The Bible talks about the hearts of many growing cold in the last days and many believe, including myself, that we are in those days. I struggle with the thought of evaluating whether we are in the last days or how close we are to apocalyptic events because Jesus told us that no one knew when these events would occur except the father. But, He also told us that just like people are aware of seasonal changes that we should be aware of the impending season. It seems like the impending season is one that is leading to end time events. Many people have also told me that feeling that we are in the last days is a sentiment that has been shared by every generation of the church since Jesus went back to heaven.

Trying to keep true to biblical teaching I struggle with how to approach what my attitude should be towards end time events. It has always been an area of biblical study that has fascinated me and intrigued me, but I am always conflicted with giving it too much attention. There is, of course, the alternative view of not giving it enough attention also. So, what’s the right attitude. I know that God wants us to understand that we are sojourners in this world and that in light of eternity our lives are fleeting, but a vapor. I also believe that we can be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good. We are told to not get caught off guard when Jesus comes and be about His business.

I believe we are to be prepared for heaven at any moment while keeping focused on the task at hand. I know that I often feel the angst of not being home and just wanting to bypass this life process and get to glory in heaven. I remember back to when I was first saved. God gave me this voracious appetite for the word and I studied and quickly came to the conclusion that heaven was great and if so then let’s go. I’m ready. Let’s go to heaven right now. God quickly centered me and put on my heart that yes it’s great, but there is work to be done first. So, I have been trying to be hard at work since, but it is easy for me to get caught up in news and events that make me think that event is significant and we just became closer to Jesus coming back.

With that in mind, I just think that we are close. I am not one of those people that is going to predict a date or anything like that, but I think that we are close. As i say it the thought comes into my head that I could easily live out my life with many more years and Jesus may not have come back yet. I understand that I do not have the context of God and again that many have thought over the last 2000 years that He is coming soon, but I have studied the Bible and it just seems that events are lining up quickly. In addition, I work with people every day and it feels as though I have a front row seat for the demise of our culture and our world.

Things that the Bible predicted are occurring. As we talked about initially, it appears that depravity is increasing. Also, there is an extreme polarization of world views. There is no middle ground anymore. There are those that love Jesus and those that are very antagonistic to Him. The economic landscape is scary to me. I believe that we could be on the precipice of major economic hardship, if not worse, on a global level. Israel is being increasingly isolated from most of the world and their increased stature makes them more of a target every day. I also believe that the United States has been a guardian to Israel for many years and I see a trend where they are becoming less supportive. All this and more give me a sense that we are close. The question is are we ready?

When I first started this blog specifically and wanting to write in general I did it primarily because of my thoughts on a particular subject. That subject was paradox and it became my first post ever. I had come to a conclusion on how our relationship with God was supposed to be and how we were supposed to do it. As a review, my thoughts are that the purpose for God creating paradox in His commands for us was that it was impossible to achieve without His help which led to the need for relationship with Him for successful living. Part of my thought process at the time was to explore individual and specific instances of paradox in Christian living, but as anybody with ADD knows we sometimes get sidetracked. Well, I have many specific instances of what I consider paradox in my mind and while I am probably not going to cover them all right away, I would like to start covering some of them.

The first one I want to talk about is our alleged free will and God’s will. I use the word alleged because I don’t really believe that we have the ability to do whatever we want. We have certain choices that we can make, but I don’t think that we universally can do what we want. There are limits to ability and circumstance and therefore they limit our choice. The reality is that, as Christians, I think that we have less choice than even non-Christians because by our decision to accept salvation we have put ourselves under the governing power of God. I don’t, by any means, see this as restrictive, but I see it as protective and part of the gift that God has given us. So, where is the limit to our choice? Great question, and I wish I had an answer to it, but I don’t. I think, in general, that, as humans, we think that we have way more control than we think we do.

