Should Christians vote for Donald Trump? Part 2

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 Force is 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:

Prager U

The Daily Wire

Allie Beth Stuckey podcast ‘Relatable’

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.

The Christian Case for Trump||Guest: Dr. Wayne Grudem

Trump v. Biden 2020|Religious Liberty| Guest: John MacArthur

Grace upon grace,

April

Should Christians vote for Donald Trump? Part 1

Given the contentious election cycle we’re in this is a fair question. Should we elect a leader in spite of their sin? Should we vote for someone because they seem more charismatic or are we more concerned with what their record says? Should Christians even be concerned with civil government?

I am a Christian first, then a patriot. Nevertheless, politics and faith are irrevocably intertwined. The leaders we elect, policies made, our cultural climate are all a reflection of what we value as a society. Christians are called to be the hands and feet of Christ ministering to others. We humbly serve God by defending truth and justice (Micah 6:8) speaking for the least of these, representing a Biblical ideology in our daily living. In America, one way we do this is in how we vote. The government can be a tool used for the practical outworking of our Christian faith.

We operate as a democratic nation, so the policies made by our government are important for us to pay attention to, especially as Christ followers. Our democracy is expressly written in a document which governs the people, the Constitution. Rightly interpreting this freedom allows us to pushback against abuse of power, deceit and mistreatment in society in dealings which are un-Constitutional.

In 2016 I did not vote for Donald Trump, but decided to go third party. His personality was a turn off and frankly he had no policies to look back on and see what his true political colors were. I still don’t care for his thin skin and arrogant behavior. Yet after 4 years Trump has a resume to lean on. What has he done for America in his term? Here are a few of the highlights:

  1. Trump champions life in the womb
  2. Protects our borders with stronger military allowing immigrants to come to America lawfully
  3. Removed toxic Critical Race Theory government funding
  4. Improved our economy so its citizens can work with dignity and thrive
  5. He believes in the right to bear arms, protect private property, peaceful protesting, and individual liberty.
  6. Advocates school choice

All of these issues are Biblical. God creates life demanding its preservation, especially toward the vulnerable and voiceless (Psalm 139:13-18; James 1:27). God blesses people with land and possessions, entrusting men and women to defend and thrive with His gift (Exodus 22:1-15; 23:31-33) . God also calls for showing no partiality, treating all persons with respect as we are created in His image (Exodus 23:2-3; James 2:1-9).

The apostle Paul wrote that a man should earn his wages and be worthy of them (2 Thessalonians 3:6-10). This means that the able-bodied are not to continuously receive hand-outs or worse, make a living from government checks unwilling to work. This was God’s design from the beginning as He called Adam to take responsibility and rule over the rest of creation (Genesis 1:26-28). Parents are given the task of educating their children about God and the world He has created (Deuteronomy 4:9-10; 6:6-9). The government cannot dictate this decision, forcing you to put your child into a failing school, or an environment that does not share your worldview or even acknowledge it.

No matter your personal opinion on Donald Trump’s character, his record speaks for itself. Furthermore, when given the opportunity he has nominated conservative justices to the Supreme Court. Conservative political thinking rightly interprets the Constitution to its original intent and does not see it as a fluid document for whatever progressive regressive idea blows their way. History has shown conservative politics to be in line with a Biblical worldview whether the person holding this ideology realizes it or not.

There is no one without sin who has ever lived except Christ. We cannot overlook Donald Trump’s multiple marriages and prideful behavior. Yet if our rationale is that we choose not to vote for someone because we consider them sinful then heaven help us. No one should run for office or serve in a church- ever. I would also point out the corrupt dealings Biden has had as well in his checkered past. Joe Biden has been accused of sexual harassment multiple times and is currently involved in a scandal with which his son Hunter Biden served as the straw guy. So this argument among Christians does not hold up considering both candidates are with sin, just as we all are. When you go to vote on November 3, keep in mind we are voting not for a person, but a way of life. The two choices we have are vastly different.

