Archive for September, 2020

Are We Selling God Short?

To say my spirit is grieved these days is an understatement, given all the hate, discord, fighting, and arguing in our world. I think most of us will agree that the division we’re seeing in the U.S. has mostly surrounded political issues, and – if you’re like me and have lived several decades – seems to have grown exponentially over just the last few years. I have personally noticed that even in the last twenty years people have become simultaneously more open in their own opinions and less tolerant of others opinions/beliefs. Sometimes that lack of tolerance comes out as absolutely hateful and condemning. To me, it just seems like during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s people seemed to have retained a measure of respect for others and their wellbeing as well as some basic manners to keep peace in social interactions. My husband recalls that both his dad and his grandfather were state political party chairman, and yet they were able to communicate their beliefs without degrading others. Frankly, I’m not sure where we got the idea that people need to hear our opinions at all. I suppose it has a lot to do with the Internet and the perceived anonymity that it brings, but that’s a topic for later on. The point is that right now hateful political partisanship is rampant in our country, and seeing it both saddens and embarrasses me.

As a follower of Christ, I have to wonder how this came about. How in the world did politics so infiltrate our churches that now some Christians hold it above everything, including the Truth of what God is saying? I mean, thirty years ago, if you had said that in the future there would be a growing discontent over certain concrete biblical doctrines in the church, I might have said, “Well, that makes some sense.” But, instead, its politics mostly divorced from doctrine. People have actually tied their “religion” to a political party, such that anyone not of that party is thought to be heretical – or worse. And, perhaps even more disturbing, we’ve lost touch with our own basic Christian tenets while waging this monstrously stupid “culture war.”

Let me give you an example. It’s a fundamental pillar of the Christian faith that God is in control. We might speak of this notion in terms of divine attributes, such as His omnipotence and omniscience or through his comprehensive divine providence. There is not a single thing that gets past Him and that does not conform to his overall purpose. Proverbs 16:4 says, “The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.” Lamentations 3:37 states, “Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?” Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose.” He knew us before we were born and has numbered the hairs on our heads. There’s not a single thing that happens – not even the fall of a single sparrow, as it says in the Bible – that has not been designed to fulfill His plan. Think about it; every single thing that has happened so far in the world and every single thing that will happen in the future is part of God’s plan for the universe. Why, then, do we sell him short?

How do we do that, you may ask? By thinking that somehow His plan cannot be realized without our constant, vocal, and increasingly hateful attempts to push forward mere humans to eliminate sin or to create some new Christian revival. We think, quite erroneously, that things simply cannot happen without our getting involved – loudly involved – at any cost, including the cost of violating various other core biblical principles. Worse, we think we know His plan, and we violate His law in trying to force it to happen. Basically, to win, we don’t act anything like true Christians.

On our trip to Israel, prominent Old Testament Professor Knute Heim said it was a “uniquely American” notion not to trust God in these matters. He simply didn’t see the same thing happening anywhere else in the world, and he has ministries on something like four Continents. It appears to be Americans, alone, who think they need to run the show.

So, I’m bothered by the fact that we don’t seem to follow what we say we believe, which is that God is in firmly control. But I think I’m more bothered by the fact that in doing so we’re also missing God’s overall will or purpose, which is to bring people into the Kingdom. Ever since a large segment of the church aligned itself with a particular political party in the late 1970s and early 1980s, we have had a difficulty in being biblical referees in the political arena. As followers of Jesus, we are in a unique position based on our alien status to reflect and communicate what is right and wrong about society in a neutral way. Like a referee. It shouldn’t matter who does or says what; if it doesn’t line up with God’s word, we are supposed to be there to illuminate it. When that is done, people say, “Look at those Christians, they’re always on the side of right.” Instead, what I’ve seen lately is a tendency not to call out sin, but to justify it because, for the most part, calling it out would benefit that party with which we do not agree.

That’s too bad, because people in both parties are doing bad things, and by not calling those things out as we see them, we are misrepresenting our beliefs, God, and the Bible. I’ve always personally believed that the worst possible supernatural judgment will come to those who thwart people from seeking God. And we do that every day by not calling out anything that is not Biblical. Indeed, these actions make people think that we believe God is not in control. They make people think that it’s okay to demean and degrade people for sake of winning a political issue. They make people think that followers of Jesus are just massive hypocrites, who have no idea what the Bible even says.

