Billy Graham wrote an article called Six Things We Can Learn from the Pilgrims and shared some interesting insight about some needed lessons. In his article, he made an interesting contrast between people of our day and the Pilgrims of yesterday when he wrote of their faith and persistence: “In our day, agnosticism, anxiety, emptiness, and meaninglessness, have gripped much of our world—and even the Church. People are broad but shallow. By contrast, these Pilgrim forebears stand as shining examples of people who were narrow but deep. When I think about the Pilgrims, I would agree with Graham that they were “narrow but deep,” but are we really “broad but shallow?” I am afraid the answer is probably yes. How could the Pilgrims withstand all of the difficulties they faced (a nearly impossible voyage filled with stench, sickness, and even death; losing
about half of their number to death during their first year; and coming close to starvation because of their lack of wilderness skills) and still stand strong in their faith dedicating a special time for thanksgiving as they reflected upon God’s blessings on their lives? The answer is they were “narrow but deep.” They knew the word of God and stood strong on their faith. They
understood God’s call on their lives and took their steps of bravery out of obedience to God’s will in their lives.
I have a question I’m pondering on this day after Thanksgiving. No, it’s not should I have gone to Best Buy at midnight last night to see if I could have gotten one of the 9 cameras on sale for $149.99. The question is if we faced such difficulties in our lives right now as 21st century Christians, would we (as the church of Jesus) stand strong in our faith and even set aside times of thanksgiving and prayer for all of God’s blessings? While some would, I think many would not. Why? The answer is as Graham stated: we are “broad but shallow.” This needs to change. We will face days of growing difficulty, and a shallow faith based upon a shallow knowledge of the word of God will not provide us the spiritual resource needed to stand during the evil day. 2 Thessalonians 2 was written with the last days in mind, and God told us to “stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you.” So, maybe this Thanksgiving season could challenge all of us to prepare ourselves to always be able to give thanks to God and serve Him continually.
I know I’ve got the end times on my mind because of the message series I’m currently preaching (http://www.sonrisebaptist.org/listen-online.php), but I can’t help but be amazed at some of the things that are happening right before us. A couple of weeks ago I preached from Ezekiel 38 and spoke about the Gog and Magog war. I know there’s much discussion as to when this happens, and I also realize there is a similar war mentioned at the end of Revelation which may connect the war to the end of the Millennial reign of Christ. I tend to agree with the scholars that lean toward these being two separate wars, and the first one could happen before the rapture of the church and the tribulation period. If that is in fact true, this would mean we will continue to see the relationship between Israel and Iran (and the others in the coalition, including Russia) deteriorating. It also means that while sentiments in that part of the world will go against Israel, no one will stand with Israel as an ally in this attack. Ezekiel is real clear that the Arab Gulf States will not be a part of the coalition, but they will not support Israel. Some scholars also believe the reference to Tarshish is speaking of England, and her “young lions” refers to the colonies she founded – including the United States. Again, while these nations will oppose the build up, they will not stand with Israel. The scripture is clear that Russia and the coalition of nations (including Iran, Turkey, Ethiopia/Sudan, Libya, and either Germany or France) will attack Israel, but God will miraculously defeat them.
With all that said, did you happen to watch Fox News on November 7 when Greta Van Susteren interviewed Ambassador John Bolton about the Iranian nuclear problem? It was amazing. I’ve tried to find the interview on the web, but it doesn’t seem to be available. Bolton spoke as if he were reading a script from Ezekiel. He referred to Obama’s hesitation to be involved and the Arabic Gulf States not being able or willing to openly support Israel. He referred to Russia’s involvement in the whole thing. He mentioned that it looked like Israel may fight the battle alone. I do not believe this will actually be the Battle of Gog and Magog, but I can see how these events will continue to set the stage for this Ezekiel 38 battle.
This should challenge us to watch the news with a clear understanding of biblical prophecy. I believe you will see correlations. This will challenge us to openly share our faith and faithfully serve the Lord. Christ’s return could be very soon.
Countdown – Are We Living in the Last Days? has been an interesting series that has caused me to think differently about the news and everyday life in general. I’ve been amazed at some of the articles that has recently come out that continues to show evidence we may be living in the last days. For example, several weeks ago I preached a message about King Nebuchanezzer’s dream that was interpreted by Daniel. The bottom line for the last days is that there will be a unified empire in the end time (Daniel 2:31-45) made up of ten kingdoms all united as one. It has been referred to as a resurrected Roman Empire. Some have guessed this world power to be the future empire that will come out of the relationship currently known as the European Union. If you want to read an interesting article on the effort to maintain this unity, check out this link sent to me from Jim Wells. It supports the importance of a unified Europe with a connection to renewed Roman Empire.
What does all this mean to us? It could mean that we are living in the last days. I think we can be on the lookout for a ten-nation alliance (such as a whittled down European Union) to rise to a prominent place in our world. While we can be students of current events and seek to connect these events to biblical prophecies, we must adjust our lives to God’s truth in response to what we see. If we are living in the last days, our lives should reflect God’s priorities in the world and our fulfillment of God’s mission in the world. What kind of adjustments are you making to your life in response to the last days countdown?