Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Day After

What happened? There's shock and awe across the country. A lot of people woke up in fear today. Others couldn't sleep because of the events unfolding. Today carries mixed emotions from polarized people. And yet it is as I said days ago ... God is Sovereign and reigns supreme over any man and all people. 

It's been reported that we saw the highest evangelical voter turnout in decades. Our rights and privileges and responsibilities as Christians and Americans do not end with yesterday's vote. Now we must remain poised in prayer, rooted in faith, and grounded in our belief that God is in control. The voices of the unborn, the working class, those hoping for change must continue to be lifted in prayer to God. Let's not forget that how we got here has much to do with the power of prayer and the showing of our faith in the Lord, not a man, to restore us.

Can we the people restore our faith in humanity? Can we the people give each other credit for desiring the best for one another? Can we the people join together to stand united regardless of how we cast our ballots, voting not for a person but voting for each other? Voting for the inalienable rights of all people, even those not yet born, that we hold to Truth, not just constitutionally what we believe we deserve but biblically what we are bound to.  

Yesterday America's voice was heard. From sea to shining sea the map is colored in, lots of red, a little blue. But this is not about a color or party or an affiliation or even a candidate. Yesterday America voted for America. We voted for each other. We voted for our faith that not only our country can be good but that we can be good together. Stronger. Empowered. United. We didn't vote for one person and against another. We voted for the things we know are right. The things we know require our stance. The lives who cannot voice their own vote. Those struggling to make ends meet. Those compounded by problems because of where they live or the color of their skin. 

I take back what I said. This is not about the lesser of two evils, this is about the greater good of all people. This is about instilling American pride in the fact that we can believe not in a person but in a platform that will ignite us and unite us in prayer and hope. This is not about my believe or hope that one person might affect change but that we would be infected by the graciousness and goodness of what we deserve to give to each other, regardless of the color of our skin or the religion we claim or the party we voted for.

I'm not living in fear today but I'm not throwing a victory party because of one man. I'm celebrating the fact that we the people have spoken for the change and charge we hope will come. We weren't bound by polls and politically infused news coverage. We didn't let our social media obsession dictate our devotion to the heart of humanity. Now we must cross party lines and continue to pray, not just for God to guide the man in office but for His will to be done in our divided country. We have humbled ourselves and sought His face, now we must continue on bended knee as we seek to serve one another in love. 

Beloved, let us love one another. We're not with her or Him, we're with the Lord. Let everyone know we are HIS disciples by loving each other.  This is so much bigger than the Supreme Court. This is about the One who reigns Supreme. This isn't about defeat or victory. This is about the Lord who fights for us, the Victor and Champion who came to save us all. 

So today I extend my olive branch. I reach my hand across the divided lines that have so deeply wounded us. I share this message and implore you as Christians, just as I asked you all to vote, to now stand together and share and show Love the way it has been first shown to us. This, the day after such a chaotic political season, now marks the day we look to each other to begin the healing process. 




Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day

I need you to understand something. This isn't a secret and I don't make any apologies for it. I'm a born again Christ-following believer. My faith and relationship with Jesus Christ is everything to me. It is the core of my very being. My belief is in Christ, my Risen Savior, who saved me from my sinful state of separation so I can have the gift of eternal life with God in Heaven. This is who I am.

If you are like me, you find yourself rocked by the compounding election madness. And make no mistake, it's been nothing short of a circus. I don't have to recall it for you. Videos, emails, scandals, lies, mud slinging, name calling, Twitter wars, media coverage...we've endured it all for nearly two years. As it all comes to a head today, there's a cloud of doubt cast over the outcome. Choosing how to vote became a tumultuous battle of "the lesser of two evils." I've heard it, felt it, said it. I know.

This is why I'm writing today. It's so heavy on my heart. What this election means to me, to us as Christians, is more than one person can do or be in four years time. It will in fact tell us the state of our union, the pulse check of our country. As Christians we'll get the very clear picture of where things stand to protect the right to life, the sanctity of marriage, the biblical truths we hold to. This isn't about one man or one woman. This isn't about being stronger as a nation or making our country great. This is about the true state of who we are and where we stand. It's not about my candidate of "choice" winning today. It becomes the bigger issue of awareness of the state of our divided United States.

So what does this mean? We're waiting, holding out hope for a "miracle" and even that seems disappointing at best. Maybe we'll end up shocked. Maybe we'll shrug and sigh, knowing we did our best. Our best. Our human best. No, I don't believe our best representatives were on the ballot but it's no longer about choices and candidates. It's about the heart of the matter and the millions of souls being deceived and led astray. Not by men or women but by the Enemy who prowls and seeks whom he may destroy. It's absolute war but not in the flesh and blood. It's the spiritual warfare that creeps in and wreaks havoc on our minds, our hearts, our families, our homes, our beliefs and our way of life.

