I’ve started to write this post quite a few times, and each time, I’ve deleted it. It’s hard to know what to say when someone you admire and love goes through something as tragic as what Rick and Kay Warren have endured the last few days. Their son, Matthew, ended his own life at the age of 27 after battling severe mental illness for many years. I have heard Rick speak of this behind closed office doors, asking for prayer and pouring his heart out concerning his love for his son and his trust in his God in spite of not understanding all the reasons why Matthew suffered so terribly.
You hear about the “next things” happening in the lives of friends from college – graduation, marriage, children. Today I learned that my friend, Scott Attebery, lost his wife to an auto accident in Pine Bluff. She passed away earlier this morning. His experience was documented here, and you can see who Scott is here.
At our wedding, Angie and I chose to have Louie Armstrong’s song played… What a Wonderful World. In light of yesterday’s shootings, and so many other monumental tragedies in recent years, is it really a wonderful world? We were driving to Fort Smith yesterday for the annual meeting of the BMA of America and were reflecting on some of the tragedies that have taken place at this same time of the year such as the Oklahoma City bombing (April, 1995), the Waco compound burning (April, 1993), and Columbine (April, 1999). Each of these tragedies evoked emotions of fear and trepidation about living in this present world.
“Jesus wept…” -John 11:35
I found out this morning that a couple who belong to my church lost their son in an untimely death. I can’t imagine their pain or their loss and what they will be facing in the coming days. I only pray God’s Spirit will remind them moment-by-moment of God’s steadfast love for them and for their son who is now safe in His arms in heaven.
“Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field.” -Judges 5:18
In my last blog, I explained that living in the name of Jesus means living with His approval. Today, we need to learn that living in the name of Jesus also means living under His authority, and also living in the power of His authority.
I, like many Christians, pray “in the name of Jesus.” At least I say the words before the almost mandatory finale, “Amen.” But what do those words mean… “in the name of Jesus?” Do we realize the impact of them? And do we realize that more than praying in the name of Jesus, we should live in the name of Jesus? Listen to the words of the Apostle Paul in Colossians 3:17, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
”I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.” –Psalm 4:8
”Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” –Hebrews 12:15-17
One of the hardest truths of Christianity to grasp is the teaching that there is a point of rejecting the will of God beyond which a man may never find repentance. Sin hardens the heart toward the things of God. When we are young, our hearts are tender, which explains in part why so many believers today came to Christ as children. As people progress through life without responding to God, His voice grows steadily silent to their souls. Eventually, through the deceitfulness of sin, their hearts are seared over and they will never repent.
“And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” -Acts 2:44-45