While sharing with some friends in Selma, we were discussing fear of the last days.

I must say that as a Christian, you can hardly go anywhere anymore without seeing warning signs about the “last days” and the “signs of the times,” which invoke feelings of doom and gloom, darkness, and the rise of the evil Antichrist.

While there are indeed signs all around us that we can see without much help, and know that we are fast approaching the coming of the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, we have to be careful not to allow ourselves to become overcome with fear (2 Tim. 1:7).

While there is great peril and danger in these days to be a True Christian and follower of Jesus Christ, we also need to remember that we serve a God who keeps HIS promises. We need to keep ourselves free from the FEAR that is gripping many in the Church and is motivating that same fear in the world today.

It is this impending fear that the enemy uses to get us to make really poor decisions, and that is not God’s will. God does not want us making decisions and choices based upon fear. Instead, we are called to walk by faith.

Yes, we live in a dangerous world. Yes, there are bad things happening in many places. Yes, there are people dying everyday. But we can’t live our lives for Jesus if we’re physically, or even mentally living in a bunker (so to speak). This is NOT the way of the KINGDOM.

So many people have a “hunker down” mentality that is not only based upon fear, and this is contrary to the Gospel that Jesus taught us.

In Matthew 5:16, Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

As believers, our principle responsibility is to be a LIGHT in darkness, and as the day grows dark, we must shine all the more, not hide away, snuffing out the light that we have.

This is why it is SO IMPORTANT for us to gather together and encourage one another. Some of you may be saying to yourselves, "Encouragement?!! What?! Are you serious?!""

Keep in mind that in the Bible, we have promises that the Church (believers in Christ Jesus) will be "snatched" away from the devastatingly destructive Tribulation that is to take place upon the earth (I Thess. 4:13-18).

In verse 18 of I Thess. 4, the Apostle Paul, after writing about believers being "caught up" out of here, writes, "Therefore, ENCOURAGE one another with these words." Yes, this is what he wrote...The Rapture of the church is the event in which God “snatches/catches away” all believers from the earth in order to make way for His righteous judgment to be poured out on the earth during the tribulation period. Also, read I Cor. 15:50-54, and John 14:1-3.

God will resurrect all believers who have died, give them glorified bodies, and take them from the earth, along with all living believers, who will also be given glorified bodies at that time.

“For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17). Now, I don't know about you, but this is a promise that encourages me! How about you?

No need to fear. Now, more than ever, we need to heed the call of the Holy Spirit and gather together to Encourage One Another in love, because the Bible tells us in I John 4:18, "There is no fear in love. but perfect love drives away fear, because fear has to do with punishment..."

My friend, there is now no more condemnation (punishment) for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). If you are in Christ Jesus, there is no need to fear, my friend. Jesus promised, "...I AM with you always, even to the end of the age."

Rafael Bastien-Herrera is a Selma resident and pastor/director of The Word Walk School of Ministry. He has a B.A. in Pastoral Ministry, and a M.DIV. in Theology. He is a Radio Bible Teacher on KGED AM 1680 in Fresno and KERI AM 1410 in Bakersfield. Please send questions to rbherrera@thewordwalk.org.

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