The latest election is over and now we must live with the consequences of our choices. Some of the consequences will be good and others, not so much. Most of the pre-election coverage was on the presidential election, but we also voted for governors, mayors, and city councilmen.
We are impacted to a certain degree by the presidential election, but we are more personally impacted by the winners in the state and local races we have voted for. It is in these arenas that we must take a good hard look at what our votes did.
These democratically elected officials will either work for the common good or they will create an environment that most will find difficult to live in. For example, did we vote for city or county officials that will defund our police? That decision will make our city much less safe and we will be living in an Idiocracy.
“Idiocracy – government that is based on abstract theory. definition.org
Did we vote for district attorneys that will not require cash bail? Will the criminals be free to roam our streets? Will the shoplifters return to loot and pillage small businesses within ten dollars of the amount required for a felony? Again, we will live in an Idiocracy.
Did we vote in city and county officials that will not properly deal with the homeless problem? Will they allow the homeless to live on our sidewalks and not help them move to more humane conditions? Again, as we make our way past human waste on the way to work, we will know we are living in an Idiocracy.
We can complain all we want but in the end, the choice is ours and we have no one to blame but ourselves when we have poor leadership. So now what do we do if we are stuck with poor leadership and living in an Idiocracy for the next two or four years?
We must pay close attention to the decisions our local officials are making and refuse to vote them in again. It does not matter which party they represent, we must not continue to vote in poor leadership that will not look out for the common good. Democracy or Idiocracy? It’s easy to tell the difference.
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.” Proverbs 29:2
When you think about your past, how does it make you feel? Recently, I heard David Jeremiah say that our past should inform us. He was saying we should learn the lessons it has to teach us and move on.
My thought was, “That’s true, but the past usually conforms us.” Our successes, our failures, the culmination of all of our experiences conform our personality and identity into a certain shape. We view ourselves a certain way and the world views us a certain way and it solidifies the conformation. “Conformation – the act of conforming or producing conformity.” Merriam Webster.
But our past and our experiences are not the only forces that are trying to conform us into a mold. We have all felt the pressure to fit in, to conform, to be like everyone else. Those forces want to tell us how we should view ourselves, what our value is, and how we should think and feel.
Scripture calls these forces, “the world.” They are the totality of people, media, marketing and education that are trying to conform us into a predetermined shape. Make no mistake, these forces are real and without some real pushback we will end up spending our time trying to morph into a shape we were never intended to.
What should we do if we are tired of trying to fit into the mold the world has made for us? Is there an alternative? Fortunately, there is… we can be transformed. “Transformed – a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.” Oxford Dictionaries.
How does this transformation take place? Scripture tell us we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds. To be transformed we must make a concerted effort to spend time in God’s word. It will begin to change the way we view the world and how we view ourselves. We will learn the truth, the real truth about our identity and value. We will learn to appreciate our individuality and move away from the conformity of the world. Bit by bit, slowly but surely, we will be transformed into the person God created us to be.
Informed, Conformed or Transformed…we have a choice.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12: 2
“Coin of the Realm” is an 18th Century phrase that relates to what currency is used in a particular country. As anyone knows who travels from country to country, you must change your currency depending on which country you are in. In America, we use the dollar; go to Mexico, it is the peso… you know the drift.
Also, depending on which country you are in, there are different denominations based on that currency. In America, we have the one dollar bill, the five dollar bill, the twenty, fifty, one hundred, the thousand and up it goes.
The same is true for the Kingdom of God. It has its own currency. Those who are Citizens of the Kingdom know it and use the currency regularly. This currency is legal tender for all transactions within the Kingdom. There are different denominations of course, and different uses for each.
To name a few:
Faith – “And without faith it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11: 6
Love – “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
Obedience – “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.” 1 Samuel 15: 22
Mercy – “Blessed are the merciful for they shall be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7
Holiness – “and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14
These are just some of the denominations used within the Kingdom but there are others such as: Righteousness, Peace, Hope, and Faithfulness. All are valid currency within the Kingdom.
Some of the currency is used in person to person transactions as in the case of Love and Mercy. But other denominations are used in our transactions with the King, such as Faith and Obedience. Still others sit in our account and are evidence of our Citizenship in the Kingdom.
So the questions we ask ourselves today are, “How are we set with the Coin of the Realm? Are we rich or impoverished? Do we need to build our account up in any area?”
If the answer is yes to the last question, we need only to check with the King and talk to Him. We can also look in His Guidebook and find out about the Coin of the Realm. When it is our time to stand before the King, we don’t want to have a negative balance in our account!
As everyone knows, we have a Presidential election coming up in a few days. At this point in time, we are hearing dire predictions from pundits on both sides of the political spectrum about what will happen if the candidate on the other side wins.
Not wanting you to think I am naive, I want you to know that I do think that this is an important election. Perhaps it is the most important election of our lifetime. However, when I hear that people are anxious, that they are not sleeping, that they are pinning their hope on one or the other politician; I want to say, “God help us.”
If we are placing our hope on a politician, let us remember that no matter who that politician is, he is still a man. Let me repeat that, the politician is still a man. That means he is just as frail, flawed and finite as we are.
By all means, vote. But then step back, take a few deep breaths and relax. Let us remember that God, the Maker of heaven and earth, is on the throne. He is still “the Blessed Controller of all things,” the One “who puts up one king and takes down another.”
No matter who wins, let us put our hope in God. He will take care of each and every one of us if we let Him. Let us pray for whoever our leader will be. After all, that person will surely need it. Because as I said previously, that person will be a man who is just as frail, flawed and finite as we are.
