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I don’t normally blog more than once a month. However, I have been doing a lot of thinking and praying about the near future lately, and I felt I needed to share the epiphany I had this morning during my time with the Lord.
When I read Revelation 8-16 and imagine how terrible it will be on the earth after Jesus has removed those who trust Him as their Savior (Rev. 7:9-17), I am ashamed of myself for not caring enough for those people who will be left behind to do more to save them from the wrath of God that is to come. Jesus warned that a time is coming that will be “such as has not been since the beginning of the world,” a time so awful, that “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved” (Matthew 24:21).
You think we have it bad now—with war, terrorism, food shortages, droughts, high prices, joblessness, homelessness, domestic violence, human trafficking, freakish weather, earthquakes and so on? Consider these disasters in comparison:
- 1/3 of the world’s vegetation burned to ash (Revelation 8:7)
- 1/3 of the oceans contaminated, ships destroyed and fish killed (vv. 8-9)
- 1/3 of the earth’s fresh water sources contaminated, poisoning everyone who drinks it (10-11)
- Complete darkness over the earth for extended periods, because the light of the sun, moon and stars has been reduced by 1/3 (12)
- Creatures so toxic their sting causes five months of pain so extreme that people will want to die (Rev. 9:1-6)
- A second invasion of creatures that breathe poisonous gases that kill 1/3 of earth’s population (vv. 13-19)
- A tyrannical ruler so powerful and so arrogant that he makes every resident of this planet worship him and wear his name—ordering anyone who declines to do so to be executed (Rev. 13)
- A disease worse than smallpox that covers every surviving inhabitant of earth with painful, oozing, stinking sores (Rev. 16:2)
- All sources of water and marine life being contaminated, so people have nothing but blood to drink (vv. 3-7)
- Solar flares so bad that people are scorched with the heat (8-9)
- Darkness so complete it actually causes unbearable pain (10-11)
- A worldwide earthquake that flattens EVERYTHING—cities, mountains, islands, etc. (17-20)
- A worldwide storm that drops hailstones weighing as much as 75 pounds each (21)
These are the plagues God warns will befall those who have not accepted Christ as their Savior before He sets out to punish the wicked on the earth.
My friends, this is NOT something you want to go through—you, nor anyone else you care about! In fact, I would not wish this on my worst enemy. Yet that is what you have to look forward to, if you do not know Jesus.
I am so, SO sorry I have failed to share the Good News that Jesus saves with more people. What’s worse, I have offended many people through the years with a “holier than thou” attitude—possibly alienating them forever from my God. I have been more concerned about “blending in,” being liked, and not being labeled as a religious fanatic than I have about friends and family suffering unspeakable horrors. To my shame, I have valued my job, my reputation, and my comfort MORE than the dear souls with whom I have grown up, lived, gone to school, worked and played. There have even been people with whom I have attended church who THINK they know God, but have not given their lives to Christ. Yet I was too afraid to “rock the boat” or “make waves” to point this out to them.
How many people I once knew will stand before my Lord at the Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20:11-15? How many will see me standing safe with Him, while they stand condemned to eternal punishment? Will they point an accusing finger at me and cry, “You knew! You knew this was coming for me, and you didn’t say a word about it. Why didn’t you warn me? Why didn’t you offer me a way out?” I am afraid there will be many, and I will be without excuse.
If entrance into Paradise depended on good deeds, no one would make it (Romans 3:10-23). If our good works were balanced against the bad, our scales would tip lop-sidedly to the negative. If I were evaluated by the number of souls I have led to Christ, versus how many I allowed to slip away, I would not be allowed into eternal rest. Thank God, Christ’s sacrifice covers even this failure!
Dear friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, classmates and others: Please accept my sincere and heartfelt apologies for not caring enough before now to explain the Gospel to you. God is love. He extends His invitation of salvation to EVERYONE. Unfortunately, I fail to measure up to His example in more ways than I can count.
If you will allow me now to do what I should have done at some point earlier in our relationship, I would like to explain to you the essence of the Bible, so you can make an informed decision about your destiny for the near future and beyond.
- You are no accident. You were magnificently created by God, for God—to enjoy a relationship with Him, reflect His character, and do the kind of things He does (Genesis 1:26-28, Psalm 139:13-16, Ephesians 2:10 & Colossians 1:13-17).
