We Christians need signs of hope in the midst of ISIS beheading Christians, in the midst of deteriorating relations between our White House and Israel. There is hope to be had. Insight into the skillful use of information provided in the news and in the Bible will lead us to our hope, our specific reasons for hope by our relationship with the Holy Spirit.
The body of Christ first needs to gain the information about what is happening around us. Many Christians are still absorbed in their own personal lives. This is a natural thing when we are at peace. We care about our families, our jobs, our finances, our vacations, our amusements. But, that is only OK when we are at peace. We are not at peace; we are at war.
We did not choose to be in any war. We know about "9/11" and how it was a bunch of foreigners who flew hijacked airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center back then. We know about the invasion of Iraq and of Afghanistan. We know about our killing of Osama bin Laden. We even know about some bunch of radical killers called ISIS or Al Qaeda. We know that Iran wants to have nuclear weapons. But somehow some of it is just in the past or is far away.
What begins to worry us now, however, is that some of this is getting rather personal to us Christians. Christian villages in Syria are being raided, their girls are being raped and sold into slavery, their men are being murdered, sometimes hanging on a cross, their children are being beheaded or buried alive in the sand, their houses are marked with an "N" for Nazarene for the ISIS men to come back to that house and do these sorts of things. And, on the beach of the Mediterranean Sea, more than twenty Coptic Christian men were beheaded. And, in Africa, some bunch of people called Boko Haram kidnapped more than one hundred young girls and forced them to become Muslim and sold many of them into slavery. They swear allegiance to ISIS. ISIS is gaining followers in many other countries as well.
And Iran, Iran is lead by religious leaders who think they are in charge of the second coming of someone called the "Mahdi." They are trying to fulfill Muslim prophecy by doing this and a nuclear bomb would be a weapon to make that happen.
How can God allow these things? Because He gave us the power to choose good and evil and people are choosing evil. God will bring the redeemed home to Heaven with Him. Those who murder will be held accountable.
Another thing that worries us now is that our own government is turning its back on Israel. It is in the news how President Obama is listening to members of the Muslim Brotherhood for advice on Israel and the Middle Eastern countries. It is in the news that our President is bitter toward Mr. Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel. Now, our government is threatening Israel that it will oppose it in the United Nations. The USA will press Israel to give back the territory it gained many years ago, including 1/2 of Jerusalem.
If America turns its back on Israel, what will God do about the favor He has been giving the USA since the beginning of our history when we welcomed the Jewish people here. And, what will happen to the USA if we turn against the country of Israel? We have supported Israel in its fight to survive since it was established in 1948. If we don't continue to do that, what can we expect for America?
The answers to all of these questions about what will God do to America is simple. He will punish it as He has punished Germany for destroying Jewish lives in World War II. Germany has been rebuilt only after total destruction from bombing during that war.
Remember, the Bible clearly predicts, in the book of Revelation, that Israel will be cut off from help from all nations. All the world will turn on Israel. Only God Himself will be able to save it. The USA is included in that description, all the world. And, President Obama is, perhaps unwittingly, fulfilling prophesy by turning the USA against Israel.
Then, there is the mystery of the four blood moons. What is that all about? What does it mean for Christians? It means that Christians need to wake up and pay attention to prophesy. It also means that Christians must be very mindful of their relationship to Jesus Christ. When you finally meet Him, what will He say to you?
So, where is the hope? The hope is to be found in two places. First, our "hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness." It is our personal faith in Jesus Christ, our earnest prayers and financial support of the people and government of Israel that will be our personal hope.
Second, it is the local church where we establish the relationships with others who have personal faith in Jesus Christ. We need each other. We need to share the hope we have with each other. Like a family caught out in freezing weather, their car disabled, waiting for rescue, huddling together for mutual warmth, Christians need the shared faith they find in each other. "The Holy Spirit in me loves the Christ in you." That kind of real love of Christ, shared among the brothers and sisters, will be a huge part of our hope.
And, our hope will be strong. After all, "we know Whom we have believed and trust that He is able to keep that which we have committed to Him against that day." We will find refuge in our hiding place in our God. He it is Who will give us the wisdom to sort through the information of the news, the history of the past, and the truths of the Word of God, the Bible.
(Yes, that is true. I am offering discussion and seminars on "Biblical hope in spite of ISIS, Iran, Al Qaeda, and the White House." I do have an M.A. degree in International Relations and my master's thesis was a book on the relations between the USA and Israel having to do with Jewish settlements in the "Occupied Territories". Leave your questions or inquiries on such discussions or seminars in the comments of this blog. Please provide some way of contacting you whether by email, by snail mail, or phone.)