the renewal of all things

i have been so discouraged by this country (and world) of ours. it saddens me. it enrages me. teens carrying ridiculous guns and eliminating Christians. fundamental changes being made in the halls of congress and in the highest court of the land. changes that many rejoice over and leave many concerned and fearful of the ramifications for religious freedom. jokers running for office. disgusting acts perpetrated on the most helpless of lives. a holocaust of the unborn. abuses of power. persecution. bullying. violence. racism. murder. rape. human trafficking. mutilation. terrorism. revolting words. heavy words. serious words. and things that should not be taken lightly by any of us. things are advancing but things are also being destroyed in the process. these are ugly times. worrisome times. it seems pervasive, doesn't it? like things are getting worse and worse.

as much as i hope that politicians and leaders will shift the tide, no. we can't expect our culture to make the right choices. we shouldn't be surprised when it seems like things are working against us. we cannot and should not rely on the laws and culture and kings of this world. we pray for leaders to have wisdom. we vote according to our beliefs. BUT, changes happen person-to-person, heart-to-heart. the Lord changes hearts and we come together to do big things for kingdom. God works through us. but He is the one restoring all things and renewing things.

He replaces and renews our hearts. He restores. and those renewed beings are to go out into the world and do His renewing work. being His hands and feet. loving. binding up wounds. sharing good news. encouraging. lifting up. shining light. being salt.

and even when it seems dark and hopeless. we can trust that God is doing His work. God is the Alpha and Omega. He is the Ancient of Days. His is our judge. He is on His throne. He holds the eternal gavel and will hand out sentences and judgment. righteousness will ultimately prevail. He who began a good work will complete it. He will not abandon us. He longs to see people restored. and He is at work - bringing all things under the rule of Christ. order. beauty. perfection. harmony. unity. these things will not be achieved with warfare and guns and arguments and decrees and laws and fights and rulings and sentences and boycotts and dissension. these things will be brought about by God alone. and what an honor to be used by Him for such a glorious work.

so, take heart, dear one. if you are like me and feel like you can't do enough or change enough or be involved enough. you can. 

we have the power of prayer. we have the truth of God's word to share and transform lives. we have the Holy Spirit at work within us. we have sweet and amazing grace. we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.

so instead of being downtrodden or angry or crazy about things. instead of engaging in social media squabbles or fruitless discourse. instead of trying to prove a point to someone who fundamentally disagrees with your premise. instead of trying to convince or bully or snub or injure others who don't think like you or support what you support, we should be about speaking to people's hearts. elevating the conversations. talking about kingdom things. sharing the good news of the gospel. seeing hearts changed and souls brought into a right relationship with their Creator and Savior. that is what our time and effort should be spent on. we cannot become weary in doing good. in the little ways and the big ways. kindness and compassion and love. it is exhausting and impractical and impossible to try to change the entire culture. this is a person by person thing. the individual is changed. and then these individuals come together to shape the collective mindset: neighborhoods are changed. cities and states are changed. countries are changed. the culture is changed.

and while i am all for logic and rhetoric and artful argument and debate, those things are not our most potent weapon. let us wield the sword of the spirit, the Word of God. let us be intelligent and poised and passionate and caring and careful. but let us always be about the heart, for from it flow the springs of life.