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Friday, January 1, 2010

Comfort For A New Decade

Did you see the Time Magazine headline this past month? It declared the first decade of the new millennium to be the “Decade from Hell!” Wow! For those of us who have a very terrifying view of hell, this is quite a bold statement. We saw the ugly head of Islamic terrorism turn towards America on September 11th, we have seen that cruel dictators still exist worldwide, we saw our economy head south in two major economic scares, school shootings are now expected on the evening news. I don’t know if hell is necessarily the best (or worst) assessment, however, as we look back I think we can probably agree that on a global level it certainly doesn’t look like the past decade came from heaven.

And as we move towards an era in which people don’t believe in things like morality or objective truth, we find that people don’t know what to make of all of this. They recognize it is evil, but they don’t want to use such harsh language. But we who know the Truth know that this is all the result of sin. We should not be surprised to see sin having so much control in our world. After all, Jesus himself taught that as we move closer to the second coming things would get worse before they got better. Judging by Time’s assessment of the last decade, it looks like Jesus just may have been right!

In Luke 21, Jesus talks about the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. Tied in with that, He also talks about how there will be disaster and destruction, wars, and evil all around until he returns again. He points out that all of creation will essentially be in disarray. He says there will be “signs in sun and moon and stars, and on earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world.” (Luke 21:25-26) Jesus makes it sound pretty frightening. My guess is He does that because it will be.

But we have no cause to fear. We have One who has removed such fear from us. Jesus gives us great comfort in warning us of these things. He says that, indeed, it will be scary. However, you can even find comfort in a decade from hell, for you know that when you see such things, it means that Jesus is about to come back for you! He says, “Now when these things take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near!” (Luke 21:28) We may see the whole world falling apart around us, we may see all control and sanity and morality being lost. But we do not fear, for amidst the storms and upheaval we have Jesus’ promise to hold on to. He is drawing near, and this is good news for us, for He is coming to finish His work of redemption, not only in this world, but in us as well. And He will establish His eternal heaven here on earth. A kingdom full of peace and joy and love!

In one sense, I regret to write my first newsletter article of a new decade without being able to promise that things will look better in the next decade. I don’t know if they will or not. But, in another sense, I am thrilled to tell you that Jesus said such things would come. And as they do, He promised that these events would be a sign for us: His coming is drawing closer and closer. What a wonderful, joyful, heavenly day and eternity that will be when He comes in glory to set up His eternal kingdom! Amen! Come Lord Jesus!

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