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God Is In Control--Even In Politics Featured
God is in Control—Even in Politics
… the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men. Daniel 4:17
Since working as a representative for a State Senator, I have become increasingly aware of the dynamic responsibilities and powers of government. It’s sobering. Such experience has only caused me to be more aware of the need for Christian men and women to put shoe-leather to lip service.
It’s not enough to identify the problem or a threat. The real acid test to our effectiveness in our nation as a Christian culture is what we do with the insight and wisdom God does provide. Once we identify the symptom, are we willing to seek, develop, implement and enforce the cure?
Asking myself these questions and seeking what I can do as just one woman has brought me again to rehearse the foundation of my identity as a Christian, to delve in God’s Word and to renew myself in His purpose of mankind in this life.
As a constituent, I am inclined to “keep one’s nose clean” and just live a happy life tucked away. Politics is a hassle for the common man. It’s a lot of work to stay informed and life is very full with enough trouble on the home front—so it seems. As a Christian, I often feel “beat before I start” when I see the Goliath issues that threaten our nation, the constant fight required to combat evil and the snarling realities of people that are in opposition to a Biblical worldview of current events. Yet, as a patriot, I love my country, state, community and home. I desire that as a Christian, Biblical Conservative and Texan, God would continue to “preserve us a nation.”
Yet—despite a real relationship with Christ, I grow alarmed! Fearful, afraid of the future. I grow discouraged! Weary, saddened by the weight of issues that constantly threaten Christian liberties in America. I can even worry, even though the Bible tells us not to worry! How can we make a change? What can I do? Even safety for my own life becomes a reality working in the public. “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”(Ps. 75:26)
Can any of you identify? I’m sure there are many.
The Word of God is a haven. I run to it often—daily—and praise the Lord for the Christians that have carried the torch before us.
How timely to read a historic overview of what it took to be able to read God’s Word in my own language. Starting with the 1300s, the history of English translations of the Bible is an example of Christians taking action. This was an era where there was a need for reform. Wicked men sought to suppress and control access to the truth. Does that sound familiar?
Men and women were under vigorous persecution for merely translating a written book—a Living Word—in a language. Really??? This project was only for the good of the people. Their work hurt no one and yet, these Christians were pushed aside, treated as criminals and persecuted. The “establishment church” was their greatest enemy—the very people that should have been in support of this project! It was a God given work for Wycliffe in the 1300s, Tyndale in the 1500s and all the men and women behind the scenes. God assigned them work to do—this was their appointed lot. It was God’s will. Regardless of even God’s assignment, this Christian work met with tremendous resistance, governmental corruption, deep persecution, loss of physical life and constant set back. Despite all that—God’s will prevailed. These Christians remained faithful, constant and sure. Over the course of hundreds of years, those obedient Christian men and women’s work did not return void. Their work has given life, led many to Christ and to this day, I am just one of many that are still benefiting from what they did hundreds of years ago.
The translations happened—yet with a cost. It was an arduous climb of diligent effort that spanned several generations of passing the torch until the work was accomplished.
There was even a governmental shift. After the martyrdom of Tyndale, just a few years later, the English government issued official licenses for the Coverdale and Matthew Bibles. God used a wicked, immoral leader, Henry VIII to order English translated Bibles to be installed in every church. The Geneva Bible came from English scholars and translators fleeing to Geneva due the persecution of a Queen Mary. Then King James approved a petition for what we call today the King James Version in 1611.
Enter 2016 A.D. God has not changed. He’s still the same in every detail as He was when He created the universe.
He’s the same God that used men like the Pharaoh of Egypt.
“And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him…And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” (Exodus 9:12, 16)
He’s the same God that used Cyrus to further His work:
“… the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.” (Ezra 1: 1-3)
Today, He is capable of using even the leadership to His means:
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” (Romans 13:1)
There is always a solution for the seeking Christian and here are five things the Lord reminded me of:
1# God is in control. “For the kingdom is the Lord's: and he is the governor among the nations.” (Ps. 22:28) “Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.” (Is. 40:15)
2# Civil Government was God’s idea. “And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding.” (Daniel 2:21) “… the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.” (Daniel 4:17)
3# God can use unrighteous men for righteous means (Read Habakkuk 1:1-11). “But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.” (Ps. 75:7) “The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” (Pr. 16:4)
4# When Civil government is in conflict with the Bible, my allegiance is first to Christ. “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)
5# My job is to seek God. He has preplanned the work I personally am to accomplish. I do not have to be overwhelmed. God gives my assignment and will provide all that is needed to accomplish it. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Mt. 6:33) “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”(Eph. 2:10)“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8)For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)
God is in control—even in politics. However, we have a responsibility. In America, we can do something. We can start at a local level. We can stay faithful and steady. We can speak out. We can vote. We can write to our legislatures. We can be good citizens, neighbors, constituents. We can hold our elected officials accountable. Some could even run for public office.
