I stumbled upon a video the other day of something I have never seen before. It appears to be just one musician in a public square, playing for a little girl who places a coin in his hat. He begins to play Beethoven’s Ode to Joy and what happens in the next few minutes is beautiful. I won’t spoil it for you, except to say it reminds me a bit of what Heaven is like. The Christian hymn Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee, written by Henry Van Dyke, is set to the music from Ode to Joy. I couldn’t help but think of those words during this video. Think of it, one day thousands upon thousands of Christians will lift up our voices in song to praise our Heavenly Father. Heaven is not at all boring contrary to the lies we’ve been sold in our culture. We won’t be sitting on marshmallow clouds plucking harps, yawning away the day. Heaven is one big adventure without sin entangling us. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden, we too will enjoy sweet, unhindered fellowship with our Creator. I believe we will get to explore the new Heaven and new Earth, just as our first parents had free reign over God’s Creation except of the one tree. But I digress…
Even though this video is an orchestrated ad for a Spanish banking company, I was moved to tears nonetheless.
June 24, 2022 was a day for celebration when Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court. America has celebrated her independence as a nation every year on July 4th since 1776. Yet there are American Christians today acknowledging these landmark occasions with a tepid response. Ever since Donald Trump entered the White House, a group of academic theologians (along with mainstream media) formed a vocal stand against his presidency. His moral failings were too visible, his charisma rating too low. This man was hated by the hard left, a source of embarrassment to many on the right. And yet God saw fit to use this former tv reality star, a loose canon, to enforce moral law, or at the very least stand with morality. When do you remember another president attending a pro-life rally? Well, Trump was the first president to do so. God then providentially gives this same man the power to appoint three Supreme Court Justices over his four year term. Those justices went on to overrule the legality of abortion on the federal government level, thereby abolishing Roe v. Wade.
Christians should have united together in celebration after the last few years of intense cracked fault lines in the Church. We have not seen eye to eye on Critical Race Theory, Covid mandates or what to do about the Southern Baptist Convention. But this- the ending of free reign on child murder, the thousands of people who have fought and prayed for decades, for voters to finally decide and not a heavy-handed government interpreting what existence is through bogus arguments- abortion is finally receding into the shadows and where was the party?
Twitter did not blow up with shouts of praise that fateful June day, at least not from the cultural Christian elites. Some churches did not even publicly praise God for His mercy on the unborn generations. If anything, there was an obligatory whisper of thanksgiving sandwiched somewhere in the prayer of general blessings. We have prayed more for the war on Ukraine from the pulpit than praised God for this victory in ending the war against unborn children in our own country.
The connection between the lukewarm celebrations in the overturn of Roe v. Wade and Independence Day is stemmed I believe, from ungrateful hearts. “Christian nationalism” is used as a slur toward Christians who openly thank God for the blessings on America. This does not mean we worship our country and replace God’s rightful authority, nor does it mean patriotic believers are looking for a political Messiah. But the spirit of the age is to hate all America stands for, which happens to be rooted in Biblical morals, and reconstruct it with anti-Biblical policies. Even some Christians are drinking the kool-aid. At the very least we are embarrassed by our citizenship. Yes, there are stains of sin in America’s history just like every other nation. America has never been so self-righteous as to not acknowledge this. Quite the opposite, as many Americans have sought to abolish, rectify and heal the wrongs done specifically with slavery and racial injustices of the past. Yet some loud voices of today would have us move backward in history to carry guilt we are not culpable for, and create disunity from a false reality in 2022.
We who live in America have a lot to be thankful for. I have personally never known anything but a free country. I can go to the grocery store and see stocked shelves, buy whatever I need or want. You and I can attend church without fear of imprisonment or losing our lives. We can speak freely in the public square. We have the privilege to vote for leaders we think are best suited for the job. We have enjoyed decades of peacetime on American soil.
I believe these abundant blessings have caused us to not only love the gifts more than the Giver, but to expect them. Just as the Israelites were given responsibility to keep God’s commands when He gave them the land of Canaan, so we too have a responsibility to be good stewards with what God has given us. Israel rejected God’s authority, allowing idolatry into their worship. The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah speak in great length about God’s discipline toward wayward Israel and His mercy to bring them back. God is just and compassionate. I am not saying America is the new Israel but I do think there are lessons to be learned from the past. It is good to look at history to see how man repeats his errors and what God does to restore fellowship. Ultimately, God redeems rebel hearted sinners through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.
Let us not forget the Lord our God in this free land. The freedoms we enjoy are a blessing from God. We are to take these gifts with solemn responsibility and joy, not with a sense of entitlement and shame. May we repent of the sins of apathy and pride. God has seen fit to begin purging America of the evil of abortion- praise God! We have much to be thankful for in the United States. Let us not be ashamed of those blessings but rejoice. There is everything right and Christian in celebrating Independence Day. When Congress voted to approve the resolution for independence on July 2nd, 1776, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail,
The second day of July 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.
It wasn’t until two days later on July 4th when Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, the day we observe as a national holiday.
