If you’ve kept up on the news, you’re probably aware of the ISIS attacks in Paris over the weekend, leaving almost 130 dead, along with massive numbers injured, a city badly shaken & many of us outraged. Truthfully, I find myself very conflicted with topic. Not only have there been attacks in Paris, but recently, a Russian plane crashed in Egypt from a terrorist attack & there’s also been an attack in Beirut leaving 43 dead & 239 injured. To make these atrocities even more barbaric, the ISIS propaganda machinery applauds these attacks and wants a bloodbath across the world, taking aim & great pleasure in particular against “Christian” nations.
My initial reaction to this crazy is to support equal if not escalated retribution & I can make a really reasonable case to neutralize this kind of crazy, with whatever means necessary. And revenge, according to Alfred Hitchcock, is sweet and not fattening. But revenge is not the path of following Jesus. Indeed, Jesus told us to turn the other cheek to our enemies, to repay evil with good and to bless when we receive cursing. Revenge is the level playing field, but as a follower of Jesus, we get to walk in a higher plane and make choices that are grounded in genuine love. Let’s pray for, bless and love well, with the help of the Holy Spirit 🙂
Over the weekend, the news reported that IS (ISIS) chopped off the heads of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians because they were Christians. Unfortunately, the IS agenda is to kill anyone who doesn’t agree with their religious / political agenda. While I’m extremely outraged at the actions of IS, I shouldn’t be surprised by these actions. In the broad scope of history, it happens fairly often (depending on the country) that Jesus’ followers get persecuted & martyred. Before Jesus was crucified, He told us that this stuff would happen, but it’s unsettling nonetheless.
Here are some take aways:
*being a follower of Jesus doesn’t immunize us from hardship nor persecution.
*how we treat people who persecute us is very important – Jesus talked clearly about turning the other cheek.
*lets pray for our family of believers throughout the world that the Holy Spirit would help us to be strong & faithful followers of Jesus.
Fear isn’t cool. We can all probably remember at least a few times when fear was entirely horrifying. For me, I remember some walks home from school that were terrifying, waking up from a nightmare that virtually paralyzed me & the ever so common fear of not being liked. In our world today, people are afraid of Ebola, ISIS, losing their job, not getting married & lots more.
So let’s you & make a pact to say, “no thank you” to fear & then make the active choices to support that pact:
*be attentive to our decisions that we allow to be controlled by fear
*be aware of conversations that magnify fear – change the subject
*watch for places in our lives where we are cozy with fear
*actively choose love over fear because they are mutually exclusive (perfect love casts out fear)
*forward this to your friends to help grow an anti-fear mob!!
We live in a very interesting time. There are people chopping off heads & think that’s entirely acceptable & even praiseworthy – weird. This week had the 2nd blood moon in a year – also unusual. Furthermore, Ebola is now being compared to AIDS for its potential devastation to humanity value – yikes! And then lots of people think we are in the end times of the world – that God is wrapping up the human experience to move into a new era of life.
I think we live in strange times, for sure. But with that being said, there are some important things to keep in mind:
*God is still in control & God is love (a very good combination)
*lets be sure to stay fresh & intense with our prayer life
*be careful not to let fear control your thinking or outlook