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November 2016

ASK THE LORD TO GUIDE AMERICA

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“Where there is no vision, the people perish….” “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint….” “When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild.” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV, NKJ, NLT)

My last column, published about two weeks before our national elections, declared that “Jesus is the Lord of America”. This column, published about two weeks after those elections, urges Christians to take advantage of that truth. Ask the Lord of America to guide America.

Donald Trump, a celebrity billionaire real estate developer, will be our next President. He will begin his term with a cooperative Republican Congress. Opinions vary widely on how this happened.

Many political pundits say it was, as always, about the economy, coupled with an attitude of rebellion toward “business as usual”. Some Democratic leaders blamed it on the FBI director’s handling of the private e-mail server controversy. Others suggested the Russians tipped the scales by releasing hacked Democratic staff emails through WikiLeaks.

I believe our November 8 election results were God’s answer to a united Christian prayer effort led, in part, by Franklin Graham’s “Decision America Tour”.

Please understand. The prayer tour did not propose any individual candidate, and overall, this united prayer movement included both Christians who supported Donald Trump and those (including me) who were deeply concerned about his character, temperament and history.

The prayer movement was about party platforms, not candidates, and in opposition to a Democratic agenda that would: (1) increase the number of abortions in our nation; (2) eliminate the biological distinction between “male” and “female” that has existed since God created mankind, male and female, in His image; and (3) appoint “progressive” justices to the Supreme Court who would rewrite, rather than honor, our U.S. Constitution.

I have dear Christian friends, black and white, who supported Democratic candidates, and I respect some of the reasons they did so. But the Democratic “transgender” agenda would allow adults who are biologically male to use the same restroom as my granddaughter. It would allow boys who are biologically male to join her gym class and compete on her girl’s track team. That is cultural insanity.

Our Constitution is our nation’s foundational document. To protect the stability of this foundation, a constitutional amendment requires legislative ratification by 75% of our fifty states. Wonderful constitutional amendments since 1789 have been done the right way, including the abolishment of slavery (13th), the right to vote regardless of race (15th) and the right of women to vote (19th).

Regardless of your personal stance on gay marriage, the Supreme Court ruling that made it “the law of the land” in 2015 involved five unelected political appointees who effectively amended our Constitution on their own. If they can do it on one issue, they will do it on other issues – a violation of our government’s separation of powers that equates to constitutional insanity.
As a result of God’s answer to concerted prayer, we will now have justices appointed to our Supreme Court who understand their role. We will also see a revocation of President Obama’s invasive executive orders on transgender rights. But while this is a step in the right direction, it is only a step.
President-elect Trump is, in my opinion, a “wild card”. He has no governmental background, nationally or internationally. He is neither strongly conservative nor liberal. Yes, he loves the limelight, but he also loves to achieve. How well or poorly he leads our nation will, in a nutshell, depend on whose advice and counsel he hears and what guidance he accepts.
Proverbs 29:18 says that without divine revelation and guidance, the people will “perish”, “cast off restraint” or “run wild”. In other words, without divine guidance, we run helter-skelter down the broad path of destruction. (Matthew 7:13-14)

This is why the Lord commands us, “first and foremost”, to pray for those in authority over us. (1 Timothy 2:1-2) Our prayers can be used by the Lord to provide President-elect Trump and our other national, state and local leaders with the divine guidance they so desperately need. They can receive discernment as to whether the advice from all those people around them is good or bad. They can receive the wisdom to make good decisions that provide fair and effective solutions to our problems. (James 1:5)
November 8 demonstrates that concerted, united prayer works, but if we stop praying, it stops working. We have been woefully unfaithful in praying for past Presidents. We cannot afford to make that mistake again.

Finally, as emphasized last month, the biblically grounded, Jesus-loving, people-loving Christians of America must come together in this hour – black, brown and white – not just for prayer, but for listening, fellowship and godly, united purpose. For far too long, we have been politically divided as believers and politically yoked to unbelievers, including some anti-Christian groups on the far left and some lingering racist groups on the far right. (2 Corinthians 6:14)

Donald Trump has demonstrated high respect for the Christian leadership of our nation, both black and white. Post-election, he has expressed an interest in repairing both our national security and our inner cities, and in addressing the interests of all Americans. He has selected a devout Christian to be his Vice-President and the leader of his transition team. If we work together, we can have the President’s ear as well as the all-important ear of the Lord.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, what I propose is something we have sung together for almost one hundred years. “God bless America, land that [we] love. Stand beside her and guide her though the night with a light from above.”

