- All Eyes on Israel - Events in Israel continue to capture the headlines as the world increasingly criticizes the Jewish people in their defense against the terrorist attacks from Hamas. Multiple cease fires have been broken and each time Israel has been on the defensive from the barrage of rockets fired from Gaza behind their human shield of innocent women and children. And yet, the wave of antisemitism growing in our world is matched only by what was witnessed during the time Hitler's evil reign. It is right to pay attention to Israel because God is not yet finished with the covenant promise He made to His people. He will bless those who bless His people and He will curse those who curse them. In the end, it is the church who may be Israel's only friend. Keep your eyes on Israel.
- An Alliance of Evil - The growing alliance between Russian and Iran must not be ignored. This is a partnership that is unprecedented in history and yet the Bible promises it will be a major factor in the end times. The growing unrest in Ukraine and the atrocities of shooting down a commercial jet liner seem to hide behind the shadows. Despite the economic sanctions imposed by the west, Russia has been strengthened by an historic $20 billion oil deal with Iran to by pass the Western sanctions. Keep your eyes on this alliance.
- Hidden Atrocities - Also almost undetected is the bloody civil war in Syria that has left over 170,00 dead and millions of refugees fleeing for safety. The Islamic extremist group, know as ISIS, is sweeping through much of Iraq killing scores of Christians and other religious minorities. Their demands are simple, "Convert to Islam or Die!" Their brutal rampage includes the beheading of children, crucifying Christians and massacres of genocidal proportion. Keep your eyes on this growing evil.
- Transition of Power - In all this chaos, it has been to policy of the United States to keep their hands clean. Our passive approach to these world events was only slightly (and reluctantly) modified when President Obama recently gave permission to allow the US military to protect the interest of the United States in the southern region of Kurdistan if they had to. Our airstrikes seemed to have slowed the progression of the ISIS onslaught in the area but it's certainly not enough to remove the threat completely. The United States is equipping the Kurdish army, known as Peshmerga, to fight this battle on their own. This is of special interest from a biblical perspective because the ancestors of the Kurds are known in the Bible as the Medes. The Medes have a key role in destroying Babylon in the end times so keep your eye on Kurdistan.
- The Silence of America - One of the most nagging questions when considering the end time is the role of one of the most influential countries in the world, the United States of America. And yet, the Bible seems to be silent on the subject. It's as if we don't exist. And yet we are witnessing a time in history when America is increasingly losing respect and influence in foreign affairs. Our own economic crisis only compounds this problem. Perhaps we simply implode in an economic crisis that prevents us from making any meaningful impact in world events. No one knows, but keep your eyes on America.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Monday, July 21, 2014
Monday, July 14, 2014
Monday, June 30, 2014
“That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace = a new life in a new land! That’s what baptism in the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of is raised into a light filled world by our Father so that we can see where we are going in our new grace-sovereign country.”As we celebrated the freedom we have in our country, always remember that this world is not our home. We live in a new life in a new land where grace reigns through faith in Jesus Christ. May your life tell the story of His redemption every single day!
Monday, May 26, 2014
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Monday, March 24, 2014
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Thursday, January 30, 2014
"Go your way. Eat the fat and drink the sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to the Lord. And do not be grieved for the joy of the Lord is your strength."They tell them to put aside their weeping and throw a party instead. Why? Because the grace of God is worth celebrating. We are to be strengthened by the joy of the Lord who's delight is in our redemption. He wants us to see our sin in the light of His forgiveness and grace. Because without drawing near, we continue to carry the burden of sin along with us. But God wants to set us free and give us a reason to celebrate. Lord, I want to draw near to you so that your Word becomes personal in my life. I want you to search me O God and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in your everlasting way. Set me free in the joy of your forgiveness and grace to the praise and glory of your great Name! Teach me to celebrate your grace.
Monday, January 27, 2014
"Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name." (Acts 5:41)As you read closely, you'll find that the apostles didn't rejoice in their beating. They didn't enjoy their physical suffering in a kind of sadistic euphoria. They rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name of Christ. They realized that the lashing they received was they same that was given to their Savior. After all, they (like Jesus) were not being punished for a crime. These religious leaders didn't have a problem with the apostles per se. They had a problem with their message. And so, in the end, they rejoiced because they knew that the message they were preaching was being heard. For many who were seeking a Savior, it was the good news of salvation. But for those who were doing just fine on their own, it was an irritable inconvenience to their preferred way of life. But in either case, it was confirmation for the apostles that the good news of salvation in Christ was heard and understood by all. Lord, I too desire to be in a place where I might rejoice when suffering dishonor for Your name. Where my life is so centered around your gospel that my reaction to circumstances is not judged by the presence or absence of pain, but instead, on the understanding of the message I am called to proclaim. I realize that some with respond with great joy, while others will lash out with hatred. But may I realize that the reaction, in both situations, is not based on me and what I have done. It is a response to your truth which is salvation to some and foolishness to others. In whatever I do (or not do), may it be for the glory of your name.
Monday, January 20, 2014
For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horseman to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, "The hand of our God is for good on all who seek Him, and the power of His wrath is against all who forsake Him." Ezra 8:22In other words, we've got to practice what we preach if we really believe it is true. Either we trust God to be faithful or we look for other means to help us along the way. What a dilemma for Ezra that is equally as relevant in our lives today. Here we are in the Bible Belt of America and we can recite verse after verse of things we claim to be true. But what is our response when God calls us to practice what we preach? Namely, those impossible situations in life that may seem foolish from the world's perspective (kind of like walking into enemy territory with a buffet of priceless artifacts). For example, do we trust God's ability to redeem the marriage of an unfaithful but repentant spouse? Do we sacrifice an advancement in our career to pursue a life in ministry? Are we willing to trust that God can comfort those we love who suffer from an incurable disease? In the end, is there anything in my life that is just too big for Him to handle that would require me to go my own way. Or do I truly believe that He is faithful to carry me through? Lord, help me to live a life that truly trusts in you. Give me strength in those moments when my faith is put to the test. When I am called to practice what I preach. No matter what I face, help me to keep my eyes on you. Help me to live out my faith in both word and deed as I proclaim: "You alone are my Rock and my salvation; my stronghold, and in You I will not be greatly shaken." (Ps62:2)
Thursday, January 9, 2014
"Media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski."That's the world we live in. And perhaps there is a method behind the madness of our highly fragmented information age. Maybe, just maybe, our enemy is behind the schemes of this world and His desire is to keep us moving so fast that we never really stop long enough to feast on the richness of God's love. Oh, we might wave as we zip by on our Jet Ski, but we no longer stop long enough to have a meaningful conversation. We don't go to the quiet place of prayer and reflection to nourish the deepest part of our soul. I think our enemy may be keeping us occupied while he is starving us to death. Lord, forgive me for falling into the enemy's trap. I'm sorry for ever believing that anything in life could possibly be more important than finding my rest in You. Teach me to slow down. Help me step away and be still before You. To listen... to reflect... to pray. I need You to speak words of life into my soul. To nourish me with Your Word... To patiently and lovingly lead me in Your everlasting way. You have my attention. I want to be all Yours. I'm listening now.