Today is Election Day, tomorrow the new President will be decided (hopefully), and the day after that we'll be settling in to accepting the bitter outcome. And therein lies the problem. What should happen now is a wake up call, a call to action, an active voice that goes beyond the ballot to speak the Truth in love. The Truth of God's saving redeeming love. The Love that came to each and every man and woman to save us from this world. What today means for Christians is the reminder that this world is not our home. We are but strangers here, yet not without hope. Our Hope is in the one Man who can and did save us. The one who came wrapped in flesh with all His God-ness to offer us hope. Eternal hope. So I'm holding onto that today. No matter what the outcome of this election. No matter who wins. No matter what man says (or woman). I'm trusting in my Sovereign Savior who not only holds the future, He raises up leaders, but more importantly is preparing a place for me where the King of Kings and Lord of Lords will reign Supreme.

That's what Election Day means to me. The very real reminder that Heaven is waiting. Lord, come soon. My hope, my eternal hope, is in Him.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Here It Is

Here it is. The eve of the election; one of the most talked about, contested, debated and dividing elections our nation has ever seen. The blessed curse of social media and an overabundance of news coverage makes a news story out of everything. Nothing is sacred. Not an email, not a video. Make no mistake, wherever you go, whatever you do, someone is watching, documenting and taking note and it can and will be used against you, no matter how much time has passed. There's a lesson in and of itself but that's not my point here. At least not right now.

Here it is. Here's my point. I'm voting tomorrow. On the eve of this election I feel a lot of mixed emotions. I'm thankful that it's almost...over... I'm excited for the possibility. I'm nervous for the outcome.  I'm disgusted by the way the media has dictated the coverage to us. I am determined that nothing will stop me from casting my ballot tomorrow and like millions of others, I will be glued to Fox News all day long. I'm praying for the Lord to have His way. I get the human obligation and privilege - that we have the right to choose and let our voices be heard. I also understand the Sovereignty of God and His ability to raise up leaders. I don't know what His will is for this election but I know He's the only one of us who won't be surprised by the outcome. He doesn't need the media's predictions. He is Omniscient over all.

Here it is. I'm calling on you. Pleading. Imploring. I'm not ashamed to beg. PLEASE. Please, with all that is within me, I am asking for you to get out and vote tomorrow. Please don't sit at home. Please don't be passive about this one. Please don't overlook your role, your right, your privilege. I hope you'll count it as such. There's a certain American pride that comes with knowing you've done your part - even if your candidate of choice doesn't win, isn't projected to win, or isn't really your first choice. I get it. I understand. I've felt the same. I've questioned what to do and yet I've determined the cost is too great for me to do nothing. Take ownership of that pride and your role in voicing your vote tomorrow.

Here it is. I've done my best not to be divisive, not to cross lines or offend. But I can't keep silent any longer. There is too much at stake. Too much to risk. I'm voting to make America great again, and not because I believe one man can do that job. Truly because I am scared to death of what the alternative might be. I'm not swayed by scandal. I'm not voting for or against emails or videos. I'm voting with my Christian values as my guide. I'm voting to protect LIFE. I'm voting to protect my FAITH. I'm voting to stand in the gap for those who have fought, those who weren't even given a chance. I'm voting to defend the freedoms of speech that allow my Bible to be the inerrant Word of God preached freely every Sunday. We've already lost so much when it comes to our values, morals and beliefs. It's time. It's here. It's now. It's already too late to reverse some of the lasting effects of the Supreme Court and the constitutional rights meant to protect us. Now we must stand. Now we must act. Now we must not be idle or ignorant. Now we must vote.

So here it is. The eve before the 2016 Presidential Election. Here is my plea to you to vote tomorrow. Make the time. Make a plan. Make a decision to stand for your beliefs and to stand in the gap for our future that depends on you, me, all of us to get out and vote!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

It's Coming

That's it. I'm boycotting. I don't want to participate. You can't make me. It's my choice. It's my decision. If I choose to avoid it...it doesn't make it go away. 

I'm talking about Daylight Savings time. I don't want to change the clocks back for multiple reasons. If you're a parent of small children you understand and you're dreading it too. I know what will happen. The 6 o'clock wake up call will inevitably turn into the ungodly hour of 5 am. Gone are the endless days of summer when we stayed outside until 9 pm. Now it will look like night time at 5:30 pm. 

Never the less, as much as I don't want it to happen, I don't support it, I'm not choosing it, it's coming. 

Just like the election. 

It's coming. Now only 3 days away. Whether or not I like it or the candidates, whether or not I choose to vote or forfeit my right and privilege, whether or not I support it...there will be a new president elected. With or without my vote. With or without my participation. 

