Osama Bin Laden is Dead: Hooray?

Today in America, or on my Facebook at least, Christians are torn. The natural reaction for a human being when a mortal enemy is destroyed is celebration. A sense of victory. Relief.  But should we join in the celebration?   The western world may rejoice in the death of Osama Bin Laden, but we are not of this world.  Should believers in Jesus feel guilty for feeling good about the death of someone?  It is difficult not to “feel” something.  But what should I do with those feelings?

Questions like these are part of being a Christian.  Following Christ is not a matter of eating, drinking, wearing certain kinds of clothing, repeating particular phrases at church, voting a particular way, or any of those outward, surface things.  I have my own opinions on what food is worth eating, what drinks are worth drinking,  and what kinds of clothes look good.  I have favorite phrases I use, and I have plenty of opinions on political things.

But that’s not what following Christ is about.  The Bible says when it comes to following Jesus, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” -Galatians 5:6

It’s faith in Jesus, trust in Jesus, expressing itself in our lives through putting God ahead of ourselves, and putting others ahead of ourselves.  See, that’s the Biblical definition of love, and the example of love when Jesus made Himself nothing, took the form of a servant and obeyed the Father by dying on a cross for the sins of everyone else.  Everyone.  Even Osama’s if he would only have taken hold of that forgiveness.

So for a believer and follower of Jesus, because we are to love God by putting Him first, and because He lives in us through the Spirit that He gave us, we should honor God with our reaction to the death of Osama Bin Laden.  Therefore we should be thoughtful with how we conduct ourselves and careful to guard our hearts.  God did say:

‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. -Ezekiel 33:11

And in another place:

Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice, or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from him. -Proverbs 24:17-18

I think it is worth noticing that the above verse instructed us to conduct ourselves humbly so that God would continue to pour out His wrath on our enemies.  In fact, desiring wrath on mortal enemies is found in several places in the Bible where it is not condemned by God.

In Revelation 6:10, martyrs asked God how long before he “avenged” their deaths. In Revelation 18:20 it says to rejoice when Babylon the Great is destroyed for she killed God’s people.  And regardless of what someone interprets “Babylon the Great” to be, the end result is destruction that involves people.

In the Psalms, David often appealed for his enemies to be destroyed or put to shame by God.  He would write things like“Rise up, O LORD, confront them, bring them down; rescue me from the wicked by your sword.” -Psalm 17:13  

In that Psalm, as in Revelation, and other places in the Bible, it was God who received the praise for His justice in destroying the wicked.  It seems that God accepts that praise, even though as He said in Ezekiel, he takes no pleasure Himself in the death of the wicked.  He would rather that they repent.

Thus, it follows that Proverbs would warn us not to gloat over the death of our enemies because God does not destroy the wicked to feed our desire for power and pride.  God brings justice, but at the same time, He sacrificed His Son for the likes of Osama Bin Laden as well. Anyone can be forgiven if they turn to God as we all know. And a sobering reminder for us is found in Luke 13:1-5. If not for Jesus, we all face judgment.

      Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.

      Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them–do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”-Luke 13:1-5

In many ways, the death of Osama Bin Laden is merely the natural result of his own actions.  Jesus said that those who choose to live by the sword, will die by the sword.  But I believe that Osama’s death at the hands of his enemies was also an act of justice by a Holy God, avenging the death of thousands of people.  I praise the Lord for His justice and His judgment on our enemies.  But it is also a sobering reminder which makes me grateful for the grace of God through Christ which is available for all, that all might be forgiven and receive eternal life, if they will call upon the name of the Lord.

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Hope in the Midst of Crisis

Some of the “prophetic” words of Jesus sound eerily similar to the daily news coming from around the world these days, which gives many of us a pause. Yet we shouldn’t pause too long because He also had words of encouragement and a message of hope. In a moment, I’ll get to what Jesus said precisely, but for now, I think it’s worth noting that the entire Christian belief system is built on a hope, an assurance from God, that He will provide during the toughest of times.

Some interpret the Bible, or insist philosophically, that God should rescue us from these tough times in the first place. Isn’t that what a loving God would do? And if He doesn’t, He’s either not loving, or not real. It’s the same argument used by one of thieves crucified next to Jesus. In one moment, that guy was hurling insults at Jesus, and in the next, he was demanding Jesus prove Himself by rescuing them all from death. Continue reading

Did Revelation Predict What Is Happening in Egypt & the Middle East?

