Wednesday, November 16, 2016

How to Heal a Divided Nation

I don't know about you, but I've been very troubled by what I'm seeing across our nation in the past week.  When demonstrations turn violent and become riots and destroy property and hurt people, that's wrong.  There have been hundreds of hate crimes since the election.  Hate crimes are wrong.  Click on the following link for the story:  
Personally, on Facebook and other social media avenues, I've been shocked to see the hateful comments being used as carelessly as the two leading candidates used their words.  Do we really want to continue that?  
People are asking me how we can heal this nation?  Here are three points to keep in mind in the coming weeks:
1) Be careful what you say.  I am reminded of what it says in Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."  Believe it or not, words have power.  What you say influences people around you.  Let's make sure that what we say benefits those who listen.
2) Pray for our nation and our communities every day.  "I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:1-4).  I know of a few of our partners who have put "prayer for our nation" on their calendar every day.  That's a great idea!  
So join me in praying for our nation and our nation's current and future leaders. Join me in following Jesus more closely so that wounds will be healed, families will grow stronger and our communities will see what real peace, love and hope looks like.
3) Keep everything in perspective.  Jesus said, "Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" (Matthew 6:27)  The answer is?  Nope.  I can't.  If anything, I actually subtract hours from my life when I worry.  You do too.  So don't worry.  Instead, keep everything in perspective.
At the end of the day, sinful candidates were voted into office by sinful people like you and me. We may not agree with the outcome, but personally, I thank God for an opportunity to vote. There are billions of people around the globe who would love to get the chance to do what we did on November 8.  Lest we forget, regardless of who the president is, all of us answer to Jesus. He is the real King. He is the One to whom I prayed that His will be done in this election. He is the One that I trust, not Trump or any of the other elected officials. People will always let us down at one time or another. Jesus never will.
As I wrote in my blog a couple of weeks ago, "Remember, the greatest good for all people occurred when Jesus died at the hands of a pagan governor named Pontius Pilate. Through Jesus' death and resurrection our sins are forgiven and our eternal home in heaven is guaranteed by faith, no matter who is in charge as governor or emperor or even president. If our all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving God could pull that off, then He can handle bringing good for His people from this election as well." (…/…/decisionsdecisions.html)  Jesus is still the only Savior of this world.  Keep that in perspective.
I'd like to hear your thoughts on how we can contribute to healing our nation.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The 300… (Better than the movie)

Picture Thanks to Deviant Art
Have you ever felt the need to pad your prayers? Ever feel there are things you just couldn’t ask God because of their unlikelihood? Today I read a Bible story that reminds us that our God is more powerful than we can think or imagine.

The Lord can do a whole lot with even a very little.

In Judges 7 we find the nation of Israel dealing with an aggressive foe, the Midianites. Israel had their crops destroyed, their cities raided and were left to flee to caves for safety. Then the Lord calls Gideon to rescue his people. Gideon amasses an impressive army of 32,000 soldiers. To this the Lord says, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’” So, those who were afraid could go home and 10,000 are left.

Still the Lord says, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there.” Depending on how the soldiers drank water from the river, some could stay, the majority could go home. Finally, there were only 300 left!!! The Lord brought them from a fighting force of 32,000 to only 300…  The size of their initial force demonstrates the size and power and fear Israel had for the Midianites. But can you guess who won? The 300.

Throughout the Bible the Lord is in the habit of doing amazing things in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Just look at the focal point of the Bible – a humble Jesus dying in our place to give us freedom from sin, death, and the devil. Talk to the Lord always and especially highlight and ask for things that seem impossible. Our Lord makes the impossible routine.