HAS JUDGMENT COME TO THE USA?
Anyone with a radio or a TV set has seen the news of the devastation brought on by weather that seems out of control. This season we have seen tornadoes that have broke all records. In any given year, we may experience 1200 twisters nationwide, but to date in the first part of this year we have surpassed that amount and we aren’t out of the tornado season yet. We have seen a horror that was broadcast of the devastation that was visited upon my neighboring town of Joplin, Missouri and our hearts are heavy with sadness for the loss of life and the sheer terror that these folks have gone through. This twister produced devastation that is beyond our ability to cope or imagine. It is reported that this was the 8th most deadly tornado in USA history.
My wife and I were in the storm shelter waiting for the all clear when we heard the impact that was directed at the population of Joplin. It was reported that the twister was an EF-5 with winds over 200+ miles an hour, or unsurvivable by all scientific calculations. Many of these folks lost their lives. At last count we heard 123 dead and over 750 injured. The area looks like bomb went off. The scene is total devastation. The next night, more twisters came to Oklahoma and more people were killed…Let’s not forget all the people in the south along Georgia and up the east coast that lost their lives last month in another past round of devastating natural disasters.
What do we say when we see the flooding along the Mississippi again. Record high waters, billions of dollars in financial loss, lives lost in raging waters. How about the threat of earthquakes that have shook the area around Little Rock or along the New Madrid fault line that are becoming common place these days, but never were before?
You ask yourself, “What is going on in this country?” Some have emailed me and inquired if I thought this was God’s judgment coming upon the USA for it’s gross sins concerning Israel and the lack of support this administration is providing, or is it homosexual sins and allowing same sex marriages to be performed? Or maybe it’s the 40 million babies that this nation has aborted? Let’s not forget all the social sins that have gone rampant in our time that smacks of Sodom and Gomarrah. What does the bible say concerning the end of days,
II Timothy 3:4, “3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Does this not describe our nation, our world that we live in? Are we not guilty of all the sin and godlessness rampant in the USA and even more so in the other parts of the world when you take into account Muslim countries who kill in the name of Allah, or behead because you’re not Muslim, but an “infidel”? Then you have all the nations that who do not follow Jesus Christ, or His Word, and deny basic human freedom to the people of their own country. We and they are guilty of all the symptoms that Paul warned Timothy would be the symptoms of a godless world and society and the approaching of the end of days.
All are reason enough for God to bring judgment on this nation and the world, but is the latest round of bad weather proof positive that God has begun the judgment we so rightly deserve? Are we in the last days? To the first part of these questions, I say maybe, as I am no prophet and anyone who makes the call that this is God’s judgment, speaks for God, as none of modern day ministry fits the definition of “prophet”. To the last question, I say, “Most definitely.”. To get a handle on what is happening all around us, we must turn to the only source of truth for our times, your bible.
I have been a proponent based on scripture that nothing comes to the child of God, except God uses it to benefit us, and to draw us nearer unto Himself. What does Romans chapter 8 starting in verse 28 tell us about trials we experience in this life?
8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
What a wonderful promise for the best coming to the child of God. We may experience trials of faith in this life, but He is right there with us, and in the end, it happens for our benefit. It will draw us closer to our Father, make us more dependent on the source of our very lives and strengthen us to follow Him more in the example set by His Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.
But are we exempt from things that happen out of our control in this life? What about those poor folks in Joplin, Missouri and other cities that had loss of life or property? Were any of them believers? Were any of them children of God? I would think so. You may ask, “then why do bad things happen to good people?”
I am reminded of the exchange between Jesus and His disciples when asked about people who experience life threatening events. It’s found in Luke chapter 13:
13:1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
13:2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
13:3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
13:4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
13:5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
What is Jesus trying to tell them. What our God trying to tell us all even in this hour? He says to REPENT of how you are living. We are all sinners and if we are to see God, then we must do what He ask. Repent means "to think differently after." It signifies a change of mind strong enough to produce both regret and change of conduct. Marvin R. Vincent defines it as, "Such a virtuous alteration of the mind and purpose as begets alike virtuous change of life and practice" (Word Studies of the New Testament, vol. 1, p. 23). The only way that we will change our minds is when we allow ourselves to believe something different from what we formerly believed.
