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Tuesday Thoughts 10-3-17

No cute stories or thoughtful illustrations this morning.  It was so sad to have discovered yesterday morning, that Las Vegas had become a killing field.  Already, there are articles and news stories about motive, accomplices, guns, safety and the like.  Pleas for prayer and calls for preventive measures going forward are prolific.  No doubt there will be new legislation introduced, new procedures proposed and new & renewed warnings will be issued.  Oh, how we try to make broken things right.  But the truth is, things are terribly broken and we don’t have what it takes to make it right again.  The degree to which this brokenness affects us has increased with our growing technology and population, but the root cause has not changed at all.  When Adam and Eve rejected God’s love and lordship, all this chaos was set in motion.  The first recorded sin after the eating of the forbidden fruit, was Las Vegas in the singular.  Even after God warned Cain about the hate in his heart (Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Genesis 4:7b NLT), He ended up committing the first murder…his own brother.  Our take on this often falls on the side of judgement or revenge.  Who’s going to pay, right?  We even ascribe this viewpoint to God.  After all, He was the one rejected, and since he is the Creator of Cain and his brother Abel, revenge is in order!  But look at what Ezekiel, one of the Old Testament prophets, writes about God’s perspective: “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” Ezekiel 18:32 (NIV).  God is the Author of life, not death.  He is grieved about death entering the world of life that He created, and He is grieved when people die.  He is not looking to kill enemies, but instead, after everything that has been shattered, to draw all people to him and give life!  This divine grief over death finds its ultimate proof (as well as the remedy) in Jesus. God came to earth, took the sentence of death we deserved upon His own shoulders so that we could find life!  Paul, the New Testament follower of Christ put it this way, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:1-7 (NIV).  We see two important things in this passage.  First, everyone has the capacity to be a trigger-puller.  I’m not saying we’re killers, but we can, and do, pull triggers that damage ourselves and others.  That’s what a broken relationship with God brings.  But the second thing is the powerful thing.  Despite our natural bent to destroy, Jesus became the relationship bridge to the Creator so we could have life!  So what is the connection to Las Vegas?  Jesus!  The families of victims and shooter alike need life from Jesus, pray for them to find Him.  But we also need to live intentionally in the love of Jesus ourselves.  One day, each of us will be in the cross hairs.  It will most likely not be rifle sights, but it will be cancer, or an auto accident or old age.  Living in the love of Jesus will chase away our fears of that personal moment, but more importantly, it will empower us to share the awesome news of life to everyone around us!  What do you need to surrender to the love of Christ today?

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