As I write this article for the Clergy View column, I am viewing from our apartment the vast damage caused by two hurricanes (Frances and Jeanne) that ravaged this area.
As we arrived here in southern Florida a few days ago, my wife and I were amazed at the destruction we saw already as we began to enter the state of Florida.
We all can recall that Florida was hit by a total of four hurricanes last summer. The power behind the winds of the hurricanes cannot be matched to anything man might be able to conceive. The powers of nature are incomprehensible, for they show the powers of the Almighty God. This prompted me to refer to the portion of Scripture recorded in St. Matthew 24:3-8, where Jesus is responding to the questions of his disciples concerning the last times.
The disciples had asked Jesus the questions: "Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (vs. 3) Jesus answered in this way: "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." (vs. 4 & 5)
The main concern that one should have in our time is how can I find the living God, and His kingdom, here upon this earth whereby I can be saved?
In my referred to Scripture, Jesus speaks about wars and rumors of wars, and how the nations will rise against each other, and how there shall be famines and pestilences, and earthquakes in diverse places. (St. Matt. 24:6-7)
We have read and heard about hurricanes, typhoons and earthquakes in the various parts of the world. Many of these have happened, or are happening, in our own country, including the possible eruption of volcanoes. Have we not read about famines, especially in many of the African countries? Have we not heard about pestilences? The disease, known as AIDS, can be counted as one of them and is affecting many people in almost every country in the world.
Jesus also told his disciples, "See that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." (St. Matt. 24:6)
As I have viewed the damage to such a large area by the recent four hurricanes that struck Florida, these are also but a reminder to mankind, as stated by Jesus in his response and instruction to the disciples. Since man is immortal, we need to prepare ourselves in this life for the life to come. We all have that knowledge that some day we shall die and that this world will have an end.
We are also reminded of the following words of God: "It is appointed unto man once to die" (Hebrews 9:27); "for as in Adam, all die." (I Corinthians 15:22) Jesus also spoke of the end of the world, i.e., "So shall it be in the end of this world," (St. Matt. 13:40) "and this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (St. Matt. 24:14)
Also, we are reminded by the following words of Scripture: "Seeing thou that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." (II Peter 3: 11-14)
How should one react to all this? In his sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave the only possible answer: "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness." (St. Matt. 6:33)
Also, he gave the instruction to: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and there are many who go by it. For the gate is narrow, and difficult is the way, which leads to life, and there are few who find it." (St. Matt. 7:13-14)
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