Month: October 2016

The Red & The Blue 09

Taking a stand is a tough, but a very important thing. Learning not to die on unimportant hills is a part of the strategic decision. Sometimes we deploy our forces and energies over such a wide territory that we have no strength left to go deep when we need to do so.

An elderly lady stood on her front porch outside her palatial, southern home during Sherman’s siege of Atlanta during the Civil War. Defiantly, she stood through sporadic gun and cannon fire, caring for her family home. And then, when the troops came to take her home as headquarters, she still stood on the porch, defiant to the invaders on her property, hand on her hips and an inverted broom in her hand. The ranking officer came to her and said, “Ma’am, we are coming to take your home in the name of the Union army. You surely don’t mean to hold off the whole army with a broom, do you?” And she looked at the young man and said, “No son, I don’t. But I just wanted everybody to know which side I was on.”

Sometimes, we must take sides. There are multiple issues confronting our culture today that must be addressed with courage and civility, yet with firmness. We have, as the people of God, sat far too long on the fence on important issues that now disrupt and even threatened to tear down the fabric of our culture. We have feared letting the world and the culture know “which side we’re on.”

What do you stand for that, while you may never see a clear victory won, you still are willing to take a stand? What issues burden you? Confront you? And as yet, you have done nothing to change them? Which side are you standing on?

During World War II, the pastors of German churches were brought in for meetings with the newly elected leader, a man named Adolf Hitler. With a combination of charm and demonic mania, Hitler addressed the pastors in the room and finished with this: “You handle the church. I will handle the state. We will get along fine. I am your Fuhrer.”

One pastor in the room, a man named Martin Niemöller, was said to have quietly spoken into the silence of the room when Hitler had finished. He said, “Herr Hitler, you are not my fuhrer. (leader) God is my Fuhrer.”

Every man in the room physically moved away from Niemöller at that moment. He stood alone. And he continued to stand alone, even when Hitler’s SS troops dragged him away to prison. Every man in the room in that moment, and eventually every Christian in Germany, knew where this pastor stood.

It’s time we find our ground and having done all else, take our stand as the winds of the world blow against us. God honors that stand.

And He’ll know which side you’re on.

For Meditation: And having done all… stand.    Ephesians 6:13

For Reflection: What we refuse to stand against, we will fall for… every time.

The Red & The Blue 08

Our Great God and Father,

We stand these days in momentous and troubling times. Our nation faces a decision that will speak to the future direction of our political process for some time to come. We are a divided, disunited people… discouraged with the political process as it has gone forward in these months. We have shifted far from the foundation laid in the earliest days of our nation, when Puritans landed here in search of freedom of worship and freedom of expression. We have forgotten the sacrifices made by so many to purchase the nation we are privileged to live in, and have allowed its precious freedoms to be taken from us one by one.

And in the midst of this land, Lord, we Your people have ceased to call on Your name… to humble ourselves and pray…and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways. We no longer acknowledge that sin is sin and it grieves Your heart and betrays Your Holiness. We have trampled underfoot the plight of the unborn, the cry of the orphan and the call to give refuge to the immigrant among us.

We tolerate injustice… in the name of political correctness.
We tolerate impurity… in the name of freedom of expression.
We tolerate corruption in the highest offices of our land… and call it political advantage.
We disregard our laws… and call it individuality.

But You Lord, have eyes that see clearly. You see the vomiting of pornography into our land and You despise it. You see the grip of drug addiction raking our people and You long to set the captive free. You hear the weeping of the helpless child, sexually trafficked in our nation’s ports, and do not turn Your ear away.

And in the midst of this, Lord, we Your people have blended in making friendships with the world. We are silent when we should speak up. We are timid when Your Spirit was given to make us bold. We should be witnesses, but sadly we are not distinct.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. We want to live in a nation that honors You again. We truly do. Help us not to give up hope that such a day may come again… and may it come soon. There is too much at stake. The hour is dark.

Like Daniel of old, may we take our stand FIRST on our knees before You in confession…

And then stand before this world with the Word of Your testimony in our mouth.

God, we want You to make our country great again. We really do.

But first, make Your church…Your people… what we need to be and should always have been…

… before You.

