Fear Not! – even when voting

My dear Christian friends,
The ones who keep repeating some version of “We have to vote for Trump or else Clinton will get in!”:

Oh ye of little faith! Stop living in fear!

God can use the few to conquer the many – and has.
God can take down a giant with one stone – and has.
God can divide a body of water to allow His people to cross on dry ground – and has.
God can keep His people safe in a fiery furnace – and has.
God can create something from nothing – and has.
God can conquer death itself – and has.

Remember, nothing is out of God’s control. If we allow fear to lead us instead of God, we are giving our own emotions a place of preeminence above God. We are finite beings, while God is infinite in knowledge and power – He is sovereign! We need to place our trust in Him and make decisions that will honor and glorify Him. Decisions based in fear of this world rather than trust in Him do not honor and glorify Him. Actions based on fear are sin. To say “so-and-so can’t defeat Clinton because they don’t have enough support” is to detract from the power of God. If each of us would truly trust in the Lord and vote accordingly, I think we would be amazed at what God can do! When we limit ourselves in our fear, we will face the consequences of that. We reap what we sow. Each of us is responsible for our own decisions and actions. We do not have to vote for person A to avoid person B – we should be voting according to the principles set forth in God’s Word, and for the person who will best obey the law and honor the Constitution.

You will answer for how you vote; you will answer to God and also to your fellow Americans. Be sure you are prepared to give that answer.

“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

“God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.” – Psalm 47:8

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:2

 

(Sidenote: If you honestly, genuinely support Trump for who he is and not just because he “isn’t Clinton,” this post is not directed at you, although I would still respectfully and ardently challenge your decision.)

Be Not Dismayed

(One of the definitions of “dismay” is “to dishearten thoroughly.” That is the definition I always think of and use.)

Sometimes it can be easy to feel dismayed. This most often happens to me when there is a lot of bad news at once. It doesn’t even have to be something that affects me directly. If I hear too much bad news at one time, I begin to feel thoroughly disheartened. With everything going on in the world lately, I have been struggling with dismay over the past week or so.

But then I read this verse: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41:10). In context, these words were spoken as encouragement for Israel, but they certainly can apply to all who belong to the Lord. We have no reason to fear or be dismayed because He is our God! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and he has promised never to forsake us. He will give us the strength we need, He will help us, and He will uphold us.

Such a simple thing to say, but sometimes we become so fixated on other things that we almost forget it. Just like Peter when he began to sink after walking on the water, we focus on the turmoil and trials around us rather than on the Lord. But, also like Peter, we have a Lord who will not leave us to deal with the turmoil on our own.

It isn’t our responsibility to fix everything. This is a sinful world, and with it comes pain and heartache and death. There isn’t anything we can do to fix that – and yes, it is a sad thing. But we know the One Who defeated death and sin! He has everything under His control. Our responsibility is not to fix things, but to trust, follow, and obey Him. We can rest in Him, be still and know that He is God.

So, Christians, don’t become disheartened. Be not dismayed. The Lord has your heart and He will never let you out of His grasp. Cast all your cares on Him. Think on the things of the Lord and receive the peace that passes understanding. Keep an eternal perspective. This is not our home. Our hope and joy are in the Lord!

(Even when we feel dismayed, we need to remember that our feelings are not to be our guide in this world – God’s Word should be.)

Right and Wrong Doesn’t Come in 50 Shades of Any Color

Many of my Facebook friends are boycotting a certain movie that’s coming out this weekend (and, presumably, the book that inspired it). They are, in turn, encouraging all of their Facebook friends to do the same thing. They don’t want to promote and support sexual assault/abuse, they say, and that is what they claim the story is all about. That’s why they have a problem with it.

I have also been boycotting the same book/movie, and will continue to do so. In fact, I have been boycotting it so much that I wasn’t even going to acknowledge its existence. But the things I’ve been seeing and hearing lately on the subject prompted me to address it.

Just as some of my friends plan not to, I of course will also not be supporting this book/movie. But my perception is slightly different from theirs. I’m not boycotting it because of whatever the story is all about. I’m not even entering that debate. My line of thinking didn’t even go that far when I was presented with the book/movie material. My line of thinking stopped immediately upon the realization that this work of fiction is nothing short of pornography. From what I can tell, the entire story line revolves around the intimate and explicit details of a couple’s physical relations – an unmarried couple, at that.

