Verdict

The jury signaled they had made a decision. The judge called the families into the courtroom. Instructions were given to those in attendance. No verbal reaction to the verdict was allowed. Or law enforcement would escort the vocal responders out of the courtroom. The defendant stood to hear his fate. Each count was read with the decision. At the end of the reading, the defendant collapsed with relief. He was acquitted of all charges.

The judge asked the jury if the verdict was unanimous. Yes. They said. This eighteen year old man is now free to live his life. He could walk out of that courtroom as a free man. He could no longer be tried for these offenses ever again.

Regardless, this young man’s life is now forever changed. He’s already been receiving police protection for many months. He will most likely be forced to move out of state and become incognito for awhile. His career plans may have to be rethought. He’s been offered a possible internship. But when will his life ever return to normal? Or, is this his new normal? Life will never be the same.

Some are calling him a hero. Others say he’s a fool. He says he acted in self defense. Others call him a domestic terrorist. A white supremacist. We could argue back and forth for hours. We’re a country divided. We’re a country that needs to get back to loving and obeying God.

Tragedy doesn’t usually give you a heads up. It just happens. And then the next events are crucial for all involved. That’s exactly what happened in this young man’s situation. Some say he shouldn’t have ever gotten involved that night. He was too young. Too inexperienced. Too eager to be a hero. But the events of that night are forever forged in our nation’s history. There is no going back.


Do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8


Once again, the country is torn by a legal decision. Some believe this young man should have been put in prison for life with no chance of parole. Others believe the right decision was made. There will, no doubt, be many strong discussions about this verdict. What did the defense do right? What did the prosecution do wrong? And vice versa. Could or should anything have been done differently?

News outlets and social media are all ablaze with opinions and legal analysis. Influencers are sharing their uneducated opinions on the outcome of the trial. Some of their followers are unfollowing them, because their beliefs are at an obvious difference. And everyone has a choice of who they follow and who they don’t. Influencers are also blocking people who sharply disagree, because they don’t want naysayers clogging their feed.

Some are calling for rioting in the city. Others are begging for peace. Some disagree with the verdict, but they’re asking for everyone to accept the judgment. Some cities are rioting. Others are claiming justice was served.

It’s easy to judge someone when we haven’t walked in their shoes. We may think we know what’s best when the problem is someone else’s. It’s easy to make decisions when it affects them and not us. Because we always do the right thing. Don’t we? It’s always the other person who’s wrong. That’s what we think. Because if we think we’re right, then the other person is wrong.

The defendant, the defense team, the jury, the judge and his family have received death threats. People are taking this case personally. Some have decided that racism is involved. Others don’t agree. Can we we find any common ground? Can’t we come to the table and discuss our differences? Can we agree to disagree? Can we no longer seek peace and pursue it? Why are we so divided these days?

I read that it’s easy to take a stand when it doesn’t cost you anything. So what’s the answer? We’ve got to get America back to God.

I wonder. What would happen if we actually did what was right? What if we truly loved mercy? And what if we put all our effort into walking humbly with our God? This world would be in much different shape than it is today. The only verdict we would be waiting for would be when we enter eternity and hear the words “Welcome home, my child. Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into your eternal reward.”

Rights of Citizenship

It’s in the news. The wannabe Olympian turns her back on the American flag as she stands on the podium. She has earned a spot on the Olympic team. Being chosen as a member of the Olympic team is a great honor. For most who qualify, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. Yet there are some who have qualified for such an honor multiple times. The physical ability and discipline it takes to earn those few spots are to be applauded.

Yet she turns her back on the flag of the country she has pledged to represent. She’s a citizen of this country. She was born here. Yet she says she feels it was a set up. Somehow someone planned just at the right moment to play the national anthem, as she was standing on the podium receiving her third place medal. As if they knew she would be one of the three who qualified for such an honor.

No, dear. It wasn’t a set up. If you came in third place, let’s hope and pray you earned that spot fair and square. But the planners of the event didn’t plan every second around you. Most likely, they didn’t even know your name. Or that you existed. The plan wasn’t for you to be the center of attention. You’re very skilled at your craft. But this moment in time isn’t just yours. It’s for every other Olympic athlete who has qualified and those still working to get there.

Sure. You have every right to be an stand up for your convictions. But you call yourself an American. Be proud of your heritage. Many died for you to be able to stand on that podium. Many gave their lives for that anthem and to see the flag wave. But if you’re representing your country, just as those soldiers, represent us well. Stand proud and tall for the nation that gives you freedom. For the sake of the country. Otherwise, you don’t belong on the team.


