You should also know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. ~2 Timothy 3:1
Welcome back dear ones…and thanks for following! I pray that our times together are a blessing to you.
Have you noticed? There is trouble in our world today. Trouble in the Middle East, trouble in our nation, trouble in our churches, trouble in our homes, and trouble in our personal lives. As we view the world through the lens of Scripture, we find that our omniscient, all-knowing God knew from the beginning that sin would bring about chaos in our world. In wisdom, He spoke through the Apostle Paul to warn Timothy…and us…that there will be very difficult times in the last days. We could name many, but let’s focus on only a couple.
Riots have broken out in Jerusalem and throughout Israel, as Palestinians have taken to the streets to incite violence. This is a delicate situation, as tensions have almost always been high between Israelis and Palestinians. The most recent outbreak has to do with murders. In case you haven’t followed the news, here are the basic details.
Hamas seemed to have ramped up aggressions toward Israel several weeks ago by firing rockets from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel. Israel typically responds forcefully by taking out launching sites, ammunition depots, and terrorist sites. Tit-for-tat has gone on consistently over the past several weeks. (Here is a report on activity just in the past few days.)
On June 12, 2014, 3 Israeli teenagers were kidnapped by Hamas militants in the West Bank. The Israeli Defense Forces launched Operation Brothers Keeper to find the murders and to take down Hamas leaders and militants. Eighteen days later (June 30), the bodies of the three were found dead only a few miles from where they were taken. (A recap of that story may be found here.)
A few days later, a 17-year-old Palestinian boy’s body was found murdered near Jerusalem, and just hours ago an autopsy revealed he was burned alive. (Report here.) Though investigations continue into who was responsible for the murder, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has strongly condemned the murder, vowing that officials will find out who did it and will prosecute fully. Meanwhile, Palestinians insist the boy was killed as an act of revenge by radical Jews.
Meanwhile, riots have ensued and rocket attacks from Gaza have escalated in response to the killing of the Arab youth.
As if those are not difficult times enough, the moral and ethical state of the world is spiralling out of control. As an American, let me point the finger squarely on the US for a moment. In large part, our nation has forsaken God and turned to greed and immorality. It is rampant. There is an “entitlement mentality” that is sweeping our country, and the legalization of such things as gay marriage, abortion, and drug use is already creating grave consequences.
But friends, all is not gloom and doom! As believers in Jesus Christ, we have a HOPE that far exceeds what we can imagine. Our Lord Jesus Christ is coming soon to take believers out of this world, and to set things right! Our great God will not be mocked…He will rule and reign here on earth one day. Believers, that day is coming! We don’t know the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36), but we are living in the season!
May I encourage you with two things? First, my pastor publishes a daily devotional and today’s hit the nail on the head! If you do nothing else today, will you check out today’s GraceMail? I know you will be blessed!
Secondly, as I have encouraged over the past several days, please join Christians across America in the Urgent Call to Prayer. We are in Day Five, but if you scroll to the bottom of that page you can catch up on each day’s prayer focus. I have joined in this effort and have been incredibly blessed. I know you will be too!
Keep looking up, believers! We have a Blessed Hope, and His name is Jesus Christ!