July 2013


A Looming Storm

I know as I attempt writing I’m often writing about things in the last days.  It is because if I understand the word of God correctly we are in the last days.  How much longer we have here only God knows.  Viewing the world situation the whole future picture appears to be one of doom and gloom, that is without some form of supernatural intervention such as the second coming of the Lord.  Many thoughtful Christians are these days carefully and objectively analyzing the situations as it unfolds.  Their purpose for doing so is to prepare themselves for difficult times ahead, which to them now seems inevitable.  In other words, a storm looms a large storm having vast potential to lash the spiritual lives of thousands.  If this is an accurate assessment of the situation, then we would be wise to think and pray about it and make some preparation.  If the return of Jesus is near as many believe what will our society be like in the not too far distant future?  In an attempt to answer this question I have taken some of the more obvious trends and traced them to their conclusions.  In doing so, I find that the picture which emerges is identical to the picture painted in scripture for the end times.  He way I interpret scripture is that prophesies regarding the last of the last days are on course and soon to be fulfilled right before our very eyes.  As we look from History.  Two concise prophecies concerning what we may expect were given by our Lord himself.  Matt. 24:37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the sun of man be.  And Luke 17:28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded.  A careful study of prevailing conditions during the times of Noah and Lot enables us to see that history has very nearly run full cycle.  We are now rapidly moving toward a time when the conditions which existed in the days of both Noah and Lot will again prevail.  This I believe, states the case in general terms, but in order to help us dig in and prepare ourselves for the long haul.  I will now endeavor to be more specific.  Some of the things I will discuss here have already caught up with many of the Lord’s people and I believe that it is only a matter of time and we will all have to contend with them. 

Now I come to the word demoralize it is a word that has a stronger meaning than discourage or dishearten.  Demoralize is in fact a breakdown in morale.  This describes fairly accurately what is happening to multiplied thousands of people at this point in time.  They are demoralized they have lost the will to fight.  If an army ever loses the will to fight, they are as good as beaten.  The moral of the troops must never be underestimated as a strong contributing factor in winning a war.  Numerous counselors are becoming increasingly concerned over the growing number of people whose morale is at an all-time low.  This state has been brought about by any one of a large number of factors including severe drought, personal bankruptcy, prolonged illness, long term unemployment, loss of a home, family breakup, a breakdown in relationships, plus of course man other stressful circumstances.  We Christians are not immune to these things and many find themselves caught in situations which are beyond their control.  For instance, many sincere Christians are at this present time, adversely affected by the current economic crisis.  Whether or not the government can reverse the present downturn, still remains to be seen.  Many national economies are already on the brink of total collapse.  Some economists believe that if any more of the stable economies go over the edge, they in turn will drag others down with them.  This could well be one of the problems that will affect us all in some way and one with which we may have to learn to cope.  We can be sure, however that as time unfolds, Satan will use all sets of circumstances, the aim of which will be demoralize us to the break down our morale and get us to throw in the towel.  One way for preparing ourselves for these times is to saturate our minds with the word of God to memorize as many of the promises of God as possible.  Doing this puts us in the position where the Lord can speak to us when times are really tough and give us encouragement we need to pull us through.  Another tactic Satan is and will use to get us to throw in the towel is confusion.  This can be brought about by great variety of factors.  It would probably not serve any real purpose to discuss them here.  However, there is one form of confusion which affects may sincere Christians and that is the confusion caused by the many different and often conflicting interpretations of scripture.  Much confusion clouds the charismatic issue.  There is also much confusion regarding the doctrines which surround the second coming of our Lord.  I often meet people whose confusion has become so great that is has undermined their faith.  Because they were not able to sort things out they eventually succumbed to the temptation to throw in the towel and say what’s the use.  This is something that we must all watch.  If we are grappling with some spiritual truth which we haven’t yet really understood, the wise attitude is just shelve it for  this little preacher has had to for the time being until the Lord gives us more light on it, but never allow it to shake our faith.  Our personal faith in the risen Lord and the truthfulness of his word must be guarded at all costs because we walk by faith and faith is the victory that overcomes the world.