Grace upon grace,

April

Why I quit Facebook

“We who live in quiet places have the opportunity to become acquainted with ourselves, to think our own thoughts and live our own lives in a way that is not possible for those keeping up with the crowd.” -Laura Ingalls Wilder

So here we are in the crazy, also known as 2020. I’ve written my thoughts on the inconsistencies/lack of scientific evidence with mask wearing, and how mainstream media has made this an apocalyptic election year like no other. This summer as I shared a differing viewpoint from the Black Death narrative, my content was abruptly taken down from Facebook as “misinformation” which could be harmful to its users. This is baloney stew at its finest. And it happened not once, not twice, but at least three times. The censorship was so blatant that it just became comical.

By now we are in month 8 of this emergency, where we were asked to “flatten the curve”. We are now in month 8 of governors overstepping their exercise of power to control how far apart we can physically be from another human being, what we put on our faces, turning us all into robotic germaphobes. I feel like there needs to be a disclaimer now any time I talk about this: it does not mean you never wash your hands or practice basic hygiene. Use the common sense God gave you which does not require a government babysitter. But back to Facebook….

Well, after this happened a few times it was clear that only one kind of voice can be heard on this platform. Along with bias censorship, I realized it wasn’t good for me personally to see others photographing themselves masked up. I would rather see your smile, your actual face. Also, I want to focus on the relationships I have in my small circle rather than scroll mindlessly through a couple hundred people I’m acquainted with. More depth, less breadth.

So over a month ago I pulled the plug. Ironically a few weeks later a documentary on Netflix titled The Social Dilemma came out detailing the realities of Big Brother aka Social Media. I don’t have Netflix and do not plan to because they have other disturbing issues, but I saw the trailer and that was enough. It had everybody in a frenzy for five seconds and then I guess forgotten about? The truth is we love to see what others are doing, even people we don’t know very well. Yet what we see posted on social media is not their real life either. I like seeing beautiful well crafted pictures too, but it is not reality 99% of the time. To be sure, we should look for God’s beauty and His blessings all around us every day! It’s just that not everything is Pin-tresting all the time or every snapshot of our lives needs to be documented online.

This has been a good lesson for me to learn too truthfully. I’ve been naive in not considering the long term effects of “liking” a post, commenting or posting myself. Just by being on a website or Googling is information collected for future marketing purposes. Of course, as a “commoner” my posts on Instagram and Facebook are not making headlines, but they have data on me (and you) just the same and can wield its use if ever convenient.

This is not a push for anyone to jump off the social media wagon. That is a personal decision. I also understand some choose to stay on Facebook, Instagram (which I deleted as well), and the like, to stay in touch with friends and family spread out across the world.

Like the quote from Laura Ingalls Wilder at the top of this post, I crave quiet in my world. It’s not that I will ignore current events or people, but this year in particular has been very loud and toxic. Facebook unfortunately feeds that and for most, this platform has become the virtual water cooler. So as a personal decision, I took myself out of the noise. There is enough to keep me busy anyway since we made the decision to homeschool (a story for another day). I just wanted to share with you reasons I think are good enough to bow out of FB.

It’s interesting I am using a tech tool in order to explain the dangers of it. Technology isn’t the devil and has redeeming qualities, hopefully like this blog ūüôā Yet especially as Christians we have to be cautious. Go into these social vortexes with eyes wide open if you must enter at all. The tin-foil hat conspiracy theories aren’t far fetched if they’re true like The Social Dilemma shows us.

Censorship and cancel culture are dominant which is why so many won’t speak up. I don’t want to be a part of something that doesn’t even tolerate an opinion different from the main narrative. Considering how influential these tools are in deciding how we think, dictating how we feel and what we do is a red flag for me too. It might be too little, too late but at least I don’t have to provide any more data for Facebook. As long as there is freedom of speech for this little blog, you’ll find me here.

