2017: Disaster and Hope

my-redeemer

But I know my living Redeemer,
and He will stand on the dust at last.
Even after my skin has been destroyed,
yet I will see God in my flesh.
I will see Him myself;
my eyes will look at Him, and not as a stranger.
My heart longs within me.

(Job 19:23–29)

The Book of Job explores the question of why the righteous suffer. Job was a wealthy landowner who lived during the time of the patriarchs, approximately 2100 to 1900 BC. His story of suffering reflects the human condition. In the midst of his agony, he prophesied his redemption to his friends.

Job_and_his_friends

As Christians, we are appalled by the suffering around us. 2017 was a year of immense global suffering:

2017 — a year of disaster / CNBC, December 26, 2017

2017 was a devastating year with natural disasters such as catastrophic floods, wildfires and earthquakes affecting millions across the globe. Sigma recently estimated that disasters this year caused an estimated $306 billion in total economic losses. Global insured losses made it the third-most expensive year for the insurance industry.

Hurricane-Harvey-2

Harvey to be costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, estimated cost of $160 billion

 

<> on August 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas.

“Unprecedented” Hurricane Harvey Is “One Of The Worst Disasters In US History”

 

solar-flar

The Sun’s Monster X9.3 Solar Flare of Sept. 6, 2017, the most powerful in more than a decade.

 

irma-traffic

‘Catastrophic’ Irma barrels toward Florida, 5.6 million people ordered to evacuate

 

MEX+QUAKE

8.1 earthquake, strongest in a century, rocks Mexico

 

Yellowstone Supervolcano

Yellowstone Supervolcano Earthquake Swarm Now One of Biggest on Record, With Over 2,300 Tremors

 

82 wildfires were burning in the United States

82 wildfires burning in the United States

 

irma

“September has been an apocalyptic month of natural disaster going out of control so far around the world.”

“Irma becomes most powerful hurricane ever recorded in Atlantic.”

“September 2017 Was the Most Active Month on Record for Atlantic Hurricanes.”

“The wildfires are so intense in Western US and Canada that smoke drifted all the way to Europe.”

82 wildfires were burning in the United States

“September 2017 will turn out to be the most catastrophic month in recent history with 4 category 5 hurricanes in the Atlantic, two tropical cyclones hitting China and Japan, devastating floods in India and Bangladesh with all the above resulting in more than 50 million people being evacuated. Add to that a mag 8.1, the biggest earthquake this year and a devastating mag 7.1 both in Mexico. We also had 4 massive X-class flares, the biggest, an X9.3 being one of the biggest ever recorded. Now the volcanoes are getting in on the act, all around the world reports of tremors, volcano activity, ash and steam clouds escaping as they become restless.”

popocatepetl-volcano-eruption

“Bali volcano eruption to cause global temperature drop.”

“More than 130,000 flee menacing Bali volcano.”

“Italy prepares a plan to evacuate and save 700,000 people from a Vesuvius mega eruption.”

“Mexico suffers volcano eruption same day as deadly quake.”

“Yellowstone Supervolcano Earthquake Swarm Now One of Biggest on Record, With Over 2,300 Tremors.”

“Volcanic unrest: Eruptions at Fuego volcano (Guatemala), Turrialba (Costa Rica) and Agung volcano (Bali), Ambae and Lopevi volcanoes in Vanuatu on high alert.”

“Costa Rican colossus Turrialba Volcano erupts and spews gas and ash 4,140 meters above the sea level as another volcano gets in on the act.”

Turrialba

 

The global politics became darker and more prophetic in 2017:

russia gog magog

Putin positions himself as Middle East broker as US retreats / The Times of Israel, November 3, 2017

BEIRUT (AP) — After watching for years as the United States called the shots in the region, Russian President Vladimir Putin is seizing the reins of diplomacy in the Middle East, establishing footholds and striking alliances with unlikely partners.

From the battlefields of Syria to its burgeoning relationships with Iran and Turkey to its deepening ties with Saudi Arabia, Russia is stepping in to fill a void left by the United States first under the Obama administration and now in the vastly inconsistent and largely hands-off policies of Donald Trump.

Russia Iran

IRAN ‘ENDANGERS NOT ONLY ISRAEL BUT ENTIRE MIDDLE EAST’ / Times of Israel , November 5, 2017

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday warned that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s resignation should be a “wake-up call” to the international community to the threat posed by Iran’s regional ambitions, which he said endanger not only Israel but the entire Middle East.

