November 16, 2016
The recent election has illustrated the dramatic division in our nation. We are almost evenly divided political, but the depth of intensity on each side is monumental.
How am I, as a believer, to respond to the people around me, some of whom I am dramatically opposed to in terms of their political convictions?
As always, the Bible gives us all the instruction we need.
Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled. (Hebrews 12:14-15)
This is not a passive command. Pursue means to aggressively seek for, to run after. It demands effort on my part. To seek peace with others does not mean mere toleration, but intentionality and focus, driven by a greater purpose.
There are some that do not want peace. Paul speaks to this in Romans 12:18 reminding us: ""If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men."" Peaceful relationships should never be hindered with another because of me.
In the midst of difficulty, keep seeking the holy, godly response. Let your intent through times of relational strain be to become as much like Christ as possible. This can only be done by reliance upon the Spirit of God who lives within you, if you are a follower of Christ. Let it be a season of spiritual advance, not a slide into relational frustration and rancor. And, become the one in the room that is the conduit for the fruit of God’s Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, etc.
God always has grace for the moment. Grace is that Divine dynamic that gives us the desire and power to do what He intends. If we resist the grace of God, we will respond in pride in moments of relational tension and become bitter. An acidic spirit grows in our hearts that refuses to accept the circumstances and people around us as tools in God's hand to make us more like Christ, and an opportunity for witness to the reality of Christ.
Bitterness has horrific results. It always springs up, (you can't stop it), always causes trouble, and always defiles many, (poisons others around us). You simply don't want to go there. It is a place where many live to their detriment. Wouldn’t it be tragic if something like a simple, political election caused a bitter spirit to grow in you which could keep you in bondage the rest of your life?
Those around you are not objects, but people. They have a history that has shaped them and a purpose from God that can direct them. You are God's ambassador to bring them what they cannot find or see anywhere else … and to bring that wrapped in the warmth of love.
Some may see these days as a horrible time. But, for a follower of Jesus, it is an opportune time to let a life of grace and truth shine, pointing others to the One-who-can-change-everything. We must rise above, without compromising any Biblical conviction, and seize the moment for the gracious entrance of Christ into our relationships with everyone around us!
August 11, 2022
Americans are world-class eaters. Some estimates are that the annual expenditure in the United States for all food is $1.1 trillion. We love to eat and go to extraordinary means to consume what we want. Eating provides the nutrition to live, but it’s also a means of satisfaction on a daily basis.
What we don’t realize is that there is a food group we’re missing that is the source of not only the greatest nutritional value but the highest joy. It’s estimated that less than 10% of Americans eat this food daily, even though it’s readily available.
August 10, 2022
We know whether something is valuable or worthless by comparison. A shiny, new car may look fabulous, but it is worthless if it has no engine. The ugliest car with a working machine is far more valuable for the need.
Everyone follows a god. You can pursue the gods of this world (power, pleasure, possessions) or the Lord God Jehovah. But it’s essential to do a proper evaluation.
August 08, 2022
Last Christmas, our kids gave us a gift called “Storyworth.” Every Monday, Holly and I receive a question about our lives. Apparently, these are collected in a book at the end of the year.
Today’s question was, “What’s your best relational advice?” As I looked at this question for a long time, I knew it was a call to do some needed work on my closest relationships. Multiple thoughts ran through my mind. They were convicting because I have fallen so far short of these truths. But they are true nonetheless.