Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My thoughts - take them or leave them!

I’ve been mulling a blog post for a while now and even posted one for about 24 hours and took it down a while back.  The Lord is working in our lives in such a tremendous way right now doing things that I never thought possible.  But, for our family’s sake, we feel it best to keep those cards close to the vest for a while!  What I will share is that we have a beautiful little girl who came to live with us on October 29th and with whom we have completely fallen in love!  She is perfectly suited to our family and we are so thankful to have her, for however long we may get to keep her! 

 But, that’s not what today’s post is about.  The last post you see when you scroll down was written after a tragedy occurred in our small town.  Writing is cathartic for me…it helps me to get everything out and down on paper.  Lots of times I write random e-mails never putting someone in the “to” line…just to get it out.  (Tell me I’m not the only one, please!)  I’m sitting here now, hoping that writing will help me process and figure out what’s going on.

Of course, this time the trigger for my need to write was prompted by another display of the Evil with which our world is inundated.  Last Friday the world was once again reminded that when Evil is left unchecked, it will devour, just as 1 Peter 5:8 says it will.  Almost immediately, as is human nature, people were asking two questions:

1.       Why did this happen?
2.       How do we prevent it from happening again?

I submit that there is one reason and one reason alone that this happened.  And, unfortunately, it’s not a shock to me why it happened.  It happened because man is fallible.  It happened because man is sinful.  It happened because man is not inherently good.  No, in fact, I believe it to be the opposite.  Man is inherently evil and is born with a sin nature.  There are two individuals who were not created with sin nature and by one of their actions, sin entered this world.  (Romans 5:12)  I caution you not to read that statement and assume that I’m saying all men would act on this evil nature.  But, what I am saying is that but for God’s grace, we ALL are capable of such destruction.   1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that any temptation you have ever had is common to ALL men.  So if the Bible says that all temptations I’ve ever had are common to all men, doesn’t it stand to reason that the same logic could be applied in the reverse…that all temptation any other man has ever felt is common to my nature as well? 

So why do some act on that temptation and others don’t?  Darkness – that’s all I can figure.  All the psychiatrists and drugs in the world cannot overcome true Darkness.  Darkness cannot be measured on a scale.  It cannot be “treated” out of a person.  Sure, it can be stayed.  It can be mitigated to a point.  But we are foolish to believe that our worldly efforts can drive out Satan and His desire to steal, kill and destroy.  Our pastor addressed it this way and it was eye opening to me.  We push God out of our lives, out of our society because of our fleshly desires to partake in “misdemeanor” sins.  We (and yes, I am using the word WE…including myself here) desire to act on fleshly impulses and enjoy sin for a season.  That is our nature.  We push God aside making excuses and justifying our actions vowing to make time for God tomorrow.  Then, we ask God, “where were you?” when we commit those sins that WE would consider to be felonies.  I am not of the opinion that this was planned, sent or sanctioned by God – and the discussion of why bad things happen to ‘good’ people is not something I wish to give my opinion on right now.  However, if we wish to blame anyone, let’s blame the author of confusion.  Let’s blame the one who Isaiah describes as weakening the nations.  (Isaiah 14:12)  Sure, we can try to blame upbringing.  We can try to blame mental illness.  We can try to blame any number of issues – all of which may have real merit!  Ultimately, though, NONE of this is God’s plan or desire for our life.  There is one who takes delight in evil and who uses His power to confuse and confound and tempt.  The sin, as my pastor stated, will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay. 

As there is one reason this happened – there is only One Way to make sure it won’t happen again.  Jesus said I am THE WAY.  (John 14:6)  And yes, I know that He was talking about being the only way to get to Heaven.  I know I’m using that in an unusual context.  But if we think for one minute that any of our worldly actions (better psychiatrists, more drugs, more locks on doors, gun control) will get us out of this mess and prevent another tragedy from happening then we are sadly mistaken.  Just as 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that temptation is common to all men, it ALSO states that God is faithful and that He will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able, but that He will make a way to escape.  He has provided us that Way, that Truth and that Life.  A few months ago, when teaching a bunch of 1st-3rd graders, our lesson focused on Ephesians 6 and the armour of God.  I taught the children the lesson and tried to make it interesting by really focusing when it says to stand against the WILES of the Devil.  (Picture me making myself look like a fool when discussing the WIIIILLLLLEEESSSS of the Devil)  The chapter continues saying “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day.”  What is the armour of God?  It is armour God gives us to protect not against principalities and powers, but against the “rulers of darkness in this world.”  It is the breastplate of righteousness and the sword of the Spirit.  (The Bible)  Until we (collective) humble ourselves at the feet of the Almighty begging His forgiveness and inviting Him back into our lives, we can’t prevent Satan from having His way.  Matthew 16:18 says that only a life built upon a Rock can prevail against the gates of Hell. 

To whom is that Rock offered as a foundation?  There’s one simple answer for that.  “For God so loved THE WORLD that He gave His Only Begotten Son that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16 – I don’t see any restrictions on that, do you?  We are all sinful.  (Romans 5:12)  The wages of sin is death – eternal separation from God.  (Romans 6:23)  Jesus’ blood is the only payment for sin.  (1 John 9:17 and Hebrews 9:22)  All we have to do is accept that He died for our sins and accept His sacrifice as full and final payment for those sins.  Please visit http://ardenroadbaptist.com/salvation1.html for a more thorough and much better thought-out response than I’ve provided here!  Or – call me!

And, lest ye think I am coming from a “high and mighty” place, I would like to once again emphasize that all throughout this I’ve used the word “WE” – I am a sinner.  I am capable of the most heinous sin.  I sin every day.  But, I am forgiven – Jesus lives in my heart and by the Grace of God Himself – I have found the escape route offered!