Archives for posts with tag: America

wolves

I’ve been very troubled lately by the animosity in America. We are utterly polarized in our beliefs and expectations. We are far more likely to despise those who disagree with us than to find a way to work with them for the common good. We began as a nation that respected all people, but we’ve become a nation that demonizes all who disagree with us. We have more access to facts and information now than ever in history, but we have less understanding because we claim only the facts that support what we want to believe. The media is more interested in keeping our attention than in reporting the truth, and we are more interested in furthering our political agenda, than in right and wrong.

This whole mess we’ve made for ourselves reminds me of what might have been an Indian parable.

A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there are two wolves inside of us which are always at war with each other. One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred and fear. The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?” The grandfather quietly replies, the one you feed.

 America is feeding the wrong wolf. We are quick to blame and slow to take responsibility. We are enthralled with violence in our games and movies and lament that crime is increasing. We immerse ourselves in materialism and can’t understand the rise of entitlement and greed. We entertain ourselves with immorality and bemoan the lack of integrity. We praise those who tolerate everything, and we malign those who are defined by their convictions. We honor our enemies more than we honor God, and we can’t understand why a good God would allow so many bad things to happen. We are feeding the wrong wolf.

God gives us the ability to choose which “wolf” to feed. He has been clear about the consequences and blessings that will result from that choice. The briefest assessment of American history indicates that what He said is absolutely true. When we ignore God, individually and corporately, we suffer.

My daily prayer for my country is that God will give us “eyes that see and ears that hear” the truth, and that the truth will help us intentionally choose to feed the things in ourselves and in our society that bring about good. He is God; we are not. Ignoring God and trusting ourselves will ultimately bring about our destruction. God allowed judgment on his people when they refused to honor Him; America will be no different. I beg you to join me in praying for our country. Here is the promise God makes to those who do:

II Chron 7:14 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.

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servant 7

God is in charge whether we pay attention or not. God is in charge even when we’re not getting our way. God is in charge even when it seems that evil is winning and chaos is taking over.

Over and over in the Bible God refers to Nebuchadnezzar as “my servant”. Nebuchadnezzar was the pagan king of Babylon who enslaved much of the population of Judah and destroyed the city of Jerusalem, including the Temple built by Solomon. Nebuchadnezzar didn’t love God; in fact, he required that the people of Babylon, including the Jewish refugees, worship a statue of him. But God used Nebuchadnezzar to teach his people that only Yahweh was God. God actually called one of his most famous prophets, Daniel, just to speak the word of God to Nebuchadnezzar and the succeeding rulers on the throne of Babylon and later Persia. God used his servant Nebuchadnezzar to teach the people of Judah the consequences of their sin. Nebuchadnezzar didn’t know that he was serving God; he didn’t realize that he was part of God’s plan; he didn’t understand that the God of his captives loved him until the end of his life.

When I studied the life and heart of Nebuchadnezzar in the first four chapters of the book of Daniel, I was struck at how much trouble God expended on Nebuchadnezzar’s behalf. God used Nebuchadnezzar as surely as he used Daniel, whether or not Nebuchadnezzar realized it. Even those who don’t honor or even acknowledge God are completely under God’s control. Daniel says, God “changes times and seasons; he sets up and deposes kings.” (Dan 2:21)

I am heartsick at the vitriol on both sides of this political campaign. I am desperately trying not to fear what I seeing happening in our country and pray daily for God’s mercy on us, not His judgment. I see the arrogant raving of all those seeking the office of president and see only rare evidence of a heart that seeks to honor God. I see people who praise themselves and denigrate those who oppose them. They declare that their presidency will save America from all that threatens us. But if I believe that God has all power, I have to acknowledge that He “sets up and deposes” presidents as well…even those who worship themselves, more than they worship God. They serve His purposes as surely as those of us who intentionally try to obey Him.

America will not be saved by any of these candidates. Our problems will not be solved by a new government program or a different leader or higher taxes or more regulation. Most likely, I will again be unable to vote “for” a candidate; I will just vote against the one with whom I disagree most. But God is in control no matter who occupies the Oval Office. November will come and this election will resolve itself. God may use the next four years to teach the people of America the consequences of their sin. He may use them to punish us or to bring us to repentance. God may use the next four years to teach those who take power that they serve Him, not themselves. He may even raise up a Daniel to speak for Him, to soften the heart of the one to whom He will raise up and give power in this country. Paul instructs Timothy to pray for all those in authority over him that he may live a life of godliness and holiness. (I Tim 2:1-2) If the people of American pray for a tender, contrite heart in the leader God gives us, we may become the Daniel God uses in our generation.

Rom 13:1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

ignorance

Perhaps the biggest threat to the future of America is the ignorance its voters. Late night TV entertains its viewers with interviews demonstrating how little the average person knows about government policy and current events. For some reason, people feel that what they want to believe must be true. They are more interested in their opinions than in facts, and they make no effort to support their opinions with facts; sound bites are good enough, even when they don’t mean anything.

I wonder how many who blindly support a party or a candidate actually know the difference between a flat tax, a VAT tax, and a graduated tax system. I wonder what their definition of “Wall Street” is or if they have any understanding of the impact of trillions of dollars of debt on the future of our country. Do people actually believe that health care or a college education can be free? For those who support the nuclear deal with Iran, exactly how does it prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon? For those who oppose Hillary, what exactly does the FBI say she has done that is illegal? What is the difference between a US citizen and what critics of Ted Cruz say should eliminate him from running for president? Since when is being young a liability or being rich a sign of competence? What evidence is there now that our allies trust us or that our enemies negotiate with us with respect? When those who support the repatriation of Syrian immigrants promise to do background checks, what exactly will they do and how will they do it? What exactly is socialism, and how is it different from progressivism? What has been the outcome of socialist governments in the past, and how might that be good for America? What exactly would be the financial implications of abandoning US dependence on foreign oil or the cutting our carbon emissions? Does increasing the minimum wage mean that small business owners will cut their own pay or that their product will cost the public more? How will your candidate change what has been done into something better?

Good intentions get lost in the reality of implementing change. As long as the American people make minimal effort to educate themselves about the issues at hand, the winners of our elections and the leaders of our future will be those who have witty comebacks and catchy slogans, those who look good on the evening news, those who tell us what we want to hear. The success of a republic rests on the education and participation of its voters. Hope for our future and change for the better will not come from those who refuse to hold our leaders accountable or from leaders who are dedicated to protecting their own power, rather than serving the American people.

God held the ancient Hebrews accountable when they allowed their corrupt leaders to defile their culture. I can’t imagine American will be any different. If we subjugate God to our own ends, if we serve ourselves rather than obey God, I suspect God will allow us to see what it’s like to face our enemies on our own strength. I pray every day for the people and leaders of our country, and ask God, in his mercy, to send us citizens and leaders that will lead us to repentance and obedience.