The election insanity has everyone on both sides of the fence itching and scratching. There is serious and deep seeded verbal warfare going on and it is leading to some really hurtful conclusions. Unless things let up a bit, Election Day could divide friends, split churches and destroy families. I know that sounds drastic but this is the most polarizing election I can recall. People are more committed to their politics than they are to their relationships.
Then add the craziness of Superstorm Sandy to the mix. So many people impacted in so many devastating ways, it is truly a frightening time.
For good measure, consider the economy, terrorism, and any personal issues you must be dealing with.
I’m here to offer you a little hope. Here’s the scoop: God is in control. Always has been, always will be. The word we use is “sovereign”, which means He absolutely is running the universe, even when it appears that we are on a crash course with disaster.
If Daniel 2:21 is not true, we are in trouble. It says, “He (God) controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.” (NLT) Either God controls the weather or the future of the world is one big roll of the dice.
God’s sovereignty does not absolve us from doing our part: voting, disaster relief, common sense things that intelligent people do. But we can only do so much. In the end, God will figure it all out and keep the universe spinning like He has for the last few eons.
Here’s how I see it: if I am wrong and we are left to work out all these dilemmas on our own, this won’t end well, but it will end quickly. Either God is sovereign or we are toast.
God’s got this!
As a cyclist, I am sickened by the demise of Lance Armstrong. His fall from grace in the biking world is being felt by everyone, not only cycling enthusiasts. This is probably a combination of things: his dominance in the sport; his household-name status; the millions he raised to fight cancer through his Livestrong Foundation.
While I am sad to see all of his failure, I think it would be wise for us to learn lessons from his life.
Cheaters don’t win. Really, they don’t.
Short-term gain equals long-term pain.
Some things are more valuable than winning. Self-respect and integrity are invaluable.
Yellow jerseys won by cheating are an embarrassment.
“Be sure that your sins will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23)
I have compassion on Mr. Armstrong. While I think he will never redeem his reputation, he can regain his self-respect. I pray that happens.
I am convinced that most, if not all, of Armstrong’s competitors were also doping. There were so many who were busted in that era. Makes me wonder if he would have been as dominant, if none of them had cheated. Somehow, I think probably so. Now no one knows or cares. Rather sad, isn’t it? Let it never be said of us that we are such moral failures, that no one cares.
Living strong is more than words.
Let’s talk about big decisions and long-term consequences.
I am going back to a discussion I had with a friend a couple of years ago. He serves as an Executive Financial Administrator at a large, well-known church in the south. He was telling me how, on a daily basis, he wrestles with decisions that leaders of the church made forty years ago. I was blown away by that idea. Specifically, he was trying to pay for and maintain buildings that never should have been built. It was currently hamstringing their ministry. They were having trouble fulfilling their God-given vision because they had to manage the choices made by guys who were no longer around.
Be reminded that, some of the things you decide today will be around for a long time. Long after you are dead and buried, some of your choices will still be going strong. Before you decide to commit an organization to a long-term arrangement, consider those who will follow you. Before you jump on a bandwagon, before you follow a trend, before you do what other well-known leaders are doing, ask… how will this affect people who come along behind me in 10 or 20 or 30 years?
Go ahead and dream big, and act big. But do so with the knowledge that someone gets to deal with the residual of your decisions.
Be kind to your successors! They will love you for it.
(by the way, I took the picture above while on a bike ride in the swamp in South Florida)
I rode my bike 100 miles today as part of the 120 for Orphans, a fund raising project for a clean water project at a Haitian orphanage: (click here: 120 for Orphans – admitted shameless plug!). I was at mile 82. I was tired, it was cold and I was getting leg cramps. I was seriously thinking about stopping for the day.
At that point, I saw a young family; a guy, his wife and a little baby. They were setting up for a bike ride on the trail I was on. Here’s the thing: both parents were paraplegic, they were preparing to ride their hand powered trikes. Suddenly, I found the strength to finish the last 18 miles.
We probably don’t need to look very hard to find someone who is doing something harder than we are, with tougher situations than we have. The next time you want to give up, take a peek around. You may surprised at the inspiration you find to keep moving forward.
actively compassionate toward the poor
supportive of the Biblical view of marriage
passionate about social justice
supportive of Israel
fair toward all people groups
protective of our religious freedoms
able to make peace rather than war
actually able to keep His campaign promises
a guardian of our country
above being “bought” by special interest groups
able to fix the economy
I suppose, on November 6, I’ll write in the name of “Jesus Christ”!
I had a brief conversation with a colleague yesterday. He mentioned a topic we were both familiar with and I responded with a flippant answer, something meaningless to me, something I assumed he wanted to hear. He stopped, looked me in the eye and responded in a way that caught me off guard. He said, “that means a lot coming from you.” The problem is, I wasn’t all that sincere in my words. I didn’t think about my words – I just used what was convenient.
I’ve been feeling bad about it since then. I think I need to call him to straighten out the situation. The topic is not all that serious or at least my impact on it is not. But I do not want him to assume things based on what I said.
I need to guard my words a little more closely. I encourage you to do the same.
Psalms 141:3 Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord;
keep watch over the door of my lips. (NLT)