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As an update on Jeff. The doctors have determined that he is brain dead and has no hope of sustaining life without machines keeping his organs going. It took most of the night for all of the family to come to agreement that this was definitive and that nothing could be gained by having him transfered to another hospital for a second evaluation...there was just too much damage. Jeff had expressed the wish to his wife (in one of those "what if" conversations that you hope you'll never have to remember) that it would definately be his desire to not remain supported by machines in a situation like this. The family is honoring that wish and he will be taken off the machines some time today.
Thank you all for your prayers and I would ask that you would continue praying for his family:
Sons: Jeffrey and Jones
Four grandchildren, multiple extended family and many, many close friends in the community. Jeff was voted "Man of the Year" in his community last year and had a tremendous impact on many people.
It's all tragic and I have been always a bit ... it's always sat a bit skewered to me how far a certain pacifism is taken
I know, its hard to tell where to draw the line isn't it. Bit of a slippery slope. If I decide not to have a gun to protect my family because I'm trusting God to protect us, then why do I lock my doors at night? If I won't use a gun, then would I use a baseball bat or physical aggression, and if so, then why not just use the more effective gun? We're not talking about a situation where we've gone to witness about Christ among Muslims and stirred them up to violence and we haven't landed our plane in the jungle (as with Jim Elliot) and initiated a confrontation that could become violent. We're talking about a defensive action of protecting our family. I think the answer will definately be different for every individual and in every situation (I'm not a big fan of getting too carried away with situational ethics, but this is an area that is hard to draw an absolute on).
I do not think I am being naive or simplistic but simply realistic: I have no control over the future nor of evil men in our community, but God does and since this is the case, we would do well to rely on him for instructions. If we get harmed, this will not come as a surprise either - He allowed it.
Thank you for your prayers and for your responses. Your statement here speaks for my heart as well. Did God turn His head the other night and some bad guy was able to murder my friend without Him seeing it...not at all. But was my friend killed as punishment for some grave sin in his life...not out of the question, but unlikely. Is there a possibilty that there are greater issues at stake here than the ending of my friends temporal existence and that God is in control and able to bring glory out of this situation...absolutely! Already I am seeing restoration between members of the family that have been estranged and at odds with one another for some time. We cannot know how this situation can fully be used for the glory of God, but it will have an impact on many lives for decades to come. I think again of Jim Elliot...who could have predicted how the tragic death of those men could so impact thousands of people and ultimately lead to the salvation of those who killed them. This is what I have concluded: God is sovereign and He is a good God and all of His ways are good. May this too turn out to the glory of our Lord and the advancement of His kingdom.
| 2009/1/31 14:19||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
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I'm sorry brother ...
Sometimes this venue of conversation is sorely lacking - My heart weeps for all more than anything I could say ... but I do concur with you on these other things, just difficult to even address them ... now.
| 2009/1/31 18:18||Profile|
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Thanks for this request and discussion. I made a lead weighted baseball bat in wood shop in high school in 1980. I carried it behind my seat in the truck until I was involved in a road rage incident outside Baltimore. I pulled my bat, but could bring myself to hit someone with it. I wasn't a believer at the time, but still God protected me that they didn't turn and use my bat on me and that I wasn't damaged badly. I believe for me that I am to defend myself, family and property spiritually and not physically. Where the exact lines of attack, defense, damage, restraint are, I am not sure, but I know God will give me peace to do His will when or if the situation arises. I believe that we do battle differently than the world does based mainly in the sermon on the mount. I hope Jeff recovers and that his family is blessed. Thanks again,
In Christ Love, Barry
| 2009/1/31 20:35||Profile|
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GraceAmazed, you must have been writing even as I was. I feel grieved with you for this event but trust that God is wiser than our estimations of things. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." This event worked together very good for your friend, whom we trust is beholding Christ now in peace and joy. It shall work together for good to all of the believers involved, and others who may be called through the event to faith in Christ. We may rejoice in the promises of God who "giveth and taketh away."
I thought about this subject for a while last night, while working by myself in a restaurant where I clean up after hours. Robbery is a reality there, too, as just this year a friend was held at gun point to open the safe.
A thought occurred to me which had not before. Were the Old Testament saints acting out of unrighteous fear when they seized weapons to defend kin and land? Abraham rescued Lot with arms, David slew the Philistines with arms, Samson made arms of anything at hand, and all of these did so in faith. Their reliance was no more upon weapons to defend their lives than our confidence should be in food to preserve health - as the generally appointed means ordained by God. David said, "you teach my hands to make war," while contemning the bloodthirsty. His desire was not for undue violence, but for civil peace and equity, and so, with the exception of his murder of Uriah, his violence was sanctioned by God. The Law itself made provisions to slay an intruder in the night, though one was to act mercifully in the light, if able to see that one's life was not endangered after all.
Exodus 2:22 - "If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him."
That is, no one is guilty of murder for killing such an unexpected intruder, for in such situations one cannot easily discern the force necessary to defend life and property.
Paul's words come to mind, that if a brother would take another brother to court over property, it is better to give up the property and preserve the good reputation of Christ in believers. Yet a higher value is set upon life. God has not only allowed powers to wield the sword for justice, but has ordained them for this ministry, even to terrify. [Romans 13:1-4] Christians are nowhere forbidden to take part in civil government, but only to abstain from evil. So much as one's government has granted citizen authority to take arms for necessary defense of self, and for the repulse of evil doers, I find very little to discourage Christians from the use of weapons.
