A Most Disturbing Violation of a Grandmother’s Freedom of Religion

 

They’re going hard after the home and personal savings of a kind, lovable, 72 year old grandmother. If that sentence doesn’t bother you, you may want to check the spiritual condition of your heart……..immediately. I would hate for you to pass from this life into the next with that kind of evidence against your soul. As a Christian, I am shaken to the core when I hear stories about my brothers and sisters being persecuted. And yes, I am going to use the word persecution here. The mental anguish being placed upon this woman, and her family, is contemptible. Even if you aren’t a Christian, just plain common decency should cause you to outrage against this. Personally, I didn’t think I would ever live to see the Constitution despised so badly as it is now. Let’s face it. Our nation can’t sink much lower than this. And apart from a miracle of God, it appears like things will only get worse. Michael Brown, host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program, says it is time for Christians to wake up, and stand against the tyranny of the age.

Counting the Cost

Back in 2013, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the ACLU (along with 2 gay men) were the instigators of an ongoing injustice against Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of a small town shop called Arlene’s Flowers. And these people are relentless. They will not stop until this wonderful Christian grandmother is severely punished. And all of this because she loves Jesus, believes His Word, and desires to live her life according to His Word. Even when she is working. Even when it could cost her everything. Yes, I know. Sheds a different light on everything, doesn’t it? Not something you will hear from Hollywood or the liberal media. Don’t let them brainwash you about this case. Barronelle did absolutely nothing wrong.

The Court is Now Complicit

Just recently, in a highly anticipated ruling, the Washington Supreme Court is now an accomplice to Bob Ferguson’s diabolical schemes. They failed to uphold our precious First Amendment, which has been an important staple of the U.S. Constitution for centuries. An Amendment that much blood, sweat, and tears has been spilled over. And now, in the 21st century, everything has changed for the worst. An Attorney General can suddenly, and without warning, dictate his power to go after a 72 year old grandmother who did absolutely nothing wrong. Why? Well, it’s pretty simple. He disagrees with her conscience, and he believes he has the authority to dictate his own conscience upon others. And that is exactly what he, the ACLU, and now the Washington Supreme Court have all done. And worst of all, they are doing all of this to a 72 year old grandmother. Scripture has something to say about this:

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” (1 Timothy 5:1-2…..emphasis mine)

Catch that? Treat older women as mothers. That is a direct command from God. I wonder if the individuals who are going after Barronelle’s assets would ever treat their own mother the same way? According to Scripture, that honor is to be shown to every woman who is older. To be sure, what the Washington State Supreme Court did is wrong, regardless of the fact Barronelle is a grandmother. But the fact that she is a grandmother just makes the whole thing even more heinous.

Also, I seem to remember Jesus condemning men who devour widow’s houses (Mark 12). Barronelle Stutzman is not a widow. But I sure wouldn’t want to stand before God having devoured the home of a dear, sweet, elderly, married woman. Jesus doesn’t give you a free pass if the woman is not a widow. In fact, now you would be devouring the home of both a wife and her husband. You’re putting two people on the streets instead of one. It isn’t safe to play games with Holy Scripture. You’ve been warned. 

How Did Things Come to This?

Attorney General Ferguson got the ball rolling when he went after Barronelle, a woman who has a history of both serving and hiring gay people. Do not let that last sentence pass through your brain without locking it in. Barronelle has a long history of both serving and hiring gay people. But when Ferguson found out through Facebook that she would not arrange flowers for the wedding of two gay men, he stepped way over the line and abused his power. No formal complaint had even been registered at this point. But because Ferguson didn’t like what he heard, he took it upon himself to make sure that everyone agrees with him. And if you don’t, you’re in deep trouble. He will come after you! This ought to deeply trouble anyone who loves freedom, and believes in our First Amendment rights.

Discrimination Properly Defined

According to the Oxford Dictionary, discrimination can be defined as “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.” For purposes of this article, you can go ahead and throw “sexual orientation” into that definition. Because that is the accusation, isn’t it? That Barronelle discriminated against two men because of their sexual orientation? Ummm…………..no. She didn’t. In fact, she had a great relationship with them, and served them for around 9 years or so. Birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Special Occasions, you name it. As much as Barronelle loves flowers, she loves people more. For her, it is always about the people- first and foremost. That is the very reason Robert Ingersoll and his partner Curt Freed decided to go to her in the first place. They claimed it was their favorite flower shop. Why? Because again, for Barronelle, it is about the people. And they know it. She runs her flower shop with love for God, and love for others. The two always go hand in hand.

In the Bible, we are taught to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). But sometimes, even when you do this, people get frustrated with you. They attack you. They seek to destroy you. Not necessarily physically (as in the present case), but emotionally and financially. That is what is happening to this small town flower shop owner. I don’t need to spill much ink on this one. It has been explained over and over again. But just in case you need a refresher, or you’re new to this story, here it is: Barronelle did not discriminate against two gay men. But she could not, in good conscience and in obedience to the Word of God, use her God-given time and creative abilities to arrange flowers for a ceremony that Jesus Christ clearly condemns. Look at the italicized words again: men and ceremony. Or should I say men, as opposed to, ceremony. Not hard to understand. Really, it isn’t. And yet, how many times have I heard the liberal media continue to say that she “discriminated against them because they were gay.” Despicable lies told against this sweet woman should make people ashamed of themselves.

An Unthinkable Ruling

Even as notoriously liberal as Washington State is, this ruling is still unthinkable. In fact, there are three words that come to mind when I think about this recent decision: disturbing, deplorable, and terrifying. But you could also throw in despicable, vile, hateful, ignorant, sinister, and just plain nasty. Make no mistake about it. Of all the ways Christians have suffered under the ever-rising leftist agenda of this country, Barronelle Stutzman has, in my view, endured the worst of the ugliness. It is hard to imagine that anyone who values freedom could be happy with this decision.  Between the lawsuits from the Attorney General and the ACLU, she stands to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars. And possibly even her home. The Attorney General isn’t just going after her business, he is going after her. Denny Burk, Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, had this to say:

Barronelle Stutzman’s case is nothing less than an egregious violation of our first freedom. It is Caesar saying, “Conscience be damned. Submit to the new sexual orthodoxy or risk losing everything.”
This is not tolerance. This is injustice that flies in the face of this nation’s laws and traditions. And if this kind of thing can be done to a 70-year-old grandmother running a small flower shop in rural Washington State, then it can be done to you. No one’s conscience is safe if this precedent becomes the norm.

Well, Caesar, I got news for you. Barronelle Stutzman’s conscience won’t be damned for you, or anyone else! Just like Martin Luther, she knows that “to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.”

A New Level of Hatred

So what exactly is going on here? Is this just extreme fearmongering? Are Christians exaggerating the severity of this problem? Rod Dreher, blogger at The American Conservative, doesn’t think so. Here is a direct quote of his from a recent article about the dangerous consequences of the Stutzman ruling.

When the might of the State of Washington and the American Civil Liberties Union comes down on the head of a gentle, grandmotherly, small-town florist, and seeks her ruin for declining to arrange flowers for a gay wedding, you know that we are dealing with a bottomless well of hatred.

I couldn’t agree more with Dreher. The word “gentle” really catches my eye more than anything. Barronelle clearly loved Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed, the two men who asked her to arrange flowers for their wedding. If you have any doubt about Barronelle’s sweet, gentle demeanor, and the love she has for these men, then I suggest you listen to her own words. After seeing that video, and how kind and tenderhearted she really is, you will see even more clearly how deep the hatred is. And here’s the really scary part: It is not hatred primarily against Barronelle, conservatives, or even Christians in general. It is hatred against the Lord of glory. It is hatred expressed against Jesus Christ and His glorious, infallible Word. Ultimately, Washington State and the ACLU will answer to Him.