The Red & The Blue 07

“No man is an island, entire of himself,” John Donne wrote. That is also true of preaching and preachers and authors. We all “stand on the shoulders” of others, either through our education or the influence of books, articles and now the constant inflow of blogs, Twitter feeds and YouTube.

While I will not claim that I am “standing on the shoulders” of great preachers and thinkers, I have certainly looked over the shoulders of some. In mid-July, following the heightened fervor of the election gaining steam, I became convicted that I needed to speak to the issue. I never have before. In fact, I have intentionally avoided political issues in the past through my preaching and public columns and writing.

I did not feel comfortable continuing with that stance this year. Not for this election. And so began a “crash course” in my listening, conversations and reading. I have tried to listen to an even-handed input of media to gather information about the candidates. I have read and listened to men of God whom I respect and several of whom I personally know as they wrote, spoke and tweeted the issues online.

Among those I heard and read include the great Baptist theologian Carl F. H. Henry, his protégée, Dr. Russell Moore (our current Ethics and Religious Liberty Director for the SBC), Drs. Al Mohler, Jason Allen and Matt Smith who lead some of our flagship educational institutions and Dr. James Garlow, who pastors Skyline Church in California. I have further heard the teachings of Dr. James E White, Dr. David Jeremiah and Dr. Robert Jeffress of Dallas, Texas. Much of my thinking and processing of information was filtered through the input of these individuals… I am confident there are others as well. They have influenced my thinking and my preaching over the past few weeks.

Biblically I have walked again through the Book of Daniel, the Gospels and the Letters of Paul as they spoke to the issues of Christians and authority, how we relate to government and our obligation of Christian citizenship. This has helped to keep my balance through the smoke and chaos of media coverage and political spin machines.

But in all of this it has become enormously apparent to me again that ultimately we must seek God in prayer and earnestness, in repentance on behalf of a nation that has lost its purpose and focus on the Lord our God, and to trust that He will lead His people to do what is right in the election booth.

If we will not we will succumb to one of three fallacies:

  1. To grow discouraged and apathetic. This sadly has happened to so many of our younger generations, some of whom are able to vote for the very first time. It can be so overwhelming to listen to the cacophony of voices calling to us in this season that we just no longer care… or want to participate.
  2. To grow outraged and angry. It is easy to be threatened by changes we see on the horizon that are in opposition to our values or to the security of our future as we believe needs to happen. We can lash out in ways that are inappropriate and not Christlike.
  3. To misplace our hope. We sometimes over-expect of the power of what a political candidate can do or bring to pass, or place inappropriate hope in the success of a political party and forget that only God can bring ultimate security, peace and provision.
  4. To forget that, on November 9, God will still be in control. He will still be Sovereign, even when the world sometimes seems to be spinning out of control.

If we forget this, we will give in to the twin tormentors of anxiety and fear. God is a great King. Our ultimate loyalty is due Him, not a politician or political process.

And He alone can be depended upon to rule us well.

FOR MEDITATION: God reigns over the nations; God is seated on His holy throne. Psalm 47:8

FOR REFLECTION: Where is your hope placed today? The old hymn reminds us, “Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.” To place our hope for the future anywhere else is to build on sinking sand. We must now, more than ever, trust in the Lord who alone is our solid rock.

The Red & The Blue 05

Government and the necessary outgrowth of politics that surround it are a reality we all must…and need to live with in one form or the other.  Someone said that if we all angels, we wouldn’t need government.  But we are not all angels, nor are those who lead us.

I have visited countries that are led by socialists, I have been in a meeting in the headquarters of the Communist Party in Havana, I have driven through literal “kingdoms” led by sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and I have been in nations struggling to keep democratic leadership in place.  Some nations I have seen have overthrown dictators, some were still under them, and others have never seen the inside of an election booth or experienced any semblance of participatory government such as we know in America….a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

As messy as this election season has become and as jaded as many, especially our younger elements, have become, we need to remind ourselves and others around us again of the amazing privilege we have been given to do what we are doing on November 8.  While there are obviously elements of this campaign that are distorting and blurring the truth the election process itself has checks and balances that seek to ensure its integrity.

It’s a dangerous thing, I feel,  to fail to exercise this incredible right we have.  A good brother asked me recently, “is it a sin for a Christian not to vote?”  Now if that is a question of “is there chapter and verse we can point to that says we have to do this?” then the answer is NO.  The idea of democracy was not really spelled out in the Bible, and an ethic for living as a Christian in our kind of political reality was not addressed.  Many things that are ethical issues are not.  Certainly neglecting the vote is not a moral issue.  Many have, for conscience sake,  refrained from voting for candidates they felt were not best for our nation.

