Prayer Isn't Useless, A Response To The Florida School Shooting

Prayer Isn't Useless, A Response To The Florida School Shooting

It's not just another shooting and another debate on gun-control.
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Wednesday, February 14th, Valentines Day, Ash Wednesday, middle of the week, initially an average day at school but then, it ended with seventeen deaths and a young man forever being known as a monster.

Some fear that our country is becoming numb to these events. People have this idea in their minds that no one feels shocked when they hear of another school shooting. I’m only a young college student who has no idea how public policy is carried out, how the government works, or frankly, how the world works.

But, when I turn on the news, all I hear is a gun-control debate. News channels quickly bring politics into the crime scene. I turn on Fox News and then CNN and hear different things. I listen to a sound bite on the radio and hear a young girl say, “Thoughts and prayers do nothing”. And what do we gain from this? What do I feel as a result of this tragedy?

Disappointment. Within hours of hearing of the school shooting, news outlets already chose sides. Some labeled this a result of Republican negligence to stricter gun laws while others chose to mock the statements released by the President and others. Media took the opportunity to call for government action which forced it to become a political issue. Media handling of this issue only resulted in frustration. And this frustration leads to people believing that prayer is useless, government is the answer.

But, prayer isn’t useless and government isn’t the answer. Who gave the leaders of our government their power? God did. Who aligned everything perfectly so that they would be elected into their position? God. He is sovereign. He is in control, Psalms 103:19 says, “The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.”

It’s hard to tell someone about Jesus because everyone has already made their minds up about Him. Whether you think you have or not. Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God? If your answer is anything other than yes absolutely, then you haven’t placed your faith in God.

The bible says, “For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow” Lamentations 3:31-33. God’s word promises that he will never leave us, nor forsake us. You have to trust that.

Look at Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego, three Jewish men who did not bow down to worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue, in the book of Daniel.

They refused to worship anything or anyone other than the God of Israel causing King Nebuchadnezzar to order them to be thrown into the fire. Faced with their imminent, painful, death they said, “‘If our God—the one we serve—is able to rescue us from the furnace of flaming fire and from your power, Your Majesty, then let him rescue us. But if he doesn’t, know this for certain, Your Majesty: we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you’ve set up’” Daniel 3:17-8.

What happened next? They were tied up and thrown into the furnace. But then, something weird happened. When people looked into the fire, they saw four men walking around. They weren’t alone and they weren’t in pain. Jesus was with them in the fire.

They were ordered to come out and “Nebuchadnezzar declared: “May the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be praised! He sent his messenger to rescue his servants who trusted him. They ignored the king’s order, sacrificing their bodies, because they wouldn’t serve or worship any god but their God” Daniel 3:28.

These men refused to worship anything other than the Lord. They placed their faith and trust in God, and when faced with peril, they remained steadfast. This isn’t just a bible story to read aloud when bad things happen. It’s a real event, these things happened.

This was a miracle. These men were saved from the fire by the grace of God.

We need to be more like Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego when tragedy is knocking. Because, “As God’s household, you are built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone” Ephesians 2:20.

Place your faith in Jesus, in Christ alone our lives are saved. Believe when you read from the Old Testament, “Therefore, the Lord God says: Look! I’m laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a valuable cornerstone, a sure foundation: the one who trusts won’t tremble” Isaiah 28:16.

Prayer isn’t useless, it’s how we communicate with God and how we put our faith in Him. Go to Him in prayer, asking for help, asking for Him to fix the mess our world is in. Put your trust in God, not in men. Jesus is our savior, He can do so much more than you can possibly imagine, but only if you ask.

Cover Image Credit: Yahoo

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15 Bible Verses To Calm An Anxious Mind

Finding peace in the midst of turmoil.
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Anxiety hits us from all directions. Whether it be school stress, work stress, a stressful family situation, or anything else in life that causes us to feel unsettled, tired, and afraid of the future; anxiety can feel like it's taking over our lives.

As someone who constantly struggles with anxiety, I know how hard it is to find peace in the midst of a stressful situation. When we feel anxious about something, we generally try to do all that is in our power to control the situation. When we can't control it, we become even more anxious. So how do we stop this downward spiral of anxious turmoil?

We must turn to the one who is in control of all things. God holds all of our lives in his hands and is the only one who can calm our anxious minds. When we frantically struggle to put the pieces of our life together on our own, we will fail.

The only way to gain peace in the midst of anxiety is to turn to God, trusting in His perfect will and His power to hold us in His hands. The best way to remember this truth is to look to the Bible. Here are some verses to help us remember God's provision in the midst of anxiety.

1. Philippians 4:6

We don't have to be anxious when we can freely talk with God about our needs. We can cry out to Him for help and He will hear us.

