The Lord of History

In the wake of unusual and daunting events, the course of life that many have followed became somewhat obscured and intimidating, not knowing what is yet to come.  These times are unprecedented.  Nations appear as sand castles being washed over by wave after wave of aimless destructiveness with little in its way to prevent it or steer its course; leaving behind sufferings and failures that leaves us in its grip, in its prison house with its impenetrable absurdity for walls.   We appear confined to it!   If how we define these times in terms of finding only ambivalence, to accept a meaningless existence where we are its prisoners, then these same  interpreters of history are its worst critics.   History is not a series of arbitrary events that are unconnected, unplanned, having no appointed destination.   History is not a beginning that goes nowhere in particular (cyclical) whose end is uncharted and unknown.    If that is the cases, we are not better than its prisoners.   God launches and steers History through the sea of time until its final destination.    History books fail to record that all of history finds its apogee in God.   It is not a series of starts and stops, which travels round and round aimlessly repeating itself,  no real objective in mind, just a series of defeats and restarts only to arrive  at an end that appears almost meaningless!    A  Christian perspective differs though.   We see that God has much better things in store for His Creation and for us!

   A look back to the Roman era, where Edward Gibbons wrote in his classic six volume treatise on ancient Rome from his essay “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” these words about the historians work.   “Attached to no party; interested only for the truth and candor of history… ”    Finding the particulars of history goes beyond simply facts of an event since so often they seem obvious to the observer already, but learning about the motive and and cause of them,  does demand greater attention and knowledge.   Many eyewitnesses have written about Rome`s demise but who can really present the actual reasons behind its fall and who or what was truly behind it.  The string of nations and their narratives down through time and the place they occupied in history in the grand scheme of things, their connection over time to a planned end masterfully carried out is the work of a Sovereign God.   God has organized and executed His plan to an anticipated conclusion.   As such God`s plan must be seen to intersect history at every point arranged together like dots on a board that once connected reveals a intended design that can be appreciated and seen from an overview.   One such man had been given such an overview of history.  His name is John, who lived during the Roman times and saw the cause not only for Rome`s demise but who it is that has history in the palm  of His hand and will ultimately bring it to a close, which is unrealized for the time being but we are heading toward its inevitable conclusion.  While we speak of the apostle John who was given a of a sneak preview, of things to come, being transported either to heaven, or simply had a vision while a prisoner on Isle of Paphos, during his roman imprisonment,  he saw and heard many things that are recorded for us in the book of Revelation, of which we will speak more about in a few weeks time.  But for now these words from Jesus, who if the central figure in history and leads it to its divine conclusion.  

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. (Revelation 22:13)

  In order for us to understand the meaning of history, we must be prepared to embrace the idea that God has His imprint all over it.   Go on record now,  know that the course of history is being moved by the Sovereign Hand of God toward an appointed end, where our only way out of certain punitive judgment, is by way of the cross, where forgiveness and grace changed the course of certain spiritual death for all of us.   Will you in faith trust Christ and confess your sins to Him and repent of them.    His unchanging promises that you will be granted eternal life.   

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 

 

For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  (Ro.10:9, 10)

Our search into history continues in two weeks time.

Our greatest need

  The gospel must pervade society, for real hope in the future of our nation and its people once more.  When man bows the knee to God,  all is made well in the heart.  True conversion never leaves us to recite prayers before our meals, then later retire to a beer and an off-coloured movie in our living rooms, nor does it constitute an attitude like that of the Governor of New York who during the decline of the Covid-19 epidemic, brazenly claimed man and not God is responsible for flattening the curve of  the virus “The number is down, because we brought the number down,” he said. “God did not do that. Faith did not do that. Destiny did not do that. A lot of pain and suffering did that…”

  While pain and suffering is part of the  process to recovery, it is blind ignorance and even arrogant to give ourselves credit for the decline in the rate of infections. Over a hundred and fifty years ago, when the Fathers of Confederation agreed that God`s rule should preside over their decisions, the inscription from Psalms 72 was to represent Canada`s motto.  Today, we are far from realizing that long-ago goal of God`s dominion over our country.  Psalm 72 finishes by showing the extent of God’s  reign “to the ends of the earth” which will be happen once God`s Judgment has past.   Even though we have forgotten Canada`s motto,  God is in the middle of everything, no matter how dismal or chaotic things may seem in this world.  The greater threat is not the pandemic,  but the consequences from our sins that has led God to exact His Wrath on a society in rebellion.  Ralph Drollinger, a minister who leads Bible study for President’s Trump cabinet, says that the present world-wide crisis shows Divine Wrath upon the nation for the proclivity “toward lesbianism and homosexuality.”  Add to this to our national shame are euthanasia, perversion  of our youths through gender identity and transgenderism, abortion,  the list goes on.  Acceptance and support of such have infiltrated our government, educational system, media and entertainment industry   Some say this is the kind of narrow thinking that is can only be seen through a partisan lens.  I agree and it certainly is.  But that is precisely the point to this article.  You cannot speak of a solution for our growing problems, or pinpoint their cause, unless your soul is completely committed to God`s view of life.  A Christian approach is not a soft-sell conceptualization of what went wrong or what the way out should be.   We are either for God or against Him.  Without God in our plans, no realistic solution can exist.  We are gravely in need of God`s intervention at this time in our nation`s life.  To seek answers elsewhere, apart from divine help, is to lose our toe-hold on reality and can only compound our troubles.

