To Reconcile All Things

When two accounts of the same thing differ they must be reconciled. Whether it’s numbers that are off somewhere, wrongs that haven’t been righted, or truth that’s not yet been told … to have perfect closure everything’s gotta make sense. ‘Til then there’s waiting, anticipation, unrest … hope.

Olympic National Park, WA
Ted Gore: Olympic National Park, WA

Like a Cosmic Accountant, Jehovah’s keeping track of everything, and as of now, things aren’t adding up. There are vast gaps between what should be and what is. The former is grounded in God’s nature and will, the latter in the free will of Man.

But this present conflicting experience is temporary: one Day it will end. God, the great Reconciler, is “pleased … to reconcile all things unto Himself.” (Col 1:19-20) One way or another, everything and everyone will eventually align with Him. (Ro 14:11)

“Everything will be alright in the end; if it’s not alright, then it’s not the end.” Only God sees the end from the beginning and He, for One, is pleased with how it all turns out. For now we endure, believing God is good; we patiently await that Day, when justice will prevail, when all will finally be well in the universe. Our hope will be sight; our anticipation reality.

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Raise Them Up

Fathers have an awesome responsibility to their children to “raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ep 6:4) Though fathers are uniquely suited for this work, nurturing and admonishing isn’t easy for men, even in a perfect world.

lionandcubTo nurture is to care for and encourage the growth or development of someone, providing a safe and inviting atmosphere that enables a child to realize all the potential God has designed into them. Admonition is authoritative counsel or warning. At a high level, I think nurturing and admonishing our children involves at least the following:

  1. Constantly initiating open family discussions about how to align our lives with God (De 6:6-7), sharing life experiences with them and warning them of the dangers of disobedience;
  2. Giving children freedom to choose when consequences are reasonable, and allowing them to experience the consequences of their choices (2Th 3:10); and
  3. Asking them penetrating questions, challenging them, and teaching them how to think for themselves. (Mt 18:12)

If we’re content with merely paying the bills and providing a lot of nice things, and we neglect to engage our children spiritually, should we be surprised if we ultimately lose them to the world? If we don’t teach our children how to think, how to make wise decisions, and how to pursue God, who will? But in order to teach these things to our children, we must first learn them ourselves.

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That Which Is Holy

You know the kind, quick to speak their mind, and to shut down all who see things differently. How should we respond? Or should we?

Teijo, Finland

Speaking up at the wrong time or in the wrong way can get us into trouble. Yeshua warns us to be careful when conversing with the world: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” (Mt 7:6) Looking at His life helps us get what He’s saying.

Jesus Christ offered truth only to seekers, actually hiding it from the rest. (Mt 13:10-11,15) He delighted in God revealing His ways only to the poor in spirit (Lk 10:21), exposing emptiness through penetrating questions rather than persuasion.

God exhorts us to “be swift to hear, slow to speak.” (Ja 1:19) Truth is constantly bubbling over all around us (Ro 1:19-20), offering life and nourishment to anyone who’s sincerely interested. We must not strive to make our point, but offer truth in meekness (2Ti 2:24-6); listen well and prayerfully weigh any verbal response. Unless we’re engaged with a humble truth-seeker, it’s likely better to pray than to reason.

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Bold as a Lion

Righteousness, being aligned with God and His ways, produces boldness. (Pr 28:1) It’s not reckless arrogance or disregard for others — but holy, loving fearlessness.

lionchargingLike a lion, the strongest among beasts that turns not away for any (Pr 30:30), the righteous are accompanied by omnipotence; we never stand alone. We don’t fear what others might do to us (He 13:6) because we’re armed with a willingness to suffer (1Pe 4:1), knowing the enemy can only move with God’s permission and that whatever He allows is for His glory and our good. (Ro 8:28)

Saints shamelessly pursue godliness regardless of the world’s disdain, testifying by word and deed that its works and ways are evil. (Jn 7:7) Wisdom dictates when and how we live this out, but one thing we’ll have in common … holy boldness.

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Effectual Fervent Prayer

God is pleased as we ask Him to move nations, to intervene so we can live quietly and peacefully in all godliness and honesty. (1Ti 2:1-4) It only takes one righteous soul to change the world: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (Ja 5:16b-18)

img_1429So we are encouraged to pray diligently and earnestly for God’s protection and favor (supplications), requesting His aid (prayers) and praying for (intercessions) and giving thanks for all people, especially those in political power (1Ti 2:1-3), always giving thanks for all things. (Ep 5:20) We are praying for our political leaders, especially for president elect Donald Trump, our society, and our world. Please join us!

