Sunday, January 23, 2022

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Like a Thief in the Night

I have never been one to preach a stern message, but I believe the time has come to preach that message not only to believers but also to those who still walk in darkness. When you look at all the incidences of violence throughout the world, the disregard for human life, greed and a whole host of evil and vile things that individuals and countries do to one another, it is scary. There isn’t a day that goes by when we don’t read or hear a news story about a murder or empty store shelves. I have had several people ask me if we are living in the last days as foretold by John in the Book of Revelation. 

I’m not an alarmist or a prophet crying out in the wilderness telling people to repent as the day of judgment is at hand. However, I do have a message of stern warning for all to read and take into their hearts.

Jesus, while on the Mount of Olives, talked with his disciples and told them about the future and what the end of times would hold for all of us. When you read chapter twenty-four of the Gospel of Matthew, the disciples asked Jesus about the signal of when he would return and the end of the world. The most important part of this passage discusses how he will return.

Jesus tells them, “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.

As Christians, we must be ready at all times. We cannot afford to let our guard down for a moment or allow ourselves to be compromised by the world. It is very easy for individuals to be intimidated by those around them to give up on their faith. Every single day I see how people lash out at Christians and people of faith. They coerce others to join in and help them. Some even resort to violence and blame Christians for inciting the violence. Our faith is always under attack. Satan and his demons will not rest until all have turned away from the Lord. If there is one thing that Satan absolutely wants more than anything else, it is for every single individual to turn away from God.

That is why we need to be on guard every single moment of every single day. Satan does not have a day of rest. He will rest only when all have given themselves over to him and have turned their backs on God. We see this happening each and every day. People used to respect the church and now they want them shuttered and turned into relics of the past. Some would have them all razed and turned into rubble. As for the believers, the world would like nothing more than to reeducate them all and have them turn their backs to God. Those who preach the virtues of atheism want to remove God from the world and substitute something else. Some believe that governments are the “new gods” for all of us to worship.

New idols will be erected for us to worship and follow. Gone will be the days of Christianity and the Gospel. We may even see the day when Bibles will be ripped out of the libraries and from homes and burned. That day is closer than you think. There have been attempts in the past to remove the Bible from school libraries. Those taunting the virtue of some new world order or ideology would enjoy seeing churches destroyed and Bibles burned. 

Some have asked about how this happened. What has caused us to slip further and further away from the Lord? It didn’t happen overnight. It just took a little time for individuals to lower their guard. Instead of remaining vigilant, many allowed the world to seek out the shiny baubles offered by Satan, the accuser. He just took his time and allowed the world to be lulled into a false sense of safety.

The famous French poet, Charles Pierre Baudelaire, wrote, “The devil's finest trick is to persuade you that he does not exist.”

Satan has been working hard and spent a lot of overtime to make the world believe that he doesn’t exist. By convincing millions that he no longer existed, he lulled us into a false sense of security. We had nothing to fear. There was no hellfire or brimstone to worry about. It was just a tale that parents told their children to get them to behave. That’s all it was. The Devil, hell, and all that “bad stuff” were just a wives’ tale.

When that started to happen, the next part was easy as well. If the Devil didn’t exist, God didn’t exist. God was nothing more than a story that people created to teach good manners. At that point, people began to question God’s existence, and, over time, it became easier and easier for people “just to do their own thing”. It didn’t take too long for those questions to turn into declarative statements. The question of “does God exist'' turned into a statement of “God doesn’t exist”.

It just took a little time for all of this to occur. Attendance in churches has dropped off. Seminaries are finding it harder and harder to draw people into the ministry. People no longer read their Bibles and they allow them to collect dust on their shelves. Prayer is no longer permitted in school and generation after generation are growing up without the Word of God.

When you add in the pandemic, rumors of war in Europe and possibly in Asia, feminine and food shortages, you really must stop and think about the end of days and the return of Jesus. There will always be people preaching about the end of days and the return of Jesus. There have always been wars and rumors of wars, food shortages, disease, and false prophets. I’m not telling you something different. But, what I am telling you is to make sure you stay alert and ready.

In the end, it is all up to you. Do you continue to believe and be on guard or do you allow yourself to be led astray and tempted by the things of the world? What God has laid on my heart is no different from the messages of others who have come before me. The difference is that I’m reaching out to you and all those who are confused or have allowed themselves to fall asleep at the wheel. It is time to come back to God and strengthen your faith. For those who are confused and lack meaning in their lives, I will give you the gift of the Good News. That Good News was given to me a long time ago when I was growing up in a small community in Texas and going to a small country church. That message of light and of hope that I received is now available to you. Although things have changed in the world, the message of salvation hasn’t changed at all. The same message that was shared thousands of years ago has never changed. It remains that light of hope at the end of a dark tunnel. 

As I close this message to you today, I ask you to examine your heart and your life. Are you living as an obedient child of God or are you disobedient and running with a bad crowd? I ask you to look very closely at your life. 

To use the words of a dear old hymn, “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder,” will you be ready on that day when the trumpet of the Lord sounds and time will be no more?

My sincerest prayer is that all reading this message will take the time to look at their lives, examine their hearts and ask themselves if they are ready? If you aren’t ready for that thief in the night, I implore you to think about my words and the message of love, hope and salvation that I have preached in other messages. If you have already accepted the gift of salvation, ask yourself if you are living righteously? If not, pray for guidance and get back on the path. 

Once you have accepted the gift of salvation or have returned to the path of righteousness, I can assure you that you can and will stand firm in His grace daily.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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