Fellowship at the Ranch

“Don’t lose your head,” in essence, once meant “to not have control of your emotions.” It could also mean “to become confused or overly emotional about someone or something.” Today the world is still in shock with the release of a video documenting the beheading of reporter James Foley. ISIS or ISIL, depending on which politician or TV announcer you prefer, refers to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or Iraq and the Levant. ISIS/ISIL is an unrecognized jihadist state in the Middle East most western governments and their allies consider a terrorist organization. Beheading refers to an “intentional” action, either for murder or execution. The national laws of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran and Qatar today continue to permit beheading as capital punishment. Decapitation as a form of capital punishment is thousands of years old. In medieval England, the punishment for high treason was to be hanged, drawn and quartered, but if you were a noble or knight, the sentence was often commuted to just beheading. But this isn’t medieval England; this is the “New Age,” the 21st Century, the age of high technology and Reason. How then do we see such an ancient form of sending a message being carried out in all its gruesomeness? What is the message? The person or organization or nation performing the act has but one thing to say, “I have the power to take your life, without recourse.” In the Christian community, terrorist’s actions today cause some to doubt their faith in a benevolent and loving God. It causes others to walk away from faith when they can’t reconcile their own doubts and fears. But the Bible is very clear regarding the existence of evil in the world. In addition, the Bible is equally clear about the only power able to defeat evil in the world. God, the creator, is all-powerful and has through the actions of His Son, Jesus, already overcome all the evil in the world. But how can that be when events like these surely deny the truth of it?

It is only in the holiness and perfection of God that we even have a comprehension of what evil is. If we did not believe in ultimate good, we would have no basis for comparison to what is evil. So the existence of God is the only rational way to deal with the reality of evil. Having taken this first step, we must seek God’s wisdom in order to deal with the tragedies of evil present in the world today. What can be learned by looking at these world events through the filter of the Bible? The Bible says God is loving, knowable, and has spoken to us in Jesus. What exactly did Jesus say? “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it.” Don’t lose your head over world events you can’t control. Instead give yourself to the ONE who will judge it all.

Jim Wilkins is the Pastor of Fellowship at the Ranch. We meet each Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. in the clubhouse.