“Sure, there are poor people overseas, but we have poor people right here in America. It’s more important that we help them first.”
“I want to live in the United States, where even the poor people are fat!” –Indian laborer
“The poor you will always have with you.” –Jesus
It’s common knowledge that we have poor people here in America. There are families without homes, elderly retirees having to choose between buy food or filling a prescription, and children going to bed hungry.
But just how many families are homeless? How common is it for senior citizens to be unable to afford their medications? What percentage of children lack enough food to eat? How big a problem do we have, and how does it compare with the rest of the world?
Sunday, November 9, is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. In fact, the entire month of November has been set aside as a time to remember and pray for our suffering brothers and sisters around the world. Therefore, I’m focusing on persecution this month.
We’ve all read stories about Christians in the U.S. being disrespected, Christian values being mocked, and Christian “rights” being denied. Currently, a couple of Idaho pastors are facing fines and jail time for their unwillingness to marry gay couples. The city of Houston wants to censor sermons. And in California, all health plans, including those purchased by churches for their employees, must now cover abortion.
Have you read The Harbinger yet? I just finished this book, and I’m reeling.
Since its publication in January, 2012, friend after friend has been urging me to read The Harbinger, and it’s still setting records on numerous best-seller lists. I finally got my hands on a copy (there was a substantial waiting list at the library)—and read it in one sitting. Yes, it’s one of those books you cannot put down.
Although related as a fictional story, that’s really just window dressing. Author Jonathan Cahn takes a passage from Isaiah—focusing on Isaiah 9:10—and interprets it in light of the events of the past ten years. He relates Isaiah’s warning to Israel to America: the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington, statements made by prominent politicians (including President Obama), and the subsequent economic meltdown. The details are astonishing.
How many miracles have you seen lately? Most American Christians seem to think miracles are exceedingly rare. Perhaps you know someone who has been healed, but it happened years ago. Or maybe you don’t think God does miracles in this day and age.
Our missions pastor said something recently that really bothered me. He encouraged our Sunday School class to go on a short-term mission trip because it would give them an opportunity to see God do miracles. That’s right—raise $3,000, travel halfway around the world, and maybe you’ll get to see God do something amazing.