You’ll never guess what I saw on TV earlier this week. I turned on the news, a courageous thing to do, if I do say so myself, and I was confronted with a veritable parade of political fortune tellers. It was obvious that that’s what they were, even though no one either had a crystal ball or was wearing the classic fortune teller garb. They were all dressed in relatively normal looking clothes. Well, except for one guy who was sporting a pair of socks that should have been part of a Halloween outfit.
An Instinctive Desire ~
Wanting to find some way to peer into the future is a natural human desire. It’s one of those protective instincts that God built into us. Obviously, the more accurately we can predict what might be coming our way, the better our chances of either avoiding it or at least preparing to deal with it. Those natural inclinations have been an open door of opportunity for fortune tellers of one kind or another in every culture throughout history. While most are just opportunistic predators preying on the vulnerabilities of naive people, not all of them fall into that category. Some prognosticators offer their visions of the future in a genuine effort to help those they care about make healthier decisions – like my sweet little grandma was prone to do after Halloween when I was a kid.
She’d see me gazing at my newly acquired trove of chocolate treasure and ruin it all with a dier prediction: “Now, Ronnie, don’t you go tryin’ to eat all them candy bars at once. They might taste good, but they’ll rot your teeth ‘til every one of them falls right out of your head.” I remember looking at those Milky Way bars and wondering if my teeth were gonna fall out in my sleep. But I noticed that both of my grandparents had false teeth at the time. That meant that the Milky Way bars had gotten to them at some point, but their new teeth seemed to be doing just fine. I figured if my teeth fell out, I could get some false ones and eat all the Milky Ways I wanted.
Fear Is a Key ~
Whether their motives are loving and altruistic or cunning and nefarious, those who claim to be qualified to reveal our future almost always seek to tap into our fears in order to influence our perceptions and to some degree, our behavior. Given the many profoundly important issues and potentially disastrous possibilities confronting us in this upcoming election, we can be sure that the manipulative fortune tellers will be popping up everywhere. The most artful masters of verbal deception that can be found will be working around the clock, trying to influence our thinking and ultimately, our behavior at the ballot box.
There will always be more questions than answers about what our futures might hold, but we can’t help but wonder what the next few weeks and months might bring. Fear and anxiety are in a wrestling match with hope as the election draws nearer. It seems as though everywhere we look there is some array of possibilities that are frightening. There is no doubt that something needs to be done, but figuring out just what we need to do as individuals is often not so clear.
A Dismal Picture ~
If we could back off and see the spiritual and moral condition of our country from the 30,000 foot perspective, it would be overwhelming. We’d be astonished at the extent of the evil and the depth of corruption infecting our land. Our hearts would grieve to see the collective Church of Jesus Christ largely standing silent with no national voice. Tears of shock, outrage, and deep grief would flow as we’d watch scenes of horrible violence and slaughter perpetrated against the most innocent and least threatening people we have. We’d feel righteous indignation at the blatant displays of selfishness, arrogance, and narcissism. We’d want to stand up and repel the forces applauding and promoting every kind of filthy, perverted practice imaginable. We’d feel shame to see God’s principles openly mocked while church leaders stood idly by, afraid to openly affirm God’s Word lest they’d be attacked on TikTok. Our minds would reel in astonishment at the millions drunk on everything from mood-altering substances, to power, to their own lust for pleasure. And we’d bow our heads and wonder what to do because in the face of it all, we’d see ourselves as small, pitifully weak, and unable to single-handedly fix any of it.
So, what do we do? Do we just close our eyes, turn away, and hope an election will make everything better? Do we trust the politicians to redeem our people from the spiritual plague eating away at the very heart of our nation? All of us know that God has a better plan, one that may not look so powerful on the surface, but one that has been transforming nations and peoples for thousands of years. It’s a plan whose success is totally dependent on the participation of small, flawed, pitifully weak, and individually powerless people. Our confidence in God’s plan of action gets a boost if we look back at how it worked in the past.
A Daunting Challenge ~
When the Church of Jesus Christ was born, the Romans ruled the world. Slavery was a fact of life for multitudes. Many had few, if any, rights, and personal liberty was something only the elites got to have. Unjust death and irreconcilable suffering were commonplace, and everything about life for most ordinary people was worse than hard. It was often torturous. And into that, Jesus sent a ragtag bunch of people with a mission to change it all. They had no royal titles the world would acknowledge, no powerful political backing, no army, and no iconic silver-tongued philosopher. They labored under the worst kinds of leaders the world ever produced. They carried out their mission in the midst of every kind of economic, social, and religious oppression. They prevailed, and so can we, but it will take the same kind of commitment to Jesus Christ that they had. It will take what Paul called the Church in Rome to do:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1–2 NKJV)
We don’t need a fortune teller or a magic 8-ball to know how to help affect a return to righteousness, justice, and sanity in this country. Those followers of Jesus living under the cruel boot of the Roman Legions changed the world – and so can we. They began by confessing and forsaking their sins and inviting the Spirit of God to rule in their hearts – and so can we. They admonished one another to carry out their civic duties – and so should we. Lastly, we should also make our voices known at the ballot box by voting on election day – but instead of trying to predict the future, we must be part of creating the future by engaging the world around us and demonstrating what love and life look like and where defiant hope actually lives.
