Friday, November 20, 2015

Jesus Warned Us There'd Be Days Like These ...

Out here on the Left Coast, we've just come through some of the most ferocious storms in recent memory. On Southern Vancouver Island on Tuesday, we had winds touching hurricane force, and caused the governor of Washington to declare a state of emergency after at least three people were killed. Colorado, Kansas, Illinois have also been whacked with unusually strong storms.

In the US, NOAA is warning of more to come, thanks to a really bad El Nino.

There's also another round of international negotiations and finger-pointing over climate change as more evidence mounts that big changes are happening.

On top of that, there are the terrorist attacks -- each day seems to bring some new report of inhumanity. I wrote in a post last week about how Jesus warned us, nearly 2.000 years ago, that these things were coming. Today, I'm reminded that He also told us this:

"... because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold."

The love of the homeless and impoverished in cities like Victoria and Vancouver has never been particularly warm (as I write this, an extreme weather alert -- for cold -- has been issued in Vancouver) and different levels of government are spending more time declaring the situation is another level's responsibility than doing something about it.

The response to the refugee situation is strikingly un-loving. Maybe even moreso, because of the hostility towards these millions of innocent people, trying to escape murderous situations in their home countries.

Countries that may have seemed like safe havens have blocked their entry, even for temporary asylum. (Read the Facebook posts from my friend, journalist Iayisha Khan, from Lesbos, Greece.) Indeed, a better word would be refusees, rather than refugees. 

In North America, the refusees have become a political football, with right-wing politicians -- many of whom profess to be God-fearing, church-going Christians -- declaring that because these people are presumed to be Muslims, then there are bound to be terrorists among them.

A "selah" moment: 

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost, to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

-- "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus -- the poem engraved on the Statue of Liberty

All this is not Doomspeak, by the way. Rather, it's to point out that these are wake-up calls -- symptoms that we need to change our focus, strengthen our relationship with God and endure to the end (Matt. 10:22), because what comes next is ... Jesus returns. As we do that, dealing with the symptoms -- like caring for the environment and caring for others -- follows as the night the day.

Many non-believers (and even some "liberal" Christians) tend to dismiss the Bible as an "ancient book" that's out of step with today's times. Consider what this "ancient book" has predicted about what's going down now: maybe it's not that out-of-step, after all.

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