Week of October 9
In case you missed them, UpWords has already given away 4 chapters of Fearless as free PDF downloads:
Chapter 1, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 9
If you would like to read the entire book, please consider supporting UpWords, the nonprofit teaching ministry of Max Lucado with yourpurchase of Fearless, or became an annual ministry partner and receive a free copy of Fearless (along with discounts, free MP3 sermons and more).
If you live in a world darkened by sin, you may be its victim.
Jesus is honest about the life we are called to lead. There is no guarantee that just because we belong to him we will go unscathed. No promise is found in Scripture that says when you follow the king you are exempt from battle. No, often just the opposite is the case.
How do we survive the battle? How do we endure the fray?
Jesus says: "Those people who keep their faith until the end will be saved" (Matthew 24:13 NCV).
He doesn't say if you succeed you will be saved. Or if you come out on top you will be saved. He says if you endure.
From Fear Not Promise Book
Originally printed in And the Angels Were Silent
by Max Lucado
I could do without the pharmaceutical warnings. I understand their purpose, mind you. Medical manufacturers must caution against every potential tragedy so that when we take their pill and grow a third arm or turn green, we can't sue them. I get that. Still, there is something about the merger of happy faces with voice-over advisories of paralysis that just doesn't work.
Let's hope this practice of total disclosure doesn't spill over into the delivery room. It might. After all, about-to-be-born babies need to know what they are getting into. Prebirth warnings could likely become standard maternity-ward procedure. Can you imagine the scene? A lawyer stands at a woman's bedside. She's panting Lamaze breaths between contractions. He's reading the fine print of a contract in the direction of her belly.
Welcome to the post-umbilical cord world. Be advised, however, that human life has been known, in most cases, to result in death. Some individuals have reported experiences with lethal viruses, chemical agents, and/or bloodthirsty terrorists. Birth can also result in fatal encounters with tsunamis, inebriated pilots, road rage, famine, nuclear disaster, and/or PMS. Side effects of living include super viruses, heart disease, and final exams. Human life is not recommended for anyone who cannot share a planet with evil despots or survive a flight on airplane food.
Life is a dangerous endeavor. We pass our days in the shadows of ominous realities. The power to annihilate humanity has, it seems, been placed in the hands of people who are happy to do so. Discussions of global attack prompted one small boy to beg, "Please, Mother, can't we go some place where there isn't any sky?"1 If the global temperature rises a few more degrees . . . if classified information falls into sinister hands . . . if the wrong person pushes the wrong red button . . . What if things only get worse?
Christ tells us that they will. He predicts spiritual bailouts, ecological turmoil, and worldwide persecution. Yet in the midst of it all, he contends bravery is still an option.
"Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." (Matt. 24:4-14 niv)
Things are going to get bad, really bad, before they get better. And when conditions worsen, "See to it that you are not alarmed" (v. 6 niv). Jesus chose a stout term for alarmed that he used on no other occasion. It means "to wail, to cry aloud," as if Jesus counseled the disciples, "Don't freak out when bad stuff happens...."