We are in a growing crisis. As I write this, I feel overwhelmed and stressed out like most when I listen to the news or social media rants. I try to avoid them, but even the small glimpses I catch are too much. It doesn't matter what side you fall on politically; there is enough to be angry about. As Christians, we are not exempt from this crisis. Nor do we necessarily all agree on the interpretation of events. How do we respond to, or even understand, the times?
Those who know me, and follow my blog, know that I am a fan of Mike Bickle and the International House of Prayer. As a result, you will not be surprised that I was anxious to read his latest best, "God's Answer to the Growing Crisis: A Bold Call to Action in the End Times." The book did not disappoint! Over the last year, I have caught a number of talks where Mike addressed some of the things going on in the country today, and the world. I found his perspective to be insightful, Biblical, and surprisingly, encouraging and hopeful.
I need a paradigm to approach the times we live in. This is especially true when every day the media attempts to provoke us, and in one way or another angers us. As Christ follower, I welcome a Biblical perspective. Certainly, there is plenty of opportunity for prayer!
Bickle's book starts off defining the crisis. He reviews things that have been going on long before the last presidential election. Sobering stuff, especially for Bible believing Christians. While you might find the political environment unfriendly, but for Christians, it is especially so. Some were glad to have a President and VP who were men of faith, all that really did was draw the spiritual battle lines deeper. The President acknowledges God, and the "other side" has fits. Even some Christians question what "flavor" of the faith was going to be represented. We do not have a paradigm for people of faith being open about their faith -- especially in government. Indeed, as Christians stop being silent or stop apologizing for their faith, the opposition will get stronger. We should not be surprised. Jesus warned us that would happen.
““Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10–12)
““But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name.” (Luke 21:12)
“Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:20)
We are reviled for choosing the life of the unborn, or for our support of Israel. We are accused of being narrow minded and bigoted for believing in Biblical morality, or even having a Biblical world view. It is not that we should try to make this a "Christian nation." Such a thing is impossible. Nations cannot be "Christian" -- only people can. However, by making a stand for God, we offend those who do not believe in God, or wish he would fade into the distant pages of history. It is too much to suggest He might actually have an opinion about how people live their lives. (Yet, in our denial of God, people often nonetheless blame him when things go bad.
As Mike has often said, in the end times, the light will get lighter, and the darkness will get darker. The two activities will coexist. The light will get lighter part is what gives hope and encouragement. Also, the fact that our prayers can make a difference in how things play out. God's people may be praying more now, but there are also people trying to cast spells and curses on our leaders, too.
In short, Bickle says the Psalm 2 crisis, leads to a Joel 2 response, which leads to an Acts 2 outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The crisis is defined in Psalm 2, along with God's response. This in itself is encouraging -- i.e. to see God's response! While an individual response is suggested at the end of Psalm 2, Bickle advocates the corporate response described in Joel 2. The corporate response of the Body of Christ is key to the Acts 2 outpouring. You can read Acts 2 to find out what happens next! While this summarizes the main points of the book, you have to read the book to get the full exposition and commentary, which will help you to fully engage what he is teaching, putting it into practice.
At the end, he explores what Jesus said about the end times, giving us the following warning.
““Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”” (Luke 21:34–36)
I'll let Mike unpack that for you, if you buy the book and read it!
Regardless of how soon Jesus will return, this book provides time proven guidance for times such as these. The book? Definitely recommended!