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CLARITY – 5-22-20 Above Our Pay Grade

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 5-22-20

Above Our Pay Grade

What’s Happening: “Some eyewitnesses earlier Friday (today) say the Airbus from Lahore (Pakistan) to Karachi made as many as three landing attempts before crashing into a crowded neighborhood near the airport killing at least 104 of the 107 aboard and some of the neighborhood’s residents (it is too recent for reports to be accurate). The jet was trying to land with only one engine functioning properly and flames could be seen coming from it. Although the pilot called ‘Mayday,’ only the tower was warned of impending disaster as the residents of the populous area had no idea what was about to happen (https://news.yahoo.com/official-pakistani-passenger-plane-crashes-103536443.html). ‘We are proceeding direct, sir — we have lost engine,’ a pilot said.

‘Confirm your attempt on belly,’ the air traffic controller said, offering a runway.                      ‘Sir – mayday, mayday, mayday, mayday Pakistan 8303,’ the pilot said before the transmission ended.”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “What a tragedy!! Why would a good God allow it?!”

Biblical Response:  “Why these 104 (+ residents)? Why today? Why this plane? The questions are endless. I have a friend who just lost a lower extremity to diabetes (his left leg below the knee was amputated). Why him? He is missing the Bible study he was leading while he’s recovering…he’s an elder in our church, for crying out loud! (He and his wife have been enduring all this with a stiff upper lip…but they have to be hurting inside.) Why?!”

“All I can say is: it is above our pay grade. There are things He reveals…and things He doesn’t (Deut. 29:29). The what and when of His purpose are a mystery to me…and He obviously prefers that. He is God…not me. Are there reasons bad things happen?”

“Yep. Keep reading:

Why “Bad” Things Happen

Why ‘Bad’ Things Happen – This is an age-old question and I don’t presume to know the reasons behind all of God’s mysterious purposes, but I have observed that most things we designate as “bad” can usually be grouped into one or more of four categories. Let me explain:

  1. We live in a fallen world.

When Eve ‘fell’ from her position of grace in God’s creation, listened to the lies of Lucifer (though her husband, who was with her, was curiously silent – read Gen. 3:1-13), and ate of the forbidden fruit, she loosed many unintended consequences which only began with the curses God levied (Gen. 3:14-19).

Much that we consider “bad” are just the consequences of that original disobedience.

      2.   We sometimes make stupid decisions.

Although students of the Creator have full access to the instruction manual (the Bible), they are enticed by their own greed (or some other lust distracts them) and they pursue an unwise course…and reap the rewards of their foolishness (Gal. 6:7).

      3.  We are the collateral damage of others’ stupidity.

Sometimes other people make unwise decisions and our suffering is the natural outcome of simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

        4.  God is trying to tell us something.

Sure, He could speak in an audible voice (and sometimes does), but that is what the Holy Spirit is for. We didn’t hear Him, so He resorts to speaking to us through our circumstances.  (See Ps. 86:11-12).

Sometimes our consequences seem just, sometimes not, but we often find that our judgement in such matters is a bit biased…maybe that is why He had to resort to circumstances – we wouldn’t listen to anything else.

        5.  A combination of the above.

Often, we experience a combination of (or all) the causes of “Bad” Things.

From our limited perspective (temporal), we can’t see all the subsequent interventions God has planned in His perspective (eternal). Hence, we do not understand (or even conceive of) how what the enemy meant for our destruction is really being used by God for our ultimate blessing (Gen. 50:20). 

Time would fail me to speak of Ruth, Esther, Joseph, Jonah, Job and others who have all experienced “bad” things happening to them. Besides John Piper has done it so much better (https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/all-things-for-good-part-2?utm_campaign=Daily%20Email&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=73892980&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_99dx-TCkx3yY_WvmjL61wazCjsr5us8gDLKpoUeGoW4_wy1Id9dsmj8nUSBdDdfXLUs2Eyz7n3ZxCoA8iE0G4QdYPjA&_hsmi=73892980).

All this is not to say that God is capricious. He is not. He is always good (and not by just allowing the ‘bad’…as in Job). No, all things He does are good. Maybe not in our temporal perception, but in His eternal one. Hence: Rom. 8:28, and my use of the quotation marks in “Bad”.

Pity, all judgements are made from the deception of a still photograph of a moment in time…God’s judgements come from a four-dimensional video.

“Christians? We believe in a sovereign God…He can allow or do what He wants. We may (and often do not) understand what He’s doing. It’s like Isaiah 5:8-9 says: 

This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are my thoughts the same as yours! For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours, and my thoughts than yours.’ (LB)”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to fit into Your plan and receive the comfort of Your Holy Spirit, as it is appropriate; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

Share as you like, just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com.’ If he’s not in Twitter/Facebook/Email jail, he also tweets/posts.

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CLARITY – 1-16-20 Pictures Can Be Deceptive

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 1-16-20

Pictures Can Be Deceptive

What’s Happening: “In an act that Sheriff Gibson. of Osceola County, FL called ‘despicable,’ Anthony Todt  (44) confessed to killing his wife (Meghan – 42), his two sons (Alek – 13, and Tyler – 11), his daughter (Zoey – 4), and their family dog, Breezy, it was announced at a press conference yesterday. Everyone that knew them had nothing but good to say about them, though a recent eviction notice from their rented five bedroom home in Celebration (A Disney development that backed onto Disney World) indicated some financial difficulties (https://mail.yahoo.com/d?reason=norrinuser#7741662286). ‘ They were always god people’ said Dimitri Koutsofavas, a friend. ‘We met when we were coaching our kids at soccer,’ he said. ‘All the people that knew them had nothing but good things to say.’”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “I read the article and saw their pictures…so deceptive!”

