Tag: trusting God

Does God Still Guide Nations, World Events?

Does God Still Guide Nations, World Events?

In his book 1776, David McCullough tells the story of the Revolutionary War from the perspective of the soldiers themselves. Accessing both American and British archives and some personal letters written by soldiers and officers alike, the Pulitzer Prize winning author weaves together a complex and often tragic telling of how the battle was started, its various movements throughout the war, and how it ended; all from the perspective of those who were actually there. 1776 is one the best written and most compelling books I’ve read, especially in its treatment of how the U.S. became an independent nation. Concerning our nations current challenges however, and those of other countries as well, I found the unusual happenings in the Revolutionary War to be of some encouragement and guidance for us today.

The odds were remarkably against the original 13 colonies of ever becoming an independent nation, much more so than I previously realized. The British army was well trained, well fed and adequately uniformed. They were truly professional soldiers. Hundreds of cannon-equipped war ships were at the British’s disposal, many of which arrived in the New York Harbor as a daunting show of force against the Americans. The British were the leading superpower at the time. Fighting these back woods Americans was supposed to be an easy win.

Washington’s Continental Army on the other hand was a rag-tag regiment at best with few professional soldiers. They were often sick, without adequate boots or weaponry, and were mostly farmers by trade. They had very few ships. Moral was often low. Desertions were common throughout the rather long and confusing war, and many abandoned the cause and went back to their farms when their enlistment obligations had expired. Our countries mission lacked clarity, unity, and any reasonable expectation of a victory. Which may explain why so many Americans were sympathetic to the British cause.

The British, according to letters from their own officers, really thought they had this war in the bag. Their confidence was glaring and their disdain for the less-than-impressive American troops was not hidden. They often boasted of how easy it will be to defeat General Washington and his unprofessional army. As one goes through the book, even knowing the outcome, you can’t help but ask; “how in the world were they able to pull this off?” And that’s exactly the right question, because they shouldn’t have been able to.

The most compelling thing about this event in history however is the many unexplainable events that took place during this war. The reading of the book gives one a mysterious notion of Divine involvement. I say mysterious because the book doesn’t highlight the Christian Faith, religion in general or God’s involvement necessarily. McCullough simply records what the soldiers and officers themselves witnessed, and recorded with pen and ink. It’s widely documented for instance that there were dense fogs, snow storms, sudden down pours, high winds, rising river tides and other weather related miracles that were so obviously to the benefit of Washington’s cause, Washington himself referred to them as “strokes of Providence”.

There were circumstantial occurrences as well involving soldiers and spies that mere men simply could not have orchestrated with such beneficial outcome. Time after time the “unbeatable” British Army was simply failing to succeed in any lasting effort against the Continental Army, an army they should have easily been able to defeat. One supernatural event after another however rendered their plans moot. It simply appeared that God’s hand was guiding the events of this war.

When I finished reading McCullough’s book, I realized more than ever that God’s will is going to be carried out in this world, regardless of what nations and their leaders wish to be carried out on their own agenda. Free will is in tact, both wise and foolish things will be demonstrated by the worlds leaders as some latitude is given. And make no mistake, repercussions for those decisions will come to fruition, as we see played out here in our own country. As far as God’s will however, nothing can thwart what God intends to carry out ultimately, eventually.

The United States was going to be founded and remain independent of British rule, no matter what forces came against her. Perhaps for the balance of nations, super powers, defense of Israel, innovation, management of wealth, etc. Who Knows? Well, God knows. That gives me great comfort today as I look at the stifling chaos and disruptive back-and-forth bantering that abounds in our nation. If one takes a micro view, a day to day look at current events in our country, one might get discouraged real quick. And think it impossible for any good to come from our current social, political and economic environment.

I’ve learned however to take a macro view, a broader view of current events, and to ask a different question other than “will congress ever get it right?” or “will we ever be able to move forward again as one people?” I prefer to ask; “what is God doing with our country, and with our world?” “Where is he taking us?” and, “how will he solve the seemingly insurmountable issues of our day?” I like these questions because historically, the guiding hand of our Creator has brought us through some dark and tragic times in our country, and the world, and with little help on our part. I also like this line of questioning because it keeps me looking in the right direction.

The world has survived and moved beyond some horrendous events, some much worse than what we’re going through right now. Truth is, we’ll get through this, mostly though because our God cares about the direction of this nation, and all the worlds nations. More to the point, God is the one that brought this country about in the first place, he’ll certainly know how to get it through even today’s challenges.

It’s not a question of whether good or bad will come out of the mess we find ourselves in, rather what good will our Creator somehow bring out of both?

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Overcoming Fear by Trusting in God’s Love

Overcoming Fear by Trusting in God’s Love

Fear gets a bad rap. And it should. Fear has a way of stifling our efforts for a full life. Therefore, fear rarely gets good press. But fear actually plays a key role in a life that truly abounds in the grace of God.