The Bible talks about the spiritual conflict going on behind the scenes that truly is guiding individuals and principalities around the world and I do not think that we fully understand the impact of the spiritual realm. Maybe a discussion for later. The one thing that I know for sure is that we do have some choices. God has given us the ability to impact our lives and our eternal destiny and these choices are the most important of all. Interestingly enough, the most important and most personal choice of whether to accept Christ’s salvation is influenced by the drawing of the Holy Spirit. I don’t want to make the Christian life more complex than it already is and I think that we remove much complication with one major choice. That choice is to give up our right to choose and to give it to God. When we subject ourselves to His will, and it is a choice. then we will more feel His unction on our lives. The ultimate goal is total submission.

What about God’s will. Some would say that God has orchestrated and is orchestrating everything and that we shouldn’t even bother trying to do anything and some would say that God set the wheels in motion after creation and we are on our own to make destiny. I do not believe either of these. I believe that God has a perfect will or destiny for the world and it will occur. I believe that God has a perfect will or destiny for every individual who ever existed, but He has allowed for the choice that He has given His creation. I think that this applies to Christians and non Christians alike. We are all His children and God wants all to come to salvation, but the reality is that according to the Bible the majority will not be saved. This leads some to believe that God is really not in control, but His choice to allow humans to choose does not diminish His power it only confirms it.

Many people equate power with circumstance and outcome, but God equates power with authority. God has authority and we do not. He has given us a choice and some have extrapolated that out to that He has given us authority. I guess this is where the paradox is. Do we have choice, yes. Is God in total control, yes. I think that these are both true and the discussion about whether they are true is not the issue. The issue is what impact do these truths have on our life. One of my life verses is seek ye first the kingdom and all other will be added. I interpret it this way. God says that His perfect will is that the only thing that we worry about is following and worshiping Him and that He will take care of all other details in life. The impact of thinking and doing this is deep and profound, but it answers the paradox that we are discussing.

We live in a world that struggles to understand the nature of the God of the Bible. Even devout Christians, who truly follow God and want to know him better every day, can wrestle to have a grasp on the heart of almighty God. I think that it has been a problem from the beginning of time. The Israelites always tended to have a skewed view of who God was as we often see in the story of their relationship with God as it is recorded in the Old Testament. By the time that the Jewish Messiah came to bring the long prophesied about salvation that God had promised, the Jews, as a whole, had no idea what was happening as they crucified Jesus. Even after His resurrection, there was difficulty among the Hebrew people to come to grips with the impact of what had occurred.

One of the things that I come across the most in talking with Christians and non Christians alike is how they battle the issue of self esteem and ultimately the way that they see themselves in God’s eyes. I think that the Bible is clear in several areas as it pertains to the way that God views His people, but there is a clear non congruence with how many people actually perceive it to be. We live in a world that is fairly existential and I think that this viewpoint has great impact on the worldview of many despite what God states in the Bible as His truth. The one misconception that strikes me the most disturbing and most unlike God is that many people feel that God hates them. Not that God is ambivalent or that He likes some people more than others, and I do hear these also, but that God has a deep disdain for certain people.

I don’t know if I can state it more clearly than to state that God hates no one. The Bible does state that God hates sin in general and some sins more specifically, but nowhere does it state that God hates any human being. As a matter of fact it states that God loves all the same, that he can’t love us any more than He does and that He can’t love us any less than He does. I personally find these facts a great comfort. It truly is a cornerstone of the gospel message, but, in general, many people doubt God’s love and even hold to some form of a belief of His general displeasure with them as a human being. I struggle to come to grips with accepting this as a reality in our culture, but I probably shouldn’t be surprised that as a society we have become cynical about God’s love.

The Gospel message has socially been diminished as the Bible has predicted it would happen. It talks about the hearts of many growing weary and of a great dichotomy of spiritual belief as there will be two distinct groups, sheep and goats, I want this to make us more determined to be more clear than ever with the Gospel message and in sharing the true heart of God. God is love. It is His nature not just a part of who He is. It is His very essence and He does not hate anyone. God hates sin, not the sinner. So much so that He sent Jesus to die so that His love would not be kept away from any person. I think that we have to become just as diligent as the opposing view in stating how much God loves.