The Best of Times and The Worst of Times

The Best of Times and The Worst of Times
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We stand at a crossroads in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />America today.  Our nation stands at the precipice of cultural and moral disintegration.  We are an anomalous nation.  Not even the Greek and Roman's with all their perversity attempted to redefine the family.  The biblical and foundational roles of man and woman which have spanned 6,000 years of earth history have been redefined as we live in open rebellion against our Creator.  Roughly, seventy percent of women bear the double curse of both child-bearing and working by the sweat of their brow.   4,000 babies are being aborted each day as we have killed over 4o million children since Roe v. Wade.  We live in the worst of times and we live in the best of times.  Every generation has its glory.  When the Pilgrims and Puritans came to America they knew they were but stepping stones and that they were building a legacy where they could raise up generations of families which would live for the Glory of God.  There was glory for them in building the foundation and building the wall.
There is glory too in rebuilding the wall.  We are indeed at a time much like the generation in which Nehemiah lived.  We are rebuilding the wall with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other as the culture becomes more and more hostile to Christendom.  It is a glorious time to live in this best of times, worst of times age.  Sept. 11, 2001 for a brief moment brought our nation to our knees, and we turned to God seeking answers.  Amongst the tragedy was heroism where the spirit of Feminism was dealt a death blow when brave firefighters rushed into the burning towers knowing they may not come out alive.  As our nation was crying out for leadership and heroism, Todd Beamer exemplified the time honored principle of women and children first as he said the Lord's Prayer, and "Let's Roll," Trusting in his God, he looked fear in the face and sacrificed his life to prevent perhaps greater tragedy. 
Now Hurricane Katrina has brought many stories of heroic efforts and moral courage, but a darker side of our nation was revealed.  No longer were the principles of women and children first displayed, as we saw a Darwinian ethic manifest itself in looting, savagery, self-defiant thuggery, and brutality.  This "survival of the fittest" mentality was exemplified as gangs of thieves sought to shoot at rescuers and use the occasion to loot and commit unspeakable acts against innocent people.  This is the worst of times.
This is the best of times as many in the church have risen up to minister to the needs of the people.  Unlike FEMA, and homeland security, the Church is able to provide living water to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, by sharing the gospel, and demonstrating the Love of Jesus Christ in action, and words.  What a profound opportunity for the Church to be the Church?
It is debatable whether God was punishing New Orleans' sin or not.  The truth is God still judges nations corporately for sin that is tolerated within its borders.  Jesus was not born again into a nice guy who never punishes wickedness when the Old Testament became the New Testament. 
An appropriate New Testament verse that we can be confident applies to recent events is Luke 13:4-5 where people questioned Jesus about those killed in an accident in a tower wondering if they were worse sinners, "Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?  I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
Were the people in New Orleans worse sinners with their drunken debauchery, voodoo, Southern Decadence Parades, Mardi Gras, and Girls Gone Wild Video's?  I tell you, Nay but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Is their hope for America?  Can the Lord Send Revival to our nation? The last verse in the Old Testament offers a prescription for what is ailing our nation.  "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." (Malachi 4:5-6)
There is no quick fix for America.  We must be like the young Josiah who discovered the Old Book of the Law, and tear our clothes and begin to preach the whole counsel of God.  We have to go back to the Bible.  In American History, the Great Awakening prepared the minds and hearts of our forefathers for the War of Independence. They sat under the preaching of men like Samuel Davies, and Jonathan Edwards.  We are in need of Patriot Pastors who can speak to the issues of the day.  We must start preaching sin and repentance, not Christian Humanism or relying on theatrics.
It will also take fathers in families all around the nation turning their hearts towards their wives and children; Laying down their lives for their wives and fighting for the hearts of their children to prepare them to be warriors for Christ.  We cannot be satisfied if our children get to their 18th birthday without getting pregnant, being addicted to drugs or having a body piercing.  Fathers need to start being obedient to the walk along talk along discipleship found in Deuteronomy 6, or the culture will steal our children's heart.  What good is it to gain the whole world but to lose our children? 
We can be so much more.  We must begin to see how our actions impact future generations.  For where there is no vision the people perish.  Similarly where there is no vision the family perishes.  In this best of times and worst of times era let us be like the Sons of Issachar who understood the times and knew what Israel should do;  Even if we are but stepping stones.
"And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in." Isaiah 58:12
Nicholas A. Jackson
Nick is Executive Director of Reform America, a non-profit Christian organization based in Columbus, OH. In addition, he spends time as a free-lance writer articulating the Christian viewpoint into our culture.
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