Did Your Candidates Get Elected? Here Are 7 Ways to Follow-Up

11 11 2019

With this election behind us, both winners and losers now face a certain reality.  My wife, an elected poll official, said her polling place was busy all day and evening.  This is not the norm for interim elections, but certainly good to see an interest among constituents.

 

You’ve had to listen to all the political rhetoric before the election and we’re hoping it doesn’t follow the election so we can get on with our lives, so to speak. For those elected, to get to work representing those who elected them and those who did not.  But, what can we do now for those who are elected?  How can we serve them as godly persons?

 

We can pray!  I would like to share a few guidelines for prayer for the newly elected and the ones remaining in political office.  The scriptures admonish us to pray for these persons and we desire to obey that word so clearly spoken.  That means, even if the elected official is not one whom you voted for, you are still admonished to pray for them.

 

Specifically, what can we pray that also aligns with God’s word?

 

  1. Pray for a revelation of the love of God. Knowing God’s love and responding to that love affects every aspect of personal and public life. (Romans 5:5, 8; I John 4:9, 10)
  2. Pray for a revelation of God’s truth. It is the word of God and the Ten Commandments that initially created our foundation for law.  Pray that this same Word is seen as truth as it was with our forefathers. (Proverbs 30:5; Hebrews 4:12)
  3. Pray for a revelation that all humanity is of value and created in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27; John 3:16, 17)
  4. Pray for a revelation of life – life in the womb and life at every stage of life. (Psalm 139: 13-16; Jeremiah 1:4, 5; Isaiah 44:2)
  5. Pray for a spirit of wisdom and humility with high moral character and integrity to lead this nation. (Psalm 25:9; Proverbs 10:9; 11:3; Isaiah 66:2)
  6. Pray for a revelation of the fear of God; it is the beginning of wisdom. (Psalm 111:10)
  7. Pray for a heart that seeks after God and desires His will and not their own. (Matthew 6:10; Hebrews 10:9)




Election Day: A Few Political Core Values to Consider

28 10 2019

As we approach election day here in the USA on November 5, I thought I would pass along to you some really healthy and sound advice/political values from Kris Vallotton.  Kris is a well-known author and pastoral staff member at Bethel Church in Redding, CA.  I think what he writes is worth considering and sharing.  But first, let me share some of the best advice from God’s word found in I Timothy 2:1-10 from The Passion version.

 

1-3 The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.

4-7 He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth.

8-10 Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.

From Kris:

  • I can deeply love people in whom I strongly disagree with. I refuse to demonize any politician who is made in the image of God.
  • I have enemies and Jesus gave me power over them on the cross, but my battle is NOT against flesh and blood.
  • When you call someone by an evil name…you have decided that you know their heart. But, the Apostle Paul said, “Who are you to judge the servant of another?”
  • Associating with, or serving political people, should not be confused with embracing their ideologies. All political offices deserve to be honored according to Romans 13.
  • I am commanded and called to pray for my leaders. If you don’t pray for them, then you don’t have a right to critique their success or failure.
  • My first allegiance is not to a political party but to the kingdom of God.
  • I cannot separate my spiritual views from my political views because the government of this world is being affected and infected by the invisible realm.
  • Great government doesn’t take away the right of people to sin. That’s sharia law.  It does however, protect people from sinning against others and teaching people to do so.
  • It’s not the responsibility of government to Christianize the world. That’s the church’s job.  Jesus rules the nations with a rod of iron, but He leads the church with a shepherd’s staff.

Let’s prayerfully walk this election out like our first allegiance is to the kingdom of God and not to a political party.





Addressing the Political Divide with a Sound Mind and Redemptive Spirit

21 10 2019

Are you tempted to get swept up into all the rhetoric, backbiting, political name-calling and the deep level of immaturity shown us by the media and the politicians of today?  I know I am sometimes. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus lived under one of the most corrupt governments of all time and yet He was never distracted or drawn into their politics.  He kept His focus by continually listening to His Father and obeying His voice.  We could take a lesson or two from our Savior.

 

God’s word reveals, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority accept that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted.”  (Romans 13:1&2) Did this writer, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, use the word “rebelling?”

 

If God placed each, let’s say, president into office, could our anger, our angst and our temper tantrums over them actually be an act of rebellion against God? When we strongly confront others, call what they write propaganda and get into arguments over constantly changing “facts,” aren’t we essentially telling God that He doesn’t know what He is doing by who He is allowing into political office?  Personally, I just cringe over some of the things that I read on social media, but our politicians and our media speak words of defamation as well. I really do not desire to be part of it.

