A Week After the Election…Now What?

If you live in the United States and have been displeased about the direction of the country over the last eight years, then you probably voted for Donald Trump. If you’ve felt good about the last eight years and wanted many of the current policies to continue, then you most likely voted for Hillary Clinton.

Depending on who you voted for, you’ve either been excited and encouraged by the results of last week’s election or you’re dealing with shock, anger and fear…the same feelings many of the Trump voters experienced eight years ago and again four years ago.

The above map shows the results broken down by county with Trump in red and Clinton in blue. Obviously, Trump has support in more areas of the country and Clinton supporters are more concentrated in certain areas, but the bottom line is this: roughly half the population supported one candidate and half supported the other.

At this point, despite the riots in various parts of the country, the election is over…the results are final…and in 66 days, we’ll have a new president. So now what?

Well, regardless of who you voted for, if you are a follower of Jesus, let me offer a few reminders…

Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Jesus is still seated on His throne. That hasn’t changed. The American president is not sovereign. He’s not all-powerful.

Let me suggest that to the degree you’ve been overly happy or overly angry this last week…you’ve placed your hope in the wrong person. I will guarantee this: if you’re feeling afraid, then know that most of what you fear will not happen. And if you are hopeful that everything will be better now, then you will be disappointed.

Jesus said, “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness…” If God’s goal was to simply take us to heaven, He could have already done it. His desire is for His followers to live on earth, walk according to His ways and advance His Kingdom. And the Kingdom of God operates according to different principles than the world does.

We live by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). We seek to give, not get (Acts 20:35). We don’t repay insults with insults, but with blessing (1 Peter 3:9). We don’t hate our enemies, we love them (Matthew 5:43-44). We don’t walk in fear and anxiety, but in peace (Philippians 4:6-7). We aren’t overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors…” (2 Corinthians 5:20) As a follower of Jesus, your primary identity is not Republican or Democrat. Your allegiance is not to a political party or ideology. Your king is Jesus. You are a citizen of the Kingdom of God. And you are given the responsibility of being an ambassador, of representing the king to those around you. Let’s choose to love others well.

I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t care about government policies or who we elect, but those concerns should pale in comparison to what’s eternal…

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Where will you be fixing your eyes?

Why I was SO Annoyed at My Wife

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20 Days of Believing God – Day 2

A number of years ago, my wife, Robyn, ruined the floors in three rooms of our house. It was thousands of dollars in damage. Money we didn’t have.

I won’t even go in to how she did it. That’s not important. The floors were ruined.

Can you blame me for feeling annoyed with her? (That’s the kind way of saying I was angry!)

You’d probably feel the same way if your wife (or husband) did what she did.

There was a problem though with how I was feeling. What I didn’t mention was that the damage to the floors occurred in my dream. None of it was real.

That didn’t stop me from waking up in the middle of the night and feeling annoyed with her though…until I realized the truth.

So why was I so upset? After all, it was only a dream.

Because my mind was not able to distinguish between what was real and what was not. I believed something was true, when in fact it wasn’t. The wrong thought then led to a wrong feeling.

Our thoughts are powerful and will determine how we feel and act today. What are you believing? About God? About your circumstances? About yourself? Is it true? Or do you just think it’s true?

This is key: sometimes we can believe something for so long that we just come to believe it’s true. When, in fact, it’s not.

If you don’t know the truth, then your feelings, actions and words will be based on something false. How you treat your spouse or children or co-workers is based on what you believe.

How you respond to your financial situation today will depend on your beliefs, as well. Do you believe God sees your situation? That He understands what you’re facing? Do you believe He’s true to His promises?

Romans 12:1-2 says:

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

We will only experience the good, pleasing and perfect will He has for us as we allow Him to change the way we think.

So what does God have to say about you and your circumstances today? What does He say about Himself?

You need to know if you’re going to experience the life He has for you.

50 Ways to Slowly Kill Your Marriage (#9)

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From my eBook, “50 Ways to Slowly Kill Your Marriage”

Keep score of all the good things you do and all the bad things your spouse does.

There’s no way you’ll ever lose with this one. The scales will always be tipped in your favor!

It’s important to remember there’s nothing too big or too small to count. If you come home on time, score one for you. If you fold and put away the laundry—that’s a point for you. Maybe two points.

Now when it comes to weighing the bad things, it might be helpful to think about it like you’re scoring an Olympic gymnastics routine. Some offenses carry bigger deductions.

