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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To Everyone Who Hasn't Had Sex Yet, Wait For Marriage, It's The Right Move

If you have not had sex yet, wait.

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Premarital sex is not a new concept, no matter how much people like to pretend it is. You can trace scripture and historical texts back thousands of year to see that lust and fornication have been a problem since… well, since we humans have been problems.

They tell you in sex ed that sex causes you to form a bond with someone. They throw some big chemical names at you that are apparently in your body and cause that emotional attachment to happen, then you move on (or back to) how important condoms are and why STDs are so scary.

As a middle schooler or teenager, you can't understand what it means to become permanently connected to someone as a result of a quick, physical act.

If you haven't even had your first kiss, you really can't imagine what it's like to develop such a complex and intimate connection with someone because you have yet to feel the butterflies in your stomach from a kiss. So you really don't know what it's like to have a whole different type of feeling in your stomach.

You never forget your first love. It's one of the most cliche things you consistently hear, but it's true. Ask anyone. I guarantee your parents can still spurt out their first love's name in a few seconds. And most people never forget their first time. I know all my friends can recount that often awkward and slightly terrifying moment as if it happened an hour ago. When you mix those two, especially if you are in your teens, oh boy.

You never forget that. No matter how hard you try.

Everything you hear about sex is true: it's amazing, fantastic, life-changing, etc. There's a reason people have done it as frequently as they do, for as long as they have. But every time you sleep with someone, you leave a piece of yourself with them. Every time you choose to take that final physical step with someone, you cannot go back and collect that piece of your dignity and soul that you left with someone.

So, imagine what happens when you break up with someone you've slept with. Or that you just hooked up with. You have given someone a little slice of yourself forever. And you can never get it back. And imagine what happens when you do that multiple times. You give a piece of yourself to five, 10, 15, 20 or more people. Then you meet the person that you want to spend forever with. And you no longer have that whole part of you. You've given pieces away, and you can no longer give those to the love of your life.

So, save those pieces for your future spouse.

If you have not had sex yet, wait. If you have, consider not giving more pieces of yourself away to people who are not your spouse. Sex was created to be between two spouses, nobody else. So we need to try to maintain its integrity.

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(12-10) 11 Bible Verses To Ease Your Mind During Finals Week

Through God, all things are possible.

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Finals week seems like one of the most important weeks in a college student's life. Every waking moment is spent studying (and most moments are waking moments because your sleep schedule is messed up). There may be a few moments of weakness; some tears may be shed. Overall, your stress level is through the roof.

Well, this is the time for you to rely on God, not to blow-off your spiritual life. He is there for you -- His love, His dedication, His patience, His care. You need to place your Faith in The Lord. Through God, all things are possible.

1) When you are overly scared about your cumulative final exam. 

"So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?'" -- Hebrews 13:6.

2) When your anxiety and nervousness are getting the best of you. 

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." -- Joshua 1:9.

3) When you cannot stop ruminating on your past mess-ups and failures. 

"Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." -- Philippians 3:13-14.

4) When you are placing too much pressure on the outcomes of these exams.

"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." -- Colossians 3:2.

5) When you are exhausted from studying and need to rest. 

"When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet." -- Proverbs 3:24.

6) When you are wondering if the stress is even worth it.  

"For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." -- 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.

7) When you are worried about how these exams can affect your future. 

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -- Jeremiah 29:11.

8) When your need for control is getting the best of you. 

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." -- Isaiah 55:8-9.

9) When you are feeling alone. 

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." -- 1 Peter 5:7.

10) When you are stuck in a study rut. 

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." -- 2 Corinthians 4:18.

11) When you need some inspiration. 

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." -- Galatians 5:22-23.

Take a deep breath and know that you are almost done with the semester. Good luck and happy studying!

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