GAY MARRIAGE HAS GIVEN OUR SOCIETY LITTLE TO CELEBRATE

Great article in The Australian Saturday 19th November 2022 by Angela Shanahan

COLUMNIST: Angela Shanahan is a Canberra-based freelance journalist and mother of nine children. She has written regularly for The Australian for over 20 years.

This week marked the fifth anniversary of Australia supporting same-sex marriage in a postal vote. Now we are being reassured by same-sex marriage advocates that “society has not fallen apart”.

Think again. If the punitive ­coercion suffered by people who did not support gay marriage ­during the period preceding the vote didn’t convince you that this was not just about marriage, but about the gradual imposition of a radical agenda on the whole of ­society, then look what has happened since.

If the dissolution of society as we know it was an exaggeration, a furious expression of frustrated Christians angry at seeing the social verities of the past falling away, people might start looking at their local school and see what sorts of things are being taught to their children. The notion that our sexual identity is fluid and not fixed is now accepted in most government schools, and challenging that view is impossible.

It has already been raised as a problem if a religious anti-discrimination bill is ever passed, and activists are now fixated on making it harder to challenge the trans agenda even in private and systemic Catholic schools. In Canada, despite assurances and a preamble to the law, Catholic schools are having a very difficult time teaching Catholic precepts on marriage and sexuality, and in the US many individuals and groups are being punished for what amounts to thought crime, prompting a conservative backlash.

The real problem with the Marriage Equality fight was the fight itself. It was never a civilised discussion in a civilised environment. It was bare-knuckle and nasty from the Yes side, from daubing vile slogans on church walls to ridiculing and denouncing people on social media. I know, I went through it. And it goes on.

It has spread beyond marriage, to the trans agenda. I recently wrote a column about a woman who started an app for women and girls called Giggle. This woman was threatened with a human rights action over the very nature of the people for whom her app was intended, women, by a transsexual person who thought they should not be discriminated against because they identified as a woman. These are the two great mantras of the new society” “Discrimination” and “Identity”. It will only get worse.

Go back to the case of Israel Folau. Freedom of expression was not available to Folau who as a believing Mormon did not support same-sex marriage. Not only did he lose his job as Australia’s star rugby player but other players who supported him and did not support SSM were told not to say anything. Meanwhile, those who supported the Yes vote were allowed to speak out. Rugby Australia undermined their freedom of expression about conscientiously held views, becoming, in effect, the arbiters of their conscience.

An even graver case was Archbishop Julian Porteous who, as a preliminary salvo to the same-sex marriage vote, was dragged before the Human Rights board in Tasmania for disseminating a booklet outlining Catholic teaching on marriage to Catholic students. The complainant was not protesting about the church’s ban on remarriage after divorce or any of the teachings about marriage and fertility tied to the vows which married Catholics must make. No, this was an opener in the battle for same-sex marriage. The agenda of the Equality movement was not about equality at all: it was about trying to muzzle the view that the family, based on a generative relationship, is the bedrock of society which has been common to all societies of all religious persuasions since time immemorial.

Meanwhile, the trans agenda has inserted itself into the centre of right think. Who says society as we know it hasn’t declined?

Consequently, the number of cases of well-meaning ordinary people being denounced on social media, or to the human rights apparatuses and even pushed out of positions for stating quite ordinary views on marriage, the family, and sexual identity is increasing, and freedom of expression – and particularly of religious expression – is being undermined.

Andrew Thorburn is an ordinary man who happened to be at a church nine years before when his minister expressed moral views not in line with the Equality mantra. Thorburn is chair of the City on a Hill Church, which Essendon football club pronounced has views in “direct contradiction to our values as a club”. So, a football club, assuming a prior moral authority to the church, forced his resignation as the club’s CEO.

Not surprisingly, it was this case that awakened the general public to the danger that now awaits anyone. Not only could someone dig up a sermon a pastor gave nine years before and still hold you to account, but how long before, Torquemada-like, you are taken to the inquisitors of the board of the company for which you work, or the school where you teach, or any governing body?

It is well known that in most echelons of the public service various topics of conversation, especially those dealing with sex and family issues, are off the table. The endorsement of Thorburn’s removal by the AFL and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews highlights the frightening seriousness of this. It has made a mockery of the idea that we have equality of expression, and that the real fault line is freedom of religion.

THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS NO LONGER FEAR GOD

A new study released by the Southern Baptist Convention-affiliated Lifeway Research titled the “State of Theology, found that 60% of U.S. adults believe that religious beliefs are “a matter of personal opinion” and “not about objective truth.”