Biblical Response:  “That’s the problem with snapshots and portraits…everybody puts their ‘say-cheese’ smiles on, but reality can often be different. Anyone can look like everything is hunky-dory for a frozen moment in time, but real life is a three dimensional video that keeps rolling, even in tough times (Jer. 6:14; Jer. 8:11). Face it, evil exists (Eph. 6:12), we live in a fallen world (read Gen. 3), and things are not always as they seem (Matt. 7:15). As horrific and tragic as these events are, we should not be surprised…God isn’t (Ps. 139).”

“Christians? We believe in keeping short accounts (with our brothers and sisters…and with God). Things only build up to impossible proportions, when we don’t unburden ourselves often (James 5:16).”  

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to know our own breaking points and not to be so proud that we don’t ask for help; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

Share as you like, just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link:subdeo.com.’  Copyright © 2019 Alan E. Sargent

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CLARITY – 1-3-20 The Size of the Bullseye is Measured in Responsibility

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 1-3-20

The Size of the Bullseye is Measured in Responsibility

What’s Happening: “Earlier today, Iran’s Quds force leader and top General Qassem Soleimani was killed as he arrived privately and disembarked his aircraft at Baghdad’s airport by a U.S. drone. Nine others were also killed, including the son-in-law of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who pledged harsh retaliation. Soleimani, it was reported, was responsible for planning numerous attacks by Iranian soldiers and terrorist organizations against U.S, soldiers (https://www.yahoo.com/news/iran-vows-harsh-response-us-064000730.html). Quoting the Associated Press article: ‘The United States urged American citizens to leave Iraq ‘immediately’ following the Friday airstrike…’”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “Won’t this just bring more instability to the region?”

Biblical Response:  “No doubt…but sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. Besides, there will never be ‘peace on earth’ (the message of Christmas…note the rest of that verse is: ‘..to men of good will…’ – Luke 2:14  Douay-Reims Version – there are a lot of jihadists who show no ‘good will’) until the Prince of Peace rules in the heart of every man. To borrow and change the superheroes’ mantra: with great responsibility comes a bigger bullseye. Generals beware!”

“Christians? We favor peace, but know that apart from a transformed heart (and a transformed world), it won’t happen (Isaiah 2:3-4). Come quickly, Lord Jesus! (1 Cor. 16:22)” 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, give us patience as we await Your consummation; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

Share as you like, just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link:subdeo.com.’  Copyright © 2019 Alan E. Sargent

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CLARITY – 12-6-18 Wisdom Defeats Foolishness

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 12-6-18

Wisdom Defeats Foolishness

 

What’s Happening: “In a series of consequences of poor decisions, two inmates escaped from the Pickens County Prison in South Carolina and one was shot and killed when he entered the home of a woman with a concealed carry permit. It only took one shot (to the head) to subdue the orange attired inmate. The escape was ‘premeditated’ reported Sheriff Rick Clark (https://www.yahoo.com/news/woman-concealed-carry-permit-fatally-195415273.html). ‘This is the shining example of what this lady did. She took the time to get her CWP (Concealed Weapon Permit) and set herself up to be able to protect herself and not be harmed, killed or raped or whatever. She came out on the good end of this and the bad guy didn’t,’ said Sheriff Clark.”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “He picked the wrong house.”

 

Biblical Response:  “You think?! Some reaping is permanent (Gal. 6:7). Should the lady feel bad? Perhaps. The dead inmate will not have the opportunity to repent…and that is regrettable. Still, it is more regrettable for him than for her. Actions taken have consequences…some of them deadly. Sure, he picked the wrong house, but his mistakes mark a series of bad decisions or he wouldn’t have been in prison in the first place.”

 

“Christians? Living in a fallen world brings some, out of a motive of self-preservation, to get a concealed carry permit. Is taking someone’s life wrong? Doesn’t the Scripture say we are not to kill? (Exodus 20:13). Actually, it says not to commit murder (the taking of innocent blood). The Scripture really says ‘there is a time to kill’ (Eccl. 3:3). Of course, the death of any individual ends the chance for them repenting and being restored to right relationship with the Father…and that is sad. Still, what happened is an example of wisdom triumphing over foolishness.”

 

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, may we find the balance between being prepared and trusting You with our future; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

 

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent

 

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CLARITY – 5-30-18 Final Justice

CLARITY

A Biblical Response to Current Events – 5-30-18

 

Final Justice

 

What’s Happening:  “Arkady Babchenko, a Russian journalist who had fled Russia for relative safety in Kiev, Ukraine, was shot in the back and killed Tuesday just outside his upscale apartment. Local authorities believe his criticalness of the Moscow government’s policies finally caught up with him, but launched a full-scale investigation into the incident (https://www.yahoo.com/news/russian-journalist-shot-killed-ukrainian-capital-192728589.html). ‘Ukraine is becoming the most dangerous country for reporters,” said Russian lawmaker Yevgeny Revenko. You think?”

 

Knee-Jerk Response:  “I guess Babchenko didn’t go far enough from Russia…”

 

Biblical Response:  “Maybe not, though I wonder if you can ever be far enough from the long arm of Russian “justice.” Don’t get me wrong, I think dissent should be protected speech, but not everywhere has freedom of the press. Thankfully, Babchenko’s death is only the end of his earth-life. He may have been a Christian. If so, eternal bliss is beginning. ”

 

“Christians? There are many injustices this world continues to mete out, but final justice awaits us all. Some will be grateful…others will not (Heb. 9:27).”

 

”Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help the Babchenko family with their loss and help us all look for the final justice that will be rendered one day; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”   © Alan E.Sargent

 

Share as you like; just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe to any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link: http://subdeo.com/. He also tweets on Twitter.com every day @alanesargent