Years ago I had to face a daunting fact; I feared just about everything except God. I feared the loss of income, that I wouldn’t find the right person to marry and that Hollywood would never again produce a film worth watching. You name it, I feared it. But my problem wasn’t that I had fear as much as I didn’t take those fears to God.

I eventually understood that the Word of God speaks to our fears. It seems to suggest that we don’t simply overcome fear, but that we redirect our fear to God personally.

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Fear plagues us humans. But to fear God is slightly different; it’s more like concerning ourselves primarily with what God thinks. What his will is. What he cares about. And trusting him with every need. EVERY NEED!

As we learn to turn to the God of love for every desire, fear and need, our lives will begin to abound in his amazing love. Really Abound. God responds best to those who put their complete trust in him.

“The fear of the Lord leads to life” Proverbs 19:23 NIV

As I learned to do this, all my petty fears began to wane. My life took on clarity, purpose, hope. Especially as I began to look more and more to the love of God. But don’t worry, as the reliable Word of God says; “perfect love drives out fear” 1 John 4:18 NIV.

With great generosity and kindness, God doesn’t insist that our fears disappear overnight. Or that we even abandon them up front. He just wants us to turn to him with those fears, and he’ll take it from there.

Yes, we began our walk by taking all our fears, cares and longings to God. Not by trying to overcome them on our own. And he’ll eventually turn those fears and concerns into a desire to completely trust in him and his love. And what a great desire that is.

As we grow in our love for the person of God as revealed through his son Christ Jesus, we’ll naturally leave fear behind. So don’t make “overcoming fear” your objective, focus rather on God’s love and give all to him. Fear simply can’t hold up under those circumstances. Fear in fact can’t exist in the presence of God.

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The Opposite of Love; How Fear Keeps us From What we Want the Most

The Opposite of Love; How Fear Keeps us From What we Want the Most

Everyone wants love in their life. Perhaps it’s our deepest yearning. But love eludes many Christians. Statistically, our failure rate is about the same as any other group. One may even feel they’re a catch. Finding the life long love seems rare still. Why the scarcity? Why the confusion? In order to get a clearer picture of how love works and why one might be missing out, we’ll do well by first looking at loves opposite; fear.

Many things come to mind when I think of fear; being overly cautious, the attempt to eliminate risk, timidity and nervousness. Who hasn’t been completely controlled by these at one point or another? But for some, the nature of fear is a way of life. A philosophy to live by. One’s fear may be found in an overly practical nature for example. And this philosophy may be so committed to saving a dollar that the thought of splurging on a bouquet of flowers may seem wasteful, unnecessary.

Everything must be logical to the devoted practical philosopher. All things attained must be for an actual need. No extra’s. As a general approach to life, everything must be verified and confirmed with the attempt to eliminate any sense of the unknown.

If you’ve ever traveled with someone like this, or worked on some kind of a project, you know how this way of thinking can suck the life out of any situation, any relationship. Being insanely practical is respected and applauded in some circles. It’s even treated as if it’s wisdom. But I’ve come to see it as one of the great enemies of love, and fear is at its core. There is a time for practicality, and we all need some level of it. But could an over-application be killing one’s chances for love?

The nature of love could not be farther from that of fear or extreme practicality. Love accepts that not all risk can be eliminated, and even celebrates its presence as adventure. Love is confident that things, however they turn out, will work for good. Love leaves room for spontaneity. Is willing to splurge. Love is thrilled at the mere possibility that something just might be. It’s whimsical, creative and imaginative. Taking a chance is at the heart of what love is.

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We’re really talking about faith. Faith in the ability to believe in something before it’s materialized. People who walk around with the spirit of faith are much more likely to embrace the possibility of love. The very disposition of their heart and mind is inclined to believe in not only love for others, for themselves as well.
But the person who has given themselves over to the idea that all things must be proven in advance and insists on controlling as much of their own life as possible, will have a harder time with love. They want the benefit of love but they don’t believe in it enough to take a leap of faith for it. It’s just too risky after all.

All this talk about love and fear is really a spiritual one, and this is where we can see the difference most clearly. Overly practical ways have a way of creeping into the Christian faith, which stifles any real chance of a close love with our Creator. God in fact insists that we live from a spirit of faith, a crucial component of our, well, faith, and love. And if that’s not happening with God, love with another person is less likely, especially one of Gods design.

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15 NIV

If you aren’t experiencing the love you want with another person, maybe focusing on your love and connection with your Creator is what God wants for you right now. Nothing prepares us better for love with another than a close walk with Jesus our Savior. Get filled with his love, take a chance with Him, and maybe you’ll have the faith, courage and insight to pursue a love with another, as God wills for you.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18 NIV

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