How to Pray After the Tragic School Shooting

 

Often during times of heart-rending events that involve mass casualties and national grief, our leaders will say that “our thoughts and prayers are with those who were touched by the tragedy.” Perhaps you are wondering how to pray.  You can pray for the people touched by this terrible school shooting in Florida based on the following ideas presented in Psalms 25 and Lamentations 3

If you are wondering how God could let something like this happen, click the link at the bottom to see our article that was posted after the church shooting in Texas.

In the meantime, when thinking of the families and friends of those dear people in Florida, pray:

  • That our nation would, as Jeremiah did in Lamentations 3, remember the true God of the Bible and have hope. Lamentations 3:21
  • That the people would be comforted in the Lord because his compassions fail not and his mercies are new every day. Lamentations 3:22-23
  • That the Lord would guide people into hope through quietness and solitude where they can reflect on their own relationship with Jesus Christ. That they will find both present and eternal hope in Him. Lamentations 3:25-33
  • That our government leaders and especially our churches would not be ashamed of standing on true moral, Biblical truth and righteousness as they continue to fight this battle against evil in our land. That we all would have discernment regarding what is truly evil and what is truly good and what leads men to commit such atrocities. Psalms. 25:2
  • That evil and those who commit evil acts would not triumph over good by defeating courage or our trust in the one true God. That anger, hate and bitterness would not prevail. Psalms 25:2
  • That those who continue to transgress without cause, taking innocent lives would be in disarray, in conflict with one another and ultimately exposed and defeated. Psalms 25:3
  • That our government leaders, law enforcement and protection forces would have wisdom and insight. That they would seek God in their efforts to destroy evil and that God would direct their paths and protect them. Psalms 25:4
  • That rather than turning against the true God of the Bible in anger or discouragement, the people effected and our nations in general would turn to God. That we all would trust his mercy, his loving kindness and goodness to those who follow him. Psalms 25:5
 
Take some time to read through Psalms 25 and Lamentations 3 and let these passages help guide you as you seek to pray for those who are suffering and hurting in unimaginable ways. Pray for America as a nation as well.  Tragedies such as this raise many deep and difficult questions about God, his love, his control and his goodness. While no human can answer all these questions, we believe the Bible has answers for the problems of evil and suffering. We would be glad to talk further with you or have you join us for a service soon. We all wrestle with these issues and we would be happy to point you to the truths we have learned in years of studying God’s word the Bible. In the meantime, take some time today to pray for these hurting people and our nation.
 


Christian Worldview Vs. Horrific Tragedy

 

Why a Christian Worldview Works Even in the Face of Unspeakable Evil
 
On Sunday November 5, at approximately 11:30 am a man walked in to the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX and killed or wounded at least 46 people. Many questions arise in the aftermath of tragedy.  In the early hours and days, the questions are often answerable. How many died? Who was the killer? What did the authorities do in response? What was the killer’s motive? However, these questions quickly give way to the deeper questions that seem to be unanswerable. We all wrestle with questions like these about tragedies.

  • If God is good, why did he allow such evil, especially to people who identify as his children?
  • If God is in control of all things, why didn’t he stop this tragedy before it happened?
  • Why didn’t God allow the killer to be caught instead of just killing himself?

Although many of these types of questions are and will remain unanswered in detail, there are answers in the bigger sense. Though we may not understand the specifics of why this tragedy, why these particular people, or why this small church, we can understand from the Bible who God is, why evil exists and how God has victory over it.  Those answers come from what we call a Christian worldview.
We all have some sort of worldview if we realize it or not, and it matters!
A worldview is best described as the glasses through which we see and interpret all that is happening around us in the world. It attempts to tell an overarching story, to explain the universe in both grand and detailed ways. The story attempts to bring clarity and understanding to every part of existence.
A worldview:

  • Tells of origins (Where did the universe come from?)
  • Envisions a future (What is the future of the universe and our lives?)
  • Constructs ideals (What does a perfect world look like for all people?)
  • Provides rules of conduct (What is right and wrong?)
  • Provides a source of authority (Who is in charge?)
  • Gives a sense of life purpose (Why do we exist?)

Without a worldview of some kind, life has no meaning. There is no understanding of what is happening around us. Without meaning, living has no real purpose. Without purpose, there is no hope and reason to live.
We all seek to understand the world around us, especially in the midst of confusion, pain and tragic situations. From scientific questions to questions of good and evil, and why there is suffering we wonder why.  We seek guidance for decisions and meaning to life’s trials. We seek true beauty in art and wonder at the hate we see between human beings. These answers and more can be found through the glasses of our worldview.
God has provided an undistorted worldview through his word, the Bible, by communicating basic truths that are fundamental to every aspect of our life. This worldview brings clarity, purpose, and guidance for all of life.
Although there are many many worldviews that people follow, there are only two basic worldviews, a true one and a false one. The true one has only one definition. The false one takes on many forms. Let’s look at these two worldviews.
Firstly, let’s look at a non-biblical and false worldview summary.  Remember, there are many versions of this, but they all include the same fundamental points.

