The elephant and donkey in the room.

I’ve spent the last two weeks watching the RNC and the DNC. My head is spinning. I’ve listened to so much rhetoric and heard so many promises, it’s hard to keep it all straight. I’ve heard so much slander and name calling, I feel like I should be offended. I’ve been informed of so many strategies and solutions for all the world’s problems, I feel like I should wake up tomorrow in utopia.

We have so much hanging on this election. So much rides on who is voted into office. The economy. The environment. Immigration. Energy. Healthcare. Unemployment. Social injustices. Education. National security. The stability of the United States. World peace. The future of life as we know it.

That’s a lot to rest on one person’s shoulders. The expectation of the resolution of every problem to the satisfaction of every citizen. The expectation that the elected person would never disappoint and will always come through. The expectation that this person will continually give strong, courageous, compassionate, decisive, wise leadership. The expectation is that their leadership will make us feel secure, safe, stable and hopeful. The expectation is that when their term has ended, we will all be satisfied with the condition and status of America and be optimistic about the future of the nation, and in turn of our personal lives.

Do we realize what we are asking? NO ONE could ever fill those shoes. NO ONE could ever do all the things we are asking this elected person to do. NO ONE could ever meet those expectations. Not even a team of the best of the best strategist, thinkers and leaders.

And I think, that is our problem. We are looking for humans to do what is humanly impossible. We are looking for humans to set the world right. We are looking for societal perfection and harmony here on earth. And this is just not possible.

How do I know? Because if it were possible, it would already be done. The world has had its fair share of brilliant, intelligent, creative, forward thinking leaders who were full of ingenuity, compassion and charisma. Many of them have instituted reform and brought change. But no one has lead us to this utopian society we’re all looking for. No one has provided the answer to every problem and workable solutions for every dilemma. No one has brought us long term security and stability. No one has given us sustainable hope. No one has given us peace in any one nation – much less in all the earth.

No one could do this. Except Jesus.

Jesus is the only Ruler who can resolve all our issues and bring true reform to every broken system we have. He is the only one able to bring us security, stability and peace. He is the only one able to do this with justice. We know this because Isaiah 9: 6-8 (NLT) tells us: For a child is born to us, a Son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

Our hope should be anchored in this promise. Our confidence should be placed in the never failing counsel of Jesus who rules in perfect fairness and justice and brings perpetual, sustainable peace. Under His rule, there will be no injustice and no war. There will be no poverty, no sickness and no one is left behind, left out or excluded. I know all this sounds too good to be true, like pie-in-the-sky and fairy tales. But this is Abba’s promise to us, and He will make it happen. He is more than powerful enough to bring this to pass and Jesus is everything needed to accomplish this monumental task. And, those in a relationship with Him will live to experience His magnificent reign.

I’m not saying that we should not prayerfully choose a candidate. I am not saying that we should abandon our system of government. I am not saying that our system doesn’t need reform. Until Jesus brings all this to pass, we still have a responsibility to occupy and govern our society with justice and compassion. We still have the responsibility to care for the planet, each other and the future until Jesus returns.

What I am saying is that our hope can NOT rest in any of this. The government, political system or a human cannot do or give what we really need. We cannot rely on any human to give us what only Jesus can give. We cannot depend on any system to supply what only Jesus can provide. We cannot count on government to be our provider. Systems and government will fail us because they are driven, fueled and lead by humanity. And we are woefully flawed.

David says it like this in Psalm 20:7 (NCV) Some trust in chariots, others in horses, but we trust the LORD our God.

As Believers and followers of Jesus, this should be our anthem, too. Some trust in government. Some trust in the system. Some trust in politicians and leaders. Some trust in promises made by men. But, we – the followers of Jesus – will trust in our God, the Master and Ruler of the universe.

I encourage you, don’t place your hope in government. Don’t put your hope in the political system. Don’t hope in humans and the promises they make. Don’t depend of them to make your life better. Don’t count on them to make a better future for your children. Place all your trust in God, listen to His voice and follow His direction. If we’ll do this, He will take care of us, provide for us and sustain us. We’ll live in peace, security and stability – even before His eternal reign begins.

ps ~ Vote. Exercise your right, freedom and privilege. And if we’ll allow Holy Spirit to guide our choices in the voting booth, we cannot go wrong.

July 26, 2016

tuesday text

Thought to share: MY Name is Immanuel, meaning “God with us”. I reveal this Name to you so that you would know I AM with you. You are not alone. I AM your constant companion. I AM closer to you than a brother. I AM your steadfast friend. I will never leave you. This is MY promise to you.

Matthew 1:23 (NLT) “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”
Isaiah 41:10 (NLT) Don’t be afraid, for I am with you…….
Hebrews 13:5 (NLT) …..For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”

July 19, 2016

tuesday text

Thought to share: your actions do not affect MY feelings. Regardless of what you do, say or think – MY love for you does not change. MY love is not based on your track record or performance. MY love is not contingent upon your behavior. MY love for you is based upon MY character. I AM love. I AM faithful. I never change. I will always love you perfectly, flawlessly, completely. Trust in and rest and be secure in this Truth.

