove evolution is false.

Life will be normal until… It will occur during a time of prosperity when people are buying, selling, marrying, planting, and harvesting. This has to occur before the tribulation since the earth will be devastated by the judgments and wrath of God during the tribulation period. For example, Almost all the grass and trees will be destroyed and almost all the water will be turned to ‘blood’ (undrinkable) Those will NOT be normal times. They ate, drank, married right up until the time Noah entered the ark. Then the destruction of the flood suddenly came and they were destroyed. In Noah’s day there was plenty of warning, but no preparedness. Why? Because they didn’t heed him, they mocked. Most of the Church has become indifferent about the second coming replacing it with Church triumphalism, making his kingdom on earth, but the bible clearly states the earth will be just like Noah’s day, which is not a pretty scene.

It says they will be marrying and given in marriage. Today we see people being married and divorced multiple times. Mal. 2:16 “For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence,” This has attributed to our societies breakdown, no commitment, no love.
Gen. 6:11-12 “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.” Today we live in a world constantly threatened by terrorism, in our cities we have hate crimes, drive by shootings, mothers killing their own infant children, parents killing their children, children killing parents, inhuman behavior is becoming the norm, we have run amuck having no restraints. Why? Because there is no law, no real accountability, it’s lawlessness.

The more tolerance today the less morals we have. There is a relationship between the two, no standard and anything goes. In Israel’s apostasy at the end of the Book of judges reads just as our society today, “everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” People go to suicide because they have no hope. Euthanasia is becoming an accepted alternative. Light is called darkness and darkness is light. In Satanism up is down, and down is up. It will be a time unlike any other where lawlessness will be the way people live. We already see this occurring. Terrorism, hate crimes our behavior has no restraints, lawlessness is increasingly becoming the norm of society.

Preparedness
I know there are people who are making some plans by storing food, etc., in the event things happen that disrupt the normal flow of life. Most are indifferent and totally dependent of the system to provide for them. Each has to decide what needs to be done, but every one of us can prepare spiritually for such a time as this. The question is when crisis hits, will you abide in Christ or in crisis?

VineLife: Hanging out with Jesus
God has a great place to meet with us. It’s called the secret place (Matt. 6:6). This is where we get a lot done by spending time in His presence. In John 15 Jesus spends a lot of time explaining to His disciples how this works. The operable word throughout this instruction is ABIDE.
There are five different words in the original Greek and Hebrew for the one word (abide) that we have in our language. The first of these words, epimeno, is the strengthened form of another verb, meno, which means “intensive.” The word epimeno sometimes indicates perseverance in continuing to do something. The second word, katameno, is a verb that means “constant residence” or “frequent resort.” Another word, parameno, means “to continue” and is sometimes used to express confidence in abiding with a person. One really neat word is hupomeno, which means, “to remain in a place instead of leaving it; to stay behind or persevere.” Finally, the word prosmeno is used in several different situations to indicate a persistent loyalty or a continuance in doing something.

The Greek word for abide used in John 15 is meno or “to be intensive.” Wow! But consider the other meanings from persevere to constant residence or to continue with persistent loyalty. Also consider that in our hopes for answered prayer, Jesus said, “If you ABIDE in me, and my Words ABIDE in you, you may ask what you will, and it will be done unto you.” The Message says it this way:

“But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon” (John 15:7).

I love to have my prayers answered, but the context of John 15 is about VineLife. This hanging out with Jesus is the WAY to find The TRUTH and to get The LIFE. VineLife requires a great deal more than reading a few scriptures and praying for “my four and no more.” Whatever we do with the Lord on a regular basis is good, don’t get me wrong, but abiding means, not only spending time to meditate and pray, but learning to abide in the crisis.

The World is Going Mental!
We are here in Crisis Time; make no mistake about it. Whether your theology leads you to believe in The Tribulation that the Bible refers to, or whatever you believe about it that’s ok with me. I’m not here to convince you specifically about “The Last Days.” However, no one can ignore the horrendous times in which we live. Increasing difficulties, the potential for nuclear war, strange weather patterns, a global economic meltdown, and a deepening distrust of governmental authorities all lead to chaos and rampant fear. Abiding in Christ, not crisis, is the answer. Abiding in the power of His Holy Spirit, while trusting and resting in the fruit of spirit within us will guard and keep us in these days (Phil 4:6). I was reading Psa. 94 one day, and came across this very important section – keeping the spirit calm in crisis:

“He Who disciplines and instructs the nations, shall He not punish, He Who teaches man knowledge? The Lord knows the thoughts of man, that they are vain (empty and futile—only a breath). Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law, That You may give him power to keep himself calm in the days of adversity, until the [inevitable] pit of corruption is dug for the wicked. For the Lord will not cast off nor spurn His people, neither will He abandon His heritage” (Psa. 94:10-14 Amp).

God wants us to remain calm in our spirit during crises, so He disciplines and instructs us out of His Word that we may have POWER to keep ourselves calm “in the days of adversity” – that is now! This means a couple of things. For one, we need to ask God to help our spirit remain calm BEFORE a crisis occurs. If we ask Him, He will train us to do this.

Most Americans never thought our own country would go this far away from true righteousness and godliness, and that a voting majority would agree with a government that is essentially antichrist. But that’s exactly what has happened, and we find ourselves on the verge of lawlessness and barbarity like we’ve never seen!

Since God knows the beginning to the end, He is never caught off guard and doesn’t want us to be caught of guard, either. He warns us in many ways throughout His Word not to be shaken by events or circumstances. In the early church, many became upset about what they considered to be the End Times. And so we, too, may become upset when we consider our current circumstances, whatever those may be.

We need to make some serious adjustments in the Church of Jesus Christ, or most individual churches are going to find themselves in dire need in many ways. Either that, or many of them will wind up joining the “world church” that tolerates anything and everything – if they haven’t join it already! This is the UN’s version of “true” religion that no matter who or what you believe or in, you can join and have a grand ‘ole time with fellow believers in whatever doctrine suits you.

Though Christ was and remains the true prince of peace, concerning Himself He said quite clearly that He didn’t come to bring peace to the earth but a sword – to divide people into the sheep and the goats – people who would choose Him as Lord of all or a false way:

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn
“ ‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 10:34-39).

Indifference and apathy, sticking our heads in the sand and pretending all this is going to pass away is more than unwise – it is downright insane. Will you abide in Christ or crisis?

Joseph Beckham is the author of Deeper Water for Thirsty Souls http://amzn.com/1493781286
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