God is not worried about our comfort or that we have it easy in this life. I believe what He is concerned about is that we are conformed to the image of His Son and make it into His kingdom. Christians suffer right along with the rest of mankind, but there is a distinct difference between the two groups of believers and non-believers. 1st Peter chapter four:
4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
When trials and tribulation comes to the Christian, what does it do to them, that is not experienced by the rest of the world? Do you remember when 9/11 happened?. The sheer grief that we as a nation experienced for the loss of life?. What was our response? Sadly it was short lived nationally, but it drove most of the church members back to church and on their knees. Are we still doing that? Now the world does not understand what it means to fall on your knees and cry out to God for mercy and salvation, but to the believer who has strayed away from walking closely to the source of His life, it causes them to run back to that source, to seek protection and draw closer to His God, your God, and my God. Psalm 91:
91:3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
91:4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
91:5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
91:6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
91:7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
91:8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
Tragedy has an effect on the Christian who has strayed. For me, trials causes me to re-examine my life, to determine if I be found in the faith. To take stock of where I am in my walk with the Lord.. We do that at communion, the Lord’s Supper, or Passover services, but we should be doing it everyday. Am I walking from afar, or am I walking right up close? Again, I don’t speak for God, but when trouble like this comes, it might be a wake up call to the people in the bible belt. God is a jealous God. II Corinthians 11:2, Paul writes, "For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." Being the one who wrote about the fruit of the Spirit and the works of the flesh, Paul understood the difference between carnal and godly jealousy.
Godly jealousy, what does that mean.? It speaks of God being a jealous God . Can God be jealous, such as envy and coveting? That cannot be, as God forbids coveting in His Commandments, so what does it mean when jealousy is applied as a definition to a Holy God? It appears that when we think of jealousy, we do not understand the context of what that definition means when it comes to God.
In its definition of jealousy, The American Heritage Dictionary reads, "fearful or wary of being supplanted; apprehensive of losing affection or position; resentful or bitter in rivalry; envious; inclined to suspect rivalry; having to do with or arising from feelings of envy, apprehension, or bitterness." This sounds nothing like our God so far. The spirit of the definition seems to change direction at this point, as if the word has a positive side and a negative side: "Vigilant in guarding something; intolerant of disloyalty or infidelity, autocratic." An example of this would be a father watching protectively over his children. Now that last part sounds like our God
God made it clear when He gave the Law to Moses and revealed His golden standard for righteous living, that we are to have no other gods before Him. Exodus chapter 20:
20:3 "You shall have no other gods before Me.
20:4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
20:5 "You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,
20:6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
This is what our God desires and what He had written down so that we would know, He requires first place in our lives. He will not play second fiddle to anyone, or anything that is in your life. He requires a faithfulness to put Him first in everything we do.
I can sadly remember times in my life, when the cares of this world caused me to loose focus on what was important in my life. When I let the cares of this life, or my life becoming too entangled with this world, that God actually, quite spiritually took me behind the woodshed and disciplined me. Do I want that again. I tell you, NO. After such an experience, all I can say is, “yes, LORD. Any child of God, if he be older than dirt, knows what I’m talking about. There will be a time in your life, when you will stray, or you will get caught up in what is not important and lose the zeal you had for God. When that happens, as being a mortal being sometime in your life, if you’re not diligent and wary of the snares of this life, you will experience God’s woodshed. The positive outcome of just such an experience is a more diligent check on your walk. It causes you to realize that without Him, you can do nothing. At least, you can do nothing that really counts in this life, or the next. John 15: 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
When natural disasters come all around us, and the enviroment becomes hostile to fragile human beings, we must ask ourselves, “Is God trying to get our attention?” I believe He just might be. Will you let the circumstances around you cause you to run to God, or to blame Him? There is a positive and a negative reaction to chastening. You can submit, or rebel. If you think this is bad, just you wait until God unleashes all the wrath and suffering on this world trying to get man’s attention. I speak to the not so fortunate person who may be reading this and has not made a decision for Jesus Christ. As the old saying goes, “YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHING YET.” Right now, I believe God is trying to get His people’s attention. Has He gotten yours yet? Do you see how fragile and fleeting this life is.? Do you not understand that God wishes for you to spend eternity with Him when this fragile life is over? As a Christian, you must awaken out of your slumber. The time is growing shorter and shorter as we see more events unfold around us that are prophecied to come to pass in our lifetime. Jesus said in John chapter 9:
9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”
And it speaks to us as we must work for the One whom God sent, for night is coming when no man can work. Time is growing short, Jesus is coming soon. The events of this past week have made my online congregation question what is God doing? It is judgment on the USA? It may give you pause, and put fear into your heart, but that fear is of the prince and power of the air, Satan. God may let Satan cause calamity all around you, by unleashing the power of the environment. Remember, Satan is the “prince and power of the air” and the “god of this world,” for the time being. God may take away His hand to let disaster come all around you, and allow Satan to manipulate even the weather, but only to the extent that God may get your attention or test your faith. My readers emailing me obviously, this has gotten their attention. I encourage every person that emails me, or reads my commentaries, to let this be a wake up call to each and every one of us. Night is coming, the day is drawing to a close. Work while it is still day. Jesus is preparing to break through the clouds and He expects to find you working …..for HIM.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, wishing God’s love in your life. If there is anything I can help you with, pray with you about, or just listen, then drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. God bless each and everyone of you, till we meet at Jesus feet.