Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Darris] On a quiet day in the city of Sarajevo in June, 1914, a man pulled a gun and killed two famous people. He had no idea what great effects his actions would have on the world. One small decision, a single person, can change the course of history.It happened a hundred years ago with the beginning of The Great War. World War I drove entire populations into great hardship as the prosperity people enjoyed made way for giant war machines.The decision of a gunman in that day changed the world. But it was another man's decision weeks later that truly determined the future of the nations. Those decisions, made that summer, affect your world today.Both men failed to understand the effects of the past leading up to that day and didn't count the cost of what those decisions would mean for the future. Neither man took the long view of history.Stay tuned to Beyond Today as we examine “The Great War” and ask, “Will You Take the Long View?”[Announcer] Join our host, Darris McNeely on Beyond Today ![Darris] This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I. The poor decisions that led up to that conflict, and the ones made in its aftermath, have affected the entire world, even to this day. As we mark the 100th anniversary of The Great War, let's focus on how we can each learn from the mistakes of that war and create a better future for ourselves, our neighbors and the world.So how could one person's action halt the progress of the entire world?Let's look at one man. He was the emperor of Germany. His name was Kaiser Wilhelm II. A hundred years ago he made a decision that, along with many others made that summer, plunged a prosperous global world into the abyss of war.100 years ago the world was beginning to become a lot like our world today; they were beginning to enjoy the benefits of globalization. People had every reason to believe that life would only continue to get better.100 years ago, medicine was beginning to help people avoid dying from common diseases, instant communication was possible through the telegraph, air travel was just beginning to take shape, and more people were becoming educated.100 years ago, the world had every reason to expect a great period of peace, prosperity and good will among nations. Human progress in every area promised good things.But in the summer of 1914 events in Europe began to spin out of control. The nations were armed to their teeth and a spark, a political assassination of a little known member of the Austrian royal family, ignited weeks of tension. In August, at a small kitchen table in his dining room, Kaiser Wilhelm signed a piece of paper that committed troops to war.That signature changed the world; World War I had just begun. And 100 years later, we still feel the effects.I was fortunate enough to visit his home while on a personal trip a few years ago. I saw that table. Right in the next room where there is a huge floor-to-ceiling windows that look down a row of trees two miles long. After walking out of that kitchen, I looked out those windows and I wondered if Wilhelm had looked out of them, too, and thought that what he had just done would impact millions of people in every country of the world for the next century.Did he look way off into the distance and think about the long-term consequences? Did he take a long view of history? As a husband and father of children, did he think about the long term impact of what he had just done and what it would do to other husbands, wives and children?I wonder. But we should.Do you think about the long-term consequences of your decisions? Do you take the long view of history? In other words, do you “think beyond today”?Look at the world right now. Look at Russia, Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, China and Japan. While we have amazing luxuries like smart phones, there are also major problems boiling just under the surface in these and other nations. And just like Kaiser Wilhelm, it's possible that the decision of one person could change everything we enjoy so much. It could directly affect you—and the life that you enjoy today.But the problems are not just political. They are spiritual.In the Bible, the book of James explains why there are so many wars and problems. It asks: “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war” (James 4:1-2 1 From where come wars and fights among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 You lust, and have not: you kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not. ×).Human leaders will fail to solve the world's problems. Why? Because the problems are spiritual. It will take a change of heart to effect a lasting solution. The world will not get better unless we get leadership that measures up to the quality expressed by the biblical prophet Ezekiel, who recorded God's promises to Israel this way: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them” (Ezekiel 36:26-27 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them. ×).Let's consider the worldwide effects of that one decision by Kaiser Wilhelm. Then we can consider the lesson for each of us. History has much to teach us at our level, at the personal level.Four empires—the Russian, German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires—they were gone after, at the completion of that war. They vanished.In Russia, its empire went through a revolution that resulted in communism. And dictator after dictator killed millions of their own people there.Germany, it was punished so severely after World War I through economic sanctions by the rest of its European neighbors that it plunged into a total economic depression which led to the rise of a man named, Adolph Hitler.Almost every problem of fundamentalism and terrorism that we see today in the Middle East can be traced back to the aftermath of the fall of the Ottoman Empire. You've heard of the conflict between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims? These groups have fought each other for more than a thousand years. The Ottomon Empire kept all of these tension in check, much the same way that the Hapsburg Empire kept the Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks in check.The causes of World War I are stories about petty men who desired more—more power, more land, more prestige; more, more, and more. They sure got more—more death, more suffering and more destruction.Like leaders who went before them and have come after, they did not take a long view of history in order to make the right decisions for their people. They did not make sound decisions based on truth, justice and temperance.Back in the book of James, he continues by saying this, “Don't you realize that friendship with this world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again, that if your aim is to enjoy this world, you can't be a friend of God.” (James 4:4You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.×, NLT).The leaders of the world 100 years ago did not submit to the values of truth, justice and temperance. They were not friends of the true God. Oh, they knew God, but they had a god created in their own image and their actions proved it.But you can learn from history. And we don't have to repeat man's mistakes. We can learn what God's plan is from the Bible. By seeking out God, we can make right choices. Thinking beyond today can help us develop a friendship with God and become enemies of the culture of death so often spawned in today's world. It can help us change our lives on the inside and produce thoughts and actions that lead to peace.We can make decisions in our lives that lead to peace, but what about on a global scale? If the problems of the world are spiritual, what hope is there for peace? I'll answer those questions coming up, but first I'd like to tell you about a free offer that we'd like to make to you today.In any study of history, wars and mankind's problems, it will inevitably lead to a discussion about Bible prophecy. Through His Word, the Bible, God foretold that man would be unable to solve his problems, and that his attempts to do so would lead to end-time tragedy so great, that Jesus Christ would have to return to intervene (Matthew 24:21-22 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. ×). Prophecy ministries will make outlandish claims about end time prophecies and scenarios from today's news headlines. Some even unfortunately make the mistake of setting dates and predicting a date that the world will end. We do not do that on Beyond Today . But we do teach Bible prophecy and we present topics and material that help you understand why events in today's world matter. And so, that's why we have prepared a special offer for you today.Our free Bible study guide, Are We Living in the Time of the End? solidly grounds you in the Bible and helps you understand the “why does this matter?” of today's news. I'll tell you more about how to get your free copy later in the program—and you can call our toll free phone number at any time.As we continue, you may be thinking why are we looking back 100 years to the beginning of World War I? But, we are showing how the decisions of one person can have far reaching consequences for the entire world—and our world today. 100 years after World War I, we are looking at the similarities between their day and ours. That's the big reason you should study history.Every evening when I sit down to watch the news, there are commercials for charities that benefit wounded warriors. After more than a decade of war in two Middle Eastern countries, there are countless soldiers who could use the support after suffering injury at war. Every commercial tells a short heart-wrenching story about men and women who were wounded and survived their injuries from bombs and bullets in Iraq and Afghanistan.