Archive | January 2016

Demonstrating our Hope in Jesus, While Voting

Why do we lack hope when we vote?

There seems to be a lack of hope among Christians these days. However, we should be the most hopeful people in the world, because we serve a living, loving, and miraculous God.  Many of us have lost hope and we don’t even know why.  Many times our lack of hope is demonstrated by our apathetic attitudes, words, and actions.  Sometimes our lack of hope is most obviously seen in who we vote for or by not voting at all.

We have various reasons for what we choose to do when it comes to voting.  We vote for a candidate only if he/she has a “chance” to win.  Sometimes we don’t vote because we tell ourselves that one vote doesn’t matter.  There are endless reasons for voting for the lesser of two evils or for not voting at all.  However, do any of them reflect our hope in Jesus?  Dr. James Dobson phrased it well when he said… “In a world that might say one vote doesn’t matter…it does matter because each person is of infinite worth and value to God… Your vote is a declaration of importance as a person and a citizen.”

We are so influenced by what media pundits, polls, and other people tell us regarding who to vote for.  If that is true, then how much is God influencing our decisions in voting?  If God is not the essence for everything we do, then we will miss out on some amazing blessings and even miracles that He can do through us.  We cloud our judgement and ability to critically think when we listen to media, polls, and other people, more than we listen to God.

Hope belongs in every sphere of life

Our hope should not be in the things that we do or our own strength.  Our hope should always rest in Jesus and His strength alone.  However, our hope for Jesus should be found in all the things we do.  In other words, everything we do should reflect our hope in Jesus.  This includes voting!  If we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), then how else will God’s light shine through us in the voting process?  “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of light…” Ephesians 5:8

We tell ourselves that certain candidates don’t have a chance to win based on what we hear on the news and the polls that we see.  Did you know that many “scientific” polls are not random?  Some polls are taken in specific areas only.  Some polls are based on ethnicity, age, or gender.  Sometimes the media will purposefully leave out specific candidates when they take or share their polls.  Recently a candidate finished in 5th place in a particular poll and a certain news media switched his name with another candidate’s name.  Maybe it was just a coincidence, but it is not the first time it happened.

Did you know that it is not up to us to decide who gets elected?  That’s right!  It’s not up to us to decide the results.  However, it is our responsibility to do good in every sphere of life, even voting (Galatians 6:9, Colossians 3:23).  We should vote and we should vote for a candidate that will protect our liberty to worship God how we see fit.  It is up to us to act and it is up to God to decide the results.

Have hope when you vote

There are so many opportunities to vote.  We can vote for Congress and on legislation every two years and other legislation annually.  We can vote in the primary and general election in presidential election seasons.  To be fair, there are a few states that do not hold a primary election.  If you live in one of those states and cannot vote in a primary, then I encourage you to vote every other chance you get.  And if possible, go be a part of the delegate process during primary season and let your light shine there.

Vote as if your vote counts, even if you are skeptical of the process.  At the very least you are demonstrating support for the candidate that you believe will honor God as a governing authority.  Vote for principle…  “In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide.” Noah Webster

Voting will not save the world, but it will allow you to shine your light in a place of great darkness.  Have hope in the fact that Jesus Christ has been revealed to you and live your life for him in every sphere of life.  “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13


Don’t Worry, God is in Control

Worry and control

We know that God doesn’t want us to worry.  He doesn’t want us to worry about our basic needs.  He doesn’t want us to worry about anything.  Essentially we should not fear the unknown or what we already know.  “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’” Matthew 6:31

And we know that God is in control (Hebrews 1:3).  He is our provider of food and other basic needs.  “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26  It is evident that God provides birds with the food that they need, but we can easily miss the fact that even birds have to act in order to get the food that God provides for them.  God provides the food, but does not serve it on a platter to birds.  Birds do not get fed if they don’t pursue their prey.

Notice that God doesn’t serve us our food either.  Again, He provides the food.  He gives us the strength that we need to gather and prepare our food.  We shouldn’t worry about being fed, yet we still need to act in order to get the food we need.  Yes, God is in control, but if we don’t gather and prepare the food, we will not be fed.  Could you imagine if we approached being fed like we approach politics?  We would starve, because we would be waiting on God to “provide” for us.

What it doesn’t mean to trust God

Yet sometimes that is exactly how we approach politics.  We say to ourselves, God doesn’t want me to worry about it, so I’m not going to do anything about it.  God is in control, so I’ll just leave politics up to Him.  That is absolutely crazy!  In no other aspect of life do we think like this like we do with politics.  God has established government and He has given us everything we need to be the light that our government is in need of.

