Monday, May 24, 2010

Up in smoke

One minute you're a millionaire, the next your fortune is up in smoke. Scripture says riches are fleeting, and I'm more than ever inclined to believe it after watching the big shopping center in Bangkok go up in flames.

I pity the families who scrimped and saved over a lifetime to afford shops with high-end goods and exorbitant rent in the mall. Their fellow citizens wiped them out without a thought, to express their anger and protest to the government.

What about those who actually will bear the brunt of the vandalism? Will it be the government? No, though probably a few tax dollars will be lost. Some of the wealthiest merchants may be able to write off the losses. But many shop owners and mall workers will 'go under' financially because of the wanton destruction.

Someone living in Thailand had mentioned to us the savagery that lies under the smiling face of Thai Buddhism. "They are nice to tourists because they depend on the trade. But they cut each other to shreds, value only those who are in their inner circles, and are utterly untrustworthy and untrusted. Behind their smooth masks lie hatred and violence and destruction."

I was really sad to hear that. I'm not surprised though, because in all the world religions, only Jesus promises a heart transplant. He transforms us from wicked and self-serving to being secure and forgiven in God's love so we can love others without reservation. Life "transformations" in other world religions stress rituals and religion, the external and behavioral. They leave the heart untouched.

Light a spark, and family relationships, long term friendships, business deals, political enmity, and even a shopping center, can ignite into flames. Such devastation is actually normal for those not following Christ, even for those who profess his name without surrendering their whole being to his control.

Read more:
*Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave. Psalm 86:11-13 NIV

*"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. Isaiah 1:18-20 NIV

*I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6 NIV

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