This past Sunday at CrossHope Chapel we paused from our current series through the Gospel of Matthew for a Prophecy Update. It was a First Sunday so we also celebrated communion and had potluck together.
We talked briefly about conditions in the Middle East but my intention with this Prophecy Update was simply to encourage us all to stay focus on Jesus and not get dragged down with the anxieties of these times.
We looked at the 21st chapter of Luke, and talked about Luke 21:34, noting the challenges we are all facing with keeping our mind focused on Jesus and not on the wind driven waves about us.
Remembering when Peter walked on water, he was fine as long as his eyes were fixed on the Lord, but the minute he began to focus on the wind and waves he sank. It’s a challenge we must all work through in our own lives in these times, too.
In Luke 21:34 Jesus says, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap“ (NIV).
Now, none of us had concerns of our hearts being weighed down with “carousing” or “drunkenness” but the “anxieties of life” are very real, even for Christians, and exactly why Jesus warned that people would be “apprehensive of what is coming on the world” (Luke 21:26, NIV).
The more we focus on the escalating evil and corruption in our society the more that begins to weigh down our hearts, leaving us in despair and stealing the joy of salvation. Remember, the words of Nehemiah: “for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10, NIV).
Our strength in the Lord comes by staying in communion with Him. We remain strong in our faith by keeping our eyes on the Lord. That doesn’t mean we ignore the events and signs of the times, we watch and recognize it, but we refuse to lose our joy over it.
It’s easy to get weighed down with a sense of fear and perplexity for the future, but as Jesus advised in Luke 21:36, we can find the balance as we “watch and pray” and it is by prayer that we keep our eyes fixed on the Lord and stay above the waves.
As we watch and recognize signs of the end, our focus should not be those signs but the events that the signs point toward — the nearness of the return of our Savior.
There is a similar parallel with the purpose of road signs and the signs that Jesus spoke of regarding His return.
When we drive down the interstate looking for the exit to our destination, we watch for signs that it is near. We do not stop on the off ramp staring at the sign. Rather we focus beyond that sign toward the destination that the sign points to. The sign is not the destination, it merely points to it.
Likewise the signs of our times merely point our attention to our destination — the blessed hope of being caught up “to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
When the anxieties of these times engulf us like the waves did to Peter, let’s turn our eyes on Jesus and His soon return.
See you this coming Sunday when we will open to the 21st chapter of Matthew.