Where is the Outrage?

I thought the progressive left was all about standing up for the marginalized. So then I ask, where are you? A grandmother could possibly lose her home and all of her savings, and yet you have nothing to say. No protest for Barronelle? Oh, wait, I forgot. Unless the person agrees with you on all of your worldview and political ideologies, then they are not worth protesting for I guess. Wow. Talk about insanity. It’s really interesting how the left portray themselves as being so loving and so compassionate, especially to those who are marginalized or persecuted. But yet they are out for blood when it comes to a 72 year old Christian grandmother who is simply trying to make a living, doing what she loves to do. A woman who is simply operating her own private business to the best of her ability, and according to what God has declared in His Word.

Then again, the left has never had much respect for the truly marginalized. For the last 44 years since Roe v Wade, they have supported the murder of the most vulnerable and marginalized of all human beings. Why should Barronelle Stutzman, or anyone else, get any better treatment? And that makes me wonder about something………. In fact, a question to all you progressive, left leaning individuals out there……….

What about all those immigrants you claim to love? What if they tried to enter this country holding signs that said “MARRIAGE IS BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN”? Would you still be protesting for them? Would you let them in??? 

Conclusion

This case may go to the Supreme Court. I don’t know how promising that is considering the landmark ruling two years ago which legalized gay marriage. But I do hope they at least take her case. It’s something we ought to be praying fervently for. Not only for our dear sister in Christ and her family, but for the future of our First Amendment right to exercise our freedom of religion. Also be praying for the wonderful group who are taking up her cause, the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Barronelle is suffering from a great deal of anxiety over all of this. And understandably so. And if our dear sister ever happened to read this, I would remind her of what Jesus said about the lilies of the field.

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Matthew 6:27-29)

Something tells me she gets more out of that verse than most people do.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to Barronelle here.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! If you enjoy my articles, you can subscribe to this blog by email. It’s free!  And no spam at all! Simply find the box that says “Stay In Touch!!” and enter your email address. The box will be on your upper right (computer), or bottom part of your screen (phone). I appreciate your support!  (-:

44 Years of Horror: Our Prayer to Overturn Roe v Wade

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Our hearts cry out to You, our Lord and our God, to end this brutality of abortion, to end this wicked crime,
To end the destruction of so many precious little babies, we plead with You fervently, for now is the time.
And just as the persistent widow kept pressing the unjust judge, we come to You, Lord Jesus, again and again and again,
For You are infinitely better than the widow’s judge, You are the only One who can put an end to this unmerciful, vicious sin.

Your Name is full of justice and mercy, for You are the Lord Most High, the One who gives us our life and breath,
For in You we have our existence, our very being, but Roe v Wade has brought to this nation nothing but death.
The slaughter of the unborn is contradictory to Your Holy Name, for your Name itself is the Way, the Truth, and the Life,
But abortion providers take that life which You graciously give, and sever millions from the womb, no different than a serial killer with a blood soaked knife.

Planned Parenthood is the worst offender, for they are much like the infamous King Herod, having shed countless streams and pools of innocent blood,
Grant them repentance over their wickedness, for You are storing up Your righteous wrath, even more so than in the days of Noah, and the worldwide flood.
Planned Parenthood has no compassion for life and personhood, and their only regard is for their own wallet, and their own prosperous existence,
So we plead with you Lord, just like in Luke, when the bold friend knocks on the door at midnight for some bread, please do not ignore our persistence.

Image result for praying for pro life imagesLord Jesus Christ, bring justice to the United States of America, and unite our diverse nation together under this vitally important cause,
To love and cherish those who cannot speak for themselves, who cannot protest for their very own lives, who cannot change our nation’s laws.
There are those who get angry and shout, “But it’s the woman’s body! Leave her alone and go away!”
But we know that to You, a baby is just as much a person, created in Your own image, knit together by You, with a complete DNA.

Oh Lord, please help our President Donald Trump, also Congress, and the Supreme Court, to make the right moral choices,
To legislate in the fear of You, according to Your Commandments, and give us what America needs, righteous and God-fearing voices.
Make them fear only what You think, and not what sinful man may do to them, or that their popularity might fade,
Cause them to please only You, to create and uphold laws that protect the unborn, and to finally, once and for all, overturn Roe v Wade!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! If you enjoy my articles, you can subscribe to this blog by email. It’s free!  And no spam at all! Simply find the box that says “Stay In Touch!!” and enter your email address. The box will be on your upper right (computer), or bottom part of your screen (phone). I appreciate your support!  (-:

Mike Pence Wants Donald Trump To Know Jesus: A Reason For Everyone to Hope

 

I believe Mike Pence has the Holy Spirit of God dwelling within Him.  No one I know questions this fact.  Of course, we cannot know for 100% certainty whether any one person is truly converted, but all signs point to “yes” for Mike Pence.  He has made a point of being vocal about his Christian faith.  And if his quotations are any indication of his love for Jesus, then this man is part of God’s Kingdom.  He is devoted to the pro-life cause.  He is reported to have consulted his Bible on all matters of public policy.  And do I even need to mention his incredibly loving response to the interrogation he faced during the Broadway performance of “Hamilton.”  That one speaks volumes.  I could go on.  But I think the point is made.

No Reason to Doubt

We have no reason to doubt that this man is a blood bought, born again child of the living God.  We should recognize the fruit in other believers, and praise God for it.  Granted, few of us know Pence personally and are not ‘in-the-know’ when it comes to his daily walk with Christ.  But that isn’t the issue.  There are numerous people we don’t know personally, whose testimonies we wouldn’t dare question.  Furthermore, nowhere in Scripture are we called to overly inspect the fruit of other people, so that we can search for ways to undermine their conversion.  We should be looking for elements of grace, not searching for areas where we can potentially judge.  Do not forget Romans 14:10-11: “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”  This verse should make us tremble.  Holy trembling is good for us.  It keeps us humble, and dependent on God.  Of course, this doesn’t mean we cannot offer good and honest critique of our government officials.  It does mean that we ought to be very careful how we do it……….especially when he or she loves the same Lord you do.  For this and many other reasons, I see no reason to scrutinize the idea that Mike Pence loves Jesus Christ.

The Thought Should Excite Us

This is a good thing.  In fact, it is more than a good thing.  It is a beautiful thing!  Why?  Well, besides the possibility of Mr. VP running for President in the future (can you imagine??!!), there is another big reason that Pence being a Christian is a good thing.  While I am thankful that Trump won the election, for various reasons I do not believe he knows Jesus savingly…………yet.  Why do I say ‘yet’?  Because God can do all things.  He can use Mike Pence to bring the gospel to Donald Trump.  Does this possibility not excite you?!  Does it not make you wonder what Pence is thinking?  Or if he has already planted a couple seeds with Mr. Trump?  Does it make you wonder if he is praying about the opportunity?  Or if the Spirit is stirring Pence’s heart at this very moment about how and when he will share the gospel?  If you doubt that Pence has these desires, I exhort you to check your Bible.  You may notice a certain theme that runs all the way through it.  Children of God (like our future Vice President) want other people to become children of God.  And Donald Trump is one of those other people.  Mike Pence (and us, and the angels, and God!) would rejoice if Trump were to repent of his sins and believe the gospel.  God is glorified when those who are far off are brought near by the blood of His precious Son.  Therefore, Pence has all the motivation he needs to share the gospel with Donald Trump.  People who love Jesus want other people to love Jesus too!     

