Hoot’s Musings

Well, I am going to do it again! Even though, I promised, and admonished, myself that I would not. Ever since the mid to late 1980’s, I have been moving toward a modified position of David Lipscomb’s view toward government and the Christian. I doubt that I every totally accept it, but there are parts that I do agree with. It has been over 25 years since I cared about a national election, but this one drew my attention.

 Understand, I was not FOR either candidate. In fact, on Facebook several times I wrote about what I viewed as problems with both of them. It shocked me, that either one of them was nominated by their political parties — feeling like that there really was not much of a choice for those who did vote. But a choice was made. The people through our republic form of government, chose the one they wanted. Since the election. there are MANY that are not happy, and the campaign rhetoric has changed to post-election rhetoric. So now, what in the world is the Christian to think and do?

 Do you remember Solomon? David’s son that was chosen by David (and God) to be his heir. Solomon’s brother, Adonijah, and some of David’s trusted advisors, made plans to put him on the throne. Adonijah’s plan did not work, and his goal did not happen.

 It was not long after that, that the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and offered Solomon anything that he wanted. Here is what Solomon asked:

 “Now, O Lord my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?” (I Kings 3:7-9, NLT)

 Now I know that because of God blessing him, Solomon became wealthy, powerful, and very smart; BUT, what he asked for was the wisdom to govern and rule the nation. It just makes sense to me, that if we want to know what a “ruler” should do, Solomon might be a good one to listen to!

 I want to share a few verses, from one of the chapters in my reading this morning — there will be very little, if any comment on them.

 “Give your love of justice to the king, O God,

and righteousness to the king’s son.

Help him judge your people in the right way;

let the poor always be treated fairly.

May the mountains yield prosperity for all,

and may the hills be fruitful.

Help him to defend the poor,

to rescue the children of the needy,

and to crush their oppressors.”

(Psalm 72:1-3, NLT)

 “May the king’s rule be refreshing like spring rain on freshly cut grass,

like the showers that water the earth.

May all the godly flourish during his reign.

May there be abundant prosperity until the moon is no more.”

(Psalm 72:6-7, NLT)

 “He will rescue the poor when they cry to him;

he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.

He feels pity for the weak and the needy,

and he will rescue them.

He will redeem them from oppression and violence,

for their lives are precious to him.”

(Psalm 72:12-14, NLT)

 “…May the people always pray for him

and bless him all day long.

May their be abundant grain throughout the land,

flourishing even on the hilltops.

May the fruit trees flourish like the trees of Lebanon,

and may the people thrive like grass in a field.”

(Psalm 72:15-16, NLT)

 First, I hope that Donald Trump would be wise enough to offer up Solomon’s prayer concerning his presidency. But here Is what I am going to do. In the days, months, and years ahead, I am going to pray for President-elect Trump; just like I did for President Obama. When people “bad-mouth” President Trump, I am going to ask them if they are going to pray for him that night; just like I did when they “bad-mouthed” President Obama. I am going to pray that our new president cares about all people, particularly the poor, the children, the oppressed, and the weak. I am going to pray that this will be a time of unparalleled prosperity.

 I know that this will not be good enough for some, but it is where I am. I also believe, that it is where God wants me to be.

Peace.

 I know that this is too long, but it took it to say what I wanted to say.

Hoot’s Musings

The devotional for March 23, 2016, began with this paragraph:

 “I will really be glad when this political season is over!!! Politics is not my cup of tea, anyway; and this year it has been particularly bad. I suppose that it is because of social media, and the availability of all the immediate ways to communicate in our culture. But when you have two candidates, that it seems has followers that are driven purely by anger, coupled with the ability to put those angry thoughts into immediate circulation — it has become a nasty mess. On Facebook, I have seen friends have heated arguments , because of the individuals they support. At times, the name calling has gotten ridiculous, because of a disagreement about who to vote for. Sadly, even between people who call themselves Christians.”

 We are three days past the election, and it doesn’t appear that we are anywhere near the “season” being over. It appears that the demonstrations about the results of the election will continue for a while — some are saying, at least until the inauguration ceremony. Some of the demonstrations have now been classified as riots, with violence, vandalism, and looting. There have been calls for assassinations on Twitter, and civil war in other places. Then there are the posts on Facebook — some that attempt to be innocent, have turned into “shouting” matches between friends. All of this, I will admit, that it frightens me. Because most of the historically great nations, have fallen because of the corruption and turmoil from the inside. I see this getting a lot worse, before it gets better.

