A shooting in southwest Florida early this morning killed two people and wounded at least seventeen. According to authorities in Fort Myers, three people have been arrested; there are two active crime scenes at this hour. The shooting comes a month after the Orlando nightclub attack, the deadliest shooting in modern US history.
In other news, a Dallas Cowboys bus was involved in a crash in Kingman, Arizona overnight. There were no players onboard. No one in the Cowboys' bus was injured, but the accident killed four people in another vehicle.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has announced its proposed platform, which includes a call for repealing the Hyde Amendment. This legislation, passed by Congress in 1976 and signed by President Carter in 1977, prohibits direct use of federal funds to pay for abortions. If this law is repealed, your tax dollars would fund abortions, even if you oppose the procedure.
Don't you hate waking up to bad news? Rare is the day that begins without depressing headlines. People kill and maim each other. Accidents are an ever-present reality. Even the unborn are unsafe. As Hal Lindsey noted more than four decades ago, Satan is alive and well on Planet Earth.
God's people are not immune. In fact, the opposite is true.
In Psalm 31, David laments, "My strength fails because of my iniquity" (v. 10). "Fails" translates a Hebrew word meaning to "stumble" or "stagger." "Iniquity" translates a Hebrew term for "activity that is crooked or wrong."
Why did the king's strength stagger as a result of his wrong deeds? David testified that "the Lord is the strength of my life" (Psalm 27:1, NKJV). His strength came from the Lord, but a holy God cannot empower an unholy person.
That's one of the main reasons why Satan tempts God's people to sin—so our iniquities will obstruct the Holy Spirit's ability to use us for Kingdom purposes. As corrosion on a battery terminal weakens its ability to conduct electrical power, so sin weakens our ability to conduct spiritual power. Private sin keeps us from public service for our Lord.
It is therefore vital for Christians to anticipate Satan's strategy. Where are you most gifted and equipped to serve Jesus? It is there that you should most expect to be tempted. If you are gifted as a leader, you'll be tempted by self-promotion. If you are gifted as a speaker or performer, you'll be tempted by pride. If you are gifted intellectually, you'll be tempted by intellectual sin.
The converse is true as well. Where Satan tempts, God empowers. Your Lord will never allow you to face a temptation he will not enable you to defeat (1 Corinthians 10:13). The key is to seek his help immediately.
Ignoring sin is like ignoring cancer. But if you'll ask the Holy Spirit for the power to be pure, he'll answer your prayer and use your witness. Our broken and hurting world desperately needs followers of Jesus to be like Jesus. Is his character your goal today?
NOTE: Nick Pitts, our Director of Cultural Engagement, is reporting this week from the Democratic National Convention. For more, see our Facebook page.
Publication date: July 25, 2016
For more from the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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