God has shed His grace on this country. He alone is to be praised on this day as we celebrate freedom as a nation. Do not rob God the praise which is due Him. He works through unlikely men and women to accomplish his purposes. Who are we to keep silent, refusing to acknowledge His hand of mercy and grace? Take John Adam’s advice and observe this day with gratitude over God Almighty’s blessings on America. My husband and I have taken this weekend to watch the John Adamsmini-series. It is well done and worth watching to remember God’s remarkable hand of providence in bringing about a nation which celebrates freedom and liberty. Praise God.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” -Edmund Burke
The other day I was in a coffee shop waiting by the bar for my tall vanilla flat white. The gentleman working behind the counter solo began quietly singing a spiritual song as he crafted my caffeine. I couldn’t place the song, but heard phrases like, “Come, Lord Jesus”, “Hallelujah”, and “Coming soon”. It was a wonderful moment of kinship to realize the barista and I (hopefully) share the same faith, family and Father. He handed me my coffee and I thanked him adding, “Hey I like your singin’ too!”
It got me thinking about how Christians live in our culture today. When the LGBTQ “community” wants to identify themselves with their sex life, they wear rainbow colored t-shirts and accessories, or dress in drag. You know where they stand. This is true of any group- wearing a MAGA hat, donning a shirt with ‘I am black history’ or ‘Black Lives Matter’, sporting 2nd amendment rights, or a Choose Life bumper sticker- all speak volumes as walking billboards. But how do you spot a Christian stranger?
One reason I believe this country looks like Sodom and Gomorrah is because Christ followers in particular have acclimated, capitulated, and kept our heads down. Instead of heads up, shoulders back, smiling and speaking as God’s ambassadors, we have allowed the world to dictate what subjects are acceptable to talk about in our communities. Why is it polite society cannot comment on politics and religion? The topics go hand in hand as politics make policies that affect real people, reflecting the things we value as a society. Do we champion life in the womb or murder of an unborn child? Do we support homosexual marriages or Biblical marriages? Do we believe God created two genders, male and female, or 100 fluid “identities”?
Reformed Christian circles in particular have moved away from preaching these values to a muddled, merging with the world over the last ten years. We are no longer clear in where we stand on issues that should not be debatable as Christians. Instead of remaining set apart by using discernment in how we engage the culture, some have welcomed Vanity Fair with open arms inside the church walls. This is defended by well meaning church leaders as “loving” and “winsome”, all the while your unconverted neighbor remains content and oblivious in their sins because Christians have watered down truth, making it less offensive and more palatable for the general audience. It sends the message of not taking the Bible too seriously, because who would want a sermon when we can put on a show? Calling out sinful lifestyles is branded as judgmental and legalistic instead of what it actually is- loving someone enough to tell them they are about to fall off a cliff. The opposite of love is not hate but apathy. Even God has righteous hate over sin (as should we) but He is never apathetic. The definition of how we love our unbelieving neighbors has become skewed. In reality, mainstream Christian Reformers have morphed into another brand of a seeker sensitive church. The Christian’s response to all this confusion should not be unity at all costs (especially when that unity is tied to a secular world), but truth at all costs. Truth is what unifies believers from every tongue, tribe and nation. If we cannot stand together on God’s inerrant Word and the commands He gives us, then what is our foundation but sinking sand?
David Platt wrote a little book called Radical years ago about how Christians should sell everything and move overseas as missionaries. That was the gist of it. Shortly after that wave, Michael Horton came out with a book called Ordinary, arguing believers are called to stay faithful right where God has placed them to influence the spiritual landscape. It doesn’t mean some are not called to be missionaries overseas, but we need faithful Christian engineers, doctors, pastors and homemakers here too. I think Horton was on the right track, but Platt has a point too. What if Christians in the Western world were radically ordinary Christ followers? What does it look like?
Whatever your profession, we must live differently than the world by the choices we make. This is our antidote. How we spend our time and money, what we watch, read and listen to, all play a part in shaping how we think and feel. Most of the time the messaging is subtle, yet over time these choices influence our worldview. Whether it is watching ESPN (which has become culturally outspoken), Disney+, the 24/7 news cycle, or even a show on Netflix, we start to listen to the commentary or plot as Gospel truth instead of fact-checking with Scripture. Even when we know a statement or action is unbiblical, it may not affect us as much because Christians have become more tolerant, passive and apathetic to the sins which grieve our Holy Father. By choosing to think critically ourselves instead of absorbing whatever Twitter says, we can learn to swim against the current instead of drifting like jellyfish.
Ideas have consequences, good and bad. Christians since the Fall have needed discernment, and we are in dire need of it today. We as fallen humans are susceptible to fear, pride, gullibility, idolatry, and indulging self-love over servant-love. Our daily choices, however small they seem to us, can alter the culture we live in. Choosing to not shop at a store which brazenly promotes self-mutilation and the breakdown of nuclear families; knowing when to speak up and when to keep walking; turning a show off when the content is anti-God; thinking critically about current events instead of being swayed by our emotions; learning all the facts before listening to mob rule; voting for leaders who support Biblical values; daily feeding our spirits with Scripture; being Spirit-led and not gratifying the flesh; practicing a healthy prayer life; and fellowshipping with other believers, are just a few ways you and I can become radically ordinary Christians.
Obedience is how we worship. Obedience then to what or whom is the question. Are we trying to satisfy the world and live like God fearing Christians? Its getting mighty hard to do the splits these days. In the Old Testament (1 & 2 Kings), even good kings left “the high places” for people to worship false gods. It was a compromise for fear of public opinion. The worship of idols was popular and ingrained into the culture so these godly kings let it slide under the radar, except that their lack of total obedience led to more disobedience from the people they were meant to protect not just from physical harm but spiritual apostasy.
In the same way Christians will not look different from the dying world when we remain milquetoast. Acts of kindness are encouraged by Christians and unbelievers alike. What sets a Christ follower apart is not merely acting nice so everyone will like us, but also speaking the truth about sin even when it is uncomfortable. Being winsome toward others we disagree with is how we advocate the truth, not by compromising the truth.
