The mountain ahead

I DREAM about it often, that place. A brilliant blue sky. Clear water to refresh me. A valley brims with nature’s delights. Mountains rise up inviting me to look to heaven. A place I know where God is self-evident. A place where heaven descends to touch the earth. A place of peace and calm. But I am not there yet. I am here, in this life now. And I witness events that haunt me.

We’ve been beaten down for years now. The virus of worry exhausted us. And just when we thought it was okay to come out, new storm clouds have gathered. But these really aren’t new at all. They have been rumbling for years now. We’ve been living on borrowed time. And now, a new reality has arrived. Our convictions will be tested to the core.

If I only could go to the mountains…

The problem is truth. It’s not that we don’t know when something is true. But instead, the truth is we are powerless. The reality is that the fight has gone out of us. We’re too busy living superficially. We’ve been made lazy by the anesthesia of modern life. And we are tired.

In some places, events have reached a boiling point. In Sri Lanka the gas pumps are running dry. In the UK, 1 in 4 people skip meals due to high food prices. Meanwhile arms dealers make obscene fortunes waging war. And the waves of protest continue on and on. It’s one thing to protest when driven by culture war narratives. It’s another thing when you have no food or petrol. 

How far along are we on the curve of pain? Are we most of the way? Half way? I would be lying if I didn’t say we’ve only just begun. This is not pessimism. The writing’s on the wall. Geopolitical conflict, inflation, war, and scarcity are all ramping up at once. A hot summer of discontent awaits us. A cold winter of despair will follow.

Some may cover their eyes and ears and say, stop it. Please don’t make it worse for me. I already have enough to worry about. And that’s the problem. The truth. The truth is trouble is coming. And we can hide our heads in the sand, or we can prepare.

If you knew a hurricane was blowing in, what would you do? Shut the door tight, close the windows, secure your home. You might even evacuate. The coming age will require all your faculties. This is not the time to hope that things will get better on their own. This is the time to dig into that inner strength you never knew you had. God given strength.

It is time to fortify bonds with others because together is how we survive best. Let us put aside our petty differences. Smoke is in the air. We cannot ignore it any longer. Solid preparation starts with inner strength, family, and community.

I’m not talking about hoarding food and buying bullets. Instead, I’m talking about stripping away the unnecessary. I’m talking about getting serious, once and for all about the journey. If I believe in God, my response to what’s coming must be fully God-centered.

I know this message will resonate with only a few people. They also see where things are headed. Hopefully, some will be awoken by my words. Others will only become more afraid or withdrawn. But the world needs as many of us as possible to prepare now. Our families and communities depend on us. And many times, the secret to survival will drive hard against our instincts.

If we only look out for ourselves, if we only protect what is ours, then we are no better than animals. Sadly, many have already adopted this mentality. Their thoughts and actions focus on defense at all costs. They may even consider killing another person as a real possibility in the name of self-defense. I find this concept nowhere in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

A weapon may deter violence in the short term, but arms only increase the risk of mutual destruction in the long term. Your enemy can always bring a bigger gun. 

But the sons and daughters of God are preparing for a different battle. We will not be shackled by fear. We will not be manipulated by Satan to seek death and destruction. These are historic times that will require great courage. Our hearts must not shrink and harden. Instead, we must forge strong, healthy, powerful relationships — with God, ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbor.

Maybe you feel like you don’t get anything from your church or community. That’s fine. But what do you think you can give? Isolation isn’t the answer. When we are generous, we imitate God.

Conviction is hard to develop. But there is no time to waste. We must break out of our slumber and rise to the challenge. It will require deep prayer and the study of God’s word. Any self-centered spirituality will not suffice. Yes, we must commune with the Lord to receive strength, but it cannot stop there. If we are to realize the Kingdom of God, it’s about giving and sharing.

Jesus never taught an every-man-for-himself philosophy. Instead, he proclaimed the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, and the pure in heart to be blessed. The righteousness of God will eventually be satisfied. And the peacemakers will be called children of God. And yes, we will be persecuted because of our faith in Christ Jesus. Nevertheless, we will rejoice and be glad as our reward is great in heaven.

Eventually, we will go to that place of clear water and brilliant blue skies. We will rest in that valley of heavenly beauty where mountains rise up and God is self-evident. And we will all fall down to worship him.

But until then, let us prepare. Let us fight the good fight. We are not children of despair. Instead, we are the sons and daughters of God. We are children of hope. Let us follow Jesus faithfully, courageously. For the Kingdom, the power, and the glory are his forever and ever. Amen.

. . . . . . .

Jesus said to his disciples: “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.

John 15:12-14

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