All of this seems especially important today simply because so many in the church seem to believe that unless they “destroy” whoever is in the “other” party, the world will decay and end. They believe that personal insertion into politics at any cost is the only way to save the universe. Well, guess what? God doesn’t need you to save the universe. He’s created it, and he’s already saved it. And, moreover, it will end on God’s timing with the creation of a new heaven and earth. What people do in this life is important with eternal consequences, but that’s exactly why they need to stop and assess the costs of getting “their” way.

Now, people might think that having their chosen person in political office is the key to a religious revival. That’s apparently what Texas politician Rick Perry believed not long ago, when he told the current President that he was the “chosen one.” But let me remind you that the Bible does not end in a revival, but in tribulation. God’s choice of someone to lead any particular nation may be, in fact, designed to bring that particular end to pass.

So, practically speaking, what do we do? This question can get complicated pretty quickly when one starts talking about determinism, open theism, and middle knowledge, but I think the key is for followers of Jesus to start acting like the biblical referees they are called to be and to cease doing things at any cost. Yes, there will come a point when people will be asked to vote for a particular person for political office. So, they should vote. But they shouldn’t tear the entire house down – demeaning others, misinterpreting the Bible, spewing hatred, spreading false prophesies – trying to get that person elected. Above all, they should begin acting as though they actually believe that God is in control. How people vote may have some secular consequences, but whether they follow biblical principles in how they vote, for whom they vote, and why they vote is far more meaningful to God. His will is going to get done no matter what they do.

So, do remember, Saints. God IS in control. He has always has had a plan for this world and that plan will happen likely completely outside of our human wills and desires. For those of us fervently seeking Him, seeking His ways, and to trying to know Him better, remember also that we’ll always find provision and peace in uncertain times, so if we’re not at peace, we must press in. Prayer is the supernatural force that unlocks the heavenlies and calls the angelic into action and must be a part of our daily worship. So, when in doubt, pray. But pray knowing that His will is perfect and always gets done.

Personally, I’ve been spending more time in the Word and in quiet time asking God to show me things I need to change in me to make myself more pleasing to Him. For what it’s worth, I was instructed to spend less time watching the news, and far less time thinking about politics, the virus, or any variety of unwholesome informational sources in order to clear my spirt so I can hear and see Truth in what is happening in our world. Trust me when I say that I still have a long way to go, but the Lord quickened in me that I am accountable for how I spend my time and He has told many of us that this COVID time is to be a time of preparation for what comes next. I don’t spend every moment in the Word, but the more I read, the more I recognize how little I truly know about my Father in Heaven. That knowledge, in turn, makes me ravenous for His Word, which really is a good example of a virtuous circle. All of this has given me a tremendous amount of peace right now – in fact, I have more uplifting peace that I can remember!

My heart’s desire for you, my brothers and sisters, is for immeasurable revelation of Truth, knowledge, and wisdom as well as a personal relationship with our Lord to embrace you and your own hearts. I pray for open minds to see and discern the lies and deceptions of the enemy, and to recognize his work in dividing our nation, families, friends, and churches. I pray for that spirit of evil to leave any and all followers of Jesus so that we can grow in Truth and purity. I pray for eyes to see and ears to hear this Truth and to open ourselves for change to take place in Christians who are feeding on the “world” agenda rather than on the “Word” agenda so that they will be ready, strong, and fortified for what’s coming next. I pray for the Church to mend itself, to stand on the Truth of the Word, and to work to properly train and equip its people to bring the light back into the world. Finally, I pray that we all recognize that, despite being the creator of the universe, that God cares deeply for each of us; as stated in Matthew 18:14, that He “is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.”

We all need to re-examine our actions, beliefs, and words each day. We need to see if the enemy has worked a finger into a crack in our armor or started to sow seeds of discouragement, bitterness, hatefulness, depression, hopelessness, and/or doubt. We need to ask Father to reveal this to us and, if necessary, to burn it out of our hearts so as to ready us to receive His Truth and His will. We must become more discerning of God’s will. But, most importantly, we must remember that God is in complete control and that, therefore, we should not to sell Him short


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