Scott McConnell, the executive director of Lifeway Research, said in a statement released Monday that he believed the COVID-19 pandemic played a factor in the findings. 

“Religious identity, beliefs, and behavior are interrelated,” said McConnell. “When in-person church attendance behaviors were interrupted and habits were broken, it affected some Americans’ beliefs about the need to gather with other believers to worship.”

“Many Americans think about God as if He had only revealed Himself in a vague, nondescript way. They seem to fill in the gaps with whatever they want to believe,” McConnell stated.

“This creates sharp contrasts between what Americans believe about God and how He revealed himself in great detail in the Bible.”

“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them… For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.” Matthew 24:3,7-10

It is interesting that the study revealed that a little over half of U.S. adults (53%) still say sex outside of traditional marriage is a sin, in contrast to 42% who disagree. In fact, it marks an increase in Americans who see non-marital sex as sinful compared to 2016 when 49% said it was sinful which is a hopeful sign.

The study reported that 46% of Americans believe that the Bible’s condemnation of homosexual behavior is not relevant today, while 42% believe that it is still relevant. 

“Discussions of sin are inherently theological because they explore whether God set standards and what behaviors miss this mark,” McConnell noted. 

“So, those who acknowledge certain behaviors as sin are acknowledging a deity’s standards. This is a different discussion than whether society agrees on an ethical standard of conduct that we determine.”

Just as God’s nation Israel fell away from understanding God as Creator and the one whom they should fear. America a nation founded on knowing and fearing God likewise is falling away fast and opening the nation up to God’s judgment and ultimate wrath.

Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.Deuteronomy 10:14

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?Deuteronomy 12:11-13

Jesus told us beforehand that in the last days before His return that people would no longer believe He exists and to be feared, as a result, lawlessness will increase.

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:12-13

Will you be one of those that endure to the end and as a result be saved?

AS BIDEN ADMIN PUSHES GENDER CHANGES FOR KIDS, FDA WARNS OF BRAIN SWELLING FROM PUBERTY BLOCKERS

The following information reveals a nation that has totally rejected God’s truth, values, and commandments. The government of the most powerful country in the world is putting the lives of children at risk in support of transgenderism. Read what the US Assistant Secretary of Health, who happens to be a man who identifies as a transgender woman, says about giving children puberty blockers: “life-saving, medically necessary, age-appropriate, and a critical tool for health care providers.” This is in spite of the FDA warning of dangerous side effects.

Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) — a one-time Democratic presidential contender

At least, former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) — a one-time Democratic presidential contender — is rebuking the Biden administration for its support of puberty blockers for children. Gabbard’s comments come after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning against gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRH), known commonly as puberty blockers. Gabbard stated in a video posted Sunday to her Twitter account “Unfortunately, at almost the exact same time the FDA issued this warning, Biden-Harris administration officials were making public statements actively promoting the use of puberty blockers and irreversible surgeries for kids.”

The late-July FDA warning came on the heels of contradictory comments from U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, a man who identifies as a transgender woman. As well as saying, puberty blockers for children are “life-saving, medically necessary, age-appropriate, and a critical tool for health care providers, Levine added, “when it comes to making sure kids are healthy and happy, I know how important care that affirms someone’s true identity can be.

This transgender woman is the US Assistant Secretary of Health and a pediatrician so should be aware of the FDA’s warning of the immediate dangers of puberty blockers given to children, moreover, the long-term effects are totally unknown.

The FDA warning announced earlier this month about puberty blockers known as gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRH) stated that if injected into children could cause swelling of the brain, headache, blurred or loss of vision, tinnitus, dizziness, and nausea. The FDA said six cases were identified in young girls aged 5 to 12 years that had a plausible association between puberty blockers use and pseudotumor cerebri, which the Mayo Clinic identifies as the pressure inside the skull increasing for no obvious reason. The condition is also identified as idiopathic intracranial hypertension in which symptoms mimic a brain tumor. 

End times Biblical prophecies indicate that the lawlessness that we see playing out in our world is exactly what the world was like prior to God destroying all mankind with a worldwide flood. Peter warns us that in the “last days” scoffers will deliberately overlook the fact that “the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished“.

This is now the second letter that I (Peter) am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of a reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.2 Peter 3:1-7

DELIVERANCE OF MANKIND FROM SERVITUDE TO SIN AND THE TYRANNY OF SATAN

The rule of the God of this World, Satan is coming to an end. As we see the prophesied lawlessness abound in a world that has turned its back on God we know we are in the time Jesus spoke of as a sign of His second coming to earth first to rescue His Saints and then to pour out His wrath on the unrepentant.

