November 4, 2014
Election Day 2014 — if you haven’t voted, now’s the time. Election day for many of us has become a barometer of just how far our country has slipped. It seems that the more we vote, the more we are reminded that in our country the bad is viewed as good and the good as bad. The problem isn’t endemic to the good old US of A, it is found throughout the Western World. Christianity and it’s Judeo-Christian ethic is waning. Because of this, I often hear people predict that the time of our Savior’s return can’t be far off.
But here’s the thing: Christianity is booming throughout the Third World and other places. In China, where as recently as a generation ago there were only one million saints, today there are 90 million who name the name of Christ. This pattern is repeated throughout what we might call the back corners of the world. Literally, thousands are being converted every day. It is amazing how the church is exploding in other parts of the world. And, by the way, these new believers are morally conservative. Yep, good is good and bad is bad.
Other than Jerusalem and Rome, most of the locations mentioned in the New Testament are predominately Muslim today. I can imagine as Islam crept into the Near East that people said to each other that the return of Christ can’t be far off. Things were getting worse. You get my point. I believe that God is going to do great things over the next several centuries regardless of how bad they are here.
My grandmother expressed the hope that Jesus would return before she died. She hasn’t been with us now for decades. I know that many of us have this hope. After all, most of us want to avoid the valley of the shadow of death. Yet, based on the reality of the exploding church in other parts of the world, I think it is time for Debbie and me to start thinking about where to store our bodies until Jesus returns.
August 31, 2012
As many of you know, Chloe is rumbling up the road this morning. Lord willing, she will be sleeping in Oak Harbor tonight. As a family, we were blessed to have her with us the past three months. We had what families don’t often get: significant time with a child who is married and has moved away. Of course, the sweet providence that created this opportunity was Jacob’s deployment.
While it was a sweet providence for the family, for Jake and Chloe it was more of a frowning providence (to use William Cowper’s words). I would hope that being with us tempered Chloe’s pain a bit, yet I’d be foolish to think that we could replace Jake. And for Jake, life in the desert halfway around the world separated from his bride is anything but sweet. While phone calls and Skyping help, they in no way replace actually being with each other.
So, while we were blessed to be able to see Chloe on a daily basis, we could sense that visiting with us was merely a diversion. A good diversion no doubt, but a diversion none the less. Her heart’s desire was to be back home with Jake beside her. This home isn’t her home anymore. She was longing for her home. Chloe had a faraway look in her eyes.
I think there is a parallel here with believers. Most of the time this old world is a good place to be. God is very good to us. Pain is tempered. Yet, we are somewhat separated from the great Lover of our souls. The Word and prayer help, but they in no way replace actually being in the presence of God. As the Bride of Christ, we realize that what we want most is for our Groom to return.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:11-13