Today, Tomorrow and the Next Day

Trust

Gentle Reader,

Over the last month, there have been scores of articles written, stressing the importance of voting. This midterm election has taken on a weight, an importance, that I don’t recall seeing before. We are all Chicken Little, but instead of the sky falling, we fear, and even believe, that our country is coming to pieces.

I look out my front window. We have new neighbors. They’ve been here since early September. I’ve yet to get up the courage to go and introduce myself. They’ve been busy getting settled, anyway, running loads to here from whence they came. When I do cross the street and extend my hand, my first question will not be, “Who did you vote for in 2016? 2018?”

Because who wants to start off a relationship like that?

Politicians have sold us a great lie: The neighbor is the enemy. This simply isn’t true. Unless you live near a Neo-Nazi, chances are pretty good that those in the homes within shouting distance want the same things you do. A job, good schools, safe neighborhoods. Chances are also pretty good that everyone up and down your street disagrees on how to achieve those things, and just what role the government should play in the achievement, but down at the base level, where it really matters, people are just people.

We forget that. All of us, so tuned into what our leaders have to say, find our sinful, baser natures rising to the forefront. Fears of “the other” and “the different” and “the invader” have been stoked, and blatantly. It behooves those in power to stir us up and create suspicion. As Abraham Lincoln famously said, the house that is divided shall not stand. He uttered these words in 1858, on the eve of civil war, when brother took up arms against brother.

Do we want to repeat this history?

Yes, I believe that if we do not check ourselves, we will wreck ourselves. Violence is the natural, logical conclusion when people feed on fear and hate. Perhaps not tomorrow. Maybe not even next year. But eventually.

I won’t tell you who to vote for. I won’t even tell you to vote. As I write this, the polls open in less than 24 hours and I have yet to decide if I will be among those waiting for a ballot. Not because I think voting is pointless – I don’t. It matters a great deal. A couple of weeks ago I was sure; now, I feel a heaviness knowing that, once again, it will come down to choosing the “lesser of two evils.”

Is that a choice that a Christian can or should make?

Wrong is still wrong, isn’t it, even if varied by degrees?

You’ve read here of my love of politics. Long have I been fascinated by the history, the personalities and the processes. Today, I am sickened instead. Waves of nausea wash over me as I ponder what lies before us. Nobody knows exactly what tomorrow holds, but it is not too far a stretch to make an educated guess. More anger, more division, more trouble.

Unless we choose differently.

We legislate morality. Never let anyone tell you otherwise. Murder, robbery, abuse – all sinful, all penalized. What we cannot do, and must stop attempting to do, is legislate Christianity. This marriage of faith and politics, this reckless and futile attempt to establish the Kingdom of God on earth, right now, in the United States, as a distinct physical and political entity (read this as a jumping off point), must stop. There will be no utopia before the return of Christ. And His return certainly isn’t going to be forced by us.

Before you go to sleep tonight, examine yourself. Take a good, long, hard inventory of your heart and mind. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal both cherished and hidden sins. Ask Him to grant you the strength to repent. If you choose to vote tomorrow, be sure that you do so with His agenda squarely in focus.

Because that’s what we are to be about. Today, tomorrow and the next day.

Let us choose differently. Vote, don’t vote – that’s not an answer I have. What I can tell you is that, whatever the results are, we have to learn that sanctification is a process meant to change all parts of our lives. Nothing is to be held back from the refining fire of the Spirit’s touch. For some of us that might mean choosing to listen to the stories of an immigrant family (legal or otherwise). For others that might look like turning off the obnoxious cable news and reading the Bible a little longer than usual. I don’t know what God is asking of you, but I know it’s something, because that’s what He does.

Listen. Oh, please, let’s listen. Let’s choose Him, over and above all else. Like Hannaniah, Azariah and Mishael. Let’s not go with the flow. Let’s not allow ourselves to be manipulated. Let’s not give into fear and hate.

Today, tomorrow and the next day.

Mediate on these words:

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

– Psalm 20:7 (NKJV)

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I Beg of You

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

The election won’t happen for another nine months. We’ve already endured six plus months of this circus. Much as I love politics and everything to do with them (hello, The West Wing), it’s grating. Insane, even.

Absolutely flipping annoying to the nth degree.

It’s only going to escalate from here. I won’t be surprised if we see one of the highest voter turnouts in recent history. I won’t be surprised if it’s a bitter, bloody contest. (In fact, I’m expecting that). Whatever side of the conservative/liberal divide you fall on, whatever candidate you kind of maybe like at this point, please remember:

  1. Pray. Above all else, seek the Lord. Seek wisdom. Ask Him to raise up a wise, humble leader, a man or woman who depends on Him – regardless of party affiliation or lack thereof.
  2. This doesn’t have to be about the “lesser of two evils.” You don’t have to vote for either of the eventual major party candidates. You can pick someone else. If we want to see real change in the political climate of our nation, bucking the two-party system is going to have to part of that. No, coalitions made up of strange bedfellows from multiple parties aren’t always better. But we have to do something to get out of this wretched stalemate.
  3. Your vote matters. It does. I don’t care how disenfranchised or discouraged you feel. This is supposed to be government by the people, for the people. It’s about time those in power started to worry about pleasing their constituents rather than themselves. We can take that power away from them. They work for us. We don’t have to allow people to sit in Congress for umpteen million years.
  4. Worldview matters. Vote your conscience. Don’t worry about who the “inevitable” winner is. Don’t jump on bandwagons. You have to live with yourself. Be consistent. Have integrity.
  5. Don’t be a single-issue voter. Maybe you’re all heated up over education. Or you’re opposed to abortion. Or you into preserving the environment. Passion is great – but don’t let it blind you. A president has to deal with a whole lot more than that issue. Look at each candidate holistically. What are their positions on other things?
  6. God’s plan will unfold no matter what happens.

Finally, please remember that the president isn’t God. Do not pin all your hopes and dreams on a mere mortal. Do not put your faith in a someone exactly like you – a sinner.

Oh, and try not to rip each other’s throats out.

My journey to faith. (15)

 

The Hangover

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Gentle Reader,

As you know, I don’t generally get political with my writing. This has a lot to do with my beliefs as to where the allegiance of a Christian lies and the fact that I can’t stand incessant talking heads and their fear-mongering. Today, however, I am moved to comment.

While I’ve never been drunk, I have been hungover, thanks to the various prescribed medications I’ve taken over the years. When in such a state, straight thinking and problem solving are next to impossible. Body parts hurt. All you want to do is pull the blankets over your head and hope the feeling passes.

This is the attitude I see in our society. Whether Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or something else, everyone agrees that we’re in trouble. Something has to give and, when it does, it won’t be pretty. Despite our collective acknowledgment of the issues, we are too deeply divided – and often actively hostile to each other – to do anything about it.

So, we pulled the blankets over our heads. We kept the status quo. We hope the situation will somehow resolve itself. Fear, propped up by a lack of thinking outside the box, dictated the outcome of this election.

I find that sad.

Now, all that being said, I’m not going to do what my nature wills and freak out about the next four years. I don’t know what the next four minutes will bring, let alone the future so advanced. I’m going to do my best to remember to pray for our president and other leaders as often as possible, because:

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. – Romans 13:1-7 (NKJV)

My allegiance is to Christ, and He wills that I do my part to obey the law and respect the authorities behind it. Until there is a mandate that requires me to do or support something that is quite opposed to my faith, this is my line to walk.

My journey to faith. (15)