What It Means for America

There is another tiny little reason it matters greatly that Pence is a Christian.  It may not be as eternally important as souls being saved.  But temporally speaking, it is very important.  And it is this: If Trump gets saved through the witness of Mike Pence, then America could only change for the better.  America would have a God-fearing man in the White House.  Can you imagine what that would look like?  Can you fathom what type of changes Trump would make to this nation?  What about the grace and humility in his voice as he makes speeches to millions of people?  And what kind of lasting impact would he have on our young people?  Oh, and how about this………Would it not give him much greater motivation to keep the promises he made about abolishing Planned Parenthood?  Hmmmm……..a lot to ponder, isn’t it?  And by no means am I suggesting that he won’t otherwise keep some of his promises.  I’m simply saying that, if he were a Christian, the conviction to be faithful to your promises would be overwhelming.  The Holy Spirit would be constantly at work within him.  His love for God would grow.  His love for family and friends would grow.  And consequently, his love for his country would grow.

Remember, Pence Wants to Please God

In other words, he wants to obey God’s commandments.  He wants to obey them always.  And when he doesn’t, he will confess and repent of those sins.  This is what Christians do.  We keep repenting, and we keep believing.  And we have an increasing desire to obey Christ.  Pence is no different.  If he has the Holy Spirit, he has many of the same desires that all of us Christians have.  Just because he is involved in politics, and has different responsibilities than we do, does not mean that he is less knowledgeable of what God requires.  In fact, it may be all the more reason for him to be in the Word constantly.  (As I mentioned earlier, he has been known to consult his Bible often)  And judging by his response to the ‘Hamilton’ cast, I have to believe that he must be in God’s Word…………often.  That kind of humility doesn’t usually come from someone who neglects the Word of God.  His fruit looks like it is growing from a good tree.

 

The Great Commission

There is one commandment Jesus gave that all Christians should know about.  It’s the one that appears at the very end of Matthew’s gospel.  And it goes like this: “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).  We know these verses as the Great Commission.  Share the gospel.  Baptize.  Teach.  Then, do it all over again.  When this happens, God is glorified.  Mike Pence is aware of this fact.  Like any Christian, Pence wants to witness to those whom God places in his inner circle.  Pence knows about the Great Commission.  And the Holy Spirit dwelling within our future Vice President will enable and compel him to share this gospel with others. Like us, he wants to impact his neighbors and co-workers.  And Donald Trump certainly qualifies as his neighbor and co-worker.  How exciting is that??

Am I Being Unrealistic?

Now, you may be thinking, “Jamie, with the country in such a place of division and moral decline, Pence has way too many other things on his mind as the Vice President of the United States!”  True, he does have many other things on his mind.  More than most of us can probably imagine.  But does this mean that he would neglect the most important things in his life?  Things like sharing the only message that can save people from their sins, and an eternity in hell.  I should hope not.  As a believer in Jesus Christ, Pence thinks about how to please God above all things.  And as I said above, when you think about God you think about His commandments.  You cannot separate the two. You think about how to love Jesus and your neighbor.  And I would submit that the kindest thing you can ever do for someone is to share the gospel with them.  So the answer is no.  It is not unrealistic to believe that God will use Mike Pence to get through to Trump.  The Holy Spirit is not limited by our small, finite minds.  We have an infinite God.  We need to be more like children, and start believing bigger things.

 

The Danger of Placing Limits on God

Do you think I’m crazy for writing this blog?  I imagine some of you will answer ‘yes’ to that question.  In fact, some of you might answer ‘yes’ regardless of whether I wrote the blog or not!  I’ll have to tackle that one another time.  But on the issue of Pence witnessing to Trump, I will let the Word of God speak.  Ephesians 3:20 states, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.”  For those of you who are skeptical, I have a question.  Is Trump getting converted beyond the scope and power of what this verse states?  Oh, and what about Jeremiah 32:27, which says, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?”  Well, is there anything too hard?  God is asking.  And we ought to be very careful when we answer that question.  We dare not get it wrong.

Love Believes and Hopes All Things

First Corinthians 13:7 states, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  Love believes that Mike Pence really cares about the souls of lost people, one of whom could be our next President.  Believing all things means that we don’t just believe that the Holy Spirit is doing a mighty work in the heart of the Vice President-elect.  It means we believe that God will ‘do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.’  It means we rejoice in the hope that another sinner (Donald Trump) gets converted, and God is glorified.  The angels in heaven rejoice when this happens. (Luke 15:7)  We ought to do the same.

Love believes that the Spirit will work in the life of Mike Pence, to stir up his heart to share the Good News with Donald Trump.  And also to challenge the President if his profession of faith does not match up with his behavior.  This will not be an easy task for Mr. Pence.  We must be praying for him, as well as all other Christians involved in politics.  If we feel a tremendous weight to get the gospel to our co-workers, should we expect it to be any less with government workers?

Love believes that the Holy Spirit will work mightily inside government offices throughout the United States.  And that includes the White House over the next four years!  Just what if the Spirit of God were to enter the heart of the man who will be in the Oval Office very soon?!  The end result: A God fearing man leading his wife, family, and nation!  Wow.

The Power of God

I am thankful that Donald Trump won the presidential election.  He is the President-elect.  But that won’t get him into heaven.  That won’t forgive his sins.  He can’t be voted into God’s Kingdom, even if the population and the Electoral College say so.  To get into heaven, he must be God’s elect.  We don’t know if he is elect of God, and neither does Mike Pence.  But there is one thing I believe Mike Pence does know, and it is this: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”  Preach it, Mr. VP!!!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! If you enjoy my articles, you can subscribe to this blog by email. It’s free!  And no spam at all! Simply find the box that says “Stay In Touch!!” and enter your email address. The box will be on your upper right (computer), or bottom part of your screen (phone). I appreciate your support!  (-:

 

 

 

 

 

 

What If YOUR Dirt Were Dug Up During An Election?

 

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Imagine if you ran for President?  What forbidden pleasures would they find from your past?  Or your present, for that matter.  What would you do if millions found out some of the worst things you’ve ever said, either in public or in private?  Scary, isn’t it?  What if the public saw some of the most immoral places you’ve ever visited, either physically or online?  How horrifying would that be?  People you currently associate with, and people from your distant past………they would all know about what you did, what you said, and where you went.  Admittedly, if someone publicly displayed the worst statement I ever made, I could never run for President…………because I would leave the country.  I would be too embarrassed to stay.  And the last time I checked, you have to actually live in the United States to be the President.  So there is no hope for me to ever make it to the Oval Office (someone please shout ‘Amen’ here).  The pain and embarrassment of my past wouldn’t be worth the power and notoriety that come with being President.  I’ve heard too much horror about public shaming to ever willingly walk into it.

Better to Deal With Our Own Dirt

Public figures, especially politicians, are easy targets.  There will always be something exposed in their life that will make you feel better about yours.  If they are the opposing party, the media will make sure they always look really bad.  And often times, trying to defend themselves only makes things worse.  I’m not saying they are innocent of everything that is said about them.  I’m saying that, no matter who they are or what kind of life they lead, they will always be slandered to one degree or another.  It is just part of the game when you are in the public eye day after day.  It happens to Donald Trump.  It happens to Hillary Clinton.  It would happen to you too.  This is one reason why it is not healthy to consistently harp on the sins of others.  Because if this pattern of ‘harping’ continues, you’ll start to look at everyone you meet through a fault-finding lens.  If you are on this road, take a detour now.

How Close to Danger Are You?

So what is the evidence that you may be in danger of this?  Well, for one, how do you speak about others when they are not with you?  When you think of our unconverted leaders, do you criticize them more than you pray for them?  Do you mostly have words of grace, or judgment?  What about the social media threads that you find yourself commenting on?  Do you comment on those specific threads because it makes you look better, or because you truly want to edify and protect the body of Christ?  Do you comment more on threads that allow you to be gracious, or the ones where everyone is pointing fingers and pronouncing judgment?  What about the poking fun and sarcasm?  Is this more enjoyable than lifting people up?  If you enjoy tearing others down, and always pointing out their faults, you have a serious spiritual deficiency.  Remember,  when you die, God is not going to judge you based on how you compare to Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.  He will judge you according to His perfect holy standard.

