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February through April 1997 Volume 1 Number 2
            




Persistence Pays Off
by Becky Sweat
Our kids need perseverance whether they are tending a garden, learning to play a musical instrument, or practicing gymnastics. Here are some tips for helping kids develop stick-to-iveness.
Posted April 21, 1997

Child's Play--Or Is It?
by Victor Kubik
Playing with toys when we were small has been an important part of our development. In this electronic age we have seen spectacular changes in toys...but, have those changes helped our children?
Posted April 15, 1997

What Disability Can't Do to You
by Cecil E. Maranville
For some disability means an end. For others it's a challenge to think and do like they had never before.
Posted March 28, 1997


Special Feature

The Temple Sacrifices--Transition and Triumph
by Mark D. Kaplan
Christianity grew rapidly after Christ ascended to heaven. In a nation already familiar with a sacrificial system and a temple many were quickly coming to understand Jesus Christ and His Mission. At this time of year when we reflect on our Savior's great sacrifice it may be also good for us to give thought to what the Old Testament sacrifices foreshadowed.
Posted March 17, 1997


Shaping the Heart & Soul
by Joanne Rutis
Working with young people effectively requires skill. Some are especially gifted. Read about those gifts.
Posted February 26, 1997

Suicide is Never the Answer
by Rainer Salomaa
A Canadian minister's perspective on the hopeless act of taking one's life. Can you spot a suicidal person? An online source for help is included.
Posted February 1, 1997

Jamie Another Chariot of Fire
by Scott Kaiser
A young lady is champion not only because of her basketball prowess, but more because of her making the tough right choices in life. With permission of the Houston Chronicle we share this story of courageous faith.
Posted February 1, 1997


     

April 1997

While driving up I-65 from Indianapolis to Lafayette, Indiana in Janaury it started snowing heavily. All of a sudden trafffic came to a complete stop. Then the line started inching forward. Was there an accident?

There was.

I was sickened as I crept by. A southbound semi-trailer truck evidently lost control on the slick pavement, careened across the median and slammed head-on into a northbound auto which had several people in it. The top of the car was completely sheared off. On the newly fallen snow was splattered the ghastly crimson of victims' blood. All died instantly I learned later. Many other cars and trucks were spun around in the huge multi-vehicle accident.

As I slowly moved past the scene I started pondering what I witnessed. Why was it these people who were dealt this disaster? Why not the next car? Or the previous one? Why not me? I was minutes behind and could have been the victim as much as anybody.

This happened on the same day Ennis Cosby was randomly and senselessly gunned down as he was changing a tire on a busy Los Angeles freeway. Why him? Why did he deserve to die, not one of the many drug dealers or gang leaders probably within a mile of where he was when he was shot.

It's easy to start thinking what God had to do with these incidents. How DOES He figure into the equation of chance, oversight, and care of the world? How random is life?

As a minister I feel that I've got to have some greater insight into these questions. Yet, when tragedies have occurred in the lives of people in congregations I've served I find myself at a loss to explain cleanly and clearly the WHY questions in such a way that bring total comfort to those suffering loss. Yes, I can look to passages in the Book of Ecclesiastes that speak of a time to live and a time to die. I can talk about being tested and tried. I can talk with assurance about the future when death will be conquered by immortality. It's at that time that WHY will no longer be the overriding question.

For now, however, I find it's more profitable to think about practical matters of what a Christian should do to help those in the aftermath of tragedy and misfortune. Perhaps in our mortal state our purpose is to reach out to, care for and love those who are the victims of life's cruelties. They're all around us. And we can help.

One of the purposes of Virtual Christian Magazine is to talk about responsibility of those around us as we look for answers to life's big questions.

You probably know someone who has lost someone close to them recently. They are probably sitting all alone and grieving. Reach out to them.

There are hungry and homeless in your community who you may see daily as you drive by. Others the victims of abuse. Is there anything you can do to help them through a shelter already functioning in your community? Then there are those in prison who probably well deserve to be there. How about visiting them through a letter or in person to cheer them as they waste away their days?

In the Matthew 25 scenario of the Judgment when Christ returns and the dead are raised, the first questions asked the newly resurrected will be related to the what they have done to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and house the homeless? What have you done for victims of tragedy?

Christ is concerned first with how we look out for others. It seems that the first questions that will be asked us are not about how "right" or "righteous" we were. The first questions from Christ are not a quiz about what we know. Nobody really cares about what you know. From the beginning when God asked Cain about what happened to Abel and the response was, "am I my brother's keeper?" the answer is still YES.

Let's ask WHAT can we do to help those who are suffering. The tough WHY questions and the answers may then start falling into place.


 


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