It is easy to feel helpless as wicked leaders takeover and God’s values are mocked. But we have ways to engage the culture by combating the hell-bound lies which have been normalized, even seen as righteous, in the eyes of men. Let us make the most of the opportunities given to us individually, not merely speak on approved subjects to our neighbor, but initiate conversations about Truth. In our society today that is jaw-dropping radical. Our language needs clarification, or rather purging, about what truth is and the source of it. It is up to ordinary Christians to take back the dictionary as we learn to communicate frankly, openly and unashamed about what the Bible has to say about sin. The Gospel is the greatest love story, with the power to break the chains of sin that have so many enslaved. This is what loving your neighbor looks like right where you live. Perhaps God will use our personal obedience to spark spiritual revival and repentance in our world.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
I’d like to offer encouragement to those who are angry, scared, depressed, hopeless or all the above. This has been a weary year and a half. On top of normal life events, one crisis after another on a global scale has added even more stress. Now the totalitarian power grab hits home with President Biden’s vaccine mandate. Christians do not need to lie down now and wait until this blows over. I don’t think it will anytime soon. Furthermore, haven’t we learned not to put our hope in any one person or political party?
Owen Strachan has a helpful podcast episode on the Christian reaction for these dark days. In short, he looks to Jeremiah’s message to the exiles in Babylon. What does Jeremiah tell the displaced Israelites to do? Build houses and settle down; plant gardens; marry; have sons and daughters; seek peace and prosperity in the city where God has exiled them (Jeremiah 29:1-14). They were going to be in a foreign land under foreign rule for seventy years. Most would spend their whole life in Babylon, never to see their homeland again. I admit that I sometimes live my daily routine in a state of crisis mode. That is not a long term solution. The physical body will break down under constant stress, emotions run high all the time, mentally and spiritually we eventually wear out, run dry or just quit. This was not the life God wanted for His people in exile and it is not the life He desires for His people now.
The other thing I would say is, do not seek revenge (Romans 12:17-19). This is not the same as standing up for what is right, even if that includes filing a law suit, peacefully protesting, leaving a place of employment, switching churches, moving, or taking your child out of the public school system to homeschool. I would submit to you that the Leftist oligarchy is picking a fight, encouraging the other side to create another attack on the Capital blunder. That is not how we are to behave in the first place, but anger and fear make us do regrettable things. In the words of Douglas Wilson, “Don’t take the bait”. A lot of what comes out of the White House seems to divide the people in this country on purpose. Why? Could they be hoping for some mini revolt among conservatives to justify even more repressive measures? It would definitely help them in the mid-term elections as to why we should keep this disaster of a party in power. Just food for thought.
Hopefully Joe Biden’s stunt has pulled the scales off our eyes to see this administration for what it is. They have lied so much to the public is it any wonder that some citizens are hesitant to take a rushed vaccine? Most vaccines take years to develop and test before it is safely released to the general public. We aren’t allowed to question or choose for ourselves what is best. We must follow the script or be blackballed from society. Now is the time for resisting in civil disobedience. Even though (mercifully) Biden’s term cannot last forever, there are more like him waiting in the shadows, already in positions of power. We must first of all be a people of prayer, then act. Are there like minded people you can link arm and arm with at work or in your community? Do you feel led to run for government office on a local, state or national level? Perhaps volunteering at a voting poll could be a possibility. If more conservative or just plain patriotic, democratic honoring citizens helped in voting centers we might actually have fair elections.
My hope is you find fellowship in your church home also. It has been an answer to prayer to see and hear how the numbers in churches are growing. More than godly leaders in government, we need discerning and courageous pastors in pulpits. There is a great need for culture equipping churches. Christians should not have to turn on Fox News or look to their favorite political analyst to figure out what to do in these times. Believers are hungry for practical wisdom in responding to the godless zeitgeist. Especially as the Church has been under attack for trying to keep their doors open for worship since Covid. Pastors are arrested and sent to jail for standing firm in their responsibility to faithfully preach. Someone or something is shaping our thinking, evangelizing the masses, discipling our children- is it the Church body or pagan ideas? Most lies are subtle, mixed with just enough truth, to appear harmless.
How we view faith and politics as either intertwined or as two separate entities matters. I will submit to you that because politics forms policies which affect people then our faith is indeed part of the equation. Not just on moral issues regarding abortion or same sex marriage but even how our taxes are spent is a moral issue. Where does that money go? What is it funding? Planned Parenthood? LBGTQ organizations? Public education which promotes CRT? Our faith is not compartmentalized to Sundays only in church. Part of the disconnect from the Church and secularism is the lack of forming a Biblical worldview. We have not done a good job of training up the next generation so that they are prepared in the college classroom, or in a work environment, or how to live in Babylon, to use that metaphor once more. Do we have more ill equipped, cultural Christian chameleons than set apart humble warriors? Sometimes a resurgence in the Church will result from a shared crisis. My prayer is that a spiritual awakening will occur from what Satan has meant to destroy. Remember Christ is King, even in the chaos.