“Iran has a grip on the fate of the region’s countries… Hezbollah is Iran’s arm not just in Lebanon but in other Arab countries too,” he said. “In recent years, Hezbollah has used the power of its weapons to impose a fait accompli.”

“Iran is devouring one nation after the other,” Netanyahu said Friday at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs think-tank in London.

“It is doing so either by direct conquest or by using proxy. They took over Lebanon, Yemen… they try to do the same thing with Iraq, in Syria.

“They want to leave their army, their airbases and fighter aircraft within seconds of Israel and we are not going to let that happen. We do not say that lightly. We mean what we say and we back it with action.”

Netanyahu said the Middle East was witnessing “the emergence of a battle between the Islamists and the modernists,” provoking a “new alliance between Israel and Islamic states.”

Netanyahu is in Britain for events marking the centenary of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the British statement which helped lead to the creation of the state of Israel.

hezbollah

 

Iran threatens to hit Saudi

Iran and Gulf nations prepare for war. Sudden reshuffle in Iran’s top army, naval commands / Debka, November 6, 2017

NEW ALLIES: ISRAEL AND SAUDI ARABIA? / Jerusalem Post, November 6, 2017

Iran threatens to hit Saudi, Abu Dhabi and Dubai air and sea ports, ships more missiles to Yemeni Houthis / Debka, November 8, 2017

Netanyahu: Israel Working to Reach Peace With Arab Nations That Stand Against Radical Islam / Haaretz, November 8, 2017

Saudi Arabia has united with Israel

Taking Saudis’ side, Egypt warns Iran against regional ‘meddling’ / The Times of Israel, November 9, 2017

Saudi Arabia accuses Iran, Lebanon of acts of ‘war’ / Al-Monitor, November 11, 2017

Saudi Arabia has united with Israel against Iran – and a desert storm is brewing / The Spectator, November 11, 2017

Israel’s leadership talks up another war with Hezbollah in Lebanon / The Guardian, November 11, 2017

Israel - Hezbollah

Israel’s political and military leadership appears to have concluded that a conflict with Lebanon’s Hezbollah is becoming increasingly likely, despite months of growing warnings that a third Lebanese war would be more dangerous and deadly than the last war in 2006.

Since the war in 2006 Hezbollah has emerged as the most capable and resilient non-state military actor, with 20,000 full-time and highly trained fighters, 25,000 reservists and upwards of 100,000 missiles, according to estimates.

Recent large-scale Israeli war games suggest too that any conflict could play out in an entirely different way to the last war, with 1,500-2,000 rockets being fired per day and even efforts to infiltrate Israeli communities by fighters crossing the border.

Then there is the wider question of whether a limited war could be contained without bringing in other actors.

Writing in Foreign Affairs in October, Dmitry Adamsky, who teaches diplomacy and strategy at the Interdisciplinary Centre in Herzliya, asked a question long festering in the background.

“Israeli strategists do not question the likelihood of a war with Hezbollah,” wrote Adamsky. “But they wonder how Russia, which is a comrade-in-arms with Iran and Hezbollah in Syria, would respond to such a conflict.”

 

reject Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Arabs, Europe, U.N. reject Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital/ Reuters, December 6, 2017

Turkey Jerusalem Islamic Summit

Abbas says Trump’s Jerusalem decision ends historic US role as peace broker / The Times of Israel, December 6, 2017

us-decision-aims-to-punish-palestinians

US decision aims to punish Palestinians seeking peace, Erdoğan says during OIC summit / DAILY SABAH, December 13, 2017

Erdogan says US can no longer be a mediator

Turkey’s Erdogan says U.S. can no longer be a mediator between Israel and Palestinians / Reuters, December 13, 2017

“We need to discuss who will be a mediator from now on. This needs to be tackled in the UN too,” Erdogan said.

Hamas-30-years

At 30th anniversary rally, Hamas vows to force US reversal on Jerusalem / The Times of Israel, December 14, 2017

Terror group’s leader calls for weekly protests across the region until Trump retracts his declaration recognizing Israel’s capital.

 

Unfortunately, 2018 does not look much better.

Where is our hope? 

What is a Christian to do?

turning-point-stick

As I was walking my dog one day, I came across this discarded stick on my path. It was a surveying stick. In surveying, it indicates a point to which a foresight and a backsight are taken in leveling. It is a change point.