I can't stop the election from happening. I can't control the outcome. I can only play my part by casting my vote. I can share in the mixed emotions of every other American. But whatever my role, the election is happening. The new president will be elected the same way daylight savings time is coming and will cause ripple effects. Make no mistake - the effects will be lasting, just like the last 8 years have greatly impacted us. We are a changed nation, whether we like that sad fact or not. And in my humble opinion it certainly hasn't all been for our good. 

So don't forget to change your clocks back tonight. If you have small children you won't have to worry about the clocks because the kids will inevitably be up regardless. But mark it down. Make a plan. Get out and make an informed vote on Tuesday. Regardless of what you think will happen. Regardless of what you do or don't like about each sub-par candidate. This isn't about making America great again and it doesn't necessarily prove we're stronger together. I can't promise your candidate of choice will win or that either candidate will bring about the change we want to see. But I can promise that now more than ever it becomes critical to play our part and participate. 

It's hard to decide if we'll breathe a sigh of relief that this brutal campaign will finally be over or if we'll hold our baited breath for four years. One thing is certain, it is coming. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

For the Love

Stop! Stop whining. Stop griping. Stop complaining. Stop groaning and moaning. Stop casting stones. Stop breaking bones with the sticks you're throwing. Stop accusing. For the love of all that's good and decent, just STOP!!!

In the words of Andy Stanley, "you're scaring the children."  But for real. I was volunteering at my son's school and had 8 year olds willingly offer their votes, some for Hillary, others for Donald, repeating what inevitably they'd heard uttered at home. One even shared, "If [one unnamed candidate] wins we sure are in trouble." Indeed. We are in trouble. But not because of one man or one woman. Oh no, our troubles go much deeper than that of one person. 

We're ADULTS and yet none of us can seem to put on our big kid pants and extend an ounce of grace let alone a hand. Forget missed handshakes. This is cutting to the core of our humanity. We're tied up in Twitter wars and social media slug fests as if our lives depended upon it. Trust me. There is definitely life that depends on it and they are the ones who can't even speak for themselves.

This isn't about party lines. This isn't about which side you're on. This isn't about turning your die-hard affiliation toward another or - gasp - not vote at all. Seriously?! Oh, I get it. Your passive aggressive determination to NOT choose will allow you to be "off the hook" so you can simply claim you had nothing to do with it. Or maybe you did and maybe your attempt to avoid a choice means you forfeit your voice altogether.

The very essence of our spirits are wilting. Dying. We're growing weary, indeed, and "if we don't get the right person elected it's the end of the world... Government matters. Policies matter. But neither of those matter as much as men and women who understand this word: FAITH. Confidence that God keeps His promises and nothing can thwart the plans of God." (Andy Stanley)

So stop. Stop whining. Stop complaining. Stop harassing those who believe differently than you. Stop blaming the government. Stop giving up hope. Stop living as if our world is hanging in the balance of this one elected official. God is still God. He just IS. For the love of all humanity, He's God. For the love of all that truly is good and decent and just, He is. For the love of you and me, He is. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Politically Incorrect

I'm over it. I'm done with the onslaught of media. Heartbroken over it all. Disgusted by one candidate. Repulsed by the other. Completely overwhelmed with the state of our country. Truly underwhelmed by the options. Feeling absolutely disgraced like every other American. Questioning our ability to look ahead toward a bright future. Clinging to God's sovereignty despite man's humanity.

The war of words is the least of our worries.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

It's an attack on humanity. The innocence of life who cannot speak for themselves. The equality of rights that represent a complete abomination. The argument fueled by racial tension. The outrage of life lost and the black and blue blows seemingly behind it all. The growing spirit of pride and entitlement fueling our selfishness and righteous indignation. 

You don't like either candidate. I completely understand. How did we get here? We keep asking. Somehow we're confused that this is our choice. The thing about free will is that we are in fact given the right to choose. For the people, by the people, right? One nation under… Well, you fill in the blank. Persecution. Distress. Division. Unrest. Hopelessness. What is it you say? We've tossed any semblance of reverence out like last week's trash and yet we still can't seem to find the reason for our present state of being utterly lost. 

The state of our union is a divisive split. One that represents more than party affiliation. This goes much deeper into the heart of humanity and reaches into the fallen sinful nature that exists in us all. We're quick to throw blame on one person or their political association. Neglecting our own personal responsibility allows us to somehow feel less guilty for our role of passively aggressively sitting back and letting social media be our voice. We won't vote. That'll fix the problem...right?! We're quick to toss the cards out online and start the debate but I wonder how many of us would actually be prepared to defend to the bitter end. Defend what, you ask? I'm not here to defend my belief in the good of mankind. On the contrary. 