Grace upon grace,

April

Jesus and Critical Race Theory

 

“Blessed is¬†the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord and on His law he meditates day and night.” -Psalm 1:1-3

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In the Gospel of Mark (11:27-12:12) the Jewish leaders challenge Jesus’ authority. Jesus drove out the money changers and people using the temple as a marketplace the day before. After their initial shock wore off these men confronted Jesus in a more aggressive manner. In the Lord’s wisdom, Jesus responds with a question concerning John the Baptist’s authority, which the Jewish leaders did not want to answer. They feared the people who viewed John as a prophet, nor could they admit John’s authority came from heaven thereby discrediting themselves for not acknowledging his legitimacy when John was still alive. Jesus knew this. Jesus was confronting their own spiritual hypocrisy for not acting like the spiritual leaders they claimed to be by shepherding the people, directing them to hear God’s wisdom from someone like John. These men were so caught up in their position and power they lacked discernment to see God’s truth and repent.¬†

It’s remarkable and disheartening to see Christian leadership can also be as flawed and blind to Biblical truth today. This year has unraveled leaders in the church, exposing them to be in err or lack backbone to stand up for Biblical justice. In our cancel culture, determined to drown out common sense and Biblical wisdom, Christian leaders are capitulating instead, for fear of…. being called out by the media? culture? unbelievers??

I’m afraid we have compromised for too long with the world and now we can’t turn back. There seems to be no distinction between Christians and unbelievers today. When we can’t say Critical Race Theory is satanic, and by its very definition shows partiality when the Bible is clear to not show favoritism (James 2:1-9). When CRT teaches that whiteness is evil and people with less melanin are intrinsically racist. How has CRT seeped into evangelical teaching? Quite easily actually, when for decades leaders in our churches have given way to secular culture in order to stay “relevant” and morphed into human jellyfish instead of standing up for God’s truth. The Church is known more for political correctness than Biblical justice.¬†

It is not sinful to point out sin. As Christians it is how we love sinners like us, directing them to Christ. The argument that we are opening the door to the gospel by meeting people where they are is a theory that has not worked well in practice. If anything, compromising with sin is what has the Church in this confused position. Churches that partner with CRT, LBGT, and abortion rights are devoid of love. That is enabling sin to spread like the cancer it is. So what should our response be? Speak truth in love. Always. Boldness among Christians is sorely lacking. We aren’t to be jerks but we don’t hold the door open for sin either. Instead of speaking out, condemning sin, we condone it by saying nothing at all or embracing it.¬†

Earlier this week President Trump called for the defunding of Critical Race Theory which has been taught in government training, even in the military, using our tax dollars. In this case how is it that Donald Trump has more insight to the pervasive harm CRT has caused over the evangelicals? Why is this garbage taught in our seminaries and churches? John MacArthur seems to be a lone solider in this fight against true Biblical injustice. Our problems in this world should be focused on our inherent sin nature, not catering to false oppression. We are all sinful and need Christ. One race is not better than another because Jesus created beautiful, immutable diversity with the colors of our skin. Highlighting one race over another is not equality but the exact opposite. MacArthur declares,

“Never has the church of Jesus Christ been more desperately in need of bold, courageous, clear-thinking, forthright, steadfast biblical leadership. As refreshing as it is to see a shift at the government level away from the deliberate dissemination of CRT propaganda, this urgently needs to happen in the church too.”

We need to get back to the basics, away from appeasing the culture we live in which does not acknowledge God as Supreme Authority. This world will always be filled with divineness and distorting Scripture, leading people away from what God’s Word really says. Even though the events in our world are distressing, as Christians we know the end of the Story. Look to God¬†(Colossians 3:2).¬†The Bible says¬†“if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it” (Genesis 4:7). As we gaze in Scripture and see our own sin, may we repent and not rebel against the authority of our Lord and Savior. May we have the boldness and discernment to live out God’s Word, even if our Christian leaders falter.¬†

Here is a wonderful podcast that has helped me understand current events alongside a Biblical worldview. In this episode, Allie Beth Stuckey interviews Voddie Baucham concerning Social Justice Theology and what it really means. I hope you listen. Grab a cup of coffee and settle in. It’s going to be good!

