30 Days of Cultivating Thankfulness Day 8: Election Night – Suffrage

election-2016

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

More than the right to vote is the incredible duty and privilege to pray to the God of this universe on behalf of our leader.

Scripture of the Day:

1 Timothy 2:1-2

“First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people, even for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”

I had to interrupt my plan for thankfulness today in honor of the right to vote. Amazingly, it has not been quite 100 years (August 18, 1920) since women were granted the freedom to vote in the United States. I am so very grateful for this privilege that we have to cast our vote for a candidate who would grant us freedom and life.

Over the pages of history, man has been enslaved and freed, kingdoms have risen and fallen, and God has been sovereignly in control of it all. Democracy has paved the way for the Gospel to be spread and served the purposes of God. We get to exercise our will to play our part, and God takes it all and uses it for good. What an honor.

Our church held a worship and prayer service this past Sunday and Pastor Gabe Turner delivered a message I wish everyone could hear. Vote because it is our responsibility and our privilege, and pray earnestly for the leader, whomever he may be. Here is the news coverage of the event.

Politics are not more powerful than our God. More than the right to vote is the incredible duty and privilege to pray to the God of this universe on behalf of our leader. People, let’s get to praying and see what God does in our President and nation for His glory!

Lord, thank You for Your sovereign reign over all! We trust You and are grateful we get the freedom to vote, all for Your glory!

Mundane Monday: Myth Busters

seektruth

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

In our quest for knowledge, which began back in the Garden of Eden, we must guard our hearts to only seek after the knowledge God wants us to have.

Scripture of the Day:

1 Timothy 1:3-4

3 “As I urged you when I was leaving for Macedonia, stay on in Ephesus to instruct certain people not to spread false teachings, 4 nor to occupy themselves with myths and interminable genealogies. Such things promote useless speculations rather than God’s redemptive plan that operates by faith.”

Romans 16:17 

“Now I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and obstacles that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Turn away from them.”


Conspiracy theories and so-called, “secret knowledge” tantalize the souls of those not grounded in truth.

In our quest for knowledge, which began back in the Garden of Eden, we must guard our hearts to only seek after the knowledge God wants us to have.

He never wanted us to have knowledge of evil and certainly not to believe in falsehood and be deceived. But many will come and try to deceive the elect – if that were possible. I love those words. Certainty of our calling in God. We don’t have to be deceived or fall away. In fact, nothing can take the gift of salvation away from us.

We have got to be in our word diligently, though, filtering through all the knowledge we are given to see whether it is from the LORD or not. This filtering applies not just to doctrinal truths within the Christian church, but also to worldly predictions from Nostradamus, astrologists and other false religions. Even further, information we receive and believe about those around us.

We need not be a gullible people – even as it pertains to the influence of the devil trying to sway us away from truth as regards the people in our lives. Knowledge puffs up, but we can discern its fruit. Does the knowledge we receive agree with the word of God? Or in our relationships – does it tear others down?

We should not even entertain any ideology or premise about a belief without confirming it in God’s word. In addition to watching our doctrine and life closely, this same standard should be applied with the precious people we serve God with in the body of Christ. To consider wrongful character of another person based merely on fleshly suspicion, gossip or jealousy is being a tool of the devil to dismantle His bride. Such knowledge does not come from God. It couldn’t.

We who are in Christ have the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. What a gift. We don’t have to be prey to the enemy’s attacks. We don’t have to believe every myth or every vain imagination. We can be myth busters and preserve truth in our churches, homes, politics, relationships and every area of influence we have. The voice of the enemy can be persuasive and loud, but if we will but put the helmet of salvation on and His Word as our belt of truth, we will see correctly.

God is able to guide us into all truth if we ask Him, and He delights to give wisdom to ALL who come to Him.

God help us to see clearly and to defeat the myths and lies of the enemy with Your truth.

Feedback Friday: To Bake or not to Bake

wedding-cake

Christian Bakers Fined $135K

for Not Working Gay Wedding Continue Fighting for Their Freedoms

 

In the news today – it is hard to fathom being fined $135K because you turn down providing a service to a client. It is pretty customary that a provider of a service can turn down a paying client for a variety of reasons.