   The Bible speaks about saving yourself.   The way forward is for individuals to look to Christ for help.  The book of Hebrews in chapter seven verse twenty-five: 

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 

   While our country is in great trouble and we pray for a return to stability, salvation is our greatest need.   However way you plan  to make it through this time with the growing list of problems facing all of us, know that you can have Christ on your side to help you through the worst of it.  Your greatest need is to be reconciled to God and have your sins forgiven, to be made righteous, and for God to give each of us a title to heaven.  To be made right before God, occurs when you understand and accept that Christ death on the cross was no mistake but meant to erase our wrongdoings against God and turn away from them.  We do this by placing personnel faith in His Son and what He did on our behalf.   Every other problem that we may face in the coming days are really molehills compared to what will be our fate if we do not prepare ourselves for  the final judgment.   

May God help you to give consideration to your eternity.  

Bad news ahead if you are not a real Christian!

Challenging and troublesome times are upon us where various issues have spilled out onto the political stage, the magnitude of which has not been seen in North America for some time, which leaves some wondering if mankind is doomed to self-destruct.  To some it may seem like only a matter of time, much like a bomb  triggered by a detonator. before the end comes where our world suffers such devastation any return from it may not be possible.  At least, it looks like that from current events we now face, whether the pandemic, protests, or poor economic conditions, the reality is these are the lesser of our concerns.  We find ourselves in a much worse quandary.   To  spell it out, let us consider two ideologies at work in Canadian Society.  Both are at work clamouring to hoist their ideas on on how to fix things and change things for our good.   On one side, some wish to reform the way we are ruled.  In our political spectrum, they are thought to be to the right of centre.  If their policies are implemented then a return to a healthier way of life, and produce a nation which looks to be from past standards traditional, along the kind we use to enjoy prior to our current system.  On the other hand, the left says that its ideology which asserts a belief system based on the thought that man can regulate himself free from religious dogma of any kind.  The secularist claim too  that if they dominate the political landscape that they alone can bring about a good and fair society.  So there you have it, two sides both of which are at opposite ends of the spectrum supposedly.  Both find their hope either in man or in conservative traditions.  This latter group bars any form of religion, though is itself a religion — Secular Humanism —  while the other seeks to make external use of the moral code.    Are either attempts adequate enough enable us to get out from under this mess we now face, or our we pawns to a failing system no matter where we place our loyalties our values?

   Let us concur that both aforementioned philosophies are inadequate for the immediate task at hand.  Bringing religion into the mix of simply doing our best under a set of moral principles will at best make you a better law abiding nation,  but will not save you from the inescapable doom that still awaits mankind.  If you recall from the start, it is the threat of eminent destruction that we have in view here.    Then the thought that we can rule on our own without conforming to long-established views of Canadian life, to turn things around on route to a good life for all, to have productive lives by looking to man as the essence and deciding factor for rule and law is utopic at best.   Both belief systems fail to solve what is systemic to the problems at hand.    Both systems are inadequate to meet the real dilemma that lies at the feet of all of our problems.  The solution to societies ills cannot be pigeonholed by external means;  it goes beyond reforming or loosening laws, rather for real transformation the individual must discover God and truly submit to Him as their Supreme Ruler.   Some years ago, the words from sea to sea was inscribed in the stonework of Parliament Hill “to have dominion from sea to sea”,  the intent was for God to rule our nation, but since then has faded away ever since.  Apart from the Christian Heritage Party most have retreated from a truly Christian platform, some either pay lip service to it or leave God out of their agenda entirely. 

