Religious leaders discuss the word of God in this weekly feature. Published on Fridays, Church Talk discusses themes from the Bible as well as looking at current events in a Christian context.
On Monday, August 21 this year, all of North America was treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality would have seen one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights…this celestial event is called a ‘total solar eclipse.’
In times of uncertainty, doubt, tragedy and loss, mourning, sadness, or hopelessness the holy scriptures have many passages that will uplift your mind and heart, giving you the strength you need to get through each day.
The premise of this article is that the reader has a relationship with Jesus or intends to, and therefore believes he or she is saved. The question is, how can you be certain, at the end of the day, that you will receive the reality of salvation when Jesus returns?
What is happening in our world today?
In this modern world, millions of people face extreme discomfort and all sorts of pain.
Let me highlight a few examples: There’s the Syrian war in which many have been killed and many have migrated to other countries. Those who remain face daily uncertainty about their futures.
Similar scenarios are taking place in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Nigeria… the list goes on. America has just experienced a powerful hurricane in Houston, Texas and now faces an even stronger hurricane in Florida. There is flooding in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, thousands of people died. There are mudslides covering a whole village. As if there were not enough people already dying, we have America and North Korea probing each other for nuclear supremacy and if it all goes wrong, millions will unfortunately be caught in the crossfire. This is a mad situation, but it’s real.
Jesus said to His disciples: “You will hear about wars that are being fought. And you will hear stories about other wars beginning. But don’t be afraid. These things must happen before the end comes. Nations will fight against other nations. Kingdoms will fight against other kingdoms. There will be times when there is no food for people to eat. And there will be earthquakes in different places.” (Matthew 24:6, 7).
The verses above easily relate to the front page of the newspapers worldwide, as this is our current situation. Those who have a passion for Jesus and his teachings have for a very long time known about this. Many Christians have been aggressively proclaiming this message for a long time. When things seemed okay, there was no urgency as to the consideration of these words. But though they were uttered some 2000 years ago, they fit perfectly into the events happening now. This is no laughing matter. If Jesus knew this all those years ago, what else then did He said that is also applicable for us today? He said verse 14 “And the Good News I have shared about God’s kingdom will be told throughout the world. It will be spread to every nation. Then the end will come.”
Could this be the answer to curb the current trend and even offer hope for our chaotic world, ending the misery? The Good News of God’s kingdom looms as a great and positive alternative in offering hope to a dying world.
Look at our very challenging environmental mess. There needs to be cleansing, because our abuse of our environment contributes to global warming, causing regular and stronger natural disasters (such as Irma the category 5 storm now destroying islands in its path). It’s not hard to accept the fact that Jesus who created our world understood that treating our environment negatively would produce harmful, destructive activity according to the law of cause and effect. The Bible simplifies it by saying, “Whatever you sow, you reap” (Galatians 6:7).
Another issue that is gradually knocking louder and louder are the current economic systems of our world. Corruption is rampant which causes civil unrest. Ethnic cleansing comes into play here and forces people to migrate to already over-populated countries as is the case of migrants flowing from Myanmar into Bangladesh. This is unwanted stress and it is happening globally.
In America right now, the “dreamers” (young people entering America when they were infants) now face deportation and there is a debate as to the impact of this to the economy of America. The same tune appears to be playing around the world. As far away as it is and because it appears to have little effect on us, we need to ask ourselves if our lives, and even our faith, are so entangled in the economic structure, and we are blinded to other realities that is happening around us.
If the focus in our little paradise is greed and accumulating for selfish ambitions, then we are trotting down the pathway to civil unrest and reaction. Why do I say this? Because, this is the pattern happening globally. Take note of the many protests, calling for justice and fair treatment. We are no longer isolated and out of reach, we have opened our doors to the world and shaping our way of life to the influences coming our way. Hopefully we will not be caught unaware!
We need to be alert and be extremely careful here, because if not we will be caught in the web of economic growth, only to be trapped into the very opposite. As always, the most vulnerable (the disabled, widows, outer islanders and other at-risk people) in our society will be most affected. That’s because of because of gender pressures, the lack of education savvy, the fact that people are being ripped off due to ignorance, and the shift of power to a privilege few
Last week I used the Creation Story of the Bible as one of the examples of my faith and trust in a powerful God. It’s interesting to note the first two chapters of the Bible in Genesis are about the creation of our world. The last two chapters of the Bible in the book of Revelation talk about the new heaven and the new earth. In between those four chapters is our story of the good, the bad, and theugly, and the Bible deals with that.
This tells me God has good plans for us and still does, and when we are seriously dedicated to the study of His word, the Bible, we will begin to see multiple gems of promises and then begin to understand as to the reason why the new heaven and the new earth is mentioned at the end of the Bible. It’s all for us.
I believe in an eternal God and I believe He has eternal plans for us. The Bible tells us of the many instances in history, some of which are continuing today, where God’s plans have been twisted, deleted, changed and challenged. This has contributed to a distrust in God and the focus on man. Well, just look at the mess we got into, when man decided to do things on his own. I’ve mentioned some in this article. The God option is the best and most sensible preference. It offers hope and answers and it reinforces our faith in Him. It’s the best I’ve heard.
In closing, let me ask this question: “Why did the Bible say Jesus is coming again?”
I believe He needs to, as there are too many deaths, too much pain and sorrow. Evil is multiplying and it’s getting worse. May the hope of the Kingdom of God be our prayer for a positive future starting now in our heart. Keep praying and God Bless.
SDA Church Cook Islands
In 1517, Martin Luther staked his soul on two revolutionary ideas: sola fide, that salvation is dependent on faith alone; and sola scriptura, that Scripture is the only ultimate authority for Christian belief and practice and that it does not need oversight from church leadership or tradition to be read and understood.
After being reminded it was the Seventh Day Adventist Church’s turn to do the CINews Church Talk articles for the month of September, I started to think of topics I should address.