What a mark of where our society is. A book/movie is built entirely on lewd content and people don’t have a problem with that.

Wait, what? When did this type of material and behavior become okay – even welcomed in polite society?

What we see, hear, think about has an effect on us, one way or another. The more we give in to pornographic material, the more we compromise our character. We lessen the value of (real!) relationships, we entertain sinful thoughts which can lead very easily to sinful actions, we contemplate things that we should never be dwelling on, we accept certain behavior that should not be accepted. It’s disrespectful to ourselves and every human being around us. Why are relationships are in such sad shape and falling apart? Because if this is the kind of trash we consume, then we are not going to appreciate the true worth of something valuable when we are presented with it.

Christians, I’m speaking directly to you now – God has graciously provided instruction on what love is, how relationships should work, how to respect one another, how to bring glory to God. Too much of what we seek and too much of the way we live is exactly the opposite of this, and is harmful to us.

So forgive me, but I will not boycott this book-about-to-be-released-as-a-movie because of whatever assault or abuse you think is contained in it.

I will boycott it because it flies in the face of everything I should stand for as a Christian, because of the rank pornography and sinful lifestyle it promotes, because THAT is the real issue here, not my opinion of one fictional character’s intentions toward another fictional character.

When There is No Peace

Early this week, a well-known, self-professing atheist killed himself.

Cue the plethora of Facebook posts, memes, tweets, and comments about his now being at peace or at rest or free or “in a better place.” When bad things happen, especially suicide, we look for comfort. It’s only natural to want to make ourselves feel better. Death is hard enough to deal with, but at least natural death we can understand. Even then unbeliever can understand death. It’s a part of life, after all (the “Circle of Life” for those of us who grew up with Disney movies). Suicide we can’t understand; the people who are left behind cannot make sense of it and the only person who might be able to explain things a little bit is gone. None of us likes to be sad or confused or frustrated or upset. So we look for comfort.

But is there comfort to be found in lies? Is it okay to tell people, “This atheist, this person who utterly rejected God, is now at peace in a better place because he killed himself so don’t worry about it”? Maybe I will come off as harsh or mean but my answer, and I believe the Biblical answer, would adamantly be most absolutely not.

Here’s why:

1 – Someone who rejects God does not have peace. He might find temporary comfort in this life, but that is not peace. Peace only comes from God, and an atheist has rejected God and so rejected peace.

2 – This life on Earth is the best thing an atheist has. When an atheist leaves here, he is not in a better place. He is in hell.

3 – This is not what I want to address directly, but it’s still a fair point: Suicide is never the answer. Just because a person has killed himself does not mean he is at peace.

In short, it does much more harm than good to comfort people with empty assurances made up of lies – lies, moreover, that go completely contrary to the Word of God.

This is the verse that keeps coming to mind in this context: “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly [a.k.a. superficially], saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” – Jeremiah 6:14

We are strongly cautioned against false teachers and false prophets, and I believe this kind of thing falls under that category – which is why I so strongly believe it is important to contradict this false teaching when it arises, rather than allow it to continue simply for the sake of not offending or upsetting people. If people aren’t confronted with the reality of sin and death, they will not understand why they need to turn to Christ. Therefore, simply telling them to “turn to Christ to find peace,” and ignore the part about hell and sin (as more than one Christian has told me to do) is not fulfilling our responsibility as Christians, in my opinion. Especially when the rest of the world is telling them a multitude of other places they can go for (empty, meaningless, fake) peace, including suicide.

So, in a situation like this, when people are claiming there is peace/rest/hope/something better in anything other than Christ, let’s correct them. Let’s tell them, “No, actually, that’s not true. What you’re pointing to is utterly hopeless. But I can tell you where to find hope.” We are to treat people with love. Isn’t it more loving to show them the Truth than to encourage them to continue following a lie that would ultimately lead to their destruction?

(Please note: I am not judging an individual’s heart, because only Christ can do that and Christ has the power to save anyone He pleases. But anyone who goes to his death an atheist will not find peace or rest in eternity.)