But there is more than simple morality at stake here.  If two candidates were proposing ideological issues in their platforms that are in direct contradiction to the Word of God, would it be unethical or immoral to refuse to vote for either candidate?  Of course not.  And if both candidates in an election involving just two choices were proposing issues that are in conflict with the teaching of God’s Word, would it be unethical to refuse to vote for either?  Again, we know the answer is no.  Our system allows us an open ballot to vote for whom we think best.

The question then becomes, where will the Christian voice best be heard?  Our absence from voting will be interpreted as apathy, not a stand for our conviction.  To abstain from voting if you are able on this election day is a violation of our calling to be ‘salt and light’ in this period of history….it is a failure to be people who ‘seek the peace” of the city God has called us to live in, and a choice to walk away from our responsibility of Christian citizenship, as is spelled out in Romans 13:6-7.  We must also remember that there are many issues and other candidates down ticket in this election that go beyond a presidential election.  These candidates and issues will determine the values in America for years to come.

Again, it will not be an easy choice for some.   The candidates before us have spelled out their value systems on the campaign trail and through the General Election debates.  We must now pray much….and discern God’s direction as we enter the voting booth on November 8.

And may God guide us by His Spirit to the candidate He has appointed for this time in our history.

FOR MEDITATION:  “The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; he guides it wherever he pleases.”  (Proverbs 21:1)

FOR REFLECTION:  Our destiny as Christians is not in the hands of an elected political official, but in God’s hands.  “And the government will be upon His shoulders, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  (Isaiah 9:6-7)

The Red & the Blue 04

Can America be great again?

Some would argue, “it’s pretty great now.” Others would, of course, respectfully disagree with that assessment. If you side with those who say, “it needs to be better,” there is a sliding scale of where we would say the downward spiral began.

Some would point the needle back to the days of Watergate and the decline of confidence in institutions and, particularly, in our government. Others would note the Roe v Wade decision legalizing abortion, which has resulted since that day in an estimated 59 million babies being aborted. Still others would point to issues involving Wall Street scandals, or economic downturns, or wars, or the deconstruction of the Biblical family, or countless internal political scandals.
Wherever we might place our finger on the pages of American history and say, “There. It happened there,” the fact still remains that we are not the same people we used to be….and may never be again.

So what will we be in the future? We cannot go back to what some see as the “heyday” of the 50’s or even the days when “the Greatest Generation” saved the world from Nazi occupation and domination.

We must go forward. But where? Do we have a chance to be “great” again? I truly want to believe the answer is a resounding yes. But we can’t be the same again. And we will not become great due to a political process, or new laws being enacted, or even old ones being rewritten.

The French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville visited America in the early 1800’s. He is famously known for saying in reflecting on his visit to America that “America is great because America is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” As the product of a culture that had become almost wholly secularized and was built on a foundation that rejected morality and religion, the moral foundation of America impressed him deeply. Indeed, we were a great nation. And he was right. If we cease to be good, we will cease to be great.
America was great….and can be again….IF.

History is replete with examples of the foundation on which our greatness as a nation was built. John Adams, our second president, wrote “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

When our country was born, 99% of the populace called themselves Christian. Children’s textbooks, like The McGuffy Reader, taught children to read by teaching them the Bible. The government approved and printed the textbooks! Congress used to convene each session with a three hour prayer meeting.  In 1920 (four years after the founding of Planned Parenthood) The Washington Post deplored the casualty and moral downward spiral that would come if a sexual revolution took place in America. They were right.

America was great because it was built on a rock that could not be shaken. But we have removed ourselves from that foundation, and sought to build another on the shifting sand of freedom from moral restraints, and the ultimate god of individual self-fulfillment. The Psalmist lamented, “If the foundations are destroyed, what will the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)
Sadly I believe we have relegated and deferred to the role of politics the responsibility that the people of the land alone should take. We are looking in this election, not for a political leader for the White House, but for a savior. This, by any definition, becomes a form of idolatry.

