Close To Home

Last Saturday here in San Diego, less than 20 minutes from where we meet in Ramona for Church services, a young man snapped and fired a gun in a synagogue and killed one person, and injured a few others. A senseless and cruel act of hatred! All around the world we are seeing a sharp rise in these types of deadly acts.

It is one thing to read about issues and problems halfway across the globe. But when we are confronted with them in close proximity, or people we know go through instances like the one above, things become much more “real”.

We know from Scripture that the early Church was plagued with many serious issues, including the members being persecuted in various ways. Christ’s bold statements in John 15:20 are a stark realization of what is coming: “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.“ And again over in John 16:1-4, Christ warns that these things would happen, then and now. The road of being a Christian has never been an easy one. But the trail is becoming increasingly more difficult with each passing year. When we read Scriptures such as the ones listed next, it becomes evident that we have a NEED to be as close to God as possible: Acts 14:22; 1 Corinthians 4:8-12; 2 Corinthians 4:7-12; 2 Timothy 3:1-17; Matthew 10:16-33.

These are very real warnings for our time. We can see the signs of the times as listed above in 2 Timothy 3. We can see from the news and with our own eyes that these types of attitudes and actions are becoming more and more prevalent. From the time when I was a youngster until now, things have dramatically become unstable, and it will only continue to deteriorate.

How prepared are we?  We just celebrated the Spring Holy Days, which pictured us removing leavening (symbolic for sin) and drawing close to God. How diligent are we in keeping up with that? Have we started to slip back into our old ways, thoughts or habits? Have we truly worked to put out sin?

What is this Way of Life worth to each of us? Are we willing to stand up for the Truth (Ephesians 6:13-18)? Do we love God’s Way and commandments with ALL of our heart (Matthew 22:37)? Are we seeking Him diligently in all areas of our lives (Isaiah 55:6-7)? Are we willing to give up our lives for this Way of Life (Matthew 10:39; 16:25; John 12:25)? And are we willing to give up things for the Way (Matthew 13:44-46)?

If we are close to God as we should be, we do not need to fear anything.  Philippians 4:6 states that we do not need to be anxious about anything, once we set our sight on God and truly learn to lean on Him in faith for ALL of our physical and spiritual needs. 1 Peter 5:6-7 states we need to humble ourselves before God. While this world spirals out of control, each of us should take stock of what we read in Scripture. It is easy to research what the Bible has to say about not fearing, about seeking Him. But when things are easy, we tend to not be ready. Now is the time to prepare and be ready. The return of Christ is close at hand. How ready are each of us for the things that lie ahead? We must take the time and make the effort NOW (Hebrews 3:7-12)!

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