The Whole World in His Hands

imagesDonald Trump wants to ‘make America great again’ but what America does he mean? Is he thinking of the 50’s, 60’s when? Britain recently withdrew from the EU. The Brits chose to duck back into their island home and return to their roots. But what Britain are they looking for? What era? Can they go back to the way it was or must they face a new reality?

In our own Australian federal elections we voted with great uncertainty. Our nation is deeply split. Neither major party impressed and we showed our displeasure.

We may be living in the most tumultuous period in recent history. “The stakes are too high to tolerate business as usual,” said Jerome Glenn, CEO of the Millennium Project whose recent study refers to issues like future impacts of artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, organized crime, asymmetric warfare, and how to produce enough food, water, and energy for another 2.3 billion people in just 35 years. The Millennium Project undertakes ongoing research into population forecasts and lifestyle challenges. (www.millennium-project.org)

They are not thinking about going back but coping with the emerging future. Some of the questions they posed surprised me. Between the years 2025 to 2050 they asked: (a) “Do we have the right to genetically change ourselves and future generations into a new or several new species?”

(b) “Is it ethical for society to manage the creation of future elites who have augmented themselves with artificial intelligence and genetic engineering?”

(c) “Should elimination of aging be available to everyone or just to those who can afford it?”

images-1(d) “Should artificial life (life-mimicking software, sentient robots, etc.) or animals whose intelligence has been increased to near human levels, have rights?”

They also had two very interesting headings. (1) Principles related to Science, (2) Principles related to Religion and Spirituality. The science group proclaims their path to truth is more reliable than religious faith. The religionists say life is a divine unalterable gift, compassion is required for justice and the family in all its forms is the foundation of social values.

There is much detail in the 299 page report but it raises questions which will be have to be addressed very soon.

Albert Einstein said: “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

We Christians are called to disciple nations so get ready for this. “In 1950, whites were 28 percent of world population and Africans 9 percent, a ratio of three-to-one. In 2060, the ratio will remain the same. But the colors will be reversed. People of African ancestry will be 25 percent of the world`s population. People of European descent will have fallen to 9.8 percent.

“More arresting is that the white population is shrinking not only in relative but in absolute terms. Two hundred million white people, one in every six on earth—a number equal to the entire population of France, Britain, Holland and Germany—will vanish by 2060.” (Whites down to 10% of World Population by 2060 – Does It Matter? Patrick J. Buchanan, May 2008)

Buchanan is a veteran journalist-commentator. His report is based on factual statistics. No indicators in his assessment of anything but change ahead. He added this sentence, “The Caucasian race is going the way of the Mohicans.” (The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, published in 1826, is a fictional story. It describes the fate of the Mohicans who disappeared as the early colonists moved in).

Paul Ehrlich was an American biologist who constantly warned of future population growth and limited resources. In 1966 after a taxi ride he wrote: “I have understood the population explosion intellectually for a long time. I came to understand it emotionally one stinking hot night in Delhi a couple of years ago… The temperature was well over 100, and the air was a haze of dust and smoke. The streets seemed alive with people. People eating, people washing, people sleeping. People visiting, arguing, and screaming. People thrusting their hands through the taxi window, begging. People clinging to buses. People herding animals. People, people, people, people.”

The future certainly appears to be overwhelming unless we truly believe ‘He has the Whole World in His Hands.’ In a recent newsletter Dick Leggatt, President of the Derek Prince Ministries offered a prayer. In part he prayed…”Lord, I admit that I have been shaken by what I have seen taking place in the world around me. I repent for wondering whether You are in control of what is taking place in my nation. I ask You to forgive me now for those times when I have doubted You. With this prayer, I affirm the truth of Psalm 2. You, O God, are in control. You have installed Jesus, Your Son, as King forever on Your throne. He is in charge. You are in control. Rather than acting indifferent to that truth, I choose now to offer myself to You in intercession. I ask You now: please give me Your heart for my nation. Help me to see it as You see it. Allow me to be part of Your solution as You bring restoration and redemption to my land. You are in control, O Lord. You have all power and authority to bring the change and breakthroughs that are so desperately needed. Amen.