The most basic way to resist lies is to not live by them. If you haven’t read Rod Dreher’s ‘Live Not By Lies’ I encourage you to run, don’t walk, to the nearest store and get a copy. Some of the ways we live by the truth are surprisingly ordinary. This should be a great comfort to us. Jeremiah listed a number of ways believers honor God with their lives even in times of distress (Jeremiah 29:1-14). I would add: attend a theologically sound, God fearing church where you can be refreshed, your spiritual vision sharpened. Learn a new skill, read good books to your children, go on a date with your spouse, send a note of encouragement to someone the Spirit brings to mind, help with a bridal or baby shower, celebrate special occasions, pray with and for others, talk about your faith and the Lord openly with family, friends and strangers. Right now we have the freedom to do these things. Some saints of the past had to go underground in order to be in fellowship with believers. We aren’t there yet but must certainly see it as a possibility with the direction things are going. First we demonize those who choose to not be vaccinated, and other specific groups thanks to Critical race theory, segregating people in categories based on race, religion, political views or matters of conscience. Next is an effort to dehumanize those who do not comply with the narrative. Last will be persecution. This isn’t conspiracy theory, but has been played out through every Communist, Marxist, Nazi regime. Our response as believers is to continue doing good in the face of evil. God wins, we know this. This world is merely our sanctifier. Refining happens through fire, but God promises it will only burn away the dross (Isaiah 43:1-7). The Lord will one day shake everything in Heaven and on Earth. What is left will only be what could not be shaken, meaning, His Kingdom- His Church (Hebrews 12:18-29). The apostle Paul ends his letter to the Romans this way:
“Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” (Romans 16:19-20)
This article by Owen Strachan describes what it means for a Christian to love and serve their country as Americans. I’ve noticed a lot of well known professing Christians distance themselves from patriotism as it has now become toxic to love one’s country. To be clear, it is not idolatry I am speaking of, but a desire to see the blessings God has given America continue to flourish. God has placed each one of us in a specific time in place and history to do good (Acts 17:26-27). This can include government reform and cultural reform without stating the obvious, which is gospel reform. Yes, a Great Spiritual Awakening is something I pray for in my city, state, country and around the world.
Just as William Wilberforce led the campaign to end slavery within the British Empire in 1807, we too have a part to play in stopping the cancer that is American wokeness in 2021. Wilberforce was a man who had a passion for God and his fellow man. Likewise believers today are called to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37; 39). We do this by staying informed (not obsessed) with the current cultural climate. We love our neighbors by speaking up about what is true instead of staying quiet for fear of labeling, name calling, ex-communication from our churches, jobs, and communities.
As a side note, it is wise to keep an eternal perspective in light of the temporary we live in. It is prudent to gaze more into Scripture than the news. With that said it does not mean we become passive, handing over the freedoms God has abundantly blessed us with, on a gold platter.
This is also a helpful video in which Vivek Ramaswamy succinctly articulates the virus consuming America, and I’m not referring to Covid. In less than 30 minutes he explains how wokeness, Black Lives Matter, China, Big Tech and capitalism are all related and why we need to understand the consequences.
Vivek is not a Christian but he does have a handle on the evils that prevail our society. All evil that we presently see has a spiritual reality. Spiritual warfare is something that we will encounter this side of heaven (Ephesians 6:10-18) but it is comforting that God has prepared us for these struggles with His Holy Word. We aren’t to despair as those without hope.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
“The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect.” -George Orwell
During Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing last year she used the term “sexual preference” when responding to a question about a sex-same marriage ruling in the Supreme Court. The next day, Meriam Webster changed their definition of sexual preference describing it as an offensive term. This was done to characterize Barrett as out-of-date, bigoted and hateful. If it sounds eerily familiar to Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four its because it is. Doublespeak is a deceptive (and powerful) tool used to distort words of any real meaning. Truth is defined by the individual or an oligarchy meant to control people through the power of language. In our post modern society our words are relative, with truth determined by “what it means to you” instead of absolute truth according to God.
This is why Christians must define terms by God’s Word, not our culture. Not only do we defend the truth through apologetics, we have to preserve it by speaking plainly. Our conversations should leave no room for misunderstanding. The culture uses a word that sounds good, like social justice, and twists it to promote an agenda of progressivism that is anti-Christian. Believers must understand that social justice is the gateway for Critical Race Theory and Marxism, not for upholding righteousness. Yet words that sound harmless, even virtuous, are deceptively taught in universities, high schools, corporations and the military as a means to educate and break down barriers. Yet social justice promotes partiality which is a sin and creates divisiveness not unity. Christians are to view all people as created in God’s image and therefore deserving of respect. Ironically, Martin Luther King Jr. said to judge others on the content of their character, not the color of their skin. Who cares what your melanin count is? If someone is purple, but qualified in their job then that should be the criteria used, not because of an immutable characteristic. Along with treating all persons with value, under Biblical justice, God calls each believer to defend the vulnerable, not the government. Godly leaders can use their influence for good in the government realm, but it is ultimately up to God’s people to use discernment and promote mercy through our everyday ordinary lives with the people we meet (Micah 6:8).
Lately the term equity is another word weaponized against those who disagree with CRT. Equity is concerned with equal outcome for all. Equality promotes equal opportunity for all. The difference lies in those who are willing to work for their personal goals in life versus those who expect to have the same end result without working for it. This is detrimental to a society that depends on handouts rather than sacrifices, creating a generational cycle of sin and a victim complex.
Even sexuality is up for debate as transgenderism, the focus of the Biden administration, infiltrates our schools and hospitals, forcing teachers and doctors to educate and mutilate minors who are sincerely confused with their own biology. God is clear on the definition of a man and a woman (Genesis 1-2) yet perversion of God’s design is rampant. The reason transgenderism is a topic we have to address at all is because everything these days is fluid, not concrete. The biggest lie in this endeavor is telling kids that they can reverse the courses of action they take if later on down the road Sally decides she likes being Sally and not Harry. However, a pre-pubescent girl taking hormone blockers could have long term damage related to infertility, permanent hair or body changes that make it hard to distinguish whether an individual is male or female. Not to mention the emotional and psychological harm this does. Speaking plainly with compassion can actually help and should not be considered hate speech when the truth is what someone crying out for help needs. Lets consider sharing the love of Christ first with Biblical counseling.
