Thursday, March 30, 2023

Wisdom Justified by Time

Dick Cheney’s autobiography In My Time reviews the lives of political figures who have shaped America the past several decades. Cheney rubbed shoulders with many of Washington’s elites, gleaning wisdom from some of their lives.

Careful observers gleaned one valuable lesson from observing the leadership of Gerald Ford: some actions are only justified by time.

Cheney shares the surprise he and many Americans, experienced when President Ford announced on September 8, 1974, that he was issuing a full, free, and absolute pardon to Richard Nixon following the Watergate scandal. Cheney writes, He described his actions as a way to ‘shut and seal’ the matter of Watergate and to mitigate the suffering of Richard Nixon and his family.  

At the time, this action cost Ford – some speculate that it cost him the reelection. There was immediately a firestorm of controversy and criticism. Ford’s approval rating dropped from 71% to 49%. The press condemned Ford, and he endured much negative criticism as a result. 

However, more than thirty years later, Cheney writes, the wisdom and generosity of Gerald Ford’s instincts have been recognized for their courage and honored for their rightness. But at the time the pardon was controversial and unpopular.

The Right Choice

Wisdom beckons that at times the right choice is the unpopular choice. The right choice may be greatly misunderstood and even condemned. It takes courage to make the right choice. And in time, even those who criticize that person may see years later that it was the right choice.

Many years ago, my parents left a toxic church situation. When they joined the next church, the pastor told them, I don’t know what happened at that church, but everyone who comes here from there comes hurting. Before they left, Mom warned some persons of the unwise and ungodly path of the senior pastor. Mom and Dad received an incredible amount of criticism and ostracism for their stance. The pastor told the staff to not have conversations with them.  My parents left their church of 25+ years belittled, bruised, and broken.  Several years later, however, after several hundred people and most of the staff left the church, an ex-staff member commented to me in retrospect, Mrs. Wilson was right.

One of the traits of a godly man or woman is this: a godly person does not play to the crowd. A wise person does not make his judgments solely based on public opinion. King Saul in the Old Testament lived most of his reign working to make himself look good in front of others. The fruit of his character revealed a pitiful life, not so different than the lives of some Hollywood favorites or political figures that woo the crowds but lead miserable lives of shallow character.

The roar of the crowd and public opinion are often fickle and sway with the wind. As with President Ford's day, systems of people are quick to make fast judgments and shift blame to scapegoats to manage their current stress. But the perspective of years often reveals a different reality.

Be willing to make the hard decisions when necessary. God will be pleased, and time will tell.


Pictures courtesy of Pixabay

Entrust Yourself to God


Life contains difficult choices. One of those choices is whether or not to defend yourself.

When someone else has spoken despairingly about us – whether verbally or in writing –the natural instinct within most people is to rise up and defend self. They’re not going to say that about me, we think. Being misunderstood or misrepresented makes matters even worse, leaving us wanting to “set the record straight.”

King David experienced such a time. When his son Absalom attempted to seize the throne, Absalom and his cohorts spread negative reports about the king. When the usurper’s army was moving in on Jerusalem, David and his people had to flee quickly. As they fled along the road, David encountered came out cursing continually. The old man took the opportunity to throw stones at the king and call him a “worthless fellow.” Nothing like kicking a man when he is down. 

Interestingly, God’s Word says all of King David’s mighty men were at his right hand and at his left. He could have retaliated. One of those mighty men, Abishai, even asked David for permission to go over now and cut off his head. And I’m sure Abishai would have enjoyed it! Instead, David refused to retaliate. He refused to return evil for evil. He refused to return a bad report for a bad report. He even refused to respond! David quietly entrusted himself to the Lord: Perhaps the Lord will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of cursing today (2 Samuel 16:12).

And then what did David do? He and his men went on the way. They moved forward and kept going.

The Lord Jesus responded similarly. He, too, was misunderstood and mistreated. Mocked and maligned, he was led on a path out of Jerusalem and nailed to a tree. Instead of returning evil for evil, he gave a blessing. While cursed and killed, the Bible says that he committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, he uttered no threats, but kept entrusting himself to Him who judges righteously (1 Peter 2:22-23).

When we feel mistreated, maligned, or misunderstood, instead of lashing out in retaliation, the model of Jesus serves as a governor to our all-too fleshly mouths. He quietly entrusted Himself to God.

In her devotion Streams in the Desert, L. B. Cowman writes,

“What grace it requires when we are misunderstood yet handle it correctly, or when we are judged unkindly yet receive it in holy sweetness! Nothing tests our character as a Christian more than having something evil said about us. This kind of grinding test is what exposes whether we are solid gold or simply gold-plated metal.

Some Christians are easily turned away from the greatness of their life’s calling by pursuing instead their own grievances and enemies. They ultimately turn their lives into one petty whirlwind of warfare. It reminds me of trying to deal with a hornet’s nest. You may be able to disperse the hornets, but you will probably be terribly stung and receive nothing for your pain, for even their honey has no value.”

Picture courtesy of Pixabay.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Greg Laurie: The Jesus Revolution


4 Signs of Christian Revival

What my generation called “The Jesus Movement,” Time magazine called “The Jesus Revolution.” They were right. Revolution involves a dramatic change, a return. The same can be said of revival. Simply put, a Christian revival is a return to New Testament Christianity—the way we who follow Jesus should always live.

We need another Jesus revolution, and I believe we will see one in our lifetime. But to experience revival, we must first wake from our sleep.

So many in the church today are spiritually asleep. They are settling for a watered-down form of the Christian faith. This is not the form of the Christian faith that changed the world in the first century—the faith that changed families, countries and cultures. As evangelist and Bible scholar G. Campbell Morgan once stated: “Organized Christianity that fails to make a disturbance is dead.”

Read the entire article here at Decision Magazine.

Learn more about the movie here.