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April 21, 2008

Comments

rlf

Sounds like a needed sermon series. Hope one is forthcoming...in the last few weeks alone I've had encounters with Christians who "blow me off" when I mention that we should be exercising our "overcomer muscles"in preparation for only God knows what. God has promised that we do not need to be afraid, and that He will protect us from His wrath, but I think we are dangerously naive if we assume that we won't feel the heat. Thanks for the articles; they may help clarify and refine our assumptions.

ms

I feel the heat already - at least in the form of scorn for Christianity, and I exercise my overcomer muscles through prayer, study of the word, maintaining relationships with Godly people, and watching the signs.
I can feel the heat coming physically - food shortages, climate change, price increases on fuel. My small garden and personal reduction of fuel use will not go far in the face of what is coming. Should I stock up on staples? When does "stocking up" become hoarding? Wouldn't I need weapons to protect my stockpile? How do I "overcome" this mess? I am praying that God is a pre-tribber!

Jeff

This may be a different discussion, but I wanted to comment on what ms said. I'm not sure that the wrath negates "do not worry" in Matthew. That's not to say don't be prepared, but I'm under the impression that that preparation is meant more spiritually than monetarily or ....ummm....stuff-ly.
It also seems to me that, though we may be protected from the Wrath of God, that doesn't necessarily mean we're protected from the wrath of man. And I think that may be part of the preparation.
Just random musings, for what they're worth...

ms

Jeff, I have never felt protected from the wrath of man. It permeates our society. The very earth seethes with it. As this wrath increases, how do I overcome it physically? Do I defend my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit; do I sacrifice it; do I wait on the Lord? I think I understand the spiritual preparation, but I am not just a spirit.

Jim Fleming

Jeff,
Good observation! Yes, 1 Thess. 1:10 assures us that we will be protected from "the wrath to come." But persecution from men is something Jesus said is to be expected (John 15:20). Here is the choice: Seek the approval of men and experience the wrath of God OR seek the approval of God and experience persecution from men.

Mary,
Your questions deserve full treatment - they have been on my mind, too. (I have even been working on a Light-work post on "A Biblical Theology of Flight," but it's far from ready.) For now, check out Matt. 10:23 in which Jesus commends flight from one city to another. In Mark 13:14-16, Jesus even gives specific instructions for emergency planning connected to an end times scenario. These two statements make it clear it is not "unspiritual" to be PHYSICALLY prepared (not just spiritually prepared) as persecution ramps up. It is not spiritual to be sitting ducks. I am still framing my thoughts about what this means but would love to hear some thoughts from L-W readers.

Jeff

This is always a hard situation for me to grasp, the physical preparation. I tend to go to the extremes and it's hard for me to work out preparing for the end without withdrawing from the world.

ms

The verses seem to recommend that we pack light and wear running shoes. Also, I am getting my house in order so that I leave a good witness. I look forward to learning other practical suggestions.

Jeff

You really think it's that close to where it's going to happen in your lifetime? (I get that impression by the way you said that you're getting your house in order. It sounds like you think there's more immediacy now to that than there ever has been.)

ms

Jeff, I do think it is highly likely that Jesus will return in my lifetime. I was born at the same time as the State of Israel, and I heard a lot of preaching about the significance of that event, including Scripture said "that generation will not pass" before He returns. In addition, I am following end-times prophecy, and I can find almost nothing that was predicted that has not happened OR that could easily happen. For example, the Euphrates River can now be dried up - in fact, that has already happened during the building of a dam. Although Turkey has not yet aligned with the Arab states, we can see how that will happen. Are you aware of any impediments to His immediate return? I am not.

Jeff

Wow...this took a turn that I wasn't expecting.

Honestly, I've stopped looking for the signs because they don't change my job. All that would change is the urgency, but we're supposed to try to reach those who are lost as though there's no tomorrow anyway. It's not to say that I think it's unimportant....NOTHING in the Bible is unimportant. But I've found that the signs distract me from the task at hand.

Jeff

I don't know that this should be considered as an idea for "A Biblical Theology of Flight," but it sounds at least similar, so...

I've had for a while the desire to live with other believers. Something like 5 or 6 families, pool their resources, buy a house to accomodate them. That way, if someone loses a job, there's a financial buffer. Any supplies that would need to be taken care of would be done so communally. If there's persecution, you've got a base of contact to be encouraged. Everyone can work together, live together, so when the time comes, people aren't scattered but there is a point of contact for several families.

Just an idea...

ms

I agree that signs do not change the task at hand. If signs distract you, let someone else keep track of them. For me, the signs are a great motivator. One of the amazing qualities of the Bible is that there is some aspect that appeals strongly to a wide variety of personal interests - law, history, science, health, poetry, psychology, astronomy, and so on. What a God!

ms

The verses at the end of the weekly church news yesterday - Psalms 27:4-5 - speak of the Lord hiding us within His tabernacle in times of trouble. If I understand correctly, in church times, believers' bodies are His tabernacle. Maybe we will be hidden in plain sight, as Jesus apparently was when he escaped the Jews of Nazareth who attempted to throw Him over a cliff (Luke 4:30).
Many mysteries have yet to be revealed.

Jeff

This is definitely exciting to consider. I look forward to living to meet it, if that will be the case, though I don't think I'll live through it. I look forward to being faithful through the persecution to the last.

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