When President Biden calls for unity in our country it sounds good. Who doesn’t want peace and unity? However, the message underneath reveals what he actually means in ‘unity’. The way Biden defines ‘unity’ is for everyone to agree on the narrative he promotes. Anyone who disagrees or thinks for themselves by simply asking a question can be labeled a bigoted, racist, homophobe to name a few of the slanderous terms. Unfortunately infantile name-calling produces results in our cancel culture.
It will become increasingly hard to stand firm in Biblical truth in a country seeped with lies. Yet this is to be expected. The world hates the truth as it exposes their false reality, forcing them to confront their own sin (John 3:19-21). Do not be afraid when the pressure intensifies to conform to the world’s standard. The 21st century witch hunt on truth tellers and plain speakers is here. Yet, as Orwell put it, “in a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” He was not a Christian, but this idea applies most appropriately to believers. Speak the truth we know, and stand firm. Since all truth is God’s truth we can also rest assured that the truth we obediently speak will not return void (Isaiah 55:10-11). Exposing lies and shining the light of truth will either heap judgment on the unrepentant or bring a repentant soul to Jesus. We just have to be faithful because what we say and how we say it, matters to the Lord.
“This was evil’s hour: we could not run away from it. Perhaps only when human effort had done its best and failed, would God’s power alone be free to work.” -Corrie Ten Boom ‘The Hiding Place’
Since homeschooling my son this last year, we begin each day with The Pledge of Allegiance. In the pledge we recite “one nation under God” and we talk about justice and liberty for all. Unfortunately this isn’t true in today’s America. We have taken God out of our schools, businesses, homes and in some cases, our churches, replacing God with government instead. Justice and liberty are terms twisted to define them as we see fit instead of submitting to the Lord’s definition. The results are playing out in real time with homosexuality and transgenderism not just to be tolerated, but as something which must be applauded by all with the Equality Act Biden is pushing through Congress.
Under the Equality Act, LBGTQ “history” will be taught in public schools, men who identify as women have access to girls lockers rooms and restrooms, doctors will be forced to perform sex operations even for minors without parental consent, gender identity will become part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and those seeking religious exemption will no longer be protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Christian business owners or anyone with a moral conviction on these issues will have no choice but to provide services or hire individuals that are practicing homosexuals or transgender. On the surface this seems mostly like matters that won’t affect us personally, but the tentacles are far reaching in its effects. For example, should a Christian baker make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple even though this goes against God’s command of what marriage is? If the baker or florist or minister even, refuses to comply, they are no longer protected by any sort of religious exemption. Pastors will not be allowed to uphold God’s Word and speak against these issues. Your convictions are now obsolete and even criminal.
Or what if a man who decides he’d like to be a female goes into a salon spa and requests a bikini wax? This is gross but not unlikely since this is where we are today in putting blinders over our eyes in biology. The woman who is forced to give the bikini wax to a confused man pretending to be a girl is victimized in this case. It is interesting that the Democratic party celebrating the #MeToo movement, and has been the face of feminism since the 1960s now decides they will no longer protect women. Women’s sports are at an unfair advantage as transgender men seek to compete against females and will dominate since biologically speaking, men are stronger then women in most cases. We are sexualizing our children by allowing them to choose their own gender, teaching them in public schools that their biological sex can be disregarded, aiding even more gender dysphoria. But none of this matters to the Left. Tolerance is an antiquated word from their past which must embarrass them in 2021. Truthfully, it was only a gateway word for demanding acceptance to their ideology anyway.
Even though the current times should grieve Christians, it can also be a time to praise God. The next few years will bring even more clarity, contrasting true believers from the unbelieving. One good thing that can come from the rise of a new pagan political religion is the middle of the road, lukewarm, cultural Christianity will evaporate. This will be one less deceptive tool used to lull souls into spiritual dormancy. Our post-Christian nation is a time for God’s people to persevere in His strength and wisdom. We have ample opportunity to proclaim the gospel with our lives and words. Lately it seems to be a radical act just by going to church in person! Believers can no longer afford to be passive, convinced this is the same as gentleness. This is an error that must be corrected. It is not sinful to call out sin- Jesus did this, as did John the Baptist and also Peter (Matthew 23; Matthew 3:1-12; Acts 2:36-41). Speaking against lies and sin, is an act of mercy as the goal is to cause the individual or group in sin to be confronted with their sinfulness, repent and turn to Christ. The difference is in how we say God’s commands are good, His mercy is enough to cover even the most vile sinner, and God’s grace abounds. Uncompromising Christians will need to be the standard. We show others the redeeming work of Christ in our own lives, calling the lost to repent of their sin and turn to Jesus.
As Romans 1 plays out before us, Christians must also examine our part in how we got here as a nation. This is a spiritual battle manifested in the political sphere. Whenever the news is distressing we need to remember this. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of the dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Yet we must also repent of our own spiritual complacency, apathy, fear of man, lack of courage, or plain ignorance in how to communicate eternal truths.
