“Thus has the Lord of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.’
Zechariah 7:9-10 NASB
Thoughts and prayers. Sen. Cory Booker says prayer after a tragic gun related terrorist attack is worthless. But I disagree. I think prayer and a focus on the redemptive power of Jesus Christ is the only actual solution to the problem of terrorism. But I have other thoughts too.
The shooting in El Paso is really staying with me in my thoughts and causing reflection in a more profound way.
I was born in El Paso, though I didn’t grow up there. I only lived there for maybe a few months. I am employed by a large retailer, but that’s just an additional weight on my thoughts.
The topic most prevalent in my thoughts is that these people were targeted because they are immigrants.
This terrorist targeted someone in my country because he is a racist. And I have many un-christlike thoughts about this terrorist that are not helpful to bring any resolution.
I wanted the terrorist dead too. I was hoping some armed citizen had pulled out their legal firearm and took that terrorist out. But it didn’t happen, and that’s not the “christian” way to think.
I wanted to see the cops roughing him up as they drug him out of his car. But it didn’t happen.
I was hoping they would put him in a jail cell with rather muscular and MMA trained people of color who would exact proper punishment upon his face. That probably won’t happen either.
But this is where I must remember that none of that will fix the problem of racism or hate.
Lord help us to love and forgive as we see examples of your love and forgiveness all around us. May we never compare our sins to another and think we are innocent. God has shown us grace and mercy.
Yet the earthly consequences of our actions are still required. And the terrorist who committed this crime in El Paso will hopefully get his, and vengeance is the Lord’s to serve.
Have you found what you are good at? Do you know what you are not really good at?
Our gift or purpose may not be flashy. We just need to do it with excellence for the one who created us. We must stop draining energy on our self focused ambitions and activate the purpose God has for us.
Not everyone is equipped or purposed to be the pastor of the local church. But we are called to exercise our gifts for God’s glory.
I anticipate that some of my readers will think, “but I don’t know what ministry God wants me to be in”. Sigh! You use your gift wherever you see a need in your local church or community.
And while you are exercising and honing your gift, God will slowly start showing you were you need to be or go. Just be willing to move once you see the plan.
Like a master artist creating His work, God knows how each brush stroke will impact the final painting. As onlookers we may not even understand what He is painting until the last stroke is placed on the canvas of our life. And as our final breath passes from us let it be filled with gladness and not regret of a life without purpose.
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
Romans 12:4-13 NASB
When men act like Godly men everyone wins.
Families are strong. Communities flourish. The local church is active as designed by God. And those truly in need are taken care of.
But passivity forced upon men by a godless culture has corrupted the view of proper manhood.
As men we must speak up and speak to. It’s hard. I know it’s hard because I want to just keep quiet and mind my own business most of the time. But often times that isn’t what we should do.
We become passive and disengaged because of fear really. We fear ridicule. We fear being ostracized. We fear being labeled something we are not.
But if we put ourselves last and stop worrying about what others may do to us or how we will be treated, then that is when He (God) will lift us up.
Put God first, family second, and put yourself third. And as we put Him first He will be the source of our strength and supply.
We have to live knowing that we do so for His glory always.
Be peaceful not passive. Stand up for what’s right. Stand strong for the truth in the face of opposition and fear. Pull courage from the source of strength that is our faith in Jesus Christ. Be a man after God’s own heart.