But the prevailing philosophy that has blinded the eyes of many calls out for”tolerance” while simultaneously urging intolerance to another person’s conviction.

The people who espouse this philosophy of tolerance often proudly display the common bumper sticker proclaiming that we all “Co-Exist”. The message of this bumper sticker seems to be accepting – but it is not so appealing when we really examine the statement. To exist alongside another person is not fellowship or agreement, nor tolerance, after all. It is merely breathing the same air.

To demand a service be provided is not respecting or tolerating the other person’s freedom to choose. It is using political dogma to try and force another person to go against the very core of what they believe in. Does not sound like coexisting to me. Sounds kind of bossy and judgmental – the very thing they accuse other people of because they have a conviction. Not just any conviction – but a freedom to believe and to act on that belief that was paid for with the blood of those who fought for our religious freedom in the first place in this country.

The mindset that says everyone has to do what we want does not fly so well if it went the other direction.

The people who want to force their “freedoms” only want freedom for themselves while denying the freedom of those with different beliefs at the same time.

When the law tries to mandate to whom service must be provided it overrides our basic freedom of choice. So many applications for this reality. Should a musician be forced to play for a wedding if they are unable to make the date? Should a Catholic Hospital permit abortions? Equally as egregious as the religious freedom breech that the Kleins who own “Sweet Cakes” endured, “In 2014, a New York Christian couple were fined $13,000 for refusing to allow a same-sex couple to have their wedding ceremony on their family farm, which they live on and also rent out for event”(Smith, Samuel. Christian Post).

What do you think? Does someone have the right to demand that their wedding be hosted on your property? Common sense should prevail on this one.

Does personal preference mean we hate others or are discriminatory? No. It means we all have a choice of what convictions we choose to live by and those personal beliefs should not be questioned and certainly not devalued or judged. If we do not live by what we believe in, we don’t truly believe in them at all.

Let me know what you think. I know we might not agree on this, and that’s ok. We have the freedom to think for ourselves. Hopefully in a respectful manner. 🙂

Philippians 4:5

Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do.

Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

Truthful Tuesday: Politics and God

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(c) Photo Credits cccomaha.org

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Still people want to remove God as if that could ever be achieved. The Creator of all that exists is not so easily dismissed.

Scripture of the Day:

 

Romans 13:1
 

“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.”

Daniel 2:21

“He changes times and seasons, deposing some kings and establishing others. He gives wisdom to the wise; he imparts knowledge to those with understanding.”

When we bring up the topic of God and politics, I can hear some already before this post is begun, stating that there is a separation of church and government. This fallacy has been propagated so much it has contributed to the degradation of our society.

Studying history reveals that church was to influence government, but government was not to mandate religion. Still people want to remove God as if that could ever be achieved. The Creator of all that exists is not so easily dismissed.

God already knows the end of all things, so it would seem that politics are inconsequential to Him and to us – but He still has a role for us to play – and He is in control of it all.

What can we do when feathers are flying and it seems that the possibility of a candidate we did not want to be installed in office is very likely?

Pray.  

1 Timothy 2:1-4

“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.”

We are commanded to pray for our leaders and government. Most of the time it seems people would rather speak against our leaders. It is understandable – they are fallible and often ungodly. But even so, God is in complete control of our government systems and the politics of man. When we partner with God and pray, we are part of accomplishing His will.

Educate ourselves. While man tries to frame up his viewpoint in a way that influences man and frets about who might win the election, we can seek to find the truth of the matter and not just swallow the media’s spin.

Get involved. By all means, vote. Maybe even volunteer to help the candidate you are supporting. Pray and study to know who would represent your Christian values who actually has a chance of winning. Expecting a staunchly Christian candidate in a post-Christian era is probably not realistic.

God is wondering if we might place our trust in Him and pray for His will to be done. Perhaps we might pray for the salvation of our next President and recognize the reality that no matter what happens, our Sovereign God will use it all for His glory and our good.

