Saturday, November 14, 2015

#PrayForParis and so much more......

      This morning after waking up, I read my Bible and then I helped a friend move her stuff. I went food shopping and had tea with a friend. This afternoon, I made bread. Tonight some friends are coming over to watch a movie. A very normal, easy, enjoyable Saturday.
      Yet, half way around the world the city of Paris is waking up to horror. There is nothing normal, or easy, or enjoyable about this day. Indeed it wasn't a bad dream. Terror did strike. Loved ones did die. Injuries have made life different. What once was is no more. How do we cope with that? How do you go out for dinner and never come home?
     My heart hurts for our broken world. Our world so in need of a God who saves. I sit in total disbelief at a world who grasps for the answer to their hearts cry in a million devastating ways. There is so much brokenness is our world. There is so much evil. In our desire to be open and tolerant, we have accepted everything. And that everything is killing us. It's okay to call evil, evil. Jesus did that. It's okay to hate evil.
       In the last few days, I've been thinking a lot about Genesis 6 where the Bible says, "The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled."
     I wonder if he looks at us and feels that same sorrow. He won't flood the earth again. He promised us that. This time, he'll just come back as that rider on a white horse whose name is Faithful and True.
     I've seen several posts that say, "Even so come, Lord Jesus!" And I have to tell you that whenever I see this statement, my heart feels divided. Yes, it's a biblical statement and yes, I want to see my Savior face to face. I long to embrace him. I long to kneel before him. I long to see those eyes. Yet, "Even so come, Lord Jesus!" signifies the end of time. The opportunity to choose Christ will have ended and all people will live out their eternity with or without Christ. And that to me is tragic. There are so many more people who will live out a Christ-less eternity. There is so much work that needs to be done. So much love that needs to be spread.
     "The lost" is sort of a vague term. I mean, most of my American life, most of the people I knew were "Christians." They went to church or at least had heard the gospel. But, I didn't run in circles where I had deep relationships with the lost. "The lost" were always people 'out there' who needed Jesus. But, now, they have faces, and names, and stories. For them, choosing Christ means not choosing your family. The cost to be a Christian is significant and they are afraid to do it. And the moment that he splits the eastern sky, their chance to choose is no more. I often find my heart singing these lines of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic":

In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me
As he died to make men holy, Let us live to make men free
while God is marching on.
We can almost hear the trumpet sound, the Lord’s is near.
There are still so many people, his message the must hear
Father give us one more moment, one more day, one more year
with God we’re marching on.

    When terrorism like Paris occurs, it breaks my heart. I hurt for those who are hurting. I'm angry at a world that turns a blind eye to truth in the name of tolerance. I worry that this will happen in my own backyard and next time it will be people that I knew who are counted among the injured and dead. I think, indeed this attack will usher in that Rider on a white horse, and I will see all that I didn't do. I'll realize in that moment how much more I could have given.
      So, I encourage you, whether your mission field is your own backyard or a backyard thousands of miles away, give more. Try harder. Love deeper.  Jesus is coming. I believe his return is near. And "the lost" have names, and faces and stories. If I grieve this much over their eternal fate, surely their Father grieves even more. We don't have the luxury of posting #prayingforparis on our FaceBook status and going on about our lives. We cannot ignore the responsibility we bear any longer.
     The famous missionary, C.T. Studd, who served and loved people in China, India, and parts of Africa once wrote a poem, that in part said, "Only one life, 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last." This is a call. It is a call to war. Satan has his army ready and willing to do battle. Will you pick up your sword? Will you engage the enemy? Will you stand up and fight when everyone else goes home? Will you risk what's important to carry the Name? No, it's not easy. I think it will get more and more difficult as our days on earth linger. It will cost us something precious. Maybe it will cost life itself. But, that's okay, too. Because Matthew 10:28 reminds us they can kill the body, but not the soul.
Our Captain has sounded the battle cry. How will we respond?

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