Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What in the World?

My heart has been oozing for several weeks now. If you read the news, yours is too, I'm sure. Although the genocide in the Middle East shouldn't surprise us (people have been hating and killing God's people since the beginning of time), we are still stunned that one human being could heartlessly decapitate a child. And we should be. Those that act like it is no big deal need to retrace their thoughts. The out-of-control turmoil in Ferguson targets a little too close to home, and more school shooting threats dot our country; we have Ebola outbreaks and floods, and fires, and landslides.

 In this technological-submersed culture, breaking news from across the globe hits us the next minute.  The problem rests not with information--we are inundated with it. But we don't always get the information we need. Unfortunately, those who "write" the news decide what is worth knowing and what isn't. And everything is a means to persuade and manipulate. If you click on Yahoo News!, the latest stories deal with Bieber's bad haircut and back-to-school fashion. Really! It makes me want to scream.  If someone gets on Fox News, you see criticism right and left (or maybe just right, huh?) about Obama's lies, failures, and agenda. Do I like the current President? Not even close. Do I think he's doing a good job of handling these messes? Nope. But didn't the majority vote him in? And don't we all have to live with it? And what good does preaching to the choir do other than boil blood? 

I used to be passionate and patriotic, now I'm just passionate. My patriotism has shifted some. Allegiance lies first with my Lord and my Savior. All else is subject to change. Do I love our country? I greatly appreciate its founding and those who sacrificed so much to make it a place of freedom. I think God has greatly blessed America. I also think we've done a bang-up job of pushing Him aside. 

This country is shifting; eyes that used to humbly look up are now navel gazing.  Personal responsibility is substituted for entitlement.  Making a difference has morphed into using others to get ahead. And entertainment is god.  We'll digest just about anything if it amuses us--hook, line, and sinker.  If someone says, "Oh, it's just a song, a movie, a story..." don't believe them. There's always a purpose. It may be covert or subconscious, but it's there all the same.  Most of it comes down to this: it's all about the big ME. 

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, I don't have a bug-out kit, and I'm not planning on stock-piling for an independent victory over humanity's defeat. These dystopian movies and books propel a lot of talk...and fear. We don't really need more fear. What we need is perspective and faith.  If the world falls to pieces, and we're still here (depending on your end-times interpretation), we have a job to do...just as we do now. And it's not to isolate and preserve ourselves anymore then than now. We have a gift, a gift of hope and life and meaning.  But we aren't conveying much of that message if our lives are enslaved to money, image, and comfort. 

"Southern Baptist evangelist Vance Havner has put it, 'The devil has chloroformed the atmosphere of this age." Therefore, in view of the sure promises of Christ's return, as believers, we are to do more than merely be ready; we are to be expectant. In our day of 'anarchy, apostasy, and apathy,' Havner suggest that expectant living means: 'We need to take down our "Do Not Disturb" signs...snap out of our stupor and come out of our coma and awake from our apathy.' When we know that Christ is coming again to this earth [really truly live and act like it], we cannot go on being the same people" (Dr. David Jeremiah What in the World is Going On? 232).

So, how does one become more eternally minded and focused on others? Black and white rules fall into listening. We ask. And we wait to hear what He says. I want to know what His plan is and where I can fit in and help. I don't want my life to be about my agenda, "Here God, if you could just hold things off here for awhile and sign the back, I'd appreciate it." He's turning my heart to anticipate His move. And I'm eager to see what He will do. 

*Matthew 24:29-31:29 "Immediately after the distress of those days " 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' 30 "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
*Matthew 24:36-37:36 No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
* 2 Peter 3:1-18:1 Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles. 3 First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. 14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
* 1 Thessalonians 5:1-9:1 Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

John 3:16:For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

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