Voting for the President of the United States

31 10 2016

 imagesThis will most likely be my one and only blog on the upcoming election. It is not written to change anyone’s mind, but rather to calm our minds and spirits.

 I love this nation and I love how God has used this nation and continues to use this nation to care for others around the world.  I love our freedoms and I love our Christian heritage.  I love the many cultures found in America and I love the church in this nation.  I love the fact that we have been given the freedom to vote and elect candidates for office and I love that everyone can freely voice their opinion.

 I do not love the disunity I see and feel in our nation today.  I dislike the factions over important issues like national debt, cultural values, immigration, abortion, taxes, jobs and so many others.  I have prayed for and hoped that the present administration would help bring unity and focus to this great county.  I dislike how opposing views have become even more venomous and further apart.  I dislike and have been discouraged by the lack of leadership displayed in our nation that has allowed this and has participated in it.  The selfishness and immaturity among our leaders is astounding.images-2

 The list of why Donald Trump is unfit and his multiple sins exposed is getting longer, as the same list continues to grow with Hilary Clinton.  There are so many things wrong with both candidates that many people are saying they cannot vote for either one.  Still others find one candidate more evil than the other and are not voting for a candidate but rather against a candidate.  Like them or not, these are the choices.  It truly speaks to the division in this nation and it speaks to how truly shallow American values have become.  As I heard someone say recently, there is so much di-vision because there is so little vision, so little leadership.  How true.  Was it John Maxwell who said that everything rises and falls on leadership?

 I wish it was over and we could all go home.  But it’s not over.  In fact, November 8th is just the beginning.  It will continue for four years, likely eight.  And that is my point.  We need to look down the road, beyond the election and all the faults in both candidates.  We need to ask ourselves which party stands for our personal biblical values because that party will either stay the same and continue on with its agenda or that party will change and work toward its agenda.

 For the godly, arguing with your neighbor or posting on-line why your candidate is better by putting the other candidate down, in my opinion, is simply operating in the same spirit that these two candidates operate. You see it in each debate, i.e., the anger, the hate, the division, the immaturity and the lack of integrity, character and leadership.  Don’t fall prey to it; rise above it and pray against the spirit that is attempting to separate and divide.

 So many today who claim Christ remind me of the disciples, who when they discovered that the Lord was not welcome in a certain Samaritan village asked Jesus, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?”  (Luke 9:54)  In other words, burn those to ashes who do not welcome you or receive you.  Jesus calmly rebuked them and they simply moved on to a village that would receive them.

 images-3As I consider that second Tuesday of November, I find myself required to look beyond these two candidates and instead looking to the party that best represents my beliefs and my values.  Daniel did it in his day and Joseph did it in his.  Jesus certainly did it best as He represented His Father’s kingdom here on earth.  I suppose it is these words of Christ that help me the most when it comes to this election and its candidates, “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses.  So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example.  For they don’t practice what they teach.  They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.  Everything they do is for show.”  (Matthew 23: 1-5)  Certainly seems that Jesus understood it, while giving practical advice at how to walk it out.

 The sign in your yard will most likely not change anyone’s mind, but it just might inhibit your ability to share about a kingdom that is not part of this world system with your neighbors.  Eventually we need to ask ourselves, do we want to be right or do we want to be in relationship? Do we only want to share our political “truth” or do we long to share THE Truth? Your neighbor’s need or fear defines your obligation of serving them; it is the love of God. No political party can save them. Remember, Jesus washed the feet of Judas who hours later betrayed Him. Do you think that Jesus assaulted Judas verbally or was especially rough on his feet during that moment?

 II Chronicles 7:14 is still the best advice from God’s word for a hurting nation, “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”

 Father, please come and restore this land called the USA with Your love, Your heart and Your unity.  Please forgive us of our disunity in direct disobedience to the prayer of Your Son recorded in John 17, “May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”  Give us such a heart for this nation that we will pray for and love whichever candidate wins this election, because ultimately our trust, our hope and our life is in You and Your hands.  

Please make your voice heard by voting and in the meantime represent the kingdom of God well.





