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Dr. James C. Denison
President, Center for Informed Faith, Dallas, TX
February 25, 2011

Terrorism in Texas

Yesterday terrorism came home. A Saudi-born college student named Khalid Aldawsari was arrested in Lubbock, Texas on charges he plotted to build and detonate bombs inside the United States. Reuters is reporting that targets for his alleged plot included former President George W. Bush’s home in Dallas, 12 reservoirs and dams in Colorado and California, nuclear power plants, New York City, and a Dallas night club. If he had succeeded, my city would have joined the growing list of terror victims.

God redeems all he allows—how could he be at work in these tumultuous times?

First, by showing us our daily need for his presence and protection. A dear friend who lost his son three years ago has taught me a valuable lesson: we cannot control outcomes. We think we can, but we’re wrong. The future is known only to God. None of us imagined a month ago that we would see the fall of Egypt’s entrenched president and the imminent collapse of the Gaddafi regime in Libya. What apparently stable countries will shock us next month? Have you submitted this Friday to your Father?

Second, he would use these events to mobilize his people in fervent prayer for peace in this troubled region. The rise of Iran is especially disturbing, given Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s larger agenda. A reader who grew up in Syria and has traveled widely in Iran responded to yesterday’s essay with this statement: “Their religious philosophy is so different, particularly on the future and the end of the world. . . . They believe that they need to do everything they can to speed up the end of the world and the return of the 12th Imam (nothing in the Qur’an speaks about this whatsoever).”

The reader is right. Iran is dominated by Shiite Muslims, most of whom believe that Muhammad had twelve true successors (“imams”), the last of whom was “occluded” (hidden) in AD 941 and will return one day to dominate the world for Islam. They call this 12th Imam the “Mahdi” and view him as a kind of Messiah.

Mr. Ahmadinejad has told his people that the Mahdi delays his return because the Muslim world tolerates Israel. He has stated numerous times that Israel has no right to exist. There is no doubt in the mind of Israel’s leaders that if he had the military capacity to launch an attack on their country he would do so. This fact is what makes his ambition to acquire nuclear capacity so troubling. There is no reason for worry today, as experts in the region are convinced that Iran is years away from developing such technology. But their leaders’ desire to do so should motivate us to pray.

The good news is that the Spirit is on the march in Iran and the Middle East, as we’ll see on Monday. For today, let’s obey God’s call: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels'” (Psalm 122:6-7). Have you prayed for the peace of Jerusalem and the Middle East yet this morning?

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