“In the 21st century, what will make Christians distinct from the rest of the culture is not what they do or don’t do or shouldn’t do. What will make them distinct, make them stand out, is that they won’t be afraid.” Marilyn Elliott
- Russia is preparing to amass 100,000 troops on the borders of three NATO countries for a huge series of war games that some fear is a prelude to war in Europe.
- North Korea threatens to nuke the U.S. and tested a hydrogen bomb and long-range ballistic missiles. Putin warns that the U.S. is creating the “preposterous” situation with North Korea.
- ISIS still tries to convey relevance by leaving a scorched-earth scenario when they evacuate, still pressing young people with a theology of destruction that rewards them with Paradise.
- Genocide in Syria continues while terror attacks reverberate through the nations of the world. Eleven million, that’s 11,000,000, refugees saturate services in Europe and Africa, displaced people trying to eek out a life under a backdrop of chemical and biological warfare.
- Tensions over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem spike again as Members of Knesset resume visits there, possibly sparking a new wave of anti-Israeli violence. The Temple Mount is a territorial prize occupied by a long line of nations: Jebusites, Israelites, Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, early Muslims, Crusaders, Mameluks, Ottomans, the British and again by Muslims under Israeli “control.” The Temple Mount has seen more momentous historical events than any other 35 acres in the world.
- Meanwhile, Hurricane Harvey dumped 33 trillion gallons of rainfall on the U.S. The University of Wisconsin’s Space Science and Engineering Center has determined that Harvey was a 1-in-1,000-year flood event. Now Hurricane Irma is bearing down on Florida having lost some of the historic, sustained winds of at least 185 miles-per-hour, but still packing enough punch to evacuate seven million people, that’s 7,000,000. Three hurricanes have been churning in the Atlantic for the first time in seven years after Tropical Storm Katia was upgraded to hurricane strength. After 185mph battered the Caribbean islands, closely followed by hurricane Jose, Hurricae Katia bore down on the east coast of Mexico, a nation reeling from the worst earthquake that nation has experienced in a century.
Phil Klotzbach, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University, notes that such hurricane activity is not an evidence of climate change, but simply the result of warm water, moisture in the atmosphere and low wind shear, or the change in wind speed with increasing height in the atmosphere. All standard stuff for hurricanes. What makes these unique is that two of the monstrous storms are hitting population centers.
- Then there’s the horrific, out-of-control wildfires raging across the Pacific Northwest “creating apocalypse-like conditions in numerous western states, blotting out the noonday sun behind thick blankets of smoke and depositing ash like freshlly fallen snow.” (The Washington Post)
- Record-breaking floods are devastating Asia. Half of Bangladesh is reportedly underwater. 100,000 homes have been destroyed. Forty million people, that’s 40,000,000, face severe and potentially life-threatening food and water shortages.
It makes one wonder if we are reaching a tipping point in history from which the world will never recover. And that may be the case. Some of you will remember when we awoke to news that the “Iron Curtain,” that 4,200 mile (6,800 km) thread of barbed wire and fencing was coming down. In days the Berlin Wall that had been announced on August 13, 1961 and built in just two weeks, came down starting on November 9, 1989.
It only takes one man to change the course of history, but repeatedly throughout history, God has placed one man in a place and with a disposition to do what He has foreseen and ordained to be done. None of us are probably that “one man” who will change the course of history, but each of us will be affected radically by choices over which we have no say.
Are we on the threshold of WWIII? What happens if a nut bag like Kim Jong-un decides to attack Seoul or Guam? What will Putin do it the U.S. retaliates or decides to take pre-emptive action? When will China join the fracas? Will Iran take the chaos as the opportunity to attack Israel directly with their nuclear weapons if they have any yet? We are living on a powder-keg of potential possibilities. Is this the end of the world as we know it?
Many talk about wanting Jesus to come back as though this will be a wonderful time and bring peace to the world. The Israelites before the captivity longed for “the Day of the LORD,” not realizing His purifying process would be set in motion with a shaking of the kingdoms of the world at that time. Be sure you know for what you are asking when you sing in harmony with lovely instruments in comfortable worship auditoriums, “Come, Lord Jesus, Come.”
I do not mean to be a harbinger of terrible news, just a reminder of what God has promised in the Bible: “For this is what the LORD of host says: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations . . . I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms. I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations,” (Haggai 2:6-7, 21-22)
“See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken — that is, things that have been made — in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.” (Hebrews 12:25-29)
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come.” (Revelation 22:20)