 

It’s pretty clear from Jesus that the most important commandment is to love God and to love our neighbor first and foremost, but do you realize in that same chapter, Matthew 22, Jesus is confronted by the Pharisees with a political question asking is it right to pay taxes to Caesar?  Jesus would not be trapped by them or caught up in an unrighteous conversation about the political leader of His day as He replied, “Show me the coin used for paying the tax…whose image is this…and whose inscription?”  He then surprised them with these words, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

 

Jesus was clearly revealing there are two kingdoms of which we function in both, this world with its governments and its leaders and, secondly, God’s kingdom.  We give to both.  As believers, we need to keep in mind that the kingdoms of this world are temporary and, therefore, our priority is the kingdom of God.

 

In light of this, here’s a question for you.  If, when writing on social media, we use intimidation, disrespect of others and dishonoring them and their beliefs or thoughts, are we not engaged in a form of bullying? I have observed writers attempting to shut others down by their “facts,” but, honestly, most times it is simply because someone expresses a different opinion than they do.

 

A friend of mine was telling me that he was “convicted” to stop writing on social media this way, but still found time to “like” what others wrote which he agreed with. Once again God spoke to him and revealed that to “like” those words was the same as writing them. He ceased in obedience to the voice of God.

 

Jesus never placed political party or belief over relationship.  If your relationships are being affected by differing political belief, then you are falling prey to the evil one and his tactics to cause disunity and division.  Allow me to share some wisdom with you from Proverbs chapter 15.

 

  • A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
  • The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life…
  • The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.
  • A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.
  • A man finds joy in giving an apt reply – and how good is a timely word.

 

So what can we do if we find ourself at odds with someone over politics?  We could ask them why they feel the way they do in order to understand their point of view.  Then we could ask if they would allow us to share our views.  Perhaps we can arrive at the agreeing point of: America is broken and as Christians we are called to uphold the love of Jesus by seeking first His kingdom. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.”

 

Are you willing to put your hostility, your divisive comments and your agenda aside so that you can place Jesus first?  Ask God for wisdom; He gives it liberally.  And remember these words of pure wisdom, “If someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.  But do this in a gentle and respectful way.”  (I Peter 3:15)





Until Death Do Us Part

14 10 2019

Have you ever deeply considered the fact that we make quite a number of promises publicly to one another during our marriage ceremony? And then, also publicly, we promise to keep those promises by speaking vows to one other.  Something inherent in the ceremony and those words is that whether any of us realized it or not, promises made would be tried, sometimes severely. Perhaps there is even a societal element of mistrust implied.  I mean, to whom or to what other areas of life do we speak vows of commitment?

 

Whatever the case, marriage is built on multiple promises of remaining committed, having eyes for only one, loving and caring for my bride or my groom…” Until death do us part.”  Vows (our spoken words) are important and here’s why.

 

Our commitment will be challenged through trials.  Whether or not those trials are made by us or an outside factor doesn’t really matter.  How we handle those trials and how we handle our relationship is what matters.  Paul the apostle said we would encounter “light and momentary troubles” in this life and we have to determine what we will achieve, actually what will be produced through those troubles.  Will they weaken us or will they strengthen us?

 

Maybe you and/or your spouse are facing a trial right now in your marriage or personal lives.  You have the option to pursue your own comfort first if you desire to.  Or, you have the option of facing that trial together, praying, practicing forgiveness and grace, attempting to grow in your relationship and deepening your commitment of love.

 

We have a friend whose husband was killed by Al-Qaida.  She told us she could face that trial because of a very difficult, earlier trial which helped to prepare her for the loss of her husband.  Trials can and will be used by God to strengthen us for the road ahead.  Choose to grow in grace through each one.

 

 

 

 

 

 





Seven Ways to Stop a Drifting Marriage

30 09 2019

Drifting is natural, it happens sometimes without giving it much thought.  Add to that our human propensity to get bored with the familiar rather quickly.  Once the romance wanes in our relationships, we can be tempted to drift.  We attempt to convince ourselves and our life mates that we’re not drifting, but we both know we are.

 

My daughter and I were out in a bay once when our boat lost its anchor. She went swimming after it.  We barely noticed how far and how quickly that boat drifted away from us with the outgoing tide.  It was just right there beside us a few minutes earlier.

 

What are the ingredients to a marriage that drifts?  All too often we experience unmet expectations. Our disagreements become more intense and we seem to have conflict more often. Perhaps even old, destructive life patterns reemerge.  Or, maybe we get behind financially and can’t seem to catch up.  We’re working more hours, away from home more hours and unhappy for more hours.  Now we’re feeling unfulfilled and it is so easy for marriage boredom to increase.

 

We didn’t mean for it to happen but life is full with our schedules, our children, yes, even our ministry.  We’re missing one another, we’re not communicating as we should and we left certain disciplines that help to maintain a healthy marriage.  Now we’re both feeling the sting of unmet needs and mumbling under our breath the negative things that bug us about our partner.

 

It can change; there is hope.  We can reverse the effects of drifting.  Here are seven steps we can take.

