Share Hope

Christmas can be a joyous time for many, but so many people are hurting this Christmas. From families who have lost loved ones, to families ripped apart by sin or absentee parents, to those who have suffered unthinkable tragedy around the holidays, not everyone sees this time as the most wonderful time of the year.

I recently wrote a story on a family who lost almost everything a week before Christmas. Fortunately, some of the toys for the child were saved, but clothes, food, furniture, etc…all gone due to some freak weather that came in Saturday night, a lightning storm in the middle of winter.

So as Christians what can we do?

We can:

  1. Meet needs. Give of your time and your money. Whether it’s giving to the Salvation Army or another charity, or simply going out on the streets and talking to people. As someone who’s living in a new city, I can’t stress how much a simple conversation, whether it be about sports or even the weather, means to someone in need of friendship.
  2. Pray. Spend time in prayer for others. Pray with others. There’s no bad time to pray, and this time of year, it is just as much, if not more needed than any other time.
  3. Share the gospel. Tell people who Jesus is and why we have hope in Him. Tell people why we have joy this season, and why it’s not because of all the presents we’re receiving, but because of Jesus.

It’s easy to turn inward during the holiday season, as we look forward to being with family and friends, and receiving presents…we forget that others are not as fortunate, and forget how many people don’t know Jesus and don’t have hope this holiday season.

Lord, may we share hope this season. May we love others. May we seek to be outward and not just inward. May we glorify you by thinking of others before ourselves.

God bless,

Neal E.

 

After Election Day

I’m writing this just before 6 p.m. on Election Night, a few minutes before polls from the East Coast close. So, please don’t read this as a response to whoever is elected president. Read this as a promise from God’s Word:

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”–Romans 13:1-7

By the time you’re reading this, the United States will have elected a new president. Our country may never look the same again, and there is much worry or fear, no matter who is elected.

There is a promise and a command from God’s Word here, and I believe both help us move forward after Election Day:

Promise: The new president has come from God.

That is not equivalent to, “God affirms the new president,” but rather, speaks to the truth that God is sovereign in this and every situation, and has a plan to use this for His children’s good and His glory. Because I’m not God, I am unable to say what that plan is. But the Bible says God has a plan, and we must trust that God will use the next four years to bring about His plan for the U.S. and for the world as a whole.

God is in the business of saving people, and perhaps the next four years will create an environment where more people recognize their need for Christ. John Piper hinted at the possibility that more missionaries will leave this country for others, carrying the gospel with them. Whatever God’s plan is, we must tell Him we trust Him, want to be a part of His plan, and seek what He would have us do.

Command: We must submit to the government. We must, as long as taxes are a reality, pay taxes. We must respect the office of the president. We must do what the law says we must do.

Some will say, “What do I do now that (fill in the blank) is president?” The same thing you’ve been doing: Be a good and godly citizen and make disciples. Live for God’s glory. That task doesn’t change. Jesus doesn’t say make disciples if the political climate is favorable. Jesus says make disciples, period.

Obviously, if the time comes where we are pushed to disobey God by the government, we resist, just like first-century Christians refused to acknowledge Caesar as Lord. But until that happens, we honor the Father by honoring the president and the government, no matter who is in charge.

Being aware of God’s promise and sovereignty, and obeying His command to make disciples and submit humbly to our rulers, allows us to move forward today and every day.

Lord, may we respect the rulers you’ve given us. May we trust that you have a plan, even if we don’t fully understand it. May we trust that you are in control and may we obey you, and obey our rulers. May we look forward to your kingdom, which is perfect and without end.

God bless,

Neal E.