 

 

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A Flood of Refugees, The Mind of Christ.

imagesThe German publication Der Spiegel runs regular stories describing the escalating refugee crisis in what they call Fortress Europe. In a recent report they said, “Desperate scenes played out here, reminiscent of those witnessed in Hungary back in September.” They described, a group of young men who used a steal beam as a battering ram. “Men could be seen running and children screaming,’ they said.

These scenes are becoming more evident and Christians must be a radiant light in the darkness. The world is in crisis. Living by faith, as a Christian, will mean reaching the lost with the love of God, not in some wishy-washy way but with practical solutions.

As we ponder the facts, it is essential we know God is great. He promises we can do all things, through Him. There have been great champions of the faith and they stood up when the days and times were dark. We now have that opportunity. Read this carefully. Forty per cent of the world’s population will be homeless by 2030. UN Habitat estimate three billion people will need housing in less than fifteen years. 1.6 billion people in our world today live in inadequate shelter. More than 100 million people worldwide are homeless.

In 1985 the UN General Assembly declared the first Monday in October to be World Habitat Day. By UN Habitat calculations 96,150 new affordable housing units are needed every day to meet the need, that is, 4000 every hour. Forty percent means four in ten will have no place to call home in just a few years. I have grandchildren who will be in their teens in 2030.

boy-1226964__180Charles Dickens helped me embrace the situation. “Bleak, dark, and piercing cold, it was a night for the well-housed and fed to draw round the bright fire, and thank God they were at home; and for the homeless starving wretch to lay him down and die.” (Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist) It is a stark, challenging description.

 Australia

While the crisis in Europe may seem far removed from us, Homelessness Australia reports one in 200 people are homeless “on any given night.” According to their statistics, an estimated seventeen percent of homeless people in Australia, are under 12, eighteen percent are aged 25-34.

Of ‘people who sleep rough each night’ 67.6 percent are male, 32.4 percent female. One of the major causes of this distress is domestic violence. Our fellow man and woman, boy and girl, are in dire need of love, comfort and support.

The Salvation Army says ‘over 100,000 Australians will be homeless tonight.’ It is serious. “I think homelessness is an absolute tragedy. To know that you don’t belong anywhere, that you have no home to shelter in, and no one to support you. It is one of the most distressing experiences a person can have …The consequence is the quality of life for the whole community is diminished. People will do whatever it takes to survive, including turning to crime if they have to. ”

” As a community, we need to be responsive to people who are homeless, not just for moral and social reasons, but also for the sake of the stability of the entire community,” Major David Eldridge, Salvation Army said.

Love

images-2Reading through these statistics is overwhelming but the numbers represent people who need love and support. We are called to have the mind of Christ. Frankly I was overwhelmed by the details. I turned to a book ‘That Incredible Christian’ by A. W. Tozer: “The Spirit-filled, prayerful Christian actually possesses the mind of Christ, so that his reactions to the external world are the same as Christ’s. He thinks about people and things just as He does.” In the same chapter he wrote: “We must think of the surrounding world of people and things against the background of our thoughts of God.”

Joseph Reuben, singer-songwriter, on his blogsite said: “If it was not for Christian organizations like the Open Door Mission, the Salvation Army, and many others, the homeless would be getting a lot less help than they are. I appreciated every meal and every volunteer that made my life a bit more tolerable when I lived on the streets.

During that time God taught me a lot about myself. One important lesson I learned was that while I was spending a lot of my time complaining about how others were judging me for being homeless, I was judging them for not being homeless. Sometimes the hardest thing for us to do is to show grace to those who judge us.” (word-from-the-street.com)

As we assess the simple mathematics of the refugee and the homeless, surely we are challenged. How will our borders remain secure? How will our culture be affected by the surging tide of humanity seeking a safe-place? How many will seek our harm?

“Christian love draws no distinction between one enemy and another, except that the more bitter our enemy’s hatred, the greater his need of love. Be his enmity political or religious, he has nothing to expect from a follower of Jesus but unqualified love. In such love there is not inner discord between the private person and official capacity. In both we are disciples of Christ, or we are not Christians at all,” wrote World War II hero Dietrich Bonhoeffer. (The Cost of Discipleship)

God has not been caught unawares in this crisis. The Bible tells us Jesus Christ had no place to lay His head (Luke chapter 9, verse 58). He was a refugee. He relates to homelessness.

Billy Graham reminds us: “The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.”