It’s pure speculation at this point, especially when the results of so many protests and attempts at revolution are still up in the air, but how might all this turmoil fit with the Bible? I’d keep my eye on Revelation chapter 6, specifically the four riders of the Apocalypse as they are called. Again, I wouldn’t make any grand pronouncements, but it’s like anything else, it bears watching.

As I explained in a previous post, it’s the first rider that intrigues me most. Revelation chapter 5, the prologue to the four horsemen and the other three judgments, begins with God holding a book sealed with seven seals. In the day Revelation was written, books (or scrolls) were sealed in that way when they were legal documents pertaining to life and death. Many Bible teachers say this book was “the title deed for the earth.” Well, the Bible doesn’t say that, but it is at least true that anyone reading Revelation at the time it was written, would recognize that book was about life and death. And as it turns out, it was about the earth.

It becomes clear very quickly that it is a book about judgment. Chapter 5 begins by asking the question “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” (verse 2) and no one is found in heaven or earth who is worthy.

That is, until Jesus steps forward. Continue reading

Sign of the Apocalypse in Egypt? -Mysterious Horseman

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show has a video clip showing various riot scenes from Egypt, and at about the 10:27 mark in a clip titled “World’s Eyes on Egypt,” there appears to be a mysterious horseman. Obviously this is a glare, or a weird reflection of the fire on the lens of the camera. Nevertheless, for anyone who knows of the four horsemen of the apocalypse in Revelation chapter 6, it’s kinda spooky, and very, very cool.

Here’s the original from Rachel Maddow’s site. The video is long, and the ghostly image appears around the 10:27 mark.

Here’s a much shorter video that plays up the spookiness factor. (It’s a little silly)

Here’s a link that demonstrates it’s just a camera lens thing.


Speculations are abounding on Youtube. While it is undoubtedly just a weird reflection, it is nevertheless a rather striking one. Why couldn’t it have looked like a racoon? Or a flaming peace symbol? Or the Eye of Sauron? For something that appears to simply be one of those camera anomalies, it sure picked a significant shape. A thought-provoking one for me.

Twenty years ago, while studying the book of Revelation, I came up with a theory about Revelation 6 that no one really took seriously, and I quickly dropped. By “no one,” I mean the 3-4 people I explained my theory to. Hey, I was just a young college student with plans to make a career in business, not dedicate my life to the ministry. Just as well. If I’d tried that theory out in Bible college, it would have undoubtedly been shot down even sooner, different as it was from a traditional interpretation. Besides, nothing really came of it. Twenty years passed, and the world didn’t end.

Which certainly may happen again, but for the record, it is somewhat interesting that something I predicted 20 years ago, seems poised to happen in the Middle East. Maybe my timing was just off? Continue reading

Belief in God is Part of the Heritage of the United States

Evidently the new Capital Visitor Center in Washington DC leaves this out, but the people who founded our nation had a strong belief in God. Just read these lines from all 50 State Constitutions (someone else posted this, and I thought it was fantastic) : Continue reading

Homosexuality, Abortion, Gambling… Issues that Influence Christians

I should warn you, I’m a senior minister at an independent Christian Church, which means I’m from the same cloth as minister Joe Wright (NOT Jeremiah!) who pastored Central Christian Church in Wichita, Kansas, and Bob Russell, who pastored Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky.

Bob wrote a prayer once that Joe borrowed, adapted and then used to open the Kansas State House of Representatives back in 1996. It was a prayer that asked God for forgiveness involving various things, including a few hot button political issues. And while it really attacked items on both sides of the aisle, it nevertheless insinuated that certain things…

…brace yourself…

are sinful before God.

(insert large GASP here)

So OK, I KNOW I’m a radical. I get it. I believe in God, and I believe the Bible reveals God to us. And crazy as it sounds, I believe we have to come to God on His terms not ours. God judges all of us for sin, He judges nations for sin, and eventually, He’ll judge the world for sin. Me and you included.

The Bible however makes it clear that it is not God’s will to destroy us or condemn us for sin, but to forgive us and give us an abundant life -here, but especially, in eternity. Even in the Old Testament, God said stuff like this: Continue reading