2. John 14:27

Peace is a wonderful thing. Notice how it says, "I do not give it as the world does." We have to remember that worldly peace is only temporary, but God's peace is forever.

3. Isaiah 41:10

Not only will God give us peace, but He will also strengthen us. The image of God "upholding us with His righteous right hand" is pretty powerful and very comforting.

4. Psalm 94:19

Anxiety can make us sad and upset, but knowing that God is with us can bring so much joy in the face of desolation.

5. Psalm 34:4

Freedom from fear is so empowering! Imagine God setting us free from all the fear that holds us back. Oftentimes fear can make us feel trapped, but God can set us free.

6. 1 Peter 5:7

God cares about us so much, that He allows us to cast all of our worries on His shoulders.

7. 2 Corinthians 12:10

Human capacity is limited. We can by no means do everything, in fact, we can't do anything without the help of God.

8. Philippians 4:13

Nothing can hold us back or scare us when we have the strength of God.

9. Proverbs 3:5

We always try to lean on our own understanding, but it will never be enough. We try to control everything, but it will always fall through. It is because of this that we need to trust in the Lord for everything.

10. Matthew 6:25-34

This passage, while somewhat lengthy, is such a great reminder that God is truly in control of everything. We don't need to worry about a thing because He has it all planned out. We stress out about things that were never ours to worry about in the first place.

11. 2 Timothy 1:7

We were not created to be afraid, but to be empowered and loved by God.

12. Isaiah 26:3

If we simply keep God in the forefront of our minds, we will have perfect peace. Trust in Him brings the greatest peace.

13. Matthew 11:28-30

How comforting is this? Anxiety causes a lot of weariness but knowing that we can rest in God is amazing.

14. Jeremiah 29:11

God has a plan for us, so we don't need to worry about it. His plan is always good and always exactly what we need. His plans will always be better than anything we try to control ourselves.

15. Isaiah 41:13

When we feel anxious and afraid we can take comfort in knowing that God is reaching out His hand to us to help us trust Him and walk with Him.

While anxiety can feel overpowering or terrifying, we should not fear, but rather trust in the perfect and never-changing love and peace of God.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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Open Air Preachers Don't Belong at Marshall

There are appropriate ways to share about Christ, and these guys just don't get it.

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Marshall University has an absolutely beautiful campus. After spending 4 years here, spending time around the memorial fountain is honestly going to be something I miss. During the week, campus life was usually always so bustling and exciting. There always seemed to be something going on at the student center plaza, some of which was more pleasing than others.

This past year on multiple occasions, Marshall had a few unwelcoming visitors. Some preachers came in, usually with signs, and would stand along a path that most of the student body would take on their way to and from class. They would start yelling Scripture to anyone who might be listening, but they were very rude and derogatory in their proclamations. One guy had told a girl that she would go to hell for the shirt that she was wearing. Another one was shouting, "God hates gays!" It eventually got so bad that they were banned from campus, multiple times.

As a Christian myself, this makes me so angry to see other people that claim the name of Jesus treat others poorly. Jesus wasn't like that. He was gentle, kind, and loving. That's part of being a Christian. It's what you sign up for. I personally don't believe that these "preachers" should be allowed on Marshall's campus because of the way they represent Christ and how their actions might affect students.

As mentioned previously, I am a Christian myself. I believe that being a Christian is more than a label. It is a calling to live your life in a way that exemplifies Christ himself. I personally know that I do not live up to this calling and fall short of it everyday. However, I know there is a difference between someone who does wrong and recognizes it as such and someone who willfully acts a certain way.

These preachers coming off to nonbelievers in the way that they are is doing more harm to the church than good. People aren't going to want to be a part of something that involves being rude to others. I know some people growing up that have been turned off from the church by another Christian who didn't act like a Christian. Being a Christian doesn't mean you have to like everyone. There are definitely people I have met that I am not fond of; but I am called to still see them the way God sees them, whether that be a part of His family or part of the mission field. Either way, God loves them.

Also, words are very powerful. It is very easy to either lift someone up or tear them down with what you say. When the open-air preachers are telling the LGBT community that God hates them, that is just discouraging and pushing them even further away from the Lord, which is terrible. Also, criticizing someone for what they wear can be very destructive. You don't know what a person is currently battling. Maybe you're not the first person to make a derogatory comment about their outfit. Maybe they can't afford to buy new clothes at the moment. Maybe they are dealing with a much more severe storm and simply don't need unnecessary, petty comments.

Personally, I think it was a good move when these guys were banned. They are not doing themselves or anyone else any good. There are appropriate ways to share about Christ, and these guys just don't get it.
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