when a nation hurts.

when a nation hurts.

I have always loved American history.

I’m not sure why (whether my personality or experiences), but the courage and sacrifice of so many has always inspired me in a very deeply, honoring way.

Yet, since I’m a Christian, I’ve been careful not to put patriotism over my faith.

Recently, I’ve discovered Christians are being divided about how much involvement or concern we should have in politics. They refer to Jesus not being concerned with such things. And the Apostle Paul tells us to pray for those in authority, including kings.

We don’t see too much, if any, political involvment in the New Testament. The Gospel and establishments of churches was front and center, as it should be.

In the Old Testament, Joseph was Pharoah’s right hand man and Daniel was entrusted with interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams.

I think we can have both.

So why dispute about it?

What’s the point?

Going too far either way, with anything, is not good. And frankly, I am getting weary of current events with all the criticizing and judgement with the either/or camps. This Christian/Politics thing is just another one and all it’s doing is bringing division in the Church.

That said, I honor the Founding Fathers and value our founding documents. I honor those who died in wars throughout our history.

We can debate the Founders had slaves. We can debate whether a war was necessary.

But I will take those opinions with a grain of salt until I know you cared enough to learn more about those time periods; until you put yourself in their shoes.

Today, movements like the 1619 Project and the popularity of Marxism and Democratic Socialism, is a dishonor to those who sacrificed for us and future generations.

God is the creator of order, laws, and ordinances. He knows our need for these things in order to survive in our communities. I wholeheartedly believe God is invloved in our human governments (if we want him) and the nations. The Bible is full of references about the nations of the earth.

America is not a “Christian nation”, nor do we want a theocracy. Yet, America was built on Judeo-Christian principles.

Consider Benjamin Franklin and his appeal at the Constitutional Convention in 1787:

… In this situation of this Assembly groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. — Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance.

I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that “except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall be become a reproach and a bye word down to future age. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest …”

This is how our country began, despite those who want to reject it. Like pruning a tree, change and progress is necessary and healthy even if it feels uncomfortable.

But destroying a tree’s roots will kill it.




So many books have been written about how to live the Christian life.

I’m not opposed to the offering of knowledge, understanding, or personal experiences.

Yet, over the years, I have been very selective only because there is this thing about me – not wanting to jump on bandwagons – expecially when it’s a book everyone is reading.

I’m cautious about trendy things. I think about this scripture found in 2 Timothy:

For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear what they want to hear.

If we’re honest, it’s human nature to gravitate to an easier way. Sometimes I think many contemporary Christian books do this unknowingly through appealing to our soul (intellect, will, emotions) first which will then hopefully affect our spirit second. This isn’t necessarily bad but I wonder if authors can appeal to our spirit first?

Many Christians understand the “natural” or “carnal” man which is our soul. They know being a Christian means to “crucify the flesh” with all it’s worldly desires which are in direct opposition to the scripture. I think many are weary of what they have defined as a continual battle.

Instead of thinking about winning a battle, how about focusing on strengthening the spirit?

We don’t have to live a life of suffering in order to mature as a Christian. There are times of suffering but there is also this truth found in Proverbs:

The blessing of the LORD enriches, and He adds no sorrow to it.

I’m saying the Christian faith requires some serious thought. It challenges us. It confronts us. And the soul (intellect, will, emotions) may feel some suffering to turn away from sin and choose God’s ways.

The Spiritual Man by Watchman Nee, written 92 years ago, explains the three components of every human being: spirit, soul, and body.

According to Nee, our soul (intellect, will, emotions) joins the spirit and body. The soul makes it possible for the spirit and the body to communicate and cooperate.

Spirit: The spirit part of us is awakened when it connects through being reconciled with God through Jesus Christ. The spirit part can also connect with Satan wherein we find witchcraft, et al.

Soul: The soul is our intellect, will, and emotions. We use these everyday. Nee says, “ … he [man] is still powerless to uncover the Word of life by his much thinking and theorizing. How untrustworthy are human reasonings! … without the guidance of the Holy Spirit intellect not only is undependable but also extremely dangerous because it often confuses the issue of right and wrong.”

Body: Our actions seen by everyone communicated through either our spirit or our soul (intellect, will, emotions).

Which one dictates the most in our daily lives? Is our soul determining more than it should and is it what causes our continual daily struggles? Always learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth?

I have learned about our spirit, soul, and body in a church setting. One sermon might deal with our emotions or another about being led by the spirit and not the flesh. I don’t remember learning about all three together in the way Nee presents it.

Learning, and most importantly, wanting to yield to the spirit instead of the soul is life changing. Christians understand “obeying God” or “submitting to God” but too many of us have viewed it as a life long struggle. We view it as the old cartoons with the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other shoulder. Everyday we are presented with choices (gossip, lying, gluttony, etc.) and we should listen to the angel, right? But if we listen to the devil, well, God loves us and forgives.

Yes, He does forgive. But we are delaying the work in our spirit maturing us.

God wants us to be free from everything that entangles us. Instead of living with daily battles of the soul, we learn to draw from our spirit. As our spirit matures, the stronger we become as we face life with all its challenges. We experience peace, joy, contentment, and more.

It becomes a lifestyle of abiding in the vine.

We may soon forget what we read in the newest book, but when we allow God to mature our spirit through yielding our intellect, will and emotions, we will have all we need on this side of eternity.

look up.

look up.

” … we are preoccupied with the present.

The solution is to look up to the Lord and look ahead in hope.”

-Timothy Keller

for Amanda.