Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Vote Your Conscience And Pray Like Crazy

Hello Everyone!

It's been a while.  Life has not made writing regularly an easy thing to do this year.  I don't know if anyone misses my musings and challenges but I do miss writing and having the occasional dialogue in response.  So why today and what am I about to say with a title like the one I have given this post?

Believe it or not, I am not planning to say a lot all things considered, because so much has already been said.  For certain this has been one of the most unusual election cycles this country has ever seen.  It has definitely been historic.  It fascinates me to see a country so divided regarding the candidates that are available to choose from and yet so united, in many ways, regarding how confounded we are as to how we got the choices we have and how unhappy we are to have them.

I have pretty much summed up my thoughts in the title, but I will flesh them out just a little here and leave it alone.  After all, it will not be long until the votes are in and we have someone with whom to deal with as President of the United States presumably for the next four years; barring impeachment or heaven forbid....assassination.

Are You Gonna Tell Us How To Vote?

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Absolutely not!  At least not in any certain terms.  There have been more than enough opinion pieces written from both Christian and secular authors suggesting the who and why of our voting choices.  There has been judgement galore and mud-slinging has been at an all time high; not just between candidates, but between the voting public.  Nasty doesn't begin to describe it.

We are a little under a week out from Election Day and early voting has already begun.  If you don't have some idea who you will be voting for on the presidential ticket by now, it is not likely that anything I say will affect you.  And if you have made up your mind, I am not convinced that I will be able to change it.  Anyone who wants to make an informed decision has all that they need to work with.

No, I will not tell you who to vote for but I will strongly suggest THAT you vote.  As my Pastor said Sunday, 
"even if you leave the top of the ticket blank and don't vote for a presidential candidate, there are many other important positions on the ballot that need your vote."  
 I too believe that it is our right and responsibility, as Christians especially, to play a role in the political aspect of our country. Personally, I hold the opinion that a third-party vote or no vote at all is still a vote for someone and is not the most effective way to vote.

However, you will find no judgement here, no matter what you decide.  My humble suggestion is that you vote and then PRAY!!

I Will Tell You To Pray!

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PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!!!  Pray like the dickens....for BOTH candidates.  One of the reasons that I am writing this now is that I believe the church in general has dropped the ball in praying for their leaders and candidates across the board and I don't want anyone to be able to say that I am suggesting prayer only because a particular candidate was elected. Regardless of who you voted for or who wins, the President Elect and the conceding candidate still need our prayers.

The bible teaches us two things for sure regarding ruling leaders, government in general and how our approach to them should look.

1.) Government and it's leaders are appointed by God and were created and given to us for our good.  We are to respect, honor and obey them.  For example, Romans 13:1-7 tells us:
"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  Therefore, whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.  
 Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority?  Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good.  But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain.  For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrong doer.  Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience.  
 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.  Pay all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed."
2.)  WE MUST PRAY FOR THEM!!!  1 Timothy 2:1-4 tells us:
"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."
Now mind you, this was written when Caesars were in power that were ruthless and not at all friendly to the Christian faith.  We in American cannot fathom what it would have been like to live under that kind of rule.  For all of our issues, we truly do not appreciate all that this country and our form of government affords us.  There is vast room for improvement, but we cannot conceive of the kind of persecution that the first century church experienced, not to mention what many around the world experience in our day; and yet these passage still applies.

Can We Handle It?

The prayers that I am suggesting are not, please don't allow them into office or please remove them from office asap.  Those are not necessarily bad, but we must go deeper than that according to the scriptures I have quoted.

Not only are we to pray for them as rulers placed over us for our good, whether we can understand it or not, but we are to pray for their salvation.  The bible knows nothing of half-hearted, "I would rather not be praying this but I know I should" prayers.  We must be passionately committed to it. We must actually be praying for the wisdom, guidance, leadership AND salvation of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, whether they become President or not, and mean it.

Not only this, but did you notice that "thanksgivings" are to be made.  Can you fathom trying to be thankful for whoever wins this mind-bending election.  Well, that is what seems to be suggested here.  Why?  Because, ultimately God has placed them there and we should always be thankful for what God has ordained to be so as a demonstration of our trust in Him.  I am not however, suggesting that this is easy.

Consequently, I believe that as we begin praying for these candidates and stepping up our prayers for the Presidency, as well as all of our other leaders and lawmakers, we must first examine our hearts and begin with ourselves.  For certain, this applies to me as much as anyone.  I believe it is pride to believe that any of us are above the need to ask God to reveal the weaknesses in our own hearts in order to pray effectively for our neighbors, enemies, leaders, etc. 

Regardless of the situation, prayer must always begin with us. For Christians, it is a vital behavior for all of life.

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I don't know what is going to happen in this election, much less in the next four years, but God does.  I trust his will and wisdom.  However, I do not believe the bible teaches that His sovereign rule and reign negates our responsibility as human agents intended to help effect God's will on this earth.  We must own the role that He has given us.  For me that means voting.  For all of us, that means remaining plugged in to what is going on and praying for all of our leaders.

Because I believe that, as Christians, there IS peace to be had in all of this, I will end with this passage from Philippians 4:4-7:
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let our reasonableness be known to everyone.  The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let our requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
May it be so in Jesus name,


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