Recently a friend and I visited a spiritual father, a true sage, in the hospital. I love to hear this man recount his exploits of how he shared the good news of Jesus around the world. He is a true missionary, a disciple. He’s been in prison, been in danger while behind the iron curtain of communism, experienced the intolerance of islam, seen the beauty of Jerusalem, and lived the life of one completely sold out to Jesus Christ. If there is any doubt, let me put it plainly, I respect and trust this man more than most I’ve ever known. So when he motioned for us to lean in a bit closer while he was talking, believe me we did. We did not want to miss any pearls of wisdom.
However, what he had to say were not words of encouragement, they were a prophetic warning. He warned that within the next 12 to 24 months we would start to see the persecution of Christianity. He predicted the loss of tax-exempt status for religious organizations. In short, he said that the time of the end is near.
Did he say this to frighten us. No, absolutely not. He told us so that we would be prepared, so that the times would not take us by surprise. And I believe that he told us so that we can try to do something about it.
That is why the LORD says, “Turn to me now, while there is time! Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief; instead, tear your hearts.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful. He is not easily angered. He is filled with kindness and is eager not to punish you. Who knows? Perhaps even yet he will give you a reprieve, sending you a blessing instead of this terrible curse. – Joel 2:12-14a
There are numerous incidents in scripture where the Lord announced destruction and a curse on his people, if they did not change. I believe that we still have a chance for a reprieve. Eventually the end will come, just as it has been foretold in the book of Revelation, the book of Daniel and others. However, that day does not have the be just yet.
Heavenly Father spare your people. They belong to you, so don’t let us become an object of mockery. Don’t let the name “Christian” become a proverb of unbelievers who say, ‘Where is their God? He must be helpless!'” Father please have mercy on us and our children. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Standing between the altar and the people. Jan