The Great Divide

I recently heard someone comment on how this election process is so different in regards to the Evangelical community.  Historically, the greatest majority of Evangelicals would rally around the same candidate, usually a republican, but in this election, there is great division within the Evangelical community in regards to how they should vote.  It’s not so much between the two major candidates, but more importantly, between the two major choices they have and their own moral and Biblical convictions.


This election has created quite a mess of sorts.  Where you could in times past look at a candidate, one that professes they are a Christian and attempts to live accordingly, whose history and reputation is in line with Biblical standards and morality, and someone you could feel comfortable casting your vote for as a Christian, that is not the case in this election.  While it may be possible to view some of the policies each of these candidates promote as Christian and godly in nature, to say they are living a life exemplifying Christianity or per Biblical standards and morality would be a gross misjudgment to say the least.  And this is where the great divide comes in.


On one side of the great divide you have Christians making their choice out of their sense of patriotism, patriotism reaching for the greatness America once had, or patriotism reaching for their idea of what America should look like in the future.  You have Christians making their choice based on the future of the Supreme Court and the judges the next President will appoint, as well as the candidates stated positions regarding abortion, marriage, the economy, and equal rights, just to name a few.  Some have even resorted to voting strictly in line with the political party they are associated with and the platform of that same political party.  If you are a Republican, to vote per your party can be both a scary and dangerous thing to do, especially since there has been in recent years a push from deep within the party to abandon some of the conservative positions that Christians generally associate with.  The Republican party is struggling to at least maintain the appearance of being conservative and embracing Judeo/Christian values.


In the mix of the quagmire of this election is the growing manipulation by some to force people to vote for one major candidate over another.  Perhaps you’ve already heard some version of this; to not vote for one candidate automatically means a vote for the other major candidate.  I’ve even heard Christians tell Christians that they are not voting for Jesus, or even a “perfect” candidate, but instead for one that they believe best reflects their ideas of the direction America is to go in, or in other words, “the lesser of two evils”.  This is hard when Christians are truly wanting to represent and honor God with their vote, but now they are having to deal with the ever-increasing pressure to vote for one of the two major candidates.


I recently heard someone that has become popular the past several months, especially with a book he’s written in favor of and supporting a specific candidate.  As I was listening to this person he made a comment that got my attention.  He indicated that about 60% of Christians are on board with this one candidate, and that the remaining 40% were missing God regarding who they should vote for.  For some reason, he believes that Christians who refuse to compromise the Biblical standards and morality by which Scripture instructs us to live by and to promote, that those Christians are missing God.  After all, that has been the main source of the Great Divide between Christians in this election.  The biggest reason more Christians are not supporting this candidate, or are very reluctant to, is the fact that this candidate has not demonstrated a life surrendered or changed by God in word or deed, much less a heart that desires to be, but instead one that is not godly.


Another thing this person said was that this election is a test for Christians, namely a test in their ability to discern the will of God and who to vote for, making it clear that he believes a discerning Christian will know that they are to vote for this candidate.  While I do agree that this is a test of sorts, I do not believe it to be the test he’s thinking of.  I believe this is a test regarding the heart of those who profess to be Christians, seeing what is most important to them and what they are willing to lay down for it.  To be more clear, I believe Christians are in a test to see if their heart is more for pleasing and representing God in and with their lives, or for America and its past greatness and subsequent benefits.


When I think of what the above person said, how that 60% of Christians are supporting this candidate while 40% are not, what comes to mind is that God always has a remnant of followers wholly devoted to Him.  When the Hebrews (Jews) were in captivity in Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar, all but three of the Hebrews bowed to the image of the king, who were subsequently thrown into a fiery furnace God delivered them from.  When Daniel was told that he could no longer worship or pray to God as was his custom to do, he went to pray to God as he always did, and thus was cast into a den of lions that God also delivered him from.  When Elijah thought he was the only one that would stand for God against king Ahab and Jezebel, God made it clear to him that he had 400 others that had not bowed their knee to popular opinion or the wickedness that was prevalent in the country at that time.  God always has a remnant!


I have said for years that there is coming a time when the line between those who are truly living with a heart for God and those who are not will become as clear as night and day, and I believe this could be the start of this great dividing between true followers of Christ, and those who are just fans.  A few years ago, there was a bit of a stir within church circles when it appeared that charitable giving to churches and religious organizations may no longer be allowed as a tax deduction.  At that time, I said we would learn who was giving out of a heart for God, compared to those who were more focused on the tax benefits they were getting, noting that those who lost the tax benefit would stop giving.  Now, we are facing the daunting position of choosing where or in whom we will place our trust for the future of this country.


