A Culture in Turmoil

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

This past July, I turned 63 years of age.  It is amazing how quickly I got here.  I look back and I remember my years in school, graduating from high school in 1975 and entered the Air Force where I served for four years, the majority of my time in Homestead, FL.  During this time, I accepted Christ for real, as apposed to the false acceptance when I was ten, and I found an amazing church there in Florida with an amazing Pastor, Edward Bez, who through teaching and observing the reality of his walk, helped me to grow and become a truly committed Christian.  I met my wife to be and married her in 1982 and after much moving around, settled in Acworth, GA in 1996 where we still live today. In this, after 45 years as a computer operator and COBOL programmer in the financial industry, I was laid off due to budget cuts from my then current job of 14 years,  I then found a six month contract  in Evansville, IN., which after it ended I looked for another but ended up retiring in 2019 and starting True Devotion Ministries, Inc, a discipleship ministry, which I currently work with today.  Also, during this time, I went to seminary and completed my Master of Divinity and ultimately my Theological Doctorate in 2018 after 15 years of study.

I say all this to show that I have experienced many things in my life. some good and some not so good.  It is amazing to look back and see how God guided me through so many things that helped me grow in my faith.  I am sure everyone reading this can do the same.  However, as I look over the last five to ten years, I am seeing a culture here in the United States that has become so divided that it has moved from simple verbal argumentation to incredible acts of violence.  We are seeing, in many cities, buildings being destroyed by groups of people with sledge hammers and bricks, many times taking everything inside before setting it on fire.  We see police officers being severely injured and even killed by violent criminals who are calling for getting rid of police altogether which would in essence take away any consequences for their actions.  And along with all this, we are seeing government officials, at the city, state and federal levels siding with these rioters, giving them essentially their approval for all this violence.

And with the COVID-19 pandemic, many cities and states are shutting down businesses which is destroying our national economy and causing many people to become unemployed with little to no income.  And as some cities and states begin to open up, religious institutions, predominately Christian churches, are being given stricter requirements than any other business or organization.  For instance, in at least one state I have read that some restaurants and businesses are allowed to be open if at a percentage of their capacity.  However churches, no matter how large, can only have up to five people in the building.  And we are seeing the same thing, although not as rigid, in many locations throughout the U.S.  This anti-church philosophy has been foretold by Jesus in the gospel of John.  “Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-33.

As we approach the end, and ultimately the return of Jesus Christ, we have been told the times would be difficult for the Christian, because the world would become the enemy of the church.  But, I want to encourage everyone that we have not been left alone.  God is with each one of us, through the person of the Holy Spirit, and will help us through these troubling times.  Paul, in his letter to the Church in Philippi, said no matter what happens, we can go to God for help.  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. As things get more difficult, God is always with us to give us peace through all of our trials and persecutions.  We know things will get worse, but what shape it will take we cannot say.  However, what we do know is we will not be alone.  God will never leave us or forsake us.  We have a God that loves us beyond all understanding and we can trust Him to see us through.  So, lift up all your needs and trials in prayer to Him, and let Him fill your heart and mind with a peace that passes all understanding.   This is His promise to us, and thus what He will do for us.

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