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Archive for May, 2011

The challenges of living as a Christian in a dark world:

 In recent days it seems that there is a considerable period of time revealing one disaster after another taking place.   There are international, national, local and individual/personal disasters which stun us in their gravity.

 Disasters such as earthquakes, tsunami, and war on the international scene give rise to fear in our hearts and a feeling of frustration as it would appear, on the surface that things are somehow out of control.   We may not be closely involved with the events ourselves however we feel as Christians that we should do something.

 National debt in Europe and America stands at staggering levels which is causing all sorts of strains on western nations and on those whose jobs and homes are at risk due to the turmoil that the crumbling economies deliver.   Personal family tragedy is causing for many a deep sense of foreboding and a feeling that nobody really cares any more.

 Lately in my work as director of Mission International I have witnessed tragedy too.   A Mission International project in Ghana saw the roof blown off from the school, causing poor children to lose out on their education, the one thing that has gone well and has been a positive in their young lives recently.   A young mother in Uganda left crippled and unable to move, in a road accident and sent home to die by the hapless medics in a national hospital.   Her husband walks out leaving her with young children in a hopeless condition even unable to bathe herself; devastated she resigns herself to a sure and early demise.   A group of Christian believers in Pakistan are hounded by Islamic extremists who burn down their homes and businesses leaving them with nothing, coupled with the fact that they are treated like second class citizens in their region their hope is for more of the same if no help materialises.   Hundreds of poor families in Burundi see their homes and livelihoods destroyed by flooding which comes relentlessly day after day.

 Not all hope is lost however.   At the cusp of disaster there is one who cares.   He taught His followers care too.  A Christian’s finest hour is when disaster strikes.   The Christian sees God at work in his personal life in order that the extension of God’s Kingdom can be brought about through offers and efforts of service and loving care.   It is when the Christian begins to seek God’s perfect plan for this situation and, whether that be to give selflessly, bring a word of comfort or get dirty hands by becoming practically involved, then because of the selfless example of their Lord and Leader they pray, get direction and step in in His Name not counting the cost, ready to love and serve their fellow man and live for Him no matter what.

 The school roof in Ghana was replaced by a selfless act of giving, the broken wife and mother is comforted by a loving Christian neighbour and live for Him no matter what.

 The school roof in Ghana was replaced by a selfless act of giving, the broken wife and mother is comforted by a loving Christian neighbour who offers to bathe and support her neighbour, who was by all intents and purposes perceived as, ‘til now, to be an enemy being a Moslem.  The Christian neighbour, poor herself by any standard, extends her help in such a way that the Moslem lady is given a second diagnosis via a scan by another hospital to find that surgery will allow her to walk again, thus bringing her ‘enemy’ back to ‘life’.

 The Pakistani believers are provided with support and the flood victims too see help come from a far off land from those who believe that their ‘brethren’ around the world could just as well have the same colour of skin and live in a street near them because of God’s global family link.   Maybe not all believers but joined as those made in God’s image and worthy of as much love and care as any other person or neighbour.

 You see Jesus teaches us that we should give in order to receive.   This is not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme to be viewed in a mercenary way seeking self-promotion or the increase of wealth.  It is a command of which demonstrates the heart of God towards humankind which He has placed in the hearts of His people.   He teaches us that we should, like no other teaching approaches, go as far as loving our enemies and that we should selflessly love one another too.   His personal bravery in going to the Cross of Calvary at God’s command is not, as some might portray it, an act of Cosmic child abuse, rather it is an act of unparalleled Love for us as lost human beings, demonstrating to all who have the eyes to see that this is the kind of love that will break even the hardest heart.   This has been proved generation after generation right from the moment of His death to this present day.   This was clearly depicted in the words of the attending Roman soldier, who declared “surely this is the Son of God” and of one of the two thieves who hung alongside Him.  

 You and I as followers of His need to put on Holy Spirit inspired bravery in the same way; and I don’t mean only to ‘carry our cross’ in the insipid way we have learned in recent Christian discipleship training, but to ‘sell all that you have and give to the poor’.  This proved to be too large a step of ‘bravery’ for the rich young ruler who came to Jesus seeking to inherit the Kingdom; he walked away sad.   If I am to confess my shortcomings I have to confess it is too much for me too, but I’m not walking away.   I am saying “Teach Me Lord”, “Help me Lord” to be able to serve you in the right way, to be able to serve you like this.   Let me become one of yours, let me be one of those who don’t bury my talents for fear of losing it, let me be one who proves to be yours in my finest hour for the Glory of God and of His crucified and raised from the dead and most Glorious, Son

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