When contemplating who to vote for, some are basing their decision on “prophesies” pointing to one candidate over another, or on who some well-known Christian leaders are giving and proclaiming their support for.  Is this really the way we as Christians are to choose who to vote for?  Some Christians have said that we are to vote for the lesser of two evils, trusting that God can still change and use them for His purposes in the future.  Is that really faith in action, or is that a way to rationalize why we’re voting the way that we’re planning to?  I know that God used a donkey to speak to a prophet in the Old Testament, and I know that God used one of the most wicked and vile rulers in history, Nebuchadnezzar, to bring judgment to Israel, but does that mean our faith in God is to be limited to one of the two major candidates?  If God is limited to these two major candidates, then is He truly God?  And if the Evangelical community is such an overwhelming influence on elections as history records, then how is it that Christians were not able to bring a better candidate to the forefront that most Christians would feel comfortable casting their vote for?  Could it be that there is a great divide between Christians who truly want to live and vote in a way that honors and represents God, and those who are looking more to restoring the greatness of America’s past and how they and others could benefit from it economically and morally apart from God?


Some argue that the Republican candidate is God’s choice to restore America to greatness.  It’s possible that he is God’s choice, but not necessarily in the same way some believe.  It could be that he is Gods choice to bring judgment to America.  How many people have even considered that possibility?  King Cyrus was chosen by God, but I don’t think He expected the Israelites to vote for him.  Two or three times God mentions that King Nebuchadnezzar was His servant, yet the Israelites not only didn’t want him but they also wanted to be free of him.  Whether or not God is choosing this candidate, it is our responsibility as ambassadors of Christ to vote in a way that best represents the heart and nature of Christ, which we see clearly lined out in Scripture.  As one person put it, while they are a very patriotic American, they are first and foremost a Christian, and their vote needs to reflect that.  No matter what, we know from Scriptures like Daniel 2:21 and Romans 13:1, that God is the only one that puts people in seats of authority and removes them, which even means our current President.


Tough questions that each of us need to ask ourselves.  Are we seeking to honor and please God with our vote, or are we trying to hang onto a way of life that is comfortable and pleasing to self?  When we look at the two major candidates, there is very little doubt regarding the corruption, perversions, and self-centeredness of both.  We can say that one is worse than another in one way, but then say the opposite to be true of them in another way.  One thing that has been proven to be true of both, even as recently as the last and final debate between them, is that they are both serious liars.  There are several scriptures that talk about liars, one of which goes so far as to say liars are an abomination before the Lord, and another that all liars will find themselves in the lake of fire, Proverbs 6:16-19 and Revelation 21:8.  The scary thing about liars is that they can’t be trusted to do what they say, yet many Christians are willing to ignore this fact and what Scripture tells us to embrace either of these candidates.  Their willing to put the convictions and Biblical standards for which they live by, and some even teach and preach, on the altar of American greatness by placing their trust in those whose lives are surrounded in lies promising them many things that tickle their ears.  It is utter foolishness to embrace and place your hope and trust in someone that is proven to be a liar.


It’s been said that one of the candidates had recently given their life to Jesus, and if that is true then that is great!  While that claim has only been made through third parties, nothing has been said by the candidate to support that.  This is especially disheartening when this candidate keeps saying things that contradict what those close to them say on his behalf.  Despite no public claims of a life surrendered and given to Jesus, despite no apparent change in behavior or mindsets that would reflect such a decision and change of heart, we are being told that we are to be tolerant and understanding as this person is a baby Christian.  Yes, I agree we need to be gracious and understanding towards new and young Christians, but even when there is obvious evidence of a life changed for Jesus, Scripture gives us some instructions we should heed.  In 1 Timothy 5:22, the Apostle Paul instructs Timothy to not be hasty, or to be quick, to bring someone into church leadership, and to keep ourselves pure by not sharing in their sins.  I realize that this is about church leadership, but when you’re talking about putting someone into any area of leadership as someone that represents the Body of Christ, we need to be very careful not to put someone in there that has not grown and matured in the faith.  It could be argued that we are not voting for someone to represent the Body of Christ, but that is exactly what one is doing when the person they vote for should reflect what they believe and stand for.


