Mark Daniels on character and hope-shifting

I always look to Pastor Mark Daniels at Better Living for good thinking on a variety of subjects. Here are some things Mark blogged about this week.

In “It’s Character, Stupid”, Mark offers an historian’s perspective on what to look for in a presidential candidate:

“I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me.”

The writer was Abraham Lincoln, speaking of the cataclysmic Civil War, initiated not by Lincoln or the government he headed, but by insurgent forces who attacked a United States military installation on US soil.

Things happen over which we have no control and much of life is composed of our response to events. … Stuff happens. Even to presidents.

This is important to remember as the 2008 presidential campaign unfolds. In town hall meetings and debates, candidates are asked what they would do about the economy, the war in Iraq, the struggle with radical jihadists, global warming, and a whole host of other vital national and international concerns. Candidates respond with everything from sound bites to detailed programs on their web sites. And all of that’s fine.

But beware! Events have a way of overtaking even presidents.

As we consider who to vote for in November, Mark reminds us that “the characters of the people who vie for the presidency are more significant than their political philosophies.” Character will guide the president, and our nation, when the road map suddenly goes up in flames.

In Hope Shifting?, Mark reflects on a little phrase he had overlooked in Colossians 1:22,23:

Here’s the part of the passage in Colossians I never noticed before: “…provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel…”

Show me the things in which you invest your hope and I can tell you your priorities. Show me what you place your biggest hope in, and I’ll show you who or what your god is. …

Paul says that there’s great spiritual danger in shifting the basis of our hope. “If only I get that job… that wife… that car… that bit of entertainment… that lover… that whatever,” we tell ourselves, “…then we’ll be happy.”

… But unless our hope is rooted in Jesus Christ alone, unless our allegiance is to Him, we’re only play acting in our faith.

Hope-shifting can be a subtle little shuffle that pulls us away from the one who wants our complete attention, the one who offers our only sure and lasting hope — Jesus. Have I shifted my hope from Jesus?

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