I believe that Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. is the second illegitimate president of my lifetime.
John F. Kennedy was the first in 1960–when I was a child. His election to the presidency was possibly stolen from Richard Nixon by the Mafia–a relatively small but lethal part of the USA at the time.
Donald J. Trump’s second term was also probably stolen by the American axis of evil (Democratic Party/Secular Media/Deep State)–a much larger consortium of fraud and corruption. We may find out that reality sooner than later, but there’s no certainty.
In light of the nightmare year of China virus disruptions and sin reigning in high places, what kind of people should we be?
Let’s overcome evil with joy-filled good.
Overcome Evil with Good (J.O.Y).
I commit the next few columns to the wonder of Jesus Christ and His incarnation on planet Earth. God becoming man is certainly the greatest act, thought, and triumph in human history–and possibly of all time.
The next two weeks I will reprint the most popular blogs I’ve ever written. They both center on the incomparable uniqueness and transforming power of the Savior of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is no Christmas without Jesus.
Jesus came to earth during another dark season of history. Rome ruled the world with an iron fist (45 million people) and the majority of earth’s population (estimated between 175-400 million) lived in spiritual darkness and material poverty.
If we in the West think our world is bad, think again.
Jesus was born in the feeding trough of an animal cave. He lived in a mud hut most of his life. At the end of his sojourn, the political establishment treated him to the greatest injustice of all time–then tortured him to death.
But He rose from the dead and changed the world.
Yet, after forty years of the Good News going forth, Roman armies led by Titus annihilated Jerusalem causing mass starvation and bloodshed. After a three-year siege, 8,000 Roman troops surrounded Masada (Herod’s former mountain fortress) where over 900 Jews including many women and children had fled. (This link is worth the picture itself. I will never forget visiting and praying atop Masada in 1974.)
On April 15, 73 A.D. all but two women and five children took their lives here in brutal rejection of Roman slavery.
If you think 2020 was a bad year, maybe not.
Only fifteen years prior to the siege of Masada, the Apostle Paul penned his thoughts for followers of Jesus engaging a world of injustice. In one of my favorite chapters of the Bible–Romans 12–he explains how we should live during confusing times. I will summarize his points below (so we can judge how we are doing):
- Yield your life to God through a renewed, non-worldly mindset (verses 1-2).
- Use your gifts humbly to serve others (verses 3- 8).
- Love people sincerely and hate sin (verse 9).
- Put others first in devotion and honor (verse 10).
- Be diligent and passionate in God’s service (verse 11).
- Pray, hope, and persevere (verse 12).
- Meet the needs of others and open your home to hospitality (verse 13).
- Love and bless your enemies (verse 14). Reminds me of Jesus’ words in (Matthew 5:44-48).
- Laugh with the happy and cry with the sad (verse 15).
- Be humble and help the needy (verse 16).
- Never take revenge (leave that to God) but bless your enemies (verses 17-20). Do I hear a theme here?
Finally, Paul steals the title of my blog (smile) and sums up the kind of people we should be with these challenging words:
“Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.”
That’s hard when you feel cheated, broken, betrayed, sick, lost a loved one (to Covid), lost a job (to lockdown tyrants), your prayers haven’t been answered, and it’s gray and raining in the Pacific Northwest.
(Which reminds me of a local yarn. When Jesus returns, he will be coming back to Seattle. Why? Because the Bible says he will be “coming on the clouds,” and when He arrives, He will rain forever.”
But I digress.
Overcome evil with good. Love your enemies. These are probably the hardest commands we can hear when the sky is falling, and we feel like screaming.
Reminds me of a child-raising tune.
When Shirley and I were in the thick of the parenting years, we came across a little jingle that we sang to our kids (and also to ourselves). I wish I could sing it to you, but I think you will get the idea:
“J.O.Y—-J.O.Y—-This is what it means. Jesus first, yourself last and others in between.”
This past Sunday in our worship service, we read the story of the wise men who followed the star to Bethlehem. Contrary to all the cute Nativity sets that depict their trek, the experience was probably quite dangerous, tedious and difficult.
First, they walked or rode donkeys (no nice car or plane). Many bandits hid in protest along the travel route to loot any spare frankincense, gold, and myrrh they could find.
It was a long, hot journey.
Yet in Matthew 2:10,11 we read: “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed…they bowed down and worshipped Him.”
The wise men–pagan Babylonians or magi–not only exhibited happiness at the end of their treacherous journey, but they overflowed with joy–thrilled to put a baby King first.
We should do the same.
Yes, joy is a deep feeling that wells up like a river when we are full of God (John 7:38). But that eternal happiness comes from an act of the will to direct our thoughts to meditate on what is true–not the human disasters around us.
There is a real antidote to anger and despair: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
We can do it through a deep and lasting J.O.Y in our souls:
Jesus first–when we wake up in the morning, ask him for his marching orders for the day. Read His Word. Go deep in prayer. Seek to have his perspective on everything you see–especially injustice around you
Yourself last –we must die to self-effort, sufficiency, and pity. Life is not about us.
And others in between (I know I’m out of order, but that’s the way the song goes). Especially during these dreary days, we must treat everyone around us as worthy of God’s love.
You can’t do it by yourself, but He can through you.
Here is another angle. As followers of the Living God, we must not become like the culture around us. We are called “out of it.” That’s literal meaning of the word “church.”
We must minister in the opposite spirit of the world. When nudged to go silent behind our masks, we must shout the glorious news of Jesus’ birth and salvation. We must be patient with the process and more persevering than the powers of darkness. We must remain positive because we truly find our perfect joy in another world.
Plus we want to take as many people as possible with us to that Kingdom destination.
Here are our marching orders for Christmas 2020. Forget the election. Don’t worry about Covid. Put Jesus first. Yourself last. And others in between.
You will never lose when you overflow with J.O.Y.
Then you will overcome evil with good.