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Let’s Talk About…Politics (Not Really)

Hey! I’m back! I took a little longer off than I expected off due to unforeseen circumstances (I broke my computer, school, illness, etc.) Anyway, I’m here now and I’m ready to get back to the poetry stuff and the blog stuff. *I really hope to get back to a consistent schedule too.*

Since the last time I posted it’s been New Years Day, Valentines Day, and a bunch of other days. One of the most memorable days this year is the U.S.A. inauguration day, but I’ll get to the politics part in a minute. Since I’ve been gone for so long, I wanted to touch on something that I was planning to post about in January. (See above for reasons why it didn’t happen) I’ll probably talk about it more in depth next post, but I wanted to tell you guys what my New Year’s resolution was…I’M READING THROUGH THE ENTIRE BIBLE IN A YEAR! So far it’s been going pretty great and I’m loving doing it. I highly recommend starting a bible reading challenge if you have never tried one.

Now to the politics stuff…sorta. The title of this post is “Let’s Talk About Politics”, but today’s thoughts are only inspired by the current U.S.A. political situation. Today, I want to talk about how we should treat the authority in our lives. All this applies to any sort of leadership in our lives, but my main focus today is political leaders.

There are a lot of very strong opinions about the political discourse in the United States currently. Especially about President Trump. There have been riots, petitions, and anything you can think of that people are using as a way to get their opinions about the United States leadership heard. I fully believe in the freedom of speech. Everyone has the right to express their beliefs peacefully and respectfully, but when it goes past peaceful and respectful there is a problem. No one has the right to be disrespectful to the people who have been appointed as leadership over them. Something I saw that made me really angry was #notmypresident because it shows a blatant disrespect for the authority God appointed over the country. And yes, God appointed President Trump as the leader. Romans 13:1 says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” There is a reason that person who is in power has that position, and we have no idea how God can and will use them during there time in power. You don’t have to love everything your authority says, does, or believes in. However, you do have to respect their laws and rules, if they are reasonable. In the end they are doing what they believe is best for the people they are leading. God can use our leaders to influence entire populations. We don’t want to hinder what God is trying to do through them by shaming or refusing to follow them. Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

The question is…How can we help our leaders if we want them to lead their people to God? We should pray for our authority, every single day. That is how we can best help them. If we are fairly certain that they are not Christ-followers, then we should pray that God uses the Christians they encounter to point them towards the Lord. We can pray that the Lord will work in their lives, and that they accept him and use his guidance to lead their country to God. Whether they are Christians or Non-Christians we can pray that the Christ-followers in power along side them can help them to seek the Lord’s guidance. Pray that they will listen to promptings from God when they are making decisions. If your country elects leaders pray that strong, Godly people are elected into positions of power. Pray that your leaders will turn entire populations back to God.

That all being said, if the person in charge does or tries to make you do things that go against God’s commandments, follow God. Acts 5:29 says, “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”” God is in control of who he puts in leadership, but we are in control of whether we stand up when we see our leaders pointing us away from Christ. If going against our earthly authority leads to a furthering of God’s kingdom, then by all means we should do what God is commanding us to do. Take for example countries that ban Christianity and/or the Bible. Many missionaries sneak into those countries regularly to give Bible and preach about the gospel to people who aren’t allowed by their earthly authority to learn about God. They may be breaking the law, but they are doing what is favorable in God’s eyes. They risk everything to get the word of God out into the world, but they will be rewarded for it in eternity. Even Jesus did this during his time on Earth. He was hung on a cross for breaking the rules set in place by the religious authorities, but he did nothing wrong in God’s eyes. We can have a healthy respect for all the authority put in place to rule over us, but I also believe that sometimes God puts ungodly authority in place to see if his people will rise up and stand up for what is right in his eyes. Just remember, even when we do this, it is a respectful disobedience driven by a righteous anger for the sinful things done by the authority. We don’t get to disobey just for the sake of rebelling.

I want to encourage you to be supportive of those who lead you. I pray that we will all remember who appointed them there, and that we will pray that God will use them to further his kingdom, with God’s guidance their leadership could lead entire populations to Christ.  My challenge for you guys as well as myself is to pray for our leadership consistently, particularly the leaders of our countries. The more we pray the more God works and that’s really awesome. I also pray that we will stand up for what is right and Godly in a world full of wrong. I want to encourage those of you who are under leadership or in a place that tries to keep you from following God. Always remember God is your highest authority, and he is always working for the good of his children. So, stand up for your faith and follow God every step of the way.