In Daniel 9:1-19, Daniel learns the judgment against Israel would last seventy years through reading Jeremiah’s prophecy (Jeremiah 25:11). He immediately goes into prayer. There are 3 things to notice in his prayer- Daniel’s prayer consist of adoration, confession and petition. The chunk of his prayer is confession- his own sin and for the nation of Israel. It is a helpful template for how we can repent and pray for these times.
Christian, we do not have to lie down and fold our hands. We mustn’t fall asleep. God’s Sovereignty works with man’s will, not excusing man from his responsibilities. We need personal and national repentance from our complacency and rebellion. In John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress there is man named Honesty. Mr. Greatheart is the guide for Christiana and her sons, and they meet Honesty on their pilgrim journey:
“Soon they came to a large oak tree, and saw under it an old pilgrim fast asleep. They knew he was a pilgrim by his clothes and his staff. Mr. Greatheart awoke him. At first he was frightened, and asked, “Who are you? What do you want? What is your business?”
Greatheart: Calm yourself, my good man, we are all your friends. (The old man’s name was Honesty.) My name is Greatheart; I am the guide of these pilgrims who are going to the Celestial Country.
Honesty: I beg your pardon. I was afraid you might be of the gang who sometime back robbed Little-Faith of his money; but now I know you are honest people.
Greatheart: Why, what could you have done if we had been robbers?
Honesty: Done? Why, I would have fought like a tiger, as long as I had any breath. And had I done so, I am sure you never could have conquered me, for a pilgrim can never be defeated unless he yields himself.
Greatheart: Well said, my brother, now I know you are a good soldier.
Honesty: And by this I know you are informed as to what a true pilgrim is, for all others think that we are the easiest to overcome of any.”
Understanding sin, the freedom of the Gospel of peace, and the realities of spiritual warfare should make us a people of prayer. We don’t wish to see any perish into eternal Hell. So the answer is to examine our own hearts, repent, and stand firm in the truth we know without fear of being canceled, villainized or even criminalized. God’s truth will stand no matter if we decide to uphold it or not. This is the beautiful call we have as believers. Show Christ to the world even if it costs us everything.
“Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil of comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13)
“Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.” -Psalm 97:11
One spiritual marker in my life has been remembering the wonder of God. That night I distinctly remember, as the Lord drew my eyes up to His star filled sky, instead of inwardly focusing on myself. It’s not that I didn’t understand Him to be the Creator Who spoke everything into existence. I knew He threw the stars into space, igniting the sun and moon, causing planets and galaxies to appear in splendor. Growing up I heard creation stories of God forming the elephant and the ant; the eagle and the caterpillar. I understood He made me according to Psalm 139. But somehow I wasn’t focusing on His Glory as much, still treating Him casually.
The commentator in my psalter devotional speaks of such thinking, calling believers to consider God in all His Majestic Glory. Confess wrong thinking of the Lord in which He seems small. By meditating on God’s Greatness, His truth, radiance and glory take root in us as we seek Him each day. I’m convinced that the downfall of Christianity has happened because believers stopped communicating to the world the wonder of our Lord. As we behold God, this serves as spiritual arrows which lead to questions about Jesus, the Gospel, commands in Scripture and finally, where we’ll spend eternity. We begin remembering Who God is in His rightful place by first telling the truth to ourselves. Some exchange the truth for a lie (even in the Church) which is why it is imperative to remain vigilant in pursuing truth, clinging to the Author of Truth. We begin with sowing- so let us sow, becoming our truest selves in Christ.
Let us be consistent in our reaction against evil. Whether this be condemning six months of burning cities, looting small businesses, wreaking terror against police or rioting at our nation’s capital. There is a stark contrast in peaceful protest versus chaotic rampaging. The latter does not promote any kind of justice, but is the exact opposite. The Bible says, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay’ says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19). We do not repay evil with evil, but sow a deep seated trust in the Lord’s Sovereignty and wisdom to lead us.
Let us speak plainly. Words matter in how we say them. The language indoctrination caused by “political correctness” has seeped into every aspect of our culture. Two people may use the same word but have very different meanings. In his book ‘Live Not By Lies’ Rod Dreher says, “we are repeating the Marxist habit of falsifying language, hollowing out familiar words and replacing them with a new, highly ideological meaning. Propaganda not only changes the way we think about politics and contemporary life but it also conditions what a culture judges worth remembering”. Avoid rhetoric and kernels of truth kneaded into a lie. Also develop discernment to spot it when you hear it. Language is powerful. We must speak kindly but plainly.
Let us remember our history. One way to sow truth is to have a correct understanding of where we’ve come from. This applies not only to one’s nation but our Biblical history as well. We cannot understand the present if we are not informed about the past. Christians need not repeat the wicked actions of previous generations if we know what signs to look for and how to respond accordingly. How we react to the present will dictate who we are as a people in the future.
Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another- and all the more as you see the Day approaching(Hebrews 10:25). In light of our cultural climate and political theater, believers need one another now more than ever. Some benefits of gathering together include strengthening the weary and downcast Christian, knowing they are not alone but in the presence of their spiritual family. We also lift one another up with Biblical encouragement, smiles, hugs, handshakes and accountability as we meet face to face. As we sing songs of worship, receive communion, hear words of exhortation in preaching, knit our hearts in prayer, we are being edified, our spirits refreshed. This is the ministry of meeting together which Hebrews 10:25 commands. It is for our own good.
