A Divine Reset?

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Some Thoughts for the Palmwood Church Family

This year has been unlike anything we've ever experienced before. A pandemic. Politics. A run on toilet paper. Politics. Riots. Politics. A booming economy that crashed overnight. Politics. Masks and hand sanitizer. Politics. Tens of millions of people lost their jobs. Politics. Violence in our cities. Politics. And then there was the politics.  All through this time I've had a growing concern that some Christians in America were becoming more and more distracted from their prime directive. I'd mention it to people and they'd be quick to assure me that I was wrong. Turns out, I wasn't.

While I have my own thoughts about the state of American politics and the current election (which, as I write this, is still undecided), the Lord and I have had an ongoing conversation this year that has kept me sane. He and he alone is the answer to every single issue we face in our country, and in humanity more broadly. And he's reminded me of that often.

I've watched as many people I love have fallen prey to the politics -- vehemently taking one side or the other. Many of these loved ones are Christians -- and not just in label only. They each have well-articulated reasons why they passionately support either red or blue (and just a few were more purple in color). I could tell you the reasons for my own support of a certain candidate; but, that's not the point. The point is that otherwise solid followers of Jesus have been slowly, insidiously and I think unwittingly distracted into putting their faith into a politician, a party or a certain platform. I have watched as some have seemed to demonstrate (most rather publicly) that their allegiance to a certain "hero" was more passionate and more profound than their allegiance to Jesus. And when I've pointed it out in some personal conversations, they have become defensive rather than taking a self-assessment.

I'm part of a men's bible study that worked through the 10 Commandments this year. The lesson on the first command has stuck with me for months: "I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. You must not have any other god but me." (Exodus 20:1-2, NLT) The second command is just as strong about idols. What is an idol? A false god? It is anyTHING or anyONE who is awarded more priority or more passion than God in our lives. An idol is something we think about more than we think about God. An idol is something we read about more than we read about God. An idol is something we talk about (or post on social media about) more than God. An idol is something we are consumed with (perhaps in the form of worry?) more than we are with God. In short, a false god or idol is something to which we are more devoted than we are to God. I fear way too many have trusted more in political outcomes this year (and probably in previous years) than in the Most High God of heaven. And the current level of despondency over the likely election results in the US shows me these folks don't trust that God already has a good plan for a good, kingdom outcome regardless of who wins the White House, how many of each party are in congress, or who is appointed to the Supreme Court. God is either in charge or he's not. Which is it?

It's okay to be disappointed if your candidate(s) did not win the election. That's normal. But beyond our good civic duty as citizens of the United States of America, are our covenant duties as citizens of heaven. Jesus is the King of kings. In modern terminology, that means he's the "President of presidents." It is Jesus that deserves our full devotion. It it Jesus' "platform" into which we should put our time and energy. And no leader, election or platform of any earthly power should ever garner as much devotion as these. I can't help but wonder if this election -- regardless of the outcome -- isn't God's way of pushing a "Divine Reset Button" among Christ-followers in the United States? Perhaps he's allowed our circumstances to rock our world in order for us to be shaken from our unwitting distraction back into full devotion to Jesus and the Immanuel agenda?

Let me close with some questions for you to prayerfully ponder over the next few days or weeks...

  • Could God be doing something you don't understand to reach people that were previously hard of heart? Are you okay with that?
  • Do you trust God? (Don't blow past that question!) Do you trust him enough that, no matter what he orchestrates, you're okay with his intended outcome?
  • Will you take all the time, energy, thought and communication (talking and social media) you have devoted to other things and now fully invest all that into the King's agenda and mission?
  • Who is currently spending time with you in the scriptures and on mission so that you continue to grow toward greater maturity and fruitfulness in Christ? If you struggle to answer that question, will you find someone this week and begin such a relationship?
  • Into whom are you currently investing time in the scriptures and on mission so that they grow toward greater maturity and fruitfulness in Christ? And if you cannot now name anyone you are discipling, will you prayerfully find two or three to begin such a relationship?

Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.

If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.

You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.

13 But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” 14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.

16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (2 Co 4:1–18). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.



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