Faith & Reason ... a mystery

Monday, December 17, 2012

Our hearts go to Newtown, CT...our rescue is needed

I received this email from a friend after Friday's terrible shooting in Newtown, CT.
A thought to ponder.
My wife said to me last night as we were watching the news about the horrific shootings of innocent children in Newtown, Connecticut that while this is certainly horrible apparently we think nothing of the large number of abortions that occur every day in this country.  So what is the difference?
I have to agree with her.  In the name of "choice", "its my body" and "inconvenience" we are permitting the same thing to innocents that cannot  be led to safety.  And the really sad part is, it is "legal" within our nations law.
How grieved our Heavenly Father must be. 

My response was: Last night I was at the Community Christmas Celebration with all the different musical groups and one on the ladies asked me, "How could so much evil exist? How could someone be so intentional in going and slaughtering children?" I comforted her...while I was having the same thought.

Yesterday's events cause us to cry and want to hug our children and grandchildren. I certainly did...these children were loved and wanted while their lives were snuffed out by a crazy man. It is also a real part of our world that children are terminated everyday in this country because they are not wanted. Children with special needs are top on the list. Evil exists because we live in a fallen world that needs to be rescued.

It is terribly hard for these families and they will never truly recover...only scar over and learn to cope. Their Christmas' will never be the same from this point on. The truth is that we need a Savior and God chose to send himself in the form of a baby to rescue us...the message is even more appropriate this year.....what else can be said other than, "Jesus the Christ Child, God with us to rescue us from our sin."

We do not need armed teachers or armed guards at schools....what we need is the restoration of hope that comes from a nation that trust God, prays, and relies on Him for security and hope. We gave that away in our taking him out of schools, society, and culture.

You know I love ya, cry with you over Newtown, CT, and seeking the baby in the manger for our future. Don

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Major Weapon against fear....

 Good teaching will take you beyond your fear. Good teaching looks at your situation and says, “I never realized how small this place is.” It examines the limitations fear brings to any and every situation. Good teaching and a dedication to God's word changes your fear. 

When God transforms your mind, you look at your comfortable place, you look at your laziness, you look at that which used to please you and you realize how ugly, binding, and hindering your fear is...it is the insecurities, the desperation, the fear that is melted away when a person is willing to study God's word and plant the seeds of the word in the heart.

Consider these Scriptures on Fear:
Isaiah 41:13
For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Proverbs 1:33
"But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.

Psalm 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalms 46:1
GOD is our refuge and strength, and ever present help in trouble.

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Romans 8:15
For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Philippians 1:12-14
Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

The Word of God reveals to us that the circumstance is not beyond God's control and the circumstance is not about me. The circumstance is about how is God going to be glorified in it.

You know I love ya and together we will use this major weapon against fear,  Don

Monday, December 10, 2012

Facing your fears....even Camel Back Crickets!!!

Laird Hamilton wrote, “Do not be afraid of death. Be afraid of the half-lived life.” This is so true for the Christian life. Yet, we seem to live in non action because of fear. Have you ever been in a situation that never seems to change? You pray about it and there is only silence...nothing. Phobia's and doubts kill life.

I have a major phobia of Camel Back Crickets or Japanese Crickets. I had just moved from California, I was single, and young. I was lying on the coach one late evening with only the TV on the this huge bug crawled out over the carpet...

Yes, it was a camel back cricket. Now I usually don't get too excited about bugs or snakes or rodents. California is a fairly dry climate and these crickets cannot survive in that climate. I stood up and turned on a light and you guessed it...the thing jumped at me and I jumped back and it was gone...the rest of the night I never found the cricket...I was mortified. The night stood still and very silent!

I did some investigating the next day and one of our church elders said, “Oh yeah, we have those everywhere and they are perfectly harmless.” I did not care...it and all its friends had to go and I treated the perimeter of the apartment that day!

Well a few years later after Karen and I were married, we took a position at the Gethsemane Church of Christ. It is a beautiful big building with the Sanctuary on top of an English Basement. 10 Large Sunday School Classrooms and the restrooms were located in the Basement. Well...the basement of the church was invested with Camel Back Crickets. I took action and It was war...I was not going to let the crickets get the best of me. So, I became very good at tossing hymnals...I would toss a hymnal (these are big books) and often it would not kill one of these creatures. I have seen hymnals bounce with a cricket underneath it. To this day, there are hymnals at the Gethsemane Church of Christ with dead bug stains on the back of the cover from my tossing hymnals at Camel Back Crickets.

But, you know what? They don't bother me nearly as much as they used to. With good treatment of pesticides and my facing the crickets in the basement wars, I got to know my fear and learned to see it for what it was, just a fear. Don't get me wrong, I still cringe at the sight of one of those pests, but it is not as paralyzing as it once was.

You see, when we act on our fear, we demonstrate the quality of acting against fear, God is able to work and building within us the strength and courage to address the fear. Zachariah and Elizabeth were faithful to their calling and addressed their fear and disappointment by remaining faithful to God's righteousness. 

Facing ours fears...grants us strength. You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Qualities of fighting fear parts 1

  
Christmas is a time Christians celebrate the divine miracle of the incarnation. This is God’s way of stepping into life on this planet to fulfill his plan to restore our world. We live in a world that is broken and messed-up and because we live in a broken world there are so many things that we become afraid of. There are so many things that speak to us and WE CHOOSE TO LISTEN! When we are up against something we fear, we need to be rescued and stop listening to those things. Christmas tells the story of how God came to our world and how he alone has rescued us from our greatest fears. He has done this through revealing to us that our fears come from within us!

Whatever your fear, we have a comfort in knowing that we have been rescued this Christmas. Throughout all history from Adam to Abraham to Queen Esther to Zechariah to Peter to Paul to the early believers down through the ages of the church to you today...God has revealed himself to us so that we might not be afraid....and to know that He is with us. Question is...Do we trust Him?

In the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth we learn of faithful believers of God that put their trust in Him.

God chooses to rescue them and us by granting us the opportunity to trust in God's Son, Jesus Christ....this baby in a manger that lived and died for us.... A believer in God is rescued by the same qualities that Zechariah and Elizabeth possessed....Our fears are subdued by the qualities of prayer to God, acting against fear, trusting in God's Word, and living faith in God's ability

Will you join me and reject fear by allowing God to subdue our fear and rescue us this Christmas?

You know I love ya,
Don