Tag Archive | Peace

Las Vegas Mass Shootings Excite Both Fear and Courage in Our Life’s Journey

Horrific tragedies such as the Las Vegas mass shootings impact us all on some level and have the ability to change how we approach our life’s journey and perceive others.

Tragedies of this magnitude make us keenly aware of the presence of evil and people in this world, here and abroad, who do not value life — not their lives or ours, nor the lives of our children, parents or other loved ones.  And, this knowledge can excite fear within us, since we never know which people are safe or where something horrific could potentially happen to us or someone we love or care about.

And although some of the broken souls who commit such acts of violence may feel as if the power of life and death and the right to make choices for others lie within their hands, I’m glad that their flawed truth does not have to be my reality.  God is still Almighty; His creation is not.  However, the actions of people influenced by evil to kill, steal and destroy, in order to take away other’s personal power and right to choose — their right to choose life, to choose their path, to choose what is true and good for them — show just how far-reaching the impact one person’s faulty thinking and actions can have on so many lives.

Tragedy often prompts us to question God, especially in situations that are far beyond our control.  Some people are probably asking where was God during the Las Vegas shootings.  And in answering that question for myself, it brings me hope in believing that God was right there among the crowd in Las Vegas with His people, walking through the crowd and taking on bullets.  I wonder how many bullets God’s presence may have deflected and prevented more people from losing their lives.  And had He not been there, if the 59 dead could have been 500 or more.

Although God does not promise us that we’d never feel the affects of evil decisions made by unstable people, He does promise to never fail or forsake us, (Deu. 31:6, I Sam. 12:22, Ps. 23) and to be a very present help in trouble (Ps. 46:1).  So, I believe when we face trouble or danger, God is present to walk with us in our trouble and danger — even when the outcome means death or injury as it did in Las Vegas.  This is my comfort in a world with so much uncertainty.

While the actions of the Las Vegas gunman may have excited fear in Las Vegas and beyond, I believe the love of God, our passion to retain our freedom to move about freely, and to choose our path will empower and give us courage in the face of fear and danger.  And, I also believe this same passion and courage compelled some of those who died to lose their lives, and some of the wounded to sustain injuries to save the lives of loved ones and, in some cases, complete strangers.

Moreover, it will be this same passion (and compassion) and love that gives Las Vegas, the families affected by the shootings, and this country the courage to move through this valley of tragedy.  And for some, I’m confident it will become a part of their personal journey to advocate for gun control.

But, whatever path we take individually or as a country moving forward, it would be best done with prayer for each other, our country and the world, because ultimately, we are interdependent and in this together.  Pray for Las Vegas and the affected families — and even the family of the gunman.  The devastation is unimaginable on both sides of the fence.

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Thoughts of Peace for the Holidays and Beyond

With the holidays upon us, stress, anxiety, loneliness and depression may be a part of the season for those who find themselves without loved ones near or who may be overwhelmed by all the holiday hype that distracts us from the true meaning of Christmas. I’ve often felt this way during the holidays if I had suffered some deep loss during the year or didn’t have the means to give the way I’d like.

And as I thought about how the holidays can impact our mood positively or negatively, it became clear why the Bible gives us the following wise advice. First, think on things that are true, good, lovely and praise worthy (Phil. 4:8). Second, as a person thinks, so is he/she (Prov. 23:7), meaning if we continually think and set our minds on anything, whether positive or negative, those thoughts will grow and come to life in our lives.

Our thoughts and words are powerful tools and have creative power. They propel us to act. They can draw us near to God and each other or separate us. It is with one sad thought that our whole mood and day can go from joy to sadness. Or, with one joyful thought that we feel we’re on top of the world.

So choose carefully what you cultivate and create in your life by way of your thoughts this holiday. And, make it one of your goals this holiday and beyond to retain your joy and peace in the midst of the busyness of the season; interactions with relatives, in-laws and out-laws; and all forms of family dysfunction.

And most importantly, let the Christ of Christmas, the Prince of Peace, guide your decision-making, thoughts and actions this holiday season and through the year. Let Him comfort you in those places that hurt and give you peace beyond measure where there is unrest, anxiety and frustration. Life is too precious a gift to waste on unhappiness, disappointment or someone else’s negativity.

God’s paths are paths of peace; His ways are ways of peace. So may God direct your paths and order your steps in His peace. Peace be with you who are worthy of admiration.