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Archive for Saturday, September 10, 2005

Faith forum

September 10, 2005

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How can faith help people through disasters like Hurricane Katrina?

God's love assists us in overcoming any obstacle

Rod Hinkle, pastor, North Lawrence Christian Church:

Christians know that God is good and makes all things work together for the good of those who love him, those who seek to fulfill his purpose for them (Romans 8:28). We know Jesus is good, generous, kind, loving, righteous, just, unchanging and holds the future of the entire world in his hands.

He knows how cruel, hateful, revengeful, destructive and evil that evil is. He also has experienced excruciating pain and death in our place because he is compassionate. He said, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

So we put our trust not in ourselves nor in our fortunate circumstances. No, we don't even rest in the assumption that "things are going to get better." Our faith rests in Almighty God, the Lord Jesus Christ, who has promised us eternal victory and joy and that everything will be made new, perfected in himself. We know that the ultimate insult, the weakening and death of our bodies, will be superseded by our resurrection and an eternal perfect body.

However, knowing God certainly does not make us passive. On the contrary, knowing his love moves us to share the tragedies of others, help them bear their burdens, meet their physical needs, give sacrificially, shelter the homeless, feed the hungry, encourage the lonely, find the lost, instruct the uninformed, love and accept everyone (Matthew 25:31-46).

Tragedies like Katrina are regarded as an opportunity to reflect the character of our heavenly father and our savior as we bring renewal out of destruction. Churches of Lawrence are demonstrating the unconditional love of Jesus in this tragic event. We trust in God, not ourselves, and live for others.

- Send e-mail to Rod Hinkle at Preachrod45@aol.com.

Faith in God supersedes our human insecurities

Pieter Willems, senior pastor, Mustard Seed Christian Fellowship, 700 Wakarusa Drive:

A disaster like Hurricane Katrina shakes our sense of security. We all like a certain amount of physical and emotional security in our lives. Our homes, our retirement funds, our friendships and our jobs all help provide a sense of security in each of our lives. There are many things that can threaten our day-to-day security on a smaller scale than Hurricane Katrina.

People who have a genuine faith in God and have practiced trusting God on a day-to-day basis when their security is threatened can trust God when a big disaster strikes their lives. They have had to learn to trust God when they cannot control their children's decisions; when they lose their job; when they become chronically sick; when they are threatened with a divorce; when they don't have enough money to pay the bills; when others treat them badly; whenever they suffer loss of control. Human security is all about having control of our lives and being in control of our future. Faith says, "I am not in control, and I don't need to be in control ... God is in control."

Hurricane Katrina makes us all realize how fragile our human security actually is. When I have faith in God, I believe that he is in control of my life. He is fully aware of what is happening to me. He is not panicked. He loves me, and he will take care of me. A personal faith in God is rooted in his faithfulness and care for me no matter what the circumstances. This kind of faith can help me in the face of losing everything to a hurricane. Though it is an extreme hardship, God's love for me is even more extreme.

Having faith in God gives me a present and a future security. Nothing in this life is a sure security, but God's love for me is. I can trust God with my life and future even when all else is lost.

- Send e-mail to Pieter Willems at pieterjw@sunflower.com.

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