October 9, 2017
The headlines of the newspapers and the topics of the newscasts every day reflect the times we live in. Our flags flew at half-mast last week in the aftermath of the tragic slaughter of innocent people in Las Vegas. During the first weeks of school we have watched a hurricane bring unprecedented flooding in Texas, major earthquakes in Mexico, two hurricanes ravage Puerto Rico and many Caribbean islands, the Florida Keys, and much of the Florida peninsula. Recently, we have followed endless coverage of the NFL players kneeling or not kneeling during the national anthem or whether or not the response to help people in these devastated areas was fast enough or was somehow inadequate. Sometimes I think we feel that the times we live in are unique and the troubles that we face are unprecedented, but history tells us that times of trouble have always been around. I believe that what is important is not the troubled times, but for us as Christ followers, how we as God’s people respond to the times.
I am very proud of the students and families of Florida Christian School for the outpouring of support during the recent storms. Our call for help to clean up our campus after Irma resulted in over 100 parents, faculty, and students giving their time to help just days after the storm. Following Irma’s rampage through the Florida Keys the families of our school responded to the call to help people at Island Christian School in Islamorada by raising over $7,500 in their time of need. This week our student body and faculty is leading the effort to be a blessing to the students and families of Marathon High school. On Friday, FCS students will help serve the football team, cheerleaders, and band from Marathon High School a post-game meal. We will present the principal from Marathon High School with gift cards to Publix, Walgreens and Home Depot donated by our students, parents, faculty and community. During the post-game meal our students will have the opportunity to show their concern and encouragement for the students from Marathon HS which was hit very hard by the storm. It will be an opportunity to demonstrate our faith in Christ by our actions.
As a nation, following the tragedy that occurred in Las Vegas and the heroic deeds that so many performed in response to the attack, we were called to prayer for the injured and the families who lost loved ones. Many Americans responded by calling out to God for His mercy and His healing. In the history of the United States, Americans have always reached out to God for help. The Founders of this nation knew that America would survive and be blessed, only as it relied on Almighty God to sustain it. Abraham Lincoln reminded the nation in the middle of the Civil War that, “It is the duty of nations as well to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history that, ‘those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord,’ Psalm 33:12. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.” Here at FCS we have chosen to remember the Christian heritage of our nation and pray during these times of crisis in our community and the nation.
In the Bible, the leadership of the nation of Israel was in dispute. The prophet Samuel had anointed David to be the king, but those loyal to King Saul were not ready to allow this to take place, and so the struggle was on. I Chronicles 12:23, 32 describes the times in which this was taking place. “And those are the numbers of the bands that were ready armed to war, and came to David to Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the Lord….And of the children of Issachar, which were the men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred, and all their brethren were at their command.” The Bible says that these few men, in all of Israel, understood the times in which they lived. In the language of the 21st Century, they had a world view which was shaped by their belief in a Sovereign God. Everything they knew about the leadership of their nation, and all of the calamity which was taking place between Saul and David, was filtered through their trust in God.
America needs people who “understand the times.” There is a struggle in America today for the future of our nation. This struggle has led us to a point in history where the voices of those who would call this nation to trust in the one true God of the Bible have been put down, and there is a significant shift in our nation to receive all points of view as valid and true. In my view the politicians in America today do not understand the times. They only seem to understand political expediency. As believers, we must be like the band of Issachar. Though small in number they trusted in the truth of God’s Word. We must confront the times we live in by faithfully preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ because it is valid for everyone, no matter what their background or culture. We must confront the times with proof that our lives have been transformed by the power of God. When we do this we will allow our society to see the world as God intended it to be, and not flawed by the “lack of understanding” that prevails in the world today.