Redirect Your Eyes

Take your eyes off of Donald Trump for just a few moments.  I realize it’s so hard to do that when the media keeps pounding away on every single thing he says and does.  Not only that, but we are constantly reminded of all the bad things he ever said and did in the past.  Even though the election is over, and Trump is the President-Elect, the dirt digging continues.  Granted, much of what he has said deserves to be brought into the light and examined.  And some of it should be outright condemned.  But I’ve noticed that some people are over-fascinated with his faults.  Some just have a beef with everything he does, and want to paint him as the worst lowlife to ever win a presidential election.  Many people are just watching and waiting for him to screw up……and then of course, to let everyone on Facebook know just how “right” they were about not voting for him.  It would be foolish to deny that this kind of thing is happening almost daily on social media.  Not everyone is guilty, but some definitely are.  Sadly, it is becoming normative to slander Trump, his family, and anyone that works with him.  This approach isn’t working.  Just take a look at the news.  These are some sad days for the stars and stripes.  There is a much better way to deal with all of this.

Slander Is Not Holy

The attitudes described above are not Christian.  Exodus 22:28 states, “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.”  Pretty clear text.  And no, I am not condoning the sins that Trump has committed.  I am simply saying that God is His Judge, and this obsession with his sins has got to stop. There is a serious warning here: a warning that we dare not miss as ChristiansWe can become distracted from our own sinfulness (and need to repent), by being more distracted over the sin of others, especially when we dislike that other person.  And when we are too distracted from our own need to repent, we forget about how much we need Jesus every moment of every day.  And sin goes unchecked in our Christian walk.  Self-righteousness is not far away when this kind of thinking prevails.  A skewed view of the cross is also not far away.  We are a train wreck waiting to happen.

Be Careful of Holier-Than-Thou

Most unconverted men aren’t that different from Donald Trump.  Not true you say?  Guys, especially those of you who were saved later in life (like me), let’s be honest.  What if some of your past interactions with women were exposed to the general public?  You know…….the workplace flirting?  Your time at the bars and clubs?  The gym?  Oh, and what about all the text messages and “private” chats you had?  How would you feel if any of these messages were shown on the Nightly News?  What about the next time you have dinner with your family?  Would you be able to look your sister in the eye?  I don’t know about you, but I would be mortified if some of my conversations were recorded and played back to the general public.  The shame would be unbearable.

Sexual Idolatry

It is really scary just how the unregenerate male mind works.  For most unsaved men, sex is his god…….or at least one of his primary gods.  It’s usually what drives him.  It’s what he thinks about.  And when your heart is filled with the god of sex, the overflow comes out in conversations with attractive women.  It is a sickening, but accurate, reality.  Donald Trump certainly went too far in his recording.  No question, bragging about groping women is wicked.  But let’s be honest men.  Most of us have been guilty of objectifying women in one way or another.  Our sin is deserving of God’s wrath too.  In our pre-Christian days, we often treated women as though they exist for our pleasure alone.  Aren’t you glad they never put you on a hot mic?

Before Coming to Christ

When I think back on how I lived before I came to Christ, it really scares me.  And it scares me even more to think about what I would have become……had God not so graciously intervened.  But remembering how bad I was also helps me to appreciate Jesus even more.  And for this reason, we ought to stop with the constant focus on the sins of Donald Trump.  If we continue to talk about all of his faults, we are playing the ever dangerous “comparison game.”  And when you play that game, you never appreciate the cross of Christ.  What you appreciate is how good you are compared to others.  If these thought patterns continue, they will destroy your peace.  The Christian life will never be lived out with sacrificial love toward others.  It’ll be lived out with a constant eye on the behavior of others, whether they are in the White House, or in your small group at church.  You’ll get more pleasure out of observing than serving.  Please don’t go there.

Ladies, Have You Been Guilty?

Ladies, it is difficult for me to say this, but it does need to be addressed.  While I admit that Trump has been a womanizer in the past, and it is easy for us to paint him as an evil pervert, I must ask this question: Hasn’t Christ forgiven you of sexual sins?  Can you claim any righteous superiority over him?  Think for a moment.  Have you done anything to contribute to the hyper-sexualized culture we find ourselves in?  Anything at all?  What if pictures you put up on a dating site, or social media account, went viral publicly during an election season?  Did you ever send any racy pics to the opposite sex?  If it ever came out that you did, how shameful and horrifying would that be for you?  I mean, most everyone you know would see them!  You know that “hole” that was created when your past dirt was dug up?  It would now be time to crawl into that same hole and never come back out.

The Very Thought Of It Should Make You Blush

Imagine this.  You’re a woman in the midst of campaigning for a prestigious government office.  One day, you’re sitting in your living room watching CNN.  You want to see how well you’re doing in the polls.  You want to hear what your opponent is currently saying about you.  And then, all of a sudden, there it is……..on your TV screen.  It is a video of you from 10 years ago, before you met Jesus.  Needless to say, your spring break outfit is shockingly immodest.  And you are chugging a beer as you speak.  Your drunkenness is painfully obvious to everyone.  You may not even remember the day the video was taken.  You probably don’t remember who those men are standing next to you.  But now, because of that one crazy weekend years ago with your friends, millions of people now stereotype you as a drunken, promiscuous flirt.  And you are publicly shamed for it.  Worst of all, there is nothing you can do about it.  Apparently an old boyfriend you broke up with now wants revenge.  He found this picture and now wants to make life miserable for you.  He finds joy in it.  And as wrong as that is, people will stoop to such nastiness in a fallen world………with almost no guilt whatsoever.  Does this hypothetical scenario frighten you?  Does it soften your heart a bit more toward those in the public eye?  Does it make you appreciate Jesus more for all that he has forgiven you?

We Are Not Better Than Trump, or Hillary

We all think we are though.  But Christian, please listen to me.  This is such a dangerous place to be.  Believe me, I was there and it is not a good place.  After the infamous recording played (of Trump bragging about groping women), I remember thinking how superior I was when it came to my treatment of women.  I was comparing myself to Trump, and was so proud of myself for supposedly coming out on top.  But God’s Word is powerful!  Romans 12:3 states, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”  And Scripture also says, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).  It would be good to keep these passages stored in our hearts.

The Solution

As my web page title states, let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus!  Not on Trump’s sins, and not on Hillary’s sins.  All that will accomplish is making you feel more superior to others.  And that will eventually drive a wedge between you and Jesus.  And that is something you simply cannot afford.  Keep your eyes on that precious cross, and you will have no desire to keep them fixed on the White House.  And just to clarify, not all of you are guilty to the degree I am warning about.  I am speaking in general terms here.  But those of you who are guilty of building yourself up at the expense of others’ public shame, you ought to repent.  Because at that moment, your soul is likely in more danger than either Trump or Hillary.

God knows all of your dirt.  All of your filth.  And yet, if you are in Christ, it has all been washed away.  He will never dig it up and expose it.  He will never publicly shame you for your dirt.  Jesus underwent all of that public shame for you……..directly in your place.  Praise His Holy Name!!  And keep your eyes fixed on our glorious King!!

