Many years ago, I worked with someone who continually picked up offenses. With tremendous immaturity and insecurity, they made life miserable for everyone around them. We walked on eggshells when this person was present.
I read this scripture early one morning this week, “Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.” (Proverbs 16:32)
I was seated at my desk in our third-grade classroom when our teacher was called out of the room. It was a pretty normal and uneventful day up to that particular time. She returned to the classroom crying. I never saw her cry before. Experiencing a teacher crying was totally new for me. The date was November 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was shot and killed. We would be dismissed from school early on that day.
I watched our black and white TV that evening as men in suits held onto a man who they claimed killed our president, Lee Harvey Oswald. They were pushing him through some dimly lit halls to…well, I didn’t know where. In horror, another man in a black suit came up beside him and fired shots from his pistol. I watched Oswald fall into the arms of those escorting him.
It was all a bit much for an eight-year-old kid. The talk for weeks in our country was the loss of our president. I didn’t really know what it meant, but listening to the adults in my life, I knew it was unprecedented and enormous to them. Everyone mourned and felt a bit lost, dazed really.
As I look back, what sticks out in my mind now was that I never remember hearing the words Democrat or Republican. It’s like President Kennedy was neither, just president of the United States of America.
Surely people voted and followed their party of choice, but there was no antagonism, no backbiting, no name calling, no sarcasm and no wishing another harm. At least not in the part of the world I lived in.
Unfortunately, the world we live in today is extremely different. Even the major news outlets are different. They simply have totally left objectivity and what is often reported is their personal slant or belief in an unbelievably, openly biased (which party we support) way.
It was this very president, John F. Kennedy, who said this, “If a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved. All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.”
With this election behind us, both winners and losers now face a certain reality. My wife, an elected poll official, said her polling place was busy all day and evening. This is not the norm for interim elections, but certainly good to see an interest among constituents.
You’ve had to listen to all the political rhetoric before the election and we’re hoping it doesn’t follow the election so we can get on with our lives, so to speak. For those elected, to get to work representing those who elected them and those who did not. But, what can we do now for those who are elected? How can we serve them as godly persons?
We can pray! I would like to share a few guidelines for prayer for the newly elected and the ones remaining in political office. The scriptures admonish us to pray for these persons and we desire to obey that word so clearly spoken. That means, even if the elected official is not one whom you voted for, you are still admonished to pray for them.
Specifically, what can we pray that also aligns with God’s word?
- Pray for a revelation of the love of God. Knowing God’s love and responding to that love affects every aspect of personal and public life. (Romans 5:5, 8; I John 4:9, 10)
- Pray for a revelation of God’s truth. It is the word of God and the Ten Commandments that initially created our foundation for law. Pray that this same Word is seen as truth as it was with our forefathers. (Proverbs 30:5; Hebrews 4:12)
- Pray for a revelation that all humanity is of value and created in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27; John 3:16, 17)
- Pray for a revelation of life – life in the womb and life at every stage of life. (Psalm 139: 13-16; Jeremiah 1:4, 5; Isaiah 44:2)
- Pray for a spirit of wisdom and humility with high moral character and integrity to lead this nation. (Psalm 25:9; Proverbs 10:9; 11:3; Isaiah 66:2)
- Pray for a revelation of the fear of God; it is the beginning of wisdom. (Psalm 111:10)
- Pray for a heart that seeks after God and desires His will and not their own. (Matthew 6:10; Hebrews 10:9)
As a kid I lived in insecurity. I was insecure in school, in relationships, in trying new things and in my family relationships. Insecurity is defined as instability, self-doubt and a lack of self-confidence. That was me. There were plenty of reasons for my insecurity, but at the time it was just life and trying to grow up.
Insecurity takes over your life. Everything is filtered through those insecure thoughts and beliefs. We reinforce our insecurities through our self-talk every waking hour. I can remember climbing up the ladder at the local lake to attempt to go down the slide and into the water. It was high; at least it felt that way. I reached the top and froze. I had to go back down the ladder. Insecurity led to fear and fear overcame my ability to try something new.
I suppose we grow out of many of our insecurities, but there are those relational ones that seem to forever stick with us. Author Les Parrott once wrote, “If you try to find intimacy with another person before a sense of wholeness on your own, all your relationships become an attempt to complete yourself.” Meaning, insecurity within oneself creates a sense of “un-wholeness,” so we then attempt to find wholeness in others. Those types of relationships go south quickly because no one on this earth can provide the security and wholeness we are longing for.
