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Be Vigilant Warned by God – Part 2

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
July 17, 2022 3:00 pm

Be Vigilant Warned by God – Part 2

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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Here's Anne Graham Lotz. The worst invasion of all to me from a non-human standpoint is unbelief.

The nation that has no fear of God, no faith in God, and actually has replaced that with something of a defiance of God, of a living God. Welcome to Living in the Light with Bible teacher Anne Graham Lotz. Her message today begins with a brief summary from Joel chapter 1, bringing us up to date in the last of this two-part series titled, Be Vigilant.

It was first presented in 2018, but still very relevant today. Joel 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. 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 a 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, you know, 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. 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, and actually has replaced that with something of a defiance of God, of the 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 sacrifices 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 so 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. I know what it's like to find a loved one who was with us and then suddenly was not, and to know that God right there at that moment can carry you through and bring blessing from it. But when something like that happens, you can feel, God, where are you? It's a spiritual disaster. And then an emotional disaster, it says in verse 12, the joy of the people is withered away. After a while it wears on your spirit, doesn't it? And people in Puerto Rico, we had our Just Give Me Jesus revival in San Juan several years ago, and so I've been in touch with our revival chair and trying to help her and just can't imagine living where there's no water, there's no electricity, there's no cell phone service once in a while.

And we were able, through Samaritan's Purse, to get her church a generator and get water and food so that she can feed about 200 people that she feels responsible for. It's an emotional disaster. When these disasters happen one afternoon, in fact, all these things happening at the same time from every level, every angle, don't you feel an oppression? You feel like an agitation in your spirit. There's a heaviness.

The joy is withered away. And agricultural disaster in verses 10 to 12, the fields are ruined, the ground has dried up, the grain is destroyed, despair, you farmers. And we've all seen pictures of sun-baked fields or crops underwater, orchards frozen, vineyards charred. And it's a disaster. So these warnings are coming in every area, and you can think of other areas, relationally or politically, you know, disasters politically. I mean, my goodness. And just, you think of it, what's going on, and we just can't put our head in the sand.

We can't pretend that this is just in a cycle, you know. It's just, this is just something that happens, and we're going to go this way, then we're going to swing back that way, and it'll all even out. So God is speaking to us. And there's disaster after disaster.

The warnings are credible. And Joel is saying something very politically incorrect. He's saying God is behind these disasters. Now, I don't believe God sent that gunman in the church, I'm telling you that. But God has allowed it, and the hurricanes, and other things that are happening.

And God is allowing it. He's trying to get our attention, warn us you're on the wrong track, you're going in the wrong direction, you need to turn around before it's too late. And Joel was taking the natural events he saw in his world, and taking his current events, and he was putting God's word over it, and he says, oh my goodness, this locust plague is not just an invasion of locusts. God is warning us of an invasion to come. He's warning us.

And I don't know if it's the Babylonians or Assyrians that he was warning about, but he was warning serious judgment is coming on our nation because of a rebellion against God, and our defiance, and our idolatry. So, wake up. You and I need to stop pretending that we're just in some sort of a cycle.

This is not a cycle, this is the final hour. And God is warning us through earthquake, wind, and fire, trying to get our attention. So, the warnings are credible, they're comprehensive, the warnings are compelling, because God is merciful, yes he is. And God is loving, yes he is. And God is faithful, yes he is, and he's compassionate. But God is also holy, and God is just.

And can I tell you, that's how I know severe judgment is coming on America. God does not tolerate sin. We mistake his patience for toleration, and we think because it hasn't come yet, it's not going to come. And that the God of Scripture is not the same God today that he doesn't deal with people like he did, you know, in the Bible.

Oh yes, he does. And God said in Genesis 6 to Noah, he says, my spirit will not always strive with man. And God's spirit strives with man to restrain evil, so life can go on. But there comes a point that God says, I'm not going to restrain evil anymore.

And he just backs away, and lets it come in like a flood. That's where we are right now. It's a Romans 1 judgment. In Romans 1, do you remember when Paul warned that when people sin, if they don't repent of their sin, then God will just remove his hand and back away. And then they refuse to repent, and they become more defiant and rebellious, then God says all right, and he just backs away further. And then they continue in their sin, refuse to repent, they rebel against God, they defy him, and God backs away further until in the end, he just turns them over to themselves, and destruction follows. And I believe that's where we are right now.

