“One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.  He replied, ‘ You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times!‘” (Matthew 16:1-3)

“Jesus told them, ‘Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’  They will deceive many.  And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic.  Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately.  Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.  Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed.  You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers.  And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other.  And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people.  Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:4-14)

“Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires.  They will say, ‘What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again?  From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.’  They deliberately forget that God made the heavens by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water.  Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood.  And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire.  They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.  But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.  The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think.  No, he is being patient for your sake.  He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.  But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief.”  (2 Peter 3:3-10a)

“Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.  Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along.  On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames.  But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.  And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.  And remember, the Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved.  This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him–speaking of these things in all of his letters.  Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture.  And this will result in their destruction.” (2 Peter 3:10b-16)

The whole world is in turmoil and news of world-wide happenings (propaganda or otherwise) is instantly broadcasted everywhere, sowing uncertainty, fear, and discord in the hearts of the world’s inhabitants.

Wars, threats of wars, terrorism, persecution, pestilence, apocalyptic weather, earthquakes, and famine are just some of the signs that give testimony to the times we are living in; signs Jesus told us to look for and pay attention to. These signs, just as a red sky in the morning signals foul weather all day, are signs that the end is near.

Many scoff, “Yeah, yeah, there have been wars, terrorism, pestilence, earthquakes and really bad weather and famines and plagues that have wiped out hundreds of millions of people since the very beginning of time.  How is today any different from the rest of Earth’s history?”

From a spiritual perspective, it is interesting to note that the acceleration of one bad event after another and even simultaneous bad events on the world stage are de-sensitizing mankind’s perspective on atrocities and disasters.  The more we hear of horrendous events happening throughout the world, the less we care.  It is too much to process in our minds and our emotions.  The very things that should be bringing us to our knees in prayer before God are instead eliciting a deep desire to distract ourselves.

It is more desirable to distract ourselves and there is no limit to the distractions at hand in these times.  And so, while the world rumbles, apathy reigns.  And when apathy reigns, evil does, too.

And this may be the most important sign of these times.  Jesus told us that “the love of many will grow cold” and this little gem of truth is the separating factor that answers the scoffers.  In our time, on a world-wide scale, mankind is bombarded with incessant bad news and our hearts are growing cold.

As Christians, we are admonished by our Holy Father in Heaven to guard our hearts above all else (Proverbs 4:23), to turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it (Psalm 34:14), fix our thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable; to think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).  We are, each of us, commanded to share the Gospel with others according to our own abilities given to us by God and above all, to love others, especially our enemies (1 Corinthians chapter 12 and 13).

While we witness the sporadic and violent gasps of this age coming to an end, Christians are the ones chosen by the Most High God to usher in the Day of the Lord, which will make all things new.

Our very lives should be a testimony that we belong not to this dying world, but to Christ.  Let us check ourselves and ask God to search our hearts and correct us while there is still time.  He is being patient with everyone, the lost and saved alike.

The fruit of our lives should be godly living instead of a life tossed to and fro by the desires and selfishness of the flesh, prayer for everyone and everything instead of cold apathy to what we see and hear, love and grace given to all including our enemy, and the bold willingness to share Christ whenever the opportunity knocks.

The Christian life is not for the faint of heart nor the fickle, as it demands more from us than we are capable of on our own.  But the Spirit who lives in us is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.  And through Jesus Christ, who has overcome the world, we look forward to the day of God and hurry it along.

When we hear of our brothers and sisters in Christ being raped, violated, persecuted, imprisoned, mocked and murdered across the world, let us remember that Jesus told us long ago it would happen and that it would escalate exponentially in the last days.  We must not be dismayed.  We must watch and be alert and live the way He told us to.  We must pray and guard our hearts from apathy, understanding that these things are happening just like He said they would.  He is near.

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