Who Rules the Universe?

I had such a great time leading this discussion on Revelation Chapter 5 last Thursday! It’s all about the meekness and trustworthiness of the God who rules and judges the world. I think it can really give some perspective on the disruptive crises that face our nation and the globe… Take a listen!

“Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that He can open the scroll and its seven seals…

And… I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain…”


Praying for The Guy in the Whitehouse

When Obama was first elected I was not incredibly fond of him (to say the least). Back then I was more staunchly Republican for sure. Thankfully though, I was around a lot of prophetic people at that time, and prophetic people hear from God. And God was telling several prophets that Obama had a huge destiny to be fulfilled. So, joining with my cohorts, I started praying for my President to be the best version of himself and to live up to his true calling.

Then, one night while I was sleeping, I had a dream where Obama came to me for consolation about the stress he was carrying from all the responsibilities weighing down on him. In that moment, he was even more humanized to me — and I couldn’t help but feel for the guy. He had emotional needs just like everyone else I cared for.

Now, years later still, I actually really like the guy. (I happen to share a birthday with him too, so I’m rather glad I like him now!)

I was put off though when a close friend of mine told me that he refuses to pray for Obama. “But the Bible commands us to pray for our leaders!” I protested. I was shocked at how someone claiming to be a Christian could hold so much bitterness against another child of God.

Then Trump got elected.

I, like many others, shared feelings of strong disdain for Trump. One of my spiritual leaders mentioned to me that he felt unqualified to lead others in prayer for the President, because he has long been appalled by Trump’s personality. But again, I had a conviction that Trump is one of God’s children and needs His Father’s approval. Trump needs approval not for everything he does, but for who he is as a person made in the Lord’s glorious image. And I heard someone on a podcast encourage his listeners to pray for Trump to have real, sincere friends — because the President needs people he trusts to speak wisdom into his life.

So I have prayed for Trump, and I believe I (at least sometimes) really feel divine affection for him. I am once again learning to repent of my self-righteousness in feeling like my President is a more difficult person to treat well than I am.

Christ said in Matthew 5:43-45 (English Standard Version), You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

God treats all men with equality — no matter how far on the Right or the Left. In the same way we are called to sincerely bless (with our mouths) those who we could be label as our opponents.

I want to encourage you, if you feel like you have trouble praying for the guy in the Whitehouse (or for any other leader in your life), you are actually the most important person to intercede for their well-being. Why? Because it will take more faith for you to believe God sees good in that individual.

It will take more faith for you to see how God wants to use that person for the benefit of our generation.

And faith moves mountains.

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Be Perfect…?

It’s surprising what kind of things you will discover in Scripture when you mature in your understanding of who God is.

Matthew 5 didn’t used to be one of my favorite portions of the Bible. After I first started to grasp the goodness of the Gospel, passages like this were not ones I was especially drawn to. The Sermon on the Mount in this passage sounded like it was just more talk about our need to perform better to appease God, rather than to rest in His amazing grace. After my heart soaked in the revelation of grace for several years though, I finally could see this portion of the Bible as actually being super practical to life.

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” Jesus says in verse 48. That can sound intimidating. Some preachers will say “perfect” just means “holy,” “complete,” or “mature”… but those words still sound difficult to live up to.

I now recognize that the whole passage gives us a picture of what being “like your heavenly Father” looks like. It looks like being meek and servant-hearted. It looks like being gentle and peaceable. It looks like being forgiving, humble, and embracing persecution.

When we realize how extravagantly our Lord demonstrated His merciful heart toward us through His life, death, and resurrection — our hearts likewise become tender towards God in reciprocal love. As a result, we further become tender toward OUR enemies. If we are truly touched by the kindness we were shown by our Savior, it is a natural progression for us to learn to embrace the “Sermon on the Mount” lifestyle. We want to treat others as great as we have been treated by the Father!

I believe this is why Luke, when writing in his account about the exact same speech that Jesus gave in Matthew 5, ends the Sermon with a different word. He quotes Christ as saying, “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”


Could it just be that to be “holy,” to be “perfect as our Father is”… is simply to express divine love like Christ models (1 John 4:8, 10)? Maybe it’s God’s exorbitant loving-kindness and mercy that makes Him so outstandingly distinguished from the “imperfect.”

Luke 6:32 -36 (English Standard Version)… “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.  And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

God is not challenging us to reach for a standard He knows we cannot attain. He’s given us mercy, and as we learn to savor it, we are also expected to give it away freely. 

Suddenly, “holiness” doesn’t seem so elusive and abstract to me anymore.

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