"All have sinned and fall [drastically] short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

All. Each one of us. We're desperately in need of a Savior. There is division, no doubt, but it has nothing to do with which candidate you're voting for. There is a great divide that spans far beyond a nation divided. It is our fallen flesh that separates us from a Holy God. I cannot judge the heart of any man, or woman in this case, but I can tell you that each and every one of us is a soul that Jesus Himself died to save. Save from what? From this. From the depravity of ourselves. Forget party separation - this is our hope to be rescued from eternity separated from Him. I can't tell you that it will fix this political torment. I can't assure you that our nation will be healed. I can't promise that everything will work out and we'll all join hands and sing Kum-bah-ya. 

I cannot tell you how I will cast my ballot on November 8. Does it really matter right now? The only thing I can give you is the fact that I place my hope and trust in the Lord. I imagine He's grieved at all this mess. No doubt my own broken heart is a small indication of the magnitude of how He must feel over His own creation in such a state of unrighteousness. It's why He came. It's why He gave. It's why He died. For you and me. For this moment. For 29 days from now. For 365 days from now. For every day He planned since the beginning of time. 

I can only offer that you are given the same free gift of salvation and that, my friend, is your right to choose. It is your sovereignly designed free will to accept - or deny. This isn't about who you do or don't vote for. This is about accepting the eternal gift given to bail each of us out of the creation that groans and cries out around us. This world will pass away. The election will come. Someone will be elected President, whether we like that person or not. The only thing that will matter in the end is what you chose to do with Christ. Period. He remains the most politically incorrect "candidate" this world has ever seen and yet He is the absolute only way. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

S.O.S.

At this point, you've heard me share this too many times to count. It's laughable. Embarrassing, really. I'm truly hoping I'm not the only one but so often I find myself on this deserted island sending out a desperate S.O.S. and wondering how on earth I would be rescued. I imagine the God of Wonders looking down at my smoke signal as He hangs His Holy head and looks on in dismay.

"Child, oh sweet hard-headed child. When will you learn?"

"Lord, a little help down here!" Does He hear? Can He see? Will He come to my rescue? He's never left me alone before but maybe this time... Maybe this was the last straw.

"My daughter, you're mine. You're precious to me. I know your thoughts before you utter a word. I planned all of your days before one of them came to be. Why would you think I would leave you alone?" (Psalm 139:16-17)

I'm so ashamed. I want to remember this moment. Mark it down. Etch it in my mind so I won't end up back here. This wasn't my first trip, and somehow I feel certain it won't be my last. Why oh why do I do the things I don't want to do but somehow miss the mark on the things I know I should be doing?!

I pictured this going so differently. Set my boat to sail and forge ahead to do His will. I would weather the storms no matter what came my way. I was on His mission, after all. The crashing waves wouldn't be enough to sink my determination knowing I was doing His will. I had His instructions and the course was mapped out. I was the Captain of my own ship. He put me in charge. What trust He must have in me! I had great plans to flex my faith. Certainly I was grounded enough to walk on water, right?! So I thought...

I sank. Flailing. Arms flapping. Choking on water. Gagging on my own gull and ego. How did this happen...again??? I'll tell you. I'll explain exactly how.

I took my eyes off Him. I lost sight of His plan and started charting my own course. I may have gotten so distracted I didn't even remember the mission - what was it He wanted me to do again? There I was. Washed up yet again. I'm surprised He didn't send Jonah's fish to swallow me up. I certainly deserved it.

"I'm sorry, Lord. I thought I had it this time. I wanted to do Your will and I got distracted by myself...again."

I knew He already knew but I tend to fill the silence with words and I couldn't stand not offering a further explanation of my failure.

"I want to please You. It's my desire... But I am my own worst enemy when I try so hard and insert my own ways into Your plan. I get so off course."

His Word is a constant soother of my soul-wounds.

"If you settle on the far side of the sea, even there My hand will guide you. My hand will hold you fast. There is nowhere you can go away from My Presence." (Psalm 139:7-12)

Even there, even on the far side of the sea, washed up and beaten down, He finds me and calls me back. He saves me from the crashing waves and the clouding of my own judgment. He rescues me from my fears and failures. He guides me in the ways of His righteousness even when my own filthy rags have caused me to stumble yet again.

I'm sending out a signal, Lord, a prayer for strength and wisdom to follow you even to the ends of the earth. To the far side of the sea, to the highest reach of the heavens and the lowest of depths. Let me not be the charter of my own course but rather following only after You. Help me, Lord, when I fall, when I veer off course. Guide me back. Forgive my wandering mind and wayward soul. Give me grace to forgive myself and fully trust in You.