My old one comes down with the old year.
This year is another common year. Meaning, it is an ordinary year of 365 days, not a leap year. But I feel it will be an uncommon year, and an extraordinary one.
So many things are happening simultaneously all over the world: disasters, government upheavals, economic downturns, civil wars, moral degeneration, idol worship, and many more. And it isn't going to get better.
In many evangelical churches, the sermon is mostly about the end times. There are just too many signs about God's second coming that are difficult to ignore. It seems to be the beginning of the end.
The six signs of the end of age given by Jesus in the book of Matthew alone are being fulfilled at a very fast rate daily. In Matthew24:3 Jesus was asked, "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?" Jesus replied:
1. False prophets and christs
Matthew 24:5 "For many will come in my name, saying, I am christ, and will mislead many."
Matthew 24:11 "And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many."
We've heard of many prophesies about the end of the world, and also of cult leaders claiming to be the messiah.
2. Famines and earthquakes
Matthew 24:7 "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes."
A large portion of the world's 5 billion people are suffering in hunger. And a staggering number of seismic events occur around the world daily, more than those from 1890 to 1900.
Matthew 24:6 "And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end."
We simply have to turn on our TV sets or goggle news websites and we hear of wars and impending wars in many places of the world killing thousands of people.
Matthew 24:8-9 "But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of my name."
Christians are suffering from ridicule, hatred, or discrimination in many parts of the world today.
6. The gospel preached throughout the world
Matthew 24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come."
Media has made it possible for the gospel to be preached around the globe. And at no time has there been more Bible translations than today; the Bible continues to be the best-selling book of all time. Missionaries are traveling to places unreached by media to preach about the good news of salvation.
Nobody knows when the end of age will come; it can come this uncommon year or any common year thereafter. But to those who believe in the saving grace of Jesus, we are encouraged to "keep watch."
A great way to keep watch is to live like today were our last.
But we can't do that without grace. My prayer, then, is that we may all be blessed with a grace-focused, grace-centered, grace-aligned, and grace-filled year!