Not worrying and trusting in God doesn’t mean that we don’t have any responsibility to do the work that God has prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10).  It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t pray, speak, act, or care about certain aspects of life, including politics.  There may be times when others will urge you to refrain from participating in politics.  They may tell you that we aren’t here to solve the world’s problems.  They might say don’t worry about it, because God is in control.  At that moment we should be encouraged to remember that faith requires trust and action.  We should act as though it is up to us and trust in God as though it is up to Him.

We should be careful not to communicate an apathetic attitude towards those sharing the goodness God has given them.  In other words, when we tell others to not worry, yet we really mean that they should stop caring or doing good, we are essentially advocating for evil to overcome us by our silence.  And while God is in control of the results, He does not manipulate our every thought, word, and action.  We are in control of the choices we make, at least to some degree.

What it does mean to trust God

Sometimes God acts on His own and sometimes He uses us to fulfill His purposes.  Either way, it isn’t more spiritual for us to ignore the problems in the world (James 1:27).  It is up to us to do our best in whatever we do (Colossians 3:23) and let God produce the outcome.  We cannot necessarily solve all of the problems in the world, but we can be the light in a dark world and God will provide the results.

Worry is based on fear.  We should not be afraid.  We should not worry.  Instead we should pray, speak, and act in alignment with God’s word.  God is in control of the results related to all aspects of our lives.  We should remember our part in our relationship with Christ in all things, including politics.  And our part is to serve, gather and prepare in every aspect of life.  We are in control of our thoughts, words, and actions, and God is in control of the results.

Establishing a New World Order – Part 1

God established the nations

God established all of the nations and He marked the boundaries of all of the land.  Yes, God gave the nations boundaries.  His desire has been, is, and always will be that the nations would seek Him.  “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.  God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” Acts 17:26-27

God desires that the nations serve Him… “May all kings bow down to him and all nations serve him.” Psalm 72:11  However, not all nations serve God.  “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.” Deuteronomy 18:9

As a nation, we must be careful when it comes to being politically involved with other nations.  In fact, in Joshua’s farewell address to the leaders of Israel he warned… “Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them.  But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.”  Joshua 23:7-8

A brief history of the United Nations

The United Nations was founded in 1945 after World War II.  The founders of the organization claimed that it was established in order… “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.  Since its founding the U.N. has claimed that peace is its ultimate goal.

The Preamble to the U.N. Charter outlines the purpose and goals of the international organization.  Upon further review of the charter and other founding documents, it can be concluded that the organization was created with the stated purpose to bring peace by governing the world.  “To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;” Chapter 1, Article 1, U.N. Charter

The U.N. has been in existence for 70 years.  We understand that their stated purpose is peace through global governance.  However, we need to know more about what the organization has accomplished in order to more clearly understand its purpose.  In order to be successful at keeping peace, the organizational purpose and its actions should be in alignment.

The United Nations doesn’t seek or serve God

After recently recognizing the 70th anniversary of this obscure organization, we should ask ourselves the following questions…  What measures does the U.N. plan on carrying out in order to achieve peace?  Has the U.N. lived up to its stated purpose to bring peace to the world or has it made things worse?  Where does the U.N. derive its authority?  Does the United Nations seek, serve, or even publicly recognize our Heavenly Father?  Answering those questions should help us begin to determine whether or not the United Nations is an organization that we should promote.

What seems to be clear is that the U.N. Charter and its members in general make little to no mention of our Creator.  That should be concerning to us.  That should lead us to prayerful consideration of the need for such an organization.  If the United Nations does not seek or serve God, it will ultimately fail at bringing peace to the world.  “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain…” Psalm 127:1

The United Nations has been working to achieve its stated goals for a long time now.  However, what has the organization accomplished exactly?  We will need to explore this question and the many other questions that remain, in greater detail.  Be sure to take a look at part two… Establishing a New World Order – Part II.


The Source of the Gun Control Movement

The President is not alone

Much has been made this week of President Obama’s statements regarding the push for more restrictions on firearms.  The President has been vocal about a push for gun control throughout his time in office, so his recent comments come as no surprise to many 2nd Amendment supporters.  And while I personally disagree with President Obama’s most recent comments, and his policies in general, regarding the 2nd Amendment, I also understand that he is not alone in the push to gradually disarm American citizens.

Over the last several decades many governing officials, including some who have occupied the White House, have pushed for more restrictions on firearms.  Over time we have experienced a gradual increase in so called “common sense” gun laws, yet they have done nothing to make us safer.  President Obama is certainly responsible for his part in the push for gun control (which has been considerable), but he is not alone.

