Posted in theology

Shooting: 19-2 and the episode “School”

By Elizabeth Prata

Shootings are horrible. Children who die in shootings is horrible. I work in a school. School shootings make me quake like no other. The reality as close to living a High School shooting as it’s possible to live, yet not be there was depicted on the Canadian TV show 19-2, season 2.1.

The episode was actually based on the Montral Dawson College shooting in 2006. Canada was not quite ready for the revisiting, even in dramtic TV form 9 years later, but they got it anyway.

Not that I’d want to live through it, but the way the series presents the situation realistically, but not gratuitously, & w/that famous long unbroken 13-minute single camera scene, haunts me. If you want to know what living through a shooting is like as a cop, a high school student, or a parent, watch 19-2’s episode of “School“.

You can see the episode on Amazon Prime/Acorn TV for $2.99. It is worth it. It is also as of this writing, on Vimeo. The episode was the most intense television or movie watching I EVER saw, to this day. I think it is the most intense television ever possible to watch. This episode is commercial free.

The Canadian magazine The Star wrote, “an episode that includes 60 of the most breathtaking minutes on television.”

I see tweets and comments making jokes about the El Paso mall shooting that occurred today in which 20 were killed and 24 were wounded. Some were children. Jerks immediately began politicizing it or over-layering race and ethnicity into it. After you watch “School“, then go ahead and politicize, joke, or crack wise about shootings. If you do, you will know you are mentally dead, emotionally putrid, and politically void.

school

Posted in theology

Prayers for El Paso, anguish at the world’s brutality, hope in Christ

By Elizabeth Prata

I have read that an active shooting situation is occurring at an El Paso, TX mall and Wal-Mart. A shooter has shot and killed multiple victims, (early reports say up to 21 killed, including 4 children) with more shoppers injured and transported to local hospitals. So far a suspect is in custody.

More information will be forthcoming as police conduct their investigations. On the news brief, the Policeman said that the crime scene area is quite large, and they were still going through to sort victims from potential suspects, and retrieving people who sheltered in place.

The news reported an eyewitness saying the man went from aisle to aisle shooting, with rage.

Last week there was a shooter at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California. A video of the event showed people running in a herd toward the camera man. “Why are people running?”, we hear on the video. Bystanders didn’t understand what was happening at first, and a women who was told, said “Who shoots up a Garlic Festival?”

Sin doesn’t make sense. We just have to live with it, and with the people with blackened hearts and depraved and futile minds who perform these deeds.

The constant barrage of sin coming against us tests our faith. I read tweets from folks saying they are devastated, when will it stop, they are sick to their stomach. I feel the same. Of course I prayed.

I also remember having those feelings I’d had before I was saved when this kind of thing would happen (admittedly less frequently back 40 years ago). In addition to all the questions noted above, I  felt confusion, fear, and alarm.

Having the Spirit in me to open my eyes to why these things happen doesn’t reduce my sadness for the people experiencing the fear and panic of this kind of tragic event, but it does help in other ways. I understand why it happens. It does bring home the shortness of life especially compared to the longness of eternity. It does instill an ever growing gratitude to the Savior that I have peace and assurance, and that without Him, who knows what sins I might have been doing that hurt people.

Why does this happen? We are told why, humanity in its sin rebels against a holy God. I can’t imagine the spiritual anguish the alleged 21-year old shooter felt to shoot the man in the doorway at point blank range, then go up and down shooting others, including children. The brutality and unholiness noted in the list in the verse below will grow and grow and spread to more and more people as sin overtakes more and more people.

Difficult Times Will Come
3 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. 9 But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also.

That is quite a list of sins we have to live with. Did you know we are in the end times now? The “last days” are between Jesus’ first and His second comings.

In the article linked above, it ends with noting that as the evacuees from the Mall lined up on the sidewalk, a man with a Bible went up and down the line asking people to pray with him. As the darkness grows, our Light which is Christ in us should glow more brightly. We have the answers.

Sin forgiven, souls redeemed, familial adoption, a heavenly inheritance, an eternity of joy. All for the price of repenting. Call out to Jesus who saves, give up your sin, and be remade as a new creation, born again. (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Christians still feel anguish, but it takes on a new flavor. It’s not spiritual anguish, that’s calmed when the Spirit comes in and we are at peace with God. (Romans 5:1).  No longer His enemy, we now look outward upon the anguish of the world that is without God.

No one on this side of the veil knows the date of their death. It could come in 80 years or it could come today. For the poor folks inside the store when the shooting began, some will never be the same, others who were killed met eternity. I pray that at least some of those were true believers, now rejoicing with Jesus for their life in Him. Others who are not in Christ, learned of their mistake, but will pay for it through all of the rest of time, forever. Ultimately, that is the anguish Christians feel when we read of news like this.

Repent and be reconciled, for we do not know what tomorrow brings.

And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, (Colossians 1:20-22).

cross

Posted in gospel, Uncategorized

Florida alleged school shooter Nikolas Cruz needs the Gospel as much as any of us do

We’ve been progressing through the attribute of love as God loves and expects it of His children. It’s love week here at the End Time.