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Millennials Won’t Be Won With Sarcastic Memes

 

Playful Banter Can Be Really Fun

I am a sucker for a good meme.  I readily admit it.  Especially when it comes to sports memes.  As a fan of the Dallas Cowboys (oops…… just lost a few readers already), I am often the recipient of many……….let’s just say “mildly to majorly” sarcastic memes.  But among guys this is understood to be normal behavior when it comes to the NFL.  We know that we are just joking with one another, having some fun banter back and forth.  I have a co-worker who is a diehard Redskins fan, and occasionally we exchange a funny sports meme………..trying to playfully (or painfully) outdo one another.  And, of course, to make sure he knows that I am right about the Cowboys…….ahem…… winning it all this year.  That’s the other important reason.  Anyway………it’s fun competition.  And as long as it doesn’t get nasty or aggressive, it is just part of being a sports fan.  Certainly, not everyone who enjoys football exchanges these memes, but most of the people who participate mean no harm at all.  We need a good laugh sometimes.  We cannot take ourselves so seriously all the time, especially when it comes to sports.  Big games come and go.  Champions celebrate one year, and are dethroned the next.  Teams often have memorable seasons, and then are all but forgotten in a few years.  Chicago Cubs fans probably would not agree with me on the “forgetting” part.  They may be the exception for the moment.  By the way, congratulations on the win!

Our Audience Is Always Watching

However, sometimes we are not talking about the trivial nature of a person’s favorite sports team.  Sometimes we are talking about reaching people for Jesus Christ.  We are talking about building relationships with people who need their sins to be forgiven.  We are talking about becoming all things to all men (1 Corinthians 9:22).  We are talking about reflecting the character of Christ in all that we do (Matthew 5:16).  We are talking about putting others needs ahead of our own agenda (Philippians 2:3-4).  Although I am very conservative politically, I have liberal friends whom I love.  In fact, I love both groups.  And I have disagreements with both sides on various issues.  But if I disagree with them, I want to do it Biblically.  I don’t want to hurt them or cause them stress.  I don’t want to make fun of them.  This is not the way of Christ.  Remember, people are always watching.  Whether you realize it or not, people look at your posts.  Your family sees them.  Your co-workers see them.  People at your church see them.  Millennials see them.  Are you being careful about what they see you posting?  Are you thinking through your comments on other people’s threads?  Even if what you post is correct factually, how is your tone behind it all?  Do they see love, or do they see one–upmanship?  And please, no jokes about “safe places” here.  I know you were tempted. 

But Millennials Are Being Unrighteous!

No, only some of them are.  Not every protester is being violent, and it is wrong to present all of them that way.  In fact, not all of the protesters are even Millennials.  Some are X-ers (my age group).  And some may even be Boomers…….I don’t know.  The point is this: We should be careful not to paint with a broad brush when pointing out the faults of specific people.  It is unfair to classify all millennials as liberal protesters who are angry that they didn’t get their way.  Or even worse, to present them all as flag burning cry babies is without excuse.  Does that describe some of them?  Sure.  But all of them?  No, of course not.  The violence on the streets is being committed by wicked people of all different ages.  Age is not the problem.  The human heart is the problem.  And it is as much of a problem for millennials as it is for baby boomers.  Let’s swallow our pride and be honest.  Some millennials just want to be heard like anyone else.  Some of them are feeling very scared right now, and are trying to discern how to best express themselves lawfully.  Many of them are very respectful.  And this one might hurt a bit, but it needs to be said: Gen X-ers (myself included) and Baby Boomers could learn a lot from some millennials.  And don’t forget, some millennials are your brothers and sisters in Christ.  Be careful of stereotypes.  They hurt.  They hurt really bad sometimes.

Image result for peaceful millennials protesting imagesA Hindrance to the Gospel

That meme you post could offend some Christian’s best friend in college.  Ya know, that unsaved friend that they have been witnessing to for the last 2 years!  Do you think it could hinder the work that they’ve done thus far, when that person (either the Christian or their unsaved friend) sees professing believers posting sarcastic memes about their age group on Facebook?  You bet it hinders the work!  More than you can imagine.  And yes, God is sovereign and He is not going to lose any of His elect.  I get that.  But that theology is no excuse for us to throw stumbling blocks in the faces of our young people.  Our actions on social media (or anywhere else for that matter), have a ripple effect on other Christians.  We are supposed to be an example to young Christians…….an example worth imitating.  Not an example for them to be embarrassed about.  Not an example that ruins their evangelistic labors on their college campus.  And our behavior certainly has a ripple effect on how the lost view us.  If millennials view us as sarcastic and unfeeling toward them, why should we expect God to bless our evangelism?  The Bible shows us a better way: the way of Christ!  He didn’t marginalize or mock people when He reached out to them.  He simply loved them and told them the Good News that He came to deliver them from their sins.  Praise His Name!!

The Golden Rule

Even if some of them are protesting, but they are doing it peacefully and not causing any harm to others, is this wrong?  No, they have the right to protest, as long as they are peaceful about it.  So, let us be careful not to misrepresent others, especially when we link them with people who are committing crime on the street.  It is unfair, and quite frankly, slanderous to even imply that all unsaved millennials are trouble makers.  Imagine if they associated us with the worst behavioral examples of our generational age group?!  I would hate to be stereotyped that way!  You know the command of Christ as well as I do.  I am preaching to myself here, as much as I am to you my fellow believers.  Jesus said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)  If we don’t want millennials to stereotype us in an unflattering way, then why on earth would we do it to them?  The Apostle Paul said, “Love believes all things.”  He meant that we ought to give people the benefit of the doubt, not assume the worst about them.  Stereotyping assumes the worst.  Love does not.

Use Social Media Wisely

Social media can be a dangerous place.  Why?  Because people are watching.  Millennials are watching.  Are you being careful about what they see you posting?  Lately, I have written a lot about our use of social media as Christians.  Since we spend so much time on that medium, we ought to give due diligence to doing it right………as best we can by God’s grace.  So before you post that meme, think……..think hard.  If you poke fun at the “Me” generation, what will it say about you?  What will millennials think about youMore importantly, what will they think about that gospel you keep posting about?  Ya know, the message about Jesus that invites people to come to Him if they are weary and heavy laden.  Ya know, the message that you once posted about 10 minutes after the meme showing a twenty-something college woman crying on campus after she found out Hillary lost.  Will that meme further conversation about the cross, or will it end it altogether?  Think before you post.  Think long and think hard.  What is funny to us is often anything but funny to our larger, possibly unsaved, audience.

Memes Are Not Always Sinful

No, they are not.  In and of itself, a meme is neither righteous nor sinful.  They are neutral.  Often they can be a source of good clean fun!  They make us laugh.  And laughter is commended in Scripture, when the humor is of a good sort.  Memes are great.  Use them when appropriate.  Pray for discernment though.  Because knowing when it is appropriate to use a specific meme requires wisdom.  And we lack that big time.  But God has an infinite abundance of it.  Ask Him.  We don’t always get it right.  But He does.  And when we fail on social media, turn to Him in repentance.  He also has an infinite supply of forgiveness, love, and grace.  He will forgive you, and His Spirit will guide you when you are ready to click that all-important “Post” button.

So Christians, if any of these sinful traits describe you, be very careful.  I pray that, by God’s grace, we would begin to mortify our thoughtless sarcasm and biting humor.  Love is much better than that.  Remember, all people are created in God’s image, no matter what generation they belong to.

And on that note, I need to get to work on something very important.  The Cowboys are playing the Ravens this weekend, and I have nothing to send their fans yet.

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The 33 “What Ifs” Of NOT Voting For Donald Trump

 

Image result for what if images 


Oh hindsight, precious hindsight.  A couple weeks ago, I wrote an Open Letter to James Dobson and any Christians who are going to vote for Trump.  In the letter, I basically said that it is time for everyone to stop endorsing him.  And I listed several reasons for this.  Everything from his debauched recording, to his inciting violence at his rallies, the wrong message we’d be sending, a hypocritical attitude toward Bill Clinton, and on and on I went.  I have since deleted the letter.  Why, you ask?

