Alas, Common Sense
|By Hal Lindsey|
Common sense… straight thinking… seeing the obvious. The whole world seems to find these things more and more difficult. And the Bible tells us why. 2 Timothy 3:8 speaks of men who “oppose the truth, men of depraved mind.”
It makes sense. The more people oppose truth, the more difficult it becomes to think straight.
Romans 1:18-32 takes that same concept and elaborates it on a large scale. It speaks of peoples and nations turning against God. Romans 1:18 says they “suppress the truth in unrighteous.” Verse 21 speaks of people refusing to honor God, then becoming “futile in their speculations.” Romans 1:22 says, “Professing to be wise, they became fools.”
The 24th verse says that because of decisions to reject God in favor of evil, “God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity.” Verse 25 says, “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie.” The verses that follow give specific details of the kinds of sin such deteriorating civilizations fall into.
The sad story crescendos in Romans 1:28. “Just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind.”
The King James Version says, “reprobate mind.” The New King James and the English Standard Versions say, “debased mind.” The New American Standard Bible and the New International Version say, “depraved mind.” The Greek here carries the connotation of “worthlessness.”
The mind loses worth because it no longer does its job. People stop being able to think in their own best interests. Consider massive capitalist firms trying to appease socialists by adopting socialist rhetoric and values. Somehow it never occurs to them that the monster they’re now helping to nourish and grow, will one day see them as lunch.
Another example would be when the freest, fairest, most prosperous nation in the history of the world decides to rip itself into pieces because it was never perfect. The examples could go on all day. Read any news site on any day. You’ll see examples everywhere of individuals, companies, nations, and groups of nations acting against their own self-interests.
When nations and people purge their minds of God, they begin to think self-destructively.
For those who hold fast to God and His word, it can all be dismaying. How do we respond? Do we become outraged or fearful? No. When Jesus said to preach the Gospel everywhere and to everyone, He included these very people. Christ died for them. He loved them that much, so we should love them, too.
1 John 4:18 explains the amazing result of such love. “Perfect love casts out fear.” 2 Timothy 1:7 puts it like this. “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Destabilizing the World
By Hal Lindsey
At a July 8th news conference, a reporter asked President Biden if a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was inevitable. The President answered that was not inevitable. As evidence, he said, “The Afghan troops have 300,000 well-equipped — as well-equipped as any army in the world — and an air force against something like 75,000 Taliban.”
Three hundred thousand well-equipped, well-trained members of the Afghan military versus 75,000 ragtag Taliban. We have to assume that the President of the United States got those numbers from US intelligence services. If they were correct, how did the 75,000 overrun the 300,000-strong, US-equipped army in a little over a week? If the numbers are incorrect, how did the US get it so wrong?
Next, a reporter asked the President if he trusts the Taliban. You may have seen his response. “It’s a — it’s a silly question,” he answered. “Do I trust the Taliban? No. But I trust the capacity of the Afghan military, who is better trained, better equipped, and more re- — more competent in terms of conducting war.”
But most of all, the American planners forgot that wars are not won by military equipment, but by men — men who believe in the cause, and whose commitment and trustworthiness make them resolute and courageous. And that should deeply concern every US citizen because in recent years our military has changed. Instead of training men to win wars, we train them to be politically correct. Top levels of the military have changed their focus from readiness to wokeness.
Today’s American leaders have no wrong idea of what made America great in the first place. They think military hardware is the key to military might. They think if we can just get radical Muslim nations to embrace democracy, they will suddenly become reasonable and kindhearted. That didn’t work in Iraq. It is not working in Gaza. And it is a disaster in Afghanistan.
The United States was never a “Christian nation” in the traditional sense. Instead of a state-church, our forefathers wrote religious freedom into our constitution. But until recently, this country revered God and the Bible. That reverence put steel into America’s backbone. The nation often failed to live up to God’s standards, but those standards freed the slaves and inspired the civil rights movement. Those standards became the basis for the Declaration of Independence and for the Bill of Rights. The United States now seems intent on throwing away this great heritage of faith — and with it the rights we once cherished.
Meanwhile, the President has been forced to do what he said he could not do — trust the Taliban. They control the country of Afghanistan. They decide who can go to the airport and who cannot. They are in charge. The fantastic military hardware we once thought would make our allies strong, now belongs to the Taliban.
The implications of all this will resonate for years to come. The US debacle in Afghanistan is further destabilizing an already unstable world. In other words, planet earth is being rapidly prepared for the coming leader known as Antichrist.
The Taliban Reminder
By Hal Lindsey
People in the west had almost forgotten. It has been a while since the last large, successful terror attack against the United States or Europe. And since the western media refuses to cover the atrocities going on elsewhere, especially in Africa, people here had begun to forget. But the Taliban is now reminding everyone that radical Islamic terror still lives. It thrives. And once again, it is headed our way.
On Monday, August 22nd, The Wall Street Journal reported, “The US warned that Islamic State poses a threat to Americans in Afghanistan.” Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s national security adviser, said of ISIS, “The threat is real. It is acute. It is persistent. And it is something we are focused on with every tool in our arsenal.”
