As economic and political crises surround us and a sense of instability is in the air, I’ve been thinking recently about our purpose here on earth. Why did God choose for us to live today, in this time, in this place on earth? Is it all by chance? Or does He have a plan for our lives? I recall Mordecai’s words to Esther: “If you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) I believe that we have been placed here on earth at an appointed time; if God knows the number of the hairs on our head then He certainly has not left the timing of our birth to chance. However, we do have a responsibility to listen to His voice and to accomplish the tasks He gives to us. If we do not obey or if we walk in fear and refuse to do what He tells us to do, then He will bring deliverance from another, and we will have failed to fulfill our destiny. One of my favorite musical scenes is “Through Heaven’s Eyes” from the animated movie The Prince of Egypt. The lyrics to the song are incredible: A single thread in a tapestry Through its color brightly shine Can never see its purpose In the pattern of the grand design… So how can you see what your life is worth Or where your value lies? You can never see through the eyes of man You must look at your life Look at your life through Heaven’s Eyes… As you go through life, remember that you are a single thread in the beautiful tapestry God is weaving; your life is an important part of the grand design. At the beginning of the story, Esther probably did not know why God had chosen her to be Queen, but as we read her story, it becomes clear that she chose to obey and trust God, even when it looked like there was no hope in the natural. Since America elected Barak Obama as President, I have heard disturbing things from the Christian community here in the US. While I may not be in favor of some of Obama’s policies, and I do worry about how he will treat Israel, I am deeply troubled when I hear people referring to him as the Anti-Christ. I don’t know if Christians in other countries are feeling similar distress, but I see Christians around me who are in a panic, who think that the world is ending. As the economic crisis becomes more severe, there are Christians who are going into hibernation – becoming overwhelmed by anxiety! When we see evil and injustice being propagated around the world, when we see the media accusing Israel of war crimes when we know that her cause is just, we must stand up for what is right and not succumb to despair. What happened to the Scripture that says, “Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world”? Now is the time for Christians to stand up and be strong and courageous. If we do not have hope, then who does? For years, people have compared America to the Roman Empire and have warned of the crumbling of our society in the same way that Rome fell so many centuries ago. I wonder what life was like in ancient Rome. I wonder what it was like for the average person living in those days. Did they know that the great Empire they lived in was about to “fall”, or was it a gradual decline that happened over many generations and no one person’s lifetime was disrupted by the “fall of Rome”. A quick search revealed to me that it was actually a long decline that took place over centuries! So where does that leave us as individuals? I think each one of us is responsible to live our lives to the best of our knowledge, to seek God and His wisdom for every-day decisions. We do need to consider the bigger picture, but not be so consumed by it that we fail to keep track of the little things in our lives that God wants us to be dealing with. Selfishness, greed, anger, covetousness, and idolatry are all part of human nature, but they are called “sin” in the Bible. And God wants to deal with sin in our lives. When we allow Him to come into our lives and remove sin, by replacing it with His love and His nature and His ability, we are able to follow the ten simple rules God gave in the “Ten Commandments.” If we follow these commandments: 1. Have no other gods before Him, 2. Serve none other than Him, (no idols), 3. Keep His name Holy, 4. Keep the Sabbath day Holy, 5. Honor your Father and your Mother, 6. Do not murder, 7. Do not commit adultery, 8. Do not steal, 9. Do not lie about your neighbor, 10. Do not desire what your neighbor has we will find that we walk in peace. I believe that this is God’s plan for peace on earth. Obviously, when we look at the big picture and we look at the problems around the world, we cannot force our morality or our “Judeo-Christian values” on others. Instead, it must come from within each and every person. It must be a heart change, something that happens when one sees oneself as not fulfilling the full potential that God put into every human being, and calling or reaching out to God and getting His help to transform our lives. Each of us has a responsibility to face down trepidation, to overcome our fear of the unknown, but we must walk, as Paul says in Ephesians 5:15, circumspectly, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. To walk circumspectly is to be watchful and discreet, cautious and prudent. We must use our God-given common sense. Don’t be swayed by every bad report that you hear — know who your God is and trust Him. I think that redeeming the time means to make use of every minute and every hour that God has given you to breathe on this earth. We make decisions every day that will affect us for the rest of our lives, that will affect the lives around us, not to mention eternity. Let’s choose today to make good choices, choices that bring hope and help, choices that bring good and not evil, even if it is something as simple as being cheerful when you don’t feel like it, giving a smile to a passing stranger or making a contribution to a charitable cause. Each positive thing you do will ripple for eternity. God was telling us this when He wrote in Deuteronomy 30:19, “I set before you life or death, therefore choose life!“ As we choose each day to choose life we will find our God is faithful. He will keep His promises, He will manifest His presence, He will bring change in our lives and the lives around us. As we spend the next few months and years watching what happens in Israel and the Middle East, we can know with a certainty that God knows what is taking place. Not only does He see and know what we have access to, but He also knows what is happening behind closed doors. Nothing is a surprise to God. So when you feel that still small voice prompting you to pray for Israel, to visit Israel or to bless Israel just remember, that if you remain silent at this time, help will arise from another, but you will miss a great blessing.