Matt 24:9-14, "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. NKJV
Since the creation of man, Satan has tried to be creative in the area of distraction. When I was in elementary school, a couple of boys made it their mission in life to bully and intimidate me. Though they made threats and occasionally inflicted pain upon me, I never allowed their intimidation to prevent me from doing my school work. Now that I'm a pastor, I can look back and see that those bullies were only helping me prepare for the "real" battle. Satan is constantly trying to bully me and God's people around with the hope that we will become so fearful that we will lose faith in God and stop obeying His will in the earth.
God has given me a scripture in Isaiah 54 that can help us to combat the spirit of fear when Satan rears his lying head against us. God has promised those who remain faithful to Him that no weapon that is formed shall be able to prosper against us. Wouldn't it be nice if it stated instead, "No weapon shall be able to be formed against us?" If that were the case, then where would our faith and trust in God come into the picture? Satan doesn't just use threats; he will also use pleasurable distractions to lead believers away from fulfilling the plan of God in our lives.
When we see the devastation that is going on in the world today, we must remember the words written in Hebrews 12 : 1 - 2, Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. NKJV
If the devastation should cause us to do anything, it should draw us closer in fellowship with our heavenly Father through intercession. Yet, we see in the church that when calamity occurs, people will generally become distracted and fall away from the purpose of God for their lives. Let me write to you in this light; imagine that the news has been tracking a tornado that is scheduled to come through your neighborhood. Since there is emanate danger, you have someone keep watch while you keep your eyes on the news anchor. As they announce on the news that the tornado is just about to hit your neighborhood, you hear the person watching for the actual tornado yell, "It's across the way and headed for us." And instead of remaining inside of your home, fear drives you out into the fury of the storm where you have no protection.
This occurs whenever Christians focus on the report of the enemy's plots and plans and not on God's promises to protect and preserve us as in Psalms 91. Let me conclude with this thought. Jesus foretold us about these events transpiring over two-thousand years ago, and it was written down for our admonishment. "Seeing" warns us in Matthew and says, "See that I have told you before it happens, lest you become offended." (My version)
Read the passage from Matthew 24 again and look at what Jesus tells us while all of the deceit, hard heartedness and tribulation are taking place. ...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.
He commands us to remain focused and walking by faith and NOT BY SIGHT. He is very capable and willing to keep us in our hour of need as long as we don't break rank and run out from spiritual covering (Obedience). If fear has gripped your heart and your attention to the point that you're slipping in your walk, it means you're being seduced into Satan's deceptive web of fear. Ask the Lord to strengthen your heart with might through the Holy Spirit and repent. (Ephesians 3) Though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil. Why? Because God is with us; His rod and staff they comfort us, and we will DWELL in the house of the Lord forever. PROTECTION from the storm!
Abiding Under the Shadow,