Daily Devotional for Saturday December 15, 2012
Shooting in Connecticut
(Psalms 51:10, John 3:16)
***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, if someone is diagnosed with a terminal disease and chooses not to have surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, is that a sin?
ANSWER: No. However, it is not wisdom. God's 1 healing instrument are doctors and medicine. It was God who gave people the wisdom to become a doctor, and God who inspired people to create medicines. In the end, God has the final word, but people should use the resources God makes available to them.
Over the last 10 years there has been an epidemic of shooting in our nation's schools, that really began with Columbine. They have taken place in elementary, junior high, and high schools. These schools have been located in rural areas, as well as the suburbs. Those who have committed these senseless acts of violence have been boys and girls, although mostly boys. After each one of these incidents, the unanswered question remains, why?
First, our prayers are with the parents and families of those who lost children and loved ones in the horrific massacre at the Connecticut school yesterday. It is unthinkable that a parent sends their child to kindergarten, first grade, second grade, in a peaceful affluent community and a tragedy like this happens. While most think such acts of violence are restricted to the inner cities, think again. Sadly, random acts of violence, death, can strike anywhere at anytime!
In attempting to answer the big question of why, we get an endless parade of pundits, psychologists, and politicians. At the top of the debate is our nation's gun laws. Now I am all for any laws that can help make guns in our society safer without impeding on our Constitutional rights. The fact is, we have law books full of gun laws, many of which are not being properly enforced.
Also visible in this ongoing debate is society's role in the lives of those who commit these acts of violence. The role of parents and the school in these incidents is also hotly debated. Children over the last generation have also grown up in a culture of death. From killing babies, to the violent video games so many grow up with, to the horror put out by Hollywood, the younger generation has grown up without viewing life as special or sacred.
Here is the real answer though. You see, we are all born into sin, with a heart that is prone to sin. Society has put some limits on what is acceptable behavior, but the fact is when a person chooses to ignore those limits, he or she is capable of the most heinous kind of actions imaginable. So many kids grow up today without a moral foundation, without any absolute truth in their lives, without an understanding that there are very real consequences for their actions. It is the job of the Christian community to show people a moral base from which we must live our lives, that there is absolute truth, right and wrong, and that sin carries consequences.
In just the past few months we have had the killing of people at the Batman movie in Colorado, the killing of people worshipping at the Sheik Temple in Wisconsin, the mall killings in Oregon earlier this week, and now this school shooting yesterday in Connecticut. Of course, anyone who commits such a heinous act has some serious mental problems. I want to add that they also have shown to be void of any faith foundation!
The real answer to this problem lies within the church, the Christian community, those of us who acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. You see, my friend, too many of us have decided to sit on our hands and remain silent in our daily lives. When you accept Christ into your life, you become an ambassador of the Lord. You no longer have the luxury of not being involved. It is no accident those people God has placed in our lives.
It is no accident we go to school where we do, work where we do, and live where we do. However, rather than letting our lights shine, far too many of God's children hide their lights under a bushel. We tend to only associate with other Christians and are very bad at reaching out to others. The example Christ gave us in His earthly ministry was to reach out to the hurting, the broken, and the downtrodden. Yet we see these people in our lives each and every day and pass them by, just like the Priests passed by the wounded traveler on the road to Jericho in the story of the Good Samaritan.
WE CANNOT IGNORE THOSE WHO ARE HURTING, SINCE WE HAVE THE ANSWER TO THEIR HURTS AND PAINS!!!
Unfortunately, so many children grow up now in homes where their parents are not Christians, thus the parents are also lacking a Christian foundation in their life. Just as bad is the fact that so many kids grow up in one-parent homes. ***Let me just say this to you parents. You took the vows and responsibility to get married. You took the responsibility to have children. I am acutely aware of the circumstances that cause marriages to break up, but let me challenge you. Before you end your marriage, before you act in what is often just a selfish matter, know what the consequences of your actions will be in the lives of your children.
I pray that this is a lesson to you young adults to really think first before getting married. Don't get unequally yoked. Have a firm spiritual base to your relationship. In most cases, children will one day be involved in your life, and your actions will have a profound impact on their lives. Marriage is not something to enter into lightly. Having children is the biggest responsibility you will have in this life, so think about that when you are tempted to have sex without being married.
I love you and care about you so much. If you are reading this and have never committed your life to Christ, let me assure you that He has a love for you that you have never experienced before. Life does not have to be so confusing. There are answers to those problems you have that seem insurmountable. God can give you options you never even thought of. Most of all, though, He has a perfect plan for your life, if you will just surrender yourself to Him.
Go to my website, www.liveprayer.com and click on: http://www.liveprayer.com/plan.cfm .Before you listen to it, just pray, "God, open my heart to theses words you have for me". There is nothing magical about getting saved. It won't make all your problems go away overnight. But you will have a new strength and new power within you that will literally change your life. If you ever need me, I am here for you. My personal email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Never hesitate to email me if I can help you. You are not alone!
I pray that these words today will encourage you and challenge your life. Am I saying Christians are responsible for these school shootings? Of course not. But we do have a responsibility to share the love and hope we have in Christ with those God brings into our life. It is not an option. He did not give us the words of life, and He did not give us His love so that we can simply hold onto it for ourselves. He gave it to us freely, so that we can give it to others freely.
Will people reject your attempts? Yes. Will people still do evil things like randomly shoot classmates or others who are simply at the wrong place at the wrong time? Yes. We cannot eliminate sin from the world in which we live in, but we can do our part to share the love and hope of Christ with others each day. God never asked us to do it all, just our part.
***The truth is, this a society where sin runs freely throughout; it is ONLY the people of God that keep it from being total chaos!!! Those who do share their faith, reach out to others, and take a bold stand for Christ are the ONLY reason we don't have more of these types of incidents. We have THE ANSWER in Christ, so let's be encouraged and get serious about sharing that answer with everyone we meet!
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ,