In the past week it has become abundantly clear that the American church is in a state of panic. We are panicking about the outcome of an election that is still over four months away. We are making predictions as though we have eyes into the future. The sad part of all this is these predictions of doom and gloom are the same ones I’ve heard in the last eight years. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Oswald Chamber once wrote that fear is calculating without God. For some reason, Christians cannot imagine God intervening into the affairs of man, including our elections. It is sad that of all the Founding Fathers who were Christians, it took a non-believer in Benjamin Franklin to remind them of a sovereign God:
Bitterness is poison to our spirit and cancer to our emotions. Nothing causes spiritual bondage greater than bitterness. No matter the offense, we are captive to our anger and susceptible to whomever we are holding a grudge. Just the sound of the offender’s voice or the sight of him or her can set our anger ablaze. Nothing could be more unChristlike.
Jesus taught us to seek forgiveness of our debts as we forgive our debtors. Our Lord was teaching us that we cannot experience forgiveness if we are unwilling to give it. We cannot do so because as Christians we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and when we harbor bitterness, we grieve Him. The Apostle Paul teaches us how to avoid this:
You’ve either met someone or heard of someone taking a break from life so he or she could “go and find myself.” It’s understandable to want to search out one’s purpose in life, however it means you’ve not yet figured out how to live your life. Determining the way to live your life is an important journey. Solomon wrote of this:
“Forsake foolishness and live, and go in the way of understanding.” (Proverbs 9:6)
Last night Karen and I had the privilege of spending election night with Dean and Jan Young and many of his loyal supporters. Dean came up short in his bid for Congress, but as he said, “The whole world took notice because we took on the GOP Establishment and scared them.” Many of his supporters were obviously disappointed and determined not to vote for Bradley Byrne because of the dishonorable campaign he ran.
What I was most proud of my friends Dean and Jan is there is no bitterness in their hearts, just a steeled resolve to honor the Lord Jesus Christ with their words and deeds. Dean told the press that he would not support Byrne because of the blatant and knowing lies he told about Dean. Byrne accused Dean of stealing money from Christians and putting it in his pocket. When Byrne was proved to be lying, he refused to retract his charges and apologize. Instead he dug in his heels. Dean told the press that Byrne would reap what he had sown.
We have all struggled with our past. Some have needed to forgive others, some have needed to forgive themselves. Holding onto the past is like shackling yourself to a heavy ball and chain. It is spiritual bondage. I have had to let go of many things from my past and having done so I have experienced spiritual freedom the likes I never thought possible.
But I also struggle with my future. I am not talking about struggling about my salvation. I long ago dealt with that by not trusting my emotions about my salvation and trusting only God’s Word. My eternity is secure and I rest assured in that truth.
Twelve years ago on this date, great evil was perpetrated upon our nation by Islamofascists. One year ago great evil was allowed upon our own people by our own government. One can look at the time between these two events and see great evil and strife. Much has been written about both attacks and the years between the two, and the prognosis for America is not good. Some believe there is no hope. I would agree if all remedies tried are void of Jesus Christ.
The Random House Dictionary defines hope as “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.” Hope is a strong tonic for despair and without hope many people are lost to evil. As a Christian my hope is Jesus Christ. The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology tells us that because of our hope in Christ and “by His resurrection the specifically Christian virtue of hope is bestowed on the regenerate, who abound in hope through the Spirit (Romans 15:13).”
Last night I presented this question to my social media followers and blog email list:
“What does the Bible think about social issues? Is it inclusive and welcoming? Is it concerned with limiting its ability to attract young people and others, including many women, who agree with the Bible on some but not all issues?”
Moral courage seems to be in short supply these days, particularly in Washington, D.C. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives is set to vote on increasing the debt limit as early as today. I’ve read any number of pragmatic opinion pieces on why the Republicans have no choice but to raise the limit.
Of course they have a choice. It isn’t a matter of choice, it’s a matter of courage.
So once again we are watching the circus live and in color on our television sets. The stage? Congress and the White House and the looming fiscal cliff. It is amazing to see after what was called the most important election of our lifetime that nothing has changed in Washington D.C. All the old leaders are the new leaders and you could not fill a bus up with those serving who are righteous in the sight of God. It reminds me of the old Rolling Stones song “We Won’t Get Fooled Again” where it ends with “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”
I was asked by some, and accused by others, if I was looking for perfection in a candidate. My answer to both is I am looking for righteousness in our public servants. Those, whether or not they are Christians, who have a sense of responsibility to their electorate and more important to “the laws of nature and nature’s God.” As my buddy Steve Deace always says, “We want people of convictions, not positions.”
To hope and trust in God means doing so in His power and providence; not in our might and motives. Again, this may seem as a simple truth, and it is, but always remember that simple rarely equates to easy. We are hard-wired to do things on our own. But when we are placing our hope and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, we can see with eternal eyes and know that God is in control.
We just finished preparing our annual church budget to present to the church. This is not a budget that looks at the economic uncertainty in our nation. It is not a budget that considers that perhaps people will be strapped for money and giving will inevitably be down.
Glory to God, for He is on His throne! Jesus is King, Lord, and Savior to all who call to Him for salvation. America is today still the greatest nation in history and I praise God for being born an American. No matter the outcome of our elections throughout history, the peaceful transition of power is a God-breathed miracle captured by godly men who founded our nation. They were God-fearing men who recognized and relied upon the Providence of God.
Our nation is truly at a crossroads. The political outcome of yesterday’s election is a reflection…a symptom…of what ails our great country. Over half of our country clearly has an entitlement mentality where they believe by merely being Americans who may or may not have been dealt a bad hand that they are entitled to other people’s money. Beloved, that is a clear indication of a deeper issue that must be addressed.
I received a response from a dear sister-in-Christ to the comments the past two emails I sent out on whether or not we can vote for the lesser of two evils. Understand that this is no simple matter, voting that is. I am glad to see so many Christians thinking through all of this by questioning and searching the scriptures for answers. That is what we are called to do. In fact, I presented some questions to my pastor and interviewed him Monday night to get his perspective. Bro Dennis is the one man I trust most in this world and while I may not always agree with him, I know I will get a straight answer from him. So is the case with so many other men who bless my life. There are a few women who fit that category also. You can hear Part 1 of Bro Dennis interview at my other blog: http://www.aletheiagroup.org/?p=1088
Here are the words of one sister-in-Christ and her thought process in this election season, admittedly by her incomplete words but I believe they warrant sharing:
In this week’s The Truth Newsletter I write about the Injustice of Chief Justice John Roberts and the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare. Men and women who are in seats of power who are not governing from a foundation of righteousness will almost always make poor if not lawless decisions. And when I say lawless I mean any decision, or law for that matter, that violates God’s law. Obamacare is theft and the Eighth Commandment clearly commands against stealing.
Lawlessness from judges is not a 21st Century phenomenon; it’s not exclusive American History. It has been in effect for centuries. King Solomon observed:
If you must take a stand for God, you must expect persecution to come. You cannot stand on the truth of God’s Word and all around you accept it peacefully, unless you are doing so in a “Christian ghetto” and even there pure aletheia truth is not always welcomed. And yet we do not have a choice of where we will stand for God; we can only choose to obey or disobey. David understood this calling very clearly.
“I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness in the great assembly; indeed, I do not restrain my lips, O Lord, You Yourself know. I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great assembly.” (Psalm 40:9-10)
My sister Minji (given name Mary) wrote yesterday in response to our devotional on the last conceit to go and said she has been struggling to understand her “artist self”, lately realizing that we never really understand ourselves. As we said, only God understands us. Minji is realizing a great freedom in losing herself instead of the exhausting fool’s errand of trying to find oneself.
I received the following reply from Dr. Alan Keyes to my devotional “Despairing of Everyone.” You can read more of Dr. Keyes’ brilliant writing at his website, “Loyal to Liberty.” It is linked under my Citizen Action links.
Aletheia is a Greek philosophical word that means truthfulness that corresponds to reality. This means we can trust Biblical, aletheia, truth because it is true and it is real. It is undeniable. Do people deny this truth? Of course, but it does not make it any less true.
Why is our nation in the state it is? Many blame this political party while that party blames the other party. The church blames the atheists and the atheists blame the church. Seems like there’s a lot of finger-pointing going on these days. The concept of personal responsibility long ago left American society with Dr. Spock’s admonition to not spank children, the government enabling bad personal behavior, and the mainstreaming of immorality, just to name a few.