Hope and Change


Background:

In the year of 2008, leading up to the USA presidential election, the airwaves were filled with speeches and advertisements trumpeting the slogan “Hope and Change.”  This catch phrase did indeed capture the imagination and support for the Democratic party and helped to catapult the Democrats into majority positions in the Senate and the House, and vaulted Barack Hussein Obama into the Presidency.

Looking back now with 20/20 hindsight, the campaign slogan of “Hope and Change” has proven to be primarily that … a slogan.  There was little explanation or substance provided in advance for how the “Hope and Change” would be implemented and it is still difficult for the average voter to grasp the details of what the slogan embodied.

At the beginning of President Obama’s term in office the country was in a significant economic crisis.  President George W. Bush had previously signed the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)into law on October 3, 2008 to deal with the sub-prime mortgage crisis.  Through additional legislation and executive orders President Obama’s administration continued to deal with broader economic problems. Two of the three major U.S. auto manufacturers were ushered through a government managed bankruptcy of sorts where the government gave priority to union workers over the usual process of treating bondholders and creditors first in the settlement.  The Democratic majority in the House and Senate also passed a $900 billion financial “stimulus” package for what was termed “shovel ready projects” only later to admit that the projects were not so shovel ready after all.

On March 23, 2010 President Obama signed into law a massive and politically divisive health care reform bill known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called Obamacare.  Not one Republican in the House or Senate voted in favor of PPACA.

With a significant Tea Party movement, the Republican party took back control of the House in the 2010 elections and a state of legislative gridlock emerged in January 2011. Since then very little of substance has changed.  The two political parties and the U.S. citizenry are sharply divided over future direction and most of 2012 has been consumed by political campaigning.  A national budget has not been passed for four years.  Government spending is out of control.  The country faces another financial crisis often called a “fiscal cliff” and another major recession in 2013 if the legislative branch can not agree on at least temporary financial reforms by the end of 2012.   After nearly four years of President Obama’s administration, the U.S. is still struggling with significant issues such as:

  • a massive $16.2 trillion national debt forecast for 2012 at $141,435 per taxpayer, $51,508 per citizen (see U.S. National Debt Clock)
  • an unacceptable employment level for our citizens – with a total workforce of 143.2 million and a total population of 314.6 million: currently 8.4% with 12.0 million official unemployed; 15.8%  with 22.7 million actual unemployed (see U.S. National Debt Clock)
  • nearly 1 in 7 (47.1 million) Americans on food stamps costing $72 billion in 2011, up $40 billion in last three years
  • 50% of recent college graduates jobless forcing many parents to continue their support
  • a huge divide between Democrats and Republicans causing legislative gridlock
  • a continuing war in Afghanistan costing precious lives of so many young Americans
  • governmental chaos in Libya, Egypt, Syria and Yemen with problems brewing in others
  • the Islamic Republic of Iran closer to a nuclear weapon with an outspoken President committed to the destruction of Israel
  • an administration advocating support for same-sex marriage and the continuation of abortion on demand

It is no wonder to me that the slogan of “Hope and Change” struck so many chords with the American public in 2008.  We were, and now are, a sick society drowning in our individual and collective sin … wanting to believe.  Unfortunately, our government and our people are trying to make significant changes on their own by placing their confidence for “Hope and Change” in man without the guidance of Almighty God.  True and Godly “change” will never spring from man alone.  What our citizenry and our government urgently need to do is seek the Lord God and turn from our wicked ways. It is only in and of God that we will find true “Hope and Change.”

Scripture:  (all scripture NASB unless otherwise noted)

Galatians 1:15-24 – 15 But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased 16 to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with [a]flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus.18 Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to [b]become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 But I did not see any other of the apostles except [c]James, the Lord’s brother. 20 (Now in what I am writing to you, [d]I assure you before God that I am not lying.) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was still unknown by [e]sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ; 23 but only, they kept hearing, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they were glorifying God [f]because of me.

Matthew 7:13-14 – 13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Psalm 62:5 – My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him.

2 Corinthians 3:4-5 –  Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, …

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Romans 12:2 – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed {changed} by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Acts 3:17-21 – 17 “And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. 18 But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His [h]Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 19 Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20 and that He may send Jesus, the [i]Christ appointed for you, 21 whom heaven must receive until the [j]period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

Discussion:

In Galatians 1:15-24 Paul the Apostle describes in dramatic detail how God transformed his life.  Paul was known as Saul prior to his conversion experience (Acts 9:1-22; Acts 22:3-16; Acts 26:9-18) on the Road to Damascus.  Saul was a zealous Pharisee dedicated to the persecution and even the death of many early disciples of Jesus in the area of Jerusalem.  When Saul met Jesus and became a dedicated follower of Christ, his whole life changed.  His hope was now centered on the cross of Jesus where He paid the price for our sins through His crucifixion, burial and resurrection thus conquering sin and death.  Jesus was now Paul’s only cause and he spent the rest of his life leading others to “Hope and Change” by accepting Christ as Savior.

