November 15, 2015: Saint’s Triumphant Sunday

Let us pray: Dear Savior, we are a weary people. The stress of our modern culture has taken its toll on our bodies and minds; the uncertain world economy has taken its toll on our emotional well-being; and terrorism has taken its toll on our entire being. We long for rest and quietness. We long for a champion, a strong leader, who will come and wipe the slate clean. We long for You! So, today we, Your holy ones, pray: Come Lord Jesus! Amen

GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE MIGHTY ONE OF THE HEAVENLY HOSTS!

TEXT: Daniel 12: 1-3

Dearly Beloved Saints in Christ:
Perhaps you don’t know some of these facts, so I’ll recount a few for you. 1. Germany has sold out of pepper spray! It’s all because the common people are deathly afraid of the migrant horde coming into their country from the Middle East. The German leader is under fire on all fronts, even from those in her own party, because of their open borders policy. 2. Sweden, the socialist mecca, has become a new Mecca for many of these migrants from Syria and the Middle East. So many have come that even they, the Swedes, are starting to make it harder for more to arrive. 3. Hungary, one of those border countries that many transit through is putting up a razor wire fence to better “herd” such people along through patrolled corridors. 4. Many in the European Union are starting to talk about totally closing borders. 5. One refugee on a YouTube video freely talks about “taking over Europe” and turning it Muslim. This man, who lives in Germany said: “We’ll marry your daughters and in a couple of generations we’ll be in charge.” –All that was written on Thursday before the Paris attack, where one killer has been proven to come from Syria in October via Greece.

Well, that’s Europe. I won’t discuss the Middle East because it’s just a basket case or worse and you all know what’s going on. Even folks in the UN are talking about the genocide of Christians there and that in a few years those Christian communities will cease to exist. And then there’s America. We live fat but not so happy. I read an article this week about how Americans might be the most unhappy and unfulfilled people on earth! We have materialism, but gaining it has run us ragged. And keeping it seems an ever-more elusive dream.

Some social historians have mapped out a 70 year cycle in our history where the status quo is turned on its head. Go back in 70 year cycles and you get the Great Depression and WWII, the Civil War, and the American Revolution. And within those 70 years of each cycle, there are 4 mini-cycles, or “turnings.” Currently we’re in the 4th turning of the bigger cycle.—Is it any wonder people are uneasy?

I

One of the historical truths is that during times of crisis people crave a leader. They want a strong person to step up and settle things down. We see this in Roman history, in Egyptian history, in European history, in Chinese history, in all history. I guess history will judge whether America found such a leader after the next election cycle. Of course, the problem today is greater, much greater, than in the past in this: then it was regional strife, but today it is world-wide.—So much for globalism. Now if China gets the economic flu, America goes bust. Well, you get the point. Today there’s no place to hide.

But, as God’s saints, you know that for all the flailing and floundering about for human solutions to our own self-inflicted wounds, the real bankruptcy and weakness of our culture is this: Western culture has given up Christianity. Swedish Lutheran churches are basically empty. Political correctness has taken over for God. German cathedrals are empty. Why look to the Almighty for help when you know the government will bail you out? You can go right down the line and find this to be true. And in America, well, the debacle at the University of Missouri reveals that “higher education” in our country has fostered a very spoiled, emotionally unstable crop of young people. And God help us if and when something really “bad” happens! They’ll shatter to pieces.

Once you give up God, once you glorify human ability and think humans have all the answers, once you get rid of right and wrong, truth and error, good and bad—the roof literally collapses. If you stand for nothing other than “I think” or “I want” you literally do stand for nothing. This is our world today.

II

Daniel lived during a cyclical turning in history, too. So did Jesus Christ. During Daniel’s time the Babylonian empire was crumbling and the Persian empire would very soon replace it. They all knew it was coming. And the Israelite captives in Babylon were afraid. God’s saints were fearful. But God told Daniel: “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise.” God wasn’t talking about some Godly champion just for that age, He was really talking about Jesus Christ, our champion for eternity, for the very end of time, itself. Are we closer to judgment day than they were? Of course. Is it going to occur next year? Perhaps. Either way, Michael, or literally the Mighty One of God, will be with His people. And even now He protects and watches over us, keeping danger and evil within limits.

God goes on to describe those end times: “There will be a time of distress such as not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book (of eternal life)—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens (since they reflect the pure love of Christ which is in their hearts), and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.”

Most people would really like to know the future. Think of the money you could make if you knew when the market would tank and certain stocks would go up? Think of the bets you could make on people and countries, on winners and losers. Hark back to the Greeks and Romans and their seeking out of oracles who read animals entrails to discern the future. But how horrible it would be if we knew intimate details of the future! If you knew exactly when you would die, you’d hate each new day. If you knew when war would erupt around you, you’d be paralyzed. Perhaps that is why God doesn’t give us specifics on such things, only generalities. That being said, He does gives us a very specific promise here that Jesus Christ would come to destroy the eternal power of sin and Satan and win us freedom, eternal freedom, by His death and resurrection. All of this shows us the unconditional love of God for His people. And here He also promises to send Christ back to take all the saints, all those who believe in Him, to heavenly glory where they will shine brighter than any star.

Has God given you enough information to comfort you amid a world in upheaval? He has for me. So, like all the saints before me, I’ll continue to get up each day, do my best, and continue praying: “Come, Lord Jesus.” Amen