Sunday, December 2, 2012

Day 2: The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling

Doomsday Preppers:  an Advent devotional

Day 2: The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling

Many of us can remember the children's folk tale, Henny Penny.  In it, Henny Penny is sitting under an oak tree, when an acorn falls on her head.  Instead of investigating to see what it was that hit her in the head, she jumps to the conclusion that the sky is falling and convinces her other friends in the barnyard, Loosy Goosy, Turkey Lurkey, Cocky Locky and Ducky Lucky, that indeed the sky is falling.  A cunning fox, Foxy Woxy, observes all the commotion and decides to use the barnyard animal's paranoia against them.  He tells them they can seek refuge from the falling sky in his underground den.  Then, depending on the version, either Foxy Woxy follows them into his den and eats all the paranoid birds or Cocky Locky figures out what is going on and saves all the animals from the wily fox.

Our culture is full of Henny Pennys and it can be difficult to discern the Henny Pennys from people who offer up valid warnings and predictions.  Especially when it comes to the topic of the end of the world, there seems to be hundreds of Henny Pennys telling us the end is near, and even use the Bible to purportedly back up their claims.  We have the Harold Camping's of the world that believe they have used biblical imagery to determine the exact date of Jesus' return or even extremist cults like the Heaven's Gate group that used the bible to support their belief that a space ship following the Hale-Bopp Comet would spare them from experiencing the "recycling" of the earth.  There are so many wackos standing on street corners preaching, "Repent, the end is near" that we can be tempted to write off anyone who talks about the end of the world as a nut.

So how can we know who are Henny Pennys and who are people who are actually hearing from God?  Two things come to mind to help us in discerning which group someone belongs in:

1).  If they are trying to give you an exact date when the world is going to end, disregard them.  In Matthew 24:36, Jesus tells us, "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."  Jesus doesn't know when He is coming back.  Any human being that thinks they know better than Jesus should be disregarded...fully and completely.

2).  Anyone that tries to fill Christians with fear or anxiety about the end of the world should be disregarded.  This is one place where the end of the world should parallel Christmas.  Ephesians 2:8 tells us that we are saved by grace through faith and it is not by anything we do or earn, that it is strictly a gift from God.  So if you have faith in Christ, if you have given your life to Him, and if you love Christ (which John 14:23 tells us we show our love to Him by our obedience), then you should be waiting for Christ's second coming with the same joy and anticipation that you have waiting on Christmas to come.  There is much fear mongering that goes on, and instead of directing it to non-believers, who have a very real reason to fear the end of the world,  it is directed at Christians with the premise that if Christians don't "follow the rules" of whatever particular religion, that Judgement will come fast and swift, usually full of fire and brimstone.  Anyone that takes this approach misses the entire point of why Jesus came in the first place.  If they don't understand the gospel message, they likely don't understand anything else about Jesus and His return.

Don't listen to the Henny Pennys of the world and don't be one yourself.  If you are a Christian and have given your life to Christ, you shouldn't be running around scared about the sky falling.  You should be able to look up to the heavens and say, "Bring it on!"

Thought for the day:  Do you know anyone like Henny Penny?  Have you ever acted like Henny Penny?  How often does the media act like Henny Penny?  What Foxy Loxys may be lurking around the corner waiting to take advantage of people's hysteria?  How are Foxy Loxy and Satan similar and how can Satan play the role of Foxy Loxy in a Christian's life?  What does behaving like Henny Penny say about one's faith and trust in God?

Prayer:  Spend some time today praying for discernment.  Ask God to help you see the Truth around you and to help you disregard false warnings and information.  Pray that God builds up your faith and trust in His goodness and provisions so that you may face all unknowns, including the end of the world, with joy and confidence.

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