Daily Devotional for Friday February 16, 2018

Today the Real Story of the Parkland, Florida School Shooting

(Psalms 51:10; John 3:16)

***DAILY PERSONAL PRAYER FOR YOU: Lord, even though we have no right to ask, please continue to watch over this nation. Thank you for showing us the clear signs of destruction our sin and rebellion have heaped upon our land. I pray today that as a nation we will turn back to you and your Truth. Give me strength as days of persecution are upon us, and let me stand proud and strong for you and your Kingdom. In the name of Jesus I pray...AMEN!

Parkland, Florida, a suburb of Ft. Lauderdale, is the latest place in our nation to experience the horror of a school shooting. First, please be praying for the families who lost loved ones in this senseless act, and for those who were injured to fully recover. I have been highly offended by media pundits and politicians who have been mocking “thoughts and prayers,” falsely claiming they are really meaningless. “Thoughts and prayers” aren’t the answer to stopping such senseless violence, they are meant for those who have suffered the loss of a loved one and for the injured to fully recover. PRAYER IS NEVER MEANINGLESS!!!

Note: I find is rather sickening that the politicians and those in the media screaming the loudest for eroding the 2nd Amendment because of the senseless death of children, are the very same people who advocate and cheerlead for the slaughter of innocent children!!!

Ever since the shootings at Columbine High School in 1999, there has been an epidemic of shootings in our nation's schools. These acts of violence have taken place in elementary, junior high, and high schools. The schools have been located in rural areas as well as the cities and suburbs. Those who have committed these senseless acts of violence have been boys and a couple of girls, though mostly boys. After each one of these incidents the unanswered question remains, why?

In attempting to answer that question, we get an endless parade of media pundits and politicians debating 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. The fact is, this issue really has nothing to do with guns, just like those who commit murder with a knife is not about the weapon they chose to use!

From Columbine, to Virginia Tech, to Tucson, to a movie theater in Aurora, Co, to Sandy Hook elementary, to the shooting Wednesday in Parkland, those responsible for these heinous acts were people with a history of MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES that never should have been walking the streets! I will never forget a friend in the mental health field share with me several years ago that if you stand in a line at the grocery store, out of every 10 people in that line, 2 have NO BUSINESS being out in public!

When I was growing up in the 60s, there was a beautiful gated complex a few miles from my home that housed people with mental illnesses. These facilities existed throughout the nation. I am NOT in any way condoning the horrific things that happened in some of these facilities, but for the most part, they served a critical need for society by providing a place for those who were mentally ill, those whose families simply weren't equipped to care for them.

During the 70s, the majority of these facilities were closed due to the influx of liberal, privacy, and individual rights legislation passed during that era. It made it very difficult to identify or even treat those individuals who had legitimate mental health issues. Sadly, today the only institution in place to deal with these people is the prison system. The prison system was NEVER designed to be a defacto mental health complex, however, that is exactly what it has become. Over 60% of those incarcerated today in cities, counties, state, and federal jails have legitimate mental health issues.

What would be a legitimate plan to deal with this societal issue of school shootings? You can make coffee with your cell phone today! With the incredible technology and brainpower that exists, the private sector (though they will have to fight the privacy advocates) needs to develop a mental health data base. Screen children when they start elementary school, junior high, senior high, college if a person enrolls, and during any job application. This would create a data base of people that need to be watched and insure they are getting the proper help and treatment for any sort of mental health issues they may have!

Also visible in this ongoing debate is society's role in the lives of those who commit these acts of violence. Over the past decades through violent video games, music, movies, the internet, AND ABORTION, we have embraced a culture of death and children grow up being desensitized to the fragile gift of life from God Himself.

The role of parents and the school in these incidents is also hotly debated. The better percentage of the last 2 generations are growing up without any type of faith foundation, 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.

Unfortunately, so many children grow up today 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 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 manner, know what the consequences of your actions will be in the lives of your children!!!

I love you and care about you so much. 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, He did not give us His love so that we can simply hold onto it for ourselves. He gave it to us freely, so we can give it to others freely. Will people reject your attempts? Yes. Will people still do evil things like randomly shoot classmates? 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. That is what God has commanded us to do!

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, 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, Bill Keller