Darwin Beale’s excellent article (See Below) reminds me of a question people sometimes ask when a major calamity hits – “Is this thing a sign of the End Times?”
Jesus gave “signs of the times” to remind us that, whatever happens, we can count on him to be with us, and also to encourage us to keep faithful in our life with him, whatever may come.
So when I’m asked, “Is this a sign of the End Times?” I normally respond, “If you knew for sure that this thing was a sign of the End Times, what would you do differently? Is that something that would please Jesus? Then why not do it?”
Make His Praise Glorious…
by Darwin J. Beale
You’ve heard people say, “Things are so bad, surely it can’t be long before the Lord comes.” We have the tendency to believe that our experiences are more significant than any other period in history. It’s never been this bad before. Really? Consider with me the times of Rev. Martin Rinkart (1586–1649), the composer of one of our greatest hymns of thanksgiving, Now Thank We All Our God.
Martin Rinkart was a pastor in Eilenberg, Saxony, during the Thirty Years War (1618–1648). Eilenberg was a walled town, so it quickly became a haven for thousands of refugees. Over-crowding brought sanitation problems, famine, and disease. During the great plague of 1647, the town officials and other clergymen either fled or died leaving Rinkart alone to bury the dead. He conducted the burial services for 40 to 50 people a day to a total of about 4,480 people. Finally, the burials were in trenches, without services. Among the 8,000 people who died was Rinkart’s wife.
In all of this Martin Rinkart was a musician and a prolific writer. He wrote 66 hymns, but the one that kept his name alive is Nun danket alle Gott—Now Thank We All Our God. Originally conceived as a table grace, this hymn is a triumphant statement of God’s great blessing. Martin Rinkart knew the truth of Romans 8:28–39: God works through all circumstances for good in our lives, and nothing can separate us from the love of God.
This world has seen many dark days—much darker than our present time, but God is always at work. It is always fitting and necessary to Make His Praise Glorious in a spirit of thanksgiving (Ephesians 5:19–20).
All praise and thanks to God
The Father now be given,
The Son, and Him who reigns
With them in highest heaven,
The one eternal God,
Whom earth and heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now,And shall be evermore.