Look Up!

By M. Rosenblit

Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven…But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:10-11; 28

The world continues its descent into chaos.  Just this week, Ukraine became the latest country to head towards a deadly civil war, as intense violence erupted between supporters of the current President and those of the Opposition.  Western Powers quickly stepped in to attempt to assuage the situation, but it is too early to tell what will be.  The situation in the Middle East continues to worsen as well.  Bombs are exploding in Lebanon, killing people daily, while combative Shi’ite and Sunni factions continue to wage war in the villages there.  The situation in Syria is no less grave; Syrian dictator Bashar Assad defiantly continues the slaughter of his people, while the opposing Rebels turn on each other, fighting for their own piece of the pie.   Egypt struggles to maintain any sense of order and terror recently struck tourists when a bus full of South Korean Christians was attacked just last week.  And let’s not forget the Iranian nuclear crisis; Iran has had great success in pulling the wool over the world’s eyes in feigning desire to negotiate its way out of an all-out military operation, headed by the USA and Israel. All the while, they continue to enrich uranium and operate top-secret nuclear facilities, supposedly in the name of “peace”.

The Western world is not exempt from this chaos, either.  The financial markets are still struggling, the USA grows more in debt to China with each passing day, and there is a threat of a “new crisis” looming on the horizon, in what the NY Times calls a “global bond frenzy” (Landon Thomas, Jr.,nytimes.com, Feb 19, 2014).  As the world system becomes more connected and mutually dependent on the individual players, it also becomes more vulnerable when disaster strikes.  If one market fails, they will all struggle to recover.

Let us not ignore what is happening in and around Israel, as she is the key to discerning where we stand on God’s timeline for the final days.  It seems that a Palestinian State is soon to materialize, if current reports are correct.  While it is hard to say if this is indeed the case, one can discern from the current events that something is brewing behind the scenes.  US Secretary of State John Kerry has placed “peace in the Middle East” as one of his top priorities since taking office in January 2013.  And it seems he (and the Obama administration) will stop at nothing to make that a reality.  Israel is buckling under intense pressure to make “painful concessions for peace”, even cowering at the possibility of a worldwide boycott of Israeli exports. Such a boycott could throw Israel back into economic dark ages, so to speak, and people are very much afraid of such a thing materializing.

When one takes look at all this, it’s easy to become stressed and overwhelmed.  It is humanly impossible to disconnect from the panic that surrounds us, whether from afar or in the middle of it.  Yet, our hope is not found in man or in the world’s system!  While our flesh cannot detach from the fear, our spirits can.  As followers of Messiah, we have been given the Holy Spirit as a counselor, encourager, and guide.  Our belief in Messiah does not stop at forgiveness of sin and restoration of relationship with the Father.  Rather, that is just the beginning.

Our daily walk with Him gives us the peace that the world cannot understand; the world simply cannot fathom how one remains calm in the midst of the storm that rages!  But we know this peace deep within our being, because it is the “peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension…” (Philippians 4:7).  It is the peace that only Yeshua can give (John 14:27).

One of the greatest gifts that the Lord has given us is assurance…assurance of salvation, of restoration, and of security in Him.  Before He left this earth, He gave a glimpse of the tribulation that would envelop the world in the end of days.  But He also gave hope to those who put their trust in Him.  He told us to keep our heads up, to keep alert and awake, and to not get lost in the despair around us.  And so, my brothers and sisters, I want to remind us of His promise, that in and through Him alone, can we endure to the end and know our ultimate redemption.  Things will only grow worse as the preparations are made to cleanse the filth and evil of this world for His return.  Yet, our hope is not in the world, but in Him.

Do not despair, and do not grow weary!  He is coming soon…look up!

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