In 1994 a man named Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Palestinians, and wounded over a hundred more. He believed he was waging a holy war and that his enemies deserved killing. People of faith tend to think and act to the extremes. As Christians, we need to think and act by the power of The Gospel. In America today, it sure feels like a lot of Christians are thinking from the same mindset that motivated Mr. Goldstein. It is alarming.
There is a lot of talk and even panic over the possibility of Syrian refugees coming into our country. I don’t want to get into a political debate over whether they should or shouldn’t. But, as Christians, we need to be constantly asking the question of how we may reach people with the Gospel. The Government we have allows for voting, interaction with Representatives, and activism. We should exercise those opportunities we have been given. So vote, and correspond with the offices of your representatives and senators, and trust in the sovereignty of the same God who left Nero on the throne long enough to kill thousands of Jesus’ followers. But we should absolutely be strategizing how we may utilize every means to reach the nations with the Gospel. When the nations come to our shores, we can bellyache about how they are going to kill us, or we can meet them with the Gospel.
The Gospel is bigger than guns and bombs. Jesus is greater than Allah. IF you are an evangelical Christian, you should already believe this.
**Blog originally posted on Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters.
Ole Rudy was on to something.
If you have never done a self-evaluation to determine whether you are a “glass half empty” or a “glass half full” kind of person, you should do it. You may need to get really vulnerable and transparent and ask the people around you, closest to you—those you trust. The fact is, pessimism is a fairly cultural norm in our generation. We tend to think the worst in any given situation, and we tend to expect the worst outcome. We impose this onto people, expecting others to disappoint us, and we rarely give others the benefit of the doubt. We sort of expect the worst out of people and almost wait for failure to ensue.
But in a world where enough bad stuff happens, a Gospel Man will look for opportunities for Christ to shine in the worst situations. I want to be the kind of man who cannot, and will not, be discouraged.
When the economy tanks, Jesus is still on the Throne, and opportunities abound. When terrorists attack and politicians disappoint, The Gospel will still thrive. We serve a God who DOES. He is at work, and things are happening everywhere for His Glory. We need to view life through THAT lens.
And we need to remember Jesus’ words in Mark 10, “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
But we'll get into that in part 2...
Over the past week, a lot of people have given thoughts and opinions concerning the terrorist attack in Paris. I have read encouraging words from pastors and Christian bloggers who point us to Christ and the hope of the Gospel, but others have pointed a finger at the very Lord they reject. In situations like this, the questions of God, good and evil are always brought up. It seems that people will inevitably question the power, goodness or even the existence of God. We know from scripture, though, that evil is always present, and people will grow more and more evil (Matthew 24:12). People are evil, but Jesus is still sovereign, and literally “in Him, all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).
The Psalmist asks the question, “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?”(Psalm 2:1). The hope we are given is that God is not defeated when evil seems to prevail and people plot against Him and the work of The Gospel. I am hopeful, and even in the midst of pain and suffering, I am confident that Christ is still in power and there will be a day when no more evil and suffering exist. I am thankful for this truth, and in moments like these, I look forward to that day.
I recently was asked this question in an e-mail, and I wanted to share my response. If most of us are honest with ourselves, we'd admit that at some point or another we've also struggled with doubt. Maybe this response would even open up discussions in the comments below. I'd love to hear from ya'll. I'd also like to start answering more of ya'lls questions on here, so e-mail or comment below with some of them.
Doubt is never far from faith’s shoulder.”-St. Augustine
I don’t know if you remember that quote or not, or if I even shared it with you before, but it is often an encouragement to me. I hope it will be to you. For a true believer, I am convinced that doubt—NOT FALSE ASSURANCE—is the more prevalent struggle. If I am in Christ, then the tactic of the enemy will be to convince me that I am not in Christ or to rob me of my joy.
If I am not in Christ, then a sense of false assurance will be more prevalent. An unregenerate person doesn’t deal with doubt, because there is nothing to doubt. Doubt attacks belief, not unbelief.
Additionally, I read Anne Voskamp’s book 1000 Gifts, and she makes a good point in there about a person’s thoughts and emotions. She says that it is impossible to be overwhelmed by more than one emotion at a time. The only way to defeat and drive out a negative emotion is to replace it with a more powerful positive emotion. She makes a solid biblical inference to the emotion of thanksgiving. That one thing will conquer fear and doubt every time. What are you thankful for? You have to ask yourself that question and answer it as an offensive weapon.
Lastly, Matthew 12 is a reference by Jesus to the Pharisees who have just attributed evil works to The Holy Spirit. That, he says, is unforgivable. A believer doesn’t do this. In fact, I like this explanation, by Rick Cornish in a book called “Five Minute Theologian”—
“Concern about committing it reveals the opposite attitude of what the sin is. Those who might be guilty wouldn’t care because they have no distress or remorse over the possibility.”
Hope this helps. I will be praying for you. Continue to fight for truth and rest in CHRIST alone. He is the one who saved us, not we ourselves.