God is Bigger Than Climate Change

Climate change. Who hasn’t heard the warnings? Higher temperatures, more drought and heat waves, heavier downpours, stronger hurricanes, rising sea levels, widespread flooding, melting ice caps… it goes on and on. According to Wikipedia, climate change “threatens people with food and water scarcity, increased flooding, extreme heat, more disease, and economic loss. Human migration and conflict can be a result. The World Health Organization (WHO) calls climate change the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century.”

All of this is serious and frightening.

But God is bigger than climate change.

God made the earth (Neh 9:6, Ps 24:1) and not only knows how to take care of it, but does so according to His will (Job 12:10, Ps 65:9-13, Ps. 107:33-34 NOTE: all cited Scriptures are written out in full at the end of this blog). He also gave us the job of tending the earth (Gen 2:15) knowing full well that we wouldn’t be as good at it as He is. Yet He is powerful enough to correct the mistakes we make, smart enough to know the needs for all generations, and strong enough to control the effects of our ignorance (Job 26:14, 37:13, Is 45:5-7, Matt 8:26-27).

But the truth is, even if we had done a phenomenal job, no matter what we do or don’t do, the earth is passing away. It was not made to last forever (Ps 102:25-28, Is 51:6, Matt 24:35, Heb 1:10-12). God’s plan is to make a new heaven and a new earth once this one has grown old and worn out (Is 65:17, Rev 21:1).

Until then, we can trust God with our future. We can tend the earth in the best ways we know. We can enjoy what He has given us until the new, better earth arrives. And we can rely on Him as we go through the coming storms, floods, droughts, and times of pestilence. We may not be able to fix the earth, the Bible makes it clear that the earth will pass away, but we can be at peace knowing Jesus is with us all the way (Matthew 28:20b, Hebrews 13:5).

What we shouldn’t do is be obsessed with the earth’s condition or to live in fear (John 14:27). Concern is one thing – obsession is another. There is only one thing He has told us to be obsessed with – and that is Him. Instead of dwelling on the earth until it consumes us, let’s get our eyes back on the One who holds the earth in His hands. Let’s dwell on the LORD who dwells on us. Let’s be obsessed with God Most High.

And he said to them, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matt 22:37).

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Col 3:2.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3


Other Scriptures cited in this blog:

“You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. Nehemiah 9:6

The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, Psalm 24:1b

In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:10

By his power he stilled the sea…Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways,
and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand?
Job 26:14

He loads the thick clouds with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning. They turn around and around by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world. Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen. Job 37:13

I am the Lord, and there is no other ,besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lord, who does all these things. Isaiah 45:5-7

The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Gen 2:15

And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea , and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” Matthew 8:26-27

Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end. The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offering shall be established before you. Psalm 102:25-28

Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the Earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, and the Earth will wax like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner. Isaiah 51:6

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Matthew 24:35

you, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end. Psalm 102:25-27 (also quoted in Hebrews 1:10-12)

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and the farthest seas; the one who by his strength established the mountains being girded with might; who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe of your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for you joy. You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide their grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with abundance. The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothes themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy. Psalm 65:5-13

Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. Isaiah 65:17

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sun was no more. Revelation 21:1

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

As long as the present earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease. Genesis 8:22

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matt 28:20b

Political High Places?

When I was a new Christian back in the 1970’s, the term ‘Jesus freak’ became associated with those who were excited about Jesus. According to one of the definitions on vocabulary.com, a freak is “a not-so-nice noun that refers to a person who expresses such an intense obsession with something that it resembles addiction”. Obsession is defined as something about which one is constantly thinking about or concerned. So although Jesus freak was meant to be derogatory, I along with many others embraced it because it described our obsession with our God.

Today I am becoming increasingly disturbed with an obsession in our country that has nothing to do with God. When I listen to press conferences, news reports, and commentaries, no matter what’s being discussed, it seems Trump is pulled into it, giving him credit or blame depending on which side of the Trump-fence the speaker is on. It seems the whole country, even the world, shares this obsession. Maybe this is normal and temporary as everyone adjusts to the new president, but there are indications that it might not be going away anytime soon.

Other people have noticed the same and I’ve heard lots of name calling on both sides. I think it would be fair, at least in this blog (since it’s mine and I can say what I want), to call them all Trump freaks. Trump freaks who support him, wanting him to return to power and save our country. Trump freaks who hate him to the point fearing even the possibility of his return. Both groups seem to spend an equally amount of time talking about him.

Being a Trump freak might be fine, if that’s what you want to be. Everyone has the right to obsess over whatever they desire, as long as their obsession doesn’t include harming others.

However, being a Trump freak might not be okay if you call yourself a Christian. By definition, there’s room for only one thing in an obsession, and God makes it clear that the “one thing” should be Him.

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deut 6:5-9)

Think of it this way. God wants to be the sun in our hearts, minds, and life. He wants everything we do and think to revolve around Him. He wants His light to shine on every part of our life. The result would be that we’d be constantly talking about God, interacting with God and relating life in terms of God.

