God Is In Control

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Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Today is an important day in US history. Today Donald Trump becomes President.

Some people are happy. Others are not.

Accusations and rumors abound.

Fake news runs rampant through social media and often appears on major new outlets.

How can we know the truth?

We can’t. Only God knows all of the truths, and that should give us hope as Christians.

So, what are we to do?

Remember the following from Romans 8:31-39:

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If you skimmed over those verses, then please go back and read the last few, the ones I underlined. We may disagree on what is right and good for this country. We may not know which sources to believe. We definitely do not know the future. BUT, we do know that God is in control.

And remember as you go throughout your days that we live in a very different world than the one when these words of encouragement were first written. Persecution was an every day fact, but even then, Paul reminded them of the power of God.

May you find peace from these words and may it follow you through this day and the year to come. And remember, we are commanded to pray for our leaders. Prayer  can move mountains!

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How Should Christians Vote?

© Barbara V. EversSome time back, I encountered some well-meaning people who couldn’t see how faith should impact how Christians vote.  These people had drifted so far from faith–something a large part of this country has done–that they didn’t understand the fundamentals of faith.

They expected me to vote against my faith if the current culture says to do so. They thought the two were not related at all!

Faith is how we live, it’s not just what we believe.

How long has this slippery slope of separating the two been active?

I’m guessing a long time. Satan never backs off.  He never goes on vacation. He’s always looking for a wedge to drive in and divide us.  He’s well on the move in this country.

Now, before you decide to attack me about my political leanings, I’m not vouching EITHER party. I’m heartbroken over the options open to us and the tactics being used.

What does Christian faith look like?

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.  Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.  For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.  Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light  (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)  and find out what pleases the Lord.  Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.  Ephesians 5:1-11

This is what faith looks like and why I must vote based on my faith.

The problem?  Neither party gets this!

The only part they focus on is that last line in the passage above:  Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

The previous verses of that passage tell us how to follow that directive. But this appears in many places in the Bible, including this passage from Galatians.

Brothers, even if a person is caught in some transgression, you who are spiritual should correct that one in a gentle spirit, looking to yourself, so that you also may not be tempted.  Galatians 6:1

There is a lot yelling and anger being broadcast on hatred and violence and fairness and health and money and charity and freedom, but how does the conduct of these arguments measure up against the true faith of God?

There is a correct way to do this:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:4-9

It is not ignorant or blind or prehistoric to follow the truths laid out 2000 years ago.  I just have to figure out how to do this in our current political climate.

Meanwhile, I will pray for this country and its people as we face a political season that seeks to drive us further apart rather than bring us together.

A Lesson From World War I: Christmas in July

lovecloudSometime ago, a dear friend and former pastor of mine, Carl Lancaster, added a “musings” addendum to our church’s prayer list.  He’s been emailing the prayer list to our members for many years now, and I enjoy the times he adds his own thoughts after the prayer requests.  Although this muse from him was based on the upcoming Christmas season, what he says is apropos to us today.  I have slightly edited it to make it current, but otherwise it appears as Carl wrote it.

A little over 100 years ago, Christmas of 1914, World War I had been underway for 5 months.  The Germans were fighting the British, the Belgians and the French.  They were fighting in trenches that were not that far apart.  It had rained a lot so there was mud everywhere. It turned bitterly cold where they were fighting in Belgium and France. In all the mud and the cold it was a miserable existence for everybody.

On Christmas Eve the Germans began singing, “Stille Nacht’ (Silent Night).  The allies applauded noisily and yelled, “more!, more!”  They then took turns singing Christmas Carols and the allies moved on to sing the German anthem and the Germans sang the British anthem.  After they had peeped out of their trenches without getting shot at they began meeting each other on the land between the trenches.  They traded food, tobacco, buttons from their uniforms and other souvenirs.  They discussed the best way to deal with the body lice and the rats and showed each other pictures of their families.  In many areas no shots were fired that night, Christmas day or the day after.  When the commanders heard about this they were irate and forbade any further fraternization with threats of court martial if anyone disobeyed.  Yet it was reported that in some areas soldiers continued to shoot over the heads of the opposing army as late as February!  They had come to recognize their common humanity and consequently had no desire to kill each other!

I have lived through World War II, the Cuban Crisis, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, two Iraq Wars and the Afghanistan War.  However, throughout my life at no other time have I ever heard so much hatred expressed against others even including against others within our own country.  At no time, have I ever know of so many people in so many parts of the world being so intent on destroying, in the most brutal way possible, their fellow human beings!
We remember and celebrate the Prince of Peace in our lives, so isn’t it time for us to declare a truce, a cease fire and to promote peace and goodwill rather than enmity and hate?  It seems pretty evident from the Bible that God does not want those who wear the name of his son to promote strife, enmity and hatred!  Rather He wants love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control practiced and promoted!
I challenge you to resolve to do what you can to avoid anything that would promote enmity or hate toward any person or any segment of
humanity. I further challenge you to resolve not to give audience to, encourage or listen to anyone who promotes enmity or hatred toward anyone, whether it is toward a political party, a race, a nationality or a religion. God doesn’t expect us or want us to agree with everybody.  Rather he wants us, not by enmity and hatred, but by our love and goodwill to change them for the better even including our enemies!  Our very nature gives us the same message. There is no inner peace or joy for the person whose heart is filled with hatred!
NOTE: I, myself, take responsibility for all these remarks.  No one asked me to write them.  I am not writing them to point a finger at anyone.  I was moved when I read again the story of that cease-fire at Christmas 1914!  I am concerned with all the hatred that being voiced in our own country.  If Christian people don’t do anything to promote love and goodwill, then who will????
Carl Lancaster is one of the wisest men I know. I’ve always respected him, and, for that reason, over twenty years ago, Bruce and I asked him to officiate our marriage. I’ve never know a man who understands people as well as he does.