Because, after watching the 3rd debate (and hearing Hillary clarify her radical pro-choice agenda), and then seeing a brief clip of a partial birth abortion, something started to really scare me.  And it still scares me.  And it is this: What if I am wrong about the election and I am leading other people astray?  And what if this leading people astray caused more babies to die in the womb?  And just what if…….well, you’ll see in a few moments what I mean.  This isn’t about a guilt trip being laid on you or anyone else.  It’s about a very real possibility that none of us dare take lightly.  When you write an Open Letter on a blog post, it has the chance to influence others.  And it could be influencing others to do something that is wrong.  In other words, it could have devastating consequences.

It’s one thing if I sit out the election because my conscience dictates that it is the right thing for me to do.  It is quite another to try to sway other people’s consciences to match my own.  Not voting for Trump might be the wrong thing to do.  Every Christian has an opinion on it.  Some of the most respectable men I know (famous and not famous) are voting for him.  And, of course, some are not.  But if  failing to vote for him is the wrong thing to do, then exhorting others on a public blog to not vote for him would be even worse.  If my ship is sinking, and I drown because I fail to grab a lifeboat, it is my own fault and I deal with the consequences for myself only.  However, if that same ship goes down, and I convince everyone else not to grab a lifeboat, I have done something inexcusable.  I included them in my foolish behavior, and the results are tragic.

I may be a small time blogger.  My reach may not be much.  But if I am wrong about the election, I don’t want to agitate the matter any more than I already have.  Anytime you blog, regardless of the topic, there is potential to have an impact on people’s thoughts.  Words are always powerful.  It makes no difference how big or how small your audience is.  I can’t change the fact that I wrote and published the letter.  But I can control whether I continue to post it, and I chose to delete it.  However, damage has already been done.  Oh how that “Publish” button can be such a temptation sometimes!

Ya know, it scares me to think that Al Gore lost the 2000 election because of a mere 537 votes in the state of Florida!!  That difference could have been the result of one single article telling people to vote for George W. Bush insteadWho knows??  We are talking about only 537 votes here people!

With that said, here are my 33 “What Ifs?” of the 2016 Presidential Election.  Keep in mind that they are just “What Ifs.”  I am not declaring that every single one is absolute truth.  And even the ones that are definitely true, I am not saying that you should vote for Trump simply because they are true.  I’m just asking the question: By not voting for Trump, could you be wrong?  Is your judgment faulty?  Are you really listening to those who disagree with you, or is pride standing in the way?  Have you failed to answer the most important questions about this election?  Or, even worse, have you purposely avoided answering them?  And what will be the final consequences of your choice?  That’s all I’m saying here.  These are just some things I want us all to ponder over, dialogue about (graciously please), and maybe inform our consciences a bit more.  The “Big Day” is less than two weeks away!  So let’s cut to the chase………

    The 33 Scary What Ifs of Election 2016

 

1. What if I am wrong about what God wants Christians to do in this election?

 
2.
What if there really will be 3 or more Supreme Court Justices that will be appointed over the next 8 years?

 
3. What if Trump keeps his promise and brings in more conservative Justices?

 

4. What if more babies die because of the Supreme Court Justices that Hillary brings in?

 

5. What if sitting out the election (or voting 3rd party) means that we are helping Partial-Birth Abortion become more of a common practice?

 

6. What if saying “Trump is a liar and won’t carry out his promises” completely avoids having to give a real answer to question #3?

 

7. What if Christians are making a good logical argument when they say they are not voting for Trump, but simply his platform and policies?

 

8. What if some of those policies ended up saving the lives of babies who would have otherwise died if Hillary got elected?

 

9. What if it’s 100% logical for a Christian to say “We know for a fact Hillary’s agenda will cause more babies to die, but at least Trump is promising to do differently. It’s better to go with one who promises good than one who promises evil”?

 

10. What if Hillary means business when she says that the fetus has no constitutional rights, and  that Roe v. Wade will never be overturned as long as she’s in office?

 

11. What if using Old Testament texts that talk about “appointing” leaders is not the exact equivalent of “electing” a leader when you only have 2 legitimate choices?

 

12. What if saying “God can work through Hillary just as easily as Trump” is not a sufficient reason to deny Trump our vote?

 

13. What if, after Hillary gets elected, she starts ramping up her LGBT support more than ever, and our Free Speech and ability to legally share the gospel becomes a thing of the past?

 

14. What if the “new” Supreme Court Justices, along with the 5 liberals we already have, receive a marriage case regarding polygamy or incest in the next 4-8 years?

 

15. What if our “non-vote for Trump” causes the “new” Supreme Court to allow a man to marry 3 women at once?

 

16. What if another parent/child incestuous ‘marriage’ case happens like it did earlier this year, and it goes all the way to the Supreme Court……..and it’s Hillary’s Supreme Court?

 

17. What if saying “Character matters in a leader” over and over again won’t do your conscience any good after Hillary is elected and Partial Birth Abortion ends up being common practice in the United States?

 

18. What if saying “That will NEVER happen!” is the same thing everyone said about ‘gay marriage’ 15 years ago?

 

19. What if it’s hypocritical to say “One should never punish the baby for the sins of the father” when it comes to rape, and then turn around and actually punish the baby for the sins of the candidate, when it comes to voting?

 

20. What if that lewd recording just gives us an easy distraction for avoiding the truth about Trump’s far better Platform and Policies?

 

21. What if Mike Pence (who most Christians believe is born again) were to have a great influence on Donald Trump’s character and his policies?

 

22. What if Tim Kaine were to have no such influence on Hillary Clinton?

 

23. What if we had loved ones who lived in Texas near the border of Mexico, and members of a terrorist group (or a drug cartel) got through the checkpoint rather easily because of Hillary’s Open Border policy?

 

24. What if one way of doing for “the least of these” includes voting for  the candidate who promises to be the most pro-life?

 

25. What if saving the life of just one baby made voting for Trump all worth it?

 

26. What if Trump supporters are not compromising (as many Never Trumpers say), but are just trying to do the right thing in a very difficult, less-than-ideal situation?

 

27. What if the next generation of kids grows up in a world where they can never speak their minds about Jesus, marriage, gender, etc………….lest they are charged with a hate crime?

 

28. What if more of our brothers and sisters in Christ lose their cake baking and photography businesses because their 1st Amendment rights have almost ceased to exist, all because of Hillary’s relentless progressive agenda?

 

29. What if the government tries to force our beloved pastors to marry gay people in their churches……..all because of a precedent set by Hillary’s “new” Supreme Court?

 

30. What if Benghazi and those 33,000 e-mails are a Warning Sign of potentially far worse things to come?

 

31. What if the FBI’s most recently discovered evidence against Hillary
Clinton is further evidence that we should do everything we can to make sure Trump wins?

 

32. What if the fact that the Supreme Court is now taking up transgender ‘school bathroom’ cases is also further evidence that we need anybody but Hillary?

 

33. What if you had a daughter in the public school system, and then it did matter to you?

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20 Dangerous Temptations For Christians During Election Season

Image result for election 2016 sign

 

I watched it all.  Wow, there was a lot of past sins brought up during the debate the other night, wasn’t there?  Both candidates couldn’t wait to dish out some dirt on their opponent!  Hillary accuses Trump of financial misdeeds and past racism.  Trump reminds everyone about Hillary’s e-mail scandal, and is shocked when she refers to it as a “mistake.”  His words were “You did it purposely!”  OUCH.  But of course, she returned the favor later on…..by bringing up his past misogyny.

