The Gift of Life and the SOTU

I was planning to write this week on President Biden’s recent State of the Union address to 32 million Americans across the country.

It was the darkest, angriest SOTU I’ve ever witnessed.

But today (which happens to be my birthday) after enjoying morning devotions, God nudged me to also focus on the amazing “gift of life” we’ve all received despite the evil of our times.

Life is a treasure to cherish–and use wisely to combat the darkness.

The Gift of Life and the SOTU

But first, some thoughts on the worst SOTU in American history. 

The State of Union address by our president goes back to 1790 when George Washington gave a report to Congress of only 833 words (shortest speech). Harry Truman delivered the first televised address in 1947, and Lyndon Johnson brought it to primetime in 1965.

Bill Clinton holds the record for the longest SOTU at 90 minutes. Richard Nixon gave the shortest televised speech in 1972 (29 minutes).

I’ve watched about 50 SOTU’s starting in the 1970s. My interest in national leadership and revival in America crystallized in 1976 when I followed with great concern the presidential contest between Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. 

What About Jimmy Carter? was my first book (at the age of 23) on the need for godly leadership in America. Following the Washington For Jesus rally on April 29, 1980, and the nearly miraculous election of Ronald Reagan (“Morning in America”), I have prayed passionately for our presidents and watched every State of the Union address.

President Biden’s 2024 SOTU was ugly and demoralizing. 

With what seemed like demonic rage, he championed the ways of death in our country through killing babies (abortion), killing prosperity (higher taxes and inflation), and killing national sovereignty (the open southern border). The Democratic congresswomen in the House Chamber were so excited about celebrating dead children that they all dressed in white.

Should have been black because the heavens were weeping.

When destroying little children is the number one issue of the ruling party of a nation then you know the end is near (without a heaven-sent revival). 

Senator Ron Johnson, R-WI, gave this perspective on the Biden SOTU tirade:

If things were all that great, if everything’s coming up roses, you’d think he’d be in a better mood. You’d think he wouldn’t be so angry. But, the problem is, it’s not coming up roses. Our nation’s in deep, deep trouble. And, it’s in deep, deep trouble because of his policies. 

He opened the border. He has the authority to close it; he just doesn’t want to.

He sparked 40-year high inflation, which made a dollar that you held at the start of the Biden Administration worth only 85 cents. People are feeling that pain.

He’s engaged in the war on fossil fuels.

He’s the one that directed the embarrassing and dangerous surrender in Afghanistan that has emboldened our enemies and set the world on flames.

These are all caused by Pres. Biden’s, and his administration’s actions, by their policies – and he can’t defend them – so, he gets all angry, blames everybody else. 

My sentiments exactly with one addition:

The apathy and silence of the American Church has allowed the growing black hole of national wickedness and weakness.

Until my dying breath and I will pray and work for revival in America for the glory of God and fulfillment of the Great Commission.

He gave you and me the gift of life to do it.

One of the blessings of reading the Bible devotionally from cover-to-cover for the past 53 years is encountering the same chapters on certain days each year–for a half century.

The YWAM Prayer Diary is one of the world’s best tools for prayer and Bible reading. If you need a daily devotional guide, order one now. Each day you read two chapters in the First Covenant (Old Testament) to get your bearing on history, God’s principles, and ways. Next you read either a Psalm or a Proverb to encourage prayer and growth in wisdom. Finally, you meditate on one Second Covenant (New Testament) chapter to renew your love for Jesus and live a Spirit-filled life.

I always start my day with God–which includes this four-chapter feast (takes fifteen-to twenty minutes). Each year on my birthday (March 12), I read Numbers 19,20, Psalm 71, and John 3.

Yes, I get to read John 3:16, the most famous verse in the Bible, every birthday!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

What a rock of truth upon which to base my life.

Some of you know from reading my autobiography (One Small Life: Revival Adventures from My Fifty Year Journal), that since my forties I’ve been “numbering my days” (Psalm 90:12).  As of today, God has given me 25,963 days of life. What a privilege, joy, and responsibility.

Since I estimate my life span to be 85 years, that means I might have 14 years left on earth or 5,059 days. My estimate could be wrong. I could die tomorrow (a high school friend’s daughter died yesterday), or I could live into my nineties (my father died at 94).

Still, the numbers keep me focused on the “gift of life.”

I was a part of the South Kitsap graduating class of 1971. On March 13 (which is my mother’s birthday) we are having an outreach event for classmates who live in the area. Our slogan this year is “Class of ’71 at 71.” One hour from my typing these words I will officially turn “71.” 

Interestingly, the psalm that I read each year on my birthday is Psalm 71. It’s all about the “gift of life.” Here are portions from The Message that speak of its many dimensions.

I run for dear life to God, I’ll never live to regret it. Do what you do so well: get me out of this mess and up on my feet. Put your ear to the ground and listen, give me space for salvation. Be a guest room where I can retreat; you said your door was always open! You’re my salvation—my vast, granite fortress.

All of us have problems in life. But God helps us since the day we were born.

 You are my bedrock, God, since my childhood. I’ve hung on you from the day of my birth, the day you took me from the cradle. I’ll never run out of praise. Just as each day brims with your beauty, my mouth brims with praise.

Here’s why I’ve kept a journal and written my life story.

I’ll write the book on your righteousness, talk up your salvation all the day long, never run out of good things to write or say. I come in the power of the Lord God, I post signs marking his right-of-way.

From youth to senior citizenship, God is with us:

You got me when I was an unformed youth, God, and taught me everything I know. Now I’m telling the world your wonders; I’ll keep at it until I’m old and gray. God, don’t walk off and leave me until I get out the news Of your strong right arm to this world, news of your power to the world yet to come.

Take some time to watch this short video on the wonder of life. It’s called Meet Baby Olivia.

Then thank God for your precious life–and use it from the cradle to grave to bring the light of Jesus into our darkening world. 

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