Another tactic Satan is and will use to get to us to throw in the towel is divisions in the churches.  Division has always existed within the framework of the Christian church.  Paul once disagreed with Peter and told him so.  On another occasion, Paul had a dispute with Barnabas over John Mark’s reliability.  Sometimes these disagreements can be a clash of personalities but on the other occasions parties may just looking at things from different angles.  But there are, of course, times when divisions are a more serious nature and Christians cannot solve the problem by simply agreeing to disagree.  Modern day speaking in tongues is one such problem.  The tongues movement has now infiltrated many denominations and is the cause of much division amongst the Lord’s people.  It seems inevitable that as time proceed; Satan will introduce other controversial issues which will cause further division.  It is on these occasions when Christians are compelled to break fellowship with others that they need to be especially careful.    

My Granddad had a blacksmith shop when I was a boy.  I can remember if you took a pair of tongs and lift a live coal out of the fire and placed it on the hearth on its own, away from the fire, it was only a matter of time before that lone coal became cold and black.  Because it was isolated from the others, it lost its glow.  This is especially what can happen to Christians when divisions occur within the church.  Satan knows only too well the old saying united we stand divided we fall.  Satan is picking off Christians one by one and isolating them.  Sadly many become like some of the early followers of the Lord who went back and walked no more with him.  If we do find ourselves isolated by divisions or because we hold strong convictions on matters of doctrine we must of course be gracious about it lest we cause some weaker brother to stumble.  But in addition to maintaining a gracious attitude we must keep up a close, daily walk with the Lord.  If we lack the discipline to do this, it will only be a matter of time until the glow departs and then our loss will be great indeed.  We would all, I believe be greatly helped by doing a careful sturdy of the walks in Ephesians we are not to walk according to the course of this world.  Not to follow the ways of this world we are to walk in good works.  We are to walk worthy of our vocation or calling.  We are not to walk in vanity like the unsaved. We are to walk in love.  We are to walk as a child of light.  We are to walk circumspectly, carefully.  To put these admonitions given by Paul to the Christians at Ephesus could save us from becoming another statistic.

Great spiritual smog is settling over this world.  The darkness is becoming more intense.  The only hope we have of being able to find our way is by a close walk with him Jesus who is the light of life and through constant study of his word.  As history runs its course and we move further into these end times, many spiritually-minded people are becoming painfully aware of another problem with which Christians are confronted that of idolatry within the church.  Ancient Israel faced a similar problem and in order to correct it God placed a prohibition on them, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  Idolatry in its modern form is of course more refined, but it is still idolatry.  It is rendering to some object or person more devotion in mind, we can readily see how easy it has become for some people to have money as their god.  Of course, they are not aware of their fact, but it is so none-the-less.  With other people, their home or a fully imported sports car or a high-powered boat has taken the place of God.  Anything that takes the place of God in our lives in fact becomes an idol.  Idolatry is a very subtle thing.  Given time, Satan can weave it into any culture without the people even becoming aware of what is being done or how they are being manipulated o exploited.  What do we do about this one?

If we profess to be Christians, this little preacher believes we must make a full and honest appraisal of our whole lifestyle and actually it out everything that is offensive to God.  Our instructions are clear Heb. 12:1 wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and sin which doth so easily be set us.  We are told to lay aside every weight and of course the sins they may trip us and eventually cause our downfall.  This matter is one of the uttermost importance.  It requires drastic actions on our part because we cannot run well in this race if our lives are cluttered up with a lot of excess baggage.  We should therefore be very decisive on what we put out of our lives and what we allow to remain.  Everything that even remotely resembles an idol should be closely scrutinized under the all seeing eye of a Holy God.