Grace upon grace,

April 

 

Peace, Perspective, Prayer

***Author’s Note: This post expresses one woman’s opinion. It is in no way a condemnation for individuals who differ in position. Understanding this virus is a complicated and serious issue, I have tried to thoughtfully consider the different angles COVID-19 presents as well as potential repercussions. My bigger desire is to point the reader to Christ in the midst of uncertain chaos. 

 

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.” -Psalm 23:4

The human life is a contradiction: We are fragile but resilient. It is nothing of ourselves that makes us this way. That is to say, sometimes a freak accident paralyzes a man or a car wreck takes a young girl’s life. But sometimes a horrible accident leads to complete recovery. Sometimes a car wreck grotesquely twists the heap of machinery, yet the stupefied driver emerges with mere scratches. It seems arbitrary when really the mercy of God is at play. Something may seem senseless to us because we can’t see past the end of this sentence. We don’t know the future much less can we control it. But God not only knows all of human history, He is Sovereign over it. Jesus proclaimed, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 21:6).

Our nation and the world has been gripped by fear with COVID-19. Cases are increasing and the promise of a vaccine looks like pie crust right now. Yet I wonder how many believers are glued more to the latest headline rather than pouring over the Word of God? What is shaping our thinking? The news anchor or God? Who are we listening to and why?

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I cried when I heard masks were to be forced on the general public for the foreseeable future. The acceptance of this new mandate without question, or even considering the invasion of our personal freedom grieved me. I am concerned that many of us operate in the here and now with tunnel vision, not thinking of the bigger picture these restrictions may have.

Because of this crisis America is governed by public fear, causing possible overstep from authorities in decision-making. It has enabled our government to dictate what is essential (and what is non-essential) , where we go and even what we wear. This sets a precedent for what our leaders can do in the future. Once a policy is set in motion it is a lot harder to reverse. Every decision the government makes on behalf of its people has consequences, good or bad. Take this into consideration as well. Fear can drive us to readily obey without discernment.

We are not guaranteed a vaccine for COVID19 will ever be developed. For some diseases in our world there is no cure. What if we just have to live with it? Are we willing to wear masks in perpetual tension and fear indefinitely? I hope I’m wrong but this might be the leak that breaks the dam in government control over our civil liberties.

My desire is not to act foolishly, nor become an alarmist. The possibility I could get sick or someone I love makes this personal for me too. Yet there has to be an objective look at what is happening underneath the crisis. It is a real virus that I want to take seriously, yet not allow my emotional response acting as the head. Fear is power that can be used by whomever is in control. That is a fact, whether or not you believe our authorities are abusing their power in this case or not. When the masses are afraid of sickness and dying (and I am not disputing that they are), leaders can take advantage of the situation easily bending your will to their agenda.

We need wisdom right now. God’s people have to be discerning. I’m okay with peaceably disagreeing on this issue as long as fear is not your motivation. It is not a cavalier attitude but a deep-seated trust in God actively at work. This might be His judgment. We might be like Daniel in Babylon. But we still can find our strength in the One who never grows tired or weary. God is still on His Throne.

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Many people are very willing to do almost anything they think might protect them from COVID-19 when faced with their own mortality. Of course no one wants to die, but for the unbeliever this is especially unsettling. May I point you to the One who can give you temporal and eternal peace? God loved this world so much that He sent His only Son to die for us. We no longer have to live in fear or condemnation because Christ has overcome the world. He tells us to be still and trust in Him. It doesn’t mean we throw away common sense. Practice basic hygiene, stay home if you feel sick, avoid close contact with others who are sick. However, understand these measures are not your ultimate security and hope.