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9

“”And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:12

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to himLet no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 3-4

Are you prepared for the coming tribulation that will precede Jesus second coming? Even more important are you doing what God has called you to do in these last days? The Holy Spirit will guide your steps if you ask Him. Be like Micah, do as God directs you by the power of the Holy Spirit.

But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.Micah 3:8

WHO DECIDES RIGHT AND WRONG?

The scourge of abortion is a form of idolatry. It has been considered a human right a woman has by virtue of choice. When humans decide to take life from the womb of a woman for the sake of convenience or personal right as a matter of liberty, they cross the divide between man and God and take to themselves the prerogative only God has—the authority to decide right and wrong. Man puts himself as God. That is idolatry, and for that, all nations, not only America, will suffer the judgment of God when it comes upon the Earth. 

Moreover, God has told us beforehand exactly how and when His wrath will be poured out on an unbelieving world.

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?2 Corinthians 6:14

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Matthew 24:6-13

And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.Matthew 24:22-25

During the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ on this earth in the not too distant future, abortion will be a mortal sin punished by death. Many in the world will object to God’s laws which is the reason why Jesus and the Saints need to rule with a rod of iron.

From His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron.Revelation 19:15

The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.Revelation 2:26-27

Just as Satan and one-third of the angels rebelled against God in heaven, many humans will rebel against Jesus and the Saint’s reign on this earth. We are told that when Satan is released from the Abyss at the end of Jesus’ Millennial reign he is still able to raise an enormous army to come against Jesus and the Saints.

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them.” Revelation 20:7-9

AA GROUP EXCLUDED OVER CHRISTIAN CONTENT IN MEETINGS

An Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) group has been separated from the organisation because it includes Christian content in its meetings. Leaders of the group which meets in a church in Yeovil were told that prayer and talking about Jesus made new members feel uncomfortable. It’s now been removed from the AA online directory following a vote by local bosses. Minutes from a meeting of the Somerset Intergroup, which oversees AA groups in the region, describe the church-held group as a “Christian based meeting, lovely meeting but not along AA guidelines”.Concerns were also raised over an announcement in one of the recovery group sessions that the only way to recovery is through Jesus. The Somerset Intergroup claimed that, while there was nothing wrong with discussions about Jesus, they didn’t belong in an AA meeting.

1971 Bill Wilson died. His last words to AA members were, “God bless you and Alcoholics Anonymous forever.

John Palmer, a leader of the group, said: “AA was founded by Christians to transform lives. Over the years I have seen Christianity marginalised from the organisation. It is sad to see, and I think AA is having less of an impact on people’s lives as a result. “Of course, you don’t have to be a Christian to be part of an AA group, but if you cannot say the Lord’s Prayer in a church without being treated like this, what are we coming to? “We were shocked when we found out about the action being taken against us, but we are determined to carry on.” Campaign group Christian Concern is now taking action to get the group reinstated within Alcoholics Anonymous. Chief executive Andrea Williams said: “The message of the gospel is of a saviour who came to bring hope to every one of us. The power of the gospel is what inspired the setting up of AA following the radical transformation alcoholics experienced after encountering Jesus Christ.

Is now saying the Lord’s Prayer in a church offensive and not appropriate? “It is sad, but not surprising in our world of cancel culture, to hear from this group that the gospel message is no longer appropriate for AA and must be kept ‘separate.’ “We call on the AA to reinstate this group to the online directory and to recognise the crucial role Christian faith plays in transforming lives.”

Source: Premier Christian News

Separating and punishing Christians so that they cannot attract new members for sharing the gospel message of hope is disturbing and ludicrous but Biblical prophecy tells us that this is just one of the signs we are approaching the end of this age. Jesus soon coming return is in view and we need to be prepared for the increasing tribulation that God allows Christians to experience to refine His church.

 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:9-13

SIN IS LAWLESSNESS

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.1 John 3:4

For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.Romans 8:7-8

We have a generation that has been taught in schools and universities that God does not exist. They are taught evolution and billions of years explains the existence of this universe. To them the Bible is just a book of fables. As people cancel God and His perfect divine guidance from their lives they are constrained to decide for themselves what is right and wrong. The outcome is described in God’s word.

