The Next Chapter
Another page has turned in American history. A new chapter has begun. Biblical prophecy is unfolding before our eyes (whether we realize it or not). Every page turned brings us closer to the climax of Jesus’ return. He said it wouldn’t be pretty. He was right. Tensions are running high, clashes between the spiritual kingdoms of light and darkness, good and evil are ramping up. And we must make our choice between God and His ways—or the ways of this ever-darkening world (which America seems to be embracing).
As followers of Christ, we face the increasing dilemma of how to live in this world and yet not be of it (John 17:11–16). Talk about tension! Have we figured out how to do that yet? I sure haven’t. That’s why I found myself sympathizing with the recent protestors in Washington DC (not the violent ones). Disappointment, deep sadness, and frustration over the controversial change in our presidential administration were also wrestling for the upper hand in my emotions. I thought, surely something more can be done. But that wasn't the case. A peaceful protest turned to violence. How quickly our disgruntled emotions can grow feet and things go south if they’re not held in check.
But God is so faithful to help us in our struggles if we ask Him. And I was certainly asking.
It just so happened (I love how God does that), that I was reading the twenty-ninth chapter of Jeremiah in my daily devotions. Might I just say, Jeremiah is called the weeping prophet for good reason. The poor guy, all he wanted to do was obey God, to relay God’s warnings—of impending judgment if Judah didn’t change their wicked ways and God’s promise of blessings if they did. I can identify with some of Jeremiah’s suffering, heartbreak, dejection, disappointment, and deep, deep sadness over their continued refusal to return to God. His emotions, his intercessions are all right there, recorded in the pages of his book. So is God’s advice to Judah, who ended up exiles under Babylonian rule for a time due to their disobedience.
I feel we too can glean from His words as we walk out this next chapter in American history. Judah’s was an actual physical move from Jerusalem to Babylon. Ours is a spiritual move. God’s advice to them (through His servant Jeremiah) was, Build yourselves houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat the fruit of them. Take wives and have sons and daughters . . . multiply there, and do not be diminished (vs.5–6).
Multiply there. Do not be diminished. Sound advice, if you ask me. Spiritually speaking, God is saying, “Don’t let your faith in Me die out because of disappointment in how things turned out. Don’t quit preaching the gospel. Keep reaching the lost. Don’t just add to My kingdom, multiply it. Even while in exile to the worldly ways of those ruling over you”.
God then takes it a step further. Not only do I want you to multiply My kingdom, I want you to Seek (inquire for, require, and request) the peace and welfare of the city to which I have caused you to be carried away captive; and pray to the Lord for it, for in the welfare of [the city in which you live] you will have peace and welfare (vs. 7 AMPL). Do you hear that? There are benefits to praying for those we wouldn’t normally be inclined to pray for. This lines up with Paul telling us to pray for kings and all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who wishes all men to be saved, and to come into the knowledge of the Truth (1 Timothy 2:1–4).
So, I’ve adjusted my attitude. I will continue doing my part to preach the gospel. I will also pray for the new authorities over us. I will ask God to save them and bring them into the knowledge of the Truth. I will ask Him to help them to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8).
I also pass on to you a good word we received recently from a friend. It was written by Flora M. Kynard, a chaplain in a Texas prison. If ever the body of Christ needed this godly wisdom to guide our steps and lighten our paths in days ahead, the time is now.
With all the problems the world is facing, it can be unsettling to the mind. Here are the top ten predictions for 2021:
1. The Bible will still have all the answers.
2. Prayer will still be the most powerful thing on earth.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still honor the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him.