The U.N. gun grab

The United Nations has been an advocate for gun control longer than any government official.  In 1961, U.S. Department of State Freedom From War document 7277 was released to the public and called for “General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World”.  The Freedom From War document spells out steps to disarm all nations and declares… “This can only be achieved through the progressive strengthening of international institutions under the United Nations and by creating a United Nations Peace Force to enforce the peace as the disarmament process proceeds.” State Department Document 7277

The United Nations claims that weapons are responsible for many of the worlds problems…  “In all parts of the world, the ready availability of weapons and ammunition has led to human suffering, political repression, crime and terror among civilian populations.” United Nations

More recently, the United Nations Small Arms Treaty has caught the attention of the public eye.  In a recent statement, Secretary of State John Kerry noted…  “The United States is pleased that the United Nations General Assembly has approved a strong, effective and implementable Arms Trade Treaty that can strengthen global security while protecting the sovereign right of states to conduct legitimate arms trade.”  Of course, the question is who defines what is meant by “legitimate arms trade”?

Identifying the source of the problem

Before you decide whether or not the United Nations is, at least in part, responsible for the push for gun control in our nation, consider the following…  A number of nations around the world (e.g. The United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia) have implemented gun control since the United Nations was founded.  The United States is one of the few nations remaining that still maintains relatively relaxed firearm restrictions.

We should be willing to consider the possibility that some United States governing officials and the United Nations are working together to disarm our nation.  “It may not come as surprising news to many of you that the United Nations doesn’t approve of our Second Amendment.  Not one bit. And they very much hope to do something about it with help from some powerful American friends.” Larry Bell, Forbes Contributor

Hopefully you are convinced that the United Nations has been promoting gun control for a long time.  However, you may be asking yourself why that even matters.  Allow me to explain…  We spend so much time focused on the words and actions of the President, but a case can be made that he is only a pawn in the game of the United Nations.  We should pray for President Obama (1 Timothy 2:1-4), yet at the same time, he should be prosecuted or even removed from office (Psalm 109:8) if he is guilty of subverting our rule of law.  More importantly though, we should advocate a return to national sovereignty by getting the United States out of the United Nations, since that is the source of the push for gun control.

The United Nations claims that its goal is peace and an argument could be made that on the surface they do promote peace.  Although a deeper look into their agenda for gun control is very revealing.  And if you are a student of history like I am, you know that gun control does not lead to peace.  As Christians, we should always seek the truth, regardless of where it leads us.  Whether you have firearms or not, you should be concerned about the United Nations plan for disarmament.  I am convinced that the United Nations plays a large role in the push for gun control.  Are you?

Where Real Change Comes From

Forced change begins with me

When I was 10 years old, my family and I moved from a busy city in Northern California to a small town in the country, about an hour outside of Sacramento.  Everything was new for me.  I had a new room in a new house.  I made new friends.  I went to a new school.  Moving to the country was a difficult transition for a kid going into 6th grade.  And I made it even more difficult for myself, when I began trying to be someone I wasn’t.

I thought that in order to be accepted by the kids at my new school, I needed to make myself more like them.  I was so wrong.  Trying to become someone I wasn’t only made me less likable, because the kids at my school could sense it.  Somehow they seemed to know that I was faking it.  Later on in life, those experiences helped bring me to the conclusion that I can pretend to be somebody different than who I am, but does doing doesn’t produce authentic change.

Forcing myself to act like those around me only made me seem desperate and probably annoying to the other kids at school.  As a result, I spent my middle school years trying to please others and ended up pleasing nobody.  The struggle of trying to be someone I wasn’t continued through high school and beyond.

Authentic change begins with Jesus

A few years out of high school, I made a decision to follow Jesus Christ.  This was the beginning of something new for me, yet my pursuit of this new relationship seemed strangely familiar.  I pledged my life to the Lord, but I did so with the attitude that I needed to change myself to be like Him.  Yes, I was doing the same thing all over again.  Once again, I was trying to force myself to be like someone else.  What I didn’t realize at the time was there was nothing I could do on my own to become more Christ-like.  I needed Him to change me.  And over time, God began doing just that.

It wasn’t until I allowed God to mold me into the man He wants me to be, that authentic change started happening.  I needed Jesus to make three specific changes to my life, in order to experience authentic transformation.

  1. I needed Jesus to dwell in my heart through faith
  2. I needed Jesus to be the source of love in my life
  3. I needed Jesus to show me how amazingly deep His love is

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19

But that isn’t the end

The Christian walk begins with salvation through faith in Jesus, but it doesn’t stop there.  In order for authentic change to begin, we must allow Jesus to do the work.  However, once He does his initial work, the continued work is all about a relationship between us and Him.  Christ is responsible for the change, but we are responsible for being obedient to Him and His will for our lives.

One reason that God changes us is so that we can prove to the world what His will is.  “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2

God knows when we are faking it.  Allow Him to bring authentic change into your life and live your life in obedience to His will.  What changes need to happen in your life, so that your life will demonstrate what the will of God is?