Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Thoughts on Virginia Tech

The following contains excerpts from an article sent to me by Max Shunk. I'm not sure who wrote the article, just that it was made available through The Christian Business Men's Committee. The excerpts will be in quotations.

How do we stop the Virginia Tech shootings from happening again?

"The gospel must be preached and lived before a broken, confused and searching world. The only solution to the VT tragedy is the submission of men to God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Gun control is not the answer. Rich Americans are not the problem. Sin in the hearts of men causes us to turn from God and do evil. Evil at the extreme is alliance with God’s enemy who seeks to steal, kill and destroy. The only solution is for the power of sin to be broken in a man’s life, that power is the gospel of Jesus Christ as Paul states in Romans 1.16."

We must spread the gospel message. If everything good comes from God, than we can only assume that people do bad things as a result of a week relationship with our savior, Jesus Christ, or a lack of a relationship at all. If we want the violence to stop in this world, we must bring people to an understanding of who Jesus is and what He did for us.

"The church must return to its first love and to its first work of making true disciples, which are obedient adherents of the commands of Jesus Christ. We must repent from our carnal ways and begin anew to take up our cross daily to follow Jesus Christ."

The command to go out into the world and make disciples of all nations is commonly called "The Great Commission." It was the last thing that Jesus instructed before he ascended into heaven. Our purpose on this earth is to bring glory to God. One of the many ways we can do so is to bring more souls to him.

"Let us make every effort to avoiding [another] Virginia Tech occurrence by pursuing God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and then pursue the salvation of all men with the best part of our time, talent and treasure."

The bottom line is this; the more souls that are won over for Christ, the less of a chance of Virginia Tech happening again. When things like this happen, it serves as a grave reminder that we need to constantly be thinking about our witness. You never know what might happen next.

Questions? Comments?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

God is Good

It's amazing how God provides encouragement at just the right times and in just the right ways. Today, for no particular reason I was looking through some of Layne's old postings on his blog, when I stumbled upon a post entitled "God's Grace is Sufficient For Me." The post was inspired by my Grandma Dyer. I don't know how I missed it when he posted it, but this time it hit me right where it counts.

Now, without Layne's permission, here is the post:

Recently a lot of things have been going on, and it has all come together quickly. On Thursday, a good friend of mine called to inform me that his grandmother passed away. His grandmother, whom I knew and met was a wonderful person. When he and I were in elementary, occasionally we would go to her home and eat lunch. I also knew her from church. anyway. Lately I have been struggling with unemployment, Christmas, and all those wonderful things about new homes and things to do around the house. Not that we NEED to fix or replace anything, we WANT to. We want to put in a sliding glass door for example. Needless to say, these things take money. At the funeral on Sat. near the end, a remark was made about a comment Grandma used to say. That comment was simply: God's grace is sufficient for me. So this morning (Sunday) as I was preparing for church, my mind was filled with things I would like to get done around the house. After each one I reminded myself, God's grace is sufficient for me. At service, our pastor spoke on humility. That we are to be like Christ, who "stepped down" from being omni-present so that He could be human and save the lives of those whom He cared for. He came to serve and die for us, so that we may experience eternal life with Him.
I guess this really just hit home to me because in life, we want to become recognized, important, and excel in our careers. We want promotions and advancements and recognition for what we do and have done to better our own lives. While this isn't all wrong, its not why we are here. We are here to serve. We are in the service of Christ, and need to serve Him and His purpose, not our own. Now that's not to say promotions are bad, however its better to be satisfied with a smaller paycheck that allows for family time and acts of servitude, than to be rich and not have time for the real reason we are here.

As for me and my home, we will serve the Lord, because God's grace is sufficient for me.

Thank you Layne for the kind words about my Grandmother. Thank you God for the encouragement. Thank you God for people Like Layne, my Grandma and countless others to keep me going.

Questions? Comments?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Life Got You Down?

Can a Christian be depressed? Can someone who has the ultimate gift of eternal life get down on themselves? Can even a Christian have thoughts of hurting themselves, or even suicide? The answer is…. Absolutely!

Before you read any further, if you are not sure of your salvation, please see my post entitled: "The Good Person Test." If one is not saved, the message of the bible seems foolish to him. (1 Corinthians 1:18)

To my knowledge, the bible never promises us peace and tranquility while we are still in this life. Though I could give you countless personal examples of one's life becoming easier when they receive the gift of salvation, the fact is, the Bible warns us to expect hardship and persecution. (1 Peter 4:12) No, living the Christian life is not an easy task.

So what do we do when we start to feel down? Let's look to the bible for answers:

Psalms 42:6 says "O my God, my life is cast down upon me [and I find the burden more than I can bear]; therefore will I [earnestly] remember You from the land of the Jordan [River] and the [summits of Mount] Hermon, from the little mountain Mizar." (Amplified Bible )
We should meditate on God's word. Soak it in. Read it every chance we get. The bible is where the reassurance lies. Remember that God does care, even when it seems that no one else does.

1 Samuel 1:10 - "And she [Hannah] was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD…" (KJV)
We should pray when we feel down. Prayer is key. Cast your cares upon God. He knows how to deal with any situation given to him.

Psalms 34: 1-3 - "I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the LORD's greatness; let us exalt his name together." (NLT)
In everything, praise the Lord. Live your life for him. What could be more gratifying than doing the will of the creator of the universe?

2 Corinthians 4: 8-9 - "We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed." (NLT)
Take refuge in the fact that God will never leave you, nor forsake you, (Hebrews 3:5,6) and everything that happens to you, he will use to build you up. (Romans 8:28)

Psalms 139: 17,18 - "Your thoughts are far beyond my understanding, much more than I could ever imagine. I try to count your thoughts, but they outnumber the grains of sand on the beach." (CEV)
God cares about you. God loves you and God is thinking about you. He only wants the best for all of his followers. (Jeremiah 29:11) Don't ever think that you are beyond God's help.

Mathew 11:28-30 - "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (KJV)
Cast your Cares upon Jesus and he shall sustain you.

I know that giving it over to God is easier said than done, but don't think for a moment that I've never struggled with depression. Don't think that the greatest preachers and Christian thinkers in the world don't occasionally have negative thoughts, life issues, or even suicidal thoughts. The issue is not having these thoughts or feeling this way. The issue is learning how to deal with them.

So allow yourself to get past these thoughts. If they are stemming from negative influences in you life, then cut those influences out. For some that might mean not hanging out with some of your friends for a while. For others that might mean not watching certain movies, or listening to certain music.

If it stems from issues in the past, then put those past issues behind you. This might mean forgiving someone in your past for hurting you. Still to others it might mean forgiving yourself for things that you have done. This is hard, but find a way to forgive. Ask God for the strength to do it.

In Closing, I would like to leave you with the words of the Apostle Paul written in Philippians 4:8 "And now, brothers [and sisters], as I close this letter let me say one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about."
If you are feeling totally alone, remember at this very moment, you are of great value to God, and you have friends who are willing to listen and want to help.

Questions? Comments?

"The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity" Proverbs 11:3