  Let us leave aside distinctions between religion and secularism for a moment, the basis to reconcile sin issues can be reduced to how much you really believe in God.  It is the kind of belief that results in saving faith where you committed your life to His Son, a belief that responds to His Word in every area of your life and not a ritualistic type of life that finds you reciting a prayer at the dinner table, or attending a worship service twice or three times a year, to pay respect to the Christian holidays because it is your habit to do so,   but to live impassively in close quarters with Jesus is the result of genuine faith.  If our only thought is that we can earn a spot in heaven because Christian values are observed from a cold heart, we are just as wrong as the secularists.  We need to be saved.   Hear what Jesus replied to those Pharisees who thought they deserved heaven.   “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”(Luke 5:31-32)  By the “righteous,” he meant those who considered themselves good, but doing good works is not the way to heaven since  none of us are truly good.   Often, pride mask our religious acts.  It is a hard lesson to learn that we are not good enough for salvation.  That is why that faith in Christ alone is the means to acceptance with God.   The secularist say they have no need for God, since they make up their own rules.   This too, is wrong.  Much like the religious crowd both groups are unrighteous; the secularists remonstrate against any need for salvation, and deny its validity.  Their goal is for life to operate absent from God.   They deny the transcendent authority of Jesus Christ over man and generally disregard moral absolutes.  This has the makings of a spiritual storm.  God warns those who wish to blot Him from out for their lives.

If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.  (Eze 3;18)

This dreadful ending remains the same for all deniers of Christ who wish to rid themselves from divine authority to reign supreme over their lives as Savior and Lord.  Where does your loyalty reside today?  Are you really all in?   Are you not fully vested in a life controlled by His Word and Grace, and instead quite comfortable to live a life with a little bit of religion added to it, a superficial faith far from what the Bible commands.    Our hope is that you have seen enough from both ideologies to know how each fails to meet what we really need most.   

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.  Luke 11:23

  May God lead you to find His Son in this our greatest need.

The Believer’s Advocate

I recently heard about farmers who are looking for hard working young people to pick fruit in their orchards.   Unfortunately, there is a shortage of workers due to border restrictions,  even if migrants are allowed across,  a 14 day quarantine was imposed on them.   In the past, these migrants came from Mexico, Jamaica and several other places in the world.  In Ontario alone, nearly 14.000 worked our fields each season.   To try and hire local youth means that the work is hard and experienced hands from abroad has proven much that they are more productive compared to inexperienced workers.   Industry insiders agree that for the farmer to turn a profit he needs knowledgeable seasoned workers to meet the arduous task of picking fruit when harvest time rolls around.  In the same token, another type of work is taking place even now where only one individual qualifies.  It is a spiritual labor and only met by a lifetime of holiness and sacrifice.  His portfolio is varied and comes highly endorsed.   He is from heaven and entered into this labour of love voluntarily though its demands meant suffering far beyond what any one man could endure.  We are told that Jesus “passed through the heavens” after having died and resurrected, in order to continue as our mediator before the Father.  He was assigned to bring many sons to glory, then returned to heaven so what does is He doing now that He has taking His place once more in the heavens?   

  For one thing, it indicates that once He accomplished His mission on the cross, it did not end when He left earth for heaven.   He came to His throne where now He acts as our intercessor before the Father.  That means he represents Believers before God.  You see, if each one of us alone tried to speak to God, we would be doomed for failure.   God has a dispute with us.  Sin which can be explained as breaking God`s moral laws,  means we all are guilty of doing just that exact thing.    None of us could in good conscience deny that we have not lied or thought immoral thoughts, or taken the Lord`s name in vain, and a lot more than a few times.   Yet, Jesus was appointed by God to defend us, and does so successfully, because He is our “Defence Attorney” in a manner of speaking.  He qualified for this role by becoming our substitute and taking the punishment on our behalf, successfully bridging our hearts to God`s by paying the penalty Himself.   So we can be cleared of all charges and pronounced innocent because of the One who paid the price for our sins.  All who put their trust in Him and repent of their sins are gloriously forgiven!   

   So what is happening in heaven where we learn that Christ is at the right hand of the Father?  In that Christ has re-entered heaven, we are confident that the work of the cross has been successful and no longer is their need for a sacrifice.  Next, it also teaches us that Christ is at work in an intercessory role, where He speaks to the Father on our behalf.  He can do this because He knew our infirmities since He Himself had undergone many of the same trials,  many more than what we could in our lifetimes, and on a much more  intense level.  The Bible tells us that He was made perfect through them, and that He remained without sin.   His hardships helped shaped His perfect humanity to understand and sympathize with us.    

   Surely, we all have seen a sign  “men working above.”    Christ is working for us now.  We cannot look up and see Him, but we know from Scripture that He has entered heaven once more.   Have you known Christ as Savior, because if you have not, then His work is not on your behalf.  He cannot be your advocate if He is not your Savior first.   Put  your faith in Jesus Christ today, so that you are sure about your entrance into heaven one day. 

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  (Heb.4:14-16)