Tuesday, 28 June 2016

When Hate Feeds off Hate

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  (Ephesians 4:31,32)

“Thank you, friend!” I said this morning to the male Asian operator as I left the X-ray department at our local hospital.  As my wife and I walked to the car, it was Pam who declared, “Where would we ever be without these skilled immigrants serving us in our hospitals?”

I could only agree.  In every one of my various hospital adventures in recent years, I have been only too aware of nurses, orderlies and social workers, recruited from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Egypt, India, Poland, Somalia or Indonesia…. immigrants who have helped to fill the gaps in our over-pressed National Health Service.  At a time of pain, I never forgot my most vigilant and caring nurse ever.  She was from Nepal.

Bear this in mind in the face of the current racist abuse, coupled with  expressions of mutual hatred and parliamentary confusion in the leadership crisis that British society is experiencing at this present vital turning point for the future.

It is when a country has lost its legacy of spiritual and ritual identity – harnessed over centuries – that a single issue can cause it to succumb to forces and sentiments that stem from the Pit.

Don’t succumb, yourself.  If your experiences with social media foster in your soul the numbing process by which hate feeds off hate, then leave it alone – for a period, at least.  And an up-building exercise?  TRY A FILM!  Send for the DVD of the film that the Guinness Book of Records declares as the most watched film – secular or religious – in the whole of history.  Forget The Titanic.  It is ‘The Jesus Film’ – watched over 6 billion times and translated into 1,200 languages.  Some 200 million people world-wide have declared themselves to have found personal faith and meaning in life, through watching it.  Just google www.agape.org.uk to find it.

Then share it with friends….

Friday, 17 June 2016

Kingdoms that Cannot Last

“Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision”   (Daniel 8:16)

Daniel is baffled by his vision of a powerful he-goat that overwhelmed every rival in sight, only finally to fail and give way to other powers.  Here was prophesied the rise of Alexander the Great, whose military emblem emblazoned on his banners was indeed that of a he-goat.  Daniel is overwhelmed; yet this divine message unfolds for him – and for us – the nature of godless kingdoms across history:

1. They are saturated with success.  This was true of the Assyrians, the Babylonians, Alexander and the Greek kingdom, and eventually of the Roman empire – indeed of every totalitarian regime that arrogantly expects to last for a thousand years.  Every mountain climbed, every ambition realised!  Then comes either self-destruction from within, or an unforeseen outside influence that brings the whole edifice crashing down – sometimes in a single day.  Nothing fails like success!

2. They are inflated with power.  The later tyrant portrayed in v.23-25 has generally been interpreted as Antiochus Epiphanes who was to oppress God’s ancient people in unprecedented manner.  He serves as an all-time prototype of the final Antichrist (Matthew 24:15-29).  Godless and puffed up, we are aware of such leaders and governments today.

3. They are destined for failure.  ‘Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power’ (v. 25).  It’s God’s kingdom that has the last word.  Attacked over the centuries, it outlasts all else (Revelation 11:15). 

Take sides, then!  Moses or Pharaoh?  Elijah or wicked King Ahab?  Daniel or Belshazzar?  John the Baptist or King Herod?  Felix the Roman governor or the apostle Paul?  You can’t stay neutral in this game