Then on the other hand--we can also reject to be used effectively by the Lord. We can be lazy, apathetic or radical zealots that are ineffective and do more harm than good toward seeing a lasting change for good in our government.
Does our failure mean that God’s will is going to be thwarted? No! It means God will use someone else and we’ll miss out on the blessing of being His obedient instrument. The victory is the Lords—that is sure. Christ is coming again. This world is going to end. God’s throne will be established in the new Jerusalem. Bottom line, we can follow His path now, get on His bandwagon and stay focused on our work to accomplish while we prepare for an eternity with Him—or we can be left behind by our own choosing.
Beginning now, it starts on bended knee, seeking God’s face not just for understanding and wisdom but for His marching orders for our daily life. Let’s get to work—two hands on the plow.
Will You Let Me Be Your Savior? Featured
Will You Let Me Be Your Savior?
“Why Me?" is the question
We can feverishly pause to ask
When trials do overtake us,
Sorrows choke, smother, mask.
Our Gentle Savior answers
Why not you, My child?
You said I am your Savior
This is part of “reconciled.”
O lamb of Mine, Why Not you?
I picked you for My Flock,
To lead and guide you all the way,
If you will but only Walk.
I lead you but gently now,
My yoke easy, My burden light.
Abide in My perfect direction;
Trust Me despite the day’s night.
I drew you from death.
I wanted you for Mine.
I gave the greatest cost.
The nail prints, see the sign?
Will you let Me help you?
Will you let Me lead?
Will you trust Me wholly?
Or will you reject Me?
I made you for this life.
A new of You I’ll create,
From pieces of you now broken,
A perfected image, just wait!
A beautiful, growing Christian,
A Bride for Me, you’ll be;
A reflection of My glory,
Submit and you will see.
I am your God and Master.
I knew you before your birth.
I have not finished your story;
This is but a thorn that hurts.
Pain was not the plan I had
Nor weeping, grief, strife.
I offer you the Only Way
To purposeful, joy filled life.
Lean on Me and ask Me.
Depend on Me to Heal.
I will not reject you ever.
Rest and prayerfully kneel.
Circumstances aren’t lasting
But righteousness will endure.
Walk the path with Me;
You’ll find it straight and pure.
I’ll carry you through the waters.
I’ll walk with you through fires.
Forsake you I will never;
My promise does not retire.
My real Comfort is waiting
Like a refuge in a storm.
I was never absent;
All things I can transform.
Hope and Wait on Me
This is only “now” of today.
Give Me your heart, it’s safe.
You must trust and obey.
Keep focused on the Bible.
Keep eating the Living Bread.
Keep drinking Living Water.
Keep relying to be spiritually fed.
“O my Savior,” I answered,
“I do not deserve all Your care.
You have always been faithful
Even when I was not aware.”
“Thank you for picking me,
For drawing me to Yourself.
Help my unbelief and weakness;
Help me forget myself.”
“Help me to stay tender,
Contrite for You to form
The image You are fashioning;
A redeemed “me”, please transform.”
“Let me keep on loving;
Help me guard my ways.
Strengthen me for service;
I want be yours, always.”
“Take my deepest longings,
I give them back to You.
I want focus on Your provision
No good “idol” to rob what is true.”
“Thank you Jesus for remaining
My Anchor, Support and Friend;
My Tower, Defender, Provider;
The Beginning and the End.”
Christ--Our Hope Fulfilled! Featured
Christ – Our Hope Fulfilled!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” 1 Pe. 1:3-4
Resurrection Sunday approaches.
It is a Biblical celebration we commemorate as a time to rejoice in Salvation and Life in Jesus! Christ died the vicarious death—yet He arose triumphant and victorious over death and the grave. As the hymn speaks “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.” “What can wash my sins away? Nothing but the blood of Jesus…” “Hallelujah…Christ arose!”
Recently, someone told me they hoped 2016 was my year of fulfilled hopes. It was a touching statement. As I was thinking of what to send out to my eQuest For Truth friends for this Resurrection season—that was it. Fulfilled hopes –yes, Christ is the Fulfillment of our Hopes—every day, every week and every year. That’s just one way to encapsulate what the Resurrection Sunday means to Christians.
As we grow in our Christianity – we find that Christ fills our voids and is a bulwark to run to. It was through His life we have a real example of “how to do it”. It is through belief in Jesus Christ and profession of Him, we become heirs with Him and children of God (Ro. 8:17; Gal. 3:26). It is through Jesus we are filled with the living Spirit of God that enlivens us and gives us understanding. It is through His Word we find our Daily Bread and can drink from Living Water (John 6:35; John 4:14). Our spiritual needs are met. Our eternity is secured. Our lives are given meaning and worth. But that’s not all—Christ works in the day-to-day. As the Mediator between God and Man – Christ gives us direct communication with God. We can talk to Him, cast our cares, desires, worries, confessions, sorrows, joys on Someone Who truly loves us, is interested and will provide. He knows our earthly needs. With His Christians in mind, God conducts a symphony of Divine orchestration to strategically provide for our physical necessities. Solutions come forth to worth through tough situations. Money is funded to pay bills. All things work together for good to them that love God and are the called according to His purpose (Ro. 8:28). People come forth to assume their position in our lives. Joy permeates the day and spills over the brim.
