Week 36 Saturday

Fair Warning

Today’s scripture selection: Second Timothy 3-4

Key verses: Second Timothy 3:1-5

Some people love to talk about the “last times” – or at least they love to speculate about them.

So many books; tapes; DVDs; CDs – so many sermons preached – so many long discussions held in seminary classrooms or over coffee – all speculating about the mysterious end, and possible new beginning, of everything.

I’ve joined in many such conversations/arguments.  I call them that because people do seem to get worked up about it all.

But, when the dust settles, and we “agree to disagree” it seems to always come down to this:

Few of us are willing to swear that we know all there is to know about the mysterious future.

What we are more willing to do is take it on faith – there will be rough times ahead for those who, well, have no faith.

And on that score, the Bible has plenty of fair warning…

“But mark this:” says Paul, “There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having the form of godliness but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with such people.”

It’s quite a list.  And the warning leaves no wiggle room – “Have nothing to do with such people.”

Well, I don’t know if you think we are in the “end times” yet or not – I’ll let you argue that one out for yourselves the next time you feel up to it.

But I do know that the scriptures call us all to be watchful; ready; vigilant; careful about them because one day, it will be, spiritually speaking, a matter of life and death.

Fair warning.

Prayer: Lord, strengthen my faith and help me to be watchful, that I may know the difference between true godliness – and the mere “form” of it.  AMEN.

 

 

    

 

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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