All I have to say is "computer issues" and everyone knows what this week has been like......
Anyway, I will admit that I am not thrilled about writing this series. I'm tired of the political "mess" and desperately want to return to the subject I love - families. However, I have a clear picture of why this is so important. Listen to this mother's plea.
"Thank you for writing on this subject. On election day I took my 14 year old son with me. I explained how our faith disagreed with Mr. Obama and how important it was to vote against him. It was a good day. The following Sunday my pastor not only preached that since Mr. Obama won he must be God's choice, but he also asked us to get behind him and support him.
When I'm challenged at church I try to pray and get in line with my pastor. I want to believe that he knows something I don't and therefore I should trust him. I also didn't want to seem like a bad sport or to be the kind of person that pitches a fit if I don't get my way. I didn't feel good about accepting this but I decided to try. At dinner I told our family that we should do what the pastor said. My son just glared at me and said, "Mom. If we do that how can I ever believe you again. That's a total flip-flop. I guess the next thing I'll find out is that you think drinking is okay." He stormed out of the room. I didn't know what to do until I read your blog.
You are right! Parents have to look at this from their child's view. If we flip-flop on this type of decision why would our children trust us on other decisions? My family read your blogs together and we too have decided to "respectfully" decline our support for Mr. Obama. I can still be friends with those who disagree, but for my own self-respect, I have to take a stand. I felt so good voting my faith on Nov. 3rd. I didn't want to lose my self-respect by going back on a decision that I know I researched. Thank you."
I have worried about the effects of posting these three teaching blogs. I don't want my political stand to cause a problem for readers who disagree with me. But after receiving this e-mail, I am more convinced than ever that parents must be careful in how they explain this to their children. And pastors....remember, your job is based on respect and trust as well.
It is possible to take a stand without alienating friends and co-workers. I don't have anything in common with Bill Maher (extremely liberal. Feels Christians have a gene that makes them mentally disturbed). However, it was refreshing to watch Mike Huckabee have him as a guest on his show. He smiled and was most gracious in his interview. And when it came time to take a stand.....Mike Huckabee did it with kindness, compassion and grace.
That show caused me to think long and hard about exactly how I feel about Mr. Obama. And you know what - I've found out that when I dig really deep, I don't hate the person. He's probably a decent father and may be a nice man. It's the things he stands for that I hate. It's the destruction and the pain that his policies will cause that I hate. Would it be possible for me to be in the same room with him and not go crazy? Of course. Unfortunately I'm a pretty honest gal and if he asked many questions I'm afraid we would get into a newsworthy debate. I also wouldn't accept the invitation because I just don't enjoy those types of confrontations.
What I can't do is accept all that I know about him and still respect him as president. Guess what? The Bible supports "Holy Anger". There are many scriptures in the Bible supporting not only God's anger but a Christian's duty to anger.
Dr. Ken Crocker has written a wonderful article entitled, "The Positive Side of Anger". He encourages us to do as Paul asked in Ephesians 4:26 - "In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." But, Dr. Crocker goes on to point out...
"Ephesians 4:25 tells a group of Christians to stop lying, put off falsehood (euphemisms excusing wrong behavior?) and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all member of one body.
Are there times when our truthful words need to be spoken in anger? Or if the word anger scares and offends you let me use the word passion. Nothing moves people like passion and nothing moves them less than a sickly, timid, and halfhearted person. The weakest man, moved by passion is more powerful than the strongest man who has none.
It's true that anger or passion is dangerous but so is fire, water and electricity. And when the church has lost it's anger about sinful acts, and it's passion to do something about them, we have become completely and hopelessly impotent. Historians have tried to understand what Adolph Hitler did to turn the German nation into a deluded, inhuman bunch of maniacs that almost destroyed the world. Hitler himself told part of his secret in his book Mien Kampf. He said, 'Only a storm of burning passion in the speaker can ignite a storm of burning passion in the audience.'"
If you would like a copy of Dr. Crocker's entire article, just e-mail me.
