Safe Place with Ruth Graham

Safe Place with Ruth Graham

Violence!

posted by Ruth Graham

The news is full of reports of violence. Homemade bombs explode killing and wounding. We are outraged and angry. Sad and bewildered. Understandably. We are so blessed to live in a country where these things are the exception rather than the rule. There are places where this is almost a daily occurrence – like Israel. Do we give it much thought as we watch the news each day and hear of a bomb going off in some other land? I don’t think so. Our concern lasts only as long as it remains in the news. When it moves off the page we do too.

There is a huge debate about gun control and background checks. The Senate defeated the bill requiring more extensive background checks for those purchasing firearms at a  gun show. It would not have made a significant difference and seemed to be more about political posturing than anything substantial. Guns are not the problem. What about knives, bombs? They kill and maim too.

They still are not discussing the larger issue: our violence, sex saturated society. Why is no one talking about movie contents and television shows as well as lyrics of music? These have an enormous influence on our young people. They spew out violence and casual sex making it seem innocuous, palatable, acceptable. It’s not. It is hideous. It scars not only those involved but our whole society. And the scars are there for life. Why is no one talking about it?

Because no one wants to do the hard work. No one wants to take a stand.I am sad to say I think our leaders are pathetic. Full of rhetoric…still there are no answers on Benghazi. Our former Secretary of State said, “At this point what difference does it make?” Excuse me Madame Secretary, it makes a big difference. Our current Secretary of State said we had more important things to get to. Really Mr. Secretary! Do you want to tell that to the families of those dead? What kind of leadership is that?

I know North Korea is rattling its sabers, threatening the civilized world. Why? Because no one has stood eyeball to eyeball and told them, “No”. They  have been allowed to continue and they know they can get away with it. What we say is just words. It’s like a spoiled child that needs to know “no” means “no”. The same goes for Syria, and the Sudan and too many other places. Our leaders do not seem to have the moral fiber to stand for what is right but instead, slide toward what seems expedient.

I am afraid we are all guilty. We want what is easy. We don’t like sticking our necks out for fear our heads will come off. John the Baptist found out what the truth cost. He never compromised. He wasn’t concerned with political correctness. Nor was the propet Elijah. He didn’t care about “inclusiveness” and “tolerance”. Jesus was The Truth – and He was crucified. But we are still talking about them and what they stood for. We admire them. Martin Luther King took a stand for truth. Rosa Parks, too.

For evil to win means good people did nothing or were too late. It may be too late now. Good is called bad and bad is called good. It is all upside down. The inmates are running the asylum. Do we want to live like this? Our children and grandchildren? I don’t think so. Take a stand!

I, for one, am very grateful for someone like Dr. Ben Carson. There is a man who stands for reason, truth! A man of conviction and integrity. There is a least one. Lets listen to him not to politicians who speak out of both sides of their mouths…and create policies in self-interest.

Back to violence…let us not support those things that create a violent society riddled with bombs, knives, guns…while we may not be the one with our leg blown off or family member dead…but a little bit of what we love dies every time.

 

Suicide

posted by Ruth Graham

I didn’t wake up today thinking my life would change. But it has.

Suicide. The word is so cold and ugly. It is so stark and final. And yet it leaves so much behind. Unanswered questions. Unfinished business. Unspeakable grief.

The word means “the intentional taking of one’s own life”. Intentional destruction. I hate it.

Today a dear friend of mine died at his own hand. I am heart broken for his dear wife and family, our community.

Why? Why? Why?

There are no words…and even if there were, can the broken hear them? They are numb. They are in shock – thankfully.

It is easy to fall into platitudes…it makes us feel better. But words cannot begin to touch or heal the wound that has been inflicted upon his family, friends and community.

In reality the only voice that will make any difference is the soft gentle whisper of God Himself. And we want to reject Him. Rage at Him with our questions. Our anger has to go somewhere…why not at God who could have prevented it. He could have intervened. But He didn’t. Why?

In the turmoil, utter grief, we do turn to God, if only in rage. He can handle it. He isn’t threatened by it. Perhaps He welcomes it as He knows we need to express our emotions and get them out – He is safe. He is bigger than our anger, doubts, questions. He’s heard it all before. He knows and understands how we feel. In total despair, one of the twelve disciples committed suicide.

To live fully is to live in double reality: to know our pain and loss and to know His love. When a tsunami has hits and everything is upside down, nothing is secure, we can run to the Strong Tower, our Refuge. Our Shield and Defender. Our Shepherd. Our Rock. Our Help, Sustainer. He is our hope.

We do not grieve as those who have no hope. We do have hope. We just celebrated Easter. We have hope.  “Hope” is not like you are waiting on someone hoping they show up. Hope is clinging. Like a vine wraps around a tree.  When nothing makes sense we can wrap ourselves in the unchanging character of God.

My mother used to say of suicide, “God may not have called them home, but He welcomed them.” He keeps His covenant and His promises. In the midst of the storm, He gives peace – His peace. He is our peace.

 

He is Risen!

posted by Ruth Graham

Hallelujah! 

Guns, My Mother and Easter

posted by Ruth Graham

The news is full of the gun control issue. Everyone seems to be concerned…I am beginning to wonder if I should go out and buy one just because I can and perhaps one day I will not be allowed to or  so the pundits would make us think. Members of my family – even the women – have armed themselves. I am quite sure that if I had one, I would not  know where to store it so that I might have easy access in case of an emergency. And I am very sure if there was such an emergency, I’d be so frightened I’d never shoot the thing correctly. Plus I don’t have an extra several hundred dollars to purchase one. Am I being foolish? Naive?

For now I think I will take my mother’s attitude. Many years ago when the FBI insisted my parents build a fence around their property for safety concerns (there had been death threats against my father) my mother was dead set against it. For one it was ugly even though they tried to camouflage it in the woods. She was overruled. The fence was built. She told those that would listen that she was going to apologize to her guardian angels!

My mother believed in angels. I do too.

What does that have to do with Easter? Easter is about security. Come again? Let me continue…

Where is your security? For our earthly security we take precautions and do all that we can to protect ourselves, our families, our homes, our finances. Security systems are a big business these days. We want to handle our responsibilities wisely. And some might argue that a gun would be a wise precaution. My mother used to say, “We take care of the possible and leave the impossible to God.” But she never owned a gun. Four of her children do own them – one is a gun collector.

But earthly security is not what Easter is about. It is about eternal security. All of us have eternal life. Yes all of us do – we are eternal beings. We will live forever. Think about that. How do you want your life to be? You get to choose. We get to choose where we will spend eternity and we have to make that decision while we are still alive. We will live somewhere for all of eternity  in a world without God (hell) or a world with God (heaven). I’d suggest you make that decision now. This Easter.

Jesus was born, lived among us, suffered the horrible death of crucifixion and was raised to life in order to open the door to heaven for us. We can live forever with Him! That is eternal security! But it’s your choice. The alternative is pretty grim. I’d love for you to be with me in heaven. And yes, when I die I know I am going to heaven. You can know it too by putting your faith and trust in Jesus as your Savior. It’s very simple. Just tell Him you are sorry for the wrong things you have done. You want to turn your life over to Him and ask Him to come into your life and help you. No fancy words or posture necessary.

It’s that simple. As soon as you tell Him that He will come into your life and be your constant companion and guide. Your best friend.

Happy Easter!

 

 

 

 

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