It is at first unsettling when we consider the fragile future in light of the prophecies in Scripture, but for the believer we know that every aspect of what is transpiring on the world stage was already spoken of by God. He is sovereign and in complete control. Amen.

Lord, You are all omnipotent, omniscient, and You own it all. Help us not to worry but to seek to glorify You in all our circumstances.

Sabbath Reflections: Nation on its Knees

Prayer Can Move the Heart of God and Man

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Prayer can move the heart of God and man.

Scriptures:

Psalms 99:4

“The King is strong; he loves justice. You ensure that legal decisions will be made fairly; you promote justice & equity in Jacob.”

Proverbs 21:1

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD like channels of water; he turns it wherever he wants.”

As we near the culmination of a lively political race in just a little over a couple of months, the LORD reminded me while I was praying for both candidates that He is much bigger than our election. He not only controls the outcome, but is our great, sovereign God over all. He rules the entire universe, every government, every people, every land – and is able to affect the heart of our next President. It is to that end that I will pray.

Our nation needs more now than ever a people committed to pray for her. May we fill the next eleven weeks with intercession for our nation and for both candidates to turn their hearts back to God. Will you join me? We each play a key role in the next election – praying – and prayer can move the heart of God and man.

Oh God, this great land is Yours and Yours alone. Help us to not forget that truth. Help our people to turn from sin and to see Your worth is far above the worship of lesser things. Please draw our nation back to You and cause our leaders to bow to no other God but You. Move in the hearts of our Presidential nominees and help them to see their need of salvation. Your will be done. We trust You, Lord, to place Your person in office.

Mundane Monday: Our “Identifying” God

Our Identifying God.png

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Our God is a Compassionate God. The God Who saves us is also the One Who hurts when we hurt, too.

Scripture of the Day:

Isaiah 63:9

“Through all that they suffered, he suffered too. The messenger sent from his very presence delivered them. In his love and mercy he protected them; he lifted them up and carried them through ancient times.”

Suffering is a bummer. Our flesh does not want an ounce of it and when it comes our way, complaining can often rise within our spirit as well as disillusionment or discouragement. Our tendency can be to judge the character of God when uncomfortable or painful circumstances are allowed into our lives. That is until we consider that He chose His suffering. Blaming God – the Creator of the universe – Who willingly offered His life in place of mine kind of brings my trials into perspective.

Our sorrows are not minimized – they are understood. In the context of a fallen world, we can have hope because even though for a little while we may suffer, our God gives us grace when we cry out and He has overcome the world.

This has been one of the biggest revelations for me in my walk with God – that the very suffering I despise He joyfully endured – for me. When I was broken and wondered why God would allow me and my children to hurt so much, it was in that moment that I wept because I was thinking of my comfort and not thinking of God and His glory.

Our culture daily churns out the message of the need for people to be able to “identify” with whatever it is they think will make them happy. Sad thing is, being fake and pretending you are something you are not will never help someone feel complete on the inside.

Jesus chose to “identify” with sinful mankind. He chose to die, be rejected, spat upon, and judged by His beloved Father even though He was completely innocent. Wow. I have to pause and worship Him here.

What a gracious and loving God. Loving and merciful, noticing our pain and giving us strength in the midst of trials. Setting an example of how to walk through our troubles. He is not a God far off, but a God nearby Who is able to have compassion by what He suffered.

Thank You, Lord, for choosing to be counted among us, even though You were God. You are worthy, oh God. Thank You for opening our eyes to see how wonderful Your salvation is.

Truthful Tuesday: True Repentance

True Repentance

Image from Closerdaybyday.org

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

We live in a unique time today in the politically correct society that tolerates all sin, but judges the righteous…

Scripture:

2 Corinthians 7:9-11

“Now I rejoice, not because you were made sad, but because you were made sad to the point of repentance. For you were made sad as God intended, so that you were not harmed in any way by us. 10 For sadness as intended by God produces a repentance that leads to salvation, leaving no regret, but worldly sadness brings about death. 11 For see what this very thing, this sadness as God intended, has produced in you: what eagerness, what defense of yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what deep concern, what punishment! In everything you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.”

