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A Divine Déjà vu
Commentary on the News
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Wendy Wippel

I’m guessing that you, like me followed with more than a little interest the speculation on the state of Trump’s salvation. Saved? Or still enslaved? No way, really, for onlookers to tell. There will be those who come in slightly singed, remember, —as if barely snatched from the fires of hell. (1 Corinthians 3:15) While we wait to see what fruit The Donald yields, however, there’s one thing that seems beyond doubt, especially if you factor in the Book of Nehemiah. His election was a divine decision.

Trump, in his candidacy, appointed a panel of faith advisors comprised of 25 men and women, all Christians (mostly well-known pastors and ministry heads), to advise him. This illustrious Bible bunch included politically active figures like Jerry Falwell Jr., Ben Carson, James Dobson and Michelle Bachman.  As far as I can tell that’s a first. What isn’t a first is the Inauguration Day custom that brings a pastor in to give a spiritual jumpstart to each administration—including  spiritual advice to the man that will shortly be our President. That practice started with George Washington and has continued to this day.

Jeffress was selected by the Trump team, ostensibly from a human standpoint, because he was the first pastor to endorse Trump.  In my book, however, the choice of Trump  smacks of some serious heavenly input. Because Jeffress pulled parallels to Trump out of the Book of Isaiah that literally give me chills. 

So instead of my take on it, I will just give it to you straight. Here is the transcript of his advice to the man who now sits in the Oval Ofice:

"President -elect Trump, I remember that it was exactly one year ago this weekend that I was with you on your Citation Jet flying around Iowa before the first caucus or primary vote was cast. After our Wendy's Cheeseburgers, I said that I believed that you would be the next President of the United States. And if that happened, it would be because God had placed you there.

As the prophet Daniel said, it is God who removes and establishes leaders.

Today- one year later- God has raised you and Vice-President Pence up for a great, eternal purpose. When I think of you, President-elect Trump, I am reminded of another great leader God chose thousands of years ago in Israel. The nation had been in bondage for decades.

The  infrastructure of the country was in shambles.

And God raised up a powerful leader to restore the nation. And the man God chose was neither a politician nor a priest. Instead, God chose a builder whose name was Nehemiah.

And the first step of rebuilding the nation was the building of a great wall. God instructed Nehemiah to build a wall around Jerusalem to protect its citizens from enemy attack,

You see, God is Not against building walls!.

And the Old Testament Book of Nehemiah records how Nehemiah completed that massive project in record time—just 52 days. Why was Nehemiah so successful in building the wall and rebuilding the nation?

I: He refused to allow his critics to distract him!

Someone has said that there are three sure ways to avoid criticism: Do nothing, Say nothing, and Be nothing. 

Any true leader will face criticism.

President-elect Trump, you have had your share of critics from the day you announced you were running for President, but you’ve confounded them at every turn. First they said you couldn’t win the election, but you ended up garnering the most votes of any Republican in history. They said that was a fluke, but you couldn’t win the election. And you handily defeated your opponent.  And now your critics say that you can’t possibly succeed in your agenda.

Nehemiah had his own share of critics. Two of his chief antagonists were named Sanballat and Tobia.

They were the mainstream media of their day.

They continued to hound and heckle Nehemiah and spread false rumors while he and the Israelites were building the wall.  At one point they said, “Nehemiah, you need to stop the project and come down from the wall and have a meeting with us.”  Nehemiah’s response was classic: I am doing a great work. Why should I stop the work and come down to you? (Nehemiah 6:3)

President-elect Trump, you and Vice-President Pence have been called by God and elected by the people to do a great work.

It is a work far too important to stop and answer your critics.

II: Nehemiah refused to allow setbacks stop him.

As you read through Nehemiah’s Journal, you’ll find that he faced tremendous obstacles as he attempted to rebuild the nation: an economic recession, terrorist attacks from enemies, and discouragement among the citizens. But none of those setbacks was enough to stop Nehemiah. Some two years ago two sports commentators on television were discussing the late Hall of Famer Walter Peyton, the running back for the Chicago Bears. One commentator said: “Can you believe that during his career Peyton has run more than nine miles with a football?

The second commentator replied: ”What’s even more amazing is that every 3.8 yards of those miles he got knocked down by a guy twice his size, but he got back up every time and kept moving forward in spite of those bruising hits and hard knocks.

President Trump, you and your family are going to face some bruising setbacks. But remember the true measure of a leader is what it takes to stop him. And knowing you, I believe it is going to take a lot to stop you!

III: Nehemiah sought God’s help to empower him.

Nehemiah was a gifted leader, but he knew that he could not succeed without God’s divine help. And that is why, as he began the great work, Nehemiah knelt before God and prayed: O  Lord, Let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant who delights in revering your name. Give your servant success today. (Nehemiah 1:11)

Mr. President-elect Trump, I don’t believe we have ever had a president with as many maturatal gifts as you. AS you know, the reason I endorsed you within weeks of your announcement that you were running was because I believed that you were the only candidate who possessed the leadership skills necessary to reverse the downward trajectory of our nation. And beginning with Vice-president Elect Pence, -- A great and Godly man- you’ve assembled an unbelievably talented group of advisors around you.

But the challenges facing our nation are so great that it will take more than natural ability to meet them. We need God’s supernatural power.

The Good news is that the same God who empowered Nehemiah nearly 2500 years ago is available to everyone of us today who is willing to humble himself and ask for His help.

God says, “call upon me in the day of trouble and I shall rescue you and you will honor me".

When President Reagan addressed the Republican National Convention in Dallas in 1984 he said: "America needs God more than God needs America. If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be one nation gone under.”

President-elect Trump, your Campaign slogan resonated with tens of million of Americans because it spoke to their heartfelt desire: Make America Great Again. Psalm 33:12 gives us the starting point: Blessed—great-- is the nation whose God is the Lord.

CNN has called Jeffress "an inflammatory preacher” because of opinions expressed about about Muslims, Mormons, Catholics, and gays.

He called Mormonism a cult.

And? 

Christianity’s emergence from historically verifiable event is vilified constantly. Mormonism’s dependence on a book that got dumped in its founders lap and then” Oh, too bad”)  got taken back to heaven—and the concept that every Mormon guy will get his own planet to rule—that’s a perfectly reasonable religion.

Homosexuality—it’s a sin—a falling short of God’s perfect intention and design. As is jealousy, envy, cheating on your taxes, a and a million other things we are all guilty of.

That’s a disease endemic to all mankind.

As for Catholicism and Islam—aren’t they in talks to merge? 

Being serious now, I have several Muslim friends that I am very fond of, and most of the city of Cincinnati, my hometown, is Catholic. There are different opinions out there, and speaking to differences is not hate speech (at least not legislatively, yet.) 

For us it should be a daily practice. (called evangelism).

Bottom line? It’s from Daniel: He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise.  And knowledge to those who have understanding.

Trump surrounded himself with helpmeets. That’s a great start.

Our job is outlined in I Timothy 2:

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

Isn’t it scary how easy it is to forget that?  My resolve is to pray for the guy at least as much as I doubt him.

Care to join me?

Trump’s all we got for the next four years, and though I didn’t vote for him, he’s grown on me. A lot.

About Wendy Wippel

Last week: Rock of Ages



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