For example, if your spouse forgets to pick up something from the store—that might only be a small deduction. Refusing sex or yelling at you in front of the kids? That would be like falling off the balance beam. Major deduction.

You may be wondering what to do with the good things your spouse does. That’s easy! The good things your spouse does don’t count for anything! We’re only keeping score of the good things you do.

Get the complete book here.

The Person I Didn’t Expect to Meet in College

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I grew up in Brick, New Jersey, a beach town about ninety minutes south of New York City and ninety minutes east of Philadelphia. It was a great place to live. I had great friends and loved my high school experience.

What I didn’t love so much was church. At best, it was boring and irrelevant. For me, the best part was watching the old people try to park. It’s not that I didn’t believe God existed. I just didn’t think He had very much to do with my daily life.

We attended church fairly regularly as long as my parents woke up on time. I did my best to remain as quiet as possible on Sunday mornings, hoping they’d oversleep. Sometimes it worked and I got to stay home.

After high school, I went away to college at Cornell University. The first thing I did was stop going to church. I just didn’t see the point any more. And my parents weren’t there to make me go.

Some time during the fall semester after practice one night, a guy spoke to the football team I played on. I don’t remember anything he said other than if we wanted a free “Athlete’s In Action” magazine we could sign up for one. So I did.

A few months later, this guy named Bruce gave me a call. He wanted to meet with me. So thirty-three years ago today on February 4, 1982, he and I got together at the student union (that’s it in the picture). He asked me questions about my life, my family and church. After awhile, he opened this magazine and started talking about God.

Basically what he told me was this: God loved me and had a plan for my life, but because I (along with everyone else) had sinned, I was separated from God and couldn’t experience His love and plan for me. Then he got to the good news. He said when Jesus died on the cross, He was being punished in my place.

There was one more thing he said to me: I had to make a decision. It wasn’t just enough to know those other things. I had to decide whether or not to place my trust in Jesus. Forgiveness for my sin was a gift, but I had to choose to receive it.

In all my years of attending church, I’d never heard that before. I believed in God. I knew Christmas was a celebration of Jesus’ birth. I knew Easter was about his death and resurrection. But I don’t ever remember hearing I had to actually decide what to do with Jesus. In that moment though in the student union, it was like the light came on.

Bruce explained I could practically express my faith in Jesus by praying, by asking Him to forgive my sin and to make me the person He wanted me to be. There was a prayer written out in the magazine, which he slid across the table to me.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t fully grasp the magnitude of what was happening, but as I looked down at that magazine, I knew what I was about to do was really important. And so I read the words to the prayer very slowly and thought about each word. When I was done, Bruce and I talked a little more and set up another time to meet.

As I walked back to my dorm that day, I knew something was different. Something inside me was changed. I actually remember the sky being more blue. And the craziest part was actually having the desire to read the Bible and attend church.

I met a lot of people in college. Just never expected to meet Jesus there.

“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” (John 1:12-13)

Harmony or Disharmony?

If you’re experiencing frustration as you try to live the Christian life, it may be due to a conflict between your nature and your behavior.

In the matrix I sketched above, you’ll see that the person living in the lower left quadrant is experiencing harmony between their nature and their behavior. Their nature is sinful and generally speaking, their behavior is also. It doesn’t mean they aren’t happy at times or even much of the time. It simply means they are living consistently with their nature. Of course, ultimately they will feel unfulfilled and dissatisfied, because we were designed to live in relationship with God, and this person isn’t.

The person in the upper right quadrant is also living in harmony with their identity. This person has placed their faith in Christ, experienced forgiveness for their sin and has been given a new nature. They are relying on God for the power and wisdom to live according to their new nature. It doesn’t mean they’ve become perfect or never sin. It does mean they are in a process of becoming more like Christ and experiencing the life God intended.

The person in the lower right quadrant may be trying to live like they have a new nature. They may think they’ve placed their faith in Christ, but haven’t. They may think their own goodness or morality will please God. Ultimately though, they will become frustrated because their nature or true identity does not allow them to live the life God desires for them.

The person in the upper left quadrant is also frustrated. This person has trusted Christ and received forgiveness, but has forgotten or never understood their new nature. They have either reverted to living as they used to or have continued to live according to their sinful nature. They are looking to get their legitimate physical, emotional and spiritual needs met in ways that don’t bring fulfillment or please God.

Let me encourage you to read the passages I’ve shown in the matrix.

Which quadrant best describes you?

Obviously, we all want to experience the upper right one, where we experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. If that’s not you, it can be. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it will be easy though. It’s a battle.