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   In just six months, 2022 is headed toward becoming in our lifetime, a phenomenal year with ...

    • runaway inflation, in the grocery, at the pump
    • undisciplined and unrestrained Government spending
    • nuisance of homeless people camping on urban green spaces, on city streets, and in abandoned/ vacant buildings
    • urban hate crimes (homicides) motivated by white supremacy ideations
    • mass shootings in grocery stores, church houses, and elementary schools
    • increased housing costs: mortgage interest/ rent
    • supply chain/manufacturing problems: e.g., infant formula, computer chips for everything from automobiles to appliances
    • food insecurity, both here and abroad… exacerbated by Putin’s War and climate change
    • tensions between pro-choice and anti-abortion factions
    • tension between parents and school administrations as to the place of Critical Race Theory being taught in public school curricula
    • COVID fatigue exacerbated by mixed messaging protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    • influence of “woke” ideology on Western culture and its institutions
    • the specter of the Axis of Evil expanding Putin’s War, with the United States caught in the middle

It’s a Jungle out There
   It’s a jungle out there, sure enough – intense in undergrowth and making it all but impossible, except to Him Who is Sovereign and Supreme, to cut through it all and bring order out of what man has made to become chaos.
  Though occupying our attention – you can’t at all fail to give notice – these issues must not be thought comprising all the socio-economic woes that stand in contrast to the actualization of Life, and That More Abundantly.
  All these and much more are the beginning of sorrows striding toward the end. Taken singly or as a whole, each can, and does, impinge upon the mental wellness of those concerned with the direction toward which society, the economy, and national security are moving.
  And concern over these, will move even a person of faith to become agitated, aggravated, and irritable and yearn for the good old days, a simpler time when one didn’t have to watch his back … and, moreover, be tempted to defy Solomon’s observation that it was not wise to ask, “What is the cause that the former days were better than these?” (Eccl. 7:10).
  Indeed, given the course he followed toward perdition, and the situation of living in this present evil world, well might we question even, his wisdom having excelled all that came before and after him.
  Yes, we who profess ourselves trusting in, and acknowledging Yahweh in all our ways are particularly challenged during these perilous times.
For our faith in Him supplying all our need according to His riches in glory and not suffering us to famish and be forsaken and ourselves, begging bread should not, but may, make us to fear that which is coming upon the earth and suffer the torment common to every other. But what choice do we have, if we purpose to survive and emerge from these perilous times, overcoming all, if now we should faint in the day of this adversity? For to not endure this time is to manifest our strength is small and position us scarcely able to long survive and emerge from that greater tribulation which lay ahead of us.
  Let us, therefore, pray that Yahweh will renew our strength to endure to whatever our end shall be, that we might be saved.

Leviticus 25:18-19
   These two verses are but one illustration of many throughout the breadth of His Book – that is, the issuance of a Commandment, followed immediately with a Promise. Come from the TORAH parashah behor, “on the mountain” – one of the shortest weekly parashah readings in the TORAH – and assigned the week ending May 21st, occurred coincidently with the mass shooting by an 18-year-old, self-styled white supremacist and whose murderous hate crime on the Sabbath at a Buffalo TOPS grocery took the lives of ten.
   The next day, at an ethnic Taiwanese first-day church, one person was killed and others injured by an active Chinese-American shooter, whose dispositions were in line with the leadership of the Peoples Republic of China who are poised to take Taiwan while the West is distracted by, and its resources are drawn away to assist Ukraine in its war with Russia.
   Then, Tuesday, May 24th as pupils and their teachers were anticipating a summer break from their academics, another 18-year-old was able to find entry into an elementary school classroom and murder 19 primary grade students and two faculty members.
   In Matthew, Chapter 24, Yahshua prophesied about pestilence, famine, earthquakes in diverse places, wars and rumors of wars as those things of judgment becoming the outcome of men’s lawlessness. Who would have thought however, that these apocalyptic events would have occurred in our lifetime?
  Bad things happening aren’t confined to distant places anymore. They’re occurring in our town; our neighborhood, our homes. Today, in these perilous times, when nothing has restrained the imagination of reprobate minds given over to evil, one can’t be sure that a trip to the grocery; or to school; or to church; or a picnic at the city park, that they’ll safely return home … or even, at home, that some mischief won’t befall them by the hand of a family member or a drive-by shooter. One might conclude, and his conclusion would be warranted, that there is something in the air – yes, more like the rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places, going up and down, and to and fro, with but one thing in mind: to kill and destroy.
   People, minding their own business and without thought of bringing harm to any other, are targeted by others whose reprobate minds fail the answer of a good conscience, void of offense. And admittedly, it is hard, for people of faith to get their heads around all that is happening out there. However, as it was in a former time, so it is today – the earth was, and is, filled with violence and men had, and are, corrupting their way upon the earth.
   And so, two questions come to mind: “Where is Yahweh, that He permits such evil?” and “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
   Well, first of all, Yahweh is where He has always been. And of Him permitting such evil? What would you have Him do, arbitrarily rescind man’s exercise of free will?
   “Oh, only if that exercise of free will brings injury to others,” you say.
   Well, then, perhaps you should consider your own exercise of free will bringing injury to others, the next time you open your mouth and allow sarcasm to fall out; or the next time you become angry and give another a piece of your mind, or slap their face, or think about odd ways to get even.

