Finding The Missing Peace

Friday, October 18, 2019

No one expected it to happen to him!





No one expected it to happen to him. He had been doing it for decades. He was considered a professional in the field of tornadoes research. We have all heard of adrenalin-crazed storm-chasers who, with reckless abandon, drive dangerously into storms with their cameras to prove they did it and survived. But Tim Samaras was not one of them. Samaras was respected around the world for his research into violent weather and tornadoes. He traced his fascination with tornadoes back to his childhood, when he first watched the violent storm sequence in ‘The Wizard of Oz’. That’s when he said he was ‘hooked for life.’

Samaras and his team starred on "Storm Chasers" for five years on the Discovery Channel, with the last show in the autumn of 2011. Speaking with a reporter from the National Geographic, in what would perhaps be his last interview, Samaras gave some advice about being safe in tornado country. 

It was 11PM, in Oklahoma, the Mecca of storm-chasing according to Samaras, when the veteran storm-chaser tweeted: “Dangerous day ahead for Oklahoma – stay weather savvy!” He, his son Paul and their colleague Carl Young were together tracking the latest round of tornadoes to tear through central Oklahoma. Then it hit - an erratic tornado that gained strength quickly. The very wide wobbling tornado turned unpredictably – catching them off guard and in a place where they did not want to be. Meteorologists, weather buffs and storm chasers around the world were shocked to learn the next morning the tragic news of the fate of the world’s foremost tornado expert, his son Paul and their colleague Carl Young. 

What about us today, can we draw some spiritual parallels from this tragedy that could benefit you and me spiritually? Only a very few people have an inner attraction to storms and become storm-chasers; but all, without exception, are sin-chasers. We all have sins we chase but the chase is rarely public. Often the chase is under-the-radar and not detected, but nothing is hidden from God.

The Bible acknowledges that there is ‘pleasure in sin’ but it is short lived,  Hebrews 11:25. So there are times when sin thrills. But sin is not all thrills. The side-effects and consequences of sin, can be downright brutal, leaving emptiness, many regrets along with deep wounds and scars. When our first father Adam introduced the sin virus into the human family, the ripple effect of his sin was far-reaching and devastating.  The Bible puts it this way: '... just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned...'.

Deadly diseases and killer storms are darkly eclipsed by the most deadly force known to the universe – sin! Sin, as a process, is unpredictable but its end results are not. Not everyone who drinks or does drugs or gambles becomes an addict. But sin can wobble out of control and take sudden unpredictable turns. The Bible talks about the ‘deceitfulness of sin’. But the end result of all sin, of every kind, (small and great) is always the same: separation from God and spiritual death. 

Even the most amateur storm-chasers understand you don’t win when you take a direct hit from a tornado. We are no match for the forces of nature. Spiritually, the Bible teaches that there is not one solitary thing humans can do to win against sin. Good works, religion, prayers, sincerity or charity cannot eradicate the root of sin in all of us. Human efforts and programs can help us minimise and curtail and even remove some of the side-effects of sin – but no amount of human effort can free us, once-for-all, from the inner root problem of sin.

What is your spiritual plan of action against sin? Are you prepared for death and beyond? The warning from the Bible is constantly sounding – left without a shelter, you will have no safe and secure eternal refuge. The good news is: Jesus Christ is the one and only shelter for sinners. If humans are no match for the power of tornadoes, how much less are we equipped to deal with the power of sin!  

In our powerlessness over sin and vulnerability, listen to what the Bible says: 'While we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly,' Romans 5:6. 'Whoever calls on the name of the Lord, shall be saved,' Romans 10:13.  'The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son cleanses from all sin,' 1John 1:7.

Written by a Guest Blogger
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Friday, October 04, 2019

Would you forgive your brother’s murderer?




On September 6, 2018, Amber Guyer—an off-duty patrol officer in Dallas—entered the apartment of 26-year-old accountant Botham Jean. She later said she thought it was her own apartment and mistook Jean for a burglar, shooting and killing him.

One year later, on October 1, 2019, she was found guilty of murder. On October 2, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Botham Jean’s brother Brandt was allowed to give a victim-impact statement, and he addressed Amber Guyer directly.

The result was a beautiful Christian testimony—truly salt and light in a dark and twisted world.

 

If you truly are sorry, I can speak for myself, I forgive, and I know if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you.

And I don’t think anyone can say it—again I’m speaking for myself—but I love you just like anyone else.

And I’m not gonna say I hope you rot and die just like my brother did, but I presently want the best for you.

And I wasn’t going to ever say this in front of my family or anyone, but I don’t even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you, because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want you to do.

And the best would be to give your life to Christ.

I’m not going to say anything else.

I think giving your life to Christ would be the best thing that Botham would want you to do.

Again I love you as a person and I don’t wish anything bad on you.

