The world is becoming a different place. Even though there are serious conflicts in Myanmar, West Africa, North Africa, The Horn of Africa, Yemen and Syria ... these are not seen as 'our problems' by most in the West.
However, the wars in Ukraine and the Holy Land are much closer to our national consciousness. The media explodes them onto our screens. The raw anguish of people's suffering is in our faces and we all know that something is wrong.
Type 'end of the world' into Google, and some 10,080,000,000 results come in 0.52 seconds. It is clear that many are concerned about the future! Satan loves that fear because he can inject his lies to promote godless and anti-Christ responses.
It is a time which is ripe for deception ... and therefore a time for discernment. TikTok and other media are systematically influencing political and 'faith' opinion, especially among young people. Apocalyptic nightmares are increasingly fuelled by the thriving industry of video games (which net more profit than all other media combined).
But Jesus said, "Watch out that no one deceives you ... You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places ... At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:4-14)
Like the Pharisees of Jesus' day who could not understand the times in which they were living, our self-obsessed and spiritually careless 21stC Western society cannot see that we need Jesus to come and sort it all out.
Today's contemporary narcissistic me-ism has spawned a plethora of personal gods dressed up as passion for justice, ecological purity, cosmic protection, individual authenticity and the right to define truth as 'whatever suits me'. There is no place for Jesus ...
... but war in our face pulls us up with a jolt.
Jesus said that everything that shakes us is a reminder to choose not to be shaken in our hearts or minds, but to stand firm in Christ. These events alert us that His kingdom is not of this world; that we have no lasting city here: we should be longing for Jesus to come back. At that time, 'the crown of righteousness' will be awarded to all who have 'longed for His appearing'.
If our compassion for the broken world has gospel roots, then these signs should galvanise our passion for lost souls, in loving service and clear evangelistic explanation. These disturbing events are also intended to alert us to the spiritual danger of false prophets, the toxic emptiness of me-ism, and societal wickedness along with the reality of persecution. In response Jesus calls His people to stand firm in the Truth and eagerly desire His Second Coming.
This Advent, as we look forward to Jesus' return, thank you for standing with us in BeaconLight and with our brave partners serving in shattered and persecuted communities. They are there because they are fulfilling Christ's mission until He comes.
Thank you for joining us as we support them in prayer and with biblical resources. We wish you a Christ-filled, Christ-anticipating Christmas.