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A Word of Wisdom Before You Vote

November 6, 2012 3 comments

It’s time to vote! IF you have not already voted, please take a few minutes to pray and read this post, a partial repost from the 2008 election.

In the midst of all this nonsense as this election cycle comes to a close, what should we as believers do?

1. Realize that God is firmly in control of the election.
Romans 13:1 says very clearly that no one rules unless God has given him the power to rule, and no one rules now without that power from God (NCV). This means that it is God alone who decides who will become President of these United States, and he will use our votes to make it happen. No matter who wins this election, he is the winner only because God has allowed it to be so. This should humble us who are believers and cause us to think seriously about the people God has allowed to attain public office. It should cause us to seriously pray about our vote and how God would have us use that vote to bring about his purposes.

This is not to say that if it becomes clear that God is going to allow a blasphemer such as Obama (I couldn’t get more obvious about what I think there, could I?) to assume office, that we should cast our vote for that person. What that tells me is we should vote for the candidate who most reflects God’s righteousness and justice, and if that candidate does not win, we should praise God that he has given us the perfect opportunity to proclaim his Gospel in a land that may no longer hunger and thirst for righteousness. In other words, we should become voices crying in the wilderness.

Look at the evil kings of Israel or even the foreign kings that oppressed and enslaved Israel, or even better, the Roman emperors under whom Christ and his followers were persecuted and killed. Even more clearly, Communist China! All of these were allowed to ascend to power by God alone, and those who loved righteousness and justice were to actively work to bring about those qualities in their countries. But notice how that worked – such righteousness and justice was not preached with success, as a rule, until such despotic blasphemers were allowed to rule! When all was well and good, the people ignored God’s command for holy living. Then an evil king came and solidified their unrighteousness. It was not until an unbeliever conquered the nation that the people hearkened to God’s gospel and repented. It may well be that America needs the same thing.

2. Realize that our government is working for God.
Romans 13:6 makes it clear that the government is “God’s public servants” (HCSB) and have given their time to this work. This means we should submit to those who are in public office. Submit to Obama and Biden. Submit to Romney and Ryan. Submit to your state and local senators and representatives. Don’t believe me? See Romans 13:1 again – “Everyone must submit to the governing authorities” (HCSB). Romans 13:7 tells us we should “show respect and honor to them all” (NCV).

3. Pray for our government.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 is very, very clear about this – I tell you to pray for all people, asking God for what they need and being thankful to him. Pray for rulers and for all who have authority so that we can have quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to know the truth.

Why pray for our elected officials? Romans 13:4 says that “government is God’s servant to you for good” (HCSB). Awesome. They are there to do good for us! And one thing that can be said about both candidates this election is that they are trying hard to present an agenda that they are convinced will benefit Americans. No wonder we should pray for them – we need to ask God to keep them on that path, and to show them a more excellent way!

You can’t get clearer than that, can you? Pray for Romney and Ryan. Pray for Obama and Biden. Pray for your state and local senators and representatives. The upside to doing this is huge – we will be able to live quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God! And if we are able to live this way, we will do the most we can to spread the Gospel to as many people as possible!

This past Sunday my pastor, Tim Bender preached on “Christians and Government.” In his message, he gave us Six Ways to Direct Your Vote.

1. Vote Biblical principles over Party.
Do you agree with everything the party promotes? Does the party follow biblical principles? Don’t be fooled by a platform that looks and sounds good, but directly goes against the Bible!

2. Vote Biblical principles over Pork.
Do you want to waste federal money just to help your area? Do you want to do the most good for the most people or are you just out for your local economy? Don’t be fooled by promises to help just your area!

3. Vote Biblical principles over Pocketbook.
Are you out to fatten your bank account? Or are you out to see that people who actually need help get the help they need? Remember, Scripture says money is a root of all kinds of evil. Don’t be fooled by money!

4. Vote Biblical Principles Over Person.
Are you voting for a relative, a co-worker, a friend? You have no special interest in that person that would be served by voting for them? You may know that person much better than the voters! What if this person is a chronic liar? Would you still vote for him/her simply because of your relationship? Don’t be fooled by your relationship to a person!

5. Vote Biblical Principles Over Popularity.
Are you voting for someone just because they are your idol, they’re good-looking, they’re cool, they’re awesome? Don’t be fooled by how popular a candidate is!

6. Vote Biblical Principles Over Political Speech.
Does the candidate’s personal life and political record match up? Do they really believe what they are saying? Are they “walking the talk?” Or are they just “singin’ and dancin’;” that is, saying what they need in order to get your vote? Don’t be fooled by what a person says; check their record!

