The End Times: Remaining Hope-Filled
With all the turmoil happening in the world today, have you found yourself at times feeling overwhelmed by all the bad news? Unfortunately, the amount of tragedy only seems to be growing weekly. Wickedness seems to be more pervasive than it’s ever been. But, if you are feeling overwhelmed, I have good news for you: God is still on the throne, and Jesus is coming back very soon!
Did you know that your view of when Jesus will return and what will happen before His second coming greatly influences how you view much of this current turbulence? Trust me, I am speaking from experience.
I used to side with an end-times view that left me feeling very hopeless. While Jesus coming back was something to look forward to, everything up until His return was going to be one defeat after another. For whatever reason, I had not fully absorbed the teachings on walking in resurrection power and being more than a conqueror through Christ (Romans 8:37). I also had not immersed myself in the good things God had promised to do in these last days.
Don’t get me wrong, Jesus warned us that we would experience tribulation in this life (John 16:33). Feeling unsettled about current events is natural and, in many ways, appropriate. We are called to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). But there is a big difference between feeling unsettled and allowing hopelessness. Again, I am speaking from experience.
Years ago, I had a dream about the book of Revelation. In this dream, I was teaching a Bible study from the standpoint that Jesus would return and rescue us before we become deceived. The last days were only going to get worse and worse, and He would get us out just in time. An elderly man stood and began to rebuke me, saying, “No, the book of Revelation is about hope!” As I looked at this man, his face turned into the face of Jesus. He continued, “You can’t talk about Revelation and the end times without making it about hope.”
I was shaken in a good way. This was a transformative experience in my life. It totally changed my perspective of all that is happening in the world. After all, the book of Revelation reveals who Jesus is and His dominion over the nations. He is the essence of Hope. Psalm 2:1-6 tells us:
Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.”He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.”
As mentioned in Psalm 2:4, our Father is amused at any attempt to throw off His Lordship. He invites us to join Him in this party of hopeful laughter. He has promised His joy will be our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). May you be filled with fresh hope today amid every tragic report. He is moving in the nations, and His return is very soon!
2 Kings 18:3-5 3He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done. 4He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.) 5Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.
Hezekiah was an exceptional king. As you read through the kings of Judah, you find a few of whom it was written, “He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD…” That is almost always followed by the word, “however.” There was always some compromise. The standard was King David. He had a heart after God. In our passage today, we find a rare exception in Hezekiah. He destroyed everything that had an influence that suggested the worship of any other God than Jehovah. The bronze snake that Moses had made in the wilderness was even destroyed.
We can take objects that were meant for our good and turn them into idols. Most of the blessings of God in our life can become a snare to us. There are times when their influence must be put out of our lives. It is not that the object itself is bad; it is the way in which we are tempted to worship the object. It is the way in which it distracts us from the LORD. Hezekiah was so uncompromising that none of these distracting things could remain.
What an epitaph! There was no one like him among the kings of Judah. God is looking for those who are willing to go all out, to be unique, to blaze a trail of total dedication. Jesus is our ultimate example in that.
Meditation: May we daily allow Jesus’ life in us to show total dedication.
Streams in the Desert – July 11
- 202211 Jul
It came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land (1 Kings 17:7).
Week after week, with unfaltering and steadfast spirit, Elijah watched that dwindling brook; often tempted to stagger through unbelief, but refusing to allow his circumstances to come between himself and God. Unbelief sees God through circumstances, as we sometimes see the sun shorn of his rays through smoky air; but faith puts God between itself and circumstances, and looks at them through Him.
And so the dwindling brook became a silver thread; and the silver thread stood presently in pools at the foot of the largest boulders; and the pools shrank. The birds fled; the wild creatures of field and forest came no more to drink; the brook was dry. Only then to his patient and unwavering spirit, “the word of the Lord came, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath.”
Most of us would have gotten anxious and worn with planning long before that. We should have ceased our songs as soon as the streamlet caroled less musically over its rocky bed; and with harps swinging on the willows, we should have paced to and fro upon the withering grass, lost in pensive thought. And probably, long ere the brook was dry, we should have devised some plan, and asking God’s blessing on it, would have started off elsewhere.
God often does extricate us, because His mercy endureth forever; but if we had only waited first to see the unfolding of His plans, we should never have found ourselves landed in such an inextricable labyrinth; and we should never have been compelled to retrace our steps with so many tears of shame.
To Raise a Village
Roy Berkenbosch, Today Devotional
SCRIPTURE READING — PROVERBS 31:10-31
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
I once worked with a team of volunteers building a water system in a community in Honduras. The terrain was rocky, the climate was dry, and clean water was scarce. Women and girls in this area spent huge amounts of time and energy hauling water over great distances for cooking and drinking. Having a water system would make life easier and lead to better health.
Early one morning we encountered Georgina, a woman from a neighboring village who had heard about the water project. She was on fire, a force of nature! Insistently, passionately, barely pausing for breath, she told us about her community and how their well had dried up. She had been praying fervently for water, she said, and now she believed God was answering her prayers by leading her to us. Her conviction and energy were impressive. There was no way she would take no for an answer. That day we visited her village and explained that getting water involved a lengthy and challenging process. Nothing fazed Georgina, though—and, sure enough, God answered her prayers. A year later, she and her neighbors had fresh water on tap.
It is sometimes said that it takes a village to raise a child. It could also be said that it takes a woman, like Georgina, to raise a village.
Lord, thank you for people like Georgina who trust you profoundly and serve their communities with great energy. Bless women everywhere who overcome great odds to build up their communities in Christ. Amen.