Matthew 24:4-14 The Message Bible
What will be the sign of your coming, that the time’s up?”
4-8Jesus said, “Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities, claiming, ‘I am Christ, the Messiah.’ They will deceive a lot of people. When reports come in of wars and rumoured wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history; this is no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Famines and earthquakes will occur in various places. This is nothing compared to what is coming.
11-12“In the confusion, lying preachers will come forward and deceive a lot of people. For many others, the overwhelming spread of evil will do them in—nothing left of their love but a mound of ashes. 13-14 “Staying with it—that’s what God requires. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be saved. All during this time, the good news—the Message of the kingdom—will be preached all over the world, a witness staked out in every country. And then the end will come.
About a week ago, I read a tweet from Pastor Mrs Nkoyo Rapu. It read, ‘Today’s newspapers read like Matthew 24 and Luke 21. Advanced notification!’ When I saw it, my immediate reaction was to laugh and retweet. But just after the laugh, I pondered on it. It was indeed a thought provoking analogy. With all the things going on in around our nation and the world at large-Boko Haram, Ebola seemingly eating up West Africa, Obama sending missiles to Iraq, Israel sending more missiles into Gaza, What is going on? What is the world coming to?
Looking at the world’s problems was one thing, but placing them against my personal issues was another. There seems to be so much uncertainty. My projections and expectations are still so far from my actual experience, it is difficult not to be afraid. In fact I got to the point where I was so affected by my fears that my blood pressure went up. My faith was not holding up. My fears are real and threatening. So I knew, I needed to take a few steps back and get back into God.
Our text for today actually has the answer. “Staying with it—that’s what God requires. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be saved.” The big question is how do we stay with God? What does it require for us to stay with God? It feels like God is so far away.
What can you really do? We must still stay with His word in prayer more than ever before. That is where all the answers are. We must speak the word in prayer. We must speak it confidently knowing that God hears us when we speak His word. These are not the times to speak careless meaningless negativity, but we must speak the Word. That is where our power lies. Where else can we get solutions from? The Bible has a word for every situation. Why should we trust the Word? It is full of power. It is able to deliver and save. It is able to make a way. It is so able to do whatever needs to be done. But we must have enough confidence in the Word to pray it, then we’ll get the results we want.
It is easy to preach these things. It is another thing to do them. I believe what I preach, but I must confess that in the recent past there have been overwhelming moments-Moments when my entire walk of faith have been on the line. Did I really act in faith? Did I really believe in the things I did? Did I just act rashly in some of what I thought were radical faith moves? I began to look at my entire life all over again. I cannot even assure you that I came out with any answers.
However, after the doctor announced my increase in blood pressure, I realized that I was way out of line. I needed to get back to base. My line of reasoning was contrary to God. Otherwise it would not produce such negative outcomes. I also heard a message from Isaiah 55:8-11 which brought the essence and power of the Word of God to life again. I keyed into it.
I looked at the areas of my life that are fine and saw His hand at work. I also realized that if I did not put my fears and concern into proper perspective, they had the ability to spoil everything, including the good things. I came to terms with the fact that God is all I have, and He is more than enough. He has been everything and will continue to be everything. He will provide, protect, heal and bring my expectations of enlargement to pass. All in a matter of time, His time. His word to me is indeed a revelation of His thoughts to me. It is not wishful thinking. Neither is it day dreaming. He actually spoke to me. All I need to do is stay with Him as He works it out. He told me things but not how He would do them. That is where faith comes in. Staying with Him requires being in faith no matter what I see. It is not easy, but my Pastor, Tony Rapu calls it ‘the Tension of Faith’. I agree with that description.
So what are the things you are thinking about that bring you fear? For starters if you’re a Nigerian doctor or health care giver, you are probably afraid of going to work. You never know what kind of patient is coming in to see you. Or you may be one of those people who lost their jobs recently and as Monday comes, you don’t know what life will throw at you. Or you may be that parent who has to pay school fees at the beginning of a new session for 4 children and you’re not sure how it will happen. Business is not just happing right now. Or you’re like a sister friend of mine whose mother or loved one has been diagnosed with cancer? Nowhere to run. What is your scenario? There is a Word for it. Stay with God until you see His salvation He never fails.
We cannot afford to live in fear. Praying in the Word builds the faith we need for living successful God filled lives. Fear Cripples, Fear incapacitates. That is where the enemy thrives, in the place of fear. We cannot afford to indulge or live in fear. We must exorcise fear from our minds by focusing on the Word and praying it. It will deliver for us all we desire.
I am glad to say, I am back on the block. God’s block-In His Word and praying it out loud. It had become a battle of words-God’s Word versus, the words of my fears. I am shouting loud His Word. I know I cannot lose. What about you? Ck