Yes, the Islamic State — ISIS. Not long ago, they were bloodied, defeated, demoralized, and wilting away. But in today’s Afghanistan, they have been revived and they are a present threat.
And then there is Al Qaeda. On August 23rd, the extremely liberal New Yorker magazine featured an article by Robin Wright. In March she asked a key question of General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the United States Central Command. “Do you really think, given the intermarriage, the interweaving of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, that the Taliban is really ever going to be able or willing to restrain Al Qaeda from doing anything against us?”
She called his answer, “chillingly candid.” “I think,” he said, “it will be very hard for the Taliban to act against Al Qaeda, to actually limit their ability to attack outside the country. It’s possible, but I think it would be difficult.”
That was all the back in March. His answer carries the optimistic assumption that the Taliban might want to limit Al Qaeda’s ability to other strike nations. It’s true that they do not want a repeat of George W. Bush’s invasion of their country after 911. But they have convinced themselves that they defeated the United States, and they do not believe we have the courage or moral conviction necessary to ever invade them again. So, they don’t care if Al Qaeda hits America again. In fact, they like the idea.
Events in Afghanistan should remind everyone of the danger posed by radical Islam. And it is not a theoretical danger. Right now, the world is watching, and the Taliban are on their best behavior. Even so, they’re rounding up known Christians. They are looking on phones for Bible apps. Large numbers of Christians have run for the hills with hope now only in God. And that’s just the Christians. People of all kinds are being hung, shot, beheaded, raped, and beaten. And it will get worse.
The US military says that it has evacuated tens of thousands of people from Afghanistan, but as of Tuesday the 24th, it refused say how many of those were Americans. On the 23rd, Yahoo News reported that they had obtained the actual government numbers. They found that less than 10% of those evacuated by the US military are in fact US citizens or legal residents.
Americans are not more important than Afghans. But they make more valuable hostages and that makes them more strategic. It’s important to realize that we don’t just have a potential hostage crisis in Afghanistan. The hostage crisis already exists! Stranded Americans may not be under lock and key in Taliban prisons, but they are hostages all the same.
Why don’t US forces go out, find Americans, and escort them to the airport? Because the Taliban holds Americans as hostages. They can completely cut off access to the airport. Strong military action might even provoke a wholesale slaughter of Americans. Why does President Biden refuse to extend his August 31st deadline for leaving the country? Because right now in Afghanistan, the Taliban controls the fate of Americans. That makes them hostages.
After the 31st, anything might happen. The Taliban says it will not tolerate an extension of the deadline and, for now, the Biden Administration says it is sticking with the old deadline. If that remains true, then the United States will be abandoning its citizens still stranded in Afghanistan. On the other hand, if the US military goes into the country to rescue Americans still held there, it will probably mean heavy bloodshed on all sides. And it might put our military back in Afghanistan for several more years.
One thing is more obvious than ever. Nothing draws violence like perceived weakness.
No Greater Love
By Hal Lindsey
The screen shows images of a little girl. She smiles and laughs, obviously enjoying her conversation with the man behind the camera. Later we learn that he joked around with and gave candy to lots of children like her. Everything about the exchange tells you that the man is someone special — warm, caring, thoughtful.
Then we see the TV anchorman and he identifies the man as United States Marine Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui. We are seeing the footage and hearing his story because the Lance Corporal died soon after his interaction with the Afghan child.
Kareem Nikoui did not die alone. At least 169 Afghan civilians lost their lives in the same terror attack. In addition to Kareem, American military personnel who died that day include, Navy Corpsman Max Soviak, 22… Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss, 23… Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Darin Hoover Jr., 31… Marine Corps Sergeant Johanny Pichardo, 25… Marine Corps Sergeant Nicole Gee, 23… Marine Corps Corporal Hunter Lopez, 22… Marine Corps Corporal Daegan Page, 23… Marine Corps Corporal Humberto Sanchez, 22… Marine Corps Lance Corporal David Espinoza, 20… Marine Corps Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz, 20… Marine Corps Lance Corporal Rylee McCollum, 20… Marine Corps Lance Corporal Dylan Merola, 20.
In addition, 150 people were injured, including 18 US military personnel.
The news media will soon forget Kareem and the others. The broadcasters and bloggers will soon go on to something else. But their families will not forget. They will carry pain from August 26, 2021, for the rest of their lives. They will also carry the joyful memories of those they loved, gone too soon.
These are not just names on a list. Each one is precious beyond words, made in God’s image — men and women for whom Christ died.
In John 15:12-13, Jesus said, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”
Jesus Himself is the ultimate example of the selfless love He taught. But each of these young people also expressed this great love. They expressed it with their lives, and they expressed it in their deaths.
The first American to die in the Afghanistan war was Nathan Chapman on January 4, 2002. When they were loading his coffin to be transported back to the United States, they realized that no one had an American flag. So, to place on the coffin, they used a flag patch torn off the uniform of an airman who was helping load it.
