Jan 18, 2015

There’s a lot of trouble in our world this week.

  • As many as 2000 were massacred in Nigeria by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.  It was reported that the majority of the dead were children, women and elderly—those who could not outrun their attackers and their rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles.
  • The world is still feeling the shock of journalists, Jews and police killed by Islamic terrorists in Paris.  Twelve were killed at the Charlie Hebdo magazine in a very deliberate response to the satirical magazine’s depictions of the prophet Mohammed.  It’s hard to believe that in as important and “secure” a city as Paris that such an attack on basic freedoms—of the press, of religion, of speech—could happen.
  • There is continued unease because of the racial divide and polarization that remains in our country today.  Clearly many are still discriminated against simply because of the color of their skin.  That is not to say, however, that all or even most government authorities and law enforcement officers are racist.  And none deserve to be killed.  Yet two police officers in New York—one working to become a chaplain—were assassinated recently simply for being law enforcement.
  • Over one million babies are killed by abortion in the USA each year.  Since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973 that legalized abortion, it is estimated that over 50 million babies have been killed in the womb.

And yet these stories and others like them are not the last word.  We know that good can come from bad, and that our God has an amazing history of bringing about great things from the worst of situations and actions.

Though it is a hard conversation to have, our nation continues to remember Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy and talk about race relations in this country.  There are bigots and extremists in all camps; however, voices of reason and truth, respect and kindness, remain.  And our young people give us hope for a better future than what we have done with our past.

At least 1.2 million people—including over 40 presidents and prime ministers—gathered and marched in Paris last Sunday in a show of solidarity just days after the attacks.  People around the world shared that unity.

A CNN article on Tuesday reported that this week’s Charlie Hebdo magazine cover depicts the Prophet Mohammed with a tear falling from his cheek, holding a sign that says, “Je suis Charlie” [translated “I am Charlie”].  Above Mohammed are the words “All Is Forgiven.” One of the columnists at the magazine said, “The two terrorists, who killed our colleagues, we cannot feel any hate.  The (mobilization) that happened in France after this horrible crime must open the door to forgiveness.  Everyone must think about this forgiveness.”

The tide is turning against abortion’s culture of death and toward the sanctity of life.  More are aware of the vitality of life of children in the womb.  Forgiveness and healing are possible and sought for those who have experienced the trauma of aborting a child.  Abortion numbers, though still incredibly high, are declining, and more Americans are identifying themselves as “pro-life.”  In 1984 President Ronald Reagan declared the third Sunday in January to be National Sanctity of Human Life Day.  Say a prayer today for the sanctity and blessing of all human life.

This Sunday’s message emphasizes how God can do big things through our little efforts.  And He wants to do great things through you.  Every day.  I hope you are a part of that.

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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