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Be Vigilant: Warned by God – Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
March 21, 2021 3:00 pm

Be Vigilant: Warned by God – Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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Ann Graham Lotz with an introduction to today's message, Be Vigilant, Warned by God. This is a warning that goes out to everybody.

So, who will be caught by surprise when severe judgment falls on America? You're listening to Living in the Light, and welcome to this week's edition with Bible teacher Ann Graham Lotz. Over the next few weeks, Ann will be teaching a powerful series of messages, reminding us to be vigilant.

Here's Ann with a message focusing on Joel chapter one, first presented in 2018, but is still relevant today. On USA Today, the front page, right below the fold, was a headline that said, warning signals about gunmen somehow went unheeded. And it was talking about Devin Kelly and the shooting in Texas, and all of the things that people should have picked up on, and I won't list them because they're rough, but thing after thing after thing, where people should have known, they were warned that this was a very vicious, dangerous man, but none of the warnings were heeded. And in the end, he burst into the church and kills 26 people and ruins 20 others.

And when I thought about it, and I know God is allowed, and people ask why, and who knows why, I think the fact it's in a church makes it more horrifying to me. But I wondered, God, could you be giving us a picture of what's going to happen to our whole nation within a short period of time? And I don't know what it's going to be, but I believe disaster is coming like we've never seen before.

Judgment is coming. Another example that would be familiar to you, on April 10, 1912, you know what that date is? It's when the biggest, most luxurious, greatest ship ever built left Southampton, England on her maiden voyage. And on April 11, she was warned, you're headed for an ice floe, you need to adjust your course. April 12, she was warned. April 13, she was warned. April 14, she got seven different warnings, you're headed for an ice floe, you need to change course, you're headed for destruction, you need to alter your direction. And the telegraph operator got all those messages, and he read them. But on the Titanic, they were partying, they were having a good time, they were sending messages back and forth to Europe and the United States.

There was no time for him to pay attention to them, so he just read the warnings but didn't heed them. At 11, 20 on the night of April 14, the Titanic hit an iceberg. And 2, 20 on the morning of April 15, she went down. And the rest is history. And I see the picture of the Titanic as a picture of our ship of state.

And we're the greatest nation ever, most prosperous, most luxurious, you know, the United States, there's never been a nation like ours. And we're going in the wrong direction, we're headed for an ice floe, we're headed for destruction, and God is sending us warning after warning after warning. And we're not heeding the warnings.

And so that's where I'm very concerned that we're going to wake up one morning and find something disastrous has happened in our nation that we will wish that we had heeded the warnings about. So if you'll open your Bibles to the book of Joel, and this is the subject of the book of Joel, and you can look on your iPad, your iPhone, I have a hard copy because I love the hard copy of my Bible. I love to mark it, I love to weep over it, I love to have the little dates where God has spoken to me through it, you know, so, but I also use electronic copies, but just turn to Joel chapter one. I'm not going to read the chapter, so if you don't mind, for sake of time, I'll just refer to the verses as we go through them. But Joel is challenging us to be vigilant because we're being warned by God that judgment is coming. That's the whole message of his book, judgment is coming, judgment is imminent.

And when I say judgment, severe judgment, some major disaster that will alter our nation, probably for forever. So the warnings are credible, the warnings are comprehensive, and the warnings are compelling. So let's look, first of all, at the fact that they're credible. They're unassailable in verse one because, he says, this is the word of the Lord.

You can't get more credible than that. This is God's word. And God is a gentleman, he doesn't lie, he doesn't mock his children, he doesn't play games with us, he says what he means and he means what he says. And so this is the word of the Lord that's coming from Joel. And it's even more interesting, perhaps, when it says, this is the word of the Lord to Joel, son of Pethuel. And that's all we know about Joel right there. We don't know who Pethuel was, except he was Joel's father. We don't know who Joel was, except he was Pethuel's son. We don't know if Joel ministered in the northern kingdom, right before the Assyrians invaded. We don't know if he ministered in the southern kingdom, right before the Babylonians came in and invaded. We don't know anything about who his target audience was or what his time frame was. Isn't that interesting?

And you know why? I think it's because his message transcends time. And when Joel was given the message by God, and I'm assuming he went around and he preached it because, you know, you couldn't write it out and then print it off and hand it out like tracks. So he must have gone around preaching it, preaching it, preaching it, preaching it, but then he did write it down.

And why did he write it down? I believe it's because it's God's message to you and me today. So this is the word of the Lord, a message that transcends time, and it's passed over several thousand years and has dropped in our laps for this particular time. It's the word of the Lord.

