Thursday, August 25, 2011

Carelessness--The Story of Sardis

And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
Revelation 3:1-3

The ancient city of Sardis was strategically located on an escarpment at the base of Mt. Tmolus about 1000 feet above the valley of Hermus.  This location gave the inhabitants of this community a false sense of security.  History tells us that this distorted view of their invulnerability led to disaster when Cyrus the Great attacked the city circa 549 to 546 BC.  King Croseus of Lydia decided not to guard the cliffs on three sides of Sardis, his capital, as he assumed that the Persians would not be able to scale the sheer faces and attack.  The story goes that a soldier of Sardis accidentally dropped his helmet over one of the cliffs.  He then used a path known to the locals to recover the helmet, but his actions were observed by a Persian warrior named Hyeroeades.  The next night, Hyeroeades and an assault team used the path on the unguarded side of the cliffs thus gaining access to the city.  Sardis was soon overrun.

The people of Sardis did not learn their lesson.  Around 214 BC the city was again under siege by Antiochus III.  His rival, Achaeus, apparently made the same mistake as his predecessor, Croseus.  Soon the city was captured and razed.  Surely, this is what Jesus was referring to when he mentioned for them to be watchful.  The problem was that the city was not situated on a solid rock mountain, but on a hill of clay.  As the clay weathered and eroded, it left places that could be climbed and exploited by the enemy.  They were not as secure as they thought they were.  

It seems that many are living like the people of Sardis.  They momentarily get worked up if an unexpected catastrophe happens, such as the unusual Mineral, VA earthquake.  However, as soon as things settle  it is business as normal without a second thought for their eternal soul.  Many are not paying attention to the writing on the wall and are therefore leaving their lives unguarded.  It is high time we hear Jesus' message to be watchful! 

So what is there to watch anyways?  Have you noticed the unprecedented number of disasters this year in America and around the world?  It would take paragraphs to list them all, but they have not gone unnoticed.  Here is an article outlining the disasters in America by a British news service.  2011 set to become worst ever year for US weather disasters | Mail Online

This seems to be a worldwide problem!  Are you paying attention or are you like the unwary people of Sardis?  These are only the beginning of sorrows.  Don't trust in an uncertain foundation with the appearance of invulnerability.  Trust is the Rock of Ages!  Get your heart right with Jesus. He is Soon2Come!

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Matthew 24:42-44

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Sea Roaring

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
Luke 21:25-26

I have had several questions about what is going on around us.  One friend wrote that it looks like with a possible war in the Middle East, an approaching hurricane, unusual earthquakes, and other strange events that God may be trying to get our attention.  Others were saying things like, "I don't want Him to come now!  I haven't lived my life as I wish."  Fear seems to be an increasing emotion around the world.   The point is that the sea is roaring as the scripture above warned, but these are minor events compared to what is in store.

So why are people so stressed out?  Last month I shared that the scientific community is very concerned about some unusual solar activity.  Some seem to think that large solar waves could knock out the electric grid across the US or in other countries.  There is a lot of online chatter about the nearing comet, Elenin.  The talk speculates that this comet could trigger many quakes and other disasters as it aligns with the Sun, Venus, and the Earth on the 21-22 of September.  Several are scared about earthquakes.   The quake today in Mineral, Virginia was much stronger that the small temblors that this region normally experiences.  Also, the quake that struck Colorado was another unusual quake.  It was much more powerful than the normal small quakes for this area.  Many others are concerned with the approach of Hurricane Irene.  There are many worries for those looking for them. 

All of this shows a general unrest in people.  Notice again the verses above.  Just before it mentions the sea roaring, it says that the nations of the Earth are in distress.  That is easy to see today.  Many seem to sense a war between Israel and Islam soon.  After addressing the roaring sea, Luke went on to say that men's hearts were failing them for fear.  The idea of a distressed sea is in between nations and individual men.  This is not the seas of water specifically and only.  The sea is also a biblical symbol for humanity.  Luke is alluding to the unsettled feeling that will come on men as the end draws near.  The sea of worries will become stormier to the place that men's hearts will begin to fail. 

There are so many other worries that could be added.  Droughts, floods, crop loss, political unrest; the list gets longer and longer.  There is much to worry about, unless you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Then the emotion may be one of anticipation.  

For a believer, this is not a time to become overwhelmed, but a time to witness, share, and wait in expectancy for the return of Jesus.  This is the time the prophets longed to see.  The day the saints of all ages prayed for.  The day when Jesus Christ returns and straightens out this mess of a world.  What a glorious day!    

And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
Luke 21:28