Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Friday, April 28, 2017

Absorbing the News: Should We Be Terrified?

Tensions in the Koreas, terrorist attacks in random places in Europe, conflicts in Syria, Yemen, and hotspots in Africa . . . . Sabre rattling from big-mouthed leaders. Is Armageddon around the corner? Could we be attacked with a nuclear weapon? Shouldn’t we be terrified? Christians are fearful. What if this enemy attacked our country? What if this other scenario happened? What if . . . .

Let’s look at the Bible for how to think and what prophecy actually says about future events. The Bible has been correct on its prophecies through the ages, and it will be correct about the future as well.
  • God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Numbers 23:19)
  • For verily I (Jesus) say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled (Matthew 5:18).

So, what do we need to know? The first thing is that God is sovereign. This means nothing can happen in the world without His knowledge and permission.
  • God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness (Psalm 47:8).
  • The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved (Psalm 93:1).
  • The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all (Psalm 103:19).
  • In Job 1:1-12, we read how Satan had to ask God for permission to afflict Job.

God is in control. He can change the rulings of kings and oversee movements of nations. He’s in complete control of everything on earth.
  • But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another (Psalm 75:7).
  • The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will (Proverbs 21:1).
  • Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? He gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow. He pursued them, and passed safely; even by the way that he had not gone with his feet. Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he (Isaiah 41:2-4).

God has already prophesied the future. The Battle of Armageddon will be the last hurrah for evil on this earth. As I understand Scripture, it will be at the end of the Tribulation period of seven years. That’s three-and-a-half years after the Antichrist reveals himself. Jesus and His forces will defeat the forces of the Antichrist and usher in the millennial (thousand-year) reign of Christ.*

The next event on a born-again Christian’s calendar is the Rapture of the Saints, which could occur any time. I would love to go to heaven in the Rapture, wouldn’t you? For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

How’s a Christian to react to daily news? 
  1. Pray.
  2. Rest in God’s sovereign plan for all nations.
  3. Live a pure and holy life, ready for the Rapture.
  4. Reach the lost for Christ, while there’s time.
  5. Help needy people.
  6. Know that ultimately Jesus will rule, and everything is moving forward to that day.

And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude,
and as the voice of many waters,
and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying,
Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth (Revelation 19:6).

Our ultimate reaction to daily news stories should be peace. God has everything under control. We can rest in the surety that His will is being done. Praise Him! I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety (Psalm 4:8).

*Prophecies about the Tribulation period, the Antichrist, the Battle of  Armageddon, and the Millennial reign of Christ are found in: Matthew 24:21-31; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-9; Revelation 14:14-20 and 16:14-16; and in Revelation 20:1-6.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Fiction Review: Shattered

Shattered, by Kimberly Rae is Book Two in her "Broken Series." It’s helpful if you’ve read the first book, Shredded, before this one. (You can access my review, here.) The first book will give you the background stories before you begin, and you’ll be acquainted with most of the characters.

Note: I think Shattered is for adults only. The book is about human trafficking, prostitution, and a strip club. It’s a clean book. There are no suggestive scenes, but there is some violence, “ownership” of the girls, and these topics aren’t for young people to be exposed to on this level. I think most girls eighteen years old would be ready for this, though. If you’re a mother, you might want to read it first and make your own judgment. There is some premarital kissing.

The story begins with the prostitute “Champagne” being horribly beaten. Her friend Candy rescues her and takes Champagne to Jean’s home for recovery—and hiding. What Candy doesn’t know is that Slash (Champagne’s owner) has made a deal with Champagne: she furnishes him with details about all the Christians’ lives, and he will wreak revenge on them. Champagne is good with a computer, and in the weeks it takes her to heal, she has dug up all the “dirt” she can find on those who are helping her. She knows their backgrounds, their whereabouts, and their habits . . . even though she can’t at all understand their self-control.

Living with Jean is like living in a dreamworld for Champagne. She can hardly believe the purity of the relationship she watches day and night. It’s weird, but it’s wonderful, too. These people really practice what they preach!

Candy has organized the church ladies to minister to a strip club she knows. The owner of the strip club is antagonistic, but he lets them in to distribute flowers and chocolate to the girls. The church ladies have never been anywhere like this! They’re afraid. What in the world will they talk about? Soon, Florence is chatting to the girls as if they were her own. They think she’s a hoot, but they trust her—an old church lady coming to a place like this and giving us nice things. The pastor’s wife goes, too, but she has to exit and throw up—more than once.

Soon, Slash begins his revenge on the Christians who robbed him of Candy. He doesn’t do the dirty work himself. He hires killers.

You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens. This is a great book with a huge heart. It brings up the questions:
  • Do we really care about prostitutes and trafficked people? Jesus does.
  • Are we trying to reach the lost—even those who hate us? Jesus does.
  • Are we willing to put aside our differences and build bridges to others so that we can share Christ?
  • Can we trust God in the face of death?
  • Is God still good when Christians suffer?

Find out what happens to the Christians in the story, to Candy, Champagne, and the church. You’ll be challenged. I promise.

There’s a thoughtful study guide at the end of the book, if you’d like to use it with a ladies’ group.