Avoiding The Top Five Regrets of the Dying

24 10 2016

images-13Have you ever wondered what people regret the most just before leaving this life? It seems others have as well, so Huffington Post in the year 2012 published an article on the top five regrets of the dying. Here they are:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.images

I found that list interesting in that numbers 1,3, and 4 are some form of regret connected to others while number 2 is connected to personal action. Number 5 seems to bring up regret of being too serious or perhaps too passive. Do not allow the “I wishes” to ruin your life today.   Check out these verses: “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous… In this way they will lay up treasures for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (I Timothy 6:19)images-12

Totally avoid these regrets by living your life for your Lord, walking in forgiveness, being who He has made you to be and daily embracing the life that is truly life.





You Owe a Price

16 10 2016

images-4You are guilty as charged, sinful, lost and separated from your Creator.

You are impure as you stand before Purity. You are of this world.

Your destiny is darkness and your future bleak.

There is no wholeness or soundness found in your soul.

Your eyes see only pain, loss and hopelessness and your spirit groans for relief.

Any breath you take could be your last and any move you make could lead to your demise.

Your life is consumed with fear and insecurity.images

There are no words to describe the conditions from which you suffer and you feel only hopelessness. (See Psalm 102: 2-11)

You and I are all these things, BUT…enter redemption.

Job said that he knew his Redeemer lived, even while he suffered in such deplorable conditions never known to us.

A redeemer buys or pays off, clears, recovers, releases, ransoms, delivers and makes sacrifice offered for a lost condition. A redeemer releases from the curse. A redeemer redeems physical bodies. A redeemer forgives sins. A redeemer gives us eternal life.

images-2The blood of the Redeemer provides redemption for all eternity. What is the price we owe our Redeemer? We owe Him one hundred percent of our life.





Engaging Culture Through Social Media

10 10 2016

images-2If you’re like me, you really think about what you will post on social media and what you will not post. It is a good thought process/exercise because you are opening yourself up to the world and that world might include persons who you are not expecting to read what you write. It is a good practice to remember and think about the fact that our Lord is looking over our shoulder as we write. That means we must listen and pay attention to that still small voice. That also means we want to be careful about what we write that might offend, that might anger unnecessarily or that might hurt another. So here are some guidelines that I try to follow when posting:images

 

  1. I am not out to argue my point, but, rather, graciously state what is my observation.
  2. I desire to engage in culture, but not purposefully offend culture.
  3. I like to back up what is written as truth with God’s word or biblical principles.
  4. I long to step back, consider and bring the bigger picture.
  5. I long to ‘see’ prophetically so that it’s not just my opinion, but perhaps a Holy Spirit observation.
  6. I desire to expose darkness, so I should not be surprised when darkness responds.
  7. God did not send His Son to condemn the world and neither should the things I post.
  8. I try to keep in mind that not everyone agrees with me and I have to be open to rejection and challenge.
  9. I must keep in mind that I bear the image of Christ and not Steve. Never do I want to hurt my Lord’s cause.
  10. I must write with love as my goal and grace my means.




Doors

3 10 2016

images-5Doors provide entry and exit. Doors opening invite access and doors closing speak to seasons coming to an end. Doors set boundaries. Some doors are guarded and others have alarms connected to them. There are doors with windows allowing partial sight access along with light entry and there are those that protect from the light. Some doors open automatically and others are manual. Doors protect from intruders and can be decorated to welcome visitors. Still further there are doors that we are never to open. (See Proverbs 5:8) Then there are doors of hope along with doors of despair. And when something or someone is close we sometimes say, “It’s right at the door.”

I am particularly drawn to old barn doors like this one.img_1688

I often think about how many times this door was opened and closed and the amount of labor that took place on the other side of the door. Physical doors can be extremely attractive or simply plain only serving a single purpose. The Bible says that our lips are a door (Psalms 141:3) and that our heart is a door where we choose to allow access.

Jesus said to close the door when we pray and then knock on the door with our petition. He once told the Pharisees that they shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in the people’s faces. (Matthew 23:13 NLT) Ouch!

And then there is this “narrow” door that leads to Jesus…Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20) This is the door that I am so grateful was opened to me 45 years ago.








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