there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25

Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.1 John 3:8

The traditional American family is in shambles and most western nations’ families are headed the same way. In the U.S. forty-three percent of babies are born to unwed mothers. Along with the wreckage of the family, the US is seeing record levels of depression, mental illness, soaring suicide rates, an increase in senseless violence, and a deadly drug epidemic. And yet the demonically driven militants press on with even greater zeal. The devil’s venomous strategy to deceive and damage humanity worked from the beginning. Satan cancelled God in the eyes of Eve – insinuating the One who instructed Adam and Eve about what was good and evil was actually a liar (Genesis 3:1-5). Adam in clear disobedience to God went along with it. Satan the master manipulator continues to bring horrendous evil on humanity.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.Ephesians 2:1-3

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.Ephesians 2:11-12

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.1 Peter 5:8-9

Fortunately, Jesus told us in advance that tribulation would be intense for Christians in the last days prior to His return. He alone can deal with Satan, his minions, and the unrepentant and restore righteousness to the world.

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, those days will be cut short.Matthew 24:21-22

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:29-31

LAWLESSNESS WILL INCREASE IN THE END TIMES

Jeff Younger is a father who lost custody of his trans-identified biological son after objecting to his ex-wife’s efforts to transition him from male to female. 

Jeff Younger with his son

Younger is running as a Republican for the Texas House of Representatives. As a political candidate, Younger wants the state legislature to “outlaw sex-change surgeries on children” and criticizes the legislature for failing to do so in the last two sessions.

He spoke before a crowd of students at UNT the day after advancing to a runoff in the Republican Primary for House District 63 and a week after the Texas Attorney General characterized gender reassignment surgeries and puberty blockers for the purpose of gender transition as “child abuse” in a formal opinion.

Video footage shared by independent journalist Andy Ngo reveals that Younger received an overwhelmingly negative reaction from liberal protesters in the audience.

The protesters, who expressed outrage at Younger’s opposition to the efforts to promote the gender transitioning of children, pounded on the table and clapped their hands as they chanted “F*** you, fascist.” One protester is seen putting up their middle finger.

The generation these protesters represent is like the generation that arose after Joshua died, they did not know God and what He had done for Israel and hence they did what was evil in the sight of God.

And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110 yearsAnd all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel. And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals.Judges 2:8-11

These protestors have no knowledge of God, sin, and judgement. The speed by which God and His values are being jettisoned is staggering and proof positive we are in the prophesied end times.

And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.Matthew 24:10-12

ARE YOU PREPARED FOR WHAT IS ABOUT TO UNFOLD?

Satan has successfully deceived the world into believing that God did not judge the world with a worldwide flood just 4000 years ago now. He certainly does not want people to know that God will pour out His wrath again on a lawless unrepentant world in the not too distant future and yet that is exactly what God reveals will happen in His Word, the Bible.

The Judeo-Christian ethos, based on God’s absolutes which formed the basis of most Western nations, is fast being supplanted by a secularistic, humanistic, arrogantly arbitrary philosophy. This worldview is spreading rapidly. The legal system is a prominent perpetrator of it. The courts are dangerous because they pontificate arbitrarily on what they personally consider to be “good” for society, yet they demand – and aggressively enforce – absolute allegiance to their arbitrary decrees. But what did we expect? The humanistic, secularistic thinkers have merely carried their philosophy to its logical end. They have remained true to their worldview in both words and actions while, unfortunately, Christians have equivocated. They simply have not taken the Lordship of Christ seriously. Instead, Christians have largely shut up their spirituality into a small corner of life, Sunday church, or their Bible studies instead of realising that the Lordship of Christ is to permeate the whole spectrum of life. They have coasted along complacently, often serving up such dogmas as “you can’t mix religion and politics,” or “you can’t legislate morality,” or “we just need to pray and witness to people” – when what they really meant was we just don’t want to be disturbed.” They are content in their “comfort zone.”

Christians are now paying for their negligence. We have permitted the dominance of a philosophy that sanctions the killing of an unborn child for the mother’s convenience. A philosophy that can talk of euthanasia of the aged and a general devaluation of all human life. A philosophy that has euphemised wrong and self-destructive sexuality into “alternative lifestyles.” A philosophy that drives its proponents to unashamedly seek the banishment of all religious influence from the stream of public life, leaving a totally relativistic value system and law. This secularistic worldview has engulfed every area of society that Christians have chosen to ignore – the government, the courts, education, the media. And it is now threatening the areas that Christians naively took for granted as being beyond its reach: the family, the Christian school, and the church. More and more the state is opening the door to restrict the free exercise of our faith through increased regulation. Christians largely sleep on, as it unfolds.

