Generally, when something exciting and positive happens to an individual, they want to talk about it. The same can be said of unpleasant happenings that try the patience or exhaust one’s stamina. In either case, what an individual has to say about personal experience and perception is determined almost entirely by his world view. One’s world view is defined by how he answers three questions: Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going?
Because there are many world views, there are many ways to answer these questions. Perhaps most answers are founded on some form of Humanism which places man in the center of the universe, the captain of his own fate, in a world that is entirely natural, physical and material—to the neglect or denial of the spiritual realm. These mortals believe that their purpose in life is to serve themselves and those they choose to care about, until their existence is snuffed out, their bodies are buried or burned, and their memory is erased by the second or third generation of grandchildren.
The problem with these various world views is that they ignore the obvious. Only a fool could live in the midst of all of the evidence of God’s eternal existence and omnipotent (unlimited) power, and conclude that there is no God, or that He has abandoned the work that only He can order and maintain.
The Bible tells us that our Creator God desires a relationship with us, but because He is holy and we are sinful, something had to be done about our sin. His love for you and me made Him sacrifice His own Son, Jesus, to pay the price for our redemption. (see John 3:16). To those of us who have accepted, this blood bought forgiveness by faith, the Psalmist says, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so… (Psalm 107:2)” For those who claim to be religious, even Christian, but don’t want to talk about their relationship with God, something is wrong; something is missing. Please take another look!
“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. (Psalm 63:1–2)”
My father died about eight years ago at age 80. He had suffered for years with numerous ailments, and nobody expected him to live even 70 years. He was a jolly man who loved life perhaps more than anyone that I have ever known. Though the joys of seeing his smile and hearing his voice are gone now, there is a part of him that lives on in me and my siblings—and many others who knew him well. My dad had a bold faith in God and the promises of His Word. He is in part the reason that I began to trust in God at a very early age. It was by far His greatest contribution to who and what I am. Oh how I praise God for my Dad’s Christian faith.
There is a song that we sing in our church that is all about my Dad’s faith. As you read the lyrics to the first verse, remember, it is not about a man, but a man’s faith.
Faith of our fathers, living still
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword,
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene’er we hear that glorious word!
Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death!
This faith of our fathers was not faith in themselves; it was not faith in their country; it was not faith in their church, or their families. This faith of our fathers was an invincible faith in their omnipotent, omniscient, omni-present God. Of this faith, the Word of God says: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)” “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)” “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)” God has so much to offer us as individuals, families, and as a nation, but all must be received by faith! When we start to believe, we will start to live
Those who have learned that dependence upon God is a fact of life rather than a sign of weakness, will generally take more seriously the matter of keeping themselves blessable.
God is holy and cannot tolerate sin. He is just and cannot ignore or overlook it—sin is therefore a natural barrier between the sinner and the blessings that God desires to confer upon His people. By faith in the sufficiency of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, one can tear down that wall and be reconciled to God, making themselves eligible for God’s richest blessing. At that point keeping one’s self blessable is a matter of daily confessing and forsaking any besetting sin—which God is faithful and just to forgive. (1John 1:9)
One of the many major themes in the scripture is that God blesses the obedient and curses (punishes) the disobedient. To etch this truth into their minds, a rather elaborate exercise was prescribed for God’s people, Israel, in Deuteronomy 27-28. Moses told them, “And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. (Deuteronomy 28:2),” and then he informed them of twelve general types of blessing that could be theirs if they would simply obey. Next, he told them, “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: (Deuteronomy 28:15),” and then, a list of nineteen types of curses that would befall them if they disobeyed the Lord.
God would cease to be God if He acted in a way that is contrary to His nature. He cannot tolerate sin and cannot overlook it. Whether it be a nation, a business, a church, a family or an individual, to enjoy the blessings of God we must be blessable, as prescribed in His Word. Sadly, our global society has denied its dependence upon God and laid aside His moral absolutes and divine instruction. We have spurned the grace of God and it appears that, in spite of the hardship and misery that it engenders, man is bent on sinning.
Perhaps it is time for a renewed perspective of this issue of “Mass Shootings.” While politicians and activists spar daily over the need for new laws vs. the sanctity of our Bill of Rights, more lives are lost. To join in the political fray would be futile. It would be exponentially more beneficial to address the obvious root of the problem and its equally obvious solution.
It is really quite simple: People are what they have been becoming. We are a society that boasts a diminishing estimation of the value of life, whether it is the unborn child, the terminally ill, or the ancient elder. And then there are the innocent victims of amoral heroes or sly villains on the big screens of Hollywood, or the little screens of our personal devices with their myriads of murderous video games, plastered with the carnage of gross violence. To many, in real life or in fantasy, taking a life has been reduced to easy money or points to top the high score. Stimulation for the innate wickedness of man is always very near, and the results are painfully and shamefully obvious.
But the sanctity of life is only part of the issue. If the world were otherwise moral, the blackness of our obsession with death would stand out to all; warning flags would be flung from every direction, and society would expel the evil. But it is hard to see just one aspect when the whole moral fabric of the civilized world is encompassed in the dark cancer of moral debauchery. Perhaps the cause can be summed up in the simple old adage, “Garbage In—Garbage Out.” Our society is producing thieves, rioters, adulterers, liars, etc. because we now call good evil and evil good. We have made every man the captain of his own fate, and that, without moral compass.
The solution can be stated in relatively few words. They are found on the pages of the Holy Scriptures: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14). Perhaps most will not relinquish their command of life, but until we let God be God, sadly, there is no hope.