As time goes on, many of us will look back at 2017 and remember it as a year of storms. We have had storms of political division and unrest, storms of tragic events ranging from terrorism to the senseless taking of innocent lives, and we have had literal storms - specifically three major hurricanes that came back to back-to-back and left a wake of devastation, homelessness loss and death. It is the hurricanes, the natural disasters we will focus on today. Are these events a coded message from God? Is God punishing us for our blatant sin or is He telling us to mend our foolish ways? Now, if you don’t believe in God, could these natural disasters be a coded message from “Mother Earth” letting us know that we have messed with her precious and vital ecosystem for too long? Are there lessons here for us to learn?
Current Events and Prophecy
It was just a few weeks ago the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, sparked a firestorm of vitriol and reaction throughout our country. What happened, what didn’t happen, who reacted and how - all of these things became the fuel for more protests and more protests against the protests and reaction of a very negative kind everywhere you looked. Let us be abundantly clear on one point – those who would paint themselves as any form of supremacist, white or otherwise, are servants of a deep and destructive darkness. Period. Those who take the law into their own hands and use violence and threats as their primary tools to eradicate all whom they consider supremacists are also choosing to borough down that dark hole as well. NONE of this is good! All of this provokes hatred, and rightfully so. Shouldn’t we as Christians hate such evil? Yes we should. The bigger question here, however, is HOW do we engage our hatred for evil in a Christlike manner?
Vengeance, indignation, burning anger and jealousy. These are some of the words the Bible uses to describe God’s reactions to this present evil world. To put it mildly, God is not happy. Can you blame Him? Look at us – look at what this world does, what it stands for and how we treat one another! God will not allow such sin and corruption to continue. He will act and when He does, there will be no mistaking His response. The Bible emphatically describes what look like world ending events – these events are called “The Day of Vengeance,” “Armageddon,” “The Time of Trouble,” “The Day of Wrath”… So wait! We are always talking about God being a God of love – how could this vengeance of God possibly be interpreted as an act of love? Is God so vengeful and angry that He is going to squash us like bugs or is there another way to understand what His vengeance is, how it works and what it accomplishes?
We are so shortsighted. Most of us can only see as far as the next phone, tablet or computer screen and we really don’t think much about we are seeing – we just want to see it, to have our minds toyed with and occupied, never giving thought to what is beyond and what is lasting. In our obsession with the occupation of our moments, we have completely lost one of the greatest things that we could ever personally bring to our world. We have lost the value of LEGACY. Legacy by one definition is “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.” You see, we have the ability to leave a lasting and positive impression on our world, if we would only realize that potential and act on it. Elijah is a great example of legacy. In fact, Elijah left one of the most unique and powerful legacies of any Bible hero. What legacy did he leave? How did he do it?
History does repeat itself. Sometimes in its repetition we can see the heartbreak of the transgressions of the past repeated in the present with an even deeper and more insidious result. Look around you and what do you see? Shootings, stabbings, bombings, race riots, gangs, rape, murder, genocide; Black lives matter, police lives matter, all lives matter but what does it matter? Politicians lie, people lie and so many lie unnecessarily in early graves. Save the whales, save the schools, save the planet, save the children, but save them for what future? Muslims against Christians, Christians against other Christians, and seemingly the world against Judaism while the Atheists say, "I told you so." Women's rights, animal rights, civil rights, gun rights, LGBT rights - so many rights, but everything still seems so wrong. The world has become dangerous and angry. Their clamoring for peace is drowned out by the ever increasing clamor of violence. Where. Is. God? Does He hear? Does He know? Does He care? Has God completely lost control of our world?
The future of the world. Knowing what it might look like can be both a scary thought as well as an exciting one as well. Think about it – what if the future of the world is dark and ominous – would you want to know about it? What if the future of the world was bright and promising – would you want to know about it? While we cannot know the minutia of our world to come, there is an amazing amount that we can know and I will tell you this – both of the previous future examples of the world are true! How would I know that? There is an easy one word answer: Daniel.
Terrorism – it is a fearful and horrific development in our present day. The barbaric and merciless treatment of those who stand in your way simply because of their religion or country of origin has been made to be household conversation, most recently by ISIS. Does the Bible talk about ISIS? If so, what does it say and if not, then why not?
There is something about looking into the future that really fascinates us. What will things be like 100 years from now? Will cancer be cured? Will the world powers that we have today be the world powers of tomorrow? Will our reality be experienced virtually? Will we get along? Or, will the world be a scene of utter destruction caused by man-made global warming, or will it be destroyed by nuclear winter, or disease? Will an asteroid end life as we know it or will the wrath of God burn the planet and all on it to a crisp? Well, we believe biblical prophecy tells us a lot about the future and we believe that it tells us with a startling measure of detail. Stay with us as we walk down a path of prophecy and look back so we can see the future!
We live in very touchy times. Whether it is debating political positions or arguing for more of what we believe are our rights, or standing against those who want to do us harm, there are multiple ways of looking at these things. Religion is no different. Did you know that about one half of the world is either Christian or Muslim? That’s a lot of people! Kinda makes you wonder – with so many people professing to follow either of these paths, would the founders of these paths, Jesus and Muhammad, have been in agreement with one another?
For many, one of the most exciting events in life is the birth of a child. Once they are born, we really begin to understand how fragile, innocent and utterly dependent they are. If not completely cared for on a round-the-clock basis, they have little chance in life. As they grow it dawns on us that their physical dependence gives way to emotional and life skills dependence, so we must continue to rise to the challenge of parenting in an ever-changing way. At some point, the plan is for them to stand, think, act and live on their own. This is, or should be the victory of parenthood! Folks, something is really wrong...many of our children are not learning this independence! Where did we go wrong?