This month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled, Bound to be Free, compiled by staff of Open Doors. In the following quotation from Enrique Palacio, (pseudonym for a Cuban pastor who has known persecution), there is fodder for reflection and perhaps application:
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. (Hebrews 11:7)
True faith is demonstrated in deeds. In other words: faith must be manifested in the way we live, act and behave.
Noah gave evidence of this reality when he heard God's command and acted upon it. For many, many years Noah built in faith. No signs of rain or destruction were there. But he built and waited.
Christ compares the end times with the days of Noah: 'As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man' (Matthew 24:37-39)
Noah lived in a time of grace and judgment. He lived in a time of tremendous apostasy. All around him was evil, sin and unbelief. Yet Noah had faith in God. And when judgment came he was safe.
'Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me' (John 14:1)
'Watch, therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.' (Matthew 24:42)
A moment of introspection: As Christians, these days, we know we are living in precarious times. Noah knew what was happening during his life, and how he, too, was treated with ridicule, anger, and more--all because of God's clear message to him, to watch and prepare for the coming judgment. Pastor Palacio reminds us to consider the days of Noah. I'd encourage the reader to take the time to read the story of Noah in Genesis 5:29-9:29: In this descriptive story, we encounter phrases such as "the wickedness of man was great in the earth", "the Lord was sorry he had made man on the earth", "the earth was filled with violence", and "God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt" (Genesis 6:5-6,11-13). In the gospel of Matthew, Christ adds further depth to our understanding of the days of Noah, in Luke 12:54-56 (Life Application Bible notes explain: "Just as dark clouds forewarn of a rainstorm, there were signs that the Kingdom would soon arrive. But Jesus' hearers, though skilled at interpreting weather signs, were intentionally ignoring the signs of the times.").
So what do these passages have to say about our own times? May we not intentionally ignore the signs of the times. If Christ has instructed us to "watch" for His soon return, let us be aware of the times we are granted to live in. Consider news from the present:
- riots in Europe and the Middle East, often with the intent of overthrowing governments
- sexual perversion is glorified – e.g., pedophilia, sodomy, bestiality, polygamy, (Romans 1:26-32)
- genetic experiments being done to "improve" us human beings (see Understand The Times archive: www.understandthetimes.org)
- brazen attacks against Christians around the world (John 15:20; 16:2)
- corruption at every level of government in countries of the world
- up=down, right=wrong, good=evil, etc., among the non-believers
- God, His Son, and His Holy Bible are debased and scorned (John 15:20-25)
- Biblical family model is being assailed and cast aside
- 50 years of moral decline in US (listed in America the Beautiful?; by Dr. David R. Reagan, www.lamblion.com, ISBN 978-0-945593-17-1, pp. 15-17)
- wars and rumors of wars
- stronger, more frequent storms around the world
- armies amass against Israel, attacks ongoing against Israel, desire to split Jerusalem and wipe out the state of Israel (alliances in biblical prophecy appear to be coalescing)
- greater apostasy is occurring with each passing week (note the development of the Emergent Church in its various forms, spread of Mormonism, efforts being made to bring about the one-world religion, etc.)
- genetic cloning
and on, and on...
Let us watch, therefore, for the Lord's soon return. We do not know what day He will come, yet we eagerly await His return, and in chorus resound with our own Maranatha: "Maybe today!" While we watch, as we prepare, let us demonstrate our unflinching faith in God, in Christ and in the Holy Spirit; "faith must be manifested in the way we live, act and behave." In 1 Peter 4:7-19, the author of that book gives us a glimpse of living life expectantly--in view of the imminent return of the Lord Jesus. We are admonished to be self-controlled, sober-minded, loving Christians earnestly, showing hospitality to Christians, using our God-given gifts to serve fellow believers, giving glory in all things to God, not surprised at persecution when it comes as though it were strange, but rejoicing in being blessed (Matthew 5:10-12). Many other exhortations can be found in the Bible, as to how Christians are to live. Study God's Word, so that we may be found faithful at His Son's coming. Let our hearts not be troubled. Rather, let us rejoice in being found faithful in our life, our actions and our behavior.