It is hard to believe. We just finished the first week of December and there are now only 19 days until Christmas. But considering what we have been going through since March of this year, Christmas, for many of us, seems so far from our hearts. With the impact of coronavirus, presidential elections, shutdowns, massive illnesses and deaths, unemployment, and other crisis, celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, has not always been the first thing on our minds. We should, however, make this year’s Christmas a special and meaningful one. In particular, we should prepare for this Christmas in a way that truly reminds us of the intent and purpose of the very first Christmas, where Jesus came to this earth as a baby to begin the process of redeeming the world.
We are experiencing times where people are living in fear—fear of COVID-19, fear of illness or death, fear of government, fear of man, fear of future, and fear of many other things. The world has been reacting to these fears in both negative and positive ways. In the negative, people are panicking, sheltering, imposing laws, restrictions, and curfews, and looking out for themselves rather than others. But in the positive, people are volunteering, helping others in need, developing creative solutions, and looking out for others before themselves.
We are going through seasons of change unlike any other transitions that we have experienced before. Instead of going through typical seasonal changes such as spring to summer, summer to fall, or fall to winter, we have experienced unusual seasons such as lockdown to no lockdown, rational buying to panic buying, gathering to no gathering, or being employed to being out of work. This has truly been discouraging and frustrating….
As we go through these tough times, and even tougher times ahead, where would you rate yourself on how you are handling everything? Are you having thoughts such as “If I could only just make it to my next paycheck…” “If I didn’t have to deal with all this sickness/deaths…” “If I could only get a job…?” Or are you thinking “I could make a difference despite what I am going through…” “I really could be more creative in dealing with this…” “I could help people who are hurting more than me.” Many thoughts may be going in our minds, but the major ones put us in either one of two categories—one who is surviving or one who is thriving?
It is all over the news, the nation has spoken, and people are celebrating—Joe Biden Jr. will be the 46th President of the United States and Kamala Harris will be the first female Vice President (as well as first Black, first Asian VP). As with any change in power, there will be many changes in policies, laws, and culture. What will be the impact on us as believers? More importantly, what should be the believers’ response to this election and the changes that will take place?
In a few days, we will have Election 2020 and the people will vote for the candidates and issues that they believe will be best for the country and their local counties. As Christians, we should believe in, be fighting for, and voting for what is called a biblical worldview. Many Christians, however, do not understand, believe, or practice a biblical worldview. The main question that we need to ask ourselves is this:
“In our own personal beliefs and behaviors, do we turn more to the Bible (God) or to the world (man) for guidance, direction, and strength?”
A biblical worldview is defined as believing that absolute moral truths exist; that such truth is defined by the Bible; and firm belief in six specific religious views, which I will phrase in question form so that you can answer these in your own minds:
1. Did Jesus Christ live a sinless life?
2. Is God the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and does He still rule it today?
3. Is Salvation a gift from God that cannot be earned?
4. Is Satan real?
5. Does a Christian have a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with other people?
6. Is the Bible accurate in all of its teachings?
We are called to be ambassadors for Christ. This incredibly important role that God Himself appointed us for, is not to be taken lightly or for granted. He did not require a resume which detailed our qualifications or experiences….As citizens of a heavenly nation, we are His ambassadors wherever He places us on this earth. As Christ’s ambassador, we were chosen and appointed by God, we are ministers of reconciliation, and we carry His Name and message.
This election is so much different than others because so much more is at stake and the delineation between what is right and wrong is much clearer than before. Steve Riggle, President of Grace International (our parent organization), recently stated “The difference between this election and all other contentious elections in the past is the lack of restraint.” Candidates, parties, media, protesters, government officials, public servants, business leaders, citizens, and even pastors, are guilty of saying and/or doing things that, in previous times, they would not have even dared to say or do. What changed things? Why do people feel that they can so freely say what they want or freely do what they want, irrespective to how it may impact others around them?
This does not, however, come without cost. Churches who have chosen to take such a stand have been fined, scapegoated, and suffered other consequences because of their decision to obey God rather than man….
Many of us may have been experiencing a difficult week and many forms of adversity….What seems to be common in all these cases of adversity is that there does not seem to be an end to these adverse situations. In fact, there often is a sense of fear or dread of what may be coming next.