07 November 2008

Accountability (Blogging)

I have a self imposed policy. I allow for anonymous postings on my blog. I want people to feel free to express themselves. However, take responsibility, (be accountable) for what you say.

If you want to share an opinion or a thought, great! But if you want to be critical (an action in and of itself that is not necessarily evil), do not post anonymously. Stand up for what you feel, and do it in a respectful manner. Honest and true people can agree to disagree, and do it with respect for one another.

I work in an industry where brand loyalty brings people to verbal blows constantly. The ‘mine is better than yours’ statements are totally moot when it comes to opinions. If it is “my cars engine in more powerful than your cars engine”, than we have something that we can draw empirical data from. There is no empirical data in an opinion, just egos, and I have no room for that.

Sound Off! But not from behind a tree for cover, stand on your soap box and be seen and heard. Be proud of who you are, what you say, and who you represent!

Accountability (Spiritual)

Luke 16:2
'So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’

The topic of accountability came up between my wife and I this morning, and I felt it worth exploring today.

The verse above comes from the parable of the talents. Obviously, the message is clear that we are accountable for what God gives us. If you do a word search for the word ‘accountable’ it makes for an interesting study. God makes it clear throughout scripture that we are accountable for our actions. Not only to Him, but to others as well. King David said in his famous Psalm, “ I have sinned against you, and you alone”, and of course this is true, but you can easily cause an offense to anther, and held just as accountable to God for that.

When God gives us something (salvation, growth, a spiritual gift, a friend or spouse, children, our right to vote in this nation, even our very life), we owe it to Him to be accountable for the proper use of that gift. We use our gifts, not to benefit us (necessarily, although many times they do by God’s good Grace), but rather to glorify HIM!

Lately that has been His theme to me; glorify the Father. I pray I do with every breath, but know just as well that I fail. Don’t make the mistake of glorifying God with all your worth, instead glorify God with all HE’s worth!

06 November 2008

The Worst Feeling in the World

I woke up to face this day with perhaps the worst feeling ever in the pit of my gut.

This feeling is not because our President elect is open to abortion, gay marriage, legislating from the bench, and so on. It is not because he is friends with a convicted felon and domestic terrorist, or because his house was purchased with the support of another convicted felon under nefarious circumstances. This feeling is not because I know that the plans of the President elect will raise my tax burden - and the tax burden of all people -, or even because he is a pacifist seeking to emasculate the military of the United States by slashing the military budget by 25% or more during a time of war. My feeling did not come from the fact that this man is a confessing Christian who has a foundation of 25 years of teaching under a "pastor" whose message about the "US of KKK-A" are nothing more than a fascist mantra designed to get people to believe in racial power struggles and to hate the governmental system we currently work under. None of these things has caused my angst.

So why do I feel so badly? Because I’m left wondering: Could I have done more.

To me, this truly is the worst feeling, and I do not like it at all. Think of the feeling one might get when a son or daughter is killed because of a tragic accident. You know that it is an accident, but you will always wonder: Could I have done more? I do not want to ever have that feeling again.

Having seen this election fall the way that it did has inspired me not only in politics, but in life - and in my Christian walk. To prevent this feeling I must work hard, knowing that the direction I’m heading is the right one, divinely guided, and always be evaluating my progress and what I have done.

I think we as a nation have gotten away from this. JFK’s famous inauguration speech contained a line, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” We have gotten so far away from that. Our citizenry has come to expect a handout. We are now the entitlement generation. Our political leaders are so far left that socialism is a daily used work now. Our President elect has run his campaign on government spending and a new social agenda that does not empower a people (something that those who lead the 1960’s Civil Rights movement were working for), but rather entitles them, and in the process does not call them to action like JFK’s, RFK’s and the MLK’s before him did, but pushes them into apathy and lethargy.

Could I have done more? This is a question we all need to ask ourselves.

Did you do enough in this lection cycle to see the Christian agenda forwarded? Did you do enough to make sure that not just your vote was cast and counted (shame on you if you mailed in your ballot, it’s just un-American…), and did you do enough to voice your opinion in such a way and to such a people that it may influence their vote towards righteousness and a Godly society?

Outside of politics: Did you do enough in training up your children in the way that they should go? Have you done enough TODAY in spending time in, and meditating on God’s Word, seeking guidance and counsel? Have you done enough in the local grocery store in letting the clerks and employees there that you may encounter that you love Christ and that your life values and morals are based on biblical Christianity?

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we spend our time beating ourselves up for our failures or perceived failures. In my case, the pit in my stomach could have done several things:
It could have caused me to doubt my faith because my prayers and fasting did not (in a temporal fashion that we expect) work to influence the outcome of the elections.
It could have pushed into a position of apathy. Since all this “hard work” did not do anything, why try again.
It could have put me in a catatonic state of inactivity to anything and totally sapped my motivation towards any sort of action, Christian or otherwise.
But instead, it urged me to take stock in myself. It has increased my drive to do more to influence people to Christ and Christianity. It has caused me to more frequently to ask myself, ‘Can I do more?’

We are not called to live in the past. What is done is done, we move forward because of the grace of God no matter what our state of mind or heart. We need to look forward, hands on the plow, never looking back. But to be able to never look back, to ensure that you at least lesson the desire to look back, do all that you can, right now. Commit 100% - to God’s calling in your life, and do all you can to effect this nation, and this world for the Kingdom of God. Work hard enough and dedicated enough that we are less like to ask ourselves, ‘Did I do enough’.

