Dear Friends,

“There is one thing worse than war, and that is sin… sinful, dastardly
lives being lived day by day, year in and year out, in our towns and cities…these
are the things that produce pain in the heart of God.” These words were
written by Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) a Christian minister who chose to leave
his "dream ministry” and serve as a chaplain in World War I and ultimately
died during the war in service to others. Personal conflicts and wars have been
going on since Cain killed Abel six thousand years ago and, according to Scripture,
will continue and increase until Christ’s return. (Luke 21:9) The reason
we won’t have terrorism and wars in heaven is because we won’t have
any sin in heaven. As Chambers said, sin is the problem and the thing that God
hates and it took the life and blood of His only Son to destroy sin and the
works of the devil. Jesus said “Do not be afraid of those who kill the
body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear:
Fear Him, who, after the killing of the body, has the power to throw you into
hell.” (Luke 12:4-5) All those who reject Jesus Christ, our sin-bearer,
will remain God’s enemies and be “punished with everlasting destruction
from the presence of the Lord” for all eternity. (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)
This is the bad news that makes the “good news,” the gospel of God’s
grace and mercy through Jesus, so wonderful. God will win the war against sin,
evil and Satan; the question is have I accepted His terms of peace –the
substitutionary work of Jesus Christ on my behalf. And, if so, have I become
an ambassador of this good news to others. “Therefore, we are ambassadors
for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf
of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)

We tend to be so earthbound in our perspective. God says that nations are like
a drop in a bucket to Him, like dust on the scales and that He brings princes
and world leaders to nothing. (Isaiah 40:15, 23) The only thing that ultimately
matters in human history is His-Story. Jesus Christ alone is worthy and able
to consummate human history and He is doing that and will complete it according
to His plan. (See Revelation 5)

“Who is on the Lord’s side?” Moses asked the people. (Exodus
32:26) Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me.” (Matthew
12:30) God has been drawing lines in the sand throughout history regarding both
national wars and personal commitments. When Joshua was about to go up against
Jericho, he encountered the “commander of the army of the Lord”
(Jesus Christ) and asked Him “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
“Neither,” He replied. (See Joshua 5:13-15) Basically, Christ said,
“I’m not on either side, I’m in charge. The question is, are
you on My side?” When Israel, God’s people, had fallen into sin
and worshiped idols, the prophet Elijah challenged them saying: “How long
will you waiver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if
Baal is God, follow him.”(1 Kings 18:21) Today, we must say, if Jesus
is Lord follow Him; but if false religions or idols are gods, then follow them.
Jesus says again, “Do not suppose I came to bring peace to the earth.
I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a
man against his father, a daughter against her mother, … a man’s
enemies will be the members of his own household.’ ” (Matthew 10:34-36)
In our desire to be unifying, tolerant and politically correct in a pluralistic
society, we must heed the words of our Lord: “I am the way and the truth
and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
And then He backed up His exclusive claims with extraordinary credentials –
He rose from the dead on the third day and is alive and reigns forever! (Romans
1: 1-4) The founders of other religions lie dead in their graves.

The One true living God, revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is not against
the people of Islam or any other religion. God so loved the world, (all the
people of the world) that He gave His only Son for the salvation of all who
will receive Jesus Christ as Savior. (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:3-4) But He is
against sin in any form, idolatry, false religions, greed, lust, etc., etc.
If we in America win the battle against terrorism but not against the idols
in our hearts (Luke 8:14), we still lose the war. In Israel’s dark days
of Babylonian captivity even the religious leaders still had idols in their
hearts. (Ezekiel 14: 1-11) Could that be true of us as Americans in the midst
of our dark times of lost lives and threats of on-going terrorism and recession,
etc.? Are we more concerned about our 401Ks and safe air travel than we are
about worshiping the living God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength?
As great a country as America is and as powerful as she is militarily, the first
call from God to Americans today is, who is on the Lord’s side? How long
will you waiver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if
Baal (idols, false gods) is God, follow him. “Choose you this day whom
you will serve.” (Joshua 24:15) If we as true believers in Jesus Christ,
will repent of our idolatry and the sin of lukewarmness, and become soldiers
of His no longer entangled with the affairs of everyday life (2 Timothy 2:4
), we could see a revival in our land and even across the world that could hasten
the return of the Lord as we look for “a new heaven and a new earth in
which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:12-13)

If we grieve over the evil and horror of September 11, how much more does our
holy and loving God grieve over that day and the “sinful, dastardly lives
being lived day by day, year in and year out, in our towns and cities”
all across America and the world? What will it take to turn our hearts to fully
serve our great God and King? I believe the prayer in 2 Chronicles sums it up
very well – humble ourselves before God, pray, seek God’s face and
repent of our sins. Then we can hope for God’s mercy not to just bless
America as we see on all the marquees, but to revive America and use us as Americans
to be soldiers of Jesus Christ and to take His gospel to the ends of the world
– “then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

“If my people, who are called by My name (Christians), will humble themselves
and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear
from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
(2 Chronicles 7:14)

Lord, have mercy,

Len and Kristen

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