Let us live in truth with our words and deeds. For generations America in particular have sown what God hates- the abortion of millions of people created in His image, same-sex mirages, sexual promiscuity which has led to pornography, pre-martial sex, adultery, lust and divorce to name a few. The material wealth of this country has turned Americans into a consumerist entertainment driven society, dulling our spirits as we live only for the temporal. We are now seeing the fruit of sin heaped in judgment today. It seems each day we wait to see which powder keg will explode, leaving many in a state of fear, anxiety and despair. This is not to be the mark of a Christian. This is not our legacy. Instead, let us cling to the Lord who is all Truth, Power, Wisdom, Judgment and Love. Know what God’s Word says, viewing each event from a spiritual perspective and act accordingly. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:12-13).
Let us sow righteousness each day into our ordinary lives. This is how we bring about a quiet resistance to the evil of our day. Meet with others believers where you can speak freely, teach your children Biblical principles, protect the family unit, have a correct understanding of the past. Victory has been secured in Jesus Christ. He has already overcome sin and death for us. His is an everlasting kingdom which will never be destroyed, intimidated or censored (Daniel 7:9-27). Although the present time will require courage, boldness and sacrifice to live out what we profess, Christians must act like the victors we are. The next generation depends on how well we sow.
It seems the further we get into COVID regulations to flatten the elusive curve people are becoming more and more conditioned to wear masks. They have become normalized in everyday life, shifting American culture into three categories. The pro-mask, anti-mask and the apathetic.
My goal is not to attack one group or another but thoughtfully consider the dangers of what this precedent suggests. Also as a Christian my reason in writing this post comes from a sincere desire to rightly handle the word of Truth. I don’t want to mislead anyone or promote further discord than our present culture already has. However, I do believe Christians in particular have lacked discernment, giving way to fear of men, not rightly grasping our Father’s Sovereignty. Christians should not be easily swayed by whichever way the wind blows, but stand firm in the truth we know, even when we feel alone in the fight. Pushback in a clear yet gentle way can still co-exist while peaceably disagreeing with someone. There are many Christians whom I would disagree with on greater issues than masks, such as baptismal mode, eschatology, or worship style preference. Yet this does not nullify my love for someone I can completely disagree with. The Christian’s outward behavior should represent the inner reality of Christ’s redeeming work even as we work through different viewpoints.
Regarding the mandate of masks, I would ask Christians (not at high risk) to consider exercising their freedom in not wearing one where appropriate. For example, my state does not require masks when voting or in worship. Yet many still feel the need or pressure to adorn a mask even when it is lawful to go without. This ends up doing more harm than good because of what our actions say. Here are 4 ways we can exalt Christ by not wearing a mask:
Love your neighbor by telling the truth. Wearing masks for COVID19 perpetuates the narrative of fearand a lie. This fear is unfounded and actually harmful to the healthy individual covering their faces for prolonged periods. Most are not properly trained in mask-wearing thereby creating a bacteria zoo in their PPE which is the real danger in making someone sick. Wearing a sheer homemade veneer or bandana might make someone feel safer but does not serve the intended purpose to keep away COVID, thereby giving false security. Although N95 masks are better to wear, such as what medical personnel have, even healthcare workers get sick. It has been shown people who wear masks and those who do not can get the virus.
President Trump rarely wore a mask and contracted COVID19. This actually wasn’t surprising to me, given the hundreds of people he is around every day, especially while campaigning. It is also interesting that he seemingly recovered so well. Yes he was given the best care known to man but he is considered high risk given his age and weight. Yet God willed his life to prolong just as He determines all lives.
A proper understanding of this virus reveals that there is a 99.9% survival rate for the general population. Only a small percentage are in the high risk category- persons over 70 years of age and immunocompromised individuals. This isn’t to say others cannot contract the virus but chances are low and your ability to fight it even higher. Notice in the news the casesare reported and emphasized much more than the mortality rate. When the death total is given the media typically clumps the total number for the United States, implying the virus is more dire than it actually is. As of November 5, 2020 the CDC is reporting 233,129 deaths from COVID in America. The U.S. population is 331,687,749. Doing the math, this indicates that the virus has taken 0.07% of lives. One life is one life too many but we desperately need perspective. There needs to be context as to 1) the age of the individual and 2) was it compounded with a weakened immune system or other factors which made them more susceptible? Because of God’s mercy, COVID did not claim 2 million lives over the summer as predicted. Even with the slow rise in cases, it has not turned out to be on par with the Black Death, yet we act like it is the end of the world.
There is also inconsistency with wearing a mask all the time. If COVID19 truly was an existential threat to our society then there would be no exceptions to the mandate such as when one is exercising, eating in a restaurant or children under a certain age. The country would have to shut down indefinitely. But apparently COVID can tell whether you are seated at a restaurant or waiting for a table and can also discern your age. The inconsistency from the mask police is more telling than anything else.
When a child is afraid of the dark because of a monster in the closet, a parent doesn’t laugh at the frightened child. Neither do you enable their fears by agreeing with them that an imaginary monster is hiding in the closet. Instead, a loving parent addresses this fear by exposing the truth. So, what can a believer do in response to the COVID fears held by others? Compassionately acknowledge their concerns and lovingly shine the light of truth on this issue. This is actually what it means to sincerely love your neighbor and honor others (Romans 13:8-10).
2. How we respect civil authority and church leadership matters. I think some Christians have a misunderstanding of what this entails. I’ve observed well meaning believers use Scripture about submitting to government but take it out of context. America isn’t governed by a king, queen or governors, but by the people (1 Peter 2:13-17; Romans 13). For the American government, our elected officials can not decide for themselves what the Constitution says and make laws on their own for the people to obey. In this case, America drafted the Constitution as the law of the land with the Bill of Rights enumerating our unalienable rights. In its original intent, rightly interpreted, American citizens are given personal liberties which we are free to exercise. Leaders we elect into office, are to serve the people discerning each decision/law through the lens of the Constitution. It is not a free-for-all dictatorship position led by mob rule. Yet this is where we are as each month governors extend a nefarious mask order on the people they are called to serve with integrity.
