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Safe Place with Ruth Graham

I watched the television coverage of the carnage in Nice after that man plunged his big rig down a street crowded with people – men, women and children, of multiple ethnicities and nationalities – all celebrating the French independence day, Bastille Day. A horrific scene.

It is hard to understand how one could even  conceive such a thing much less carry it out. It is evil meant to terrify.

Then all the shootings of police officers – assassinations really. Gunned down in cold blood while they were on duty protecting not only their community but the ones who gunned them down. When they left home that morning and said goodbye to their family, they had no idea this would be their last time. It’s heart breaking.

And our political leaders and pundits show little compassion as they immediately press their own agenda. Horrible. They are even worse than Job’s 3 friends. At least they sat with Job and  waited 7 days before hey spoke. Maybe we should make that a policy…do not try to speak into someone’s grief for 7 days – just sit with them.

What would Jesus do? Mourn with those that mourn and weep with those who weep. God’s own job description for Jesus was, “To bring good news to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, To grant to those who mourn in Zion, giving them instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)

Did our leaders even try to follow Jesus’ example? The whole point of comfort and gladness is that God will be glorified. To point the mourning and grief-stricken to God and His mighty character. Not some political agenda. How tawdry!

As Christian’s let’s pick up the mantle they dropped before it is too late and point to God and His unchanging character for a culture that is dying.

 

Anger begets anger. Surely we have witnessed that these past days. My heart is heavy for those who lost their lives and their families dealing with the reality of the results of anger and how it ripped through their lives and hearts leaving an emptiness that lasts long past the event.

I’ve seen and listened to the newscasts. I have listened to the pundits and commentators. To be honest, I don’t think they help. In fact listening to some, I think they make matters worse. Some news people seem to bait their interviewees or put words in their mouths to push their own agenda or their network’s agenda. It doesn’t work for me.

A network is not interested in truth – it is interested in ratings and ratings turn into money. Big money.

Opinion alert! I have yet to hear anyone talk about the steady diet of violence on our television screens, in our movie theaters, in music lyrics and in the video games. Most of them are angry and violent – and very graphic. Our young people are listening to this day and night on their iPods or watching it on the screen.

Is it any wonder we have young people who were weaned on this sewer turn violent. They cannot translate blowing a head off the bad guy in a video game is not a same as killing in the streets. Reality is very different. It’s ugly. It is hell-inspired.  And real people’s lives are snuffed out leaving grief behind. A family, a community, a nation scared.

The video game doesn’t kill – people do. Just like guns don’t kill people, people do. What we need is not a new gun law but a new heart.

These BLM protests are not helpful. I fear they are infiltrated by those with a wicked agenda. The Psalmist said, “Do not associate with man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man; lest you learn his ways, and find a snare for yourself.” If you join an angry mob you could well find it to be something that feed itself and grows until you are consumed yourself. Job 5:2 says, “anger kills the simple.” In other words, anger is unwise and it hurts the one who is angry. Yes, there is righteous anger which is justified but it does not grow violent.

Let us take a breath, address our anger in a non-violent (not weak) reasoned way and become statesman that can lead this great nation out of this darkness.

But first, let’s change our hearts. Only God can do that through the blood of Jesus Christ. He suffered untold violence so we wouldn’t have to.  He is the only hope for us.

 

Yesterday, I watched part of Director Comey’s testimony before Congress. It was fascinating.  As the hours wore on, he looked so weary and tired. I know this whole situation must be grueling. I prayed for him as he testified that God would give him wisdom and integrity.

I believe he is a good man put in an untenable spot. There was no way for him to win.  I don’t think the American people won, either.

And once again, we see how words make a difference.

We remember when Mr. Clinton testified about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky and said, “It depends on what your definition of “is” is.  It seemed laughable at the time. To parse words to such a degree… Now it happens again.

It depends on what “intent” means and how do you prove a person’s motive.  You can only look at surrounding circumstances and actions to get at an intent. The dictionary says the legal definition is, “the state of a person’s mind that directs his or her actions toward an objective”. Now how in the world can you determine that? You can’t.

But Director Comey seemed to think he could determine that Mrs. Clinton did not intend to be negligent in the handling of classified materials. Although he said she was careless and and ignorant technologically speaking. Well, I am too so I can understand her dilemma. However, I am not dealing with State secrets!

It is important to say what we mean and mean what we say. Let’s be people known for integrity.  That way there will be no need to having   hearings on our intentions.

We all need to pray for our leaders to be people of integrity that seek God’s wisdom not just each other’s.

 

I don’t know about you…but if I hear another poll number I may just scream. We are months away from the election so these polls don’t really mean anything. Many people haven’t decided who they plan to vote for and the way it is all going people may just decide not to vote.

By the way, I think that is an irresponsible decision. We have a great right and privilege to have our voice heard in this county. We are free to vote. I don’t take that lightly. (I know right now it doesn’t seem like our voice makes any difference – but it does.)

How can we forget the elections in Afghanistan. It was the first time they had that freedom and to show they voted the put their fingers in a gentian violet powder which satined their finger purple. They showed off their stained finger – so proud they had voted. No. We can’t take it for granted and if we don’t vote, one day that freedom might be taken from us.

Who to vote for? Well, I think that is a conundrum. There are good and godly people on both side of the aisle. It has been sad to see the ranker and anger boil up on each side. The name-calling! No statesmen. It’s more like watching gladiators being ripped to shreds by lions.

To be very candid…I wish we had term limits.

But that’s for another day…

This morning, I read this and thought I would pass it along. It’s from Justo L. Gonzalez: “Look again at your political commitments. If you belong to a particular party, make sure your loyalty to that party does not lead you to actions and attitudes contrary to your loyalty to God.”

And let’s wait until, at least, after the conventions to decide. Until then PRAY! God’s listening for our prayers. The Bible says He inclines His ear to us. The Great, Almighty, Eternal, Merciful, God is listening.

 

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