Here’s our evolving prayer list:

  1. (Ps 118:8-9) Keep our hope in You, not politics.
  2. (Ps 27:11) Teach our leaders Your ways; deliver them from the wicked.
  3. (Ps 33:10) Overturn the evil schemes of the wicked.
  4. (Pr 20:26) Purge corruption throughout our government.
  5. (Ro 13:4) Punish those committed to evil.
  6. (Pr 25:28) Secure our borders.
  7. (Pr 14:15) Help us see through media propaganda to find truth.
  8. (Pr 14:34) Establish righteousness in our land.
  9. (Ps 11:3) Give us righteous judges.
  10. (Nu 24:5, 9b) Cause us to bless Your people Israel.

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Do Good

In this last US presidential election, the Left promoted arguably the most corrupt candidate to ever run for office; the Right offered us (so it seemed) a brash, lying, womanizer promoting conservative values for the first time in his life; the third-party trampled basic Christian morality (pro abortion, sodomy, etc.) and consistently polled below 15%. To say there was mass confusion among US Christians about how to vote, or whether to vote at all, is an understatement; at the voting booth I was still struggling. But I think now I have an insight to guide me next time around.

The essence of loving our neighbors as ourselves is seeking their welfare; God tells us to use every opportunity to do good unto all (Ga 6:10); living otherwise is actually sinful(Ja 4:17)

So if we have an opportunity to vote, we also have a moral obligation to cast our vote such that it will promote the most good (or minimize evil). This might be different than voting for who we like more (or dislike less). Voting for one with no realistic chance of winning is effectively the same as not voting; practically, it does about as much good. Yet the best choice, the one that does the most good, may not be obvious.

cloudcontrastVoting for someone doesn’t necessarily mean we like them, or that we agree with everything they say and do. In a choice between a demon and the devil himself, when a choice is going to be made and we have a voice, doing good means trying to choose the lesser of the two evils.

The enemy is as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1Pe 5:8); the father of lies leverages every means at his disposal, including politics, to take us down. Through passivity, failing to resist him, neglecting opportunities to do good, we hand him real victories; we must be continually speaking and praying and living to promote the best way … God’s way.

So let’s do good by praying for this new president (1Ti 2:1-3), that God will give him holy wisdom and fierce strength to renounce and expose corruption, and to encourage righteousness and justice in our world. (Is 59:4) Let’s be aware and informed, looking past the media propaganda, willing to get the facts and both admit when he fails and defend him when he does well.

And let’s pray for those who’re thinking differently than we are, or not thinking at all … for those who didn’t vote, or didn’t vote for the collective good. Let’s listen carefully to them and try to understand their point of view in its strongest form. Let’s learn from them, yet also gently challenge them with facts, with reason, prompting them to reconsider. Let’s question them, unsettle them, and encourage them to take a step toward God.

Being wise as serpents yet harmless as doves (Ma 10:16), let’s buy the truth; let’s be informed, understanding the issues facing our nation and our world, in meekness and godly fear ready and more than willing to identify, learn from and answer every divergent point of view. (1Pe 3:15) Let’s promote the kingdom of God, one soul at a time. (Ja 5:19-20)

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More Than Conquerors

We are either in league with Satan, or we are at war with him; the devil leaves no one alone. How can we overcome and defeat him in our lives?

eaglesnakeGod says the weapons of our warfare are mighty through Him to the pulling down of enemy strongholds (2Co 10:4); as we seek God He opens our eyes to see truth and then aligns our hearts to live according to it (Jn 8:31-32): it’s the essence of overcoming the father of lies. (Jn 8:44)

Jehovah has predestined His own to be conformed to the image of His Son (Ro 8:29), so it really doesn’t matter what the enemy throws at us – we’re more than conquerors through Him Who loves us. (Ro 8:35-37) In hungering and thirsting to live according to God’s design, to abide in Him, to walk worthy of Him unto all pleasing, to live in holiness and righteousness, we’re confident we’ll be filled with Him (Mt 5:6); He will heal our souls and lead us in His way for His name’s sake. (Ps 23:3)

Thank God He gives us eternal victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (1Co 15:57)

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Esteem Others Better

In responding to sin and brokenness I must avoid unholy extremes: I must be repulsed by sin, hating any trace of it in myself or others (Jud 1:23), yet I must not look down on anyone with disdain or contempt. The one error ignores God’s heart (Ps 97:10a); the other ignores my own. (Pr 20:9)

uglybirdContempt, finding others beneath me, unworthy of my company, is judging them; it’s walking in pride, thinking of myself more highly than I ought (Ro 12:3); it’s an abomination to God. (Pr 16:5)

Any goodness within me is God’s grace (1Co 15:10), not something to boast in. (1Co 1:29) God help me esteem others better than myself (Php 2:3), considering that if I were in their shoes I’d probably be doing worse: “but for the grace of God, there go I.”

There’s no room for contempt in a spirit-filled walk. Whatever sin, brokeness or deception I perceive in others, Father remind me how You’re delivering me from my own ignorance and depravity. Give me Your heart for justice (Mi 6:8), and Your compassion and sorrow for sinners (Php 3:18); warn them through me with holy tears (Ac 20:31), neither excusing nor minimizing their sin … nor my own. (1Ti 1:15)

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