Christmas seemed especially joyful this year, at least to me. I think after the past year or so of nasty politics—and I’m going to blame both sides for that… and no fair saying “they” started it (if you think that, you weren’t on the same Facebook I was on)—all the joy was kind of sucked out of our country.
All the biased news stories, both sides waiting and wishing for the other candidate to implode—and that looked like a distinct possibility for either one of them—hateful responses on social media from supporters of both parties…
…I don’t know about you, but I really needed a little Christmas, as the song goes—and I got it:
- The Christmas music seemed a little more joyful (I’m digging on the new Pentatonix Christmas album)
- The glitter seemed a little more sparkly (and if past experience holds true, that same glitter will still be making an appearance in and around the house next July)
- The lights seemed a little brighter this year, even in Florida where they DO NOT know how to tastefully put up Christmas lights outside (sorry Florida peeps—all those blinking, chasing, half-colored, half-white Christmas light displays with a bunch of inflatable “Despicable Me” minions in Santa hats in the front yard… To quote Nancy Reagan, “Just say ‘no’”…)
- Even the Hallmark Channel movies seemed a little more fun. (Although I still don’t know what happened to the princess who ran away from her hotel room in New York City and took up with the contractor guy whose girlfriend dumped him. If you saw that one, leave a comment—I need to know how it ended.)
Unfortunately though, the especially joyful post-election Christmas wasn’t necessarily that way because Americans couldn’t wait to celebrate the birthday of our Lord and Savior. As most of the people I hang around with are Christians, I can tell you that a heaping helping of them got their joy on right before the T-day/Christmas season started because they were really relieved—as in really, REALLY relieved. Most of my FFJs (Fellow Followers of Jesus) spent a lot of time this past year worrying—worrying about which candidate might be elected, worrying what would happen to our religious freedom, worrying that we would be further marginalized in our country.
All that unBiblical worrying notwithstanding, those are all valid concerns. God has always intended to be a part of every aspect of our lives, not just our Bible study or our church attendance. And He should be a part of the way we choose to govern ourselves, the way we conduct our business dealings, the way we behave behind the wheel of a car. (Please don’t make me confess—yet again—to my struggles with folks driving in the “fast” lane who ought not be there… Instead of the fast lane, it’s more like the leisurely, “take your sweet time,” “Why is everyone flying by me on the right and blowing their horn,” and “Oh look—there’s another palm tree. Wow, Florida has a lot of those” lane. Just sayin’…)
That being said, we pushed God aside in our country—or allowed it to happen—to the point where we no longer sought His guidance, and He was no longer given any consideration in our national decision-making. But when it appeared the outcome of the election might make a huge impact on FFJs the next four years, Christians finally did what we should have been doing for years:
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV
So bully for us for for finally inviting Him back in. But with or without our crying out, no matter which candidate had won, it would have been God’s sovereign will. Paul writes in Romans 13:
There is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Romans 13:1 NIV
(I love how Paul just kind of re-words the first sentence in case we didn’t get it the first time.)
GOD has established the authority in our country for the next four years. GOD is sovereign—not the electoral college. GOD is our hope—not a political party, not a person, not a bank account, or retirement account, or job title, not Obi Wan Kenobi. GOD is our only hope, Princess Leia.
David knew that. He wrote it over and over in numerous Psalms:
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:22 NIV
Blessed are those…whose hope is in the Lord their God.
Psalm 146:5 NIV
Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.
Psalm 39:7 NIV
And I love these three verses in Psalm 62:
My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:5-8 NASB
God is our rock, our fortress, our refuge—He is our hope.
So I have two challenges for you in 2017:
1. Keep praying
My social circle is the typical age group for realizing the importance of voting prayerfully and praying for the process in general. So to accompany all that worrying, I know there was some praying going on during the past year, at least from my homies.
But what I fear is that all that praying has been put aside; that now that the election is over, we’ve all decided to sit back and put our feet up—at least those of us who can still get our feet up—and get on with life.
But we don’t have that luxury. Even if you’re pleased with the President elect, you can’t stop praying for our country and for those in authority. The Bible tells us to do that, and doesn’t give any indication we can stop once the election is over.
So get on them knees, y’all.
2. Share your hope
Putting our hope—ANY of our hope—in our government and expecting that government to be the answer to all our problems is about as non-honoring to the Lord as we can get. And, yes, I’m aware God established government, but as a means of keeping order—not to raise our children for us or feed and clothe us. That’s our God-ordained job.
Government wasn’t established to stick it’s nose in every aspect of our lives. That’s God’s job. And for that I’m tickled pink.
So I challenge you to share the hope that you have, to live out 1 Peter 3:15:
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15 NIV
Here are some reasons:
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11 NIV
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV
My father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:1-3 NIV
“And he will reign for ever and ever.” Revelation 11:15 NIV
Savior, Messiah, King of Kings, giver of eternal life…
…my hope is from Him.
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How ’bout you? Do you have that hope? If not, scroll up to the top and click the link that says “Free.” Trust me when I tell you that you want to experience that hope for yourself and become an FFJ. But that requires you to make a choice.
Joshua said to…
“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” Joshua 24:15 NIV
…and gave several options, including any number of other imaginary gods (little “g”) or the real almighty God (big “G”).
A buncha years later, Jesus said…
“No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 NIV
…leaving only one option: Himself.
Not a lot of wiggle room there to sit on the fence. You can’t just acknowledge that Jesus had some really good moral teachings, but the whole “one way to heaven” thing is just too narrow, so you’re just not going to get caught up in all that.
I mean, you can, but trust me when I tell you that’s not what you want to do. You—all of us, really—only have two options:
- Eternity in the presence of the Lord, or
- Eternity separated from Him.
Period. And if you choose to snub your nose at the only “one way to heaven,” option #2 will be with you for a lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ng time.
So Jesus or not Jesus—either way, it’s a choice; and that choice is yours.
I encourage you to start the new year with a new you. To do that, you simply have to…
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I hope you’ll choose to click here or on the Facebook logo below and make 2017 the year you liked and followed my page.