Jesus once approached a woman at a well that was not married, but He told her she had had five husbands in the past. Jesus identified the longing in her heart to be whole and He let her know that another husband would not do that for her. His answer: to draw living water from Him – a spring of eternal life. His answer to this woman’s insecurities, her longing to find relational fulfillment in men and her insatiable desire for wholeness was met in one encounter with the Messiah.
Have you given Him your insecurities and attempts to find wholeness in others? Here are some truths to help you do just that.
You are highly esteemed – Daniel 9:23
You are God’s child – I John 3:2
You are justified from all things – Acts 13:39
You are the righteousness of God – II Corinthians 5:21
You are free from condemnation – Romans 8:1
You are free from your past – Philippians 3:13
You are a new creature – II Corinthians 5:17
I recently read a Reader’s Digest article called, The Nature Cure and was totally intrigued. I will share some of the information from that article below. It seemed to verify what I have believed and incorporated into my life, certainly appreciating that this periodical would help to validate this belief.
The article actually called nature a “miracle medicine for our mental health.” It seems social scientists are discovering that our brains are not machines which do not tire, but rather become easily fatigued and with as little as three days of rest, creative problem-solving tasks can increase by 50 percent!
When architect Fredrick Olmsted looked over Yosemite Valley, he urged the California legislature to, “…protect it from development…. that the occasional contemplation of natural scenes is favorable to the health and vigor of men.”
Thousands of years ago gardens were constructed for this very reason — rest and mental relaxation. It seems most kings mentioned in the Scriptures incorporated them. The U.S. national park system was created because people like Ralph Waldo Emerson built a case for creating the park system stating that nature had healing powers.
Researchers today are discovering that people who live in or near “green spaces” suffer less depression, anxiety and migraines. A study in Japan found those persons who walk in the forest decrease the stress hormone cortisol. There is healing in God’s gift of nature and yet less than a quarter of Americans spend 30 minutes or more outside in nature daily.
Did you know pediatricians are now telling parents with young families to regularly visit parks so the whole family can de-stress and play? When is the last time you went camping, hiking in the mountains, visited gardens, introduced your child to the wonders of a stick, sat around a campfire, watched a sunset, played in a creek, observed butterflies or sat by a lake?
Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. (Genesis 2:8
Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. (Matthew 13:1)
Perhaps lechery is a word you are not familiar with. If you look into its meaning the dictionary states, “…unrestrained or excessive indulgence of sexual desire.” I have come across this “desire” within some marriages. Usually, it is the man who relentlessly pursues an inordinate desire for sexual relations, but this is not always the case.
Let’s be clear by stating that sexuality is something God has said “yes” to within the boundaries of marriage. It is something we should “desire” and “indulge” in regularly, but who defines “regularly” for you and your life mate and who then defines “excessive?”
Well, you both do. You find what works for you. You find what you both can agree to and enjoy. You find what honors, respects and blesses your spouse sexually and you purposefully and unselfishly pursue that. You also find what might be the cause of “…unrestrained or excessive indulgence.” We need to discover what is at the core of our lives that promotes something which is bringing harm to our marriage bed. Why? Because God’s gift of sex is never forced or abusive to another.
Let me give you some harmful effects of sexuality that can make their way into marriage.*
- Sex can be harmful if it is demeaning to another.
- It is unhealthy if it makes another person feel less valuable or used.
- It is unhealthy when it is purely selfish, used only for physical gratification.
- It is unhealthy when it shames another.
- It is damaging when forced or coerced and the law of “love does” not rule.
- Sex is not healthy when used as a replacement for affection or tenderness.
- Sex is unhealthy when it violates someone’s conscience.
- Sex is unhealthy when pornography is involved in any form.
Sexuality within the confines of marital commitment actually increases the marital bond. It fosters the growth of intimacy. It serves to reduce stress and anxiety by providing a special tone of togetherness and a release of tension. It provides a private and intimate shared experience and a bond of emotional security. It promotes a sense of well-being and happiness within the marriage and, of course, it is a gift given to us by our Creator to enjoy through many years of married life together.
(*Some of the above points are adapted from the book, The Sexual Man by Archibald Hart.)