While we cannot turn back the hands of time to a simpler time, there are some things that must happen for our country to be truly great again:

  1. IF the people of God will lead the revolution to greatness by our wholesale return to God…on our knees, in repentance and in prayer;
  2. IF we will commit to stand in intercession and prayer, not just for the upcoming election, but for the leader God sovereignly allows to be placed in office. Whether we like them or not;
  3. IF the church will recommit our efforts to evangelize and aggressively share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with a nation that has forgotten Who God really is; and,
  4. IF we will live as “salt and light” in our personal walk and relationship with God as we engage a fallen culture around us. Our lifestyle will speak loudly when our words cannot be heard.

Let me say it firmly again:  Our nation will not become great again because of a political leader or the implementation of a political agenda or platform. We are a great nation in many ways, and are still the greatest nation on earth, but we must sadly admit we are far from what we could be…and are moving in the wrong direction.
The thing that made us unique is still the thing that can make us great again. We will become great again because we have become a nation of people who are good….because we honor, hear, and repent and obey the voice of God.   To do otherwise is to inch ever closer to judgment….

….and the loss of any chance to be truly great again.

FOR MEDITATION: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Prov 14:34)

FOR REFLECTION: Does your life…your influence….contribute to America being better…or worse? Will you commit to being a person who helps America become the nation that God desires for us to be by your prayerful vote and a commitment to pray for the next 20 days for God’s will to be done in this election process?

The Red & The Blue 03

We are ambassadors for Christ. I do not run in political circles and have only interacted with one ambassador… a man from a European country in the Balkans. He was a believer and a preacher as well, and at one time had held political office there. We had him in our church a couple of years ago on a Sunday evening. His coming was set up at the last minute and I agreed to go pick him up at his hotel. At the arranged time I showed up out front to meet him… in my Toyota Tacoma pickup that I was driving that evening. What the person who arranged his visit failed to tell me was that his wife had come with him. That was fine but my Tacoma only had fold-down, jump seats in the back and she was not a small woman. It wasn’t pretty getting her back there but he insisted that he wanted to sit up front. She said she’d been in worse. I thought, “yeah, in a Third World country.”

But anyway…Webster’s New World Dictionary defines the role of an ambassador as being, “the highest ranking diplomat representing another country.” An ambassador is sent by the ranking political authorities of one nation to live in another. The role we play as Christians living in a “foreign country” called the United States of America is the role of ambassadors for another Kingdom.

As such, we represent the customs, the language, the ideals and values of that land that we have not yet seen or lived in. Yet, that is where our citizenship lies. (Philippians 3:20). And we must continually ask ourselves an important question: What kind of ambassador am I? Am I seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness? Am I seeking to see others be “reconciled to God” as my responsibility, my mission?

Do I reflect the “customs, language (!) and values” of where my citizenship lies first in my life? Or have I convinced myself that this world I currently live in IS my home? Are we more concerned that our opinions about political matters be heard, even if we compromise our role as ambassadors in the process?

Certainly we have a unique, dual citizenship as Christians. As such, we must participate in the things that make our nation a better place for all to live, including elections. But in the midst of a controversial and volatile election, we must remember where our first loyalty lies… where our first priority lies…

…with a Kingdom from another world.

FOR MEDITATION: We are ambassadors for Christ.    2 Corinthians 5:20

FOR REFLECTION: How can you stand for and be involved in the political process and yet maintain your balance and priority as a Kingdom citizen? One need not negate the other. Standing in the gap, while hard, is essential.

Special Edition

It has now been over three months since a little heartstealer named McCail Violet (or “little Vi” as her great grandparents call her) came into our lives… effectively turning them upside down and inside out. I have gone from being “Pastor Tim” to “Poppy Tim” and the transformation, though still unfolding, has been radical. As I shared with you in an earlier post, I have never been a “baby holder.” While I liked babies, I have never been comfortable holding children… especially someone else’s.

From that I have been transformed into a person… (and judging by the faces I make when I talk to her) a CRAZY person … who gets JEALOUS when someone else gets to hold her and I’m nearby. And one of the most joyful experiences of my life comes when she sees me… and smiles. I used to think it might have been random. Now I know it’s my face that she recognizes… and I think she likes me! I love how her little head feels when she lays it on my shoulder. I just like to sit and look at her.

