Thursday, January 30, 2014

"It's Cold Down Here"

Matthew 24.9-14 NKJV

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

It would be ludicrous to make a direct association with the “tribulation” that will characterize the end of time with my small suffering today. However, I occasionally suffer the pain of misunderstanding and the loss of meaningful relationships. My “tribulation” may be minuscule by comparison, but it hurts just the same. I have been seriously “offended” and shockingly ‘betrayed’ by people I thought were friends. I know what it feels like to be ‘hated’ for my beliefs and… it does not feel good!

I’ve had close associations with people who were eventually exposed as “false prophets”. I’ve been the victim of ‘deceit’ by those who claimed to be Christian. I am tempted to isolate, to hide safely behind emotional walls and keep my distance from people who are bound to hurt me. Intimacy, I surmise, is not worth the risk of the inevitable pain it causes. The “lawlessness” of others makes my “love… grow cold”.

Jesus Christ knew all too well the price of love, but He gave it anyway and commands me to do the same.

“But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”

The gift of salvation is perfected in the furnace of “tribulation”. Without “tribulation” there can be no real salvation. Otherwise, what would I need saving from?

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached
in all the world as a witness to all the nations…”

The message of my life means nothing if I do not soar above “lawlessness” surrounding me and choose to love like Christ. This is the “gospel of the kingdom” I must preach “in all the world as a witness to all the nations”. God graciously waits for believers to demonstrate this level of radical love before “the end will come”.

2 comments:

A Skin Bag for Jesus! said...

"The “lawlessness” of others can make my “love… grow cold”."

Wow! I never realized before the picture those words paint. Nor have I ever thought before of the Truth in that way. We often are quick to hate (or let our love grow cold) because we've been offended, as this scripture put it (and you so greatly explained) because of the lawlessness of others.

Wow. That's huge!

Last November I started teaching Bible in a couple of prisons. Recently, more doors are being opened for me to go in to help with a Pre-Release Program targeted to prepare those whose sentences are up or about to be paroled for the outside in such a way as to hopefully equip them NOT to re-offend and go back to prison again once released. The module that I've been assigned to work in is the only one that is faith based. It's called: Program H.E.A.L.

Meaning: Helping Everyone Acquire Love!

It's all about love! Because if we can first receive the love that God gives and then learn to love ourselves and then love other despite what they do or have done or whether we first like them or not... we won't kill, steal, covet, hate.... etc. We'll be quicker to show mercy, and quicker to grace, and quicker to forgive.... because as Jesus said, "Father, they know not what they do...".

I know this comment is probably too long to post (I could write more. LOL). But I just wanted you to see how perfectly fitting the scripture you just used goes with my immediate moment.

I'll end with a statement you made so profoundly: "Jesus Christ knew all too well the price of love, but He gave it anyway and commands me to do the same."

Thanks again for blessing me with your words. I'll carry them... and take them to prison with me to also bless them. Bet you never thought you'd be reaching those imprisoned behind bars in Alabama soon because of the words you wrote when you were writing them to post. :)

Dave Scriven said...

Hi SB,

Thank you for you comments. It really blesses me. I pray you will be super effective in the prisons with the message of Christ. I write here five days a week. I also post these at Open Salon, which is a writer's blog with a liberal bent. I hope to present the gospel in that forum at http://open.salon.com/blog/scrivend. Check it out.

I am involved in an addiction ministry you can see at www.423men.blogspot.com. Also, if you are interested, you can find a link to "My Story" on the left column of my Word Traveler site.

God Bless and thanks for the kinds and encouraging words.

Dave