Romans 3:10-18, 23
  The Apostle’s discourse here, echoes the Psalmist’s observations that:
    • “… there is none that doeth good” (Psa. 14:1);
    • “… if there were any that did understand, and seek Elohim” (Psa. 14:2);
    • “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psa. 14:3);
    • “… their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulcher; they flatter with their tongue… They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips” (Psa. 5:9, 140:3);
    • His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud …” (Psa. 10:7);
    • “Their feet run to evil, they make haste to shed innocent blood… wasting and destruction are in their paths” (Isa. 59:7);
    • “The way of peace they have not known …” (Isa. 59:8).

  We assume that people to whom bad things happen are good but then, can we really discern the thought and intent of others’ hearts? The Scripture says the heart is deceitful above all and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9) which debunks the contemporary notion that man is basically good.
  We ourselves, upon examination and proving ourselves whether we are obedient in all things, will discover that at any moment, we are not about the business of walking circumspectly and discerning what constitutes the abundance of our hearts. The Truth is, at any moment, we are still, but wretched and in need of being delivered from this body of death!
  Even Messiah, Who was the express image of Good, refused the appellation of the young rich ruler who addressed Him as “Good Master,” saying, “Why callest thou Me good? there is none good but One, that is, Eloha” (Mark 10:18).
  After all that has been said here, we should ourselves inquire, asking the same questions – perhaps even, asked of others more worthy than we, who, upon hearing for the first time the Message that is able also, to “deliver us from evil,”
    • “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:38) …
    • “Master, what wilt Thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6)… “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30)…
    • “… what doth hinder me…?” (Acts 8:36)…
    • “What lack I yet…?” (Matt. 19:20)…
    • “What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17).

“… And Ye Shall Dwell in the Land in Safety”
   That’s not the same thing as saying there will be safety in the land. For there won’t be, it being not at all different from what it was in the days of Noah: the earth, filled with violence and man having corrupted his way upon the earth (Gen. 6:11-12) – only that you shall dwell safely in the land.
  We should, just like the faith heroes of Hebrews Chapter 11, be willing to expect to endure cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment. We should be willing for His sake, to expect to become destitute, afflicted, tormented; or to wander about in deserts and in mountains and having no longer any certain dwelling place, to take refuge in dens and caves of the earth and then maybe afterward, be slain (Heb. 11:26-28).
  And yet, why should not we, as Noah, also find grace in the eyes of Yahweh? (Gen. 6:8). Why should we not dwell safely in the land as did Noah and his immediate family, though all about him was … and among us is, the corrupt and violent way of mankind? Why should not we be among the elect, for whose sake those days of trouble should be shortened? (Matt. 24:22). Why should not we be among them of whom the Master affirmed, But there shall not an hair of your head perish, Luke 21:18?
  Yes, why should not we dwell in the land in safety, except we like most every other, also neglect a heart’s Obedience to the Commandments of Yahweh. A heart’s Obedience, we say, and such little cost to self in exchange for one’s finishing his course having dwelt in the secret place of the Most High and abided under the shadow of the Almighty … not afraid of the terror by night; for the arrow that flieth by day; for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; for the destruction that wasteth at noonday, Psalm 91:1, 5-6.
  Some of us may be appointed to bear the burden and heat of our day … like our Master, not accepting deliverance. But others of us, who have made Yahweh our refuge, even the Most High our habitation (Psa. 91:7, 9) and are abstaining from ALL appearance of evil (1 Thess. 5:22) by,

    • ruling our spirits (Prov. 25:28);
    • bringing our every thought, word, hearing, sight, and deed into captivity to the obedience of His Commandments (2 Cor. 10:5);
    • walking circumspectly (Eph. 5:15);
    • pondering the path of our feet (Prov. 4:26);
    • as a prudent man, looking well to our going (Prov. 14:15) and foreseeing trouble, hiding ourselves (Prov. 22:3);
    • guiding our affairs with wisdom, understanding, and discretion (Psa. 112:5);
    • not otherwise tempting Yahweh (Deut. 6:16); but
    • watching, and praying always, that we may be accounted worthy to escape … the weapons that are formed against us – lest they should prosper (Isa. 54:17) – and all these things which are coming to pass (Luke 21:36)

  ... so that we, may only with our ears, hear and with our eyes, see terror, the arrow, the pestilence, the destruction that wasteth and a thousand falling at our side, and ten thousand at our right hand and quite, without terror, the arrow, the pestilence, the destruction that wasteth coming nigh us.
  These are the second set of 10 Commandments given to us, so that we, might escape the corruption that is in the jungle of this world, and become secure from the violence by which all that is the rest of the world, has become overcome.

   Let us then give diligence, therefore, in these perilous times, to make our calling and election sure and earnestly contend for the faith that has, and is, being delivered to us… willing now, through reproof, correction, instruction, and exhortation, to become perfected in that which we lack.

-Elder John W. Reece

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