Inauguration 2021

On Wednesday, January 20, 2021, one of the bedrock concepts of our national pride will be the peaceful transfer of power when Joe Biden becomes the next President of the United States. The storming of the Capitol was a disgrace to Americans and can not be tolerated.  It grieved my heart, and I am fervently praying for a peaceful transfer of power on the 20th.  I did not vote for Joe Biden.  In fact, I have very strong concerns over his policies and the direction of the democrat party.  In light of that, how should other Christians like me respond?

On January 20, Joe Biden will be, legally and constitutionally, my President. Not only is he my President, but he has also been divinely given that enormous task (Romans 13:1-3). He is God’s servant (Romans 13:4). Therefore, I will respect the office and will support my President when I am able and when he does not go against my conscience and biblical mandates. When his policies stand in contrast to the Word of God, I will anchor myself to God and follow Him.  I will faithfully pray for him and his administration (1 Timothy 2:1-2). As a pastor of a Southern Baptist Church, I will continually point the church to Jesus Christ.  We will evangelize the lost, exalt a resurrected Jesus, and encourage one another with the promise of a glorious future. I will continually remind them our hope and faith are in God (1 Peter 1:21). We will grow God’s Kingdom on earth until He comes again. 

I saw this on Twitter this week, and it blessed me.  As we get a new administration in the White House, I’ll continue to do what I have always done. Here is a list of 9 great spiritual habits that will be very effective for God’s Church in the coming years:

Be faithful to God.
Be bold that the Bible is authoritative.
Be ardent to pursue moral excellence.
Be unconditionally in loving others.
Be fervent in prayer.
Be ready to service.
Be desperate for the Spirit’s filling.
Be quick with a Gospel witness.
Be joyful in your salvation.[1]

I’m not sure what the next few years will hold.  I am concerned about matters of religious freedom, the sanctity of both life and marriage.  I worry about the control and power of a big government.  However, I am not worried about the Body of Christ.  I will keep my faith firmly rooted and established in Jesus.  I will love God with all my heart and love others as Christ has loved me.  I will stand for the truth of Scripture no matter the cost.  I absolutely love the United States of America and pray for her daily.  I will pray for my President, and I all lead the people under my care well. 

On Sunday, our Associate Pastor of Worship and the Worship team led us in a wonderfully moving time of worship.  Two songs they sang stuck in my heart and gave me a lot of comfort during these difficult days. “In Christ Alone” by Keith and Kristyn Getty is currently one of my favorite songs.  The last verse was especially meaningful to me.

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Could ever pluck me from his hand
‘Til he returns or calls me home
Here, in the power of Christ, I stand

Isn’t that a good word for Jesus’ Body?  It is a reminder that no scheme of man could ever pluck me from His hand.  It is in the power of Christ we’ll take our stand.  The other song we sang was “Christ, The Sure and Steady Anchor” by Matt Papa.  The title alone is such a comfort to my soul.  Read a few of these lyrics and allow them to be a hope and anchor for your weary soul.

Christ the sure and steady Anchor
In the fury of the storm
When the winds of doubt blow through me
And my sails have all been torn

In the suffering, in the sorrow
When my sinking hopes are few
I will hold fast to the Anchor
It shall never be removed

Christ the sure of our salvation
Ever faithful, ever true
We will hold fast to the Anchor
It shall never be removed

During uncertain times, Jesus is our sure and steady anchor.  He alone is our hope.  Anchor fast to Him.  Stand in the power of Christ.  Love God more than anything in this world and love others more than you love yourself.  The Church has survived for nearly 2000 years. The next four will not be her demise.  Jesus is Lord and King.

[1]               Philip Nation is a great follow on Twitter.  I found this list of nine items from on his feed. You can follow Philip @philipnation. 

Lessons from the Prophet Habakkuk

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I was sinking fast; death was only a few moments away. The water perilously engulfed me. Unable to swim, I continued to sink further and further underwater to my apparent watery grave.  If it were not for my father’s heroics, I would have died that day so many years ago. Dad’s timing was perfect. There are times in our lives when we feel completely overwhelmed as if we were drowning.  My story is a true story of a near-death experience, too many of us face our own problems.  We are drowning and suffocating in our individual watery grave.  What do we do when life is unfair and uncertain?  How do Christians navigate the political waters we are drowning in?  What do we do when God seems distant and weak? Where is God? Why are we hurting so much? Why isn’t He doing anything?

The Prophet Habakkuk had many of these same questions.  He was a prophet to the Southern Kingdom of Judah between 609-605 BC.  King Josiah was dead.  Judah was in the grips of a pagan world power, Babylon, led by King Nebuchadnezzar. Why would God allow a pagan power to overpower His people?  Why isn’t God answering the prayers of His people?  What should the people of God do during such a turbulent time? God’s answer to Habakkuk is needed today.  God is actively at work; have faith in God no matter the circumstances.

In chapter one, you hear Habakkuk’s complaint. ‘How long, Lord, must I call for help and you do not listen or cry out to you about violence, and you do not save? Why do you force me to look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Oppression and violence are right in front of me. Strife is ongoing, and conflict escalates” (Habakkuk 1:2-3)

You can hear and feel Habakkuk’s frustration, pain, and anger in verse 13:

‘How long, Lord , must I call for help and you do not listen or cry out to you about violence and you do not save? Why do you force me to look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Oppression and violence are right in front of me. Strife is ongoing, and conflict escalates. Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, and you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. So why do you tolerate those who are treacherous? Why are you silent while one who is wicked swallows up one who is more righteous than himself? ‘

Can you feel Habakkuk’s heart?  Why doesn’t God do anything?  How can He allow the pagans to have such freedom and live in such evil?  Why won’t He judge them? Have you ever been at that place of helplessness?  Are you there now? Do you have a complaint to make to God?

In mercy, God responds to Habakkuk.  It was not the answer Habakkuk expected nor hoped.  God reminded him that He was in complete control; He was using the pagan power to achieve God’s plan.  Make no mistake, God is able and He is faithful. At the end of the short book comes one of the truly great faith statements we find in the entirety of Scripture.

‘Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord , I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.’ (3:17-19)

Don’t give up. God’s timing is perfect. In your moments of fear, doubt, and feelings of abandonment and overwhelming emotion, here are a few anchor points for your soul:

  1. God knows what you are going through.
  2. God cares.
  3. God is in complete control.
  4. God’s perspective is eternal.
  5. Therefore, live by faith (2:4b)

Carry on with life!  Press into Jesus and walk in unity of the Spirit. God is for you.