Hope for Living: We can find hope — and boldness — in pages of Bible

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I appreciate all who take time to read these weekend columns, and I give the Lord the praise for leading me in what to write these past 11 or 12 years.

Friends, this ol’ world is becoming more and more dangerous to live in. Turn on the news or pick up the paper and what do we see? Let’s look for a few minutes at what the Bible tells us.

In Matthew, chapter 24, Jesus says, “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying I am the Christ, and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.

“All these are the beginning of sorrows. 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 gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:4-14).

Does this sound familiar to you?

Jesus Christ spoke these words in response to the disciples asking, “What will be the sign of your coming, and the end of the age?” I am afraid that to many confessing Christians will say, “Oh, we have seen these things before and nothing ever came of it.” Yet have you read (in 2 Peter 3:3,4) where there were false teachers, unbelievers, who would deny God’s Word and try to steal the hope of believers?

Peter wrote, “… scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep (died), all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”

My heart breaks for those who would deny what is written in the Bible. The Word MUST be taken in context, not picking the verses you like and disregarding the ones you don’t, as if we were picking fruit off of a tree.

Friends, we must stand firm in our faith in Jesus Christ. We must never back down; we must not compromise Scripture. All the promises of God in Him (Jesus Christ) are yes and amen (2 Corinthians 1:20). As we see evil and immorality increasing, we must remember that all empires in world history who rejected God’s Word and embraced immorality suddenly fell and were no more.

Christians, I want to encourage you to be bold, to proclaim the truth that is written in your hearts by the Holy Spirit. A great example is in Acts 4:18-20: “… the council (Sanhedrin) called Peter and John before them, telling them not to speak at all or to teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered … ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak of the things which we have seen and heard.’”

Then later in the chapter (verse 29) they prayed, “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to your servants that with all boldness they may speak your word.”

To you who have never responded to the voice of the Holy Spirit that is drawing you to Jesus, convincing you of having sinned against God: Today, don’t turn Him away. Jesus said “ye must be born again” (John 3:3).

“For all have sinned and and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Ask Jesus to forgive you and to save you. Commit your life to serving Him.

George Whitfield once said, “If one evil thought, if one evil word, if one evil action, deserves eternal damnation, how many hells, my friends, do every one of us deserve, whose whole lives have been one continued rebellion against God!”

Something to seriously think about…

Lance Stevens is an evangelist with Southeastern Evangelistic Group. He and his wife, Judy, are formerly of Greenfield. This weekly column is written by local clergy members. Send comments to [email protected].