November 5, 2020
We survived — whew, big sigh of relief! At least I’m assuming we are all still breathing on the other side of Election Day, Nov. 3.
Press time required me to write this column a few days before the polls closed, so I can’t speak to how the day actually went or what we know about the results.
But I do know we are strong and resilient, so I’m confident we will find our way through whatever is in front of us.
And kudos for also helping take the state to a 99.9% completion rate on the census. We really came through in those final weeks to fill it out.
I’m also encouraged by so many of you who are maintaining a cheerful heart and determining to truly make a difference despite the difficulties, heaviness and frustrations consistently hovering over us.
The recent escalation of divisiveness in our country hurts my heart deeply, but the amazing stories coming out of our churches reminds me that we are going to be OK, that the Light will continue to shine through the darkness.
Thank you for digging in deep and holding tight to Jesus through it all — and for modeling love, joy, peace, grace and confidence for the unbelievers who are watching.
I do relate to the anxiety and fear. It’s completely understandable. We all have those moments, but please know you are not alone.
As children of the King, we have a built-in family of tremendous strength that spans worldwide, even when it seems we are fighting each other more than unifying around our faith.
In many ways, the past eight months have made it more difficult to trust, and isolation can play tricks on our minds.
If you are struggling in any way, know your Alabama Baptist family is here with you, and I must believe your church family is ready and willing to assist you through this time. Reach out and let them know your needs.
If you don’t have a church family or don’t feel comfortable reaching out to those nearby for some reason, then give us a call so we can help put you in touch with a trusted friend in your community.
I wish I could confidently say life will soon settle into a routine that makes sense to us, but I’m honestly not sure what the next year or even decade holds.
However, I can confidently hold to the promises of the One who does know every detail of each of our lives and knows all that lies ahead for our country and our world.
I can decide to move forward in His light and love despite the unknowns ahead, striving to follow His commands above all and working to leave the communities in which I serve better than I found them.
Another ugly election season may be over, but the culture of doomsday-style information will likely only intensify from here on out.
To survive with any hope of peace, we must refocus our hearts so we can hear clearly from the Lord as we seek to point people to Jesus and tackle each day for the glory of God.
Have you read 1 John lately? Some Bible scholars call it ‘the clearest combination of faith and love in the New Testament’
Excerpt from 1 John 4
Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming; even now it is already in the world.
You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world. Therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them.
We are from God. Anyone who knows God listens to us; anyone who is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deception.
… Let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God. … God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His one and only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins … if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. …
In this, love is made complete with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because as He is, so also are we in this world.
There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love. We love because He first loved us.
If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
Excerpt from 1 John 5
Everyone who believes Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves the one born of him. This is how we know we love God’s children: when we love God and obey His commands.
… Love for God is: to keep His commands. And His commands are not a burden, because everyone who has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith. —CSB