But I believe it's going to lead to something severe, something unprecedented, something like Joel is trying to warn us about. So to me, the warnings compel us to get on our knees, and to cry out to God. To a prayer hearing, a prayer answering, a miracle working, covenant keeping God. Because God doesn't want any to come under judgment. He wants all to come to repentance. He doesn't want to bring judgment on America, I can tell you that.

Takes no pleasure in it at all. So we're compelled to cry out. Look at chapter 2 of Joel, verse 12. He says, even now, even now, even now, in the Romans 1 judgment, he's backing away, and all these disasters are happening, and we've got the shootings, and we've got the alcoholism, we've got the hurricanes, we've got the forest fires, we've got the political mess. Even now, he says, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning. Rend your heart, not your garments.

Return to the Lord your God. He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love, and he relents. It means he will change his mind. If we turn to him in repentance, and cry out to him, he will relent. He will be relieved not to bring judgment on us.

Who knows? He may turn and have pity, and leave behind a blessing. So you and I, it's time to cry out. It's time to return to the Lord. It's time to rend our hearts. You know what the difference is between rending our hearts and rending our garments. It's like if you come to this weekend, and you feel so compelled, when you go home, you're going to read your Bible every day, and you're going to pray, and you're going to start listening to what God has to say, and you go home, and you do that for a couple of days, and then your schedule crowds in, and people come, and you have company, and you've got thanksgiving, and then you don't do it, and you procrastinate, and then a month from now, you're not reading your Bible every day, you're not praying, you've lost the sense of urgency. That's because you rent your garments, or you say that you're going to go right home, and you're going to share the gospel with your neighbor, with that unsaved family member, and you go home, and you're all prepared, and the family member is on a trip, the neighbor's not there, and you don't seem to bump into them, and then when you do the other things you're talking about, and you put it off, and put it off, and never really get around to sharing the gospel. That's rending your garments, not your heart.

When you rend your heart, you make a deep decision, and you do it, and you follow through, and you repent of sin, that means you turn away from your sin, and you don't turn back to it, you don't dabble in it, you don't toy with it, you turn away from it, and we rend our hearts. There's a lot of rending of garments in the church today, giving lip service, you know, basically pointing our finger at somebody else, while God's looking at you and me, and so Joel says we need to cry out with humility. Going back to chapter 1 verse 13, put on sackcloth, spiritual sackcloth.

Sackcloth was just what it sounds like, dirty old rags, and it was just giving an outward evidence of inward desperation. God, if you don't get us out of this mess, we're not going to get out. If you don't spare us, if you don't delay or stop the disaster, we're toast. God, if you don't help us, we won't be helped, and we just cry out to God, we have no one else to turn to. Oh, listen to me, the answer is not politics, the answer is not the economy, but the answer, if we're facing the judgment of God, the only answer is repentance of sin. It's not going to be a political solution, it's not going to be legislation, it's going to be God's people rending their hearts and getting right with God, standing in the gap for our nation, and we cry out with humility, we cry out with sincerity, he says declare a holy fast in verse 14.

Fasting to me is going without anything and everything to make time to get alone with God, and you can go without, which is a traditional way of fasting, you can go without email, you can go without telephone, you can go without television, you can go without business, go without your office, go without your housework, you go without whatever it takes to make time to get along with God and read his word and listen for him to speak and pray to him and stand in the gap for our nation and cry out to him with humility and sincerity and urgency. In verse 15, the day of the Lord is near and there was an urgency in Joel's message. The day of the Lord is a day of accountability, it's a day when his patience runs out, it's a day when he says you've crossed the line, he's drawn a red line and he says you've stepped over. The great and terrible day of the Lord is when Jesus comes back and the sky unfolds and the white horse arrives whose rider is named Faithful and True and he's followed by the armies of heaven and it's at that very moment when the kingdoms of the earth are gathered together Armageddon, they've come to make war against each other but they look up and they see the Lamb, they know who he is and they turn all their guns and they go to make war against the Lamb and he speaks a word and they all drop dead. That's the great and terrible day of the Lord, okay? But until that day, there are if I can call it lesser days of the Lord, days of accountability, days of judgment. When the Assyrians invaded Israel because Israel had rebelled against God and gone into our idolatry and he had warned her again and again and God sent in the Assyrians and took Israel off into captivity never to come back and that was the day of the Lord and the southern kingdom of Judah then did the same thing, they rebelled against God, they went into idolatry, went into idolatry, did all sorts of terrible things and so God sent in the Babylonians and took them off into captivity and that was a day of the Lord. All right, in 70 AD when the Romans came down and destroyed Jerusalem and pretty much wiped Israel off the map, that was a day of the Lord, okay? So when Joel says the day of the Lord is near, I'm not sure what he was looking at, an invasion from Assyria, an invasion from Babylon, something that was taking place but he knew that judgment was at the door. I believe God is telling you and me today the day of the Lord is near and it could be the rapture of the church because you know that that's going to be judgment on America when all of a sudden the trumpet blows and that loud shout goes forth and the dead in Christ rise first and those who are still alive and remain are going to be caught up in the air to be with Jesus and our loved ones forever and ever and all of a sudden we're out of here and down on earth in America, America will collapse at that point. So that will be judgment. Maybe that's what we're talking about.

