So, it appears that Donald Trump is well on his way to winning the Republican nomination for President of the United States. His far right-wing views are a little scary. Bernie Sanders beat Indiana and now has a good chance of gaining the Democratic nomination. His far left-wing views are equally scary. Elections are how Americans speak, and they have spoken.
Whenever one-half of the country demands one thing, and ignore the other half of the country, or vice-versa, everybody loses. Everybody counts in America, and only compromise can bring us to the point where everybody wins.
I’m hoping this primary election will end the constant mud slinging that erodes respect for some great leaders, but stupid is as stupid does.
Whoever the winners are in November, they will have four years to practice what they preach, or the pendulum will swing even further to the other side. I’m praying God will send a revival to our land before we completely destroy ourselves in civil unrest, all demanding our way.
My Dad was a very mild-mannered man. It took a lot to get him frustrated. But he could get mad. I saw him explode just three times in my life.
The first was the day my stay-at-home Mom got so engrossed in a TV soap opera that she burned his lunch. The second was the day an encyclopedia salesman came to the door to sell us a third set of encyclopedias. The third was the day I had to tell him that I had a wreck and totaled his car.
Surely you’re laughing by now. As I look back on those incidents I laugh with you. But they were no laughing matter at the time.
Could it be that the thing that is so upsetting in your life right now is really a laughable moment? If you are a child of God, everything that happens to you had to pass through His hands to get to you. Could this be a test of your character? Turn the other cheek. Go the second mile. Forgive and be forgiven. Pass the test.
Last winter several trees fell along the fence row behind our house. Last Monday was a perfect day to work outside, so I took my chain saw back there and cut up the fallen trees to harvest some firewood and clean up the field for the farmer. It reached 80° that day and I was loading the firewood into my trailer wearing a T-shirt. About half-way through I realized that I was working where I had not yet sprayed for poison ivy. Some of the shoots were about knee high where I was picking up the cut wood.
There were no leaves on the vines yet, so I didn’t think it would be too worrisome. But about Wednesday I began to notice my right forearm and my left upper arm were itching. By Thursday I recognized I indeed did have poison ivy on both arms. Fortunately, there wasn’t much of the oil to transfer this early, so its a minor inconvenience, but not a trip to the Doctor’s office.
There are some things we can do to expose ourselves to bad results, like brushing our bare arms against a poison ivy vine, or intentionally going too far in a forbidden relationship, or bending the rules to get ahead. Does God promise to protect us from our own rebellion or foolish ways. I don’t think so. Mind your ways.
Last night we were at the Global Action Prayer & Praise Night at New Hope. Pastor A. from Indonesia was sharing with the group some things to pray for in his ministry. One of those prayer projects was to pray for a school to be established among a rural region where several families had moved to the rain forest and planted a palm oil plantation. It would be five years before the palms begin producing. In the meantime, these families must live off the land. The children have no school at all. Pastor A. challenged the teenagers at the meeting (about 40) to pray for a school for the children. He asked if there was a teen-ager who would pray for that school.
One particular teen-ager raised her hand and came up to the microphone to lead the prayer. She is a bus kid (new Christian) and I didn’t recognize her. As it turns out, she is a very shy girl who had never led a prayer with the youth before. She surprised everyone by volunteering. And she prayed a very good prayer. Not polished, but she touched the heart of God. I was so proud of her.
Could it be that we adults are holding back our teen-agers from their destiny by doing everything for them? Perhaps we would develop a passion for God within them if we acted like we believed in them and let them chase God on their own terms. Let’s all be praying about this.
Pastor A. from Indonesia met yesterday with our staff to field questions we had about him or Indonesia. I told him that the divorce rate in America is at about 50% of marriages, and asked him to tell us about the marriage success rate in Indonesia.
He mentioned that there is an area in northern Indonesia that has a strong Christian presence. He said it is also well known to have the highest divorce rate in the populous nation. It was obvious that he was tying the Christian influence with the divorce rate. That’s troublesome.
We asked what his church was doing to address the ongoing problem. The answer: Every couple seeking marriage must meet for 15 pre-marital counseling sessions with an older couple in the church. These sessions cover every aspect of marriage from communication and finances to family planning. And it doesn’t come from pastors, but from experienced lay people who are open to discuss their own mistakes and failings. Because of a strong family culture, both sets of parents are pulled into the counseling, as well. And this older couple has the power to say no to the marriage if they feel it is not a good fit. And the divorce rate is very low.
Seeing things from another culture can be eye-opening and challenge us to do things the biblical way.
Last week I drove to Chicago to officiate the funeral of the young man murdered two weeks ago in Angola. I do not like Chicago driving, but knew I had to do it. I entered the address of the north Chicago funeral home into the GPS of my cell phone and took off. I did not realize the drain GPS puts on a cell phone. By the time I was four miles from my exit off I-90 the battery went dead. I did not own a car charger and I did not know where I was going.
I had noted the exit I was to use (47-C onto Belmont), but then I was lost. So, I asked some directions and spent 30 minutes driving in circles until I finally found the place 30 minutes before I was to speak. A little stressful, to say the least. But all went well and I think I comforted the family and friends.
On the way back I stopped at a Walgreen’s and bought a car charger. I should have remembered my old Boy Scout Motto: ‘Be Prepared’. I wasn’t and paid the price.
Are you prepared for the storms that may pop up today? You may have a car charger, but do you have a spiritual charger (Holy Spirit) before you go dead? Take care of that and be prepared.
I had to arrange to get a photo ID for my mother. The nursing home arranged to transport her to the Auburn License Branch. I had to meet them there with my POA paperwork, her Birth Certificate, and Social Security card. Seems all they needed was the Social Security card. But, she also needed two proofs of residence, and we didn’t have any. No one wanted to have to bring my wheel-chair bound 89-year old mother back over here again.
So, the Laurels van driver called the Home and had them fax a copy of a bill with both her name and the address on it, and the driver signed off on a Residency Statement, as an employee, to verify that she lived there. What a lot of hoops to jump through for a little old lady just to get a photo ID.
How many ways can you prove where you live right now?
But a better question is, how many ways can you prove your future residence in heaven? Can you convince anyone else? Are you sure yourself? My documentation is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Is yours?