Romans 5:8 (NLT) But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
1John 4:16 (NLT) We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 

July 12, 2016

tuesday text

Thought to consider: Worry is looking at situations from the wrong perspective. When you worry, you are choosing to look at things from the negative perspective. You’re considering what-ifs and adverse possibilities. You are exploring a life without ME and MY provision. And as you worry, you are establishing ruts of dark and harmful thinking. Instead, choose to look at your situations through Truth. Consider them in light of MY promises. View everything as an opportunity for ME to display MY goodness, faithfulness and love in your life. You are exploring a life where I AM your source. As you do this, you are walking the path of hope, joy and freedom.

Luke 12:22-26 (NLT) Then, turning to His disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to Him than any birds! Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?
Romans 15:13 (NLT) I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

July 5, 2016

tuesday text

Thought to share: I AM the LORD and I have no equal. You cannot imagine the greatness of MY power. I measured off the heavens with MY fingers. I direct the movement of the stars. I laid the foundations of the earth and MY words hold it all together. I hold the oceans in MY hand.  I AM greater than you understand. Nothing is difficult for ME, not even the impossibilities in your life.

Job 37:5 (NLT) God’s voice is glorious in the thunder. We can’t even imagine the greatness of His power.
Isaiah 40:12 (NLT) Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?
Job 38:4-7 (NLT) Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
Colossians 1:17 (NLT) He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together.
Job 38: 31-33 (NLT) Can you direct the movement of the stars— binding the cluster of the Pleiades or loosening the cords of Orion? Can you direct the constellations through the seasons or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens? Do you know the laws of the universe? Can you use them to regulate the earth?
Jeremiah 32:17 (NLT) O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!

Lessons from Flight 892

Bill and I were recently on a flight headed home to Detroit when a woman seated a few rows behind us declared she wanted off the plane just as we were about to take-off. And, by take-off, I mean we’d left the gate and were taxing down the runway at a pretty good clip. All the safety instructions had been given, cell phones set to airplane mode, passengers settled in for a routine trip, and flight attendants seated and buckled in for take-off.

As we scooted down the runway, this woman stood. A flight attendant asked her to be seated and buckled, but she calmly declared she had an emergency and wanted off the plane. As one flight attendant notified the captain, another tried to persuade her to be seated and continue with the flight. She would not be seated. She remained standing and repeated calmly that she wanted off the plane.

The plane quickly slowed down and came to a halt. Now other passengers were aware of the situation. As the woman continued to stand and quietly repeat she wanted off the plane, moans could be heard from other passengers. Frustrated comments about being late or missing connections swirled all around. Cries of disbelief could be heard. Some brazenly criticized her loud enough to be heard. Others shouted offers of Xanax. The flight attendants were obviously annoyed. Tempers flared as a warm plane grew hot sitting on a steamy Florida runway.

And, through it all, she did not budge. She had made up her mind and would not be swayed. She wanted off the plane, regardless of what anyone else had to say. She stood ram-rod straight as the plane turned around and headed back to the gate. And, as flight attendants escorted her off the plane, she held her head high.

As they opened the door to let her out, a flight attendant announced that we would have to wait for her luggage to be retrieved from the cargo hold. That generated heavy sighing and louder groans. Through it all, the woman did not flinch. No sideward glances. No last minute jabs. No haughty attitude.

It was at this point that I became thoroughly impressed. What guts. This woman was no coward. She had determined her course of action, she took that action and she stood her ground.

She did not allow the bold, glaring stares of the other passengers influence her. She didn’t let the jeers of the crowd intimidate her. She did not let the persuading speech of the flight attends persuade her. She did not let the thoughts or opinions of two hundred peers sway her. She was determined. Her mind was made up and nothing was going to keep her from getting off that plane. And most importantly; she was calm, kind and humble. That’s bravery.

This woman inspired me. I want to possess that type of bravery. The kind that stays the course when everyone else thinks I’m crazy. The kind needed to hang on to my convictions when everyone else doesn’t understand. The kind that is unmoved in the face of opposition. The kind that doesn’t topple from the pressure of my peers. (who are we kidding – yes, adults greatly suffer from peer pressure) The kind that advances forward with directions from Abba when nobody else hears what I’m hearing. Unwavering. Unshakeable. Resolute.

And I want to do it calmly. As I follow Jesus, I don’t want to create drama. I don’t want to be known as a “drama queen”. I don’t want to wear out people by constantly sucking them into a vortex of drama. But, as I live out my convictions, I am going to offend people. It’s not my intent, but when you carry Light into the darkness, feathers are going to be ruffled. Being calm in the face of adversity helps preserve relationships and keeps the drama factor to a bare minimum.  Ecclesiastes 10:4 (NCV) says Remaining calm solves great problems. That is wisdom!

I want to do it in kindness. Just because someone disagrees with me and the stance I take doesn’t mean I need to hurl insults or use the Bible as a weapon (the Bible is the weapon to use on the enemy – not people). Like this woman, I want to be firm and unmovable but display the fruit of kindness as I do it. Ephesians 4:31-32 (NCV) Do not be bitter or angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. ….. Be kind and loving to each other,…..

I want to do it humbly. I don’t want be prideful or arrogant as I live out my convictions. I don’t want to be haughty just because I am a daughter of the Creator and King of the universe. I never want my partnership with Abba to puff me up. I do not want to let selfishness or pride be [my] guide. Instead, [I want to] be humble and give more honor to others than to [myself]. Philippians 2:3 (NCV)

I’m so glad I was on flight 892. And it was worth landing late.