Friday, July 18, 2014

Preparing Us for the End or Drowning Us in Lies?

image used under Creative Commons license, the photo was
part of an article by Amy Jussel on
The public recently got in an uproar over Facebook experimenting with what some of us saw in our stream.  The experiment dealt with how emotions and attitudes changed, depending on what was displayed.  

The "big deal" was that people weren't warned it was going to happen.  But they don't realize that the response would change with the knowledge that their content was being manipulated.  To cover that, similar experiments have had people sign waivers agreeing to be part of an experiment, without stating what the experiment would be.

As a result of allowing that experiment, Facebook lost credibility.  But we ignore a very important reality.  This has been happening in our regular daily intake for some time.  Which has some ominous undertones.

There are lots of alarmist sermons, blogs, and articles about our being in the End Times.  Those most often come from those who benefit financially from people whose thinking has been disturbed by that idea.  My usual response is Mark 13:31-33 (KJV), "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.  But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.  Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is."  Only God the Father knows.

If we look back through history, some part of every generation of Christians has thought they were in the End Times.  Each has pointed to how much more prophecy has been fulfilled in their time than in previous eras.  Making them right and previous generations wrong.  Until the next set of "prophets" came along.  In recent times, there have been some prophecies about the return of Israel as a nation that were newly fulfilled.  That could be taken as putting us in the End Times.  But, if we believe Mark 13, we can only say "maybe" and realize we're a lot closer than we've been before.  There's also another indication we're really close -- if not in the End Times, within several generations of it.

1 Peter 5:8 (KJV)  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

1 Timothy 4:1 (KJV)  Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

That roaring isn't necessarily loud and frightening.  Satan knows it just needs to be loud enough to drown out the "still small voice" (1 Kings 19:12).  In the Cold War era of the '50s, there was a lot of talk about propaganda.  Propaganda uses a combination of favorable facts, ignoring unfavorable facts, and disinformation (misinformation about oneself and the opponent).  Marketing, at its worst, is not much different.  At its best, not "downing" the competition, marketing still aligns with propaganda in making the "product" appear as good as possible.  With that in mind, picture Satan and the demons wanting to draw people to the other side and make that a place that would be familiar, comfortable, hiding the anti-human thrust of the efforts, and would make God seem unnecessary.  So, what could I do, if I were Satan?

Newscasts:  Don't show most of Hamas' attacks on Israel, but make it look like Israel is the aggressor.  Make sure that Arab casualties are emphasized, ignoring that Hamas protects its weaponry by placing it in civilian neighborhoods where civilian casualties are expected if the weapons are attacked.  Be enthusiastic about the possibility of finding single cell life in outer space, while emphasizing that a larger group of cells on earth can't be human life because that infringes on the woman's choice.  Make it clear that sexual inclination is because of genetics, not choice, because God made a mistake with them.  Make it clear that freedom of religion is freedom from religion, not freedom for religion.  Get people to believe almost anything by having the newscaster start the story with "A new study shows...".

Netflix:  "Hemlock Grove" can advertise itself as "even demons have demons".  "Orange is the New Black" can call itself a comedy, but not shy away from depicting lesbian relationships.  "House of Cards" can make government manipulation and corruption seem like that's how things ought to be done.

Networks and cable:  "Mistresses", "Scandal", "Satisfaction", "Masters of Sex", and others can glorify extra-marital sex.  The slew of vampire and zombie shows can make demonic activity seem OK.  If I were Satan, I'd create comedies that depicted anything but the normal family.  And those would glorify the oddities.  Entertainment industry shows could make out of wedlock pregnancies seem OK by describing births before the wedding as "the latest trend".

Hollywood and Washington:  Glamorize lust, greed and self orientation.  Ridicule those who hold to anything approaching Biblical standards as outdated and intolerant.  Make it clear they are the standard setters, not society.

Society:  Get people to believe all religions are the same.  Religious expression is good and important, as long as it's not Christian or Judaic.  And, if something feels good, it should be OK.


[Sarcasm on] We know none of this is happening, now.  So, there's nothing of concern.  Right? [sarcasm off]  I'm not going to join the alarmists in suggesting that Armageddon is right around the corner.  But we're a lot closer than we've ever been before.  I still hold to Mark 13 about knowing when the end is coming.  

I believe those of us who have a relationship with God will be raptured before the Tribulation.  Others believe the rapture will be mid-Tribulation or after.  It's a subject with lots of discussion and disagreement, all based on Biblical understanding.  The thing we need to remember is that we only get grace for something when we need it.  So, no matter which of those theories turns out to be right, God has plenty of grace for us to get through what we need to.  And He'll give us that grace when we need it, not a moment sooner, not a second later.

There's one other thing to remember.  If we don't have a relationship with God, there is no grace for what comes at us.  We would have decided to deal with things on our own and God will allow us to experience the results of that choice.  God is love.  He wants nothing more than for as many of us as possible to have a relationship with Him.  God is omnipresent.  So, even though we may not be aware of His presence, He's always ready to get us through whatever comes our way.  When we don't have that relationship, we just don't have the capacity to recognize God's presence.  God is omniscient.  He knows who will choose self or relationship and act accordingly.

I'm not into verbally and mentally abusing someone into professing a relationship that's probably not real.  That's just stupid.  But I can vouch for there being a huge difference in dealing with life with and without that relationship.  So, I'll suggest talking to God, sincerely asking Him to show Himself in your life, and then deciding how real He is.  What you decide is your choice, but you have fuller input to help you choose.

How will you be dealing with the End Times?

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