While we as Christians are called not to judge one another, for we are all equally sinful, we are also called to gently correct one another when we see sin in our lives. Sin – that death threat to our spiritual walk with God. Who wouldn’t want that gone?

But sometimes we live in fear of offending someone, even though they are trapped in their sin. The message of the Gospel has the power to deliver one from the bondage of sin and bring true joy into their lives, but we often shrink back because it might hurt them or their feelings. Not really. We are afraid in actuality that they might not like us. So, instead of sharing the life-giving message of Christ’s resurrection and the forgiveness of our sins, we often keep the most amazing truth a secret, potentially damning people for all eternity.

I know. That was hard for me to hear, too. Today at a Chick-fil-a, a woman came up and handed me a napkin she had written upon. She wrote to tell me how astonished she was at the patience of my youngest child who sat while I worked for three hours. Divine appointment. Sometimes these moments are not convenient – wait, who am I kidding? They are never convenient. But we are perpetually on a mission, and those around us are the ones we are to reach.

If we dare to love people enough to share both the message of God’s punishment and forgiveness of sin, We just might witness one of the most beautiful things on this earth – true repentance – that moment when a soul recognizes their need of God and submits wholeheartedly to God’s loving rebuke and correction.

True repentance cannot be faked. It is a devastation over our sin and a turning away from that sin.  It is not the emotion of sorrow for being caught, but sorrow for hurting God and grateful for the instruction that opened our eyes in the first place.

Lord, help us to care about the souls all around us and to share Your message of hope and salvation. Bring divine appointments our way and help us to be Your faithful witnesses. The harvest is ripe – send us – and help us to yield, as well, when the revelation of sin knocks on the door of our own hearts, begging us to truly repent.

Truthful Tuesday: Our Moral Compass

bible_compass.jpg

Inspirational thought of the day:

Only God determines what is truly right.

Scripture of the day:

Judges 17:5

“In those days Israel had no king.  Each man did what was considered to be right.”

A ship follows the lead of a small instrument no bigger than a stopwatch and the captain of the ship trusts that this small tool called a compass is not leading them astray.

The Creator of this world has left us with a compass, as well.  Not only an instruction manual called the Bible, but the Holy Spirit to influence us toward righteousness.

I myself am directionally challenged and rely on a GPS to point me the right direction.  I will often trust the GPS above my own instinct, because I know the rate of accuracy of the GPS is far greater than mine.

But sometimes it gets confusing when there are multiple compasses and voices crying out, trying to persuade us that their voice is the right one.  Folly cries out but so does wisdom.

Humanism has seeped into every aspect of our culture to the point where it seems odd to not just do what we feel like doing.  That’s because the flesh is very persuasive.  But if our basis for our decisions is founded primarily upon our feelings, we can be led far away from God’s best.

If the heart is deceitful and every inclination of our heart is wicked in God’s sight, how are we then to live?  What compass do we use to make decisions and how can we make our stubborn wills follow God’s way?

In our pride, we tend to think we are right.  All arguments emanate from this reality.  Authority is a means by which god establishes order.  Without it, we drift.  With it, we often rebel, anyway. Using a compass takes humility and trust.

There is hope for those Who would call on the Name of God and seek the counsel of His word.   The Holy Spirit is able to guide us and we are able to exercise our free will to walk in integrity or to walk after the flesh and do whatever we want.

Ironically, what we want is often counter to God’s ways and as much as we think it pleases us, it leads to our ultimate ruin.  The motivation to do things our way would change if we could think the matter all the way through and choose according to God’s law.

Praise God that He has absolute truth in this world of relativity.

God has not left us without instruction nor does He let us remain in confusion if we seek Him sincerely. When we yield our plans to God and filter our desires through God’s word, we find peace.  Gently He leads us like an inner compass to do His will and not our own.

Lord, help us to surrender all to You.  Your will be done.  Your ways are best.  Grant us wisdom to recognize when our flesh is pulling us away from what really matters – living solely for You, Jesus, and according to Your Word.

