Jul 24, 2017

My Father’s World

This is my Father’s world:
Oh, let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world,
The battle is not done:
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

I’m in a philosophical mood again. For several reasons.

This week’s installment will not be exclusively about Israel, but the genesis for it came from a conversation a few days ago with a dear friend who is a leading Bible prophecy teacher. He told me that the winds are shifting out there, and fewer people all the time are interested in Israel. Increasingly, folks want to hear about Nephilim, aliens, Do pets go to heaven, and Blood Moons.

So many reasons for this: the Church-Growth Movement; the dissipation of real Bible study in churches and homes; the cult of evangelical celebrity.

Et cetera.

I am also dismayed and not a little annoyed by the infighting among apologists, discernment ministries, Bible prophecy ministries, and individuals. It is ridiculous and counter-productive to fight over niche views of Dispensationalism, for example, in my opinion. This nonsense is at a fever pitch right now.

However, let me give you some encouragement.

In the past few years, my life has changed dramatically. For decades, I did the same thing every day; continuity was my life-blood.

Then it all changed.

Quickly, transitions in my life were dramatic. I was in a sense forced to rely on God in ways I had not experienced before. To be more precise, in ways I had not previously been willing to go along with.

No life is without challenges; mine are not remotely as serious as many, many people.

Yet at the same time these personal transformations were going on, the world continued to spin faster geopolitically. Then things got really weird in about 2008, when an unknown Illinois senator got a chance to change the country he hated.
For those of you of a certain age, remember how in what I call the Late, Great Planet Earth days we contentedly talked about the Rapture on the horizon? Nixon and then Reagan were in the White House. Ed Sullivan was on TV. Dean Martin was on turntables.

But, from our perspective, the Lord tarried. Some lost interest in waiting for our Blessed Hope. Into this environment parachuted the grotesque Church-Growth/Seeker-Driven models for “doing church.”

In the past two decades, the Evangelical community in America has been changed forever, and not in a good way.

Yet what I’ve learned in my life is the same many others caught on to long before I was aware: this is my Father’s world, and He is completely in charge. People like this do not bend to today’s topic, or prophecy Flavor of the Month.

Some are unplugging from social media and the news. Others monitor those areas 24/7. I think there is a healthy balance.

The main thing I want to impart today is that each of us has a role in making disciples. Being willing to “play” your role is key. A very few have large platforms. Most of us are worker bees for the Kingdom. And above all else, we do this in My Father’s World.

Many of you who read this column each week are really up against it: financially, health-wise, relationships. I used to deal with these personal issues by grinding through work and grinding through my own limited strategies for coping. Those included, I’m sad to say for too long in my life, flashes of talking to God.

Now, I talk to Him every day. I read His Word. One of my priorities is putting into practice Paul’s example of being content in every area, in every season.

I keep my eyes focused on what I call Big Picture Prophecy. If today Israel is making alliances around the world in unprecedented fashion, the day will come when she will be abandoned and many prophecies related to that will come to fruition. If today Russia is ascending, tomorrow she might shrink back into the shadows for a period of time. Things change. The truth is, we cannot project-out too far with our interpretations of Bible prophecy. We can’t read a five-column-inch story in a newspaper and then determine that Ezekiel 38-39 will be fulfilled in three weeks. Our obsessions with whether Jesus will come back in September are embarrassing and a waste of time.

Honestly? Very honestly? I am done with a few Bible prophecy *experts* who constantly send out email alerts about Gog, or how Iran’s nuclear ambitions are actually mentioned in the Bible, or whether the Ark of the Covenant is in a Louisiana swamp with the Confederate treasury.

I blog a little and watch things. I pet my dog in the evenings, as we watch the sun go down. I concentrate on really talking to God. I read sublime devotional thoughts on Facebook from friends like Clara Hinton. Thankfulness is a theme. I even now bird watch, and if you’d told me five years ago I’d ever do that, I would have laughed.

Don’t misunderstand me. I think we have to also maintain a certain fighting spirit. I’m not going to watch Bill Hybels and Andy Stanley take the Evangelical Church down without opposing them with my limited resources. The Emergent Church won’t get a pass from me.

But this is my Father’s World. I will thank Him and grow closer to Him as I run and finish my race.

Oh, let me ne’er forget.