Terrorism, Trump, tough Brexit and now travesty for Teresa May and the UK elections… it has all the ingredients of a toxic cocktail. It’s been a bitter drink to swallow for millions but it is time to draw the sweet from the bitter and change the rhetoric!
When all appears confusing and conflicting on the world stage, where can we go for clarity? America, Europe, Great Britain we are supposed to be the developed world and have it together yet it is not divisions and threats from outside that are our greatest enemy but divisions within that are tearing us apart. We watch from a distance and spectate, but we must do more than judgementally look on, everyone of us must participate. I teach my children continually to be part of the solution and not part of the problem! To honour others! To take responsibility! Right there is a key, it’s only when we fulfil on our responsibility that we can be truly free.
How does this relate to our ‘toxic cocktail’, well bear with me. My children know when they’ve done their homework, revised for their exams, given their best efforts to the job at hand they are free, really free to to go out to play, celebrate and have the best time. Without fulfilling their responsibility, all that they hadn’t done would weigh them down and play on their minds continually.
What is our responsibility in the midst of the toxic mix? What can we do to make the bitter waters sweet again?
When I awoke at 5 am on the morning after the election to reports of a catastrophic night in UK politics and what looked like a hung parliament, my initial reaction was “Britain what have you done?” I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to point my finger and put my judgemental hat on. First you react then the true response comes. As I prayed with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach I was reminded we are the sum total of the choices we make. How we point the finger so easily in this day and age. It’s not just about ‘you’ but ‘we’, I am British you see – I voted – we share the responsibility. It’s time, overtime, that we dropped the blame game! Before we criticise or go to throw another punch, how about we change the rhetoric and don’t allow negativity to devour and eat us for lunch!
As my Baby Judah stirred and clutched my hand, I heard God’s heartbeat, and it wasn’t one of judgement, like mine and many others, ready to lash out and point the blame, but of a Father’s love and grace, willing on the very best outcomes for His children.
“Oh beautiful Britain, as you wake to a new day and unpredictable change, you can hold on tight to my unchanging hand. I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to bless you and prosper you, not for harm. Plans to give you hope and a future. From humility you can rise with me to the heights of a God given dynasty and destiny”. Incorporating Jeremiah 29:11
As Judah clung onto me, I clung onto God’s word that went beyond where my naked eye could see, I sensed it is overtime for Nations to take a fresh grip on the hand of God – let this slip and we lose our grip on true power, protection, direction, wisdom and prosperity! He who walks with the King, possesses everything!
“So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.” Hebrews 12:12-13
As far as our democratic process goes on both sides of the Atlantic and throughout Europe today, it’s not rocket science. Why do we make it so complicated. America voted Trump. Britain voted Brexit. Wake up world – what is there not to work towards and respect? Here’s something novel, how would it be if politicians, business leaders and the likes of you and me stopped throwing our dummies out of our prams like spoilt brats and ceased making a mockery out of democracy! A Kingdom divided against itself cannot stand – it will weaken, crumble and cave in from within. What if we took our minds off self interest and personal short term gain in favour of the bigger picture and what is in the best interests of all? What if we actually modelled honouring those in authority and encouraging them rather than allowing our mouths to spew destruction and devastation like a machine gun with our war of words? We fire at those appointed to serve our country instead of being part of the rhetoric that rises up to be constructive in making it work. What if we put a bridle on our mouths and whilst still remaining true to ourselves and opinions, spoke respectfully and what we deem to be the truth, not venomously but lovingly? I have heard it said about a conflict between a husband and a wife “there’s his side, her side and then there’s the truth”! You can pretty much apply this wisdom to most disagreements and conflicts in life! Bring back respect and honour, use your words sparingly and don’t allow anger and offence to do a runner with your words! Equally don’t underestimate the power of them. Our children are listening, we will reap what we sow into the next generation of Leaders in waiting!
“Those who fall to their knees before God can stand before any man”.
David, a shepherd boy who became a King, the Bible tells us learnt a wonderful secret to “bring his complaints to the Lord”!
“I pour out my complaints before Him and tell Him all my troubles. When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.” Psalm 142:2-3
Next time you are tempted to open your mouth to complain; how about you offer up a prayer for wisdom, direction and help for the Leader or one you deem to be lacking. I believe that’s how we change Nations.
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
It’s time, overtime, that we fell to our knees before God then arose to take our stand – our posture should be one of reaching out a helping hand! Little eyes are watching, little ears are listening, little hearts are following….
