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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live during what the Scripture calls “the Last Days”? Well, you may know more about this than you think.

Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #33 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.

 

Maybe every generation facing some dark development of history thought it was facing what Scripture calls the Last Days. I don’t know because I didn’t live during those times.

I do know people honestly considered whether the End Times was upon them when the sadly named “War to End All Wars,” WWI, stagnated in the muddy trenches of Western Europe. I know, too, that more than a few people seriously believed Adolph Hitler was the Anti-Christ himself, heralding events leading to the end of the Age.

But what about now, 2022? Are we actually living in the Last Days?

I’ve noted before in this space that my 90-year-old Mother thinks we are living in the Last Days, and I’ve begun to agree with her. She knows, and I know, that the Bible warns us about setting dates, but it also gives us a heads up on the conditions human beings will experience during the Last Days.

Think of 2 Tim. 3:1-5: “There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

Does that sound like the early 21st Century? 

Or how about Romans 1, where the Apostle Paul tells us why humanity behaves the way we do in the latter days, and why we need salvation:

  • suppress the truth by our wickedness,
  • since creation God’s invisible qualities clearly seen, so people are without excuse, 
  • thinking became futile and foolish hearts were darkened.
  • claimed to be wise, but became fools, 
  • sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
  • exchanged the truth about God for a lie, 
  • women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. 
  • filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice, gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful,
  • disobey their parents,
  • have no understanding, no fidelity, no love,no mercy, 
  • invent ways of doing evil.

Again in 2 Tim. 3:12-13, 

  • everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 
  • evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse.

Luke 21:

  • nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
  • great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.
  • when you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 
  • nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.
  • people will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 

So, the Last Days is not a cakewalk. Things go from bad to worse, and it feels like this has accelerated in the past few years. But again, I don’t want to suggest I have an insider knowledge of God’s timetable, nor that we are living in the Tribulation Period, which will be much worse than we’ve so far witnessed.

But still, social conditions are worsening.

Once people embrace the idea there is no God to whom we are accountable and no truth standard to live by, which American culture has done, we’re left with moral and behavioral chaos. That’s what we see today.

  • Increasingly rootless, anxious, alienated, sometimes rage-filled youth, resulting in a long list of personal and social pathologies, including mass shootings, 
  • not just a growing bias against but direct harassment, possibly persecution, of the Christian Church, 
  • sin and moral choices are medicalized, and the resulting emotional ripple effects are labeled mental illness, 
  • more pestilence, like pandemics, more wars, like Ukraine, more economic pain, including inflation, unemployment, lack of resources, supply chain problems.

Now what is the Christian response to all this genuine doom and gloom?

  1. Do we withdraw and hide? Live in our own churchy cocoon?
  2. Do we attack, attempting to slay the dragon, the Prince of the Power of the Air, Luther himself, and all his minions?
  3. Or do we sally forth with knowledge of the Sovereign God, the Word, and what he says about the end of history, then live out our life proclaiming the Lordship of Christ in all of life?

I like option #3, know the Word, proclaim the Lordship of Christ in all of life. 

How do we do this?

  1. Well, we understand and share that we don’t have all the answers, but we have the answer, so, we place our hope in Christ, not politics, not political parties, not ideology, not politicians, which means we studiously avoid what a lot of conservative Christians seem to have done in recent years.
  2. We speak the truth in love, with gentleness and respect (2 Pet. 3:15). And we recognize that people around us, including family and friends, may not always want to hear the truth, and thus associate those who speak truth with something intolerant, holier than thou, or unloving.
  3. We demonstrate an attitude not of despair but of optimistic realism– recognizing the reality of sin in a fallen world but acknowledging that our Sovereign God is there, and he is not silent.
  4. We live not in fear but in hope – not a vain wish, like I hope my team wins this Saturday, but real hope in an event—the Parousia—already accomplished on the Cross and the empty tomb two millennia ago.

We live as unto the Lord. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9). 

 

Well, we’ll see you again soon. This podcast is about Discerning What Is Best. 

If you find this thought-provoking and helpful, follow us on your favorite podcast platform. Download an episode for your friends. For more Christian commentary, check my website, r-e-x-m as in Martin, that’s rexmrogers.com. 

And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022   

*This podcast blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.  

“We do not know why God is doing what he is doing, but we know why we trust God, who knows why…We may be in the dark about what God is doing, but we are not in the dark about God.” 

I thought of this favorite Os Guinness quote this evening watching coverage of Afghanistan and Haiti, then hearing of a young family in our church just in an auto accident in which the teen daughter was seriously injured.

