But the Lord is Faithful

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.  Psalm 20:7

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
Mark 9:24

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I sincerely considered saying nothing about the recent election. For an entire day, I said little; I watched what other people were posting and I waited prayerfully to see if the furor over the campaign would die down.  And I will be honest: I was waiting to see how my fellow believers would handle this thing.

For those of you who are not in Christ, I can understand  your reactions. I’ve been where you are.

But my fellow Christians — seriously?!?!

I am not talking to all believers, obviously. Several of you in my circles have sought to remind others to trust in God, and I am thankful for you letting His light shine through!

However, the responses of others have run the gamut from gloating and crows of triumph to despair, rage, and fear.

Oh I admit it was a disaster, but not because of who won.This election was a disaster long before that, and I do not say that because my candidate of choice won. He did not.

Please excuse my brief political tirade here:

As far as temporal freedom goes, I firmly believe we Americans handed that over long ago when we allowed this nation to slide into something less than a true democratic republic.

Once we allowed it to become a two-party-controlled state and simultaneously shrugged our shoulders and allowed corruption to become more and more rampant, and even expected, within the controlling parties — well, I’m afraid that was the beginning of the end. (And as a side note, I must say that a two-party-controlled state lacks only a unifying factor to become a one-party-controlled state. But again, that is an aside…)

The truth is, as a nation, if this is truly a government “by the people and for the people”and it has become corrupt, it is because we have allowed it to become so.

OK, enough of that. [Deep breath. Exhale]

The greater truth, at least for those of us who are in Christ, is that our hope is not in any man-made system; not in Democrats or Republicans; not in chariots nor horses; not in democracy or elections or the strength or weakness of any party, government, or military. Our hope is in Christ and Christ alone. Period.

Come on, Christians! No matter who you supported (and with hesitation, I will tell you I supported neither Trump nor Hillary), not a single one of them will fix our problems. Our problems are not political, America. Our problem is sin, and for that there is only one solution.

All I am saying is this: if we are a people of faith, let us behave like a people of faith. Let’s redeem the time now, walking as wise ones and not as unwise. Let us never, ever forget that our God is at work and that He will bring about His purposes. Our response should be, as Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, to rejoice always, to pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in ALL circumstances, realizing that “all” does not mean only the ones we prefer.

May I let you in on something that really is no secret? Things are going to get worse. Besides being clearly stated multiple times in the Word of God, it is evident in the Newtonian laws we have observed for centuries; particularly the law of entropy. Things always get worse.

Now is the time for us to stand firm. This is not the time for either gloating or fear, for neither represent the love we are called to be filled with and exhibit. Neither response honors our God.

It is written in 1 John 4:18 that “… there is no fear in love for perfect love casts out fear.” May I suggest today that implicit in the idea of perfect love is perfect trust, so if we are plagued by fear, it may be because we have an imperfect love of our Lord and Savior. Lord, please, help us overcome our unbelief!!

Brothers! Sisters! This is not the time to turn against one another. Please let us not neglect to ask our God, as David did, to set a guard over our mouths and keep watch over the door to our lips. In humility, let us recognize that our knee-jerk responses are most likely not the correct ones. Remember that our words are supposed to be edifying and give grace to those who hear.

My fellow Christians, let us not forget — let us NEVER forget — that we are called to take up our crosses daily and follow Him.  In America, this race has not even begun to be grueling.  Just ask the families of the twelve Christians recently crucified by ISIS for their faith after torturing and killing a 12-year-old boy right in front of his father.

In fact, ask the many who have been sawn in half, burned at the stake, shot, imprisoned, drowned, beheaded, beaten, flogged, and so on. Many of these had joy anyway. Many of these prayed, as Jesus did, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Many of them believed that God’s grace was sufficient for them, because it is.  Even though things will only go from bad to worse.

Above all else, let us examine our faith as it is revealed in the pure and uncompromising Light of the World. If we have little faith, we ought to pray for more. If are not unified in Christ, we ought to pray that He will make us so — and be willing to let go of anything that stands in the way of it, even our preferences. We are not black or white, we are not slave or free, we are not Democrat or Republican or third party, but as Galatians 3:28 says, we are all one in Christ. Let us act like it.

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3

Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
2 Thessalonians 3:1-3

 

 

The King Sits Enthroned

Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.
Psa;lm 29:1-2

Normally, I am not a politically-minded person, probably to a fault. Although admittedly my focus strays from time to time, I try to view everything — even politics — through the lens of God’s Word.

That being said, I am of two minds this year concerning the political mess in my country.

On one hand, I am angry. It infuriates me to be told that I have a voice in our government and simultaneously told that my voice is limited to a choice between two candidates that, as far as I can tell, are morally reprehensible. This does not feel like a choice. It feels like a sham.

When I happen to look in on the news, read a bit of text from the “debates,” or take a peek on social media, my anger quickly turns into something more akin to a wondering despair

And behind all the noise and reactionary chaos of social media, I can almost hear someone (or a group of someones) laughing in their sleeve. I could very easily be wrong, but the circus-like quality of the modern political “debate” seems to be a thing more akin to a diversion for an entertainment-hungry mob than a civil discussion of various viewpoints on critical national issues.

But…

On the other hand, I really cannot get too upset. To be perfectly candid, it truly does not matter much who wins this election. For either way, God will bring about His purposes, and not all of those purposes are going to be enjoyable at the time.

And although you may occasionally see a glimpse of the other side of my brain if I get excited, the truth is I actually have a good deal of peace this election year. The crazy thing is, that peace exists although I do not know what to do.

I know I’m not alone here. Many Christians do not know what to do. Most of us feel trapped, although if we are honest with ourselves, we are trapped in a cage that we have watched being welded together bar by bar over generations. But that’s another tangent…

“Oh, our God, will You not execute judgement on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 2 Chronicles 20:12

What I do know is that my God does know what to do. He is God. Lest we forget, I fully believe He is perfectly capable of doing something strange and amazing through this election. He just might. But, much like the ancient nation of Israel, He may just give us what we have asked for.

They wanted a king and got one, along with a vendetta against the up-and-comer, David, a great deal of war and strife, and eventually a divided kingdom and moral bankruptcy. What we crave in America is freedom — freedom from consequences or repercussions, so much freedom that the boundaries of reason begin to blur and fade around the edges.

And we might just get it, too, along with all the chaos, mischief, damage, and debauchery that come along with “freedom” from logic and limits. It’s called anarchy, and it typically does not end well.

But there I go again…. I will do my civic duty and vote, but not before I have gotten on my knees in fasting and prayer to ask my God what He would have me do. Whatever He tells me, I will do. If He chooses to be silent, I will do my level best with the information (albeit rather shady information) I have been given to work with. And I will trust Him with the results.

The truth is, brothers and sisters, for those of us who are in Christ, this election is just another point of interest or intrigue in the land we are journeying through. This is not our homeland. We already have a Ruler, and He is our Refuge and our Strength; the King of kings and Lord of lords, The Almighty, the Most High,  Maker of heaven and earth, and He has not changed.

Nor will he. Oh, this old world will change. We’ve already seen its tendency to slow decay. It’s called “entropy,” and it is an actual, accepted scientific law. Nor does it only apply to matter. Civilizations rise and fall; all that is new fades, becomes old, and crumbles;  governments rise to glory and fall to ash; and still this ball of rock spins on its axis around its wondrous and fearfully-powerful star. Until it does not any longer, that is.

For once now, God sent His own Son to live as one of the very beings He created. He walked as one of us, enduring the same joys and sorrows, trials and triumphs with one exception — He alone understands the full depth and breadth of temptation because He alone has withstood it until the bitter end without knuckling under or bending even once.

He fulfilled the Laws given to Moses, then He gave Himself willingly in a bloody and terrible sacrifice to save the very ones who beat, mocked, and rejected Him — including me. Then He rose again, this God-Man who is my King. And someday He will return, this time not in meekness and to offer sacrifice,  but in power and great glory to claim the earth that He paid for in blood. Then, oh my friends! Then every knee will bow before before Him, whether in worship or in fear.

That is my Ruler. That is my Sovereign. That is why I only worry for small times in weak moments, mostly for the sake and safety of my children.  But then I rally and take heart, because I remember that I am a stranger in a strange land (and I already know how strange, so you don’t have to say it!). My King is secure, and He is my strength in weary times.

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever. May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!
Psalm 29:10-11