When God's Hand of Restraint is Lifted
By Jill Martin Rische
April 5, 2016
NOTE FROM JAN: Jill Martin Rische is my guest columnist today. She is the daughter of Dr. Walter Martin and is a part of Olive Tree Ministries. If you think the world is chaotic and upside down, could it be that God's Hand of restraint has been lifted from us? Everything including the 2016 election is filled with turmoil. I hope you enjoy Jill's thoughts.--Jan Markell
We have been living in the last days since Jesus walked the road to Calvary and rose, triumphant, from the tomb. When Nero torched Christians in his garden and Diocletian threw them to the wild animals, early Christians saw the power of evil. It must have felt as if the world could not get any darker, and yet, it did.
Centuries passed as millions suffered through war, slavery, and brutality. The world was always a vale of tears but the rise of technology and ruthless superpowers now dwarfs even those ancient nightmares. The 21st century takes us to uncharted territory:
Terrorists, lawless governments, and antichrists everywhere we turn.
The biblical family unit is under assault as never before with gay marriage, three biological parents -- even marriage to robots. The list is never-ending. Soviet dictator, Vladimir Lenin, once said,
"Destroy the family and you destroy the country." It is happening now.
It feels as if the world could not get any darker, but it will...
Our hope lies in the promise of Jesus. He will come back for us and we will leave this broken world behind. Until then, standing for our faith in the age of the Internet remains a very tricky business. The physical mission field of the Church has expanded into an electronic one -- right in the middle of our living rooms.
This is the good side of technology, and with it comes the bad. Sitting in our homes, we're wounded by hostility once reserved for door to door missionaries. Basic courtesy is a lost art. People are cruel to each other through machines linked together by electrical impulses, transmitted through fiber-optic cables, buried in the floor of the ocean.
It is surreal and sometimes scary to face the facts of modern culture, to confront computer enemies who completely drop the masks they hide behind at work, school, and church. We're called intolerant, bigoted, and hateful, simply because we disagree. Sometimes, it's another "Christian" doing the name-calling.
What is happening to our world?
God is withdrawing His hand of restraint...
We do not know the day or the hour, but we do know the time is short. What are the most important things in our lives? If we stood before the Lord tomorrow, would we feel ashamed? It is vital to assess our hearts -- to prioritize and strategize for the Kingdom of God -- and most of all, to pray.
The darker the world, the sooner the Lord will return. This is what drives us -- this desire to do his will, to reach those who need him, and to wait patiently for his return. "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil." (Eph 5:15-16)
How shall we live in the last days?
Jesus did not leave us as orphans in this very sad place --He taught us how to survive and thrive in the last days. His prayers point us to the power of speaking with God -- every day -- every hour.
"Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" should be our constant plea. His Holy Spirit comforts us and His parables give us a strategy for living. The five virgins took action and came prepared. Their lamps shone in the darkness.
They waited and never gave up.
Jesus built a high level of trust in a very dark world by seeing to the basic needs of those around him. He talked with people, fed them, grieved with them, and healed them.
When was the last time we spoke to our neighbors about the love of God?
When did we offer to help someone freely, with no expectation of any return? Sometimes small acts of kindness help heal the hearts of people going through painful things we know nothing about. It's called compassion, and Jesus lived it.
Today it is hard to feel connected in such an emotionally disconnected world but Jesus calls us constantly to action. We are told to
"Care for the widows and orphans." (James 1:27) We are reminded that faith without works is dead. (James 2:15-16)
Compassion is a noun and a verb...
It means to feel the pain of another human being and have a strong urge to do something about it. And yes, that applies to our enemies.
"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you." (Luke 6:27-28)
Sharing our faith does not include anger. We cannot dissect someone verbally because they're rude or we disagree with them.
There is no license to slam another believer, simply because our theology differs. The time is short. A crazy world needs sanity -- we must be calm and compassionate.
In the Hebrew and Greek, compassion means to have mercy, to feel sympathy, to empathize with others. God is described in Psalm 86:15 as "
merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness." What better pattern of living could there be?
Jesus set the world on fire...
He touched a match to the dry hearts of men and they became consumed with passion to the point of sacrificing everything in their lives to serve him.
The world is caught up in a delusion that only grows stronger by the day. They don't need God, they don't want him, and they will make us pay for serving him.
But the good news is that God can still use us to set the world on fire -- just as Jesus did -- if we renew our hearts and minds in him.
The great evangelist, Hyman Appelman, once said,
"My purpose is -- my prayer is -- that GOD will use me as a man uses a match to strike fire to the heaped-up wood that you already have in your souls. GOD grant that a conflagration might start and spread wherever you go in this nation and to the ends of the earth."
Support our ministry here.
Learn of our radio outreach on over 800 radio stations across North America. Find a listing
We had almost 7,000 attendees over two days at "Understanding the Times 2015" in October.
Find information on our 2016 event here.
Our speakers include Anne Graham Lotz, Dr. Mark Hitchcock, Amir Tsarfati and Bill Koenig.
Look for this RSS symbol, enter your e-mail, and have them in your in-box by 10 a.m. CST.
NOTE: We surf the Internet and post current headlines each morning. Find them
We read all e-mails but due to volume, we cannot reply to all.
UNDERSTANDING THE TIMES RADIO
Find complete syndication for "Understanding the Times" radio on 800 radio outlets here. They include American Family Radio Talk Network, American Family Radio Inspiration Network, CSN Network, HOPE-FM Network, Bott Radio Network, The Psalm FM Network, Sirius Satellite Network, The Word FM, Salem Communications, OnePlace.com, and individual radio stations. We are live Saturdays, 9 a.m. CST out of Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN. You can listen live here or here.
You can download onto a listening device here. You can just listen online here or here.
Find the RSS feed at OnePlace.com or iTunes.
Find upcoming guests here.
Find info on listening devices such as iPhone, Android, iPad here.
Awaiting His return,
You may pass on these items or have people sign up on our Web site. You can access our radio programming from the last five years on Complete Archives. Also see the Web site for other options to catch the program, "Understanding the Times."
Please report e-mail address changes.
Also, we truly appreciate those who remember us prayerfully and financially. Donate on our Web site (gifts are tax-deductible with receipts sent out in January).
Olive Tree Ministries, Inc.
Maple Grove, MN 55311-6452
763-559-4444 or 763-210-8291