Let’s begin singing it every day.

JESUS IS THE LORD OF AMERICA

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“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me’.” (Matthew 28:18)

“Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.” (Psalm 37:3-5)

Scripture tells us that in the last days, there will be times of difficulty. (2 Timothy 3:1) This national election year of 2016 has been such a time in America, particularly for biblically grounded, Jesus-loving, people-loving Christians. Polarization, rancor, deception, and vitriolic, fear-inducing language are not our “cup of tea”.

In less than two weeks, the elections will be over, praise God! But tragically, the times of difficulty will not be over. To the contrary, the polarization and rancor will, regardless of the election outcomes, only get worse unless somebody does something to change how our diverse American people feel about and interact with one another.
This change will not be led by the present leadership of either political party. Their fundamental tactic for obtaining and retaining power is to promote fear and distrust.
The leadership for this positive change can only come from the Body of Christ.

In order to develop successful strategies for this change, we must as Christians be willing to learn from our mistakes. Some of those “lessons learned” will not be available until after the November 8 elections because at present, outcomes are uncertain, our judgment is still clouded and our focus is too narrow.

There is, however, one lesson that I believe we all need to learn (or re-learn) today, in advance of November 8. Jesus is the Lord of America!
Jesus is the Lord of America despite the sin and darkness that we see around us. Jesus is
the Lord of America despite the increasing number of Americans who do not believe in Him. Jesus is the Lord of America despite the many Americans who profess belief but do little to obey God’s Word. Jesus is the Lord of America despite President Obama’s statement that we are no longer just a Christian nation.

My friends, Jesus is the Lord of America because He is the Lord! After His resurrection victory over sin and death, Jesus was given all authority in heaven and on earth by His heavenly Father, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. (Matthew 28:18) Jesus is the Lord of our nation and all nations, “the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords”. (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14, 19:16

Jesus is not like the fairy Tinkerbell in “Peter Pan”, who began to fade away when children stopped believing in her. He does not fall off His throne when people fail to acknowledge or submit to His lordship. (Psalm 2) And despite the fears expressed by many Christians on both sides of the present presidential contest, He will not fall off His throne when either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump becomes President.

Sin and unbelief have serious adverse consequences for a nation. (Proverbs 14:34) I grieve over our nation’s confusion about the sanctity of life, marriage, sexuality, racism, respect for law enforcement, religious freedom, the love of money and fame. But my grief does not give birth to despair. Instead, it intensifies my desire, like David in Psalm 37, to trust in the Lord of America and commit my ways to His Way.

The Lord’s Way calls for us to pray daily for all our governmental leaders – those we voted for and those we voted against. (1 Timothy 2:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17) We may even change a Saul into a Paul.

The Lord’s Way calls for us to bless and not curse. (James 3:10-11; Luke 6:27-27) Blessing does not mean we agree with what is wrong. Blessing opens the door for our leaders to receive God’s wisdom and be protected from the enemy’s deceptions. When you curse a President, you curse the nation. When you vow to cause a presidency to fail, as some politicians in both parties have done, you move the nation toward failure.

The Lord’s Way calls for us to seek the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-6) The biblically grounded, Jesus-loving, people-loving Christians of America need to get together – white, black and brown; young and old; male and female; without regard to political party affiliation. We must love one another, listen to each other and work together under the Lord’s leadership to address each other’s concerns, not just our own. (John 13:34; Philippians 2:4)

We must also stand together to show non-Christians that God loves them and we love them. (John 17:22-23) Truth must be spoken in love because faith works through love. (Ephesians 4:15; 1 John 3:18; Galatians 5:6) Without love, we are wasting our time. (1 Corinthians 13)

Finally, we must form our strategies and make our decisions in faith and love, not in fear and anger, which are simply footholds for the devil. (2 Timothy 1:7; Ephesians 4:26-32)
The most important election in American history will not be on November 8. It will be what Christians elect to do thereafter. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

God bless you, God bless our community, and God bless America.