Tag Archives: ISIS

Such a time…

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

Hebrews 4:13 (NLT)

cc5cf9bdf0f798cc2da23e8110ccc6e3

While studying the book of Esther at Bible Study, I noticed that the Jews had chosen to stay in exile in the land of Persia. They could have returned to their homes in Jerusalem but decided to remain with their comfort and familiarity and had assimilated so well that their nationality had become imperceptible to their neighbors.

Enter, the heroine, Queen Esther — a Jew but a carefully guarded secret from her husband and adopted nation. She was so isolated and insulated from the outside world that a potential holocaust of her people couldn’t penetrate her seclusion without the hand of God entering into the story.

The recent shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon reminded me of this story. Standing in a classroom with a gun, the shooter asked victims if they were Christians before he shot them. Each person had the choice to affirm their faith in Christ or not. Some lost their lives for their convictions.

ISIS beheaded twenty-one Egyptian men because of their belief in Christ. The Yazidis, a Christian minority in Iraq, have fled for their lives even as women and children have been captured, raped, and killed by ISIS.

In America, it’s easy to live each day as if all is well. How long before the isolation and insulation we expect and crave will keep us from an awareness of the holocaust that is going on around the world and within our own borders?

Back to Esther, who had a choice:

If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this? Esther 4:14 (NLT)

Will you keep quiet? Are you ready to stand up for your faith and are you placed in a position for such a time as this?

Something to think about.

 

 

 

 

Share

Aylan’s Cord

An enemy might defeat one person,

    but two people together can defend themselves;

a rope that is woven of three strings is hard to break.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NCV)

IMG_2446

The disturbing image captured my attention. A three-year-old boy’s lifeless body washed up on the beach in Turkey. His red shirt and blue shorts are printed indelibly on my memory. How did this happen? Where is his family?

The war in Syria rages and many are fleeing from the ISIS Army. This boy, Alyan, his brother, and parents escaped on a boat, hoping for a better life. But he didn’t make it—only his father survived the trip. That one picture has circled the globe reminding us that a picture is worth a thousand words. This war is real and the crisis of families in search of peace and safety is both dangerous and severe.

As believers, we know that when one part of the body is hurting, we all hurt. My heart aches for these families but what can one person do?

Pray. I don’t know the future but God does. He sees when these little ones struggle even as when a sparrow falls. He is not blind to these atrocities but the relief and end to all of this is in His time.

Give. Most of these stories come from half-way across the world. But the needs are real for these families fleeing with nothing but the clothes on their backs and no place to go. Support a ministry that gives aid and relief such as Samaritan’s Purse.

Remember. Our world is in such distress from wars and rumors of wars that the end may be near. We are called to share the Good News of the gospel as Jesus instructed His disciples … until He comes again.

As we stand together in support of these our brethren, we become that strand that is not easily broken. Help them, Jesus.

Share

Stay Alert!

However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert! 

Mark 13:32-33 (NLT)

isis-flag

As a news junkie, the latest reports about ISIS executing Ethiopian Christians in a similar fashion as they used to murder Egyptian Christian men is appalling and mind-boggling. Even more alarming is the report Ann Voskamp posted on her Facebook page:

According to Jews News this week, “According to a document issued by ISIS, Christian & Yazidi girls, aged between 1 and 9, are up for grabs for $172…. Slaves are not listed as women – they are labelled as Merchandise.”

Jesus spent a lot of time spelling out to his disciples what things must happen before He returns to reign and rule. He often used familiar things, such as the fig tree that withered and died. A vineyard run by evil tenant farmers who killed the owner’s son. Even the impressive stones in the walls of the Temple that would be completely demolished. They could use all five senses to try and understand the stories but still didn’t get it.

We don’t get it either. Why is all this happening? What has changed so dramatically that even common decency is tragically abused and forgotten? Human life is devalued from the cradle to the grave. We read stories of Christian martyrs from today — not centuries ago.

Jesus’ warnings better jar us awake:

Jesus replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines. But this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.” 

   “When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. For the Good News must first be preached to all nations.” Mark 13:5-10 (NLT)

We need to be in the Good News business. With our world upside down, people are looking for answers and we have them. Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will be with us to give the answers. Be winsome and available. Look for opportunities to share your faith.

Things are definitely changing. We may be observing the beginning of birth pangs.

“Be on guard! Stay alert!”

Share

To Stand

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,

    whom he has redeemed from trouble

and gathered in from the lands,

    from the east and from the west,

    from the north and from the south.

Psalm 107:2-3 (ESV)

7eb9f93583cde8f1100b8fb397be5dc9

It’s the middle of Holy Week. I’ve been reading Lenten devotions for almost 40 days in preparation for the remembrance of my Lord’s passion, culminating in the Resurrection this weekend. Death is conquered forever, to the consternation of Satan.

Rather than celebrating this amazing event, the world around me is in a mess.

Christians are cowering before the press as the LGBT community presses for advantage after the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana and now debated in Arkansas.

I have the right to my beliefs according to the Bible’s teaching, and guaranteed under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. God offers no doubt about His standards and condemns homosexuality.

Discrimination goes both ways, but should never be condoned. A generational gap does not make changing the bill the right thing to do. Nor does a larger megaphone make true false assertions bandied about the media, Twitter, and Facebook.

As believers, we no longer have the luxury of silence, apathy, and tolerance. I refer to Edmund Burke’s famous quote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  He also said, “The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.”

ISIS, beheadings, suicide bombers, nuclear bombs in the hands of the Iranians, coups, release of enemy combatants, Israel threatened are just a few of the hot spots around the world — when will it stop? What is in the future for our children and grandchildren?

We can put our head in the sand and hope it blows over. However, I think the better option is to put on the armor of God and fervently pray for a third Great Awakening.

We are called to be watchmen on the wall and alert all to impending danger. Be vigilant, ready with an answer for all who ask.

…and having done all, to stand.

Share