Arise

As I sit here this morning, I am overwhelmed, in awe.

I have
spent the last couple of years listening to arguments & political
debating between Christians, and others, on both sides of the party
lines. This is good… It is not only the God given freedom of speech
that enables us to express ourselves with passion, but a freedom that
we as Americans so often take for granted.

As a small group
leader, it has been incredible to watch individuals in our group,
debate out their political beliefs not only with such fervor, but also
respect, for their brothers & sisters in Christ. Then, continue in
their friendship and the calling that Christ has put before them,
without letting their differences get in the way. This is the way it
should be.

Unfortunately, it is not the way it is. From racist
comments about President Elect Obama on one side, to nasty comments
about Gov. Palin on the other side. When does it end? Christ-followers
should be setting the example of Christ in ALL things. Hatred toward
ANY OTHER, created by God, does not represent Christ in your life. John
13:15 says, "I have set you an example that you should do as I have
done for you." I have read comments and seen rude cartoons, etc.,
posted on facebook and various other places (by Christians) about
individuals running for office. Do these represent Christ?
Luke
10:27 (The Message), "He said, 'That you love the Lord your God with
all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you
love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.'"
Acts 10:34-35
(NCV), "Peter began to speak: 'I really understand now that to God
every person is the same. In every country God accepts anyone who
worships him and does what is right.'"

No matter what side of
the political fence you are on, last night truly was a momentous day in
American History. Regardless of how you or I feel about any of it… God
knew the outcome before we did. We must accept what Jeremiah 29:11
(NCV) says, "I say this because I know what I am planning for you,"
says the Lord. "I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I
will give you hope and a good future."

It is time as
Christians to really start lifting up our great Nation's leaders in
prayer. There is coming a day when none of this will matter, but until
that time, our work here is not over. Hebrews 10:24-25 (The Message)
says, "So let's do it—full of belief, confident that we're presentable
inside and out. Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us
going. He always keeps His word. Let's see how inventive we can be in
encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as
some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day
approaching.

It is time that we look past our differences and
get along with one another. It says in 1 Thessalonians 5: 14-15 (NIV),
"And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the
timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody
pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and
to everyone else."

It is time to arise, as one body, united in
Christ and focused on the only change that really matters. The change
of the hearts of our family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc., that
have not been reconciled to Christ. For that is one thing that, "YES WE
CAN" make a difference in! Not just a difference here on earth, but an
eternal difference. The difference between eternity spent in heaven
with our Savior, or eternity spent in the damnation of hell.

I
challenge you, as we look to the future, to dig deeper into the very
soul of who you are, and make the commitment to stop this bickering
over the things that don't matter and focus on the eternal things that
do…
Romans 14:10-12 (The Message), "So where does that leave you
when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you
condescend to a sister? I'd say it leaves you looking pretty silly—or
worse. Eventually, we're all going to end up kneeling side by side in
the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways
aren't going to improve your position there one bit. Read it for
yourself in Scripture:
"As I live and breathe," God says, "every
knee will bow before me; Every tongue will tell the honest truth that I
and only I am God." (Isaiah 45:23) So tend to your knitting. You've got
your hands full just taking care of your own life before God."

I
pray that the coming years truly are years of change. That the kingdom
is impacted, and lives reconciled to God, as we have never seen in our
generation.

-T.T.

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