These warnings are credible. And in verse 2 it says, hear this, and Joel calls attention to this message. And I would do the same thing, hear this, this is the word of the Lord. And if we're living in the final hour, and I believe we are, there's nothing you can do that's more important than listening to what God has to say. Because God has a lot that he wants to say. He will warn you, he will direct you, he will protect you, he will guide you, but you need to hear what he has to say. Such a great example of this, Genesis chapter 6, when Noah was walking with God, and as he walked with God, God told him, I'm going to destroy the whole world.

And if Noah hadn't made the time to listen to what God had to say, and if he hadn't heard the word and heeded the word, we wouldn't be here today. So listen to the word of God, hear this, and get other people to hear this. I don't think you can get other people to hear this if you're not hearing this. You can't get other people to pay attention to God's word if you're not paying attention to God's word. So I know you are, because that's why you're here. I'm praying that because you're here and you hear this, that when you go home, you can get other people to hear this.

Get them into a Bible study, get them into your church. In this final hour, there's nothing you can do that's more important than listening to what God has to say. So the warnings are credible.

They're unassailable, indisputable, because it's God's word, and the warnings are unique. They're unprecedented. Verse 2, he says, has anything ever happened like this before? Implying nothing like this has ever happened before. It's record-breaking. Record-breaking disasters in our generation. What do you know of in our generation that's unprecedented? And now I know we have different generations, so I'll just say my generation. And we have so many veterans, and I don't know where you fought and where you served, but some of you may have been in World War II if it goes back that far, but Pearl Harbor was something that was unprecedented, but that's not my generation. So in my generation, I guess we would have to skip forward to 9-11. Has anything like that ever happened in our nation before? And then I'll look at other things that are happening in our world, like the medieval butchery of ISIS and the rise of terrorism, and then I'll look at what's happening in our own streets with San Bernardino, and Orlando, and the Boston Marathon, and New York City, and the shooting in Texas, and Las Vegas, and has anything like this ever happened before?

It's unprecedented what's going on, and that's not counting the natural disasters. So the warnings are unique, and they're universal. In verse 2, it says, these are for the elders. Those are old, gray-haired people like me. It's for the older generation. Verse 3, it says it's for the young, for the children and grandchildren, the millennials, and the generation X and Y.

Now I understand there's a generation Z, and they're all tatted up, and they have purple hair, and they wear hoodies, and have iPads and iPods, and almost can't understand what they're saying, but it's for them. And verse 5, and verse 5, it says it's for drunkards, and I'm just going to say that those are people who sin openly, and so just people who flaunt their sin. They don't care who knows it, and it's for sinners. Verses 9 and 13, it's for the priests, the religious people, the traditionalists, the ones who are all buttoned up, who cross all their T's, and dot all their I's, and think they're right with God because they do all the stuff. It's for them. Verse 11, for the farmers, for the working people.

Verse 14, it's for all who live in the land. It's for everybody. This is a warning that goes out to everybody. So who will be caught by surprise when severe judgment falls on America because they weren't heeding the warnings? Don't let it be you.

Don't let it be me. The warnings are unassailable, it's God's word, unprecedented, never happened before, universal, they're for everybody, and the warnings are comprehensive. They're coming at us from every angle, every level, every area.

Isn't it stunning? So we're just going to think about it for a few moments. Joel's message basically is judgment is coming. This is the final hour, and I'm speaking of severe judgment, and in the Old Testament when people didn't pay attention to God's word, they didn't heed what he had to say, then he would speak to him through natural disasters, you know, environmental disasters. And so that's where Joel starts with environmental disasters because really he's speaking of a locust plague. In verse four, let me just read it, and he says, what the locust swarm has left, the great locusts have eaten. What the great locusts have left, the young locusts have eaten. What the young locusts have left, other locusts. And he's just going through the different stages of the locusts, and at every stage they were absolutely destructive until in the end nothing was left, and the land was stripped bare. And because there was no vegetation, there were no animals, everything died, the people were starving, nothing like that had ever happened before.

But Joel saw in the locust plague an illustration, an example, sort of like what I was trying to paint with what happened in Texas, but he saw that as an example for his entire nation. And so the warning was that there was an environmental disaster that was unique that ravished the land. Nothing like that had ever happened before.

So let's just apply that. What environmental disasters have we seen that are unprecedented? Nothing like this has ever happened before.