For every son and daughter of our Lord, He is with you, through His wonderful Comforter, the Holy Spirit. God has also given us His Word which feeds our souls, guiding us in wisdom. Take comfort in this truth and be at peace.

 

Grace upon grace,

April

 

 

 

 

 

A Broken World

“The heresy of heresies was common sense.” -George Orwell (1984)

I’ve floundered for words lately. The language to my thoughts seems elusive like grasping the wind. But here’s a shot anyway.

Going into the grocery store and retail stores I keep thinking how we seem like human robots. Faceless masked strangers walk by, staring straight ahead. The increased violence in the streets of cities has all of us on edge. There’s tension in the air wherever you go. The verse that says,¬†“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12) comes to mind¬†a lot these days. There is a deeper issue which has wormed into the fabric in how we function as a society. What amazes me is how fast we spiraled down. Maybe I was like the proverbial frog in a pot, slowly held over boiling water, not realizing how far we had already fallen as a godless nation. Just like that, the Lord says¬†ENOUGH. This is His judgement.

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Even though most of us have never experienced anything like this rapidly changing dystopian world, it’s a cycle repeated throughout history. Kingdoms rise and fall. Jeremiah prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem because of their rebellion. The word of the Lord came to him as God declared He would no longer tolerate their abominations, defiling His Name¬†(Jeremiah 32:30-34).

I’ve been angry watching the news the last few months, from excessive Coronavirus regulations, untimely deaths, riots, fear, and overall wickedness ruling the day. Our liberties and sound minds have been slowly stripped away. It’s too much. I’m emotionally wrung out like the tired dishtowel by my kitchen sink. What can we do about it? If you’re like me, I’ve been feeling pretty helpless. There is a quote I’ve heard which goes like this:¬†“It is better to light a¬†candle than to curse the darkness.”

Christian, we need wisdom. The world does not love the things of God. May we hold onto discernment and look for truth in Scripture before turning on the news. Be informed but not easily swayed. Looting a Target store, burning down someone’s business, killing bystanders, shooting a retired police officer is not “protesting”. It’s sin without restraint and it is NOT the answer. This must stop. The lawlessness of the protestors resembles the lawless act of Derek Chauvin and the 3 officers that stood by, rather than mourning the death of George Floyd.

More than arguing over the color of our skin, we are showing the color of our hearts. Sin blinds us. Hatred only begets more hatred and what is the endgame here?

We can be the light shining in ever increasing darkness by speaking the truth to our brothers and sisters in Christ plainly. God created diversity in our appearances which is marvelous. Yet the only race that matters is the human race. Before we are black, brown or white we are all human, bearing the image of our Creator. Furthermore, there is no distinction for those in Christ. One group is not better or less than another. We are One in the Body of His Church and should act like it (Colossians 3:5-14). Christ is everything and He dwells in every. single. believer.

We should also pray. It seems like the Sunday school answer but prayer is powerful. In Revelation it is recorded how the prayers of the saints are incense before the Heavenly throne room, kept in golden bowls (Revelation 5:8). God hears the prayers of His people.

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Lastly, we practice trusting the Lord to be faithful to His children living in modern Babylon. He is our only Hope. What we know to be true about God is still true in the bad times as well as the good.

“For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” (Psalm 100:5)

Fear and hatred are contagious. Yet believers have the antidote. This broken world will always need to hear the Gospel. Jesus is what every sinner needs.¬†Have courage despite what the world thinks of you. You are never more secure in Christ. Be His reflection and persevere. If you aren’t accepted by the world because of standing for Biblical justice and righteousness then you’re doing it right¬†(Matthew 5:11-16).

“Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated¬†the false prophets. But¬†I tell you who hear Me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:26-27)

“He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of His saints.” (Proverbs 2:7-8)

Grace upon grace,

April

 

Judgment to Restoration

Exodus 21:22-23:13; Psalm 29; Proverbs 7:6-23; Matthew 24:1-28

 

“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the¬†first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” -Romans 8:22-23

Along with the Ten Commandments, God instituted a standard of living among the Israelites. Like today, we’ve been given commands for how to act with integrity toward each other and abstain from spiritual adultery.¬†“Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips” (Exodus 23:13).¬†God alone is to be worshipped.

It’s interesting to observe the contrast in God’s will for us versus the natural bent we have toward sin. Moses wrote down the Lord’s system of order and peace. In the end, a life outside His will leads not only to our own destruction but the breakdown of society.¬†Where moral corruption exists, divine judgement follows. Deception of false Christs, blind leaders, wars, famine, abortion, earthquakes, open hostility and persecution are the norm- for now. Jesus Christ rules and will judge everything.

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One day His final judgment will undo the tangled knot of sorrow. Sin does not triumph. The world and the relationships God had in mind for us in Eden will be made true again. Jesus has already conquered death, yet we wait in the “already and not yet” season as God fulfills future promises. In the meantime, the Bible speaks of our weariness and groaning, along with creation, for everything to be made right because deep down we know it isn’t supposed to be this way. We see the devastation sin has done to the world and our lives. Take heart because this is not the end of our Story. Believers look forward to the most wonderful Day when we receive our resurrected bodies no longer tainted by sickness, sin or death. As we live in the middle of the Fall, between Genesis 3 and Revelation 21, God promises to “[give] strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace” (Psalm 29:11).¬†Jesus will restore, making all things new, but first God must refine, judging the dross. If you are in Christ, the Lord is on your side. Who can be against you?

 

Grace upon grace,

April

I asked the Lord that I might grow

I’m often fond of asking the Lord to help me “grow deeper” in my love and faith for Him. I pray this over others as well. But I’m keenly aware of what this generally means. Personal growth usually results from suffering. From small inconveniences to life altering ones, these trials are the sandpaper to our sanctification.

Jason and I have this poem/hymn, I asked the Lord if I might grow, written by John Newton kept on the side of our refrigerator. Its something I stop and read every now and then reminding myself that bearing fruit comes from struggle. As with the global health crisis we are all experiencing right now in some way, God sometimes lovingly afflicts us to get our attention- off ourselves, off distractions, off our idols, to turn back to Him.

For believers this is a grace into repentance and restored fellowship with our Father. For unbelievers this is an opportunity to humbly come to our Great God and Savior! The result from such actions will look like a deepening dependence on Him.

Newton, a former slave trader and best known for his hymn¬†Amazing Grace, understood 1 Peter 1:6-7, the implications of suffering as spiritual refinement:¬†“though now for a little while you may have¬†had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine, and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

How has the Lord graciously peeled back the layers of spiritual apathy, pride, habitual sins or busyness in your life? We all have the precious gift of slowing down right now as so many things have been stripped away. Being still is hard for us. We may not like what we see if we’re honest.

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God is actively at work in COVID-19 of which there may be many purposes I won’t get into here. But one might just be to turn your eyes back to Jesus. Will you go to Him? Is He your life? Heart examination is uncomfortable, especially admitting where I fall short. But man is it necessary- ultimately for our good. God opposes the proud but will give grace to the humble. So be encouraged in your hardships right now. The undergrowth could make way for a deeper intimacy with the King of the Universe. And isn’t He worth it?

This is the poem John Newton penned:

I asked the Lord that I might grow 

In faith, and love, and every grace; 

Might more of His salvation know,

And seek more earnestly His face.

 

‘Twas He who taught me thus to pray;

And He, I trust, has answered prayer:

But it has been in such a way

As almost drove me to despair.

 

I hoped that in some favored hour, 

At once He’d grant me my request;

And, by His love’s constraining power,

Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

 

Instead of this, He made me feel

The hidden evils of my heart,

And let the angry powers of hell

Assault my soul in every part.

