As I walked out into the hallway of the ocean-front condo this morning, I saw a USA Today paper lying by the door of our neighbor’s room. Like a downbeat doormat it sat there, its loud headlines easily summed up in two words: Bad, and News. I was reminded of this quote: “The final movements will be rapid ones.”
Those of us who are looking forward to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to earth are probably aware of this ominous warning about the end. Not only is it gonna happen soon, it’s gonna happen fast!
“Soon” means that the Second Coming is building on the horizon like a huge thunderstorm. We can feel the air temperature change, sense the new wind direction, and shut all the windows (i.e. get ready) as we wait to see if the storm will dissolve into nothingness. At some point the storm will shift into the unstoppable maelstrom of inevitability, and that brings us to its speed.
“Fast” means that the apocalyptic chain reaction of the Time of the End strikes our planet with all the fury of a cosmic air hammer. These events intensify one notch at a time and, like a ratchet, can go only in one direction. For us humans, it could be like being in a boxing ring with Rocky Marciano, and the hits keep coming. Already reeling from one blow, we are slammed with another and another and another, and they keep getting faster. How can we survive that?
We can survive by turning off and tuning in. Huh? No, this is not a 1967 counterculture hippy-inspired groovy phrase. This is serious. We can (and must) turn off the distractions in our lives. For most of us that means cutting the umbilical television cord and other things. Not owning one, I’m pretty ignorant when it comes to TV, and every time I am in a hotel (like now, for instance), I get reminded of the tasteless chum on television. My fault for turning it on – I know. But seriously, in the age of smart phones, smart refrigerators, smart cars and smart gadgets & glasses, where does dumb go when smart is hogging all the attention? It goes to TV.
With programs like “Sex Change Hospital,” “Cop Rock” and “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” the toxemia of television reflects the nation’s intellectual capacity and contributes to its decline all at the same time. People call TV the idiot box for good reasons .
Now, I admire people who have television in their homes and control it; I’m not sure I would. I also appreciate the tremendous good that 3ABN does, and I recommend it. However a toll is being taken on the spiritual lives of people who watch secular television, and the time has come to turn it off altogether. There’s another after-effect that we don’t hear much about. TV and movies desensitize a person to pain and lowers their compassion level. It can also lead to that dreaded condition that most of us have addressed in our wills — living in a vegetative state dependent on some machine. Just unplug me if that happens, ok? Cut the TV cord. That’s what I mean by “turning off.”
What about “tuning in?” To survive the spiritual hammer blows of the Time of the End, we must be connected to the Great Receiver. Now, more than ever we must know what we believe and why, and that belief must be anchored in the Word of God.
I don’t know how it is with you, but I can get pretty frustrated when three or more difficult things happen at the same time in the business realm. As an average guy, I stink at multi-tasking and excel at map reading. My wife is better at doing-a-bunch-of-things-at-the-same-time than I am, but stinks at map reading. Both of us need the same things to face these Last Days. Those things are, a heart committed to God, the Word of God hidden inside us, and a head in tune with the mind of Christ. That’s what I mean by “tuning in.” “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
What about the rapidity of the final movements? The best medicine for things that happen fast is preparedness. We need a daily dose of Preparation F. Faith. Drink up. With faith we will lean on the everlasting arms and let them carry us through the time of trial before us. With faith we will receive the grace of Christ with honesty. By faith we stand on the threshold of the eternal city, yes even in the Time of Trouble.
Somewhere out there, the last USA Today paper will be written. Beyond that, the only thing worth reading is the Lamb’s Book of Life. By turning off distractions, tuning into the Lord through His Word and heartfelt prayer, our names will remain there. What to do. For starters, love others more than ourselves, humble ourselves as if it is a matter of life and death. I close with something that the Lord strongly impressed upon me last October. The church is flying into a box canyon, and the only people who are going to come out alive — are the humble.
One more thing. These are the final movements. The end. The last curtain fall. Ain’t no second chances friend; we are living in our second chance.