So let me just pull out two, all right? And I want to go back when we had a solar eclipse that went across the nation, and I wrote a blog on it because I was very concerned. Jewish rabbis, as I understand, believe that a lunar eclipse, a blood moon, is a warning to Israel, but a solar eclipse is a warning to secular nations, gentile nations. And that solar eclipse went from the coast of Oregon down to the coast of South Carolina.

It was called America's eclipse, and Americans went out and they were partying, having picnics, wearing their sunglasses, it was so much fun, and I thought, oh my goodness, they don't know what's happening. Is God warning our entire nation? Judgment is coming.

Severe judgment. Disaster is going to strike. And within three days of that America's eclipse, Hurricane Harvey made landfall down in the Gulf Coast. 130 mile per hour winds, she dropped up to five feet of rain on the Houston area, she broke Katrina's record by double. All the water that Katrina, you remember that? And Harvey dumped twice as much water on the Gulf Coast. She stayed at hurricane strength 117 hours after landfall.

That was a record. 63 people were killed directly, 27 indirectly, she cost 198 billion dollars. The costliest disaster ever in American history. And while we were still watching the waters recede, they hadn't even fully receded, Hurricane Irma comes. And she's the strongest one in Atlantic that we'd seen for a long time. You remember, it was almost eerie to see that huge hurricane forming down in the southern part of Atlantic and coming across, and to see the spread of her winds, and then to see that she was almost twice as wide as the whole Florida peninsula, hitting the islands and then hitting the Keys on September 10th.

Sustained wind speed of 183 miles an hour. And 134 fatalities, 63 billion dollars in damage. Harvey and Irma together were the costliest disasters in history.

So just keep that in mind. And I know we had Maria, but Maria came to the islands and hit Puerto Rico, but it didn't hit mainland United States. So just Harvey and Irma, okay? And because we were so fixated on hurricanes, we almost didn't notice that the west was on fire.

I mean, when I went to research it for you, it was so much more than I had even known. My brother lives up in Seattle and so I talked to him and he said every time he went out there was ash all over the place and the air quality was really bad. And I was aware of the fires, but it's just stunning.

They swept through California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, just, you know, up into Canada. But the two that stood out to me, one was Labor Day weekend because it was the largest fire ever in the city limits of Los Angeles. And more than 7,000 acres were consumed, 20,000 people were evacuated, 5,800 structures were damaged or destroyed, cost two billion dollars just to fight it. And that's not counting rebuilding after the fire swept through. And then the second fire was just a couple of weeks later in October, the Napa Valley fire, 56,000 acres were consumed, including the wine country. You remember seeing those pictures of all the vineyards just charred. And then we had the two earthquakes in Mexico, and I know that's not America, but I want to make a point.

So 8.2 and then 7.1, about a week of each other, and this is what's so interesting. Do you remember in 1 Kings 19, after Elijah had defeated the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel, and then Jezebel had threatened his life, and so Elijah had been terrified, and he ran all the way to Mount Horeb, and he was hiding in a cave, and God said, Elijah, I want you to come out here. And he stood in the mouth of the cave, and there was the sound of a great rushing wind, and then there was an earthquake, and then there was a fire, and then there was a still small voice. God used the earthquake, wind, and fire to get Elijah's attention, because God had something he wanted to say. And so I just submit to you, has God allowed us to have earthquakes, wind, and fire, because he has something he's wanting to say to our whole nation? And then somebody else pointed out this verse to me that I wouldn't have seen had they not pointed it out to me, which, you know, do that for each other, okay, because it's interesting. But Genesis chapter 41, when Joseph is interpreting Pharaoh's dreams, remember he had two dreams, and he had one where the lean ears ate up the fat ears of corn, and then he had one where the lean cows ate up the fat cows, and he didn't know what that meant. So Joseph goes in to interpret the dreams, and he says this in verse 32, he says, the reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter of the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon. So is God saying, after two hurricanes, and two major forest fires, and two earthquakes, and then two shootings, Las Vegas and Sullivan Springs, is God saying, I firmly decided, and I'm going to do it soon?

And I don't know if that's true or not, but I think it's very serious, and I think we need to take it very seriously. And let me tell you this, God is warning us, yes He is, but warnings convey hope, don't they? Because He would not be warning us if it was too late, and I believe we're on the brink of it being too late. But that's why I'm giving the message, not to scare the bejeebies out of you, not to depress you, but that we might cry out to God and ask Him to relent of the disaster that's coming. But let me go on, because that's the environmental disaster. Joel then talks about social disaster.

