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Birth Pains

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“When you hear of wars and revolutions do not be frightened.  These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.” [Luke 21.9] “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth pains.” [Matthew 24.7-8]

Anyone who has ever given birth will tell you that the birth pains come in ever increasing frequency and severity, and when those contractions are almost one a minute it is time to call the doctor, for birth is imminent!  (That is, in a first world hospital setting.)

In this year within one month, the world has seen three revolutions and many others trying to start.  Now compare this with the time gap between the American revolution of 1771 and the French revolution of 1789 to the Russian revolution of 1917 and the Chinese revolutions of 1911 and of 1949.  You see a gap of shortening of 122 years between the American/French revolutions to the Chinese/Russian revolutions and then 32 years to the Chinese (communist) revolution of 1949.  This year in one month, there were three.  By any standard, the birth pains are increasing.

Now, how would it be if those assisting the birth were frightened and in disarray?  Certainly no nurse, midwife or doctor who is afraid or frightened should be in the delivery room.

So likewise… anyone who is fearful of what is coming has already disobeyed the Lord, for He clearly said, “See to it that you are not alarmed.” [Matthew 24.6] In fact, in Mark 13.7 He commanded:  “…do not be alarmed,” and in Luke 21.9:  “…do not be frightened.”

How do you know if you are frightened?

A frightened person has a tendency to avoid that which he fears.  So if your teaching and preaching as a pastor avoids this topic, you are showing signs of being frightened.  Another behaviour of a frightened person is that though he speaks of the subject, he speaks of it in terms of avoidance.  That is, those who speak of these days of distress as days to be avoided and to escape from, even to be raptured out of, are in fact frightened of them, and in being frightened, they have disobeyed the Lord.

A person can get alarmed if he is not prepared for an event or allows an event to take him by surprise.  A totally unprepared person will not only be alarmed by the event, but will remain alarmed… that is, first the event catches him unawares and then, in the midst of the event, he is incapable of coping and helping himself or others.  He has what many call a “panic attack.”

You may be alarmed by an unexpected event even if you have prepared for it, but to remain alarmed in it is the proof that you have never really been prepared.  As such, if such things as are happening alarm you, you are not prepared for them… especially if you remain alarmed through them… and so you have disobeyed the Lord.  So pastors… check yourselves.  What do you say about these days of distress that now surround us, these birth pains that are increasing and reaching their natural climax like all birth pains do?

Do you avoid mentioning them or preaching about them lest you frighten your congregations?  Or is the truth it is you who are the one who is frightened?  Do you have great sermons and teachings about avoiding falling victim to these events so that you would not have to face them?  If the so-called pre-tribulation rapture is part of your preaching, the truth is:  You are frightened and so, you have not obeyed.

Does the sudden appearance of storms, wars, revolutions and earthquakes alarm you and do you stay alarmed in their midst?  If that is the case… you are disobedient to the Lord.  For your sermons to comfort the flock that is caught in these events, do you feign ignorance of the ways of God and sympathize with the people for such ‘unexpected’ tragedies and lament about the mysterious ways of God?

Then listen and listen well… God’s ways are mysterious only to those who do not know Him, just as any person’s ways are mysterious to those who do not know him.

The truth is:  You have not read, you have not believed and you have not prepared.  For if you have read, you would not be frightened… apprehensive, but not frightened.  Like a doctor who has done his studies and practice, an impending birth does not frighten him, even though he may be apprehensive so that he may be ready for every eventuality.  If you are alarmed, then like a doctor who is alarmed at the bleeding of a birth, you are not prepared.  And if you remain alarmed, then like a doctor who remains alarmed through the birth, you are not fit to be there.

So then, you pastors who are in charge of the flocks of the Lord… check your faith and your speech for they betray your fear and the things that you fear.

A pastor who never mentions the subject in his sermons is frightened of these end days, just as one who teaches about the great escape that will be there for the church before the end days begin.  One who is alarmed at what is about to happen and continues to be alarmed in the midst of it, like those who are frightened, share this one truth:  They have disobeyed the Lord.

If you are frightened, confess your fear and repent that God may give you good courage, and more important than courage, that He may give you the power and ability to overcome these days of distress for yourself and for those He has entrusted to you.

So, awake from your slumber so that you are not alarmed and gird yourself so that you are not frightened.  There is still some time left yet, just as there is still time for a doctor to finalise his preparations… putting on his gown, mask and gloves even as he stands next to the patient, watching.

Likewise, there is time, pastors, to prepare… to practise His word until He can trust you with the power of the Holy Spirit so that when wars and revolutions come you can protect your people from the sword and guns by that power.  When earthquakes come you can rescue them from the debris or you have already moved them to the precise place that will be spared, because you can recognise the Holy Spirit’s voice.  When pestilence comes you can heal them.  When famine comes you can multiply the food and water.  So that in all things you are more than conquerors in Christ… you are overcomers.  The birth pains are increased, birth is imminent… the doctor has been summoned.

“Is any man afraid or faint hearted?  Let him go home so that his brothers will not become disheartened too.” [Deuteronomy 20.8]

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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®,
NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™  Used by permission of Zondervan.  All rights reserved worldwide.  www.zondervan.com

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