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Signs of the Times and Golden Opportunities

The tumultuous events that have occurred in the past several years seem to be a harbinger of the end of the world. At the very least they seem to indicate the end of the world as we have known it. Continuing Islamic terrorism, flare-ups in the never ending Arab/Israeli Mideast Conflict, plus worldwide financial problems, have shaken the earth. Its population now seems to be cloaked in a mantle of fear, a great cry for help is on the lips of many. A bitter presidential election campaign in the United States highlights deep divisions-and regardless of who wins, half of the people in the nation will continue to be upset. People are suffering from a loss of jobs, savings, coping with rising health costs, loss of educational opportunities, home foreclosures, etc., etc. They want to know how to survive in perilous times, and many are asking, "Why is a loving God allowing such awful things to happen to so many people?"

To be able to operate under these conditions we need to keep several things in mind. For example, fear paralyzes and faith empowers. Regardless of what is going on around us, we must walk in faith. We must believe that our God has a good plan for our lives, that He wants to build us up, and not tear us down (Jer 29:11). We also need to keep in mind that this world is Satan's kingdom, and unfortunately, many people are traveling his broad way that leads to destruction. On the other hand, our Father wants us to choose His narrow way, which leads to eternal life (Mat 7:13-14). To accomplish His purposes in the earth, He allows us to get into positions that we don't like and want to be delivered from. Even so, in order to see His powerful right arm of deliverance, we first have to be in a situation from which we need to be delivered.

The situation in ancient Egypt got so bad that the sons of Israel "cried out" for deliverance (Exo 2:23). The crisis we now find ourselves in is likewise leading many to cry out. The end result being that it will cause many to turn from the broad way of destruction and onto YHVH's narrow way of eternal life. Tribulation can and does produce good things in our lives. Romans 5:1-5 says, "Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through Messiah Yeshua, through whom we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Tribulation can also help us learn to choose to walk as Messiah Yeshua walked (1 John 1:7; 2:6; 2 John 1:6).

We live in a world with some ungodly people, but this has always been the case with YHVH's people. When He delivered Israel from Egypt, they were surrounded by people who wanted to destroy them. YHVH ultimately took them into the Promised Land. Moreover, even in the New Jerusalem there will be ungodly people outside its gates, so we will find ourselves in battles even then (Rev 22:14-15).

Fortunately, as Believers, we can see some good news in our current global meltdown. As Satan increases his attempts to turn people from YHVH, we know that the hour for Yeshua's return and the establishment of His Kingdom on earth is drawing near. While we find an increasing number of desperately needy people in the world, the silver lining in this gloomy fact is that it is leading to an increase in the number of people who are now ready to hear "the Gospel of His Kingdom" (Mat 4:23).

To help establish His Kingdom, we first have a few things that we need to overcome. Again, fear paralyzes and faith empowers. In these difficult times, many are unfortunately preaching a fear-mongering gospel. While we know that Joseph stored up food for difficult times in Egypt, let us remember that "Messiah ben Joseph" left us an example of multiplying loaves and fishes when He prayed over them in faith (Mark 6:41-43). Thus, we need to balance the idea of wise storage of things for times of need with practicing prayers of faith in our Father's provision.

We cannot be talked out of this truth based on the idea that we need to "leave the work to the Messiah." We instead need to be about our Father's business. We cannot be immobilized by fear, because, in Luke 18, Yeshua taught us to pray and not lose heart, even when a wicked judge is ruling over us. He told us to persist in our attempts for truth and justice. After teaching this truth in a parable, He asked the people, "When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth?" (vss 1-8).

When Yeshua returns, will He find us working toward the restoration of His Kingdom? Will He find us preaching His "Gospel of the Kingdom"? We surely want to be found that way because YHVH warns us, "My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him." We do not want to be among those who shrink back to destruction, but with those who have faith to the preserving of the soul (Heb 10:38-39).

Another thing that we need to beware in these trying times is arrogance in people who think "they" understand what YHVH is doing in the earth today. Some people are condescending and even mean-spirited with those who do not yet understand the things that are happening around them. These condemning and patronizing people need to beware, because Messiah Yeshua also told a parable to some "people who trusted in themselves." They believed "they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt." So He told them a story: "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: 'God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!' I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 18:9-14).

Suffering

We must not allow either fear, nor pride, to get in the way of what our God wants to accomplish in this hour. We instead need to be filled with faith that He wants to restore the Kingdom to Israel-and He wants to use us to help do just that!

May we go forth in true humility and absolute faith.

Shalom b'Yeshua

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