There was also a lot of sinning that took place during the debate. It was very easy to spot, wasn’t it?  Almost too easy.  Both of them being prideful, while defending themselves against every past wrongdoing.  Trump cuts off Hillary before she finishes, nearly shouting in the process.  She returns the favor.  The moderator Lester Holt gets interrupted…………AGAIN!!  Hillary displays a prideful smile when the camera closes in.  Trump has, what looks to be, an angry face as he waits to answer.  You didn’t have to go looking for sin that night.  It nearly jumped through our TV screens.  Is it just me, or did it seem like a couple of schoolyard boys at recess tattling to get the other kid in trouble?!  And then, not letting the other kid finish his sentences, lest more incriminating evidence come out!  It was indeed very surreal at times.  In fact, Time Magazine counted 84 total interruptions of the current speaker during the 90 minute debate, 55 of them by Trump.  Accusation, defense, interruption.   Another accusation, followed by another defense, and of course, another interruption!  That night was proof that the Bible is 100% accurate about sinful human nature.

 

Image result for 2016 trump hillary debate images

 

Oh……..but there is another place we can look for that proof.  We don’t need to turn on a debate to find sin.  We need only to look inside.  And we don’t need to have a controversial election going on to find sin inside of us either.  Elections don’t make Christians sin.  Neither does Facebook, Twitter, or the cafeteria at our workplaces.  But these events and situations often reveal the sin already inside of us.  It’s just there…..always.  Well, at least until we die or our Savior returns.  James says that “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15)  Sin emanates from within, not without.

I am aware that there is a such thing as righteous indignation.  I also believe that wise and beneficial critique about the election (and even particular candidates) is needed, so that we might be informed enough to make good choices.  I also believe in healthy, kind, and patient debate among Christians. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)  These are all good things.  However, we must be constantly aware of a couple biblical truths (truths that we too often ignore): 1. The devil is real, and he has come to “steal and kill and destroy”  and 2. We have hearts that are weak and deceptive. (see Jeremiah 17:9)  Satan can take good things and twist them for evil purposes.  Let us be mindful of his schemes before we are overtaken.  And we can just as easily deceive ourselves.  Remember: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” (Proverbs 22:3)  Seek refuge in the Lord……..not just after the temptation hits you like a ton of bricks, but before it even approaches you.  Be ready.  Be watchful.  Be humble.  And be encouraged always with this: “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

On the flip side, if you believe that you have no need to listen to others viewpoints, or that you are the only one who can give out that wise and beneficial critique, or that you have no danger of any temptations during this election season, then this would be a good time to bail out of reading this post.  It will not help you.  But if you’re like me, and need to fight hard against pride and misplaced trust, then please read on.

Christians fight all kinds of temptations every single day.  But during election season (especially the Presidential election), we are more susceptible to certain sins.  I’ve noticed it in my own heart and- from the conversations I observe among other believers- this may be a problem for some of you also.  For each temptation, I give one or two Scriptural warnings beneath.  There are obviously many more that could be added.  But most of these are pretty self-explanatory.  And to keep this from being 10 pages long, I decided to show mercy on you and keep it shorter!  The list is not ranked in any kind of specific order.  I listed them as each were laid on my heart.  So……let’s get to it.

During election season, Christians are more tempted to………… 


1. Argue…….a lot!

The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out. (Proverbs 17:14)

As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. (Proverbs 26:21)

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (James 4:1-3)


2. Become overly anxious that our particular candidate might not win

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)


3. Run to Facebook or other Social media for comfort, WHEN we become anxious (for more on this issue, go
here)

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3)

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. (Psalm 20:7)


4. Become too prideful that we (as individuals) have all the right convictions about who the best candidate is (if any are chosen at all)

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them. (Proverbs 26:12)


5. Not listen to others counsel because we are so caught up in the fact that we already have the “correct” opinion

Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. (Proverbs 13:10)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)


6. Become foolish (for the same reason as #5)

Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them. (Proverbs 26:12)

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. (Proverbs 3:7)


7. Speak evil against a future ruler  (I’m not referring to honest, biblical critique here, but the negative, slanderous, anger induced rants that do not have everyone’s best interest at heart)


“You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.” (Exodus 22:28)

Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king, nor in your bedroom curse the rich, for a bird of the air will carry your voice, or some winged creature tell the matter. (Ecclesiastes 10:20)


8. Speak evil to, or about, other believers who disagree with you (whether by mouth, text, or social media)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)

Jesus said, “I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak.” (Matthew 12:36)

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20)


9. Think that
 we are so much better (either politically or morally) than the candidates we don’t like

Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (Romans 12:3)


10. Speak too much about our opinions.  This temptation is especially dangerous if we have any kind of platform, like a ministry, social media account, or……..AHEM………a blog

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. (Proverbs 10:19)

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. (Proverbs 17:28)

 

 

11. Forget that God is sovereign no matter who wins, and that His purposes will be accomplished

Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. (Psalm 135:6)

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (Romans 13:1 … emphasis mine)


12. Forget that this world, as it is now under the curse and largely in rebellion to Christ, is NOT our final home

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more……………….He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1,4)


13. Spend way too much time trying to persuade others, that we neglect the more important matter of spending enough time in God’s Word

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:15-17)


14. Lose our joy and contentment

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Philippians 4:12)

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. (Psalm 94:19)


15. Love winning more than we love Jesus

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8)


16. Place too much reliance upon man, instead of God

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. (Psalm 118:8)


17. Become thankless complainers

Do all things without grumbling or disputing  (Philippians 2:14)

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)


18. Talk more to other people about the candidates, instead of praying to God on their behalf

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. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)


19. Become blinded to the more important and immediate needs of your local church, and sharing the gospel with the lost

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10)

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” (Romans 1:16-17)


20. Think too much about temporal, non-spiritual matters….and not enough about eternal, spiritual things

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. (Psalm 119:97)

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)

 

** A Final Word of Encouragement **

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. (Revelation 21:3)

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5 Reasons Why Your Facebook Manners Are More Important Than Your Vote

 

What you say and how you say it is more important than who you end up voting for.  Who you end up  voting for is a matter of conscience, and reasons will vary from person to person.  I will talk about all that in a few moments.  But rudeness in speech, or writing, is a  violation of God’s law.  Lack of self-control is a work of the flesh and not the Spirit.  When we fail to love others, it misrepresents God’s holy character to other Christians……and to the world.  In other words, the love we show to others when we communicate carries more weight in Heaven than the time we spend inside the polling booth.  And besides, you’ll spend way more time doing one than the other. 

I am speaking about your rhetoric here.  According to Wikipedia, rhetoric is defined as “the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the capability of writers or speakers to inform, most likely to persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations.”  We use it more often than we realize.  Some days it’s constant.  Other days not so much.  But ultimately, we can’t get away from situations where we need to use words to persuade others in some way.

When you are gone from this earth, people will still remember your  words…….especially words that had either a positive or negative impact on them.  But most people won’t get into the ins and outs of who you voted for.  Life and death are in the power of the tongue, says Proverbs, not in the power of your vote.  Yes, who we vote for is important, and I recognize that.  But there is something far more valuable that looks to be a blind spot amongst some Christian social media users.  God has recently shown me my blind spot, or at least one of them!  And had He not shown me, I may have alienated one of the best guys I know with my prideful and ill-timed rhetoric.  It isn’t too late for me, or any of you.  With the election still nearly 3 months away, we have time to make strides in our social media sanctification.  This isn’t to say that everyone on social media is guilty.  But I have seen a pattern, both on Facebook and the Blogosphere.  I have seen it now in my own heart.  The last one took the longest for me to notice.

And let’s be real here.  Not one Christian has all the right answers on this political stuff.  The minute we think we’ve made the greatest argument for our candidate (or non-candidate if you’re not voting), the chair gets pulled from under us and someone comes up with a rebuttal that we simply cannot refute.  Of course, in many cases our pride will surely make an attempt to refute it.  We often do this even when we know we’ve lost.  (Married men, you know what I’m talking about!  We are guilty as charged.)  And even after our pride miserably fails, and we know we can’t refute someone, we will google search to see the best responses others have come up with.  And if google has nothing, we’ll youtube it.  That way, we have a ready arsenal to strike down the latest aggressor against our “perfect” political opinions.

