Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Times

“When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.” (Matthew 16:2-3) We’re in a time that’s something like after the Allies landed on Normandy Beach in World War II. When the Allies landed there, the enemy knew his time was short. Satan’s time is short. He will lose and he knows it. So he prowls and attacks. But he is defeated. Jesus defeated him on the Cross! Now, this is a time God is giving us to bring more and more into the Kingdom before the Last Battle. God is allowing us to do good… bringing light into the darkness… until Jesus comes again. (from today's bulletin insert)

Too many believers go it alone. Too many behave as if it was peacetime, a time of ease when there was no devil prowling, devouring, someone we need to resist, firm in our faith.

I don't underline and accent the word "our" because the faith somehow "belongs" to "us," and it's not because "our" faith is better than someone else's. Faith is a gift of God. It belongs to God and because it is true there is only one.

I highlight the word "OUR" because, as in war, it's dumb to stand alone, believing that somehow your individual faith will sustain you. It will not.

You need others. You need others every step of the way. You need others because this is not a time of peace. This is a time of war, and it will be until that day when Jesus comes again.

One of the enemy's tactics is to make us believe this is a time of peace. The Lord warns us to be aware of the times, and twice in Jeremiah, and again twice in Ezekiel, the Lord speaks against those who would proclaim "peace when there is no peace." (See Matthew 16:2-3 above and also Jeremiah 6:4; 11:10; Ezekiel 13:10,16).

The devil uses that tactic because it's easier to get us when we are alone. As a sign of this consider that your body has two legs and two feet. It's easy to knock you down when you stand on one alone.

God has given me this message many times over the years, but it is especially important today as we move into a series at Crossroads entitled "The Dangerous Kind."

Please pray that I keep my message short enough today so we have time to pray for each other, standing together against the devil's tricks.

(You can download what was prepared for today's message by clicking [here] and the slides and recordings on [this page]. You'll notice that in my original preparation I didn't emphasize this particular aspect of the Christian life--that we shouldn't go it alone. It's there but not a central point. I've done some revising and will ask for others to pray for me as we gather at 10:15 so the time will be used well.)

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