As Christians we must be very careful that we are not so watered down, so wimpy and so forgiving that we we are incapable of standing against evil. We must be careful to ask the question - "Why are our churches having such an insignificant effect on society? Have we lost our passion and our way?" So...again....I will respect the office but not the man elected to it. I will not go out of my way to be mean or unkind to him or his supporters - I simply don't believe he will be good for this country.
Before reading this post, I hope you will check out the other two in this series.
If you are a devout follower of your pastor's teachings, you are probably asking yourself - "Why should I listen to what this woman is saying? How can she know more about the scriptures than my pastor?"
That's a valid question. And, it's important that you are questioning my authority. I don't want to take the place of your pastor, but I do want to encourage you to test your faith, test the facts and be sure that you have all the information you need in order to make a proper decision. God will hold you accountable for your beliefs and your decisions. Make sure you have all the facts.
I'm not going to pretend that I am some great scholar of the Bible. I'm not. I have a hard time memorizing scripture and often find it hard to quote scripture during a conversation. My strength however, is found in the ability to see concepts and to understand the little cogs and hidden links that make everything work.
Scholars like to quote and cross reference hundreds of scriptures when debating an issue. While I think that's important there is another piece of information that must be considered or scriptures can become confused. What I see that's missing in so many discussions about the scriptures is an understanding of the "nature" of God. If we don't understand the "being" of God, we can twist the scriptures to mean anything we want. Without a grasp of the "intent" or "purpose" for the "spirit of God in humans" - we can make it seem like the scriptures want us to kill and destroy for the sake of human desires alone.
What is the "nature" or "being" of God?
This question alone would take a book of blogs to answer, but for our purpose lets make it as simple as possible.
God is the creator. He created us for "HIS" purpose. Creation always demands a set of rules or else it must be labeled as "Chaos". Therefore, there are rules that go along with the success factor of humans on earth. Break the rules and God's creation doesn't work the same as the creator intended. It's like putting sugar in a gas tank. It may be cheaper and easier to use sugar. It may even just make you feel better to use sugar. But....the engine won't run on sugar. So, no matter how you "feel" about it, you won't be successful in getting your car to run on sugar.
Life is much the same. It really doesn't matter how we "feel" about sin or something we want to do - if it prevents us from having a truly wonderful life, then the consequences will determine our fate - not our feelings. Too many Hollywood stars and liberal thinkers, assume that if they decide something is good that magically the "sin" and "consequences" disappear. It simply doesn't happen that way. TRUTH is absolute and when it's broken, consequences can be devastating.
God not only created me and you, he created a world (matter) and a population to fill that world. The matter of this world has rules for it's success. And....God created an order so that multiple human creations can survive on a planet and live together in peace. Yes, he wants everyone to follow the Savior Jesus - but even if they don't, if they follow the rules for a successful planet - they can live in harmony.
My denomination issued a statement declaring Mr. Obama "ordained by God" because of Romans 13:1 Here is a wonderful place to apply the "nature of God". I believe - (by reading chapters before and after) that God was talking about his approval of the necessity of government - not a blanket approval for everyone elected to office. Romans 13:1 "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God."
Here's the question then. Is God talking about the individuals who sit in those offices or is he talking in spiritual terms? Perhaps he's talking about his own authority and the fact that no one in any office is truly of God unless the individual has submitted himself to God first. Ahhh....now that changes the whole meaning doesn't it?
Let's see if I can put it in human terms. Suppose I start a new company that is known for excellence. Because there are many knock offs I issue a statement. I tell you that I believe in free trade and in the entrepreneurial spirit. I tell you that I am all for "authority and that I believe we need inventors that continue to try to make life better. But....for those of you that are looking for my brand and my excellence I say this. "If you are living in an area where my competitors exist, you should submit to their product. But since I am the best - I'll put my stamp on the companies that have gone through my rigorous training. When you see that stamp, you will know that it is of God. "
The true meaning of Romans 13 is that government is an ordinance of God - that God has ordained or appointed it, that there should be authority and rulers. Government is necessary - but a corrupt government is not ordained by God. It can't be! Going back to the "nature of God" - the Bible is filled with God's anger against corruption and sin. God doesn't change his mind and would not spend 234 scriptures telling us of his anger for sin and corruption and then in one scripture hint that he's okay with it. We must interpret this passage in the light of other Bible teaching and the examples it sets before us. The Bible does not teach the doctrine of passive obedience or non-resistance.
