What is the right approach to Cuba? Russia? N. Korea?

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What is the right approach to Cuba? Russia? N. Korea?

December 19, 2014 - Jim Denison, PhD

President Barack Obama announces a shift in policy toward Cuba while delivering an address to the nation from the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, December 17, 2014. (Credit: Reuters/Doug Mills)

Is President Obama’s initiative to normalize relations with Cuba “another concession to tyranny”?  Or is it “a dream come true for the 11.2 million Cubans in Cuba”?  Is it “the right thing to do at the right time,” or is it “dramatic overreach”?  (For more on this issue, see Nick Pitts’s article ‘Obama, Castro, and the Pope find peace in Canada’.)

Now that the Russian ruble has lost half its value in the face of international sanctions, is Vladimir Putin destroying his country’s economy?  Or is he the solution to his nation’s problems, as evidenced by the 81 percent approval rating he recently received from his people?

The U.S. has determined that North Korea was behind the recent cyber-attack on Sony Pictures.  In response, the studio has chosen not to proceed with The Interview, the movie that reportedly incensed North Korean leaders.  Is this an act of discretion and prudence?  Or is it “an un-American act of cowardice that validates terrorist actions and sets a terrifying precedent”?  (For more on this issue, see James Peel’s article ‘Sony cancels movie after N. Korean terror threat’.)

Where are you facing confusion today?  What decision is perplexing you?  What dilemma is unresolved?  Where do you need wise counsel?

Has your holiday season been a time of peace and tranquility so far?  Christmas is unfortunately not “the most wonderful time of the year” for everyone.  Counselors see a rise in loneliness, overeating, overuse of alcohol, and family stress during the holidays.  And marital pressures during the season make January the busiest month of the year for divorce lawyers.

Here’s the good news: the Baby of Bethlehem is our “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).  “Wonderful” in the Hebrew means “so full of wonder as to be miraculous.”  “Counselor” points to a person of such wisdom that he or she can advise kings, thus the wisest person in the land.  “Mighty God” is literally “the God who possesses might.”  “Everlasting Father” is literally “a Father forever.”  “Prince of Peace” in the Hebrew is “the Prince who gives peace.”

Jesus wants to do for you what he came at Christmas to do for us all.  He is ready to advise you with his omniscience, strengthen you with his omnipotence, love you with his unconditional grace, and grant you his transforming peace.  But as with all Christmas presents, his must be opened to be received.

So name your decision or problem.  Claim his promise: “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21).  And trust his wisdom and power.

G. K. Chesterton said of Christmas, “The Child that played with moon and sun is playing with a little hay.”  All of God there is, is in this moment.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the ESV®️ Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®️), copyright ©️ 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The ESV text may not be quoted in any publication made available to the public by a Creative Commons license. The ESV may not be translated in whole or in part into any other language.

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