 

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed 

Intent to aggravate my woe;

Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,

Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

 

Lord, why is this? I trembling cried;

Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?

‘Tis in this way, the Lord replied,

I answer prayer for grace and faith.

 

These inward trials I employ

From self and pride to set thee free,

To break thy schemes of worldly joy,

That thou mayest seek thy all in Me.

 

I’ll leave you with another hymn, this time a modern one written and sung by Keith and Kristyn Getty called ‘The Lord is My Salvation”. It ties in well with the theme of heart affliction. I pray you know the depth and supernatural love of God in your own life. Let His words of truth refresh you today.

 

Grace upon grace,

April

Dear refuge of my weary soul,

As I was reading through my Devotional Psalter¬†in Psalm 62, this hymn-writer in the commentary grabbed my attention. I’ve never heard of Anne Steele, but her life is remarkable. She experienced loss and heartache over her lifetime yet penned deeply wise words. Anne lost her mother when she was three, then became an invalid after an injury early in life. Her fianc√© tragically drowned in a river the day before their wedding! How is it we can keep going like Anne, in the midst of anxiety, loss, financial strain, disease, political wars, and weariness?

Her answer was to look to God. She saw Him as her Refuge.

“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation. He alone is my Rock and my Salvation, my Fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.” (Psalm 62:1-2)

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This is the hymn Anne was able to write because of where she placed her hope. My desire is you are encouraged and ministered to today, with these words, and by remembering Who is holding onto you.

Dear refuge of my weary soul,

On Thee, when sorrows rise,

On Thee, when waves of trouble roll,

My fainting hope relies.

To Thee I tell each rising grief,

For Thou alone canst heal; 

Thy Word can bring a sweet relief

For every pain I feel.

Hast Thou not bid me seek Thy face,

And shall I seek in vain?

And can the ear of sovereign grace

Be deaf when I complain?

No, still the ear of sovereign grace 

Attends the mourner’s prayer;

O may I ever find access

To breathe my sorrows there.

Anne Steele (1716-1778)

Grace upon grace,

April

A Grateful Perspective

What are you thankful for right now?

I posted this question on Facebook a few days ago and quite a few people commented. The answers were simple (but important) things too, like family, health, food, and slowing down. Isn’t it interesting how we get back to the basics when trials come? Our perspective changes on what we value most.

There are plenty of things that will keep us up at night right now. One thing I’ve found to help when I get anxious or fearful is to name my blessings. What has the Lord given you? ¬†Just the fact we have breath in our lungs is cause for celebration. God is still Good. This is something worth remembering when we despair.

Lately when Jason and I put Jesse to bed we each name one thing we are thankful for that day. It can be the same thing from the day before. It doesn’t matter. What matters is remembering our blessings at the end of every day. Jesse has started to get the hang of this new question and actually said he was thankful for “mom and dad, play outside with me!” YA’LL. My mama heart actually melted.

This has been tough for everyone on the entire planet. If we are to be sustainable for however long this lasts, we have to take a different perspective other than gloom and doom. It just isn’t healthy. As Christians, there is a difference in facing our mortality with solemnity versus running around with your hair on fire. Acknowledge the reality of this serious virus, take precautions, then live, and keep a grateful heart. Our new normal has caused tears and laughter over here. So as I write this I’m trying to practice too what I believe honors the Lord.

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I’d love to hear what you are thankful for right now. Big or small blessings, it allows us to open our eyes and see God is still taking care of us. If you choose to leave a comment I think it would also encourage others to hear what you are grateful for ūüôā

Today, I’m thanking the Lord for the beautiful spring weather in Alabama! After lots of consecutive days with rain and gray blah, today is literally a breath of fresh air. The windows are open and I can hear birds singing to each other. For now, we at least get to play outside in our yard which is more than some can do at this time.

Take heart, the Lord is Sovereign and He still reigns- even over Coronavirus.

Grace upon grace,

April