Now What? Where Do We Go From Here?

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I’m not sure how to process my emotions over the last week. Every day I’ve gotten on social media and had to get right back off or bite my tongue. People have said some of the most rude and hateful things.

Many Trump supporters have gloated. They’ve called liberals “cry babies” and made memes to mock the other side. Flip the coin and it’s no better. Many (and I mean many) Hillary supporters have called our newest president ugly names, used vulgar language and have shown the same hate they claim comes from the Republicans. Hate doesn’t make “love win.” It just doesn’t work that way. Hate breeds more hate.

I don’t know about you, but I’m emotionally spent. I’ve fallen to my knees and sobbed to the Lord. God, heal this nation. Help us to get through this and get along. But every day the people I’ve seen are more and more resolute they are choosing hate.

Let’s pause a minute. Neither of our candidates was a great choice. We can talk and talk about why each was a poor selection, but that doesn’t matter any more. It’s over. Trump is in office for the next four years. Now what?

God has been very clear with me about how we got into this current state. We walked into it – step by step, sometimes begrudgingly, but more often than not we were happily skipping and running into the mire.

We have made an idol higher than God. And that idol is SELF. We’ve put our own needs, thoughts, and ideas first. It’s time to focus on me. I have to be true to myself. How often do we here those words as we seek to justify a sin-filled life? And if we dare open the Word of God, we are looking for a justification for our actions. We would rather put our self on top and live in sin than turn from our wicked ways and let God change us. How dare we open the Living Word of God and try to make it fit our lifestyle? The Word of God changes us. We don’t change it.

So now what? What do we do to change the world around us? To create positive change? It isn’t yanking people from their cars and beating them to death. It isn’t closing our eyes to the real fear of those around us. It isn’t standing in the middle of streets chanting about how much we hate the president. How does that change anything? All of those things only create more of a divide. The divide that satan started and then let us run with it, because we were doing a better job than he was.

In order to change the world around you, you have to start with yourself. Alan and I have shared this with many married couples in distress. They are unhappy and want to know – what now? I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You can’t change anyone. Not with your protests, your memes, your Facebook posts – not even with this post can I change you. The only person you have the ability to change is yourself. So start there. Start with you.

Get on your knees and ask God to empty you of you and fill you with Him. Spend time reading His Word. It’s powerful and will change you. That, my friend, is where I’m starting. I’m starting on my knees and I’m asking God for revival to start right here in my own heart. You see, revival starts with one. And if each one of us focuses on soul changing, hand raising, life altering revival with that person in the mirror, we CAN change this nation, and we can change the world. Are you willing?

Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it!

All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing.

We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you. 2 Corinthians 5:16-20

 

Carol

What if America Really is Going to Hell in a Hand Basket?

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What if our worst fears come to reality?

Throughout this election process, we’ve spent months either on our knees in prayer or holding our knees to keep them from knocking. Let’s face it. We’ve all been a little bit afraid.

As the preliminary races whittled down the candidates to two main choices, many of us watched in horror as the reality of our options were placed before us. Media painted them as a jerk and a crook. We were to choose the lesser of the two evils. And to make matters worse, they both led some of the biggest smear campaigns in history. What ever happened to focusing on the platform issues and letting the other party’s character speak for itself? Their mud slinging did nothing to assuage our fears and help us settle on a candidate; it did the opposite. Fears escalated as the American people decided they really didn’t trust either one.

As I watched the candidates debate, my stomach soured and my faith in this nation dwindled. Meanwhile, news stories about “too much nationalism” came out. Our own president almost acts embarrassed by our country. Whatever happened to national pride? Since when is it wrong to feel happy about where you are from?

Yesterday I cast my early ballot, but walked away wondering if I should have asked for a paper copy after reading some polls were rigged. We can’t even trust the voting stations anymore.

This morning I was praying for America – begging God to heal our broken nation. I asked Him to help both Hillary and Trump to recognize Truth and be changed by it. And as I prayed, a story from the Bible came to mind. You can call it what you will – but I know the Lord placed it there.

It was the story of Jesus predicting His death to His disciples. He laid out the entire event before it happened. Jesus told them He would go Jerusalem, and once there, He would suffer at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law. Then Christ explained He would be killed but would come back to life on the third day.

Imagine your close friend, your mentor, just told you something like that. How would you respond? I’m sure I would’ve responded the same way Peter did.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Matthew 16:22 NIV

Jesus didn’t say, “It’s okay buddy. God has a plan in all of this.” No. He reply was much stronger!

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Matthew 16:23 NIV

That’s pretty harsh. But, you see, Christ’s death and resurrection was God’s greatest gift to humanity. Through that death and new life, we – you and me – can have eternal life. So, when Peter suggested to Jesus that it wasn’t going to happen, Jesus wasn’t having any part of that. He was saying, “You are just concerned about yourself. This is a God thing. Don’t get in my way.”

So as I was praying for America today, God brought this story to mind and how it relates to our situation. You see, if the worst happens – if Hillary gets in office and inadvertently shares state secrets and continues the gut-wrenching horror of late term abortions – or if Trump gets into office and mouths off to Vladimir Putin and causes Russia to drop an atomic bomb – the end result is people will be looking for hope. And the only Hope to be found is in Christ. You see, our only purpose here is to bring Christ glory. So if it takes the world getting more wicked and vile to make people turn to God, then that is what He will allow.

If that seems cruel to you, remember He allowed His only Son to die for the same reason – to bring you life. God desperately wants this world to know Him and experience His saving grace. So while I’ve been praying for things to get better when the election is over – for the newly elected president to make positive change – things are going to get worse. There may be some positive change. I’m not trying to be doom and gloom. But God is pointing out that things have to get bad, really bad, for people to turn from their wicked ways and come to know Him.

So, fellow Christian, the time is now. First, we have to stop getting so distracted over things that divide us – political parties, movements, the need to weigh in on things where we need to keep our mouths shut. Satan is using those things to destroy us.

We also need to be plugged in to God’s Word, and then let the power of the Holy Spirit that fills us change those around us. In other words, stop being so shy about sharing your faith. Let Christ empower you.

For those of you who don’t know God, or you know of Him but you don’t talk to Him and you really aren’t sure where you are going when you die, the time is now. The same God who created this entire universe is all knowing and all-powerful. He has the power to save you if you just admit you are a sinner who desperately needs Him. Ask Him to save you. He will fill you with hope you never thought possible.

So friends, America may get worse before it gets better. But do not fear. You may weep and wail. You will see things you never thought would happen. But don’t lose hope – Jesus will return. So if our worst fears come to reality, have hope and know that God is and forever will be on the throne.

Psalm 47

1 Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.

2 For the Lord Most High is awesome,
the great King over all the earth.
3 He subdued nations under us,
peoples under our feet.
4 He chose our inheritance for us,
the pride of Jacob, whom he loved.

5 God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7 For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to him a psalm of praise.

8 God reigns over the nations;
God is seated on his holy throne.
9 The nobles of the nations assemble
as the people of the God of Abraham,
for the kings of the earth belong to God;
he is greatly exalted.

Carol