When God sent Jesus, it was to counteract the evil one Satan. Satan is another supernatural being that we should understand. Again, not wanting to write a book, let's simply label him with his strongest mission. Satan wants to destroy. He hates God and if God creates, Satan is like the bully at the beach that stomps on another child's sandcastle. If something is deteriorating, you can be sure Satan is at the source. Either he is whispering into the ear of the CEO or he is working through individuals at the plant. Satan likes to take a situation that's working and tear it down or manipulate it in such a way as to make it weak. Then he sends in others for the final attack that results in death.
Satan is sneaky and that's why so many people can't recognize him. He likes to generate his attacks in such a way that it makes the Christian or Christian principles seem like the villain. Satan is a coward that likes to manipulate others to do his dirty work.
God is the creator who likes to liberate his creations. He designed "free will" from the very beginning so the love from his creations would be "true" and not some kind of misplaced bargaining chip. If we walk away from God, he is sad - but he doesn't zap us. When we walk away from him, he simply "watches and patiently waits" for us to see Him for who he is and return to his love.
God has a perfect plan. He knows exactly how this world should be and he knows how to make it work at it's ultimate perfection best! But.....he has turned the power to make decisions over to me and to you. Ahhh.....there's the most important point of all. Never forget it.
God gave the responsibility for this world and for your life to.....you.
Does that mean He is not in control? No, of course not! God is in TOTAL control - but he does NOT and will not over-ride free will. So what does that mean?
Let's bring it down to earthly terms. God is owner of the world (like you may own your home). He bought it with his blood and he owns it. However, because he loves you and you don't have a home of your own, he agrees to let you "rent" his home.
God is always around and likes coming over for supper or just to chat on the front porch. Sometimes, when you are chatting, you express needs or ask for help. He smiles and pulls out his checkbook or touches your pain and makes it go away. Other times he just listens.
When you signed your rent agreement with God, He gave you total control of the house. You can paint, move furniture and redecorate. You can sell the couch on e-bay and replace it with one from Sears. You can host a prayer group or drug dealers. You can get married and raise a family or you can become a madam and support prostitution. All decisions for this house (your life) are left up to you. He can't force you to do anything.
No matter what you do, God will not take back the house. God loves you and is always hoping that you will love him enough that you will trust him to help you "clean" up your house so you can be as successful as he intended you to be.
There are a few things you can't change. Because God is Holy, he's not going to come to dinner when evil is present. He may sit on your front porch and talk to you about cleaning up your life, but he won't come in until you are willing to push the dirt outside. At that point he will get in there and help you chase out all the junk. You may always deal with the consequences (broken homes, divorce, broken bodies, etc.) but he will sit at the supper table and help you figure out a plan that will work. After sin's destruction, your poor house may not respond the "perfect" way it was intended, but God will help you figure out plan B.
When people try to tell you that they are Christians and yet they openly are evil in their choices and daily lives - don't believe it. God does not inhabit evil homes. He will knock on the door and try to change the "renter's" mind, but he won't actually come in until you ask Him to "change my life".
If you read the Bible from cover to cover, you will find hundreds of verses explaining that God will not inhabit an evil place. The best example is Sodom and Gomorrah. Not only did God remove the one family that was trying to live right, but he leveled the city!
God is not uninvolved in our lives. He doesn't sit up in Heaven and stare at the stars while we struggle. He's very involved. He watches us like a mother watching her child at a school function or watching her child interact in class. He's watching over us and taking care of us - if we give him permission.
Here's the rule. If we stay close to Him, he will talk to us and guide us and help us to make great decisions. Our lives will reflect those decisions and we will find contentment and joy. If we force him out to the porch or restrict him from coming into our yard, He will fold his arms and simply watch - waiting for the moment when we might invite Him in. His love is always there. He wants all of us to invite Him in.
