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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tragedy Strikes Japan

A devastating earthquake, multiple aftershocks, and a merciless tsunami struck Japan yesterday. Within minutes buildings collapsed, roads buckled, and trucks, houses, and cars were swept away. Loss of life was swift and extensive. As we watched the horror unfold, our minds could not fully grasp the deadly force of nature and our hearts filled with sympathy for the Japanese people. I’m sure many of us will respond to the tragedy by praying and contributing to relief efforts.

The images of destruction and suffering that came from Japan gave me a clearer mental picture of a far more devastating earthquake that will occur just before Jesus returns to earth. Revelation 16:18 describes it as the mightiest earthquake in human history. Cities throughout the world will be reduced to rubble (v. 19), and perhaps in the wake of accompanying tsunamis islands and mountains will disappear (v. 20).

We live in an imperfect world. Natural disasters have occurred for centuries, and they will continue to occur as long as nature groans under the curse, but the earthquake predicted in Revelation 16 will carry the imprint of divine judgment in response to unprecedented, unchecked immorality and blasphemy.

Fortunately, God offers forgiveness and assurance of heaven to all who believe on His Son as their Savior (John 3:16; Eph. 1:7). What happened in Japan proves how tenuous and uncertain life is. Faith in Christ is the best preparation for the unexpected.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Does God Know Everything?

A fairly new teaching is circulating. It’s called the openness of God, and it alleges that God’s knowledge is limited. He doesn’t know everything, according to the proponents of the openness theory.

I’m not buying it. First John 3:20 insists that God “knows all things.” So what part of “all things” don’t the openness proponents understand?

God’s all-knowing characteristic—His omniscience—includes His knowledge of our needs (Matt. 6:8, 32), our thoughts (Psalm 94:11; 139:2), our days (Ps. 37:18), the secrets of our hearts (Ps. 44:21), our mortality and frailty (Ps.103:14), and the number of hairs on our head (Matt.10:30—in my case the accounting system has become very simple). He even knows the path we should travel through life (Prov. 3:5, 6; Isa. 30:21).

“Doesn’t God know what I am going through?” you might ask someone who subscribes to the openness of God theory. He might respond, “Maybe He doesn’t.” Try to squeeze some comfort and encouragement from that response! But for genuine comfort and encouragement, read what the apostle John wrote: “God knows all things.”