He says in verse 5, this is back in Joel chapter 1 verse 5, wake up you drunkards and weep. And of course, drunkards, alcohol abuse, alcohol-related accidents are the leading cause of death of young people in the United States. We spend more on alcohol than we do on cancer. It's the number one drug problem in America. It's risen 49% since the year 2000. One in eight Americans is an alcoholic, one in four adults under the age of 30 are alcoholics, 20% of college students are alcoholics, 88,000 people last year died from alcohol-related causes.

And that's not counting the rapes and the wife abuse and stabbings and all that kind of stuff. Social disaster, opioids, drug overdose is the leading cause of death under age of 50. Listen to this, 47,000 died from drug overdoses in 2014. In 2016, 64,000 died from drug overdoses. Between 26 and 36 million people are addicted. In 2015, there were an average of 91 opioid deaths per day. No wonder the president has declared it a national emergency. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15 to 24-year-olds. I just heard on the news last night, if I heard right, that it's up 40% over last year.

Active shooters, this is stunning. From 2000 to 2006, there were six per year. 2014 to 2015, there were 20 per year. The first 275 days of this year, there were 273 mass shootings.

That's almost one a day. And we had 59 killed in Las Vegas, 500 wounded, Sutherland Springs, 26 killed, 20 wounded. And social disasters, Hollywood melting down, NFL collapsing. It's a disaster, isn't it?

Everywhere you look, it's a disaster. Financial disaster. Verse 5, wine is snatched from their lips. In Joel's day, wine wasn't luxury, it was a necessity.

It was a dietary staple. So I think it's saying just like that, the things we need can be snatched away, taken from us. And I can't do numbers, but as of September 1, our national debt was almost $21 trillion. That's $62,000 for every person living in the United States, $169,000 for every taxpayer. That's a disaster. Anybody who does a budget knows that.

You can't do that. National disaster, when he says in verses 6 and 7, a nation has invaded. And he was referring to the locusts, but seeing the locusts as an example of a nation that was invading his nation. And I'll look at Europe, and the largest migration in human history is taking place as the people from the Middle East are fleeing the slaughter and they're moving into Europe.

And Europe, if they're not careful, they're going to become a Muslim empire within years. They're being invaded. And I believe we're being invaded also. And I'm all for immigration, legal immigration, and I appreciate very much that people come from other countries.

We all did at some point in time. But I believe we're being invaded, that that's a cover for people coming in who want to take us down. So you can call it immigration, open borders, it's an invasion. And it's a national disaster.

When he was speaking of the locusts coming in, so it wasn't just people coming in, because locusts aren't people, so there was a non-human army that was invading. And I thought, what non-human armies are invading America? And I've been stunned at the rise of immorality. Pornography makes over 100 billion dollars a year, more than Apple, Google, Yahoo, eBay, Microsoft, and Amazon combined.

That's a disaster. Generational hatred and prejudice, the racial divide that became very obvious in Charlottesville between Black Lives Matter and the white supremacists, and then what was seething underneath just boiled over until now, it's just like poison all over our nation. Antisemitism, it's soaring on college campuses. There was a 45 percent increase in antisemitic activity or incidents from 2015 to 2016, and listen to this, there was an 86 percent increase from 2016 to 2017.

That is an ugly cancer that's come into our nation. And the worst invasion of all to me, from a non-human standpoint, is unbelief. The rise of secularism and humanism and atheism and agnosticism and just a nation that has no fear of God, no faith in God, no faith in God, and actually has replaced that with something of a defiance of God, of a living God.

So what disaster are you aware of that's in a non-human form? And then there's spiritual disaster. In verse 9 it says the grain offerings and drink offerings are cut off. The sacrifice is ceased because the people had nothing to sacrifice.

The locusts had eaten everything, and when the locusts ate everything, the animals died off. There was nothing to sacrifice, and so they felt cut off from God. They felt abandoned by God.

They couldn't go to the temple and worship. They couldn't offer their sacrifices, and they felt separated from God. And after a tremendous disaster, one of the first things we hear, where was God? Where is God in all this?

It's a spiritual disaster. We feel abandoned by God. Where is God? He could have stopped it. He didn't. He must not care. He must not be there. Do you see what happens?

And so it affects us spiritually, and that's a disaster. You and I know that there are times when we can feel abandoned by God. You ever felt abandoned, felt cut off, isolated? I have, but I know, according to Hebrews 13, God has said, I will never leave you. I'll never forsake you. You've been listening to Living in the Light, and when you go to, there are free resources to help you in your study of God's Word. Anne's desire is that you embrace a God-filled life, step by step, choice by choice, living in the light.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-13 10:23:56 / 2023-12-13 10:33:42 / 10

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