Thursday, August 21, 2014
I don't have to tell you that we are living in some very scary times. Throughout the world, it seems as if anarchy reigns and boundaries mean nothing. Innocent victims in Israel and Gaza are not safe from enemy attack. Islamist radicals are establishing terror states in Iraq and Syria and other parts of the Middle East, killing as many Christians as they can along the way. Basic human civil concern for the dead is being ignored. Vladimir Putin is at it again and Russians have been deluded into a nationalistic fervor. Our own southern border has its own problems, and all we get is partisan paralysis from Capitol Hill. And of course there are all the goings on in Ferguson, Missouri ....
So ... are we sliding into the end times that Jesus talked about in Mark 13? "Nation will rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom ... these are but the beginnings of birth pains. You will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. And you will be hated by all for my name's sake."
The truth is that all of these things have been taking place ever since the time of the apostles until now. Jesus' death and resurrection marked the beginning of the end times. Maybe we are a little closer now to the Last Day, but still no one knows. Except God of course. And He's the only one that matters.
So have faith. Live in hope. Trust and believe. For just as Paul says in Romans 8 - "the sufferings of this present age are not worth comparing to the glory of the age to come."
We don't know what the future holds, but we do know Who holds the future. We don't know when the end will come, but we do know how it will end.
"Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life." - Rev. 2:10
(ht - meyer minute)
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Last week, the world began a centennial commemoration of World War One. Articles have appeared in newspapers and in magazines, and historical documentaries have been broadcast on television. We are reminded of the terrible slaughter that took place one hundred years ago, especially in the trench warfare of Europe. It is a grave and sober reminder of those dark days from the years 1914-1918.
Despite the awful carnage that took place, the "Great War" did not become the war to end all wars. Instead, the world became more divided and destructive. Within a generation, the planet succumbed to another six year world war which was fought all over the globe. Despite the outcome and the victory of the Allies, countries are still fighting localized wars today which are the result of the brokenness of World War One.
Africa, Asia, and the Middle East are still areas of great strife, contention, and violence. Bosnia and Serbia, where the First World War began, are still potentially hostile, unforgiving, and prone to the wickedness of "ethnic cleansing."
The unfortunate truth of the matter is that "peace on earth" will never be achieved until the Prince of Peace returns to make things right. And so, as Christians we continue to hope and to pray. We continue to strive for reconciliation and peace throughout the world. And we trust that somehow all things will work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
Unfortunately, war and hostility are part of our sinful human nature. Because of that, we're all in need of a Savior and Redeemer to come and save us from ourselves, to reconcile us to one another, and restore us back to God.