While Paul changed from a Christian killer to a Christian church founding preacher, your need for change may not be that dramatic. Christ can change your heart, outlook and outcome. Real “change” requires true repentance and a willingness to give up old worldly ways for dealing with life’s issues.  Just think back to Old Testament times … Israel was blessed when they followed God’s instruction and they suffered greatly when they didn’t.  Partial repentance is not enough.  We can’t pick and choose the portions of God’s Word with which we want to agree.  There is no bargaining with God.  It is His way or our way.  His way leads to real hope and change. Man’s way is the path to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).  Christians should live in a constant state of repentance placing their hope only in the Lord (Psalm 62:5) and not in man (2 Corinthians 3:4-5).

Paul taught in 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. And further in Romans 12:2 that we are not to be conformed to the world’s ways but rather be “transformed {changed} by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Acts chapter 3 records the healing of the lame beggar and Peter’s second sermon after God sent the Holy Spirit on the believers on the Day of Pentecost (see Acts 2:1-13).  In Acts 3:17 Peter preached to the “brethren” that they had “acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did.” In verse 18 Peter went on to say ALL that God had promised them was/is fulfilled through Jesus.  And in verse 19, they should “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”  This then is the true definition to  “Hope and Change“.  It is not of man … it is only of God through our Savior Jesus Christ, the Messiah!!  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!

Reflection:

It is easy to put our faith in the wrong people, the wrong places and the wrong things.  The only real agent for “Hope and Change” is Almighty God Himself.  True, we are created in God’s image and He uses man to accomplish His purpose.  But without God’s guidance people, places and things are useless in solving both our individual and collective problems.  What we desperately need in the U.S. are God fearing, God serving public servants … servants committed to the Word of God … servants who stand on the promises of God … servants who seek God’s understanding and God’s will … servants who don’t substitute man’s ways for God’s ways … servants who are set apart from the world but in the world … servants willing to do what is right in the sight of God … servants who are thankful … servants who are prayerful … servants who are submitted, giving and humble.  That’s a mouthful, but I submit that is what the U.S. needs to solve the huge problems we face as a nation.

The Bible teaches that God is in control ALL of the time, that He is ALL knowing, and He is ALL powerful.  He has the answers to ALL of our problems.  Can you name me one person, place or thing that can compare to God?  I don’t think so!  Then why would you put your trust elsewhere?

I encourage you to prayerfully consider your vote in the upcoming Presidential election on November 6, 2012.  Pray that God will place upon your heart His decision for you.  Don’t trust yourself or anyone else without consulting God.

Romney Ryan

Obama Biden

The U.S. is at a turning point.  Our future and the future of our children, grandchildren and succeeding generations weighs in the balance.  Above all, put your trust in God and not in man for the “Hope and Change” our nation so urgently needs.

On a personal level, you may feel that you cannot make the changes required to become a follower of God.  Some think they are too sinful to be pardoned.  Some try to give up their sinful ways by themselves only to miserably fail over and over again.  Take comfort in knowing that God will help you make the changesTurn your life over to Him and He will save you and give you eternal life. By accepting Jesus Christ as his Savior Paul made an unbelievable change from Christian killer to Christian preacher.   Jesus can help you make similar changes … no matter how deep you have descended into sin.

I invite you to view a youtube presentation of one of my favorite songs by the famous southern gospel quartet, The Cathedrals, recorded in their final year together in 1999.  The name of the song is “He Made A Change.”  If you have the time, you might also want to listen to the 1990 recording by The Good News, The Plan of Salvation.  I believe this is a perfect way to reflect on the message of this article.

References for Additional Study and Reflection:

______________________________________________________________

Please note that you can receive notification when I post a new article on this blog site by clicking the “Follow” button on this page.

About jimdavenport

Jim Davenport resides in the USA in Northeast Georgia, is a member of a Southern Baptist Church and is a retired Christian business man. Jim and his wife Charlotte have one son and daughter in law, Keven and Amy, four grandchildren - Ashlyn (Davenport) & Josh Murphy, and Mason & Rebecca Davenport. We have three great-grandchildren, Rhory Camile Murphy, Rhett Levi Murphy and Sawyer Joshua Murphy. Jim and Charlotte own a mountain get-away home located on Lookout Mountain in Alabama where they spend many spring, summer and fall days working in their raised bed organic garden. Jim has served as a Deacon and Trustee in his local church most of his adult life and on the Executive Committee and Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees of Shorter University, an intentionally Christian institution located in Rome, Georgia. Jim has a passion for the word of God and has always believed that Christian principles should guide every aspect of his life. He also loves Christian music and often served as a tenor soloist in his church. One of the highlights of his life was the nearly 20 years he spent singing with The Good News, a Southern Gospel quartet. Jim served as an Information Technology professional his entire working career of 50 years holding senior positions in and consulting with hundreds of world-class organizations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Central and South America, Australia and New Zealand. Jim remains as President and CEO of InfoSys Solutions Associates, Inc. and is a retired partner of IT Governance Partners, LLC, both of which are “Trusted Advisor” technology and business consulting firms. Jim has authored a number of books available at www.jimdavenport.me/jims-books. His blog has ben read by readers from more than 170 countries. Jim holds both a BS and an MS in Mathematics from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia and completed Management Development Training at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
This entry was posted in Bible Studies, Christian Devotions, Southern Gospel Music, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Hope and Change

  1. John Hayes says:

    Jim,
    Very well written. God Bless You.
    John

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s