Men, we are coming into turbulent waters in the coming days due to the “alt-right” and “alt-left” movements in our country, venting their deep anger concerning the direction of our nation.  I plead with you not to be influenced by the inflamed rhetoric, both by the participants and the media’s coverage.  We read in Isaiah 8:12 -13, “Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.  The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you to dread.”  Another translation says, “People are saying that others make plans against them, but you should not believe them.”

The footnote in the NIV states that verses 11-13 express two different understandings of history: “1 ) Give God the central place that only the Holy One must have, or 2) Explain historical events as the result of human conspiracy, with the constant dread of the unknown that this view engenders.”  As Jesus talks about the end of the age in Mark 13, he exhorts us  to “watch out,” “being on guard,” or be “alert” seven times.  Don’t allow conspiracy talk shape your worldview.  Here are a few suggestions to help keep you vigilant.

First and foremost, keep your focus on Jesus as Lord.  Remember that one day, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10-11).  Focusing means that you practice the presence of Jesus. Ps. 27:3 says it best. “My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’  Your face, Lord, I will seek.”   Revelations 22:13 reminds us, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”  Jesus is Lord of history, period.  So be mindful of Jesus as you maneuver through the minefields of  conspiracy discussions.

Secondly,  submit to the reign of Jesus’ kingdom in the earth. “For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself.  He made peace with everything in heaven and earth by mean of Christ’s blood on the cross” (Col. 1: 19-20). The alternative is the kingdom of darkness.  You will be influenced by one or the other.

Thirdly, live in repentance and humility.  Be warned – as a follower of Jesus in his kingdom reign, you will be hated.  Matthew, Mark and Luke in describing the end times, all warn about being hated.  “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13). Purpose to live humbly as a servant of Jesus, punctuated by a readiness to repent of your failures. ‘Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you.  You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves.  Be cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove” Matt. 10:16 – Message).

Fourthly, cry out for God to have mercy.  The coming relational chaos, in my opinion, is a sign of God’s judgment.  Jesus warned this would happen. “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people” (Matt. 24:10).  As a result there will be “the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold” (Matt 24:12).  That is a description of broken relationships.  In the midst of such confusion, we should be crying out for God to have mercy.  Habakkuk prayed, “in wrath remember mercy” (Hab. 3:2)