Good News, Bad News, (And a Seagull Story)
By Jack Kinsella
It doesn’t matter where you get your news, really. It can come from CNN, ABC, CBS, the New York Times or even Fox News Channel and the Washington Times. Whether you get your news from the left, the right, or even if you think you may have found the center, what you can’t find is good news.
There are good news stories about individuals, like the teenager who jumped/fell thirty-five feet from a sky ride to avoid being struck by lightning. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that she was unhurt by the fall.
But more often than not, the good news is that the bad news isn’t worse. For example, there is the story about the Arizona pastor who was fined $12,000.00 and jailed for sixty days for holding Bible studies in his home. That’s the bad news.
In that case, I guess the good news would be that at least they didn’t shoot him.
The Apostle Paul, writing to his disciple, Timothy, prophesied of perilous times to come during the last days. It is a section of Scripture that you should all know by heart by now.
Once a prophecy, it is now a summary of daily life in these last days;
“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God…” (2 Timothy 3:2-4)
Scoffers will argue that Paul’s summary could be used to describe any society in decay throughout history and yet the Lord didn’t return. That was also foreseen in Scripture as a sign of the last days. Compare Peter’s description with Paul’s:
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2 Peter 3:4)
The last days scoffers are walking after their own lusts. Paul’s description to Timothy specifies what they are. Both Apostles are in agreement that they are symptomatic of the last days.
But how perilous are the times, really?
In the same sense that State of Israel is the world’s most Jewish country, America is viewed globally as the world’s most Christian country. For that reason, most of our attention is focused on America, as the representative Gentile nation.
So most prophecies concerning Israel in the last days find their fulfillment in the Tribulation, while most prophecies concerning the Church find their fulfillment in final days that lead up to it.
The Olivet Discourse, while told from the perspective of Israel, begins with the wars and rumors of wars that marked the 20th century, but as the Tribulation begins, the focus shifts from the times of the Gentiles back to the Jews of Israel.
“But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matthew 24:21)
The focus of the Apostles for the last days is on the last days of the Church Age. Consider some of the following statistics from the world’s representative Christian nation and how they stack up with Paul’s perilous times.
1. According to one editorial, one in ten Wall Street employees is a clinical psychopath. Nearly a quarter of male Wall Street brokers are clinically depressed, compared with 7 percent for the general male population, according to a 2000 study. Research also shows that bankers are prone to “insomnia, alcoholism, heart palpitations, eating disorders, and an explosive temper.”
2. By a wide margin, America has the largest total prison population, together with the highest incarceration rate per capita in the entire world.
3. Roughly 25 million adult Americans still live with their parents. That’s almost ten percent of the adult population of the United States.
4. Thieves are stealing everything from the copper wire in electrical transformers to lawn mowers in back yards
5. One recent poll found that only 70 percent of Americans agree with the Declaration of Independence.
6. There are more school shootings in America than anywhere else in the world.
7. According to one survey, 50 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 cannot find the state of New York on a blank map.
8. The United States has the highest rate of illegal drug use in the entire world.
9. More people have been diagnosed with mental disorders in America than anywhere else on earth.
10. According to the Pew Research Center, only 51 percent of all Americans that are at least 18 years old are currently married. Back in 1960, 72 percent of all U.S. adults were married.
11. America is the undisputed pornography capital of the world.
12. America has the world’s highest rate of divorce.
13. America has the world’s highest rate of teen pregnancy.
14. The United States is tied with Mexico for the highest child abuse death rate.
15. Americans lead the world in plastic surgeries.
We’ve moved beyond looking for the signs of the times. We are now living in the times of the signs.
Personal Note from Jack: Thank you all so much for the day off yesterday. We didn’t catch much, except for a particularly lively 3 lb. black bass that made for an exciting five minute battle and some smaller fish that were far less interesting.
We were blessed with an opportunity to do a little rescue work while we were out there. We saw a seagull floating face down in the water with one wing thrown over his head.. At first we thought it was dead, but on closer inspection, saw it was tied up in fishing line. It had a lure hooked to its beak and the line had his wing tied up over his head.
We were able to catch him on our first try. He was amazingly calm as I held his body and Russ very gently removed the lure with a pair of pliers. We were afraid he would be too weak, but once we untangled him, I threw him into the air, and he was gone. It was a great feeling to see him spread his wings and grab the air.
I don’t much like seagulls, and neither does Russ. But it was the high point of our fishing trip and probably one we’ll tell stories about for years to come.
It was a beautiful day and only the third time I have been out this year. So it was a great time.
God is good. Maranatha!
Originally Published: July 11, 2012.