Let The Church Stand Up For America World Darkness World Darkness World Darkness

In light of current world events, I was asked recently to comment on what seems to be an ever-growing darkness in so many areas of our lives today. This is a brief excerpt of those thoughts.

If one has lived long enough, we remember days of our past when the events of the world did not encroach and embed itself into our lives with the alarming number, regularity and intensity it seems today. We enjoyed days, if not weeks or months, without waking to a new or ongoing crisis that captured our attention. Our activities were not overshadowed with the pall of today that seems never-ending, provoking such anxiety we see and hear throughout our society. We awoke in our mornings to the peaceful hopes and expectations of continuing to pursue our happiness in the course we were making for our lives, satisfaction that came from all levels and stages of our progress in life. Occasionally, if we had heard from someone during the day of a newsworthy event, we might find the time from our busy lives to tune in at the end of the day to the news to see firsthand additional details that aroused our attention. We might even discuss it with others for a short time before moving on to other more personal priorities—job success, family events, community involvement, church and recreational activities, etc.

Divisions that divide us today along so many lines were not exacerbated by politicians seeking votes, certainly not to the extent we were less civil to each other as today. For most of us, life had yet to become a "game" with clearly defined sides in vehement opposition to one another. Labels were something on a product we purchased. Many of us did recognize moral and legitimate social injustices and worked cooperatively toward ending those divisions that prevented the fulfillment of the dreams of our forefathers, dreams we share in becoming one within a nation that values the rights of individuals without abolishing those of others. Our desire was that all would be given the opportunity to achieve their God-given potential. We understood there was much work to be done, not only in our own personal lives, but within our society. We elected representatives to see to the matters of government that we could not ourselves. We trusted them for the greater priorities of our nation and not to intrude upon our liberties promised within our constitution, especially infringement upon our religious freedoms and conscience. Our constitution was a contract we all understood to mean the church was not the government nor the government the church, taking to itself matters of social, moral and religious duties that has long been the calling and mission of the church, proselytizing from it through programs to obtain votes to grow it in competition and final defeat of it, using taxes gained at the point of the gun in contrast to tithes and offerings freely given to the local church. How is the church expected to compete with that system? To this point, we have abrogated our place in our society today.

Somewhere along the way we went astray. National security and greater injustices of our time gave way to more petty personal grievances and social programs, so much so that the rights of many are being taken away in lieu of the offended feelings of one—a lesser group over the majority. The good causes of many seem to have been coopted by the selfish causes of a few. It seems those whose rights are favored are those whose voices can be magnified the greatest while the majority are suppressed in fearful silence. Logic appears turned upon its head—reason and common sense discarded upon the heap of the unpopularity of truth. And its shadow grows. The world seems to be in chaos with no visible sign of abatement. Dangers from within threaten to rip apart the fabric of our country while our enemies plot and execute their plans to destroy us. We rightfully ask: Where are our elected? The state grows while our churches continue to decline. Who will stop the darkness? Who will stop the assault of the state on the rights of the people and the ordained role of the churches? Can it be stopped? Two thousand years ago Jesus clearly taught His kingdom was not of this earth and issued a call to any who would hear: "Come unto me you who are heavy burdened..." Today, our government has coopted that call and the hands reach out by the millions each year, year after year, creating a dependency without dignity, degrading and diminishing the human spirit to an almost sub-human level. And we wonder why the baser instincts of the masses are rising like a tsunami that will soon sweep us upon the rubble of history as it has other nations before us.

I understand the sentiment of the sensible heart as it looks upon today's world scene. It is understandable why such anxiety exists, especially if one allows the bombardment of the gloom of world events to permeate ones thinking via a twenty-four cycle of breaking news. It consumes our national conversation. We wring our hands as we helplessly watch beyond belief events spiral ever more chaotic.

But, dear reader, I am also reminded of those final dark hours of the disciples 2,000 years ago when they were learning from Jesus that He was soon going away, similar to the times now with the possibility and the darkness in the earth preceeding His return. He was very sensitive to their heavy hearts and concerns in those final dreadful hours of His life and the days that would follow, thus, He said to them: "Let not your heart be troubled..." - John 14:1.

On the one hand as we look down and around us today we see the undeniable darkness that overshadows us but, on the other, we look up and remember His absolute promises in these times and are comforted by them: He is preparing a place; He is coming again; He will take us to be with Him; look up for our redemption draweth nigh. Those who are of the opinion that man can produce utopia in his world by any means other than Redemption are deluded and dangerous. Christ warned us over and over of this danger. Look at what the world did to the most gentle man who ever lived! In His final hours with His disciples He warned again: "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" - John 16:33. We are to be prepared for that darkness, in particular to be aware and resist when false teachers enter in among us so as not to be led astray as many will, and already are!

Jesus' words of John 13, especially verse 33, blinded their reason and provoked their frayed emotions and fear. What they had already heard and sensed, coupled now with these words, their hearts were ready to explode! Ever the Comforter, Jesus then turns to lift their hearts with His reassuring words of John 14. After speaking to ease their troubled hearts, He cautions and instructs them. As He said (as expressly meant in the original text): Do not stop believing; as you STILL believe in God and have not "SEEN HIM," when the time comes and you do not see me, so, too, KEEP ON BELIEVING in me as you already believe in Him. No darkness can and will extinguish His Light. We walk in these troubled times in that Light with our Lamp full, burning bright for others to see.

- Author: Ken Livingston

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