Saturday, January 21, 2012
I was talking with a friend the other day about abortion. She was sharing some stats she had heard about how widespread abortion is in Canada. This post is not about abortion, but I will say both my friend and I would be of the mind that abortion kills a baby and is wrong, even under the most heartbreaking circumstances that some women find themselves in.
At the end of our conversation, my friend said "Sometimes it really seems like Evil is winning."
So I've been thinking about that for a bit. I think it is easy for the human mind to take in the world - through the news, through the internet, through looking at our own community, and conclude that Evil is winning in this world. But my heart says no. My heart and my spirit say that though this is what I see, I know that God is in control and that He has the victory. The evil in this world may flaunt how it advances, but God is at work in peoples hearts, turning them towards Himself. And we know that in the end, Jesus said He will make all things new, He will do away with pain, sorrow, and evil itself. We just can't see all this from our perspective.
I was reading in 1 Kings 19. The kingdom of Israel has turned their back on God, and are living in ways that grieve God's heart. The prophet Elijah has been obedient to God, especially in a few major encounters with the King of Israel. But at this moment, Elijah is running for his life, and he thinks he's alone. He says to God, "I've been working my heart out for you, God! The people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed the places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I'm the only one left, and now they're trying to kill me."
Then God comes closer to Elijah, comes in a quiet whisper, and Elijah repeats his worries to God.
God then proceeds to give Elijah some instructions for Him - a little window into what's coming next for Israel. But at the end, God says these words:
"Meanwhile, I'm preserving for myself seven thousand souls: the knees that haven't bowed to the god Baal, the mouths that haven't kissed his image."
How different is God's perspective from Elijah's! Elijah thinks he is all alone, the only one left who cares about honoring and living for God. He is at the end of his rope, and ready to die. From his perspective, evil is winning in Israel. But God not only has everything in control, but tells Elijah that he is not alone, that God has preserved seven thousand others whose hearts are still faithful to God.
When we look at our lives, we think we see the full picture. And in desperate times, we think it's over, we think we're losing, we're alone, we're done. But God sees the bigger picture. God knows every heart, and is at work in amazing ways that our eyes cannot see.
Specifically for those of us who are engaged in any sort of ministry, we are not alone! God delights in hearts that have not turned away from Him, that are faithful and obedient amidst the evil of this world. If you are in a church struggling through conflict, or you volunteer at a youth group or youth center and all you see is kids with no hope - look again with God's eyes. God knows which hearts He is preserving for Himself even through the trouble. Glory to God!
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Let's do a little word study for a moment.
A what study? Huh?
Word Study! Let's look at a single word and investigate it a bit.
Ok... what word?
a person who writes a novel, poem, essay, etc.; the composer of a literary work, as distinguished from a compiler,translator, editor, or copyist.
the maker of anything; creator; originator: the author of anew tax plan.
We generally would think of an author by the first definition - someone who has written something, a book, a poem, a magazine article. And by this definition alone, an author is an amazing thing. They put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and produce a written product that did not exist before. For the purposes of information, of entertainment, of self-expression or of moving ones emotions, authors use recorded words to say something unique, something important.
But this second definition is very interesting in broadening the scope of being an author - the maker of anything, creator, originator. If you can produce anything that did not previously exist, you have authored that thing. If there is an idea that originated in your mind that was not planted there by some conglomerate of other ideas, you are the author of that idea.
What made me think of looking into this word - Author?
Tonight I was singing a song that called God the "Author of Salvation." It intrigued me. Were there any times in the Bible where God was called the Author of something??? I discovered, Yes! There are! Only a few, but...
- Acts 3:15 - Paul is preaching on the day of Pentecost and tells his audience "You killed the author of life..."
- Hebrews 12:2, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..."
Or how about this... God had an empty page before Him, and He had a story on His heart. He wrote the story of salvation, complete with amazing, complex and conflicted characters (you and I), a hero (His own Son, Jesus), conflict (we are separated from God), and an amazing climax and resolution (Salvation - Kingdom bringing...). It's His story, He authored it. He is the Author.