I hope so but I don't know so. And I have this little sneaky feeling that God may allow something severe to happen before that time comes as a way of purging the church and making the bride ready and a lot of my friends believe that this year is harvest time and that when disaster strikes people will turn to God and they'll listen to our message and we're going to have a great revival in this final hour. I don't know if that's right or not but we can sure pray for it and we can sure work for it.

So we cry out with humility and sincerity and urgency. It's coming and it says in verse 16, this has been done before our eyes. Nothing that I've said has been in secret.

Everything God has done is open. You can see it in the news. You can read it in the newspaper, watch it online and he's doing this before our very eyes. It's plain. It's obvious it's not hard to figure out.

This isn't rocket science. And then he says we're compelled not only to cry out but cry out to God. Verse 19, he says to you oh Lord I call and I want us just to think about that. That we're crying out to God and it's the God of Moses. Do you remember when the children of Israel were down in Egypt and there was a Pharaoh that rose up, didn't know Joseph and so Pharaoh put all of the Israelites into slavery for 70 years. He oppressed them and in their oppression they cried out to God to save us and God sent them Moses to deliver them and Moses led them out of Egypt and they got to the Red Sea and here comes Pharaoh who's changed his mind and there are mountains on one side and the desert on the other side and the Red Sea in front of them. Here comes the army coming to take them back to Egypt and the people cry out to God and the Red Sea parts and they cross on dragon. God hears the cries of his people and in the wilderness again and again they cried out God delivered them until Joshua takes them across the Jordan and they go into the promised land to take what God has promised them and Jericho is straddling their path. So they march around it every day for seven days, the seventh day seven times and the seventh time they blow the trumpets and they shout, they cry out and the walls come down and the enemy stronghold is defeated because God hears the cries of his people. Then we come to Gideon who was in Israel when the Midianites were surrounding and in fact I read the passage this afternoon that said that they looked like grasshoppers there were so many and said their camels were so many if you could count the sands of the sea you could count these camels it was just you know stretched out as far as the eyes could see and God told Gideon you take 300 men it just seems so ridiculous doesn't it but anyway put torches and jars and you stand up on the mountain side and at midnight you just break the jars and you shout hold up and they did they cried out to God and the Midianites were terrified they turned on each other they fled and Israel had a victory that day because God hears the cries of his people. Elijah crying out on Mount Carmel and the fire fell and then he went up and he prayed he said God we're still in a drought and he prayed and he prayed and he prayed and he prayed and then the rains came because God hears the cries of his people. Jonah one of the more miserable prophets in the belly of a fish at the bottom of the ocean I can't think of a worse place to be cried out to God and God delivered him because God hears the cries of his people even those that don't deserve it and do I dare put our Lord Jesus in this list hanging on the cross my God my God why have you forsaken me and then in the end it's finished into your hands I commit my spirit and he bowed his head and he died and three days later his father raised him from the dead because God hears the cries of his people and God will hear our cries but we have to cry we have to cry out to him so that's my challenge to you we cry out to a God who hears the cries of his people he is merciful and forgiving he's compassionate he's loving he's the God of creation the God of compassion the God of redemption he's the God who will deliver us his very name Jesus means Savior he's the rescuer but we need to cry out to him and Psalm 34 17 says the righteous cry out and the Lord hears them he delivers them from all their troubles so in this final hour be vigilant heed the warnings cry out to God if my people who are called by my name would humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from our wicked ways then I'll hear from heaven I'll hear their cry I'll forgive their sin and I will heal their land America is getting to the place where it's going to take a miracle only God will be able to heal us and he says he will if you and I as God's people turn to him this has been living in the light please take advantage of all the free resources at to help and encourage you in your walk with God and in your study of his word join us here each week for living in the light
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-23 10:51:42 / 2023-03-23 11:01:30 / 10

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