"As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom."--Daniel 7:21-22
Kenneth and I studied this chapter today, and he pointed out just how dire things will become for the people of God before the end. We will be oppressed on all sides. There will come a time when our apologetics for Christianity and even our arguments for morals will be defeated, when the gospel is corrupted almost everywhere and eventually disbelieved, when lawlessness increases and love grows cold, when for the "good of the world" those who still cling to Christ will be killed by the droves.
"Oh find me faithful. Find me faithful," I prayed. For that devastation won't come all of a sudden--the areas of sinking sand Christians have set themselves upon will spread until they give way. Even if it doesn't happen in my lifetime, what is done in my lifetime will set the stage. I may well be accountable one day for some place where the Church stands or falls. And that is a frightening thought as I consider all the places where I've been susceptible to distortions, listening to those who proudly speak in Christ's name but have no understanding of Him.
After I finished that rather distraught meditation, I saw an e-mail from a supporter with a Lenten devotional from LakeRidge UMC. It was on the efficacy of prayer when we do it for its true reason--to abide in Him. For when we abide in Him, our hearts are reshaped to have the mind and love of the God who is able to do more than we ask or think.
It's time for repentance, for humbly seeking His face and not His blessing on what I think deserves it. Once again I must seek to abide in Him, knowing that apart from Him I can do nothing. Only then can I hope for the second part of my prayer -- that somehow my service to the people of God will preserve faith for the Son of Man to find when He returns (Luke 18:8).