I felt compelled to take a break from the Panama blog posts and write two blogs about two things that have been in the media over the past few days. The deaths of 21 Egyptian Christians at the hands of ISIS terrorists and the recent interview of Rob Bell by Oprah Winfrey.
While I won’t deal with these in the same blog post, they are absolutely both signs of the times in which we live and I believe that each of them could indeed be indicators of the approaching return of Jesus! Notice with me the following verses from the book of Revelation:
“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.” (Revelation 6:9–11, ESV)
Are these verses speaking specifically about these deaths? I simply do not know. What I do know is that we now live in a time where Christians are dying for their faith and the whole world is watching and that has never happened before. Certainly Christians have died for their faith, but not in a manner where the whole world was watching and not at the hands of a violent, religious group such as ISIS.
I simply want to bring two things to your mind in this blog post. First, I want to remind you of the words of Jesus when he said…
“And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”” (Luke 21:9, ESV)
Regardless of what you hear on the news or read on the internet or in print, God is still in control!! These could very well be the signs of the soon return of our Lord! We could be right at the moment that Jesus spoke of when he said…
“Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”” (Luke 21:28, ESV)
Second, I want to ask you to join me in a cause. I realize that these next few statements might seem in conflict with things that you have heard me say from the pulpit about how we are to love our enemies, but they are not. I believe that the greatest demonstration of Christ’s love is in a person’s willingness to suffer or even die for someone who doesn’t deserve that love. However, nowhere do the scriptures instruct you and I, not to use every means within our reach to protect our families and others who might be defenseless against someone trying to hurt them.
Therefore, I would ask you to join me in taking every opportunity to avail yourselves upon our political leaders to intervene via the strongest measures possible to stop anyone who would again seek to take Christian lives. Regardless of the current opinions of those in leadership in our nation, we have for our nation’s entire existence been considered a Christian nation by the rest of the world and if we don’t take action who will? When you write and speak, do so with compassion and reason. We must be seen as sober and reasonable people who are asking for a reasonable response to an absolute atrocity.
I will use the full force of any influence I have to this end and I pray that you will join me.