 What is a Christian to do, at times like these? Well, I am going to offer some suggestions, and that is all that they are. Believe me, I understand that I am an older, male, white, small-town, small-church preacher — that has lived a rather sheltered, middle class, Bible-belt existence. The only thing that qualifies me to attempt to do something like this, is the Bible that is on my desk (and some will not agree with the applications that I make from it). Secondly, I am not writing to everyone, only those that profess to call themselves Christians. So, here goes.

 #1. Withdraw from all political discussions. Jesus said in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers; …”. Right now, it seems as if all political discussions become angry arguments, and I don’t believe that we can be peacemakers when we involve ourselves in angry arguments. I am not saying this because of what I believe about the Christian, the kingdom, and government. I am saying this because of the situation at this present time. We need to be people that are promoting peace.

 #2. We must focus on the two greatest commands. Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-39, “…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Our allegiance is to God, first and foremost. Spend your time promoting a loving God, who wants to redeem everyone — not just Democrats, Republicans, or independents. I don’t have time to argue with you about that, but I would like to tell you a story about Jesus. When Jesus was asked who our neighbor was, he explained that it may be the one that in our mind, was the most different than us (and maybe we don’t like).

 #3. Remember that our country is not, and never has been a Christian nation (like Israel in the Bible). It has always bothered me to walk into a church building, and see a cross on one side of the stage, and an American flag on the other. Don’t jump to the conclusion that I don’t love my country, because I do. But as Peter said: “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.” (I Peter 2:11). The apostle Paul said, “…our citizenship is in heaven. …” (Philippians 3:20). At this present time, as really in all other times, the Kingdom of God is of primary importance to us. We lives in a country where people have legal privileges, that give them the right to do things that we believe God does not endorse. We are not depending on government to legislate what we think is moral. If we want to change what is happening, we will have to do it one person at a time with the gospel.

 #4. As Christians, living in this world, we are to be good citizens (Romans 13:1-7), obeying the governing authorities. Obviously, if there is a conflict between living for God, and obeying the laws of the government — we will obey God (Acts 5:29). There are those on either side of the current discussion, that will want to know how you can do that and be Christian. Just think about who the rulers were when Paul wrote, If they could be good citizens, living under the rule of the Romans — I can live in this country as a good citizen, regardless of who is the president.

 #5. Control your emotions! Let your attitudes and actions make the gospel of Christ attractive (Titus 2:10). We always want to live in such a way that people will be drawn to Jesus. Don’t do anything that will make believing harder!

 Remember these are just my suggestions. Suggestions that I believe are appropriate for the people of God at a time like this. They seem right to me. They may not to you. There have already been times, when I had to be quiet — because my speaking would not have done anyone any good. Let’s put Jesus front and center.

Peace.

Hoot’s Musings

Less than a week, and all this nonsense will be over! It is my prayer that this election will be one that we can get through, put in the rear view mirror, and forget about. I have been observing presidential elections since John Kennedy and Richard Nixon, opposed each other in 1960, and I have never seen anything like this.

 Our country is an angry country! It is seems as if every demographic group is angry about something — policies, or at another group (because they are angry about a policy), or the platforms of the parties, or the list could go on and on! Just start scrolling down a day on Facebook, and see the venom that is spewed, the stories that are shared (that you know that there is no way that they can be true), and the friends that argue continuously about what they think. What is really amazing is that the candidates, and the media, seem intent on fanning the flames of that anger. I am very afraid that our real problems will begin after the election.

 There was a line from Psalms this morning, that made me think about what is going on in our country. Listen, to what it says:

 “Why are the nations so angry?

Why do they waste their time with futile plans?”

(Psalm 2:1, NLT)

 We expend so much energy on so many things! There are “issues” that are incendiary with almost everyone. I believe that as God’s people we ought to be concerned about those who can’t defend themselves, and those are not always just the unborn. A godly world view is not just determined by stands on abortion, same-sex marriage, and gun-control (and that is not saying, that those are not very important).

 This old, country preacher does not have all the answers; in fact, I’m sure that many (after reading this) will say that I don’t have any. BUT, there is another verse later in Psalm 2 that speaks loudly to me.

 “Now then, you kings, act wisely!

Be warned, you rulers of the earth!

Serve the Lord with reverent fear,

and rejoice with trembling.”

(Psalm 2:10-11, NLT)

 I’m sure that it will never happen again in my lifetime, but I would love to have a president that affirmed his faith, and made no secret about taking the difficult decisions to God in prayer. I don’t believe that America ever has been a “Christian” nation, or ever will be; but I believe that it could have a wise “Christian” leader.

 That, I am sure, is a dream. But, regardless of what happens, I will continue to love my God, and to love my neighbor; and, I will pray for whoever leads this country — Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump, and the decisions they make (whether they do or not).

Peace.