Troubled TimesNovember 30, 2015 | Written by Scott Stanek
Friday, November 20, 2015
To My Fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Presently, I am sitting in the lobby of my hotel in Myanmar. In a few short hours, Maureen and I will begin the long trek home. It will have been two weeks since we left Texas and I have taken time to think about the present challenges we are facing in our world today. I believe we are experiencing the darkest days of my fifty-four years in this world. ISIS, racism, media outlets that oftentimes breed fear, hatred, bitterness, lies, and political problems are just a few of the challenges we face.
I am saddened as I watch some of my fellow Christians being drawn in to the muck and debates of these problems. I have the same thoughts as you do. I am sitting here thinking what do I do? What is my position and what am I going to support? What kind of stand am I going to make? I don’t have all the answers but I am thoroughly convinced of a few solid things:
- As a believer in Christ, I am not of this world! I refuse to be drawn into the foolishness of this world. When I say foolishness, I mean the hatred, bitterness, judgments, debates and harsh words. I mean the conflict and tension between political parties, racism and coldness that surrounds us. It begins as just a personal conviction but ends as separation between brothers and sisters.
- We are to follow the simple instructions of Jesus. Jesus did leave us instructions before He went back to the Father after purchasing mankind’s redemption. His words are for yesterday, today and forever. They are clear guidelines we can find in His Word. He is not surprised at today’s world events and neither should we be.
- Know that it is going to get ugly! Jesus said in Matthew 24:12 that it was going to get ugly, real ugly in the world.
“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. “
You and I are not to let our love for others grow cold in this hour. Jesus told us that in the latter days there would be wars and rumors of wars happening around the world:
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. “
He said one ethnic group would turn on another ethnic group. This is racism at its best. He warned us to beware of being misled. He warned us not to become cold because of iniquity.
- Misled, how? Jesus said in Matthew 24:12 that because of iniquity and lawlessness the love of many will grow cold. There it is my dear friend! All these things that are happening around us want to drive and remove real love, care, kindness, giving and helpfulness from our hearts. Can I really love all people, my neighbors, politicians, people of different religions, radical terrorists and rapists? Can I really refrain from the bitter comments, the blasting of political leaders, the railing on the president and the cruelty toward terrorists?
Can I love all the people in the world as Jesus asks me to? Is my love and closeness to God providing me inner confidence, security, and peace or do I live in suspicion and fear? In these troubled times, can I love and pray without ceasing for my enemies as Jesus commands me to do (Matthew 5:33-38)?
- You see, I know we face real problems. I do not deny what is happening all around me. I think to myself, what if one of those radical terrorists hurt my children? I think what if the political leaders just look out for themselves and what if things get even worse? What will I do?
I have decided one thing for sure. I will guard my own heart. I will love unconditionally. I will be a Christ person! I will spend my days sharing Jesus Christ. It was Jesus who changed my life. It was Jesus who gave me a new heart. It was Jesus who set me free from vices, fears and especially from living for myself.
Politics did not change me, posts on social media did not change me, ranting with my three friends who think just like me never changed me. Jesus’ great love changed me. He changed me on the inside. You say, “Yes, Pastor, but we must do something. We have a voice and it is time to stand up. It is time to be heard.”
Yes, it is time to be heard. It is time we preach the gospel which is the power, love and grace of God! We can change this world one heart at a time. I have decided it is time to go into all the world and preach the good news of the kingdom of God.
His name is still JESUS! His name still makes the enemy flee and works the miraculous. His name still guards and protects us from all harm and danger. Beware your love grows cold because of all the iniquity and lawlessness around you! I hope you can keep it from getting in.
My best to you. See you soon once I cross the oceans.
Pastor Scott Stanek