For the Christian, this means a) we live by the freedom our Constitution allows while b) simultaneously realizing wrong headed leaders overstep their God given authority. No authority is given to a man or woman except by the Lord. We appeal to Christ in this matter asking for continued discernment in our response to civil authority.
As for church leadership the consequences of compromising with the culture instead of using Biblical discernment has had and will continue to have detrimental effects on the testimony of His Church. We are supposed to be a people who trust in God’s Sovereignty, not comply with unfounded recommendations. The more churches agree to foster fear with outrageous requirements the more likely we are creating a mindset that this “new normal” is acceptable. For those who argue people are less likely to attend church without restrictions in place I would counter with this: those leaders are putting control into the hands of men rather than submitting to God’s authority. It is folly to follow the crowd instead of Biblically leading the congregation.
Generally speaking we are to trust our doctors where our health is concerned, however this topic has become a partisan matter meant to divide the country. This is no longer only about our health, as masks have become extremely politicized. There is a pull for control in making the public wear masks, weaponizing the issue. Why would anyone do this? Because it’s an election year. COVID19 is a virus which the Left has used to its advantage taking a page from their playbook to “never waste a crisis”. Masks are being used as a visual reminder to the people that President Trump has not defeated COVID (because he’s not God) but under Joe Biden things will be different. It has become clear that an enemy does not need an army to overthrow a government, just fear.
3. Your smile is a ministry. Did you know that you are a blessing to others just by smiling? It’s true. Think of when someone walked past you down the grocery aisle and looked your way with a friendly smile. Or perhaps a loved one cheered you with a compassionate smile. You’ve probably been the one to offer this token as well. It says ‘I see you’ and ‘I care’. We’re missing this important component in body language by covering our faces. The faceless crowd is conditioning people to be void of affection, promoting isolation instead. It is the opposite of what a Christian should communicate. Especially in our churches, we have a golden opportunity to be a refuge from the world and welcome each other with smiling, happy faces.
4. Those in Christ use their freedom not to wear a mask because death has no hold on us(Matthew 10:28; 1 Corinthians 15:54-57; Philippians 1:20-23). I don’t have to live in fear of how I will die. If worst case scenario were to happen and I perish from Coronavirus this would be to my advantage. I don’t have a death wish but I also rest secure in my eternity.
Each day we get up in the morning is a risk. Living is a risk because we cannot cheat death. A brain aneurism, heart attack, stroke, cancer, car wreck, lightning strike or even falling asleep into death are all possibilities that await us. You know why? Because we are not the giver or taker of human life. God is. Until Christ returns 100% of the human race will die, and another generation will follow and so on into history.
This isn’t a scare tactic but to offer hope. There is a needle of hope in the haystack of confusion. His name is Jesus and the Gospel can break the chains of fear to the temporal, the slavery to sin, and the hold of spiritual death. John MacArthur noted in an interview that the real pandemic is sin. There is a disease which infects every person- a nature we inherited from Adam. Christ is the only cure for what truly afflicts us. Taking an eternal perspective does not discount our temporal reality but helps us see things clearly. We can rightly view COVID19 in light of who God is and what He has done for us through His Son Jesus. Whether you agree with me concerning masks or not, my prayer is for all who belong to King Jesus to look to Him for wisdom gaining a Biblical perspective in response to our current events.
Joe Biden does not view our country the same way as Donald Trump. If Biden wins, he will usher in socialism then a Marxist society with the help of Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The 110 page manifesto known as The Unity Task Forceis something out of a George Orwell novel. So is the idea of creating a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” toward those who think differently than Democrats. Just to have a different opinion than liberal groupthink would become a crime. This isn’t a human rights issue like South Africa or WWII victims. This is a “truth” committee bent on squashing freedom of speech. It couldn’t be more dystopian. Along with saddling with Black Lives Matter whose goal is the destruction of America, the fabric of this nation would be ripped apart, sown back together via Frankenstein. This isn’t overreacting but stating what can happen under a liberal regime.
There is a reason the two main political parties have grown a bitter hatred towards one another. 2020 is a perfect example of this where leaders, news anchors and journalists openly disrespect and slander one another. Those on the Left versus those on the Right have a vastly different worldview. We don’t share the same vision for America which is why these elections get so heated. Christians need to vote for a philosophy that aligns with godly values. That candidate is Donald Trump. To be clear, he is not our Savior. This is a man who just happens to be on the right side of history given the two choices.
No matter who wins in November, God is still on His Throne. He uses the righteous and the wicked for His purposes. Its no wonder there are more wicked rulers dating to Biblical times than there are righteous ones. Remember when Israel demanded a king like the other nations? That didn’t go over so well with the first one (1 Samuel 8-15). Our inherent sin nature forgets God and forces Him out of every aspect of our lives. We’d rather replace God’s control with government control over us. So when you go vote on November 3 keep in mind that we are voting not for a person, but a way of life.
Along with voting, please continue praying for godly men and women to lead America. We need Biblical wisdom and courage now more than ever. If you need more information from news sources that shoot straight here are a few:
Also, here are two helpful podcast episodes on the Christian case for Donald Trump and our Religious Liberty at stake this election. I hope you take time to listen as it is more in depth and informative than what I can produce.