  • The universe came into existence by random chance or at best by means of an intelligent being or beings that we cannot know, understand or communicate with. There is no ultimate authority other than the most dominate being(s), which currently is humanity.
  • Currently in this grand ever evolving process, man is the center of all things. man has no ultimate purpose except in some organic evolutionary way. He is on his own. The strong survive, the weak are destroyed, and the random, chaotic evolution of all things continues.
  • Man should not be held to an absolute moral code, there is not one. Man should live in a way that is best for himself to enjoy life and survive as long as possible. After death, man will not be held accountable for his actions. Death is simply the end of existence. There is no future after death.
Secondly, let’s look at a Christian worldview. You can watch a very short video summary of a Christian worldview clicking below and then we’ll give you some reasons why this view works and makes sense even in the face of tragedy to the very people who hold this worldview. 
 

So how does this make sense in the face of tragedy even to those who believe this worldview? How does it bring hope to despair and meaning even to hardship?

1. In a Christian worldview, God is creator and therefore he is the authority over all his creation. He sets the rules for his creation. He sets both natural law i.e. gravity which cannot be broken, and he sets moral laws which can and have been broken. The reason we even know right and wrong and that murder is evil is because God created life, gave it value and gave us moral law. Non-Christian worldviews cannot adequately account for these facts.
The reason we know what happened in Texas was a tragedy is because precious life was taken and the Evolutionary answers of survival of the fittest doesn’t add up! In the depths of our soul, in our emotions and conscience, we know it was horrific evil because we know what good and evil are thanks to God
.
2. In a Christian worldview, God has not left his creation to suffer under evil indefinitely. At great cost to himself, he sent his only son, Jesus, who is God as well, to suffer and die in order to conquer evil and provide salvation from evil. Jesus entered into our suffering. He himself was tragically murdered. However, His death and resurrection from the grave prevents evil from ever conquering good completely.  In a Christian worldview, God always overrules evil with good even though for the moment, as with Jesus’ death, evil may seem to win.

3. In a Christian worldview, there is hope because of salvation in Jesus Christ. He conquered death, rose again from the grave and now provides eternal life and the forgiveness of sins.  Not only is evil like that in Texas overcome, but our own sinful heart can be forgiven and our relationship with God can be restored. We personally can have victory over evil and sin in our own life. We do not have to be captive to our own sinful condition.

4. In a Christian worldview, we have the hope of eternal life. For those who have accepted God’s gift of salvation which is free to us but came at great cost to him, it is not death to die. Yes, that is right, it is not death to die.  When God speaks of death in the Bible, he speaks of eternal death which is separation from God in Hell for those who reject Jesus’ gift and do not believe in him. For those who do accept his gift of salvation such as those at the First Baptist Church, death is not eternal. It is a passage way to eternal life. The Bible says that for those who have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ to be absent from this earthly body is to be instantly present with the Lord in Heaven.

5. In a Christian worldview, evil such as we saw in this situation is punished. Perhaps the killer supposed in his worldview that his ticket to freedom from the carnage he had caused by his evil actions was to kill himself thus ending life and entering a state of non-existence. No jail, no remorse, no guilt, no dread, he felt as many who commit such atrocities do, that killing themselves was the end. However, in a Christian worldview, this man went to Hell. He will stand before God in  the final judgement for his sin as we all will someday and then he will be condemned to eternal death in the Lake of Fire. There is no hope for him, no second chance. His fate is sealed. His worldview was horribly wrong in so many ways and at so many levels. Worldviews do have consequences.

What is your worldview? What are it’s consequences for your future? How do you process events such as these terrible tragedies? Do you believe that the universe happened from a “Big Bang?” Do you believe in the evolutionary process, the survival of the fittest, that life is random, futile, and meaningful only for the strong who survive? Do you believe that good and evil are simply cultural norms?  Do you believe there are no moral absolutes based on a moral absolute being who is designer, creator and ultimate authority, GOD? May we ask you to consider the Christian worldview. Use the resources below to learn more and consider God.

For those who have a Christian worldview, do not be discouraged even in the face of hard questions. God is in control. He does overcome evil with good. We are part of his plan in doing so. Share God’s good news contained in the Christian worldview with others. Share God’s love by reaching out to others and loving them. Pray for God’s help and strength for those touched by this and other effects of man’s sin, and look up for the Lord can come at any time.

Do you have questions? Would you like to talk about your spiritual life and relationship with God?  Contact us by clicking here or visit us for a service soon.

Click here for other helpful articles that can help answer questions about God, the universe, his relationship to you and more. 

Check out these other helpful articles below on our website for more information about God.  ​

 
 


Fourth of July Traditions Link Americans with Country’s Past

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by Andrew Rafferty, Staff Writer, NBC News
 
Fireworks, parades, and cookouts, not to mention red, white and blue: The things Americans todat most closely associate with the Fourth of July have been surprisingly constant since the country’s founding in 1776.
 
But how Americans have celebrated the Founding Fathers’ breakup with King George III hasn’t always been static, and the choices citizens have made over 237 years offer and indication of where the country has stood socially, politically and culturally.

“It is a barometer of changing American life,” said Matthew Dennis, author of the book “Red, White and Blue Letter Days: An American Calendar.”

Here’s a look at how Fourth of July traditions have changed along with the country.