Our hopes in life are generally thought of as something in the distance. Some “hopes” we don’t know if they will be “realized”. But for the Christian—Christ is our fulfilled hope. It’s not ethereal—this is a hope that maketh us not ashamed because it is sure and something we can count on (Ro. 5:5). Why can we count on it? The basis of that Hope is the Resurrection—what we celebrate this coming Sunday. It all happened exactly as God said it would. Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever (He. 13:8). He paid the price for us to release us from the bondage of a sinful life and to be the Way to God (Ro. 3:24). His innocent blood was shed to pay the ransom of souls (1 Pe 1:18-19; 1 Ti. 2:6). Yet, the grave could not hold Him and He AROSE! “Hallelujah—what a Savior!” He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life—No man cometh unto the Father but by Him (John 14:6). And we know Him!
Praise the name of Jesus—every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Ph. 2:10-11). Let’s not wait until we meet Him face to face – let’s bow together now, confess and praise the Name of Jesus! Christ - Our Hope fulfilled!
It is Enough!
Rebekah L. Holt
With the recent Texas Elections--it's been both positive and disappointing to see the results! Some of 'em made it and some of 'em didn't.
Despite trusting fully in the Lord's raising up righteous leadership in every generation--I'm always challenged with the feelings of dashed hopes after every election! Well--the "good guys" don't always get elected and we end up getting stuck with less effective or perhaps, horrible leadership (though we did have some great wins in our district!). It can be depressing when seeing people who really lie and cheat and tell half-truths actually get enough votes! It baffles me when some people I know cannot circumspectly consider the long reaching, destructive impact some candidates bring to the table if elected! Just consider our Presidential elections...
At times like these, I tend to be thoughtful if not morose. It becomes a need to take every thought captive and bring it before the throne of grace. The Lord does speak and those scriptures set to memory issue forth. Lyrics and melodic notes harmonize cognitively, materializing in a swirl, and finally spill forth in an audible anthem. Yes, I find myself being renewed in the Lord's grace, rehearsing the very core of meaningful humanity and the purpose of the Christian life.
This past week, I was confronted with a conversation where a man expressed his anger toward our government. Quite a bit of his reasoning I could rationalize. It was possible to confirm his complaint as viable. Yet, the basis of his argument missed an important component and thus, his solution was warped. He wouldn't vote for anyone because of their party affiliation--so therefore, he rationalized by not voting in what he considered a corrupt party, he was doing his part and we needed to instead set up a completely different party.
As I sorted through this man's comments and philosophies, trying to see the relevance, know what to respond to and how to use this opportunity to speak any words of truth--it did come clear to point toward Christ's life as the example.
Government was broken then in Christ's day. There was BAD leadership. There were murderers and even immoral incestuous adulterers on the throne. And those men are remembered today for carrying out the events that led to the vicarious death of our Savior. Yet, God still was sovereign and His plan for mankind came to pass. Christ's purpose was not repressed. Sure, the whole of the outcome of the Messiah's coming was different than what the zealots wanted. They wanted a new form of government. Yet, Christ's kingdom was not of this world. A perfect earthly form of government was not the fix He provided. But what God did provide, the solution was effective to mankind's need and filled all the voids. He gave us streams in a desert and manna in the wilderness--the provision and sustenance to work with what we've got and where we are today. His ultimate plan gave us an eternal and rich glorious gift of Salvation that gives the everyday man real answers and true life for today and an eternity with Jesus. We have been told this world is going to end. But we have also been told to remain faithful, to be equipped, to obey authority, to occupy until He comes again, to make disciples of all nations and to get after it--time is short. Live a life that counts in Jesus and be fishers of men.
Government is not our hope for today or tomorrow. What God has established is the "where it starts" for Christians. Bottom line, period--unless the Lord builds the house, we labor in vain. If man or a man-made form of government is the what we build our lives upon, the foundations will certainly crumble and we will crater. It is only the men that submit themselves unto the Lord that can possibly fulfill righteous actions and have righteous judgement. It remains that regardless of our parties or American government--our nation's moral health is only as strong as the moral heartbeat--we the people at home, we the people at work, we the people at play. The "How" of how we conduct our lives. Our worldview is not a personal affair - it has far reaching repercussions that radiate, impacting a generation and culture. Silence and non-action is an active voice. Choosing not to be politically responsible and doing what we CAN at a grassroots level or higher up if opportunity allows could be considered equivalent to endorsing the wrong side. In America, we can do something--it may be a small deed, but remember the mustard seed.
