A World Without God

My father is a firm believer that we are living in a world without God and that God, angry with us, is showing us His wrath. I don’t believe in a vengeful, wrath-filled God. Jesus dispelled that when He was here on earth. However, I do believe that, where God is not welcome, evil fills the void. We, as a nation, have turned our backs on God. He is not wanted in our schools, our government, our hospitals, our military, our public spaces. I daresay, He is not welcome in many private spaces either. We have shoved Him out of our lives and left the door wide open for evil to enter in and take up residence. 

I don’t care if you believe in Satan or demons or anything like that. That’s a theological debate that has been ongoing for centuries. However, there can be no doubt that, call it what you will, there is pure evil in the world. How else do you describe a massacre like the one that just took place on Las Vegas? If that isn’t evil, I don’t know what is. Murders, rapes, drug addiction, family violence, and a horde of other evils plague us every day, and it’s only getting worse. How can one not label that the work of an evil presence in our midst?

We live in world where God is mocked, where people are told to do as they wish, where pleasure is seen as the only thing worth obtaining, and where we value things, including celebrity and power, over virtues. We live in a world where people claim to be “spiritual but not religious.” What does that even mean? I was fascinated by the most recent results of the Pew Research Center study of religious landscapes. Those who said they were “spiritual but not religious” were mostly under 40, unmarried, childless, and making less than $100,000 per year. Most had some college or less. Almost 85% rarely or never attend any kind of religious service. 

Why do I bring this up? Because I think it’s a good snapshot of where we are in America today. We have lost our foundation. So many young people are no longer getting married and are choosing to have one child or none. Many never read or hear or learn about God. And while the vast majority of these “spiritual” people believe in God (over 91%), they really have no idea what or who God is, how to relate to Him, or why He is important. We are raising a generation of people who believe that they are their own god, that only their decisions matter, and that being “happy” can only be found through self-gratification. Is it any wonder that evil can so easily slip into and become commonplace in our lives?

St FrancisThe next question is, what can we do to combat the evil that has taken up residence in our world? The answer is so simple it sounds trite, impossible even. Be kind. Be loving. Be patient. Be compassionate. Be forgiving. BE CHRIST. Be Christ to everyone. More than once, I’ve written a few blogs about bringing peace, being a person of encouragement, and kindness (Be Kind and “In the End, Only Kindness Matters”). Many others have as well, but a few words written down will never make a difference. What will make a difference is you and me and others, spending every day of our lives trying to make this world a better place. On this feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, let’s all strive to be instruments of peace, to treat other with kindness and respect, and to be Christ to the world. 

I pray for the people killed and injured in Las Vegas. I pray for those suffering throughout our country and our world. I pray for those who are lost and hopeless. I pray that we find a way to let God back into our lives. He is waiting for us. All we have to do open the door and ask Him to come back in.

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What I was writing about one year ago this week: Nine Reasons Why Saying Yes is Not a Weakness.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy followed up her success with, Island of Miracles. Her next children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now on pre-sale.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017)

An Instrument of Peace

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“Weep not for me; but weep for yourselves and for your children” (Luke 23:28).  Those words have been haunting me for the past 24 hours.  I hear them in the silence.  I see them being said when I close my eyes.  To whom were these words directed?  What do they mean?  Of course, they were being said to the women of Jerusalem who wept for Jesus along the Way of Sorrows; but they were directed, not only to those women, but to all future generations, to all of us.  Many of us worry about our futures, about our children, and about this world.  What will happen?  What can we do?  Those questions lead me to another familiar set of words that are perhaps more important to keep in mind: “Make me a channel of your peace” (Prayer of St. Francis).  I realize it takes more than just one person to make a change in this world as big as the one we need, but didn’t it also take just one person to start the ball rolling towards violence and hate?  Every road to hate begins with just one person, one remark made from a high office, from a protest march, from a political stage, even from an altar.  Once one person begins spewing hate and destruction, isn’t it just one small step for others to jump on the bandwagon?  And no matter how many voices are shouting in hate, it only takes one person to carry it out.  It took one person to assassinate Lincoln, one person to assassinate Kennedy, one person to assassinate Martin Luther King Jr, one person to shoot Ronald Reagan.  So why can’t it take just one person to begin the journey toward peace?

We are raising our children in a world filled with hate.  This hate is not being bred.  People are not born evil; they become evil, often due to the people and circumstances around them.  There is no “evil gene,” no “hate gene.” Every person, event, book, movie, experience that a person has, shapes the person they become.  What are we teaching our children when we talk about others, mock others, put others down?  What are we teaching our children when we turn our backs on those in need?  What are we teaching our children when we act like we are better, know more, deserve more than other people?  In the same vein, what are we teaching our children when we hand them everything and make them work for nothing, when we don’t teach them what it is to value someone or something?  When are we going to realize that everybody around us watches everything we do and listens to everything we say?  When are we going to realize that each one of us has the ability to make an impact on somebody else, both good and bad?

As we enter the holiest time of the year in the Christian calendar, let us all remember that each one of us has the ability to rise above our station.  Each one of us is capable of being a good example, of lending a helping hand, of biting our tongue, of bringing peace and calm to a situation.  Each one of us is made in the image and likeness of God and can move past our human weaknesses if we are open to the Spirit.  Each one of us commits sin and carries his or her own cross but is worthy of forgiveness and the rise to Glory.  So no matter how badly the world is falling apart around you, smile, be kind, offer words of encouragement and love, and bring light to a world that every day seems to be more filled with darkness.

St Francis

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages.  She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her latest book, Picture Me, is the recipient of an Illumination Award, placing it among the top three eBooks of 2015. Her next book, Whispering Vines, is now available for pre-order.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books:  Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015)