And I love to hold her when she’s napping. That’s when I’m at my best! I love it when she grabs my finger or when she reaches for my face. I confess again that I didn’t think this “grandparenting” role would affect us like it has… but it has. And we’re hopeless, her Mamaw and I. We clock our days around when was the “last time” we saw her and when is the “next time” we get to see her. In between times, we look for pictures or Instagram or Facebook posts.

When I get the opportunity to hold her and have a quiet moment to study her little face, and see the perfection of her fingers and toes and the deep blue of her eyes, I see some wonderful things.

I see her mother and her father. I see two incredible people who have thrown themselves fully into being the best parents this child could ever have. Dave and Logan have so gone beyond the definition of “a good Mom and Dad” that it astounds me. As much as I love to hold her, I love seeing her being cared for by her parents. I see their faces… my son’s and Logan’s expressions and features and mannerisms… etched into her personality already. My pride in seeing my son protectively and attentively hold his daughter is beyond measure. In every sense of the word, they are raising her so well and I know they will one day put her little hand into the hand of Jesus as she follows Him as Lord.

I see her heritage. I see the Maynard family and Pamela’s blue eyes and I see the Cubilla family and their heritage as her grandparents. No child comes into being without the family that has gone before. And McCail Violet has been enthusiastically welcomed into this world surrounded by a family of grandparents, aunts and uncles and great- grandparents who deeply love her.

And I see the future. When I look into the precious face of this little joy-full bundle, I feel hopeful. The cynicism and skepticism and despair that can overshadow all of our lives at times is washed away in the face of this child. God gives us children in part, I believe, to renew hope within us. To show us that life is stronger than death. And to show us that God is still with us and for us… creating, renewing, restoring.

But I also see a wise Creator. I see a Father God who intricately and amazingly “knit” McCail together in her mother’s womb, as the Psalmist phrased it. He connected every nerve ending, and wired every artery and every synapse of her brain. He made her sweet eyes, crafted her perfect face and He knows how many hairs are on her head and what her first boyfriend’s name will be. (Wait… how did that last part get in there?) How could anyone… ANYONE… hold this miraculous bundle of life in their arms and doubt the existence of an All Wise Creator God?

So yes, we are transformed, her Mamaw and I. McCail is trying to talk now… she’s holding up her head and she’s almost ready to turn over on her own… and she’s growing every day.

And we are thankful for that. But not too quickly, dear granddaughter of mine… please…

Not too quickly.

The Red & The Blue 02

Before his death, Francis Schaeffer wrote a number of books compelling Christian people to think about what it means to live our faith in a fallen culture.  His words in his most famous works, The God Who is There, and  How Shall We Now Live?  give us a thoughtful approach as the world continues to “tighten the noose” around our faith.

How do we now live in a world that is antithetical to everything we believe?  Some felt that evangelical Christianity had a soulmate in the Republican party but that illusion has been mostly shattered.  We are, indeed, no longer the “moral majority” in America.  Politics will not “swing” the vote of the world in our favor.

We must become more comfortable with being the outliers in our culture, not the driving force that makes us mainstream in acceptance and thought.  We are more akin to bands of guerilla fighters, seeking to live against the ruling regime of this world.

Some, in panic, have chosen to capitulate and become traitors… selling their souls to the world for the highest bid.  They have caved in first this moral issue, and then on that other ethical decision, and finally became indistinguishable from the world around us.  They literally have become “spiritual chameleons,” choosing to blend in rather than stand out.

So how shall we now live?

Others have “hunkered down” in fear and tried to keep a low profile so as not to be discovered and called out as followers of “that man,” as Peter was accused in the courtyard of Caiaphas.  We would rather the world “like us” than to take a chance of having to defend why we are different.  Popularity becomes more important than spiritual integrity; acceptance of the world more valuable than the “well done” of our King.

So how shall we now live in such a world without becoming “of it?”  Some make the case that it’s better to be the white glove handling the “mud” of the world.  They call it witnessing.  They want the “mud” to accept them as part of it.  It always ends up with a muddy glove, never “glovey mud.”  The Bible calls such living “compromise.”

We are frequently called in Scripture to “love the world,” but cautioned not to love “the things that are in the world.”  The Bible warns us that “friendship with the world is enmity with God.”  While “God so loved the world,” He did not love the world system, the world’s culture that is continually polluted by the enemy of our souls.