Why? I don’t know, but I am blessed to know and trust God who is at once the omnipotent, omniscient Sovereign God of the Universe and our Heavenly Father. These are not hollow platitudes. This is knowable truth.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Christianity is often reduced to “Don’ts,” restrictions, perceived prudish limitations. And it’s true, there are “Thou shalt nots,” but that list is actually rather short. These principles are given to protect us from harm and evil, so we ignore them at our own peril. 

But Christianity is also about so much more, about goodness, order, blessing, peace. Christian faith in the Sovereign God provides meaning (w/o God you can’t determine who you are or why you exist) and truth (w/o objective truth you don’t know right from wrong, fact from fiction), defines reality (w/o the Creator you live in a world of your own making governed by unreason, irrationality, insanity), and produces grace (w/o God there is only power not mercy) and hope (w/o God, the future is an abyss). 

The intellectual decadence of our age claims Christianity is irrelevant. But this is delusion for Christianity is in the 21st Century temporally applicable and eternally significant…and you are eternally significant, made in the image of God. Know Christ, live out a Christian worldview, experience light and life, and promise.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Year 2020 seems to be the Year-of-Discord. We’re a divided and fragmented people, and it feels like it’s getting worse.

Christians used to disagree about music, church worship format, versions of the Bible, and lifestyle issues. Remember the old ditty, “I don’t drink, and I don’t chew, and I don’t go with girls who do?” That was funny, and though it strikes us as innocent now, it captured some of the church battles of the past fifty years.

In 2020, issues are more intense. 

We strenuously disagree about COVID-19: Wear a mask—Don’t wear a mask.

We disagree about how to deal with racism and position slogans in opposition: “Black lives matter” vs “Blue lives matter” vs “All lives matter.”

We disagree about sexuality – LGBTQ, same-sex marriage, and much more. 

…about the 2nd Amendment and defunding the police.

…about climate change, and what causes wildfires or hurricanes.

…about immigration, borders, and how to help the poor.

…about “Make America Great Again” vs. “Build Back Better.”

These issues are dividing the Church. The Body of Christ is increasingly at odds with itself.

Yet God said, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” There is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all. (Eph. 3:4-6).

Discord makes a field day for the Devil. A divided Church, one lacking unity, is a less effective Church. If we are not able to get along with other Christians in our fellowship—or God forbid we’re exchanging rancor and distrust—we are not blessed with fellowship. And worse, we offer nothing to those seeking peace and hope.

Now this does not mean we cannot disagree. In fact, respectful disagreement promotes critical thinking or spiritual discernment and wise decisions. Nor is this an argument for the moral equivalency of all issues, because this is untrue. The Bible speaks directly to the morality of some issues, while providing principles upon which we can draw to decide our stance regarding other issues. 

In all this, we must disagree in a context of a Christian faith, meaning 

--we affirm biblical values, 

--we embrace Christian liberty and allow for differences of conscience, 

--we speak the truth in love, 

--we exercise grace with humility, knowing we all see through a glass darkly.

Politics are important but not more important than Christian faith. 

We must honor others above ourselves…even and especially those with whom we disagree.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Is it possible to feel safe in an unsafe world?

Years ago, political activist Ralph Nader wrote a bestseller about the auto industry called Unsafe At Any Speed.  The book put Nader on the map and was the subject of controversy for years.

Most of us care about safety.  We want our family to enjoy life but be safe in the process.  Yet we live in what the Scripture calls a “fallen world.” 

Sin affects everything in God’s beautiful creation.  Criminal behavior, disease, conflict and wars, not to mention bad weather, all confront us.

So how do we stay safe in an unsafe world?

In Psalm 142, King David is hiding from his enemies in a cave.  He says, “I cry aloud.”  “I pour out my complaint.”  “No one is concerned for me.”  “I am in desperate need.”

Then he refocuses on what he knows to be true: “O Lord, you are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” 

When the seas of life seem ready to overwhelm us, the surest way to steady the ship is to trust in our heavenly Father.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.    

Is it possible to know “Why” God allows certain developments in the world?

Human beings are inquisitive people.  We want to know why things happen, what they mean, what might happen next.  It’s human nature.  

And to some extent we can discover answers to our questions because God made us in his image, with the ability to reason and learn.  We can think, but we are not omniscient.

When bad or destructive things happen, like tornadoes or weather events the insurance industry calls “Acts of God,” we want to know why.  When tragedy occurs, like an accidental death, we want to know why.  When serious illness strikes, we want to know why.

Sometimes we might be able to discern why, but usually this is long into the future when we benefit from hindsight.  But often, we will not know.

Scripture reminds us,

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

When we do not know, yet we know God’s character and promises, so we put our trust in him.

 

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2020    

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact me or read more commentary on current issues and events at www.rexmrogers.com/, or connect with me at www.linkedin.com/in/rexmrogers.