Welcome to 2021! - Bob Hines
Bob reflects on the beginning of a new year, ultimately reminding us that God is in control.
A new year already
It's nearly the end of February, 2021! What happened to Christmas and the New Year? If I am honest 2020 seemed to pass like a whirlwind!
The past year was so full of traumatic events, both locally and around the world, that one could be forgiven for wanting to forget that 2020 ever happened!
But looking back it was not all bad. New Zealanders showed the world just how a community working together with love and concern for their fellow citizens could beat even a mutating virus!
As we move into a new year it is tempting to believe that this year will see a world returning to normal – whatever that might be!
But I am not sure we are going to see that happen!
Chaos in America
As we watch world politics and the rising tensions between world powers I hold out little hope for a peaceful 2021. The events that have occurred in America – the bastion of democracy and the home of the free – have left many of us in awe at the potential collapse of the country that most of us grew up heralding as the epitome of freedom.
As we have watched their politics descending into chaos it would be easy to blame their political leaders for the current situation. But is it that cut and dried? I think not!
The deterioration of America from within, I believe, has been a gradual process over decades as they became a people more often concerned with their own rights than those of their neighbours. Nobody can tell me what to do, they say, even as many of them refuse to isolate or wear masks to protect themselves and others.
What a contrast to the community spirit exhibited in New Zealand!
So what has caused this collapse of American society?
Well, it might be simplifying the issue but much study leads me to the belief that underlying the deterioration of their society has been the gradual decline of their Christian values. Something which their society was built upon by the Pilgrim Fathers!
I read a quote recently which made a lot of sense to me – and I paraphrase it…
“Democracy can only work in a society that believes in God and the laws of God! Such a belief tends to instill in citizens a desire to obey God's rules (10 commandments) and as a result, they also exhibit a desire to obey their elected leaders (allowed to rule by God's appointment) and thus the laws that those leaders proclaim. A deterioration of belief in God results in a society that becomes more and more self-centred as they ignore God's laws and subsequently their leader's laws and as a result democracy falters.”
Over the past decades, every poll taken in America has shown an increasingly fast decline in the number of Americans who express a belief in God. Even many who do profess a Christian belief have little or no church affiliation and little or no understanding of the Biblical principles of living a God-fearing life.
This is even more evident in the younger generations who often have no idea at all of the basic tenant of The Bible which is to love others as you would have them love you!
But it is not just America! As we look around the world we see countries that were once regarded as Christian and who in the past enjoyed the bounty of freedom and democracy now deteriorating into self-centredness and internal dissension. “A house (people) divided against itself cannot stand!”
Is New Zealand immune from this trend?
I pray so but in my heart I doubt it!
As we start this New Year the world would seem to be in worse condition than it was at the start of 2020. Not only are we fighting a pandemic but in just the first weeks of 2021, we are seeing the war drums being beaten as world powers jockey for position as they rejoice and watch a weakened America fight its own internal battles.
Will the western world's policemen (America) continue to protect the freedoms the western world enjoys?
Where is God?
So where is God in all this you might ask?
Without a doubt, He is still very much in control!
I believe (after 45 years of study) that we could very well be in the last of the last days before the return of Christ! Nobody knows the date of Christ's return – even Jesus himself – but we are given many signs to look for that should make us aware of the imminence of His return.
Whether that might mean today, next month, next year, or ten years from now it is still an imminent event!
Sadly my study of God’s Word also leads me to believe that in those last days we will witness a falling away of people from the faith. Can anybody argue that we are not seeing that happen before our eyes?
Governments and liberal groups are seeking to restrain our ability to proclaim Jesus as the only way to God. There is also a growing desire to see churches income taxed and our status as a charitable organisation removed.
But fear not! The remnant of God's people will grow stronger under the power of the Holy Spirit!
I know what side I and my loved ones are on and we are excited as we look heavenward for the sound of the trumpets heralding Christ's return! Amen!
Bob Hines is a Windsor Park Baptist Church legend!
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