Also, I have two recommendations. The first is the book God’s Smuggler. It is a true story about the journey of an Undercover missionary, like the ones I was talking about earlier. My second recommendation is for those who are interested in becoming the Godly leaders of the next generation. Check out Student Leadership University. They are super invested in developing the next generation of leaders. and it’s an awesome experience

Thank you guys for reading! It truly means a lot. I’m so thankful for the opportunity I have to create my Spoken Words { don’t forget to check out today’s video 😉 } and blog posts. I love you all very much.

-Jess

Bible Verses about Respecting Authority

  • Romans 13:2-5
  • Titus 3:1
  • 1 Peter 2:18
  • Matthew 28:18

This Week’s Spoken Word: HERE 

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone! I took a few weeks off to focus on my church’s Christmas production, but I’m back now and better than ever. Christmas is tomorrow and I am so excited! I’m sure you are too. Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year and I love getting to study Jesus’ birth every year.

When I was trying to think of what I wanted to write about this Christmas I kept getting drawn back to Zechariah and Elizabeth. They’re not the most prominent people involved in the Christmas story, but their story is still extremely important and there are tons of lessons to be gleaned from it. So, I think this year I’m going to take a nontraditional route and talk about them.

Let’s talk about Zechariah first. He’s not the first person I think about when I think of the Christmas story, but as I was studying this past week, I thought it was really cool reading about how God worked in his life. Zechariah was a priest and if you asked anyone I’m sure they would have told you he was close with God. I mean, when God spoke to him he was performing a sacred ritual in the temple. That’s pretty close. However, what we discover quickly is that he and God may have had a great relationship, but there was still a part of him that was very human and closed off to God. He and Elizabeth had prayed for a baby for years and years, and at this time of this story they were old and had given up hope. At some point, they stopped believing that God could or would give them a baby. When, an angel came to Zechariah and told him they were going to have a child, and that he would be a prophet that went before God’s son, Zechariah was absolutely shocked. Just like anyone else, even though he walked with God and trusted him with his life, he doubted that this could really make the impossible happen.I thought this was a pretty normal reaction, but I think I forgot that God can do anything, just like Zechariah.

God’s response to his doubt was to make him mute until his son, John, was born. I was completely and utterly confused about God’s reason for this until I was doing the She Reads Truth study, and one of the authors explained the reason. He cared about Zechariah so much that he made him mute so that he could work on encouraging him to release that last little bit of his heart to him. I’ve noticed God do this with me before, as well. He’s never made me mute, but he has allowed me to get sick or injured, so I would have to stay home and have the time to make my relationship right with him. God doesn’t want us to suffer, but sometimes it’s necessary to help us pull our focus. It’s okay to doubt, worry, and question, but what’s important is that we come back to God. When we do come back we should have a similar reaction to Zechariah. When John was born and his voice returned to him, his first reaction was to praise God and tell everyone about what God had done for him and his family. That should be our reaction after every encounter we have with God. Essentially that’s all the time, because everything around us is something God created and has blessed us with.

I also love Elizabeth, his wife. She was one of Mary’s relatives and her faith was as strong as her husband’s. Elizabeth is a great example of how we should act in the presence of God, and how we should stand up for our faith. Mary came to visit her after she became pregnant with Jesus and the entire encounter was incredible. Elizabeth recognized the presence of Jesus immediately, even her baby jumped in her womb. Elizabeth was awed that she got the honor to be in the presence of Jesus, even when he was still in the womb. She felt unworthy and excited. Elizabeth is a great example of how we should react anytime we get to spend time in the presence of God. We should come with reverence, awe, and excitement.

Elizabeth also stood up for what God told her to do even when her friends and neighbors thought she was crazy. Everyone thought she should name her son after her husband, since it was the tradition at the time. However, Elizabeth knew that she should do what God commanded, and she named her baby John. We should always be like Elizabeth. The world will think we are insane for some of our actions, but none of that matters if what we are doing is God’s will.