Now as I try to conclude this writing it just keeps coming.  Materialism is pressing on my mind materialism is the love of possessions or the pursuit of wealth or the acquisition of things.  Materialism can get hold of us in varying degrees.  Materialism has, of course always existed but since the last world war it has swept over the land like a great tidal wave and even rushed in through the doors and windows of the church.  Many people, who were once quietly living contented Christians, appear to have been swept off their feet by the things now flowing in society.  These same people have eagerly joined with the world to obtain more things.  They seem to have forgotten to be content with such things as ye have Heb. 13:5 Both Christian and world ling now jostle together to obtain the best and the latest which modern technology can produce.  The world ling looks on with wonderment and tries to figure out in what way professing Christian is any different from him.  The sad fact is that there isn’t much difference anymore.  How true it is that if the gospel had really taken root in our lives we have become new creatures old things pass away and all things become new 2 Cor. 5:17.  This means new attitudes, new habits, new desires and new goals in life.  This little preacher is convinced that this spirit of materialism has gained a bigger hold on us than we care to admit.  The time is long overdue when we should assess our attitude to things and begin laying up treasure in Heaven where neither moth nor rust corrupt and where thieves do not break through and steal, for where your treasure is there will your heart be also Matt. 6:20 If we are not willing to face the reality of the danger that materialism poses and do something to control it when the last wave of the Big Storm comes it could well destroy our spiritual lives altogether.  

There is now very strong evidence to suggest that a great storm approaches just over the horizon.  It is s storm of great magnitude.  This storm is being whipped up by Satan and the forces under his control.  The main thrust of this storm targets people in general, but the church in particular.  The fury of this storm will take most people by surprise, exactly as the flood did in Noah’s day.  We now have sufficient evidence to prove that the first waves have already hit our world.  What do we see?  An alarming increase in the number of broken marriages.  A marked increase in the divorce rate.  The rapid spread of false cults, an explosion of occult activity.   

Political pressure being brought to bear on schools.  A frightening number of abortions departure from sound doctrine, split churches everywhere.  Pastors who have been side tracked.  Crowded mental intuitions.   A revival of both Satanism and witchcraft.  A rising tide of crime.  Increased use of illicit drugs.  A growing acceptance of homosexuality.  Sex, crime, and violence rampant on TV screens nationwide.  Crude language used blatantly on radio and television, giving young minds the idea that this is the norm this is how it is-what life is all about.  Widespread abuse of alcohol and prescribed drugs and the list goes on.  No one can deny that these problems are already with us the evidence is simply overwhelming.  But as I have already stated these are but the first waves.  The full fury of this storm is yet to break over us. 

Now I have come to my closing remarks.  How do we handle these perilous days and the stormy time ahead.  When we witness the devastation in the lives of people their hopelessness the despair, how do we prevent all this really getting to us when people’s hearts will fail them for fear?  May I suggest to my fellow bothers and sisters on their way to the Holy City that we lift our eyes beyond the present storm and view with the eye of faith the peaceful harbor we call Heaven.  On arrival there, we can drop anchor for the last time for all of life’s storms will be past then there will be nothing but glory from then on throughout the endless ages of eternity.  Yes, when we cast our anchor there, we will be welcomed by our blessed Lord himself, a host of shinning angels, our Christian loved ones who have gone on ahead and of course, a vast multitude of the saints.  Many of these same saints passed through storms in their day.  In fact, large numbers of them were literally overwhelmed by storms and perished physically, but they remained true to the captain of their salvation and did not suffer spiritual shipwrecked.  Many of them had their lives cut short in the heat of the battle.  They left the battle on planet earth and immediately joined the church triumphant in Heaven.  So take courage my Christian friends, lift your eyes beyond the present circumstances and remember all that is in store for those who remain true to their Lord.  Remember to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.  The bottom line here is that we remain loyal to our captain no matter what.

Elder Terry L. Harmon