Friday, October 21, 2005

chewing on the news

Do you have sense of things on our planet getting increasingly worse? I don’t believe this is just my imagination. In fact Wednesday night on the 6:00 o’clock news (Global version) a sidebar feature they call ‘insight’ was exactly on this topic.

I was not surprised when they explored it by talking to several ‘experts’ - a woman from the Suzuki foundation, a professor from some university. They blamed the usual things: global warming, the fragility of the planet, the imprint of humanity, and how we need to smarten up and change our ways before it’s too late.

Of course, if one studies the science of it, there is a sense in which some of the natural disasters – the hurricanes and tropical storms for example – can be laid at the feet environmental conditions arising (perhaps) out of man’s activity, and resulting in things like global warming. (I have not studied this, just hear the rhetoric of both sides and know that in the popular media, the theory of global warming is definitely winning.)

As a student of the Bible, however, I see this acceleration of cataclysmic events (which includes natural disasters which man’s activity is less likely to precipitate – like earthquakes) in an entirely different way. It is predicted: "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in place after place; All this is but the beginning – the early pains of the birth pangs – of the intolerable anguish." (Matthew 24:7,8 Amplified).

Which leaves me with a sense of urgency. I have the feeling that the days of living life as I’ve known it, are numbered. I need to be aware of not wasting time. Of not being lulled into indifference or false security because, at this time, my world hasn’t been rocked by an earthquake swept away by a storm surge, or shriveled up in drought.

So keeping in mind this urgency, what, if anything, do I do differently? Here are a few things that come to mind:

1. I need to live with an awareness of the times I’m in, so that I am not surprised or taken off guard by what is happening and will accelerate in the days ahead. I need to expect the times I’m living in to impact me – if not in a natural disaster way, in a societal way.

The Bible tells me that believing in God, Jesus, the words of the Bible will become increasingly unpopular: "Then they will hand you over to suffer affliction and tribulation, and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake...etc. (Matthew 24: 9 and following).

2. I need to live with the awareness that my days on earth are limited. A corollary of that is that I want to maximize the days I have left. In that department, it’s important I have right priorities.

And how do I get right priorities?

One way, I believe, is to make it my mission to discover why I was put on earth and then live that destiny. This thread – of discovering my destiny – has run through much of my life and is perhaps why I chose as my life verse for 2005, Ephesians 2:10: "For we are God’s own handiwork, His workmanship, recreated in Christ Jesus, born anew that we may do those good works which God predestined, planned before hand for us, taking paths which He prepared ahead of time – living the good life which He pre-arranged and made ready for us to live" (Amplified).

I translate the discovering and living of my destiny into shoe leather in several ways:

- I tell God my intention and trust Him to guide me. Here’s a fabulous verse that explains how that can happen: "Roll your works upon the Lord – commit and trust them wholly to Him; [He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will and] so shall your plans be established and succeed." Proverbs 16:3 Amplified.

- As the above verse implies, I may have as part of the ‘works’ that I roll upon God, thoughts which include goals, plans, and strategies. I don’t, after all, live mindlessly, waiting for life to happen to me. But I do constantly remind myself to hang onto those things – those agendas – loosely, ready at a moment’s notice to relinquish what I’d planned, to be as resilient as Philip, who obeyed when "...an angel of the Lord said, 'Go south to the road...'" and after he’d completed his assignment of bringing the message of Jesus to the Ethiopian traveler, found himself ‘suddenly taken away’ (Acts 8:26-40).

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