15 Things Jesus Did Say

A friend recently shared with me a blog post by Jim Palmer titled “15 Things Jesus Didn’t Say.” While the things listed in the blog post were truly things that Jesus did not say, it left me wondering what exactly he was trying to say with the post. And it made me curious why he would focus so much on things Jesus did not say when we have access to things Jesus DID say. Shouldn’t we rather spend our time focusing on that? There are myriad things Jesus did not say, but we can learn so much if we spend our time thinking about what He did say. On that note, in response to the above referenced blog post, here are 15 things Jesus said.

  1.  John 3:14-21 – I think most Christians and many non-Christians are familiar with the verse that says “For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16). And what a beautiful verse that is! But we also need to remember the context of the verse. Those who do not believe are condemned. Yes, God sent His Son, and that’s wonderful. We need to remember that doesn’t mean a free pass for every single person on the planet. A person has to believe on Him, or else face condemnation – something we all deserve and willingly choose without God’s grace.
  2.  John 10:9-11 – Jesus came that His people might have abundant life. How does this come about? By His sacrificing HIS life through the death on the cross. It goes back to my first point – we have to believe on Him and make Him Lord of our lives or we do not have life, only condemnation. And if we do believe on Him and claim Him, we need to show that forth in our lives. He has given His people instructions on how to conduct their lives – a set of beliefs to which we are called to hold. Definition of religion: “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.” He did not bring us a new religion, rather established a new covenant in the religion He had already created.
  3. John 13:34-35 – All men will know we are disciples of Christ if we love each other as He loves us. By teaching and ministering. In order to do so, we need to be studying God’s Word and adhere to it. It is of important to believe the correct things, otherwise why would God have given us His Word?
  4. Matthew 16:21-28 – Jesus sets the example for us. As Christians we are to be living for the Lord. Do not give way to Satan. Deny yourself. Any “religion” not of God is either of self or Satan, so we need to beware false prophets and speak the Truth.
  5. John 14:15 – Jesus said if we love Him we are to keep His commandments. One of the things we are told to do is not to forsake the assembling together. But do not forget about my fourth point – we need to steer clear of false religion, even if it is disguised as Christianity.
  6. Matthew 5-7 – Read it. Yes, all three chapters because why not? Pay special attention to chapter 6 where Jesus says, “When ye do alms.” As God’s children we are expected to serve Him. Giving alms (tithing) is expected of Christians.
  7. Matthew 6 – Seems pretty self-explanatory to me. Jesus prayed for God’s will to be done.
  8. Matthew 5:43-48 – Christians are called to set the example and treat everyone with love. We are to be perfect, living according to the commands we have been given, and in so doing show the world Christ through us.
  9. John 14:1-7, Matthew 7:13-14 – Jesus said He was going to prepare a place specifically for His people. In Matthew, He makes a point of explaining there are few who will travel the way that leads to life, but many will go in the way that leads to destruction.
  10. Mark 1:15 – The time is now to repent, turn our lives over to Christ, and live for Him. Repentance is a complete change, a complete turn-around from living in sin to living for Christ, according to how He has instructed us to live in His Word.
  11. John 8:28-36 – As a result of following Jesus, we will know the truth and be made free. Being free does not mean we are allowed to do whatever we want. It means we are no longer in bondage to sin, but we belong to Christ. Now we need to live like it.
  12. Matthew 5:14-16 – We are to show forth Christ in the world. We need to live like it. We are commanded to live like it. Not to hide Him or be ashamed of Him, but to proclaim it.
  13. Matthew 11:27-30 – Notice He says He will place His yoke on us. A yoke was used to guide the ox in the way it was supposed to go. As Christians, we have been told the right way to live, so we have a guide in the way we are supposed to go. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
  14. John 3:12-21 – Context is hugely important. God sent His Son into the world to save His people. Anyone who does not believe on Him is condemned. There are two groups of people – those who follow Christ and those who do not. Those who do not follow Him are not going to receive the love of God and the eternal life He gives to His people.
  15. Matthew 28:18-20 – The act of going into the world and teaching all nations can come in many different forms for individuals. We aren’t all the same. Some of us teach one on one, and some people have huge churches. Some people are called to go far away, some minister close to home. Some form organizations, some are little known. What matters is that each of us individually is obeying the command to the best of our ability, so that collectively the church can obey the command of teaching all nations.

We should take care to be more concerned with sharing the Truth than with trying to make other people feel better about themselves. Thoughts?