November 16, 2015

I know we need the rain – we always do – but it sure makes Monday a little tougher. My Monday has been busy so far but a lot of it revolves around all that God is doing. I pray that God is making your life busy today! Are you busy doing what will matter for eternity? If not . . . GET BUSY!!
I want to address today the topic which dominated the weekend and that is the terrorist attacks in Paris. Let me first say that my heart goes out to those involved and to those who lost loved ones. We are praying even today for them and for their suffering. My prayer is that somehow God will use this opportunity to impact those families for eternity. I also pray for comfort and for those to come alongside of them to ease their pain.
The question that has dominated conversation and commentary is, "What can we do about this?" Let me first just give a personal opinion based more on a human perspective and then let me say a word about what we can do from a spiritual perspective. Humanly I hear those on all different sides. There are those who propose that the only solution is to go in and "kill them all." I admit to at least sympathizing with this view. There is truth to be had in that we realize these terrorists will not be stopped by mere words. It is a clash of cultures and religions. It is a conflict that is not going to go away. Not in our lifetimes and maybe never. It is extremely sad and frustrating and we have probably not seen the worst of this just yet. There are others who believe that these are merely "disaffected youth" who need jobs and are only turning to this radicalism out of frustration. I also admit that this is an extremely complicated issue. From a human perspective it is going to require the use of force but hopefully we will go beyond that. We simply can't "kill them all" even if we wanted to . . . and I am not suggesting that we should. But we will have to exercise leadership and courage and perseverance in dealing with this ongoing battle.
So what can "we" do? What "should" we do as Christ-followers? Jim Denison has a good article on the subject in which he mentions two lessons. One of them was this: "First, the Paris massacre shows that no one is promised tomorrow, that we must "make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16, NIV). What happened in France could happen anywhere." This should serve as a reminder to all of us that life is brief. We need to be about the business of sharing the gospel with friends and neighbors. We truly need to live each day as if it might be our last because at one point in time it truly will be. For those in Paris they had no idea that they would face eternity last Friday. Today may be our day . . . or our neighbor's day. There should be a sense of urgency as we face each day.
The article also mentioned that Islam is threatened by the spread of the gospel. Satan does not want to see the world turn to Christ. But none of this should come as a surprise to us: "So expect the enemy of God to attack the children of God, and refuse to be afraid. Jesus warned us, "In the world you will have tribulation." Then he called us to "take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). Know that "he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4). And your joyful courage will be your witness to a frightened world."
The last thing I would say is that we are called to pray for the terrorists as well. We may think it won't do any good. But I think we are selling our God short if we have that attitude. Prayer changes things. It can change the hearts of these as well. God loves them as well as us. They need to hear the message of salvation and we need to realize that the only permanent solution to this situation will not come by "killing them all" but by seeing Christ move in their lives throughout the world.
What are you doing today to serve?