It was as if the Lord was telling me that my life had reached a “turning point”. I then created a covenant with the Lord, and from that time on my life began changing for the better. This was the covenant:

my-covenant

I encourage you to make your own covenant with the Lord, or use this one. Place it where you will see it every day.

I would like to share with you my personal journey with the Lord. I use this as a guide for my chair time with the Lord every day.

This prayer guide will assist you in attaining fellowship and intimacy with God. Use this daily to experience his love, his provision, and his plan for your life. Connect with God and you will get everything you need – and live forever!

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)

Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:16-18)

trinity
This prayer guide is based upon four Christian principles:

  • God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
  • All of us sin and our sin has separated us from God.
  • Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for our sin. Through him we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our life.
  • We must individually accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

We believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, was God incarnated into human flesh by the Holy Spirit, was sinless, walked on this earth for 33 years, and died on a cross for our sins. We believe that he arose from the dead on the third day, and then ascended to sit in heaven at the right hand of God the Father, where he is today.

This guide is for Christians, and if you are not sure that you are, you can accept Christ into your life right now, by praying something like this:

“Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins.  Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life.  I ask you in to my life and heart to be my Lord and Savior.”

My goal in prayer is to go directly into the heart of God, to be in his presence, to achieve daily intimacy. First, I worship the Holy Trinity – my Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ my Savior, and the Holy Spirit my Helper.

god-father

“Praise to You, Heavenly Father! You spoke the Universe into being. You stretched out the heavens – the trillions of galaxies. You formed the foundation of the Earth, while the angels shouted for joy. You created us in Your own image and Your own likeness. When we fell, and turned away from You in rebellion and idolatry, You sent your own Son to save us. I praise and worship you, Father God, Jehovah, My Lord. You are Almighty God, Father of Lights, the Ancient of Days. You have known me since the foundations of the World. You know my thoughts, feelings and my heart’s desire. Your promises, Abba Father, never fail. You never change. You are the All Sufficient One. You are the Self Existent One. You are the I AM! I praise and worship you, Heavenly Father!”

jesus-messiah

Praise to You, Jesus Messiah! You gave yourself willingly on the cross for my sins, and covered me by Your blood. You saved me from death, hell, and the lake of fire. You are my Savior, my Lord, and my Master. You are my Faithful Intercessor before the Father. You are the Anointed One, the Lord of Lords, and the King of Kings. You are the I AM! I praise and worship you, Jesus Messiah!

holy-spirit-a

Praise to You, Holy Spirit, my Helper and Comforter! You have sealed me for the day of Rapture. You are my Counselor, and the Spirit of truth. You are the All Powerful Spirit of the Living God. You are my teacher, opening the Word of God to me. You are my Wisdom, directing me in every decision I ask. You are Mighty and train me in the Fear of the Lord. You are the I AM! I praise and worship you, Holy Spirit my Helper!

sealed-in-the-spirit

I declare that I am made in the Father’s image, I am covered by the blood of Your Son, so that nothing separates me from You, and I have Your Holy Spirit in me. So You hear my prayers, and Your answers in Jesus Messiah are “Yes and Amen!”

Now I pray Your shield of faith, hedge of protection, and wall of safety, You blood, Holy Spirit, and peace over me and my family, my home, my neighborhood, my Church, and the cities that You called me to hold up to You:

Jerusalem (Israel); Tokyo (Japan); Shanghai (China); Dhaka (Bangladesh); Delhi (India); Sao Paulo (Brazil); Mexico City (Mexico); and New York-Newark (US). I ask You for a world-wide revival that leads to a global harvest.

7-cities

Lord, I bring my requests before your throne, and…

I ask you, Father, in Jesus’ name:

Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:23-24)

I ask, believing that I have received the answer to my request: 

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.  (Mark 11:24)

I ask for things that please you: 

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. (1 John 5:14-15)

I ask while obeying your commands: 

And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.   (1 John 3:22)

I ask that the Son may bring glory to the Father: 

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:13-14)

I ask, while remaining in Jesus:  

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. (John 15:7)

I ask, because you care for me: 

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7)

I ask, because you will meet all my needs: 

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

I ask, while confessing and repenting of my sin:

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear. (Psalm 66:18)

I ask, while forgiving all others who have sinned against me:

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (Matthew 6:12)

I ask, while offering a sacrifice of praise: 

Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. (Hebrews 13:15)

sacrifice-of-praise

This is the true hope – our position in Christ!

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One thought on “2017: Disaster and Hope

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