Paul Madson

THOUGHTS, QUOTES & REFLECTIONS

Month: June 2020

A Prayer and a Plea for our Nation and World

Photo by Aaron Burden

Dear Friends of GTN,

To say that our nation is divided, trust has been broken and turmoil is evident on the streets in our cities, is certainly an understatement.

As we follow the news and see our nation in turmoil, my heart, like many of yours, aches. All of us long for righteousness and peace.

As my friend, Mark Bailey, president of Dallas Theological Seminary, recently wrote:

All Christians should feel extremely bothered, hurt, and righteously angered over the recent tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, not to mention all others who have needlessly died due to racial injustices and systemic racism.

Racism is a grievous sin, resulting in systemic oppression, and does not display our Lord’s heart. It is demonic, and we, as the body of Christ, are called to stand against it. While equal treatment and justice are American values that we proclaim, too often they are not experienced by all people.

As we travel throughout the Majority World, we see that injustice is far greater and more prevalent than even here in the United States. The sad reality is: injustice is common globally.

And the people that suffer the most are usually the poor and disenfranchised.

These are the people Jesus calls us to “pay attention to” and “speak up for.”

Throughout the pages of the Bible, we find the command to “treat others the way you would like to be treated.” (Luke 6:31)

When you and I speak up for the marginalized and mistreated, we are living out Scriptural mandates.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9 NIV)

When power is abused it creates chaos and dysfunction at every level of culture.

James tells us…

“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” (James 2:8-9 NIV)

As the injustices that happen within our nation have hit the front pages of our newspapers once again, we are all reminded that we live “in a fallen place in the midst of a fallen race.”

God calls all Christ-followers to be involved in helping to redeem this broken world back to Himself. Scripture says that one of the ways we do this is by speaking up for the poor, oppressed and marginalized within our society.

Micah 6:8 says…

“He has told you, O man, what is good;

and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with your God?” (ESV)

Many times, throughout history we have not spoken out as we should have in defense of those oppressed because of the color of their skin or ethnicity.

It is appropriate for us to collectively mourn with our brothers and sisters who have experienced the hurtful oppression of racism and who live in fear as part of their daily experience.

It is also appropriate for us to join our voices with those who are protesting peacefully and who are denouncing the violence and vandalism that ultimately distracts from the real root issues that we are trying to solve as a nation.

If we want to see social unrest decrease, we as followers of Christ need to appropriately, clearly, and yet graciously, speak up and speak out against all injustice and unrighteousness.

The prophet Jeremiah reminds us to “…seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

My prayer is that God would be gracious to us as a nation and bring healing to us, and our world, in this troubled time.

“Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24 ESV)

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”

(Proverbs 14:34 NASB)

By God’s Grace and for His Glory,

Paul R. Madson

Dear 2020. Please Stop.

Big Stock Photo

The above four-word sentiment was tweeted a few weeks ago by Pastor Scott Sauls.

We can all relate.

Best-selling author and speaker, Paul David Tripp, recently reminded us of why we can have hope in the midst of these challenging times. And it has to do with considering the birds of the air:

Here’s a mind-boggling figure: scientists estimate that in the United States alone, 13.7 million birds die every day.

It’s a seemingly random and rather unpleasant statistic, but when I came across it, my heart was deeply encouraged.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your father.” (Matthew 10:29, ESV)

There are hundreds of billions of birds in existence around the world today. Almost all of them have no monetary value whatsoever. Apart from a handful of endangered or noteworthy birds, we don’t track these creatures, name them, care about them, or know them.

But their Creator does. He is in control over every aspect of their life: their birth; the color and quantity of their feathers; their nest; their breeding; their migration; and ultimately, the time, location, and manner in which they die.

Think of all the technology, human resources, and coordination that is required for us to track the relatively few planes that are in the sky every day. God is in complete control over the flight paths of every single one of these hundreds of billions of birds.

This reality alone should be unbelievably reassuring.

No matter how it looks at street level, your world is not out of control; no, it is under the careful administration of the Creator who has the wisdom and power to be the great Author of it all.

But that’s not enough; Jesus takes the comforting illustration even further: “But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:30-31)

By grace, you are now the adopted child of the One who has this immeasurable control. As his son or daughter, you are far more valuable than any bird.

This means your heavenly Father exercises intimate, personal, and specific control over your life for his glory and your good.

Discovering peace in difficult times is never accomplished by measuring the size of your strength and wisdom against the size of your trouble. No, rest is found when you compare the size of what you’re facing against the Creator of the heavens and earth. By grace, He is your father wherever you go.

Whatever you are facing today, meditate on Matthew 10:29-31. Ask God to remind you of his power, presence, and promises.

And then get up and live, with courage and hope, in light of this truth!

© 2020 Paul Madson

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