Last week, the S&P 500 stock index established, for the first time since 1998, all-time record closing highs every day. The Dow Jones Industrial Index also established record closing highs every day of the week. New weekly employment insurance claims were reported to be 222,000—22,000 below the previous week and the lowest in more than 44 years. Something is stirring.
The unemployment rate of 4.2 percent is the lowest in 16 years. Consumer sentiment is the highest in more than 13 years. At 3.1 percent, second-quarter real GDP growth is the highest in more than two years. Fewer regulations, the possibility of lower business and personal taxes and the possibility of the repatriation of hundreds of billions of dollars by U.S. companies with money abroad are economic positives. Something is stirring.
Certainly, economic negatives exist. The risk of deflation, low productivity, questions regarding European unity, U. S. political uncertainty, Chinese debt and a host of geo-political issues exist. But thus far, the negatives have not mattered. The stock market, economy and labor markets have continued to strengthen. Something is stirring.
More things are being exposed. Recent accusations about Harvey Weinstein revealed a darker, more sinister, side to Hollywood. As women come forward with new and broader accusations involving others, the scope is expanding. More than a million women have adopted the #MeToo hashtag on social media documenting the extent of sexual harassment, including and beyond Hollywood. Could social norms be moving toward showing women the honor and respect they deserve? Something is changing.
The release of documents about a uranium deal, in which Russia gained control of 20 percent of U. S. uranium stocks, has possible implications for the Clintons, the Clinton Foundation, the Justice Department and others. The Senate Judiciary Committee has decided to investigate the matter. Something is changing.
Most would agree that things are happening at a previously unimagined pace. The changes are impacting all—believers and nonbelievers. The question is why? Is it God? Does it have implications for the kingdom? Does it present more opportunities for the spread of the gospel?
After the dedication of the newly finished temple, the Lord appeared to Solomon, and gave him the prerequisites for a nation to be blessed by the Lord. Specifically, He told him that His people must pray, humble (fast and more), seek His face and repent. He promised that He would hear and heal their land.
"When I shut up the heaven and there is no rain, or when I command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence on My people, if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (2 Chron. 7:13-14).
During the 2017 Values Voter Summit, President Trump made a number of statements in accord with the Lord's directive to Solomon. The message was enthusiastically received by the Conservative Christians in attendance. Specifically, President Trump reiterated:
- "In America, we don't worship government, we worship God"
- "We know that it's the family and the church—not government officials—who know best how to create strong and loving communities"
- his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
- easing enforcement of the Johnson amendment which regulates political activity of churches
- "We are stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values"
- ..."we hope that Congress will pass massive tax cuts for the American people, that includes increasing the child tax credit and expanding it to eliminate the marriage penalty"
- "In this administration, we will call evil by its name"
- "In protecting America's interests abroad, we will always support our cherished friend and partner the state of Israel;" and
- "As long as we have pride in our country, confidence in our future and faith in our God, then America will prevail."
Whether one supports President Trump or not, many would agree that his statements are in accord with the Lord's direction to Solomon. Most would also agree that the stock markets, economy and labor markets have continued to strengthen. Certainly, current and proposed policies give the church more freedom to carry out its divine-ordained mission.
A closer examination of 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 reveals that the Lord's direction to Solomon was not addressed to the leader, but to the people who are called by His name. We have a responsibility. More freedom has created even greater responsibilities.
- Peace and courage. Regardless of the nature, rapid change creates anxiety and/or fear. We have a responsibility to model and point the way to the author of peace and courage.
- Love. Change produces a reaction and some reactions will be hateful, judgmental and unloving. We have a responsibility to walk in the love which Jesus has so freely bestowed on us and introduce people to the God who loves them.
- Security. Change produces insecurity. We have a responsibility to introduce people to the God Who provides eternal security.
- Perspective. Change can shake foundations like the parable of the house built on sand. We have a responsibility to model and testify about the sure foundation which cannot be shaken. We should model a kingdom perspective.
- Values. Change tests values. Worldly values will be diminished and their followers will be disappointed. If Jesus is the author of our values, and they are firm, we can be a light to a shaken world.
Something is stirring. Changes are accelerating. Opportunities to model the differences between a worldly life and the kingdom life are expanding. Let us have a firm resolve to take advantage of all opportunities to make disciples of all nations. Let us complete our race with valor.
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