“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to tweet and share from the pull quotes below. Each one links directly back to this article through Twitter . . .
- “If we could back off and see the spiritual and moral condition of our country from the 30,000 foot perspective, it would be overwhelming. We’d be astonished at the extent of the evil and the depth of corruption infecting our land.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “God’s plan to redeem us from the spiritual plague eating away at the heart of our nation has been transforming nations and peoples for thousands of years. Our confidence gets a boost if we look back at how His plan worked in the past.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “Into that Roman world, Jesus sent a ragtag bunch w/a mission to change it all. They labored under the worst kinds of leaders the world ever produced and prevailed. So can we, but it’ll take the same kind of commitment to Jesus that they had.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “Those followers of Jesus living under the cruel boot of the Roman Legions changed the world – and so can we. They began by confessing and forsaking their sins and inviting the Spirit of God to rule in their hearts – and so can we.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
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Ron, I am always blown away by the depth and breadth of your Godly wisdom. Especially at this time of change in this country as elections loom and fingers point if the outcomes are not what some people in power want, we need to hold securely to God’s Word and trust that everything is in His hands in the end. I do so pray for a revival in this land; may it come sooner than later!
Wonderful to see your name in my inbox again, Martha, and I hope you enjoyed your recent excursion. And, as is characteristic for you, the insight that the worse things get, the more determined we must be to hang onto the Word of God, and to demonstrate the blessing of its power in our lives to overcome fear, depression, and anxiety. As we’re forever trying to underscore, revival begins in us and so does the power to promote and extend it. God bless you, my long distance friend, and may He make both of us tools in bringing the revival we’ve been praying for.
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How is it that I always find myself making notes as I read your insightful posts Mr. Ron? Some of my thoughts from this post range included, “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something”, Plato. I thank God for the wisdom He has given you, along with the courage to speak truth into our lives.
Another thought is that Satan is the original fortune-telling prognosticator. He is the “Father of Lies” and is the master at subverting truth through “spin” so he might influence others. He’s been doing it for thousands of years. His lies are cleverly designed to create an image that masks the truth of God’s Word. He manipulates the truth to hide the consequence of sin. We can see this in the political gamesmanship that has been played out throughout my entire adult life, and perhaps even before that. Many decades ago, politicians sought to be genuine public servants; whose goal was to ensure that our liberties and freedoms defined in our Constitution were protected. As the will of “the people” became subverted, so too did the will of the peoples’ representatives. Few elected officials sought to do what was right for America, but what was right in the eyes of the majority of their electors, regardless of the consequences to our nation.
Last, I prayerfully considered your words, and recognized that if we (America) are to have any chance to retreat from the dangerous abyss of socialism we are about to fall into, then it must begin with the individual. We, as a nation, stand at the precipice of disaster. We can either run headlong into it or back away cautiously. While my “right-thinking” may not change the world, I can be the role model for those around me by showing the truth of God’s Word in my life. How we live our individual lives is what can change the world. If we no longer remain silent and merely “go along to get along”, but instead hold ourselves and those around us to God’s righteous standards, then before long, this will permeate the souls of our communities, our states, and yes, our nation. When we, as a nation, become a majority of righteous people, then we can once again counter the subversion of Satan’s lies that have permeated today’s culture. Each one of us must seek the courage to stand for truth in our lives. When we do this, then whether we change this world or not, our “world” will be changed and “God is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” He is the rewarder of “those that sow righteousness.”
Thank you for speaking truth in your always-encouraging way sir. God’s blessings to you and your family.
It’s always encouraging to see your responses, J.D., but sometimes even more so than usual. Your thoughts this morning were permeated with wisdom, and not just the kind of wisdom that comes with a life filled with fighting one battle after another and seeing the way the world really works. The kind of wisdom I see in your words can’t be had just from sitting in a classroom and giving feedback on some test. They’re reflective of more than that. They’re evidence that your time with Jesus is not just relegated to a church building, and that, my friend, is a priceless commodity in the kind of contentious atmosphere we’re living in right now. I’ve often said that the courage you display is unique, and desperately needed today. It isn’t wrapped in the aggressive, arrogant, and provocative kind of attitude that some tend to project. It’s the kind of courage I seen in the One who stood against all that Satan could throw at Him, but did it with a calm confidence and steadfast commitment to truth and righteousness. Thanks again for another reminder of what a blessing it is to be in the trenches with you. So, I predict that whatever happens, God’s going to work out His plan in us, and we get to win it all in the end. 🙂