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“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”  Matthew 5:4

“They encourage themselves in an evil matter….They say who will see them?…….But God shall shoot them with an arrow…so He will make them stumble over their own tongue”  Psalm 64:5,7

We find ourselves pondering mysteries beyond our capabilities to solve.  Jesus Christ knew that there would be misery brought about by tragedy.  He knew that unforeseen and unfortunate things were going to happen to good people.  He knew people were going to find themselves in a place where they would mourn.  Where we would be gripped with an overwhelming sense of loss and despair.  On the surface, blessed seems so out of place for someone in those circumstances.  For me the only thing that comes to mind is the sense that those who mourn, would have loved and cared in the first place.  One who is so cold that tragic loss does not phase them because they do not feel any love, any remorse for loss, is in such a fearful place every day.  But those who know the blessing of giving and receiving love and therefore feel the gut wrenching loss when the object of that loss is taken from them; Our Heavenly Father will come to them and comfort them.  There will be time of blessing.

And it may seem that evil wins.  That in the pulling of a trigger, the setting off of an explosion or other horrendous act, that evil has triumphed.  And an all too human is response is to,  instead of looking to our human, fallen nature which spawns such evil in the first place, we often turn our blame to God; as if He was the one that carried out the horrific act.  Yet, for me, faith must be the activity that I dwell on and cling to, as I am at a loss to understand the why of such senseless acts of hatred and violence.

Finally though, from years of study in history and years of living experience with such tragic events, whether it be someone of world inflicting evil, like a Hitler or a lone disturbed individual who impacts a community, their evil does not last.  Yes the impacts carry on, but their evil is thwarted.  They may seem to have the upper hand, but their supremacy is fleeting.  History has shown over and over, that good, the good that comes from God triumphs in the end.  He will enact His Justice.  How do we know?  Jesus Christ came to earth.  While on earth He was tempted and overcame those temptations.  This earth and the evil in it, did all it could do to stop Him; thinking that they had triumphed when Jesus died.  But no earthly or other evil power can restrain the Power of Almighty God.  Jesus Christ rose on the third day, shattering the forces of evil for all time.  And here is the most important aspect of that act, Jesus Christ did not do that just for Him.  Jesus Christ’s act was to allow all of us to overcome the evil power of this world by following Him.  We will overcome.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we are in mourning today and we confess that we need Your Blessing.  We confess that we do not understand the workings of we humans in this world and tend to lash out at anger at You for the evil we do.  Forgive us Dear Father and restore and renew our faith.  Strengthen us and give us a resilient spirit, that we will respond to hate with love; that we will respond to divisiveness with togetherness; to separation with inclusion, that we will respond to despair with hope.  That through our faith in You we will strive to live a life of victory over evil.  In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

Away with you Satan!  For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only will you serve.  Matthew 4:10

Jesus is the Son of God, one of the Three Heavenly Triune.  As God on earth, He showed His power over Satan by easily casting out demons.  Before Jesus Christ could even take action, the demons recognized Him and were deathly afraid, knowing of His power and might.  Jesus could have easily answered Satan’s temptations in His own words.  Yet what did decide to use?  Not new words that would have shown His wisdom, power and majesty, no He chose to use His Father’s words.  Words given to Moses in the wilderness (see Deuteronomy 8:3, 6:16 and 6:13).

Again I am no scholar in the least, but I think this is why Jesus felt it important to tell the story of His temptation (remember the disciples were not with Him yet).  Jesus knew that we would all face temptations, not having the power that He has to resist.  So what He did was to give us the reference material that would provide the strength to ward off and overcome the temptations.  With Power and Humility, He called upon the words of Almighty God, the same words available to us, and Satan fled.

We have so many resources today.  Some are of an older nature.  I admit that I have a set of encyclopedias and I will from time to time, just to relive the experience, go and look some topic up in them.  Yet today there is so much more available for us to choose from to find our answers.  Wiki followed by some word has become synonymous with instant if perhaps questionable information.  Don’t know where to find something?  Well just Google it.  In classes that I teach I tell a story of horses pulling a specific wagon.  I wanted to know how much the empty wagon weighed, so what did I do?  You guessed it; I Googled it.  Now here is another frustrating aspect of the information/internet age.  I searched for the weight of the wagon.  Well don’t you know I found who made the wagon, what it was made from, the diameter of the wheels, nicknames for it, all sorts of information but after hours of searching I couldn’t find the weight of the wagon.  So I told that story in class and you can guess what happened.  Out came the smart phones and within five minutes someone came up to me with the answer I was looking for.  It took all my strength not to take that smart phone and chuck it across the room.

And that’s the challenge today.  We have so many resources out there to help us live our lives.  Often they are contradictory.  I will admit to reading some of the plethora of self help books out there.  Yet in the end I know where my greatest resource lies, the Word of God, the bible.  Yes some of what I read I don’t understand.  Yes some of what I reread I get either for the first time or because of life’s circumstances I get something new I had not seen before.  But I always get something, the right thing.  And it is all right there in one source

Jesus Christ does not lie.  He was tempted.  We are tempted so much more than He.  He understood and understands that.  That is why He came to earth in the first place.  He gave us the answer and where to find the answers.  The answer is His Father, the Creator and the answers are in His word.

May we find that to be the ultimate resource that we daily turn to.

Prayers of blessings to you.  Amen

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