I don’t know if this is possible, but can I give her a hug, please?

Please?

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Friday, September 27, 2019

Coping with Change!




Life’s usually is a constant cycle of change as we all know only too well. We just seem to get comfortable; find our slot and then things change. As a Christian, I have the assurance that despite the changes in life I have an anchor. My anchor is none other than Jesus Christ – He provides the hope, ‘both sure and steadfast’, ‘which hope we have as an anchor of the soul [1]’. An anchor is a heavy object attached to a cable or chain and used to moor a ship to the sea bottom. When life is changing, we need a fixed point of reference, an anchor to keep us steady. I believe that the Bible is the only document known to humanity that can give us stability and the fixed point of reference that we need as we make our journey through life. Within its pages, we will discover the reason we exist, the cause of all the evil and sin in our world and the way that we can know what is eternal i.e. things that are of lasting value. To be confident in this life we need peace, contentment and confidence that our life has real significance. I believe the only way this is possible is to get to know God, the maker of us all. He made us and he knows how we tick.

The reason that I believe that Jesus is the key to all of this is based on who He is as well as what He taught. Now I am aware that many of you may have switched off or are about to. Please stay with me a little longer and allow me to test your patience. What if Jesus is who he claimed to be? He claimed to be the Son of God, Saviour of the world, Messiah of Israel, Judge of all the earth and a whole lot more.

Just imagine that he actually did fulfil the ancient predictions of the Bible. His place of birth, mode of conception, method of execution and coming back to life were all prophesied in the Bible. It is the magnificent detail of these prophecies that mark the Bible as the inspired Word of God. Only God could foreknow and accomplish all that was written about the Messiah (the Christ). This historical accuracy and reliability set the Bible apart from any other book or record.
This is why I believe what it says about Jesus and the claims that He made.
But it is not enough to agree that the Bible is the word of God, it is trusting God through His word that is the key
My prayer, as always, is not that you accept the accuracy of the Bible but that you come to know the God of the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus said 'and this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent,'
John chapter 17 verse 3. 

  




[1]Hebrews 6. 19, the Bible
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Friday, September 20, 2019

A case of good manners!



‘Put your mobile phone away during meals, never eat on the train, and remember that reclining your aeroplane seat is selfish’. So says the DeBrett’s Handbook of Modern Manners. They’ve been dispensing advice on etiquette for 250 years, and the latest edition includes protocols for smartphones and e-cigarettes. Memorising their rules should enable anyone of us to avoid causing offence in any setting.


On the other end of the spectrum, also published recently is Russell Brand’s book ‘Revolution’. With a total disdain for the establishment, manners are the last thing on his mind as his approach is to raise important questions and rattle the status quo. Each of these two books represents a very different ethos; either fitting in impeccably with society or shaking things up for a revolution.

The ethos of Christianity is usually associated with the former – perfect etiquette, dressing up in Sunday best and visiting the vicar for a genteel spread of tea and cucumber sandwiches. The danger of this version of faith is that it assigns Jesus to merely being a ‘terribly nice chap’ - and one who would never rock the boat. Yet from the Gospels it’s clear this isn’t true. Was he loving? Yes, of course, He was. But if Jesus walked into Church today, he’d probably be an uncomfortable guest as he valued truth above protocol and honesty above politeness.

His dinner etiquette raised eyebrows. For a start, he invited himself to meals at other people’s homes. In Luke’s Gospel, he criticised his host for only inviting the rich and famous, then told him the seating plan was all wrong. The atmosphere in that room must’ve been awkward. Similarly, it caused problems when he walked into the Temple and slammed the tables over, money clattering to the ground.

Christianity at its heart is neither the flawless manners of DeBretts nor the anarchic idealism of Russell Brand. For me, it’s the loving, caring, honest and truthful Jesus who perfectly balances justice and grace. Manners are valuable, but honesty and truth must come first. Niceness and love are not always synonymous, so sometimes love demands unsettling the status quo.

Because He loves us and wants to save us, the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross to take the punishment that our sin deserved. The Bible says, ‘Christ...suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God’ He died, then God raised Him from the dead, and He lives today, ready to save us from sin and its terrible consequences.

Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’ He is the only way to heaven, to forgiveness, to peace with God, and to a wonderful new life that will never end. But without Him, none of these blessings can ever be ours. He is available to you right now. Your response to Him is of vital importance. It’s not a matter of manners or etiquette - It is a matter of life and death.

So be honest and truthful with yourself today: Admit you have sinned; Acknowledge that Christ died to be the Saviour you need; Repent of your sin and turn your back on everything in your life that you know to be wrong; Invite Jesus into your life to be your Lord and Saviour. Isn’t that so much better advice than you will ever get from DeBretts or Russell Brand?  

Written by a Guest Blogger
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