Holy Week: His Name is Truth

WayTruthLife.jpg

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Living a lie to be politically correct is never as satisfying as living in truth.

Scriptures of the Day:

Isaiah 53:9

“He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.”

John  14:6

“Jesus declared, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father but by Me.”

John 18:23-24, 37-38

23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. 37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” 38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.”

Ever been lied to?  Silly question, I know.  There is something about deceit that is painful. It is a betrayal, an intentionally masking of truth to keep it hidden and people ignorant. Why go to all that effort?  What makes truth something people would want to hide from? If knowledge is power, than the person with knowledge is able to help others see or keep that insight to him or herself.

Sometimes we avoid truth because it is not popular or politically correct.  Sometimes we would rather avoid it because it is painful and sometimes we want to pretend we are unaware because we would then be accountable to the truth we know.

Jesus did not beat around the bush.  He not only spoke the truth, He WAS and IS Truth.  He knew how desperately His people needed to hear truth.  Being in the dark is not really living – it is existing a false life.  Why live in darkness when we can walk in the light?

When Christ walked that road to Calvary, He did not waver in telling and living the truth, even though it cost Him dearly.  When Pilate looked Jesus in the eyes and asked him what truth was, Jesus was not concerned with freeing Himself, but instead steadfastly told the truth, wanting Pilate to understand.

We are unacquainted with truth and unable to see or understand it until God mercifully reveals truth to us.  Something innately within us bursts with peace when we hear God’s Holy, sweet truth.  His truth convicts and liberates the sinner, setting the captives free from the bondage of lies.  As we consider the celebration of Easter, I am so grateful for God’s revelation of truth that would open our eyes to see such a great salvation.

Lord, help us to walk in truth at the very core of our inner being and to shine Your Truth for all to see.

A Season of Thankfulness: Day 12 – Our Wise Counselor

Photo Credits: www/pixabay.com

Photo Credits:
www/pixabay.com

Ecclesiastes 7:10-12

Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these days?” for it is not wise to ask that.  11 Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing; it benefits those who see the light of day. 12 For wisdom provides protection, just as money provides protection. But the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves the life of its owner.

James 1:5

“But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him.”

When I am tempted to give in to emotion or make a rash decision, it is to God that I run.  What a precious gift that we can come to Him and seek His wisdom in all things.

Recently I was reminded of this privilege when I was trying to understand the best course of action in a situation.  “Why are you trying to figure it out on your own?” ran through my head.  I guess that is my natural disposition – to try and come up with my own solution, but the foundation of that decision should be to seek wisdom from God above all else.

Wisdom, likened to an inheritance, can only be given by God.  Man can hand out down insight and knowledge, but any wisdom he has was given to him and comes from above.

Wisdom from God looks markedly different from the wisdom of this world.  It is not self-glorifying, it does not boast. It serves and glorifies God as the giver of it all.  The wisdom God gives is pure and peaceful, opposite what our flesh would offer as a solution.

Contained within all 66 books of the Bible are page after page of wisdom and folly fleshed out.  Few have truly found wisdom and to those who have found it, it is a never-ceasing pursuit.  Wisdom is not a once and done possession.  It is part of the beauty of being in relationship with the most amazing genius in all the world, our God.  He gives it freely, to those who ask . . . again and again.

Solomon pleased God by asking for wisdom above all else, yet He did not utilize that wisdom in one area of his life, in particular.  Did he know better?  I think so.  His heart was turned away by his unwise decisions regarding women, and I daresay that the brief satisfaction from choosing folly instead of the wisdom he had at his disposal could not compare to the joy he could have had from walking in wisdom.

This priceless gift of wisdom is continually given to those who would humble themselves and see their need of godly wisdom.  Available to all.  That’s the all-wise God we serve – generous and perfect in all He does; available to give us counsel when we need it.

Lord, thank You for never leaving or forsaking us.  You provide wisdom when we need it and are faithful to give us grace to seek You for it in the first place.  We praise Your Name, Sovereign King!