There is a great divide taking place in this presidential election.  Who you decide to cast your vote for is between you and God, however, I would like to ask you a simple question.  If, and that is a big if, your eternal destination was determined by how you vote, would you be comfortable with your vote?  Your vote may not be a determining factor for eternity, but it could reveal where your heart truly is, and that could determine your eternal destination.  I’ve heard it said by some, “I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world, than to stand with the world and be judged by God”.  If Christians got together and cast their votes in a way that honors and represents God, whether it was for any one of the few names on the ballots or a name handwritten in, Christians would have a very significant effect on the outcome of the election in a direction that God would bless.  The problem is, instead of the church coming together to vote with the mind of Christ, we are divided and fractured in multiple ways.  Don’t fall into the trap that says God can only work through one of the two major candidates on the ballot, because the God I serve is big enough, and God enough, to still do His will and fulfill His purposes however He chooses to do so.


The “great divide” is starting, and you need to decide which side of it you’re going to put your trust on, and on whom you will place your allegiance.  Is your God big enough to trust Him by honoring Him with your vote, or is your God only capable for working within the two major candidates?  If you truly want to see change come to America, change that brings God back into every area of this country, change that restores the greatness it once had, change that will not and cannot come through any candidate, then it’s time we as Christians and the Body of Christ heed the following Scripture on behalf of our country more earnestly;


“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14


John Johansson (Pastor John)

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As In The Days Of …

Many say that either Jesus isn’t coming or that if He does it won’t be any time soon, but what guarantee do they have of this?  Why are they so convinced of this line of thought?  From what do they draw such conclusions?  Is it simply because He hasn’t returned yet so they are quick to assume they are correct, or is it because they simply want to reject it as fantasy or some religious teaching used for the purpose of controlling its followers?  Good questions.

Recently I’ve talked to some about the current state and future of our United States of America.  Some of these people are professing Christians and some who are not.  It is obvious that this country is divided, perhaps even more than it was leading up to the civil war of the late 1800’s.  I talk or listen to some who are very concerned about the current state of this country, and even more concerned about its future in light of the direction it is headed in.  There are others who see things from a very different perspective.  They tend to see only “good” things ahead, but it’s a perspective that is often times short-sighted and self-centered with little understanding of how things will play out or how they conflict with the ways of God.

We live in a time, or at least here in America, where “whatever feels good” or “truth is whatever you BELIEVE it to be” is the ruling school of thought, but this is very dangerous as it attempts to put the ways and wisdom of God on a shelf called “old fashion”.  There is little regard for God and His way of seeing things, and in our pride we think we can survive and thrive in the absence of the One who created ALL things.  It sounds rather silly if you ask me.  It’s as if the stuffed animal we made last summer (no, I didn’t really make one) has the capacity to live and survive independent of us no matter what comes its way.  Or the dog we raised from birth decides it doesn’t have to live according to the parameters we have raised in.  This is nothing less than absurdity, but that is how people treat the God who created them in the first place.

Like I said, we live in a time when God, and Jesus, His only begotten Son, are being pushed out of practically every area of our lives.  Those who continue to embrace Jesus and to follow and serve Him with their lives, they are increasingly being looked down upon as “narrow or closed-minded”, and because of this they are increasingly being viewed as the primary hindrance to ‘peace’ and ‘unity’ for the world.  It’s only a matter of time before the God of all creation steps in and makes things right again.  America, a country founded and built upon the Judeo-Christian beliefs and values found in the Bible, has been turning its back on God, embracing some of the prominent values and morals that fly in the face of what God has said is right in His sight, and with little concern for the consequences of such behavior.

It has been said many times over the years that God is going to judge America, and I believe we are closer to that judgment than ever before.  We as a country are going full-speed as far from God as possible, embracing most everything that is contrary to God.  Some of the values we are so aggressively pursuing as a country were the very ones found in Sodom and Gomorrah before God judged it, so why do we think that God won’t judge us?

I was thinking about how America is on the brink of Gods judgment the other night and something came to my mind.  The scriptures tell us that as in the days of Noah and Lot so it will be when He returns for His bride.  I think the times we are now living in fits that description, and if that is the case then we need to remember what transpired with Noah and Lot.  With Noah God was going to not only judge the world but He was going to destroy all humanity, but because Noah was found righteous in Gods sight he and his family were spared by being in the ark God told him to build.  With Lot, God was going to judge and destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for the sin and wickedness that prevailed there, but because of Abraham’s intercession God spared Lot and his two daughters by leading them out by angels just as He began to destroy the towns.  Yes, Lots wife was initially with Lot when they were leaving, but because she disobeyed Gods instructions and looked back as they were leaving she became a pillar of salt.  The point is, and what I’ve been getting at, is if our country is on the verge of receiving Gods judgment then it stands to reason that the rapture of the Bride of Christ, the Church, is that much closer.