Paul told us to run the race fairly, so that we not be disqualified. But he also told us to run the race as if we were going to win. There are no guarantees in life, save one: If you love God, and have committed your life to Jesus Christ as your savior, you are guaranteed delivery from His wrath, and a call home to be with Him. Run as if you are going to win, and work hard so that you are sure you have done enough.

04 November 2008

Elders at the Gate

Deuteronomy 25:7
But if the man does not want to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate to the elders, and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel; he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother.’

Sort of a strange verse to use as a devotional, I know. But there is something that I want to concentrate on being that this is our national election day. My topic has nothing to do with Jewish law or the responsibility of kinsmen redeemership. But the verse fills the purpose that I need it to.

Today we have an opportunity to choose our leaders. We concentrate so much on the Presidential race, but the Presidential powers are limited, and our Constitution is written in such a way to balance the powers of the executive and legislative branches. We will also be electing new Senators and Congressional Representatives as well. Some states are voting on some very important propositions that will effect right to life/abortion, same sex marriage, assisted suicide and more. While our elected officials will stand on their soap boxes and spout that we cannot legislate morality, this is in fact, much of what we do legislate. Abortion, marriage, suicide are all moral issues. When we go to the polls, we are voting our conscience, and our responsibility, our duty, is that as Christians our conscience represents Christ.

Back to our verse from Deuteronomy. The point of using that verse as some of you may have figured out, is the reference to the men at the gate. These men were the judges of the city. While these men, as far as we know, were not elected by popular ballot, they instead earned their positions based on their standing in the community. You earned it because your reputation was one of a trustworthy, honest man. You became an Elder of the city, not because of age alone, but because of character!

Just as God did not choose people because of their popularity, or how much money they could raise for the temple, or how loud and moving their prayers were in front of the people, we too must do the same. God chose people because of their heart, and their character. And he chose many of them in spite of their flaws. Moses was poor in speech, Abraham was from a family of idolaters and was a man without direction, David was the least of his family, Gideon was as far from a warrior as one could get! Yet God chose these because of their character and their heart. So too must we.

Our freedom to participate in this electoral process is a gift from God. Those who oppose its use by Christians because of the ill perceived separation of church and state, have little grasp of what that means, both biblically and Constitutionally. We have a right given to us by God to participate in the election of our officials. Why can I say this with confidence? Because that’s what our forefathers believed, that’s what they taught, and that’s what our Constitution tells us as well.

Do you think that God does not want us to represent Him here on earth? Do you think that God desires that the path of America go down the road of heathenism and debauchery? Do you honestly feel that our Creator’s wishes is that we, His children, stand with our hands folded doing nothing while the nation that He helped to found (again, not my words, but the words of our founding fathers. Read G. Washington’s inaugural address…), falls into a nation of sin just because we did nothing?
I have heard the argument that Jesus didn’t vote. True, but he was not living in a democratic republic that had given Him the right to vote either. Instead he lived in despotic times, and many of his speeches were politically motivated against the laws of the Jews. Moot point. We HAVE been given that right. As I have shared so many times before, God could have placed us in any nation in any time in history. But, but His omniscient sovereignty, we are here, and now. Do your part, vote, and allow Christ to speak through you.

03 November 2008

Our Christian Duty to Vote

II Chronicles 7:14

14 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 I will hear from heaven,
and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Probably at some point or another in the last 6 months or so, you have seen this verse come up in discussion in Christian circles regarding our national elections. For me, I have seen it so much it seems almost clichéish. But it’s significance bears attention, and oft repeating until at least 8:00 PM tomorrow.

There is much talk and unrest among the US populace with regards to our Presidential Election. In some there are critical issues on the ballot that pertain directly to a Biblical World View, as well as specific issues of biblical morality. Tomorrow is the day we vote on these issues all across the nation. When we enter the polls, we need to go in their humbly before, and vote not our fleshly conscience, but our spiritual one. Our vote is important to our nation, and it is important to God.

Oh, I know, some have already stopped reading. Too bad for them because it reflects poorly on their understanding of our biblical mandates and their understanding of the character of God and sound biblical principals. The separation of church and state, an issue that was not mandated in our Constitution, but rather by a corrupt Supreme Court, a matter that was opposed by the semi-religious man whom they give credit for authoring, is not a Godly idea. It is an idea of fallen man. The very phrase “the separation of church and…” you fill in the blank, it counter Christian, and counter God. As we can see from the verse used today as our devotional verse, God calls on us as a nation to seek Him, to cry out to Him, to love Him, to humble ourselves before Him as sinners, praying for His mercy and forgiveness. THIS is our biblical mandate.

In my mind, to not set ourselves on a path that seeks to have God intervene in this and all elections set before us in the divinely created nation ( a fact that was supported by many, many of our founding fathers), is to reject the station in life that our sovereign God has given us. We have been called to represent Him in all matters here on earth. Why reject that very thought in matters such as these when it is perhaps most important?

Humble yourself today and tomorrow before God. Pray like you mean it, like a son or daughter that desires more than anything that his or her father simply loves them back. If we pray, God WILL hear us. If we reject these notions, if we do not pray, we will not be heard, and a nation that is already falling away from it’s Judeo Christian foundations, will sink further in the post modern world that hates and rejects the God that created them.