“What we know is that the number of people who die from gun-related incidents around this country dwarfs any deaths that happen through terrorism,” said President Obama yesterday. It is true. Utterly irrelevant, but true. We are blessed not to have rampant terrorism in this nation, but in places where terrorists do roam, innocent people without guns submissively kneel to be beheaded. So I suppose the president, inadvertently, makes a pretty good argument in favor of the Second Amendment.
Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account" (Phil 4:17).
The apostle Paul had a tent-making business. However, over time, it was evident that more and more of his time was being given to vocational ministry activities. That required him to receive income from those to whom he invested his life. It became increasingly difficult to run a business and travel and minister.
His letter to the Philippians gives us a perspective on giving. Although Paul appreciated the support financially, his real joy came in the fact that their gift was being credited to their Heavenly account.
Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Phil 4:14-19 emphasis mine).
Paul had a confidence that God would always provide what he needed. Sometimes it came from his business. Sometimes it came through others. He was not overly concerned with where his provision would come from. His confidence was in God, his provider. So, his attitude was in affirming the benefit that came to the giver from a Kingdom perspective.
Paul learned that it wasn’t a church or a business that was his provider. It was God. These were merely tools God used to support him.
Coming Back from Doubt
For reading & meditation – John 20:19-31
"Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’" (v. 28) We consider another important place where some Christians are broken – the area of deep and disturbing doubts. Some men and women have received Christ as their Savior and Lord, but yet are afflicted with paralyzing doubts. Some of these people go through deep agony of soul as they wrestle inwardly with doubt, ending up spiritually exhausted. Someone like this told me that she was a scientist and had serious doubts about certain parts of the Scriptures. "I’m afraid that one day I will wake up," she said, "and discover that science has disproved large chunks of Scripture." I could sympathize with her problem, but really her doubts were quite unfounded. Real science will never disprove Scripture, only confirm it. Half-baked science may appear to discredit the truth of God’s Word, but real science can only validate it. I suppose the classic example of doubt is found in the disciple Thomas. We call him "doubting Thomas" – an unfair label if ever there was one. It’s sad how we pick out a negative in a person and label him for that one thing. Thomas had his moment of doubt, but he came back from that place of weakness to become strong at the broken place. How strong? Let history judge. A well-authenticated tradition has it that Thomas went to India and founded a church there. Even today there are Christians in India who call themselves by his name – the St. Thomas Christians. They are some of the finest Christians I have ever met. Thomas had his doubts allayed in one glorious moment of illumination – and then he went places. So can you!
National rates of gun homicide and other violent gun crimes are strikingly lower now than during their peak in the mid-1990s, paralleling a general decline in violent crime, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data. Beneath the long-term trend, though, are big differences by decade: Violence plunged through the 1990s, but has declined less dramatically since 2000.