Are we more concerned about enjoying the life we have here on earth and its many recreations and entertainments, or are we more concerned about the life God has for us now, and all the more on the other side of eternity?  If we are enjoying this life such, or so comfortable that it’s okay if Jesus delays His return, then we need to re-evaluate our relationship with Him and what is truly important to us.  Our life with Him and spending eternity with Him should be the “center-piece” of our life, that for which our life revolves around.  This is not the time to be playing “patty-cake” or “Russian-roulette” with our relationship with Him and our eternity.  One way of determining how important your relationship with Jesus is, and how committed you are to Him, is to take an honest assessment of what is most important to you.  A question that each of us should ask ourselves could be, “is there anything that we would choose to hang onto more than being obedient to God, or is there anyone that we are more concerned with what they think or are afraid of offending or losing more than Jesus Himself?”  Something else to ask is, if God were to ask you to let go of or to give up something that might even be a good thing, would you be obedient to Him or find a way to hold onto it with some sort of rationalizing or justification?  If there is, then this is the time to make a decision for Christ, repent for not having Him be the most important person in your life, and surrender to Him completely.

Time is short!  We are living in the days Jesus spoke of that are like the days of Noah and Lot, and with that means the rapture is just around the corner.  Don’t “blow this off” and not take it seriously, because if you do you could very well find yourself regretting that more than anything else in your life in the very near future.  Please, don’t take that chance!!!!

Edge of Eternity

“People have been saying that for more than 2000 years.”  How many times have you heard someone say that about the rapture?  Or, perhaps you’ve said that yourself.  There is a mindset among many that since people have been saying that for so long then surely He’s not coming, or at least not any time in the immediate future.  This mindset is based simply because Jesus hasn’t already come, but is that one argument, in and of itself, enough to discount His coming back?  I don’t think so.

When Israel became a nation in May 1948 the dynamics changed.  In Matthew 24:32-34, Jesus tells a parable of a fig tree, a parable that many believe points to the rebirth of the Jewish nation.  In this passage of scripture Jesus indicates that the generation of people that see Israel become a nation will not pass away until the rapture and the tribulation comes to an end.  There are many differing views as to what Jesus is alluding to in regards to a generation, whether it is 40 years, 70 years, or even 80 years.  There are even differing views as to whether this period of time started with Israel becoming a nation, with the six-day war in 1967, or even with the Yom Kippur war of 1973.  The point is that we are now living in the time of that generation of people, and that means unlike 2000 years ago, or even 100 years ago, we are on the ‘edge of eternity’.  Yes, we are on the edge of eternity because at the moment of our last breath we go from life here on earth and into eternity, whether that is in heaven or in hell, but I’m not talking about that edge of eternity.  The edge of eternity I’m speaking about is for all humanity.

What does this tell us?  It tells us that the rapture of the Church, the Bride of Christ is imminent.  Is it safe for us to say that?  We have entered a period of time where the final positioning of Biblical end-time events surrounding the tribulation period and the anti-Christ are climaxing before our very eyes, literally setting the stage for this to take place at any moment.  We see this in the ever increasing descent of America both domestically and abroad, in world economies and in the many changes taking place in the Middle East.  Keep your eyes on Jerusalem.  With all that is going on we see America turning its back on God and falling into a moral collapse.  America today is not the America many remember it being from even 50 years ago.  The world is waiting and looking for a one-world government, a one-world economy and one person to lead it, but the only thing currently standing in the way of that is America.  That is until America becomes meaningless in the eyes of the world for one reason or another, but nonetheless it has to decline very significantly, something that is happening rather quickly before our very eyes.

So, what am I trying to say?  I’m trying to say that we are on the edge of eternity, and that we need to make sure we are ready and in right relationship with Jesus before that trumpet sound calling His bride to meet Him in the clouds on our way to heaven.  Are you ready?  I hope so.  If not, I strongly encourage you to make yourself ready with no delay.  It will require more than just saying a prayer or walking down an aisle, it will require surrender to Him of our lives for His purposes.  Are you ready to do that?  Think about it!

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