Monday, March 9, 2009

Church shootings and quiet desperation…

Thoreau said many years ago that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. The silence is being broken all too often these days as shootings are regularly taking place in places no one could have anticipated. Garden Grove...Knoxville...New Maryville. Recently the state of Arkansas considered eliminating a law that forbade the carrying of concealed weapons in churches. Gratefully, reason prevailed and the bill failed. This context of shootings in a place where people come to cast themselves before God makes the tragedy even more unfathomable. Or perhaps not- there is likely something subconciously or even overtly symbolic in these actions

No matter the motive, a choice was made and a life is gone. A family is devastated, a community changed by a single bullet. I must agree with those who say this is an assault in a spiritual war against the body of Christ.

All around us we discern an encroaching darkness, a disregard for the value of human life and a desensitizing of mens’ hearts to the violence that encompasses us. We also find our own hearts forgetting to ponder our mortality and our need for a right relationship with God. In these dark days we need to remember who it was who brought us into his marvelous light, and take comfort that those before us who walked by faith and not by sight found the light sufficient for the day and for every day, indeed.

Fred Winters was ready to meet Jesus; we must all live with intentionality and be ready to stand before our Creator to account for our lives. Are you ready?

If you are relying on what you think is your own relative goodness to go to Heaven, you should tremble- this is exactly what sends people to an eternity without Christ- what we call Hell. Conversely, if you think you are seeking God, it is actually God who is calling to you. Don't answer the call of competing substitutes- Seek God in His Word, and you will be found.

Things to learn from this:

**It is OK to be angry and question in times of turmoil. God is big enough to love you through the doubts and pain if you will let Him. We must come to terms with our finiteness in God’s way.

**Deep times of trial and calamity and testing can be the occasion for God to glorify himself though us. He will show us how through His Word.

**Suffering can be turned into glory to God if it is not wasted and your respond by trusting and blessing God in all circumstances. This is a key to growing spiritually.

**When chaotic evil strikes, we must remember that this is the result of man’s rebellion against God and that there but for the Grace of God go we all. What men work for evil, God works for good.

**God’s will comes in two forms- his decrees, which always come to pass and his commands, which are for our blessing or cursing, involving our responses. Proper and righteous responses come by the power of God’s Holy Spirit operating in us.

**Just as we trusted Christ to save us, so too we can trust him to sustain us and give us a future and a sure hope.

**We are called to take up the cross and follow Christ- there is no such thing as cheap grace. Comfortable Christianity is a thing we manufacture all too often.

**We must understand that while there is evil and a personal Satan at large in the world, God is on the throne, and man doesn’t require the help of Satan to act according to a fallen nature.

**We must remember that there is a cost to taking up the cross and following Christ, and this is for all Christians, not just the mature ones..

**We must understand that forgiveness is offered to anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord, and that while righteous anger is normal and devastation real, there is peace that passes understanding that flows from grace.

**We all have to learn these things through incarnation in our lives- they do not come to wisdom in us by reciting them as platitudes, but by vitally living them in the real world.

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