Our challenge, then, is to love people unconditionally… even those who disagree with us and seek us harm.  We are to “love our enemies” and to “pray for those who spitefully use us.”  But we are not compelled to live like them or to sell our soul for their friendship and acceptance.  Now, more than ever, this slice of the world called the United States needs a bold, prophetic MINORITY who will stand up and stand out and be counted not matter what it costs us.

When my walk with Christ first began in the mid-70s, I was deeply influenced by a Brooklyn-born songwriter named Keith Green.  Keith didn’t just sing songs about standing up and standing out and being different.  He did these things.  He stood against the prevailing culture of the music industry that had sold its soul to Wall Street.  He refused to further that cause and started giving his albums away to those who couldn’t afford to purchase them.

My favorite album cover shows a man standing alone in a crowd that is bowing down before a powerful monarch.  The scene is drawn from behind so there are no faces seen.  That image has haunted me since that day.  As I look at it, I always wonder.  When the time comes to stand… will I?

We are coming close to the day when we are going to have to choose to bow to the world or to stand for Jesus.  And then, each of us will have to make our choice.   How shall we now live?

My prayer is that we will live… and stand… for Jesus.

FOR MEDITATION:  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  1 John 2:15

FOR REFLECTION:    In this troubling election season, believers must pray and seek to discern the voice and direction of God more than ever.  How shall we now live?  Let your answer be reflected in the decisions you make each day… as well as on Election Day.


Prayer that Prevails 08

Waiting a storm out is never easy. The “cone of uncertainty ” that we live with is frustrating at best and fear inducing at worst.

Yet we serve the Lord of all the earth who keeps those who serve Him in a “cone of certainty” that His hand will prevail even though the seas rage and the mountains fall. (Psalm 46)

In the midst of our uncertainty, we must focus our eyes on Him; our hearts and our minds must rest in Him. “Be still and know…” He is the Lord.

And whatever the storms of life bring we can have peace knowing that He controls every step. Every turn of the storm. Every drop of rain and every gust of wind.

In that we can know with certainty that whatever the “cone of uncertainty ” we call life brings…

He is in control!

FOR MEDITATION: Be anxious for nothing but in everything with prayer and supplication make your requests known to God. Philippians 4:6-7

FOR REFLECTION: In the aftermath of this storm pray for those who have already experienced loss and for our role in helping them to rebuild.

Prayer that Prevails 07

During World War 2, the people of London lived with the constant threat of enemy bombardment and strafing of city streets. My father-in-law, Leonard Sloas, was in the Army Air Corps during those harrowing days when the Nazis were still trying to retain their hold over the city. V2 rockets would fly overhead, dropping their devastating payload on citizens and soldiers alike.

One day, it is told, a school girl was walking home from class when the wail of the air raid sirens pierced the air. As she had been taught, she dropped her books where she stood and ran home as quickly as she could as low-flying German aircraft flew overhead, engaged in battle with the Royal Air Force.

When she and her sister arrived home, their father quickly took them into the darkness and safety of the bomb shelter below their home. Once there and safe, she laid her head in tears on her father’s shoulder, and asked through her sobs a question: “Daddy, can we go someplace where there is no sky?”

We feel sometimes as though “the sky is falling” as our world rapidly changes with ISIS insurgency, the cultural and moral changes sweeping in around us, storms pounding nations to our south and earthquakes threatening our west coast. How much more can our “sky” endure? As I write this blog post, the National Hurricane Center has placed Jacksonville in their “cone of uncertainty” for a hit by Hurricane Matthew.

But the reality is, all of us live in a “cone of uncertainty” when it comes to this world and this life. And while the Bible does not offer false hope that things will get better and better, it does offer the ultimate hope for the believer-that one day the “eastern sky” will split as the King of Kings and Lord of Heaven’s armies returns. On that day, the sky will no longer bring a threat except to those who have refused to own Jesus as their Lord.

Until then, we wait. But we do not wait hopelessly… but hopeful for the day when the sky brings only eternal day. When the storm clouds have passed.

When the Kingdom comes and God’s will is fully done.

FOR MEDITATION: For you do not know the day or the hour when your Lord will come.   Matthew 24:42

FOR REFLECTION: The next time you are tempted to collapse in despair over the conditions and circumstances in our world, ask yourself one important question: Where does your hope ultimately lie?

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