I’d planned next week to explore hate. Not everyone’s favorite subject, I’m sure, but we’ve all experienced it, either prior to salvation when were at enmity with God or afterward when we had fleshly flashes of it.

Today, sadly, we as a nation are once again mourning in the aftermath of a massacre shooting. This was the worst kind, a school shooting.

Yesterday alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz allegedly shot 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, a public school of about 3,000 students outside Boca Raton, FL. In the recent past we’ve endured:

February 14, 2018 – Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School – Parkland, Florida. 17 people killed and at least 14 others injured.

January 23, 2018 – Marshall County High School – Benton, Kentucky. Two killed and 18 injured.

December 7, 2017 – Aztec Hight School – Aztec, New Mexico. Two killed and shooter kills self.

September 13, 2017 – Freeman High School – Spokane, Washington. 1 student killed, 3 injured.

April 10, 2017 – North Park Elementary School – San Bernardino, California. Adult kills student and teacher, then self. Two others injured.

That is a list of just the shootings within the last year, and of course you and I know there are many more, and not just school shootings. In the aftermath, we see quotes like this one from CNN.

“This has been a day where we’ve seen the worst of humanity. Tomorrow is gonna bring out the best in humanity as we come together to move forward from this unspeakable tragedy,” he said.

I would disagree, and the Bible supports me on this. It isn’t the worst of humanity. It’s humanity. It’s easy to think of Cruz as an enemy and hate him. But we have met the enemy, and he is us.
The ground of this pure and unspoiled earth became blood soaked shortly after the Fall, when Cain slew Adam. Even prior to that moment, Eve and Adam behaved violently by disobeying God, moving forward in enmity. They broke His one and only command, thus causing the fall of man from his position God had declared as “very good.” After that, man has not been “very good” but “very bad”. The technical term in Christianity for very bad is “depraved sinner”. After the Fall, this became a world of death instead of a world of life. (Romans 5:17).

Ligonier explains our depravity:

So often we are quick to blame others for our failures and shortcomings. We even mask how we do this by employing the “if-only” rationale to excuse our sin. “If only I had been raised differently…I had a better job…you hadn’t provoked me…my husband would listen to me…my church were better….” The list is endless and usually contains genuinely flawed people and circumstances that are blameworthy.
But no circumstance, other person, or activity can ever justify my sin. I sin, Jesus said, because my heart is sinful. That is a shattering reality. But we must humbly face it if we want to be spiritually healed.

Alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz shot people because he is a depraved human. But we’re all depraved. The difference is that prior to salvation we have no hope of resisting that depravity. Afterward, it is a constant battle, albeit aided by the ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit. But it’s in all of us. Ask Abel. There is none good, no not one. When the hate against God that’s inside us grow to such monstrous proportions one cannot restrain it any more, we unleash it in terrible ways. Gossip, slander, adultery, extortion, oppression, murder. It’s all there in all of us.

It is exactly why we need the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it–or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.

Praise God He made a way for us to be reconciled to Him. The Gospel is life.

 

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

In the aftermath of tragedy, we must be about the Father’s business

No, we are not good.

We awaken to this today:

How can this happen, people wonder. It happens because of sin. Man is born a sinner, and it is only God’s common grace that retrains a man from murdering every day. However, God’s restraining grace is lifted as He abandons a nation. I wrote about that yesterday.

So, man turns to false religion to help him restrain the evil in him. But this does not work, either. The harder man tries, the more he fails.

“False religion cannot restrain sin in the heart, although it can mask it with self-righteousness.” Principles of God’s Judgment

When an individual or a nation resists the Law, the conscience, and common grace in creation long enough, God gives them over to the lusts of their heart.

“God will abandon sinners to their own choices and the consequences of those choices. And just what is this abandoning act on God’s part, it is the removal of restraining grace. It is when God lets go and turns a society over to its own sinful freedoms and the results of those freedoms. No Scripture more directly confronts this abandonment and its consequences than Romans 1 does.” When God Abandons a Nation

In Romans 1:18-32,

Three times you have the statement, “God gave them over.” This term paradidomiin the Greek can have a judicial sense. It can be used of a judgment made on a criminal who was then handed over for punishment. Each of these phrases expresses the fact that the wrath of God has acted judicially to sentence sinners. It is God officially giving them over. It is God letting them go to the uninterrupted cause and effect their sinful choices produce. When this judgment falls, there is a depriving of restraining grace and sin runs rampant through a society. When God Abandons a Nation

And false religion includes the atheist and agnostic, the ‘no-choice’ person, because those are just religion of self. This is why we need Jesus, all people do. The sin of man is inherent in his heart and only Him from above who is without stain can resolve our sin problem. All men need the Gospel.

The Gospel is not “having purpose in your life”. It is not “accepting Jesus” or praying a prayer. The Gospel which everyone needs is good news, as Ligonier explains:

“The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it–or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.”

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)

The sad truth is, that as we awaken to news of a cold-blooded massacre in Dallas where snipers shot 11 police officers, some at point blank range, man is not good. This is not an anomaly. The man who shot the elementary students at Sandy Hook, the man who shot the movie-goers in the theater in Colorado, the who shot the homosexual club-goers in Orlando … THIS is man. Continue reading “In the aftermath of tragedy, we must be about the Father’s business”