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, and intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all those in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” 1 Timothy 2: 1-2
Zeitgeist is a word that you don’t hear much anymore. It is from the German and it means “the spirit of the age.” When I think of “the spirit of the age,” I think of what is the driving force behind the people. Prior to 2020, I would have said the zeitgeist was “Self-indulgence” and I would have chosen a handsome man for my image. Self-indulgence would have included materialism, sex, alcohol, drugs, pornography, etc. You know, anything that people are indulging in to give themselves pleasure.
Not so with 2020. Looking back, I believe the zeitgeist is “Lawlessness.” In every country, lawlessness is on the rise. In our own country, people routinely break the law and there is little or no repercussions for it. The lawmakers have purposely taken the teeth out of the law and have given the advantage to the criminal instead of the victim.
In California, stealing anything less than $950.00 worth of goods is not a felony. Hence, people walk into stores with calculators and feel free to take goods right below the limit. If the police are called, the offenders are given a citation. ln most cases, they are not even arrested and taken to jail. They are free to do the same thing the next day if they choose.
Lawlessness, it is everywhere and in every country. Sometimes it is not so blatant, but many times the authorities are aware of it and just turn a blind eye to it. If the offenders fall into certain categories, they are not arrested because it would not be politically correct. What is driving this lawlessness? It is being driven by the zeitgeist of this age. You cannot see it but its effects are everywhere.
“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.” 2 Thessalonians 2: 6-7
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” 1 Cor. 9:24
We all know that there are several events in sports in which an athlete must stay in his or her lane in order to win the race. If they get out of their lane, they are disqualified. Staying in your lane is a requirement of the race and an athlete must train so that he or she learns to compete within the specific parameters of the lane. It is the same way in the Christian life.
We must all learn to stay in our own lane. We have all been given different gifts and talents and each of us has an individual call on our lives. One of the most fundamental aspects of our call is that we learn to do what we are supposed to and not have our eyes on someone else’s race and what they are doing. Our own race may not be as exciting or attention grabbing as someone else’s race. It must not matter to us. In order to be successful, we must learn to be content with the race we are called to run.
We also must learn to say no to those things that will distract us from completing our race. There are many “good” things that want to take us out of our own lane and keep us from doing what we are called to do. It takes discernment and intentionality in order to be able to focus on our own race and say “no” to the temptations that want to get us out of our own lane and disqualify us.
How can we learn to run our own race and keep from becoming distracted and getting out of our own lane? The answer is simple: we must always keep our eyes on the goal, i.e. Christ. If we keep our eyes on Christ and off of other people and what they are doing, we will finish our own race and receive the crown that is set before us.
Last week, when I heard the politicians debate, it felt like I was living in ancient Rome. Many times, the emperors tried to get power or stay in power by appealing to the masses. “The State will give you free bread and wine. There will be free gladiatorial games in the arena.”
In this latest debate I heard, “We will end cash bail. We will get rid of private prisons. We will defund the police.” When you appeal to those who are breaking the law to help get you into power, you will invariably need to rely on them to keep you there.
We should be aware that there is a historical precedent here.
“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 will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
This weekend, there were two prayer events held in Washington D.C. Both were livestreamed across the nation and the world. For those of us who participated in them, either by being there in person or on the web, we heard several speakers and of course, 2 Chronicles 7:14 was mentioned a lot. Both were powerful prayer events… but now what? Do we just continue on with our lives, business as usual and expect God to act?
Let’s see what those words mean to us who want to see our land healed:
“IF MY PEOPLE WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME”
The Lord is talking to us, His people, the people of the Book. He’s not talking to those who don’t believe, they are not under the same mandate.
“WILL HUMBLE THEMSELVES”
That may involve fasting, getting down on our knees, and acknowledging our need for God.
We talk to the Lord in our own words.
“AND SEEK MY FACE”
Spend time in His word, seek His will, His ways.
“AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS”
We actually have to do something. We must examine our lives and get the dirt and filth out of it. We Must Change Our Behavior.
“THEN I WILL HEAR FROM HEAVEN”
God will actually listen to us.
“AND WILL FORGIVE THEIR SIN”
He will make us clean again.
“AND HEAL THEIR LAND”
That is what we are praying for. An end to strife, division, Covid, economic disaster, corrupt politicians…etc.
If we want Him to do His part, we must first do ours…and not just on one day!
Have you ever seen anyone walking along train tracks? You know that danger can come along from either direction. You want to yell at the person as you walk by, “Get off the line!”
The same is true for ourselves. We each have lines that we know we should not cross. But sometimes, we like to get as close to the line as we can, maybe even walk on it for a ways. Those that are watching us want to yell at us, “Get off the line!”
Sometimes those lines are obvious to everyone. Maybe, the line of “Do not commit adultery.” We begin to spend time with someone who is not our mate. It seems so innocent at first, but then we like it, we may even prefer to spend time with that person more than we like spending time with our mate! We are walking a line and danger inevitably lies ahead. But just like the person walking on the train tracks, we cannot see it coming.
Other times, the lines are not so obvious. As believers, we each have different lines we know we should not cross. For some, it may be, “Do not drink alcohol.” For many, it may be, “Do not watch R rated movies.” There are all kinds of lines we know we should not cross.
Whatever the line is, the most dangerous place to be is walking on that line. We think we are so safe, but we are not. We are putting ourselves and our spiritual health at great risk. If we are walking on one of those lines, we need to get off, and fast!
Once we are off, we need to get as far away from that line as possible. Yes, we need to get to a safe place. Break off that relationship and walk away. Dump the alcohol down the drain. Put controls on our Netflix subscription. You know, take action and move away from that line.
Are you walking on any lines? Are you close to a line? Do you need to take action and move away from that line? Only you know, but for all our sakes, “Let’s get off those lines!”
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22