In some ways, this year’s election is a lot like the last one…….and the one before that.  We have two primary candidates, and a few third party candidates as well.  Christians went to that all important forum to voice their most highly prized opinions: social media.  What’s wrong with that?  Nothing.  Social Media can be a great tool.  Notice I said it can be a great tool.  But just like a hammer, it can either be used to build up, or to destroy.  I have seen everything from questioning people’s salvation because of who they are voting for, to the prevalence of the “why I’m right and everyone else is wrong” attitude, to outright anger and vitriol directed toward any disagreeing parties.

This subject has been on my heart a very long time.  But I kept putting it off thinking that things would get better.  I thought the day would come when I would jump on Facebook and see well-organized political debates saturated with kind, humble rebuttals up and down my news feed.  It never happened though.  But something else happened that I really did not see coming: my own sin was exposed. I involved myself in a dispute with a brother who loves Christ more than most people I know. In attempting to defend my political choices, I offended him instead.  I place the blame on myself.  He is too godly to allow me to do that though, so he ended up apologizing to me as well.  I entered the debate trying to break his reasoning down.  I wanted to show everyone on that post just how clever my argument was.  Clever, maybe.  But hidden in so much pride and defensiveness that no one would have noticed anyway.

Brothers and sisters, do not let this get the best of you.  Watch out for the evil one here, because he is out to devour you and your friendships in Christ.  And believe me, if he can do that, he doesn’t care one bit whether Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or a Third Party candidate wins.  He is more interested in getting you to demean others on your way to the polling booth.  He is more interested in getting you to craft that perfect sarcastic response to someone in your Facebook comments.  People, I fell victim to this recently.  By God’s grace, things have been made right with my brother.  But this is a warning to all.  I care about how the body of Christ treats one another.  And we cannot simply blame the devil for these things.  Our hearts condemn us as well.

Christians, Scripture has much to teach us when it comes to our social media habits.  I hope and pray these points are beneficial to you.  I am only scratching the surface here, but I’m convinced it’s that important.  Why should you care so much about how you engage in Facebook debates, especially the political ones happening all the time on our newsfeeds?  For many reasons.  Here are 5 of them!

1) God will judge our words.  We will give a direct account to Him on our Judgment Day.  Jesus said, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37)  Yes, every careless, meaningless word we have ever spoke verbally, or written on blogs and social media will be brought into account.  These aren’t just words that were intended to tear people down, but words that were not used to build others up.  Ephesians 4:29 states, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”  Please……don’t play with fire on this one.  Also, read this helpful but terrifying quote from Stephen Charnock: “Can a man’s conscience easily and delightfully swallow that which he is sensible falls under the cognizance of God, when it is hateful to the eye of His holiness, and renders the actor odious to Him? . . . Temptations have no encouragement to come near him that is constantly armed with the thoughts that his sin is booked in God’s omniscience.”  You may get the best of someone on Facebook.  You may copy the best quotes into your comment section.  You may have more people agreeing with you on a particular post.  But if your words are careless, the One who has eyes like a flame of fire knows what you are doing.  So before you post that meme meant to dehumanize someone else’s favorite candidate, think about it long and hard before you click the infamous “post” button.  In fact, I say read it about 5 times before you post it!  And if you’re still unsure, have someone you love and trust read it.  Remember, if it tears someone down, it could be brought up at the Judgment.

2) Presidential terms last for only four years.  Our unity in Christ lasts forever.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  I used to wonder what this verse meant when it said the greatest is love.  Most commentators believe that love is listed as the greatest because Paul knew that faith would one day become sight.  Hope, which is our certain expectation even now, will become a reality one day.  But love will go on and on and on……………forever.   It continues into the New Heavens and New Earth.  Jesus will love us forever.  Christians will love Him forever.  And we will love each other forever.  And each Person of the Trinity will love each other Person forever and ever.  Beautiful thought, isn’t it??!!  Folks, whoever gets elected will be ousted in either 4 years, or 8 years.  Their term will come to an end.  And they too will one day come to an end.  Since love lasts forever, why not practice it now?  We’re commanded to do so.  God delights in our obedience, and so should we.

3) The world is watching.  In John 17, Jesus speaks these famous words: “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,  I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”  Very simple.  Lost people are watching us.  Jesus has told us this clearly.  In fact, I did not quote the whole section, but he says this same thing in back to back verses.  Christian, the world is watching everything you do.  They are watching you at work, when they come to your home, when they visit you at church, and when you post and comment on Facebook.  Let us make sure we are representing our Savior well.  God wants His children to show the world that we love one another.  Let’s start obeying that commandment with every part of our lives, especially when engaging in social media debates

4) Bad conversational habits lead to sinful patterns that will be hard to overcome.  Often times, we worry more about how to refute an argument than we do in listening to it.  Our objective should be to further conversation, not strike it down.  Sometimes we are planning our response as the other person is speaking.  This leads to nowhere good.  James 1:19 everyone: “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  Everyone is talking.  Everyone is writing and commenting.  But very few are listening.  And sad to say, very few are thinking before they speak.  This is not the way of Christ.  Let us be mindful of these sinful patterns.  And let us repent of them.  Otherwise, the enemy will get a foothold.  And social media is an easy place to establish bad patterns.  It is so tempting to quickly respond to someone who is not standing right next to you.  But be careful, those comments will hurt someone.  Trust me.

5) You could be wrong.  Others have just as strong convictions as you have.  Every true Christian wants to do the right thing.  And we all believe we are doing the right thing with our vote, or non-vote.  We should not think too highly of our own opinions on this election.  Why?  Well, besides the dangers of pride…….I would also say that an election that has caused so much disagreement in the body of Christ indicates that no one has this all figured out.  If it were that simple and clear-cut, then we would all be happy happy, joy joy. (some of you get that)  There are godly people on all sides of this monster.  Some are voting for Trump, some Hillary, some Third Party, and some not voting at all.  Many Christians are presenting this election as clearly a black and white issue, failing to see that there is much gray in it.  If there are godly men and women who think so differently on this election, then who are any of us to say that our arguments are definitely the best?  Can we not show grace and tolerance for others we disagree with?  We all believe we have great reasons for how we are going to vote, or not vote.  Conscience is the determining factor here.  Of course, our conscience should always be shaped by Biblical principles.  There are also other things people take into account when they vote.  Things like: their background and experiences, what their ethnicity is, their knowledge of the candidates, specific issues they believe are most important, how a particular candidate will affect other branches of government, etc., etc.  The list could be almost endless.

 

♦ A final word of hope and encouragement for those of us who have sinned.

There is abundant forgiveness in Christ!  Amen and Hallelujah!!  God is merciful and gracious.  1 John 2:1, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”  If you have sinned in your words to another Christian, or anyone for that matter, look to the cross of Jesus Christ.  There you will find cleansing.  If you believe now that meme you posted was nasty in its portrayal of your least favorite candidate, confess to God how you offended your brother or sister.  And I would even suggest you confess how you did not honor those in government positions.  We are to pray for them.  We are not to mock them with memes that are cruel and dehumanizing.  Remember, Christ died for sinners.  He will forgive you, and give you the strength to move on.  His Spirit will bring repentance to your heart.  I know how charged up politics can be sometimes.  But we must walk by the Spirit and not let our emotions rule over us.  It is not a sin to use Facebook to post about controversial issues, but God help us when we do!

Love lasts forever.  Love endures all things.  Presidential terms do not.

 

For additional help on taming the tongue, or taming the clicker on your computer mouse, here is the best sermon ever on how to use words, and how not to use them.  You can tell I am not biased at all on how good this sermon is.  Paul Tripp really nails it here.

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