Written By: Peter Denby, Jr.

     Many people are saying that at the end of the millennium we will see the end of time.  Can you prove that this is false?  2 Peter 3:10 is very clear on this issue!  "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…."  If we knew when the thief was coming then we have our valuables locked up, our weapons ready and the police notified.  More so when we add it to the previous verse we see that there is a reason that we are not to know the time nor the place.  Verse 9 says "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."  Let us look at that verse for a moment.  God’s promise is found in Acts 2:38-39"...Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  For the promise is unto you [those in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost 33 AD], and to your children, and to all that are afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call [Jew and Gentile alike -  everybody]".  God again shows that He wants everybody to come to Him.  And again God shows that we are to take action.  We are told again that we must repent.
     Repentance is simply the turning away from sinful behavior.  That is both simple and the most difficult thing that can ever happen.  God loves us enough to not want us to come to Him without having an appreciation as to what He has done for us.  He sent His only begotten son to die on the cross for us so that our sins ARE forgiven.  But we must turn from sin AND ask God to forgive us.
     God does not appear, from His Word, to want us to have an easy entry without being prepared.  If we knew the time and/or the place then we would be prepared.  We might even get our repentance in just under the wire.  Would we really appreciate our salvation?  Would we have really turned away from sin?  Or would we have just made sure that we looked out for ourselves and made sure that we were able to get to Heaven?  Would we be able to be workers for Him?
     Many times we as Americans do not appreciate our salvation as much as we could because of the laws here in the United States of America.  We are free to go to worship anywhere that we want.  We can talk with anyone concerning the Bible.  Even the limits in the schools are minimal and often can be circumvented with a little imagination.  We have churches in most cities and throughout the countryside.  Today most of us find little real challenge in our Christian lives.  The sacrifice is gone.  This too is where God is merciful.
     The Bible tells us that challenge builds character and Christian strength.  I believe God is not only being merciful to those who do not know Him yet, but also to them that have not had the opportunity to be tried by persecution. Matthew 5:10 says "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."  What some call religious persecution in the United States today is merely pulling your string.  Look at the world around you and see real persecution.  Look at the first century Church and see the persecution there.
     God is waiting for all who have not accepted Him into their hearts.  I believe that God is also waiting to strengthen many more Christians.  Job was strengthened! Shadrach, Meshach,  and Abednego were definitely strengthened by their persecution. (Daniel 3:8-29)
       Take some time and see if there are others that you can see that were strengthened by their trials.  There are many others written about in the Bible.
     We are the foot soldiers for Jesus.  We are best able to do our job if we allow God to ‘fly over head’ and tell us about the ‘troop movements.’  You see we can easily get lost down here in the trees of life.  We need to make sure that we let God do the leading from where He is.  He has a much better view of what is going on in all of the world than we will have until we are called home to live with Him.  As I watched the sports news today, I was reminded of this exactly.  With all our replays and elevated, and high tech, cameras we can see things that the players and officials can not.  We have a better position.  The reason that the television people spend all the money on having a blimp up there and so many cameras is - to get the whole picture.  God has a much better seat in the house of the world and especially your life.  Read Matthew 6:27-29 and follow it!  Forget the date!