Monday, November 16, 2015

Devotion 11.16.15

Uncertainty and complexity.  That seems to be the state of the world these days.

Listening to a retired general yesterday dissect the road to eliminating ISIS, he said (paraphrased):  "To remove ISIS in northern Iraq requires joining with the Sunnis (one of the two main groups in Islam) but they have been excluded as of now by the Iraqi government run by Shiites.  To eliminate ISIS in Syria we need the Russians to lift their goal of maintaining the current Assad government in order to have a regime change when ISIS is removed."

That means that it is complicated.  What we desire, the elimination of ISIS requires a current change in those countries where it is planted which complicates the simplicity of "removing" ISIS.  To make those matters worse, ISIS now shows it is willing to take its war beyond borders, which the goal of terror and terrorist isn't necessarily a military victory but a moral (broad sense of the word) victory in that we retreat based on fear created by such action.

Christ foretells of such in the book of Mark:  "And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom against kingdom.  There will be earthquakes in various places;  there will be famine. These are but the beginning of birth pains." (13:7 - 8)  So, in our time on earth, these things will happen.

Christ promises even worse:  "And you will be hated by all for my name's sake.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved." (13:13) Our faith in the one who promises life through the gift of grace and mercy through love can and does bring hate toward the followers of Christ.

War, terrorists actions, killing, death, and suffering is a part of our world.  So are love, grace, mercy and the promise of everlasting life.  "The one who endures to the end will be saved."  As Paul writes, "Death is swallowed up in victory.  Oh death, where is your victory?  Oh death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:54 - 56)

Our prayers are with those who died in the attacks and those in Paris whose lives will be changed as a result.  Our prayers are with those who will be in action against those responsible and our prayers are that God's Spirit change the hearts of those who stand opposed to our faith, even opposition that brings death.  Christ prayed for those who crucified him and his resurrection brought life to that prayer of forgiveness. 

Hope Men's Ministry

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