Because God is a creator and we are created in his image - we are creators. We are "expected" to create life here on earth. We are "expected" to create order and not just run around being selfish. Creating cities and governments and encouraging order and peace is all something that God wants us to do.
At times God nudges something wonderful our way. Let's look at Abraham Lincoln for example. First God gave him the aptitude for understanding law. Abraham had the aptitude, but he had to tune into God's leading. Abraham had to listen to God's nudges rather than being lazy and refusing to walk 10 miles to borrow a book. Instead of whittling on his front porch, Abraham had to feed his God given desire to learn. Instead of going to bed early he decided to sit by pale firelight and try to read. He worked hard splitting rails for minuscule pay and then spent it on more books.
After years of preparation and making good decisions, he's ready. God decided to present the possibility of being president. Abraham didn't have to accept. Once he did, Abraham had to work hard to make it a reality. God presented Abraham Lincoln with a crossroad. He could walk away from the injustice and pain he saw, or he could get involved and try to help. Abraham wasn't happy about being in the spotlight nor did he particularly like being president. It was a heavy weight for him. But...when presented with a Godly calling - a nudge - he accepted not only the job, but the weight as well.
What would have happened if Abraham refused the call? Would God have zapped him and forced him to accept the call? What would have happened to this country if all those who voted for Abraham had refused to look at the facts? Did you know that Lincoln was not even on the ballot in southern states? Did you know that he only won in 2 counties in the south. He came to presidency because the north realized the threat and evil of slavery and voted their faith. He won because he felt the nudge of God and responded. He won because the people of the north felt the nudge and responded. Would his running mate have taken this country in a different direction?
Where was God in all this? God was nudging and "working through people that listened". Ahh... now we can see the true "nature" of God. God works through people. If those people refuse to listen.....God chooses not to stop the outcome.
The most awful statement in the world is that "if it's of God, it will be a success". NO NO NO!
Was Hitler of God? He was a success. Is Playboy of God? It's a success. Is Abortion of God? As an organization, it's been successful.
God's biggest rule - the one He holds to no matter what is this...GOD MUST WORK THROUGH PEOPLE. If people are listening, great things happen. If people are not listening - look out!
Have you looked at my website? The Enter page has a saying. "Life is what you make it - and what you make it - is up to you."
That is the most spiritual and scriptural thing I can say to you. God is watching you and what you are doing with the life he gave you. As the old saying goes...."God's gift to you is your life, your gift to God is what you do with that life."
It is not our Christian duty to say, "You must give me what I want in the election and if you don't I'm going to be mad and pitch a fit." That's not what this is about. Elections are about finding a person who is so in love with our country that he/she is willing to do what is "best" for all of us - not just serve the elect few.
I don't believe any "true" Christian wants Christianity to take over this country at the expense of hurting others. I don't think we want Christianity to be a dictatorship. What we do want is for this country to be it's best. And whether or not you label them as Christian values - we know that people are better when government is fair and logical and serves everyone no matter how insignificant.
Our government is the best in the world because it began with laws that pointed to the Ten Commandments. Our government is the best in the world because it provided religious freedom for all people. Distortion of our constitution and our religious beginnings is what has changed this country and brought on the problems we now have.
Ron and I watched a DVD presentation of the events that led to WWII. Did you know that the first thing Hitler did when he took office was to have his army go into every church and place of worship and smash the Ten Commandments? They were outlawed and could not be shown in any public place. ---but that's another series of blogs and you are probably ready for another cup of coffee.
DON'T BE DISCOURAGED!
God always has a plan B.
Mr. Obama will chip away at our freedoms and will make laws that will challenge our ability to worship as Christians. We are headed for some tough times.
BUT.....My God is bigger than Mr. Obama. And if I fast and pray....if I read the scriptures....if I find the courage to stand for what's right....if I teach my children how to be strong....if I talk to others about the value of Christian beliefs in our government....and if next time, I vote my faith...There is HOPE.
"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14
God loves you,