Saturday, July 21, 2012

Seeing Glory in Tragedy

     The images of the aftermath of the Colorado shootings are running rampant across the media. I will not use the killer's name, as the media as given him enough notoriety. Besides, in the coming weeks and months, he will get more fame than he deserves. He is the epitome of evil and displayed the darkest of hearts. The absolute terrifying aspect is knowing we are all capable of evil being born sinners. But, I keep asking myself what keeps our hearts in check?  The answer only points to Jesus Christ. Even in this tragedy I have to believe His glory will some how manage to shine through this  miserable darkness.
      Right now, it is still difficult to know exactly what to think or feel, but sadness and grief. Many are angry, as they have the right to be and then I see images of the communtiy trying to stand together. The mood is somber penetrating right through the screen. Their hurt runs deep to the core and I wonder how long those people are going to hurt. The holes that monster made will never be completely filled. No one can ever take someone else's place as we are all uniquely created. Yet, time doesn't stand still. Monday morning people are going to go to their jobs. How can it be business as usual when your world just stopped? That is where people will continue to uphold each other throughout Aurora and the nation will be honored to witness what our hearts can accomplish together.
    The faces that need to be remembered are not shown enough. And when they are it is hard to fathom the utter distress their loved ones are enduring. Two days ago, this evening, those that were murdered  were living their lives as they had every other day. Their eyes sparkled with vitality and every smile brought radiance. Hearing that those that have now departed "tweeted" or blogged recently, some minutes before they died, brings their humanity to the forefront. For all I know my thoughts here could be some of my last. I don't want to dwell on the thought to live my life in fear, but to come to terms of mortality and live my life in freedom.  The only light I can barely glimpse is that it will bring together a community and lead us to all appreciate every breath that much more.
     I want to cry out to God and ask, "Why?" "What are You thinking?" Yet, that is my flesh. My faith that carries my soul through this life buoys up within and assures me there is something much bigger and better always at work.Nothing is better than His very Word to rescue my heart. I am reminded of Isaiah 55:8-9,  “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and My ways are not your ways,” says the Lord.   “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."  I don't know why those people were called to go home. I doubt any of us will this lifetime. After every tragedy we must be thankful for the moments shared with the victims if we knew them or thankful for their contribution to the world at large if we did not.
     The victims are in the heavens where there is no sorrow nor pain. I pray the faith of the hurting hearts in Colorado and across our land are comforted by Our God. May we all be the hands and feet of God, extending our hands to help, opening our arms to hug, praying for healing and our hearts to one another. At the very least, let us hug our loved ones a little more, a little closer and a little tighter.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Review: Compelling Argument to Read Your Bible

     Bethany House provided a complimentary copy of Unstuck: Your Life. God's Design. Real Change. in exchange for an honest review. What is the difference between a Christian who delves into God's Word four or more times a week compared to one that hardly dusts their Bible off? A lot, according to Arnie Cole and Michael Ross, the authors of Unstuck.What takes a believer from a humdrum stroll to an invigorating journey? Collaborating with researchers, they set out to survey over 70,000 people to determine what made for a vibrant Christian walk.
     Believers may claim to know the Lord, but feel stuck in the spiritual growth arena. Repeatedly, the strongest link to growth was the amount of time people engaged God's Word. The first part of the book confronts and explains a lot of the hang-ups that stunt our growth and make us want to throw in the towel. The next third of Unstuck presents the "Powered by Four Solution."  Finally, the last third helps the reader apply the solution to get free from life's entanglements.
     I will say I am not a fan of a 1-2-3 solution approach. However, this is not a one-size-fits-all deal, but begins with the Bible as the starting point. The main point is that if we choose to engage in the Word we will begin to perceive the Bible as much more than words, but the Word. We will hear God speaking to us now and not just to the people of old. The Word will become a part of us in a deeper way. I do want to point out that this book can be used for the seasoned Bible reader. There very well could be points that will help enliven your encounter with God.
     The way each chapter was set up was nice. Instead of having a study in the back of the book, Cole and Ross include points to ponder: what research demonstrated, an encouraging bit and then Scripture and correlating questions, at the end of each chapter. The 15 chapters are easy to read and interesting. The research and personal accounts are what captivated my attention. Whether, you feel stuck, are new to Christianity or want to encourage others in their walk I would advise you to pick up a copy of Unstuck. It may be that you are not feeling "stuck" in any way, I still would imagine this volume could bring a deeper appreciation for the power of the Word and strengthen your faith.