Week Twenty-Seven, 2019
“How beautiful your sandaled feet, o prince’s daughter!” (Song of Songs 7:1)
Standing there motionless, I could hardly comprehend. How in a civilized world could such a barbaric event occur? There were thousands of them. Each of them walked into this horrible on the feet of people God created, none to ever walk out again.
But there I stood looking at piles and piles of shoes each once worn by the more than a million people who were exterminated in mass. I was at ground zero in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, the prime location for Jewish extermination during the Second World War.
More than 1.1 million were gassed in mass in fake showers or shot in the head or locked in a room to starve to death, ninety percent Jews. They came in crowded boxcars from all over Northern Europe. Most were exterminated and bodies cremated within three hours of their arrival.
People of great faith have questioned why God allows evil. For instance, the prophet Habakkuk asked God: “Why do you allow violence, lawlessness, crime, and cruelty to spread everywhere?” (Habakkuk 1:3). God hates wickedness and the suffering it causes. (Proverbs 6:16-19) Back in the days of Noah, God “felt hurt at his heart” because of the violence spreading in the earth. (Genesis 6:5, 6) No doubt, God also felt tremendous pain over the Holocaust (Malachi 3:6). Although God never causes suffering, he sometimes allows it temporarily (James 1:13; 5:11).
From these lessons from the horrible, may we all be vigilant and remember that those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Certainly, I don’t have all the answers, but for now when I close my eyes, I can’t get the collection of shoes out of my mind…. shoes that walked to slaughter on the feet of the fallen.
May it never happen again.
SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES
The six best doctors in the world:
There are more abortions after 20 weeks than gun homicides in the United States, and according to research from the Planned Parenthood-affiliated Guttmacher Institute, “…data suggest that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment. They just don’t want to have a baby.“
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In his timeless book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey implores us to begin anything with our desired outcome in mind.
In this case the question is simple: “What do you hope to achieve by summer’s end?”
- Do you want to feel rested?
- Are you hoping for quality time with family?
- Are you ready to get ahead on your creative project or invest more in your community?
To enjoy summer and avoid becoming a slave to stress and obligation, this is the one thing to accomplish today before things heat up:
Define your happy ending.
A simple way to pinpoint your happy ending is to choose a word to epitomize that which you seek. The word will serve as a mindfulness cue, sort of like a North Star as you navigate obstacles and opportunities.
For some people, choosing a word is as simple as pouring a tall glass of water. Their spirits are thirsty for peace.
Others wrestle to clear their head and consider possibilities. If you’re in the second camp, here are some worthwhile ideas:
When a word hangs in the air and calls for a refreshing sigh, you’ve nailed it. If not, think about what’s lacking in your world.
What would revive you this season?
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“Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13).
QUOTES YOU CAN USE
“Soon and very soon, Christians will want to practice Biblically responsible investing without concern that it may cost them something other than a bit of chastisement from the Creator when He sees what they have done with his treasure.” —Dwight Short
He is not a careless God. When He allows difficulties to come into your life, He equips us fully to handle them. Relax in His Presence, trusting in His Strength.
“When we must choose between being biblical and being popular, it helps to remember that our identity is not found in our lost culture’s opinion but in God’s amazing grace.” —Jim Denison
“When believers take our last breath in this world, we take our first breath in the next world. When we close our eyes here, we open them there. We step from darkness to light and death to life.” —Jim Denison
“Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back.” —Babe Ruth
Words said about Pres. George H. W. Bush, “He valued character over pedigree and looked for the good in each person.” This should be the mantle for all leaders.
“Is grass growing on your prayer trail?” —Erwin Lutzer
Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.
“The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3:3).