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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood

 

Women and Winter

July 21, 2013

“How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now — and never to be equaled again.” (Mark 13:17-19, NIV)


Three days before His crucifixion, Jesus teaches His disciples about what lay ahead. He looks through the telescope of time into the future and sees the prophecy of Daniel coming to pass in the “abomination of desolation” — that is the sacrilege of the temple at the end of time.

Based on Jesus’ warning, the first-century Christians took flight from Jerusalem when they saw the Roman armies coming to destroy the city in A.D. 70. But the prophecy of Jesus has a double fulfillment. The first fulfillment was relatively minor compared to the terrible end-time fulfillment yet to come.

Having warned disciples to flee Jerusalem (vv. 15,16), Jesus next provides a lament for the terrible toll this will exact from pregnant and nursing mothers.

But let’s leap from the future to the present. There is already stark evil in the world, and the abomination spoken of by Jesus has not even yet occurred. Instead, there is an abomination of a different kind today. There are women pregnant with child who destroy their own babies, and mothers of newborns who abandon them for a variety of reasons: inconvenience, work, or pursuit of self-fulfillment.

The abomination of desolation occurs today all over the world for countless millions of children who are abandoned, neglected, abused and trafficked; and babies are killed inside the womb in horrific numbers.

Add to that the mistreatment of pregnant and nursing mothers — abandoned by husbands or lovers, living as victims of rape and violence, refugees fleeing for safety from cruel armies, mothers beaten down by the culture in which they live. How dreadful it is for them — not just end-time mothers, but today’s mothers.

Our attention must never be exclusively on end-time events, but also on events right now. We must be focused on today and what we can do in this day to combat evil — especially for the defenseless in or outside of the womb.

Jesus additionally asks His disciples to pray that the horrible events in the future not occur in winter. Why? Because winter will make it more difficult for them to flee. They will want to go back home and get some blankets and proper footwear and retrieve their coats to keep warm. Young mothers will find winter flight especially difficult as they are routed out of their places of comfort. I’ve been in Jerusalem in winter and know how cold, damp and windy the weather can get.

Jesus clearly looks beyond the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 to see the end-time when the worst suffering ever known on earth will take place.

Many take His warning to refer to post-Rapture saints. My practical suggestion is that we hold these warnings close to our heart now. All over the world today believers are being hunted, imprisoned, marginalized, persecuted, discriminated against, and even martyred for their faith.

Their suffering right now is a precursor to the conditions disciples at the end of the age will face. We need always to pray for our contemporary suffering Christians and do everything we can to help them.

A prayer of response

Lord Jesus, You do not paint a pretty picture for the future. I pray today for those presently suffering for You, that they will remain faithful in their fierce hour of trial. Help me to remain true to You.

DR. GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

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