Louisiana is my home. I grew up here in Lake Charles and I enjoyed a very good childhood. My summer days were filled with baseball, bicycle rides across our city, and friendships that lasted forever (or until summer's end, which seemed like the same thing). When I hear people describe those days as idyllic, I agree. And I'm thankful they were real.
In recent weeks, our state has been rocked by gunfire and we have seen some of our citizens wounded and killed by those shots. We've even seen some of the strong and courageous among us, our police officers, slain in the line of duty. When we see those who protect us suffer the ultimate sacrifice, we are reminded that none of us are invincible.
As the fabric of our lives have been textured and torn in light of what seems to be the reign of evil in our society, many have wondered what can be done to turn things around. What can we do to see our communities as safe places for our children? What can be done to turn back the evil tide that threatens to overtake us? How can we reassure those close to us that things will be okay?
We remember Isaiah 41:10:
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 ESV)
That verse helps us to remember and to practice Proverbs 12:25:
Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. (Proverbs 12:25 ESV)
Then we are given 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18:
See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 ESV)
Some would say that seems idyllic. I'm simply reminded that it's real. I'm asking you to seek God's strength, to give a good word to others, and to pray. If you need help to start your prayer, may I offer this from an article entitled, Fifteen ways to Lead Group Prayer:
Pray from a cleansed life and heart (James 5:16)
Pray with perseverance and persistence (Matthew 7:7-11)
Pray specific prayers (Matthew 9:35-38)
Pray with a sensitivity to God’s Spirit (Psalm 46:10)
Pray Spirit-filled prayers (Ephesians 6:18-20)
Pray in accordance with God’s will (Luke 22:39-46)
Pray with a view toward obedience and service (Psalm 126:4-6)
This is a good start to reassuring those close to us that it will be okay.
-Randy Edwards - Senior Pastor