With practice — too much practice — they would get better with the details. In twenty years of war, 3,576 coalition forces would die — 2,420 of those from the United States. Approximately 20,000 members of the American military would be wounded.
Many of those wounded, along with the loved ones of the dead, keep on paying a terrible price. But as David would say shortly before his battle with Goliath, “Is there not a cause?”
The Ultimate Safe Room
By Hal Lindsey
If there’s anything worse than seeing evil in the world, it’s seeing evil rewarded or glamorized. Some people see this happening and become angry with God. “How is it,” they ask Him, “that You keep letting the bad guys win?” Some of the richest, most powerful people in history were among the most evil, and it’s still happening today. Why do such people live in ease? Why does their wealth increase while others struggle?
Psalms 73:2-3 expresses the danger in such thinking. It says, “As for me, my feet came close to stumbling, my steps had almost slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant, as I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” In verses 16-17, the Psalmist says he tried to figure out why the wicked prosper, but he couldn’t find the answer until he took the matter to God. Then, he had an “ah-ha moment.” He said, “I perceived their end.”
Psalm 72 says the riches of wicked men do not last. They will be cast down to destruction, “swept away by sudden terrors.” Verse 20 in the New Living Translation says, “When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas.”
The Psalmist then realizes the dangerous place his thoughts had taken him before he gave them to the Lord. And he stands amazed at God’s continuing grace. Verses 21-25 say, “Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant — I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet I still belong to You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but You?”
The Psalm ends at verse 28 with an astounding thought, expressed especially well in the New American Standard Version. “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, That I may tell of all Thy works.”
The nearness of God is a treasure no amount of wealth or influence can buy. As evil men and women wax worse and worse during these troubled times, how marvelous to know that you have made God your refuge.
Today’s super rich are investing billions in schemes to attain some perverted form of eternal life. The scary state of the world scares them, too. So, they build safe rooms in their mansions. They spend enormous sums designing and building luxury bunkers in the wilderness. They hope to ride out the apocalypse in style. But the safe room may not withstand a devastating blast. And if they are not in the bunker when the nuclear bomb goes off, it does them no good.
God is not like that. He remains our refuge no matter what happens and no matter where we are. So, don’t envy evil men. Proverbs 24:19-20 says, “Do not fret because of evildoers, Or be envious of the wicked; For there will be no future for the evil man; The lamp of the wicked will be put out.”
Those who are in Christ have a glorious future. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard… the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
The joy of the Lord is not reserved for heaven. Jesus said in John 15:11 and 16:24 that He wants our joy to be full. 1 Peter 1:8 speaks of “joy unspeakable.” It begins now.
You may be in the midst of a struggle — perhaps fighting pain or dealing with loss. But even in your most difficult hour, you are infinitely richer than the man who gains the whole world, but does not know Jesus.
By Hal Lindsey
It is a curse usually attributed to the ancient Chinese. “May you live in interesting times.” The “curse” always seems to fit because times are always interesting, and the things that make them interesting usually feel like a curse. All generations experience that feeling, but people of the past never saw anything like today. Our generation really is unique in human history. And I can prove it with a single word — technology.
The sum of human knowledge once took millennia to double, then centuries. By 1945, it was increasing at a rate that doubled every 25 years. Human knowledge is now commonly believed to double every 12 hours. None of us can know the accuracy of that number, but we certainly know that the growth of knowledge now travels on a breathtaking trajectory.
Increasing knowledge feeds the technology that is changing the world.
The Taliban may be a seventh century organization, but it uses the internet and its related technology. It holds 85 billion dollars’ worth of cutting-edge US military equipment. The men of the Taliban pattern their lives after seventh century Muslims, but they are empowered by twenty-first century communications and weapons technology.
As technology advances, it gets cheaper and more readily available. North Korea is one of the world’s poorest countries. Despite that poverty, it has built a large stockpile nuclear weapons (including H-bombs) along with a fleet of missiles to carry those weapons anywhere in the world.
Cruel and intrusive dictatorships are not new. But past tyrants did not have today’s weapons. Neither did they have the tools of manipulation and control now available. Growing levels of technology also equip and empower criminals and terrorists. Because of that, regular citizens live in increasing fear. And that fear pushes many of them to not only accept, but demand government surveillance and control.
People are sinners. The vanity of our age has convinced billions that they are morally superior to past generations. Today, many believe they are the first generation to truly understand right and wrong. But the Bible says what we can easily glean from history. People are still sinners. The moral conceit of this generation does not make it more moral. It makes it more dangerous.
To their alarming pride, add technology. Technology gives to the proud and debased people of our time, levels of power that were previously unimaginable. Such technology amplifies the destructive potential of human sinfulness. For instance, consider how technology increases the spread of a liar’s words or the reach of a murderer’s hand.
These are more than “interesting times.” The Bible clearly describes the days leading up to the return of Christ. Those descriptions match our time in breathtaking detail. And that, dear friends, is good news!