We must be responsible citizens. If we can vote against a vile candidate, let's do it. Individually, we're going to have to submit ourselves to the Lord for His guidance on what that is. As followers of Christ, it is important for us to seek the Lord on how we can vote and what candidates He desires us to support at every level of government. Jesus Christ recognized the leaders while on earth and their position. He paid his taxes. Scripture tells us that God uses and works through the present authorities--even if they don't want or recognize His rule. God can give us wisdom how to effectively combat corrupt leadership and to hopefully and appropriately overturn the evil "kings" of our day. Just "throwing it off" is not the answer. As Christ's followers we can be resolved and do our part--yet stay focused on the fact that this is not all there is. Our greatest responsibility must be on serving Christ first. By identifying ourselves in His leadership, our efforts, our outlooks and our understanding of how to effect change can come into a perfect balance in an imperfect world.
Others may be stronger in this, but God often uses my discouragements to draw me deeper into His embrace. There's so much to distract us from the Lord's blessings today. Casting all care on Christ releases us to put on all His intended joy. Life is tough and draining at times. It's real. But it does come that upon renewing our minds in Christ, we can fill our minds with the realization that our foundation and security in the Lord truly is enough and it satisfies the hungering soul with peace. Such an anchor is ours through the storm, to face what is required of us as we carry on. Only through trusting and obeying Jesus Christ can we fully approach the future without a fear or dread. We can instead stride forward in an eternal, victorious, redeemed, proactive, effective perspective.
Join me in singing one of my favorites:
My faith has found a resting place, not in device nor creed. I trust the Ever-living One, His wounds for me shall plead! I need no other argument, I need no other plea, It is enough that Jesus died and that He died for Me.
I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving. Ps. 69:30
I love this holiday. It's so American and rooted in giving honor and praise to God. All year long, when we get our big family together, it's always a feast. Still there is a distinction with Thanksgiving! We have our fun. We have our traditions. We have our family recipes! And plus, it's just an exciting, cozy time of year with weather changes, beautiful colors among the landscapes and the delicious smells of cinnamon!
Consider it's Christian origins, is it any wonder that Thanksgiving is getting more and more overshadowed by Halloween, commercialized Christmas, Shopping and Football each passing year?
Yet, the Bible reminds us that thankfulness is a charateristic of God's people. We can celebrate Thanksgiving like it should be done!
Here's some ideas for the day in addition to the feasting:
Read Thanksgiving Bible Verses - Just type in "thanks" or "thanksgiving" on a website like www.biblegateway.com and you'll be amazed how many Bible verses pop up!
Get Dad to read the Story of Thanksgiving outloud. With the East Texan accent, in our home, that can get really entertaining for "pronounciations!" From Sea to Shining Sea is a great book and the children's version allows a condensed version of the details!
Do a family Thanksgiving skit. We used to do this but alas our Chief Massasoit and William Bradford revolted! :) We had so much fun doing it and even made our own video version. I was ambitiously writing my Thanksgiving version of Pride and Prejudice - but it would have been a seriously reduced casting (uh...me) after Mrs. Bennet finished her rhapsody over the turkey and dressing at Pemberly. I possibly could have made a convincing Mrs. Bennett - yet also being Mr. Darcy could have proven a challenge despite my theatrical experience in church plays as a kid!!
Take the time to play family games. It takes a lot of energy to plan all that. One year, we had a Thanksgiving themed obstacle course, wheel barrow races and beyond. We've learned to change it up and just allow each year to unfurl. However, good times usually don't just happen! You've got to plan for success when it comes to doing something besides watching television or playing video games!
Play a game like Kick Ball or go on a walk - after eating all that food, it might be a good idea to get some exercise! Go on a nice, gentle stroll with your best friends, your family and enjoy the outdoors while visiting.
Plan a campfire! Why is it we never can remember all the words to all those great songs we want to sing around a crackling fire? Print them off, but be sure to hand out flash lights should it be dark! :)
Make a Thanksgiving Tree - Give everybody colored strips of paper to write down what they are thankful for. I did this once with students at a horse facility I taught riding lessons. You can very quickly cut out a trunk of the tree with brown paper and then add little rectangular shaped strips in fall colors. Keep it simple!
Be sure to Pray as a Family! In all the festivities, don't forget to stop and Thank God for His provision, His salvation and His love.
If you can - go pet a horse! Of course, I will be making my rounds through the pasture, Lord Willing, and saying hello to the family horses.
Sing! Make a joyful noise as a group. How about some hymns? The internet has the lyrics available ready to print out.
God bless you~ and do have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 1 Peter 2:9