Jesus told us that what we see unfolding in our day is exactly what it will be like before He returns. It will be like it was during the days of Noah, lawlessness will abound. Moreover, He warns us that intense tribulation is coming.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.Matthew 24:9-14

You should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 2 Peter 3:2-6

Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Luke 17:26-27

And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 17:8-9

FAMINES AND PESTILENCES IN THE “END TIMES”

End times signs given by Jesus include famines and pestilences. Both are occurring in our times along with so many of the other signs such as apostasy and lawlessness.

Then he (Jesus) said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and in various places famines and pestilences.

“And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:12-13

The Good News is that churches are rising to the occasion providing opportunities to complete the Great Commission.

Extreme poverty and food insecurity are on the rise.

In 2020, Oxfam and The World Food Bank predicted that half a billion people would be pushed into extreme poverty and a “famine of biblical proportions” would be ushered in by the pandemic. Today, we’re seeing those predictions play out:

  • 296 million people worldwide are going without food — a statistic that’s up 111 million from April 2020.
  • 56% of the world’s children now lack access to education or health services (up from 47%).
  • And the estimated number of COVID-induced poor is expected to rise from 119 million to 124 million. 

World Relief President and CEO Myal Greene reflected, “The pandemic is basically undoing a decade’s worth of human development around the world in terms of progress in getting people out of poverty. We’re certainly seeing that in many of the communities where we work.”

COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting those in already vulnerable situations. 

When Mount Nyiragongo erupted in DR Congo earlier this year, coronavirus was not the first concern on anyone’s mind. “When people were fleeing, nobody cared about COVID-19 preventive measures,” said Jean Nyandwi, World Relief DR Congo Country Director. 

“After the people who had fled returned back to the city, the government announced the third wave of COVID-19,” he continued. “We believe partly this volcanic eruption may have increased COVID-19 cases.” 

While the volcanic eruption may have increased people’s exposure to the virus, a lack of access to vaccines, as well as vaccine hesitancy, is most certainly putting women and men at a greater risk of contracting the virus. 

In a country that already faces one of the world’s worst food security crises, vulnerability to one crisis made increased vulnerability to the COVID crisis inevitable.

And these stories of increased vulnerability are not unique to DR Congo. Across the globe, those in vulnerable situations are experiencing outsized impacts of the pandemic. 

“It’s making the poor poorer,” Nyandwi said. “When people get sick, they have to pay for their hospital bills. Burials also cost money. Many people have lost their jobs. Prices have increased for basic commodities, particularly in the city of Goma, and likely this is true for the rest of the country as well.”

And it’s not just the poorest of the poor who are being affected.

When we talk about the poorest of the poor, we’re referring to those who live on less than $2 a day. That number is increasing by several hundred million people globally, and that is significant. 

But, as Greene mentioned in a recent interview, “other tiers of poverty are also increasing as people are moving down the scale of development. We’ve had to do food distributions among middle-income populations where we haven’t typically had to do such activities before.

This was the case in Cambodia where an April lockdown affected people like Grandma Phyn Phally who lives in Phnom Penh province. Like many small business owners, Phun Phally relies on daily market sales to afford food and basic necessities. Job losses and decreased incomes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have made it harder for people like her to afford these necessities, and this latest round of shutdowns only intensified the fragile situation. 

“The Covid-19 pandemic has caused the government to limit travel during this time, so I and my family members are unable to go out and do business and earn money,” Phun Phally said. “Because our family owns a small business, we don’t have as much money to spend over such a lengthy period of time. That is something we are very concerned about.”

Churches and local communities are being equipped to respond.

In Cambodia, World Relief partnered with local churches to supply and distribute food relief packages to the neediest households in Phnom Penh. Grandma Phun Phally was one of the recipients. 

Thank God. He heard our plea and answered it,” she said. “A food shipment from WRC, our church’s partner, was another blessing. This package is extremely beneficial to us in continuing to fight through this difficult period…Pray for everyone to come out on top in this difficult situation.

In total, World Relief Cambodia gave $20,000 in grants, which funded food relief packages for 1,378 families. 

World Relief continues to reach local communities across the globe with accurate COVID-19 prevention messages. Thanks to a $2.3 million grant from USAID, this work is expanding in DR Congo, Kenya, Malawi and Rwanda.

Churches and faith leaders are being equipped and mobilized to rally their congregations and communities around infection prevention efforts including supplying community members with cloth masks, handwashing soap, and other community care supplies while also providing accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines.

Faith leaders, who are often seen as trustworthy authorities in local communities, are playing a key role in accelerating equitable access to and widespread use of COVID-19 vaccinations and prevention measures.  God often uses catastrophes for His purposes. Check out my post “God Uses Catastrophes for His Purposes” September 21st, 2020