The events in Paris, the shootings and suicide bombers, have really shook people to the core. The language of the politicians tends to add fuel to people`s fear. How should we as Christians react? Do we, ‘pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men’, (2 Thess 3:2). Or act in a different way? Peter wrote, ‘Do not repay evil with evil’ (1 Pet 3:9), but does this only apply to our dealings with Christians? Jesus said, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’ (Matt 5:44), but it is hard to love those who dish out murder and mayhem. For the non-Christian this is impossible but for those whom ‘God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit’, (Rom 5:5) it is possible. So do we let the fear of men rule our lives? Jesus told us, ‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell’ (Matt10:28). They may think they are serving their god by these terrible deeds but they will find out what awaits them. ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come.’ (Rev 14:7).
As Christians we should expect that people will become more and more wicked as the time of Christ`s return draws ever closer, but the wickedness of men shouldn`t cause us to hide away and hope it will pass. Rather, we should see this as an opportunity to witness. Peter tells us, ‘Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect’, (1 Pet 3:14-15). Let us proclaim Jesus Christ, the one in whom we have hope, that those whose lives are blighted by fear may find true hope in Him.
The Ashgrove service, on Tuesday, was the first since Joan Fletcher`s death and it was very strange not to have her there. The monthly services were something she really looked forward to and enjoyed. Joan always asked how my grandchildren were and loved to hear news of them. This would have made her laugh: Hilary picked up Reuben from nursery and since it was raining decided to come home by bus. They reached the Spar shop when the bus came out of Springfield Road. Hilary said to Reuben, ‘Never mind, we`ve missed the bus. We`ll go into Spar and do some shopping and catch the next bus.’ She needed something from the Post Office so when they got to the cashier Reuben seriously announced, ‘We`ve lost the bus!’
Every blessing be yours in Christ Jesus.
John & Hilary.