 I believe their story greatly impacted Mary. The angel told Mary about Elizabeth when she questioned how she would get pregnant and assured her that nothing is impossible with God. I’m also going to go out on a limb and assume that Mary’s visit with Elizabeth helped calm any of her fears. Without Zechariah and Elizabeth I believe that Mary would have never have been as at peace as she was throughout her pregnancy.

Because of their faith, Zechariah and Elizabeth were blessed beyond measure. They both got to meet Jesus, in the flesh. Even in their old age, God blessed them with a son. Not only that, their son became one of the greatest prophets of the New Testament, best known as John the Baptist. We all have a lot to learn from their story, not just that we should remain faithful through any trials like they did when they were praying for a baby. We can learn from Zechariah’s story that we should always be strengthening our relationship with God, even when we are walking close because we can always get closer. He also shows us how we should react when God blesses us. We can learn how we should approach God  with reverence and awe from Elizabeth. We can also follow her lead and stand up for our faith just like she did.

I hope during this last week of the holiday season and beyond we can all keep these lessons in mind. I’m praying for you all and, as always, I ask that you pray the same for me.

Merry Christmas

-Jess

This Week’s Spoken Word: HERE

  • Luke 1:5-25; 39-45; 57-66
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God’s Love Wins

{This Spoken Word is the first one I ever wrote and super excited to finally do something with it. I wrote it over a year ago right after the new law about gay marriage was passed. However, it is important to note that it’s not the focus of the Spoken Word. I wanted to write a poem that put perspective on what love should actually be, not what is shown in culture and media.}

 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – 1 John 4:8

God is Love

God displays his love in an uncountable number of ways. God shows his love by comforting us in times of hardship. He provides us with people and things that bring us joy everyday. He created this entire earth for us to live on. Jesus healed the sick and even cast out demons. These are just a few of his ways that he has shown his love over the ages. I think the most memorable is God sending his only son to die on a cross. He loved us so much that he allowed his perfect son to die so that we wouldn’t have to. Often, I see movies or read about all the torture that Jesus went through then. It’s hard to imagine that that could be me, if he hadn’t had died for me. Along with all that, God is creating a place or us to live with him, in peace, for eternity. He loves us and wants us to have a relationship with him forever.

The culture would like to convince you that love is just and emotion or a feeling that comes and goes. Love is treated like something that can be thrown around. When we really stop to look at what God has to say about love, it is abundantly clear that love is something you choose. Jesus chose to fulfill our debts.Sometimes people will say that if you really love someone, you would take a bullet for them. That’s exactly what Christ did. He endured so much pain for something he didn’t even do, because he loves us so much. He didn’t want us to have to endure it ourselves. We get to choose to follow him. We were given a free will, so that we could choose to love God. He didn’t want us to be robots who worshiped and loved him because he forced us to. However, if we know that Jesus did all this for us, then why would we not want to follow him. We love him because he first loved us. It’s not the opposite. He still loves us even when we deny him. We love him, because he saved us.

It is up to us to create a loving relationship with God. he never leaves us. Just like with anyone you love, you have to spend quality time with God to get to know him.

It is the job of those of us who love him to share the joy we have gotten from experiencing his love. If you are a follower of Christ, it is up to you to spread the word of God to those we may not have the opportunity to hear his word regularly. (1 John 3:16-18) You may have heard about or seen the video The Gift of A BibleIn this video an atheist asks, “How much do you have to hate someone, not to tell them about God.” As Christians we are to hate no one and love everyone. We show our love for people by going out and providing support and telling them about God, so they can feel his love firsthand. Often, without us many people will never hear the name Jesus. I encourage you to look at the people you are around every day. Think of the people you love. If you love them and you want them to spend eternity surrounded by God’s love ,share the word of God with them. Help to change their definition of love.

I’m praying for you all this week and I ask that you do the same for me. Pray that you and I will have the courage to spread God’s love daily, whether that be by being kind to someone or telling them the story about how much God loves every singe one of us.

-Jess

Bible Verses about Love

  • Mark 12:31
  • 1 Corinthians 13:13
  • 1 Peter 4:8
  • John 15:13 (my favorite verse)
  • Matthew 22:37-39
  • 1 John 3:1

{I want to thank you all for helping me make the start of Trust and Belief a success. All the support I have gotten means the world to me. I’m very thankful that I have the opportunity to do all of this. I can’t wait to see where this goes in the future.}

This week’s Spoken Word: HERE