 

  1. Confess it to God and one other. Confession brings it into the light.  It puts the subject on the table so to speak.

 

  1. Get back to dedicated times of communication about the personal and the nonpersonal. Get back to sharing everything in conversation with feelings and real-life intimacy.

 

  1. Pray while you communicate.  Speak to God about your drifting from each other.  Share your heart with your heavenly Father and ask Him for solutions to the drifting issue.  Expect to hear those answers and then implement them.

 

  1. Get back to spending quality time together. There is no compromise; we need time together to relate, to have fun and to be friends again.

 

  1. Stop waiting on feelings. If you wait on feelings to return, you’ll never act.  Act first because right actions bring about right feelings.

 

  1. Write out your mission statement. If you have one, find it and read over it once again.  If you do not have a couple mission statement then you are missing out on writing down your reasons for marriage, your why.  Get busy and put into writing your marriage mission statement.

 

  1. Dream again about where you desire your marriage to go and to grow.  Vision is a focus for the future for the two of you. That focus runs adrift when we lose sight of us.

 

Rest assured, drifting can occur with each of us.  But it is not our game plan to stay there.  We must take steps to counteract the drifting that has taken place.





Taking Back Dinner Time With Your Family

23 09 2019

It’s time to reclaim dinner around our tables.  This practice is becoming lost in the midst of family busyness, jobs, school schedules, friends and activates.  We desperately need to recover this tradition within our families and here’s why.

 

When we’re sitting around the table eating, it’s a time to connect as a family.  It’s a time to talk about our day.  It’s a time to encourage, speak life-filled words, laugh and listen.  Dads and moms  can help provoke this time of communication and connectedness.  Here’s how.

 

There is nothing worse than everyone sitting around complaining about the meal, their day, not talking or simply engaged in words like, “Pass the salt” or “Can you please close your mouth when you chew?”  This opportunity for connection can begin with Dad sharing about his work day, Mom sharing about an important meeting she was engaged in and then the children following up with something that occurred in school, a paper due or a prayer need.  If no one is talking, you can begin a wonderful conversation just by asking, “So, what’s the craziest thing that happened today?” or “Finish this sentence: Today was a challenge because…”

 

The food takes a backseat to the conversation.  Before closing your mealtime, the conversation can turn to praying together as a family or asking if someone needs help with a certain task assigned after dinner.  Mealtime is a time for togetherness and relationship building.  Always include your children’s friends in the conversation and you just might start a new tradition in their home as well.

 

Do not lose the value of such an important daily connection and opportunity.  Proverbs reminds us, “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.”





Our First Apartment – Where It All Began

16 09 2019

I recently needed to make a ministry/training trip to southern Virginia. It was a lovely drive; one in which I have made many, many times before.  You see, our marriage began in that area 44 years previously.  That now seems like a long time ago.

 

I experienced a very pleasant surprise on this trip.  I exited early off of Interstate 64 onto J Clyde Morris Boulevard.  We lived in a small, two-bedroom apartment off of that street.  I wanted to see if 59 Traverse Road, apartment 3 still existed.

 

To my surprise, it did exist!  I pulled in as I had done many times in the 1970’s and found the very apartment we occupied, the very space we parked our car and memories began to flood my mind.  I could see us sitting on those front steps talking to neighbors, handing out Mary’s homemade donuts or whatever recent baked good she created and our neighbors loved.  I could see us cooking on our Hibachi grill out back and running into one another in that tiny kitchen.  The buildings looked good, well-kept and so familiar.  Even the door was painted the same color.

 

I saw something else as well.  I remembered that this is where we learned to cook together, where we found and grew in intimacy, where we first made a habit of praying together as a married couple. This was where we would depart from every Saturday to do outreach into the rougher areas of town looking for children who wanted to ride our huge, ex school bus to Sunday School, creating our first mission together as a couple.  This apartment was foundational to who we were and to where we lived because God placed us there.  How do I know that?

 

Acts 17 states this, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth…from one man he made every nation of men that they should inhabit the whole earth and the exact places where they should live.”

 

That exact place was our place in this world and we loved it.  We loved our neighbors, our community, our jobs and our local church.  We fell in love with marriage itself and simply could not get enough of one another. It was all a dream come true.

 

I then snapped a quick a photo to share with my bride.  We don’t live there anymore, we’re older, we’re wiser, we have less energy, but we still love one another deeply along with our neighbors, our community, our jobs, our church and our mission together.  Looking back is necessary.  Realizing the long marriage commitment and trek we have been on is amazing to think about.  But you know what else is amazing?  Looking forward, growing more in love, still praying and maintaining the mission that our heavenly Father has given us.

 

Thank you 59 Traverse Road, apartment 3 for all the memories.  We have moved on from you and have a new place we call home.








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