The more I think about it, the more persuaded I am from the whole of scripture that God has ordained Christ's gospel to be spread by the sword of the Spirit, while the stability of society is ministered by the sword of rulers and their deputies, including citizens, who minister justice on behalf of God. The first table is urged by the voice of preaching; the second is compelled by sword of threatening.
These are different thoughts than I had six months ago.
To my mind, the question of conscience remains, "do I lust for violence out of season? Do I take up arms only as a means given by God, as food which must receive His blessing in order to be effective?"
God give us wisdom!
| 2009/2/1 0:30||Profile|
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The purpose for our being brought unto Him is that by our example others would also be compelled to come. It is by our death that others will be brought unto life. If we value our possessions over the life of another, how can we say that we have died so that others may live?
Will it not be our very willingness to give up our food and possessions that others will be won unto Him? Do we not have confidence that He will provide that which we need? Do we not profess that it is more blessed to give than to receive?
These are difficult questions for the times that are now upon us.
My prayers go out to Jeff and his family.
| 2009/2/1 2:21||Profile|
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No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.
Yesterday I was pondering this verse - trying to figure out who is who. I had always read this as we are to first pray, and bind Satan, before going forth with the word.
Be then it occurred to me that someone that is in the Lord could also be considered to be a "strong man," but just what would it be that would "bind the strong man." Could it not be said that relying upon something other than the Lord for protection would make us weak - for in so doing, we are turning away from Him, and therefore are no longer strong - which in turn makes it possible for us to be bound by Satan and open to the spoiling of our house?
In other words, by resorting to violence, or some other means of support, are we not forsaking the ways of the Lord, thereby placing ourselves in Satan's realm which in turn makes us subject to his laws and his ways?
| 2009/2/1 12:20||Profile|
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I'm so sorry to hear this, Brother. I'd looked up this post hoping to hear good news. Our prayers are with the family and friends of this good man.
| 2009/2/1 21:29||Profile|
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We prayed in Church tonight for everyone involved in this unhappy incident, which demonstrates one of the wonderful aspects of this online community. Setting aside differences to pray for one another is a true demonstration of Christian love.
"By resorting to violence, or some other means of support, are we not forsaking the ways of the Lord?"
When the Lord resorts to violence, does He then forsake His own ways? When Samuel slew Agag, or Elijah slew the prophets of Baal, was that a departure from faith, or the peculiar means by which faith worked in those instances? One may say that these operated under the Law, but even Abraham who lived before the Law pursued and fought the men who kidnapped his nephew. And was this a forsaking of faith, or the work of it?
Consulting the New Testament, we find in Hebrews 11:33-34, "Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness... waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens."
I am increasingly convinced that we are to be very gracious and merciful, while also holding the sword in obedience to God's ordinance of civil authority. We are not to compel people to believe the gospel through violence, but we are to support violence as the means God has ordained to terrify men from committing gross evil upon others.
HeartSong, may I ask you a question? Do you believe that spanking children is strictly an Old Covenant principle which has no relevance to New Covenant Christians? And is this not a form of restrained violence, suited to subdue their sinful actions? If God has continued to grant parents authority to afflict their children as a means of preventing further sin, why might He not ordain the use of greater violence to restrain the evil deeds of the wicked?
| 2009/2/2 0:41||Profile|
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HeartSong, may I ask you a question? Do you believe that spanking children is strictly an Old Covenant principle which has no relevance to New Covenant Christians? And is this not a form of restrained violence, suited to subdue their sinful actions?
I believe that it is required that we spank our children - but only in love. Somehow I don't think that doing it in the form of "restrained violence" qualifies. From what I understand, spanking is not designed to subdue their sinful actions, but rather it is to release them from their guilt, which breaks the grip of Satan.
In the Old Testament, the battles were fought in the flesh, for the Spirit of the Lord had not yet come to dwell in man. In the New Testament, the battles are won in the Spirit.
Hebrews 11:39-40 goes on to say:
And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
The only offensive weapon in our list of armour, is the Word.
The Lord has shown me again, and again, that when I fight back in the flesh, be it an unkind word, or a sinful thought, I am defeated. Why should it be any different on a larger scale - that being resorting to violence?
Here is something that I read in my devotions this morning:
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
| 2009/2/2 1:31||Profile|
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I have found some of the most radical statements in scripture to be these from Matthew 5:
vs.39 - "But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 - If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. 41 - Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 - Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you."
I know we must look at the full counsel of scripture, but I did want to enter these scriptures into our thoughts on this issue. Especially this idea of "do not resist an evil person." Prior to Christ, I was a person who was very confrontational and prone to get in fights over rather small issues. This was one of the first areas that the Lord dealt with me on. Over the years, I have found myself in many situations where I sought to live by this idea of not resisting an evil person and I would have to say that at these times that I have seen God move in ways that I don't believe He otherwise would have. Many times (not always, but many times) I have seen the path of nonresistance act as a catalyst for change in the life of the "evil person" or aggressor.
| 2009/2/2 8:04||Profile|