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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Politics in Perspective

imagesI’m rendering to Caeser right now, without much success. No matter which candidate becomes President of the United States, I think I will be disappointed. None of the leaders in Australia get me very inspired either. So I am trying to render to Caeser that which is politics while I cling close to God as the real powerhouse of my confidence. (Mark chapter 12, verse 17)

Am I the only one wrestling with this tension? Americans think they avoid the crisis by not voting. Australians by law must vote but for which candidate or party?

Our Christian standards are under serious attack. What used to be called bible absolutes have suddenly become a bunch of maybes. So often I feel hopeless as I watch arguments about marriage and abortion move further away from the plan outlined by the Bible.

Do faith and politics connect? How effective has the Christian message been in Western culture? It is possible for believers to go too far putting their faith in political leaders who are flawed like all of us. No one will measure up to the standards set by Jesus. Nevertheless we want our elected representatives to represent our faith and the basics found in the Ten Commandments.

When God placed man in the Garden of Eden he told them ‘to work it and guard it.’ (Genesis chapter 2, verse 15) That went great until we disobeyed his wisdom and guidance. The human race dropped its guard and we entered into what we called a fallen world.We are learning that we cannot raise a fallen world in our own strength. It takes a superbly divine power to overcome the flesh.

Ambassadors

Jesus triumphed and invited us to be born again. When we accept, we are transformed and become citizens of His Kingdom, with a new authority and anointing as his representatives. The Apostle Paul described it with a political term. He declared we are ‘ambassadors for Christ as though God were making his appeal through us.’ (2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 20) Ambassadors, meaning we are elected to be his representatives with all the power and dominion that commission provides.

There is an army of courageous Christians who blessed their fellow man through political, spirit- inspired influence. In Genesis chapter 47 Joseph was placed in charge of all Egypt. He was what today we might call Prime Minister. The wise administration applied by Joseph saved lives during famine.

Oliver Cromwell, William Wilberforce, Sir Winston Churchill, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, Bishop Festo Kivengere, Mary Whitehouse CBE and so many more, were saints who stood for Christian ethics and rights in the public and political arena.

Dr Billy Graham has been confidante and friend to numerous US presidents. Dr.Martin Luther King powerfully influenced his generation and won the Nobel Peace Prize. (The $50,000 prize-money he donated to the civil rights movement).

UnknownThe father of the Australian federation Sir Henry Parkes (right)  said, “we are pre-eminently a Christian people – as our laws, our whole system of jurisprudence, our Constitution… are based upon and interwoven with our Christian belief”

George Washington famously said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsin fought a continuous literary war with the Soviet Union hierarchy. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1970. He suffered in Stalin’s prison camps and wrote of the ordeal. When his book ‘One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” was published he offered a prayer: How easy it is for me to live with you, Lord!How easy for me to believe in you,  When my spirit is lost, perplexed and cast down, When the sharpest can see no further than the night,  And know not what on the morrow they must do You give me a sure certainty That you exist, that you are watching over me And will not permit the ways of righteousness to be closed to me.  Here on the summit of earthly glory I look back astonished On the road which through depths of despair has led me here.  To this point from which I can also reflect to men your radiance And all that I can still reflect – you shall grant to me.  And what I shall fail you shall grant to others.”

 Christian Values

Rev Fred Nile is an ordained minister who heads up the Christian Democratic Party (CDP). He has served in the New South Wales Legislative Council for 35 years. The CDP website says they were founded by caring Australians and their movement is ‘based on Christian values and ethics.”

The CDP has a published list of Christian values they seek to implement and defend. Just a few might give us some idea of how our interest in politics may help disciple our nation. They strive to uphold a free and democratic society with freedom of speech, the rule of law and stable constitutional government. Second they seek to support and strengthen the family unit as the basis of our society with responsible parenting, with pro-family, pro-child policies and emphatically they say, ‘No to euthanasia.’

CDP also stands for “high moral principles in all walks of life and legislation based on biblical ethics and integrity.”   They have 14 policy pointers at the website www.christianitydemocraticparty.com.au.

The story of each one of the above alongside so many more, reads like extended chapters of the New Testament. Their dedicated contribution personalised ‘go into all the world and disciple nations.’

Our frustration with politics and politicians comes when we disagree with them or when their human frailties surface. Government is a human institution and comes with all the fallen nature found in the rest of us. The ultimate, stabilising source can only be the Lord. Everyone else at some stage, will fall short.