- Like any good manufacturer, God wrote an instruction manual that tells what you and I were designed to do. It’s called the Holy Bible. A condensed version of His user’s guide is found in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21. This list of expected baseline behaviors is commonly referred to as The Ten Commandments. Jesus further boiled down God’s desires for mankind to two simple requirements: Love God; love your fellow human beings (Matthew 22:37-40 & Mark 12:29-32).
- Considering these are the minimum requirements, we really have nothing to boast about, since every one of us has broken at least one commandment. We have failed to tell the truth 100% of the time. We have wanted, and possibly taken, what belonged to someone else. We have used God’s name as a curse word, worked seven days a week, or made out with someone we weren’t married to. Even those rare people who have a decent track record may have disrespected their parents at least once, or failed to keep God as number one in their lives at all times.
- The bad news is, if you break even one of these rules, just one time, you are as guilty as the person who has broken them all (James 2:8-11). You are disqualified from heaven, banned from the presence of a holy God who can’t stand to be around anyone less perfect than He is (Isaiah 59:2). And there is nothing you can do to fix this situation yourself. You can never do enough good to make up for the bad. There’s no fine you can pay, no penance you can perform, nothing you can offer to get Him to expunge the record of wrongs you have committed.
- The good news is, you don’t have to. God loves you too much to let you suffer the death penalty, which is His just punishment for your sin—disregarding/breaking His rules, or going against His perfect design. He arranged a substitution. God sent His Son to be born as a human, live a perfect life, and then die in our place. He took all the wrongdoing of all humanity on His body, and then allowed Himself to be tried, beaten, and brutally executed, so that God’s verdict against sin would be satisfied. God’s gift to ANYONE who will accept it is that He will exchange Christ’s perfect record of right living for your imperfect one—allowing you to enjoy all the benefits of heaven on earth and after your time here is ended (John 3:16, Romans 6:23, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Galatians 4:4-5 & Ephesians 2:1-9).
- Furthermore, because Jesus rose from the grave three days after He died and now rules with God the Father in heaven, He is able to help you with your life on earth. He prays for those who believe in Him (Hebrews 7:24-25 & 1 John 2:1). He gives us His Holy Spirit to help us, and in fact makes His home in our hearts (John 14:12-27 & 15:26-16:15). This gives us peace and hope to endure any difficulty.
- Finally, those who belong to Jesus will be spared the horrible judgments God has planned for those who refuse to accept Christ as their way out (Revelation 3:10). We will be taken off of this planet before the plagues begin, and will never again suffer the pains and sorrows of earth (Rev. 7:9-17).
This is what I want for you, beloved: Not years of frustration, failure and shame, nor the hell-on-earth of these unimaginable judgments, and certainly NOT an eternity of torment! I want you to receive God’s gift through Jesus of forgiveness for sin; love, joy and peace for now; escape from the judgments coming to the earth, and the expectation of eternal bliss after it is all over (Revelation 21-22). I want you to know God and be known by Him, to experience all the good things He has for those who choose to entrust their hearts and lives to Him.
Please, if you have never done so before, won’t you take just a moment and pray to God? Tell Him something like this:
Dear God, I know You made me for a good reason. I know I have failed to live up to Your expectations, and I deserve to be punished for my sin. Thank You for sending Your own Son to die in my place and for making Him alive again, so I can be saved and live forever with You. Please forgive me of my sins, and take away the desire to do wrong things. Give me Your Holy Spirit, so I can do what is right. I give myself 100% to You, God. Please come, dear Heavenly Father and Lord Jesus, make your home inside of me. Save me from the horrors to come and help me tell others about You, too. Amen.
If you know Jesus, I hope you have a better track record of telling people about Christ than I have. If you don’t, then please don’t delay another day to tell loved ones the bad news and good news about themselves and God. You don’t want to live with the regret of knowing they may suffer unspeakable horrors here and in the hereafter. Tell the Lord you are sorry, ask Him to fill you with His Spirit and power, and then commit to tell everyone you know about Christ before Jesus comes for His saints.
May the Lord grant us opportunity to bring as many souls with us to heaven as possible before Christ’s return. He is coming SOON!
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