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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Only God Can Protect Us

As the debate over gun control heats up, we get news reports of more people stocking up on guns for fear they may not be able to buy them later on. As I look at the pictures of people lining up to purchase these weapons, I am reminded of what happens when there's a storm approaching. People flood the supermarkets to stock up on essentials such as bread, milk and water. But are guns, especially assault weapons, essentials?

Since the Newtown shooting in Connecticut when twenty children lost their lives, we are told that over twelve hundred more people have been killed by guns here in the US. Where will it end? Is this gun-buying frenzy the result of fear, or simply a desire to own something that soon may be out of reach?

I have visited forums and listened to a lot of discussions since the shooting, and many people seem to feel having a gun is a source of protection. In a television interview, a teacher said she carries a gun, but would not let her students' parents know of it. Huh? I believe they know now. 

And a sheriff recently announced that in these days when there are fewer police officers on the streets, people should get a gun to protect themselves from criminals; they should learn how to use it so they can face up to the criminals until the police get to them. This may be sound advice, but in the final analysis only God can protect us.

And, behold , one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear.  Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matthew 26 : 51 - 53).

There are so many lessons in Jesus' words, but I have highlighted the last verse only. As children of God we have the same authority Jesus had to pray to Our Father and we would send us help in times of trouble. Psalms 91 says: "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.  They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone" ( v 11 - 12).

We should never leave our homes, or anywhere else, without the protective covering of prayer. If you believe you will feel safer carrying a gun, that's okay. But don't put your faith in the gun, but in the One who made the gun. 

 "Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper ... This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD" (Isaiah 54 : 16 - 17).  

Pick up a copy of any of the books below and experience the peace and comfort that come when you pray God's Word.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Redefining The Family

This past week one of my young co-workers broke the news that she was pregnant. We were all happy for her and told her so, but after the excitement died down, I felt a tinge of sadness. You see, my friend is unmarried and her baby's father lives in another country. Another young member of our team is also pregnant with her second child and has no intention of getting married any time soon.

In the first instance, my friend does have plans of joining her boyfriend at some time. They had been talking of marriage, but she didn't want to leave her dog, who is very old, and he didn't want to leave his country. They both agreed that when her dog dies they would make it legal. But meanwhile, a baby is on the way.

In another instance, the daughter of one of my friends decided that she wanted to have a baby because her biological clock was ticking away and she wasn't married or dating anyone. So off she went and had a baby by artificial insemination.

Do you see a pattern here? More and more women are taking it on themselves to have children outside of wedlock. Which brings me to another increasingly popular trend. Homosexual couples adopting babies or having babies through artificial means. All of this goes against God's plan for the family as laid out in the book of Genesis.

 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him (Genesis 2 : 18). 

And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said , This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.  And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed (22 - 25). 

I love the picture of God, our Father giving his daughter Eve to her husband Adam. It is the pattern we follow in a marriage ceremony where the father escorts his daughter to the altar and gives her to her husband to be joined in holy matrimony. Then they have children. Not the other way around. 

There are some single mothers who are probably doing a better job than their married counterparts. But I'm sure the single ones will be the first to admit that their job is a very difficult one. God never meant for us to carry the load alone. Just as a tasty dish requires a mixture of spices to bring out its true flavor, just so the family benefits from the unique strengths, abilities and personality that a man and a woman bring to it.

And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female (6 : 19).

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10 For if they fall , the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth ; for he hath not another to help him up (Ecclesiastes 4 : 9 - 10).

The family, as instituted by God, is His plan for the furtherance of His kingdom on this earth and for our well-being. God has been around a lot longer than any of us and He knows what is best for us. So let us not go reshaping and redefining everything He created. We are only destroying ourselves in the process. Can we change course?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Prayer Notes by Cynthia: One Word for 2013: JOY

Prayer Notes by Cynthia: One Word for 2013: JOY

Trusting God In 2013

Before the year began, we heard a lot of dismal news about what we could expect in 2013 as far as the US economy goes. It seems like every year it gets worse. Added to that, the Connecticut massacre is still very much uppermost in our minds. Further afield, things are not much better as European countries continue to struggle with their own economic woes and lives are lost daily in Syria.

If we focus on these things we can very easily become discouraged, but remember what Jesus said just before He left this earth. He said, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer ; I have overcome the world" (John 16 : 33).

Is it difficult to be of good cheer? Feast on His word. It will cheer and comfort you when times are rough.

And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice , and your joy no man taketh from you (John 16: 22).

 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God (2 Corinthians 1 : 3 - 4).

 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46 : 1).

You can find these and many more words of  comfort and encouragement in God's word. Use them and encourage yourselves in the Lord.