It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years since the tragic school shooting at Columbine High School took place. Too many lives lost and so many more changed forever, pieces of innocence stolen from students for whom their biggest concern should have been about their prom date or biology test.
Remembering events like these serves as a reminder that we battle not against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers of this dark age, a reminder that a single moment in time can shape and mold a lifetime, some positive, some negative, a reminder that the true battle is taking place for the hearts and minds of people.
As a parent of teenagers, I am keenly aware every day that they walk into their school not knowing if they may confront a similar situation one day. Sadly, I am aware as well that kids much younger have to confront this same uncertainty.
If we are aware that every day may be our last one, that every hug and kiss goodbye could be the last time we see our loved ones, it may give us pause enough to remember that we shouldn't sweat the small stuff, and most of that which we get bent out of shape about is small stuff.
I am glad that schools have improved their security systems and processes, but the best security systems in the world cannot prevent the inclination of an evil heart to do what it has pondered to do.
It is a reminder that when Jesus says He is the way, the truth, the life, the resurrection, the living water, the true vine, and when He says that He offers peace and joy and hope, this is news we must share with others so Jesus can change peoples' hearts.
I read this article yesterday that continues to highlight the dire straits of the people of Zimbabwe. What they are experiencing I cannot begin to fathom. Let us continue to pray that God would provide for their every need and that we would understand the difference between true need and want.
The Plight of Zimbabwe
I was reading an article in the latest edition of Leadership Journal. It quotes Jim Cymbala, Pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle and author of several books. He says:
"The number one sin of the church in America is that its pastors and leaders are not on their knees crying out to God, 'Bring us the drug-addicted, bring us the prostitutes, bring us the destitute, bring us the gang leaders, bring us those with AIDS, bring us the people nobody else wants, whom only you can heal, and let us love them in your name until they are whole.' "
Jesus ministered to difficult, messy, troubled, challenging people. He died for the church that we, as the church, might do the same. I must admit, I do not pray that kind of prayer as often as I should. Let's face it, for most churches, it is much easier to have "cleaned-up" people join us than to deal with the mess we find in people's lives because of sin when it comes knocking at our door needing something. If we're honest, we were all messes at one point because of sin. The longer we are Christians, the easier it is to forget how sin-stained our lives really were, easier to forget that we were in the same place then that those in need of the power of the blood of Christ to cleanse are in now.
Lord, please help us never to forget that, and Lord, please give us an endless supply of grace, mercy, compassion, patience and love so that the love of Jesus may flow out of us and impact needy lives around us.
5 million. This is the number of precious children in Ethiopia that are orphans at this very moment. Many of them are orphans because of their parents dying from AIDS, because of poverty, because of populations that are growing faster than needs can be met.
These are children Jesus loves and died for, and His heart aches for them. The true question is….does ours? When we see the hurt, the heartache, the hopelessness found in so many places around the world, what we complain about seems so trivial. Yes, I know, not having our favorite breakfast cereal or running out of our favorite bath soap really SEEMS like a crisis, but I don't think it really is. We have shelter, food, clothing, resources, and are more blessed than we can even appreciate. "And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content: (1 Tim 6:8, NASB).
Here's a link highlighting the plight of so many precious children.
Be sure to stop and thank the Lord for all He has blessed you with.