AVOIDING IEDs

I’ll bet you never expected to see a biblical devotional on IEDs ! Especially one with a positive twist.

The most common usage of the acronym IED is for an “Improvised Explosive Device;” and that’s likely the first thing that came to your mind. The term came into common usage after the US became involved in the war in Iraq in 2003. These “homemade bombs” are used by all sorts of criminally violent people from vandals to terrorists and suicide bombers; and the devices can run the gamut from a molotov cocktail to a truck laden with fertilizer and fuel oil. The extensive damage possible from small quantities of explosives created from liquid components is the reason for liquid restrictions on aircraft.

Well, believe it or not, I’m going to develop a spiritual application here. But before we go on, I just want to say thanks for joining me today on “Mornings with Bishop Robert.” My goal is to introduce people to the Jesus they never knew, and help them get to know Him and His word personally – and better. If our time together today speaks to your heart, it would be so helpful if you’d share it with a friend !

Our verse today is a reminder that YOUR WAYS ARE IN FULL VIEW OF THE LORD, AND HE EXAMINES ALL OF YOUR PATHS.

Some people read that verse and think of God as an angry old man with a magnifying glass in one hand and a big bat in the other, watching your every move to give you a good solid smack when you step out of line. Nothing could be further from the truth. God watches over us like a protective father. He cares for us, strengthens us, leads, guides, directs and corrects.

Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying that God stops every bad thing from ever happening to His kids. That assertion would be ridiculous. God recognizes that there are sacrifices – even painful ones – that are worth making. It’s why He sent Jesus to pay the price He did for our sin. As I’ve said before, God doesn’t cause evil, but He’s so amazing that He uses even the things our enemy intends for evil to accomplish His good purposes. Here’s a real-life application from a recent tragic event.

Three days ago a hate-filled man went to church early. Unfortunately he didn’t go to pray and repent and ask God to take away his hate. He arrived early and entered the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in Laguna Beach California to hide weapons, extra ammunition and IEDs in the church where he intended to kill everyone that morning. During church the man I refuse to name (so he doesn’t get even two seconds of increased “fame”) chained doors and glued keyholes shut to prevent his victims from escaping. He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, hiding among the sheep and intending to devour them.

I’ve often said there are three types of people in the world – Sheep, Wolves … and SHEEP DOGS. When gunfire erupts and most people are ducking for cover, there are those who immediately engage the assailant to protect the people around them. These people are “sheep dogs” and are responsible for countless lives being saved. Last Sunday, a sheep dog named Dr. John Cheng saved the lives of dozens of his friends when he immediately initiated a counter-attack as the shooter opened fire. An accomplished martial arts instructor, Dr. Cheng overcame his assailant and disrupted the shooter’s ability to fire on the crowd while another church-goer slammed a chair into the back of the shooter’s head driving him to the floor.

Jesus said there’s no greater love than someone who lays down his life for his friends. Dr. Cheng demonstrated that level of love Sunday, and the shooter never got to his IEDs or extra weapons. He did not love his life so as to shy away from death.

Thankfully, most of us will never have to face a situation like that. But we do face everyday situations of people driven by sin and anger, situations where they “explode” in angry assaults of words, or worse. There’s even a mental disturbance called “Intermittent Explosive Disorder” that is characterized by recurring episodes of violent and aggressive behavior that may involve harm to others or destruction of property. (Yeah, I’m pretty sure the “IED” acronym was’t an accident.) These people tend to blow in, blow up and blow out; leaving broken relationships and painful memories in their wake. And God calls us to be overcomers in these sorts of situations, too.

YOUR WAYS ARE IN FULL VIEW OF THE LORD, AND HE EXAMINES ALL OF YOUR PATHS

God is watching, intentionally examining our direction. (There’s a good IED acronym for you!) Here’s another – He intentionally exposed danger. Sometimes He shields and protects us. At other times He calls His servants to shield and protect others. Both are absolute demonstrations of His love. God instructs His leaders to “shepherd the flock” He has placed in their care. With authority comes responsibility. We are His overcomers.

How does the Church overcome the evil in the world? In the Book of Revelation, John the Apostle writes that the Church conquered the enemy of our souls by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of our testimony and because we did not love their lives so as to shy away from death.

HOW DO WE OVERCOME ??

BLOOD OF THE LAMB – We remember the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God. We remember that we were purchased at a great price. We remember that we are not our own.
WORD OF OUR TESTIMONY – We faithfully bear witness to what Jesus has done and is doing. We tell His story because it is the key to saving the lives of others.
LOVE NOT OUR LIVES – We choose to count other lives more valuable. We recognize that some things are worth dying for, and many of those things are not things, but people.

And we always remember that OUR WAYS ARE IN FULL VIEW OF THE LORD, AND HE EXAMINES ALL OF OUR PATHS. So we listen as He directs. And we we give our lives to serve Him.

Sometimes He calls us to give our lives with words of truth, compassion and grace.
Sometimes He calls us to give our lives with actions of mercy, sacrificial giving and care.
Sometimes He calls us to give our lives literally.

It’s all good. He is worthy.

Because OUR WAYS ARE IN FULL VIEW OF THE LORD, AND HE EXAMINES ALL OF OUR PATHS

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