And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17


Just as this athlete turned her back on the flag, the symbol of freedom bought by personal and physical sacrifice, so do so many of us turn our backs on the symbol of hope. The cross of Jesus Christ. Many of us have turned our back on biblical truth and godly lives. We claim to stand on the podium of Christianity, all the while defying everything the death of Jesus represents. We can’t have it both ways.

The name of Christian appears to have multiple meanings these days. The true meaning of Christian means that a person has been born again. We’ve bowed ourselves before God and repented of all our sins. We’ve asked forgiveness for those sins we’ve committed. We’ve asked Jesus Christ to be the center of our lives. And the thing is. When someone prays that prayer of repentance, they are forgiven. Instantly. Their sins are gone. It’s as if those sins never happened. God doesn’t remember them. And we can then stand on that podium of forgiveness and righteousness. We can wave the Christian flag as a symbol of our citizenship of heaven. We can proudly and humbly call ourselves Christian.

But there was a price for those sins. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, born of the virgin Mary, died to make that forgiveness possible. The Son of God, who reigned in heaven with his Father, came to earth as a baby and then carried the weight of everyone’s sin on the cross. His death made us eligible for citizenship in heaven.

There are those who turn their back on the free gift of salvation that Jesus Christ freely offers us. There are those who fight as activists against that blood bought offering. They choose to live for themselves. As if nothing else matters. But yet, everything matters. Eternity matters. For they too will one day stand before God Almighty and give an account for their lives.

As each of us someday stand on the podium of judgment, we won’t be able to turn our back on all our actions, attitudes, words and thoughts. They will be on full display for God, the Supreme Judge to see. Then he will judge us and determine if we will spend eternity with him. Like it or not, that moment in history will occur for every one of us. There’s no way out.

So now you are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. Through him you are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22

One Nation Under God

Yes. We are a nation under God. Whether we act like it or not. Whether we live like it or not. God is still and always will be in control.  Oh. We’re living in troubled times. That’s for sure. Racial injustice. Unnecessary killings. Mob violence. Anarchy. Selfish demands. Pandemic. Unemployment.

But we are still a nation under God. He is in control. He is allowing this mess to happen. He knows exactly why these things are taking place. And he is letting us run rampant in our sin.

We’ve done this to ourselves. You know that.

Oh. This country was founded on religious freedom. Our forefathers left one country to find a place where they could freely worship God. How far we’ve come from that. It seems that now we worship anything but God. Anything and everything has become our god.

Will we ever learn? Will we ever fall on our knees and repent? As a nation, will we ever put God first? When was the last mass revival of people repenting and turning to God? We keep digging our nation deeper and deeper into sin.

We are warned in the Bible that there will be all kinds of trouble in the last days. The thing is. The people who lived in Bible times thought they had it bad. They were sure that Jesus was coming back soon. And look. It’s been how many years since that time? Thousands of years. And the times are even worse now.

You should know that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!

2 Timothy 3:1-5


The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love. Numbers 14:18


Israel was also a nation under God. And they disobeyed him time and time again. Look where it got them. They were torn apart. Two separate kingdoms. Yes. There were times when God gave them what they wanted. They wanted their own king. Why? Because they wanted to be like all the other nations. Instead of being content with serving God and listening to the prophet’s words, they wanted a king. So God gave them a king. And that king failed them.

God had promised to bless the nation of Israel for generations. He doesn’t renege on his promises. But they lost faith in him. They turned to other gods. They lived for their own pleasure and not for God. And after a time, their neighbors attacked them. Took them prisoner in their own land. Made them pay heavy taxes. Made them slaves. And finally. Finally. They remembered the times of their ancestors. When life was good. They knew the stories of how their ancestors lived in peace with themselves and with their neighboring countries and with God. So they turned back to God. Repented of their sins. He heard their cries and forgave them. They regained their freedom and their good name. Aahhhh. Life was good. Again.

But as time went by. The cycle repeated itself. Over and over. They walked away from God. Thought their fake idols were better than the real God. They ignored God’s leading. They did their own thing, because it was easier than obeying God. So, here we are today. The sins of the fathers have crept into every generation.

No. We’re not the Israelites. They were God’s chosen people, but they chose not to stay faithful to him. We in this country feel special. We feel chosen. We believe we’re the greatest nation on earth. We’re only great if we are following God’s leading. But no. We removed prayer from schools and called it separation of church and state. We kill unborn babies and call it freedom of choice. We approve every form of lifestyle and call it pride. We’ve disregarded morals and call it authenticity. We worship created things rather than the Creator and call it good.

The thing is. God will not impose his will on us. He will not make us repent. Oh. He could. But he won’t. We have to want to change. We have to accept the outreached hand of forgiveness before it’s too late.

We can change.  One household at a time. One heart at a time. Let’s truly be one nation under God.