Turn the toxic cocktail into a recipe for success! Take what is bitter and play your part in making it sweet! There’s too much that is unpalatable and poisonous out there. Let’s clear the air and be the thermostat that sets the temperature – transforming negative environments to positive environments everywhere!
We read in Exodus 15:22-25 about a Nation who’s waters had turned poisonous and bitter. God gave the word to throw a tree (piece of wood) into the midst and immediately the waters were healed and became life-giving and sweet. That simple piece of wood that could almost have been missed as being irrelevant and meaningless represented the tree (piece of wood) shaped into a cross, that was cast into the midst of our broken world. Whoever would take up that bit of wood, the cross, and put Jesus at the centre of their lives, marriages, families, relationships, Governments and Nations would see, as they bowed their knee before their Maker and Creator, all that was broken made whole, all that was bitter made sweet, and all that was purposeless and empty, complete!
Even then, all those thousands of years ago, way back in the second book of the Bible we see the people complained against Moses, their Leader! There was an answer to their problem just like there is always an answer today. We are never without a solution, it’s just we are often so focused on the problem we can’t see it. There was a miracle in the making waiting to break out. When will we ever learn? When will we allow history to really be our teacher? Will we continue to follow the crowd and expend our energy negatively or will we arise with the few that expend their energy positively on bringing resolution and solution! I repeat, we are the sum total of the choices we make. May we choose wisely in this day!
There is a rather obscure passage in Revelation 8-10 that jumped off the page to me:
“Then the third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from the sky, burning like a torch. It fell on one-third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star was Bitterness. It made one-third of the water bitter, and many people died from drinking the bitter water.”
The waters and ways of this world are becoming increasingly bitter but you don’t have to drink them. The fear and terror on the outside you don’t have to let on the inside! Negatives can be overcome with a positive disposition! Hatred will be defeated with love. A boat cannot float if it compromises it’s integrity and allows the water it was created to rise above, consume it from within. Similarly, God intended for us to rise above fear, hatred, depression, lack, injustice and every evil. You are more than a conqueror – God in you is more than enough to keep and protect you from the evil on the outside of you. His love will cause you to sail through and soar above the most turbulent and choppiest of waters! Don’t forget, allowing bitterness inside is like drinking rat poison and hoping the rat dies.
Just yesterday, following yet another discussion with someone shocked and shattered over terrorism, politics and the horrors they witness daily on the news, my baby awoke and cried. I took him into my arms, drew him close and fed him – he was immediately satisfied. The power of being a Momma. Party politics didn’t matter to him, he wasn’t affected by world events, he wasn’t fearful of being in a crowd – you see He knew His source and supply, He knew who would keep him safe, He knew all was well when his Momma was close by! That Shepherd boy, David, I spoke of earlier who became a King said:
“Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp. Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, put your hope in the Lord – now and always!” Psalm 131
Oh the power and peace you can possess as a Child of God! Just like a baby with His mother and even more so, you can know provision, protection and perfection in the midst of an imperfect world. We can party on through the politics as we look continually to our Heavenly Father, draw from Him and give Him our hearts of trust! Then and only then, we will not be shaken!
You may feel you are nothing and have little to contribute but if God can make a little Shepherd boy who surrendered His heart and life to Him a King, He can cause you to rule and reign in the midst of your enemies. He can cause you to transform schools, colleges, universities, work places, governments and Nations. It’s time to make the bitter waters sweet – your words possess power – it starts with the words you speak!
I extend a hand of hope today… take it, get up again with it, walk on and walk strong with it, then extend God’s hand to others. In the midst of a changing world, God’s unchanging hand is all you need to hold… the only hand that will not fail or let you go! One truth I have come to know, you can trust in God’s word – He always fulfils and delivers on His Manifesto….
Father God, help our leaders in the so called free world today. Make us truly free and let us fulfil our responsibility. We pray wisdom and strength for our Prime Minister here in the UK and President Trump in the USA because for those in authority you told us to bless them and to pray. We pray for safety and stability in the Middle East and for Israel, as she takes her lone stand for democracy, as the only Nation in that territory. We pray as you commanded us to for the peace of Jerusalem, then all will go well with us and we, in turn, will know your blessing, increase, protection and prosperity. In Jesus name. Amen
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.” For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, “Peace be within you.” Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good. Psalm 122:6-9