Hero Chris Mintz and the Oregon Shooting

umpqua10By now you’ve probably heard of the shootings at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, but there are a few details of this incident that you may have not heard.   Evidence indicates that the gunman had an anti-Christian bias. Witnesses reported the gunman asked his victims about their faith. If they confessed to being Christians, he shot them in the head. Those who didn’t answer were shot in the leg.mintz

One victim, Chris Mintz, was shot multiple times.  In a heroic effort to eliminate the threat to fellow students, this Army veteran stepped into harm’s way and charged the shooter.  Even though he was shot in the upper back, left hand, abdomen, and both legs, Mintz survived.

While lying on the floor, Mintz said:  “It’s my son’s birthday today,” and the gunman shot him again.

Whenever you hear another news report about this incident, I encourage you to do three things:

  1. Remember to pray for the full and complete recovery of Chris Mintz and the other victims.
  2. Take a moment to pray for the grieving families of those who died.
  3. Reflect on the words of Romans 8:

Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: “They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.”

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. ~Romans 8 (The Message)

Discreetly Discrete

character_stonesSometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with strange or random thoughts on my mind.  When this happened recently, I was thinking of two statements that Jesus made:

  • The first is an admonition to be discreet: Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
  • The second is a command to be discrete: Be in the world, but not of the world.

As I thought about these two statements, the words discreet and discrete came to my mind.  Even though these words are homophones, they are not synonyms.  Discreet implies wisdom in your behavior or speech.  Discrete means: distinct or separate.

What section of the Bible outlines a discreetly discrete Christian life?  I think it’s the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
  • Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
  • Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
  • Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.
  • Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

What change can you make to help you become a discreetly discrete person?

Strips and Stripes

Don't park here, go there! Fresh lines on car park area

When you’re driving down the road, have you ever thought about the strips of information  in the stripes that line the pavement ahead of you?  The stripes provide visual boundaries that indicate where you should drive.

The value of stripes are seen in other areas of life as well:

  • The stripes of a zebra allow him to blend in with the scenery.
  • The stripes of traffic signs give a warning.
  • Stripes determine when a baseball is foul, a football is in the end zone, and where the free throw line is in a game of basketball.
  • Thanks to stripes, I can distinguish between a black cat and a polecat because of the white stripe that paints the back of a skunk.
  • When I was in the military, stripes were a statement of authority and they defined the chain of command.

When Peter wrote to a group of persecuted Christians, he thought of stripes in a different context:  “Jesus bore our sins in His own body on the tree . . . and by His stripes you were healed (I Peter 2:24).”

It’s through the sacrificial death of Jesus that you’re forgiven.  Because of His stripes, God wipes away your sin:  “If a man belongs to Christ, he is a new person. The old life is gone. New life has begun (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLV).”

The stripes of the One has resulted in the healing and salvation of the many.  Are you one among the many?

Weighing Your Options

download (1)In a post I made to this blog last week, I wrote about character and reputation.  I cited Romans 5, and I called your attention to a cause and effect link:  “Suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope.”

Over the weekend I reflected again on the words of Paul, and I remembered a story that Billy Graham tells.  It’s a good illustration of how God can use the suffering you encounter in your life.

The incident occurred during the Great Depression, and Graham spoke of a friend who had lived a life of hardship.  The man had lost his job, his wife, his home, and his fortune.  This Christian could not comprehend the purpose of his suffering, but he didn’t let his trials shake his faith.

While walking by a church one day, he stopped to watch some masons as they worked.  One of the men was chiseling a triangle shaped piece of stone, and Graham’s friend asked him: “What are you doing?”  The workman replied:  “See that little opening near the top of the spire? I’m chiseling this stone down here, so it will fit in just right up there.”

As Graham’s friend walked down the street, his eyes filled with tears and he smiled.  He realized that God was using his suffering as a chisel down here, so some day he would fit in up there.

Paul said:  “For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the coming glory that will be revealed to us (Romans 8:18).

When your heart aches, I hope you will find some comfort in the promises of Psalm 27:1, 14: The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!

I’ll close with this thought:  When you wait on the Lord, He lifts the weight of the world.