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From the Pastors at Joy

November 9th, Jesus Is Still King!

November 9th, 2016 is an almost unprecedented day in American history.  What many people thought to be an impossibility has become a reality.  Just 10 or 11 short hours after the results became pretty clear, there is a broad range of reaction to the news that Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States.  Many Christians find themselves in the same quandary that others have.  Some are elated to know that "our" candidate won; some are inconsolable because they believe a Trump presidency represents an embrace of hatred and bigotry; others have become numb due to what has been, in their minds, a circus rather than a campaign.

No matter where you fall on this spectrum, or if you fall somewhere in between, if you are a believer in Christ take heart!  A few things to remember on November 9th, 2016:

1. Our hope is in Christ, not America (1 Peter 1:3-9) - Can you imagine the apostle Paul telling the Christians he ministered to and wrote letters to that since Nero was the emperor, all hope was lost?  Your inheritance in Christ is "..imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed at the last time."  If the Lord uses an election cycle to remind us that our real hope is in heaven, and it is safe regardless of what happens here, then this is a GOOD thing.  No matter how painful it may feel, it is always good when God destroys anything that we have made into an idol.  We Christians who live in America can easily turn our American comfort and American Dream into our god.  God is gracious when He reminds us that America is a bad savior, but that Christ is a great Savior!

2. The Church, not America, is the light of the world (Philippians 2:14-16) - Nothing that happened last night, no matter who won, changes that truth!  It is the bride of Christ, His Church, that is called to be salt and light.  We who are Spirit filled believers, who are one in Him, are meant to magnify the glory of His greatness and grace in the midst of a dark world!  We are called to love God, love one another, and love the lost in a sacrificial, God-honoring way.  We are called to speak out for the least, welcome the stranger, and stand for what is good.  Whether America aligns with those values or not, the Church is God's chosen instrument for putting those values on display. 

3. The Gospel is the hope of America, and the nations (1 Corinthians 1:18) - Nothing that happened last night changes that!  If America were "perfect" in every single way, its perfection does nothing to address man's deepest needs - forgiveness for his rebellion against God, cleansing, and eternal hope.  But great news, church, we have the message that DOES address those needs!  The Gospel of Jesus Christ - "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit..."  What a privilege we who believe in Christ have to tell the world this good news!  

4. The authority in place was instituted by God (Romans 13:1) - Whether as a great blessing or as an act of His judgment, the authorities we have are put in place by the Lord Himself.  He is sovereign over all of it (Proverbs 21:1), and therefore believers in Christ can take heart!  God is always working for His glory and the good of His people, even when it does not appear to be the case.  Our trust is in His plan, not man.

5. Whether we love, hate, or are apathetic to the outcome, let us pray and submit (1 Timothy 2:1-6, 1 Peter 2:13-17) - This may be the toughest pill to swallow of all, but we have a wonderful opportunity to pray for our leaders.  We are not called to pray for the leaders we agree with, or the ones who only represent what we believe.  We pray for all in authority, we submit unless we are forced to do something that is in clear opposition to the will of God (e.g. Daniel 3).  Do you believe that the gospel is powerful enough to change even the most exalted among us?  Then pray!  

Brothers and sisters, we are not without hope!  Let us labor to make sure it is properly placed, and that we delight in magnifying the glory of God through it all.  November 9th, and for all of eternity, Jesus Christ is our Perfect King!