An obsession on something other than God replaces Him as the sun in our hearts, minds, and life. Everything we do and think revolves around what we’re obsessed with. It penetrates every part of our life. We constantly talk about our obsession, interact with what relates to our obsession, and relate life in terms of our obsession.

Another word for this is idolatry.

It’s easy to see the idolatry of Trump-worship in the scores of people who are glorifying him beyond normal support. The media loves to show how crazy and irrational some of these people are. What’s not so easy to see is the idolatry in those who worship the idea of taking down Trump, everything he did, and everyone connected with him. They are consumed by thoughts of saving the country from his influence and proving how terrible a person he is. The media ignores how crazy and irrational some of these people are.

As I was thinking about all this, I thought about the high places that are frequently mentioned in the Old Testament. They were areas set apart, usually on a hill or mountain, to worship and sacrifice to pagan gods. God hated those places and warned the Israelites to destroy them. Instead, the Israelites used them to worship God along with the pagan gods they adopted from the nations around them. God called this practice an abomination, and made it clear He didn’t want to share the worship due to Him.

While the man was standing beside me, I heard one speaking to me out of the temple, and he said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel forever. And the house of Israel shall no more defile my holy name, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoring and by the dead bodies of their kings at their high places, by setting their threshold by my threshold and their doorposts beside my doorposts, with only a wall between me and them. They have defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed, so I have consumed them in my anger. (Ezekiel 43:6-8)

In the United States today, what is higher than the presidency? Could it be that presidential politics is the western culture’s high place?

We need to make sure we are not involved in idolatry on high political places. We need to make sure we have not replaced God with Trump, or equate the two. We need to make sure God is the only sun in our lives, and that everything we do and say revolves around Him and His ways. And that includes any thoughts about Trump – whether they be thoughts of love or of hate. We don’t want what happened to Israel to happen to us.

For they provoked him to anger with their high places; they moved him to jealousy with their idols. When God heard, he was full of wrath, and he utterly rejected Israel. (Ps 78:58-59)

And lest we think He was talking only to Israel…

Hear, you peoples, all of you; pay attention, O earth, and all that is in it, and let the LORD God be a witness against you, the LORD from his holy temple. For behold, the LORD is coming out of his place, and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth. And the mountains will melt under him, and the valleys will split open, like wax before the fire, like waters poured down a steep place. (Micah 1:2-4)

If, when we examine our hearts, we find an obsession has taken up residence there, we can take it down just as the Israelites were told to do to the high places they found. To not do so would to disobey God, which is evil.

“For whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:10-12)

Seeking peace does not always mean being a pacifist, and doing good might involve standing up for what we believe in, so removing a political obsession doesn’t necessarily mean removing politics from our lives. It means we don’t put our political activism alongside God in our hearts. It means we spend more time praying than we do reading and commenting on social media platforms. It means seeking God’s truth instead of repeating lies. It means keeping our tongues from returning insults or condemning people Jesus died for. It means we listen to God for our marching orders rather than jump on anyone’s bandwagon. God may say jump, or He may have something different for us do, which may or may not be what we think we should be doing. Only He can see the big picture. Only He can see through all the deception permeating both sides. Only He knows the future and how one action will impact another down the road. Only He can coordinate everyone for maximum effectiveness. And He will only empower and equip us to do what He calls us to do, not what others call us to do. Otherwise we will be working in our own strength, and possibly in the same manner of those we call enemies, which won’t do much good and may even backfire on us. Joshua learned about following God’s directions when facing Jericho.

As Joshua was sizing up the city of Jericho, a man appeared with a drawn sword. Joshua strode over to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?” “I am the Commander-in-Chief of the Lord’s army,” he replied. Joshua fell to the ground before him and worshiped him and said, “Give me your commands.” “Take off your shoes,” the Commander told him, “for this is holy ground.” And Joshua did. The gates of Jericho were kept tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelis; no one was allowed to go in or out. But the Lord said to Joshua, “Jericho and its king and all its mighty warriors are already defeated, for I have given them to you! Your entire army is to walk around the city once a day for six days, followed by seven priests walking ahead of the Ark, each carrying a trumpet made from a ram’s horn. On the seventh day, you are to walk around the city seven times, with the priests blowing their trumpets. Then, when they give one long, loud blast, all the people are to give a mighty shout, and the walls of the city will fall down; then move in upon the city from every direction.” (Joshua 5:13-15; 6:1-5)

I believe only God can heal our country. Let’s tear down our high places and give God our whole hearts.  Let’s turn from following our own ways and accept Him as our Commander-in-Chief. Let’s do things His way which will allow Him to answer our prayers. Let’s watch Him do what only He can do.

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chron 7:14)

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet live, godly and dignified in every way. This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior. (1 Tim 2:1-3)

You have heard that is was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. (Matt 5:43-45)

For while we were still weak, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:6-8)

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (Mark 11:25)

Do you be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom 12:2)

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom 15:5-6)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Rom 15:13)