Friday, November 20, 2015

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Revelation: Calling from the Hatred
Acts 9:3-9

Jensen Varghese
5 He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.

A bombing at a funeral in Baghdad; A double suicide bombing in Beirut, Coordinated terrorist attacks in the city of Paris. Last week was filled with chaos and bloodshed throughout the world. And now in the wake of that horrible violence, the nations of the world are mourning the loss of life, while also trying to grasp how and why these tragic events occurred. Across the globe, people are also demanding that those responsible for these vicious acts be brought to justice.

In the aftermath of the violence, with emotions running high, sentiments of fear, intolerance, and even hatred are being directed at people of Middle Eastern descent, as well as adherents of Islam. As Christians, we must realize that this is wrong. God made all humankind in His likeness; therefore we must recognize God in all people. Failing to do so would have us commit the same mistake Saul makes in the theme passage. When the Lord confronts Saul outside of Damascus, he points out that by hunting down the believers; Saul is actually persecuting Jesus himself. Saul failed to recognize God in his fellow men.

In John 13:34 Jesus says “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Jesus loves unconditionally and he commands us to do the same. Even when it may not be easy – we may be confused, we maybe in mourning, we may be in disagreement with our neighbor – even then we must love one another. In the chaotic, sometimes frightening state of affairs in the world, only love can stop conflict, hatred, and violence. Love can allow us to recognize and accept God in our fellow men.

On the road to Damascus, Saul is overpowered by the glory of our Lord. He is transformed after this encounter and his mission in life takes a dramatic change – instead of persecuting Christians, Saul becomes known as Paul, a Christian leader who passionately preaches the Word and dedicates his life to glorifying God.  He is no longer consumed by hatred, but instead becomes a servant of the Lord. Let us all hope for such a dramatic change in our own lives, and throughout the world. Let us do our part to initiate this change by loving unconditionally as Jesus did, even when it deeply challenges us.

PRAYER

Lord, we pray for strength and guidance in this difficult time in the world. We pray for comfort for the mourning families across the world and we pray for healing for those injured in the attacks. We pray that You help us to not give in to fear and hatred, but instead help us to show our fellow men the unfailing love that You first showed us. Finally, we pray for peace in the world. In Jesus’ precious name we pray, Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
 
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.