When You Vote Today
Having said all that, when you vote today, I only ask that you do one thing before you enter the booth and pull the lever. Ask yourself if the people you are planning to vote for give God the most glory. If not, please, please, PLEASE re-think your vote and vote for someone else! Also, please do not waste your vote by voting for a third party candidate who has no chance of winning. That shows at worst a detachment from the reality of the situation, and at best a lack of common sense. How different could this nation have been if all those third-party votes actually went to one of the two candidates who actually had a chance to win!

I will not waste my vote on a third-party candidate, no matter how tempting it is to do so. I will not waste my vote by not voting. I will honor God by backing a candidate who has a direct chance to win, and of those who do, I will vote for the one who I am convinced by Scripture and conscience is the most God-honoring choice among them. Therefore, I am convinced for personal, common-sense, and Scriptural reasons that the most God-honoring choice this election is Mitt Romney. If he wins, to God be the glory. If he does not, to God be the glory. The Gospel will have a greater platform to be proclaimed no matter who wins, and in the end that is all that really matters!

The Day After Yesterday: A Biblical Response to the 2008 Election

November 5, 2008 6 comments

Day After Tomorrow

Today, we usher in a new age in America. Barack Obama has won the Presidency in what appears to be an electoral landslide.

I’m not going to sugarcoat anything here. This election, Americans voted into office a man who supports abortion on demand, to the degree that a baby born alive during such a procedure should be allowed to die. A man who does not believe Americans should be able to keep what they earn, preferring instead to give it to people who are already paid to sit on their butts. A man who wants to force people to buy insurance they can’t afford, simply because he believes (though this is a good and right belief) all children should be insured. A man who wants to de-fund our military and undermine the work they have already done in the Middle East. A man who will actually drive our national debt up. A man who was able to lead so many people nationwide, hearing and Deaf, into a false sense of hope.

Yes, that’s right, false hope. Most of those false hopes aren’t even of his own making, but are the direct result of a media run amuck. I was told today of a Deaf person who said they voted for Obama “because the news captioned him when he was on and didn’t caption McCain!” Many Deaf in my own city said they were supporting Obama simply on the strength of a letter his campaign sent to the National Association of the Deaf, whereas McCain did not even bother to send a letter. It was said this single letter was proof that “Obama supports Deaf.” Whether that’s true or not is easily verifiable, but hopefully you get the idea.

We can’t ignore the component of color and the significance of this moment. Though Obama is bi-racial, his self-identification as black means we have elected the first ever black president. I don’t know about you, but that means we just saw history made. This is a huge, huge development! Just over 40 years ago black people in America were a deeply oppressed minority, subject to Jim Crow and rampant discrimination. Now our President-Elect is a black man! What a gigantic leap of progress we have made as a people. May God be glorified that color is ever increasingly less important in judging a person’s character and qualifications. Barack Obama is, quite simply, created in the image of God, and that’s all we ever need to consider.

But we must consider another aspect of this election that, in my opinion, is becoming quite sinister and damning of our national, spiritual and individual character. We must consider our response to this election.

The reaction from many Democrats , Obama supporters, and left-leaning Christians has been predictable: gloating, elitism, utter disrespect and disregard for anyone who had a different opinion and vote about who should lead this country. It is almost as if they’re saying, “Anyone who would not vote for Obama is backwards, cannot think for themselves, bigoted, standing in the way of progress, and ought to move to Iran.” Yes, seriously, I’ve even heard a supporter suggest that evangelicals who don’t support Obama should move to Iran! There has been a rash of name-calling, insults, and other not-so-kind slights of character by the victors since about midnight, after an Obama victory became obvious. This kind of thinking is typical of the vocal component of the political/theological left and of some Democrats.

But the reaction from some Republicans, McCain supporters, and conservative Christians has been less than stellar. They aren’t getting off scot-free, here! Some have reacted as if The Day After Tomorrow has taken place in real-life (hence the pic opening this post). There is fear that Hell has frozen over. There is talk that moral values in America are about to experience a rapid plunge, if not an outright demise. There is rhetoric that, with this election, America is abandoning freedom for socialism. And from the less kind among these folks, there is just as much name-calling, insults, and not-so-kind slights of character towards “Obamamaniacs” and Democrats.

None of these reactions from these groups are appropriate. I tend to say, quite tongue in cheek, that the first group proves Total Depravity, and the second group proves they don’t really believe God’s in control. But all this aside, how should believers respond biblically to what happened in the 2008 election?

1. Stick to your Scriptural convictions.
Don’t give up on your firmly held beliefs. The Bible clearly says that only those who endure to the end will be saved (Matt. 10:22, 24:13; Mark 13:13; 1 Corinthians 13:7; 2 Corinthians 1:6; Hebrews 12:7). 2 Timothy 2:12 summarizes the position of Scripture here by stating that “if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us.” (ESV) If we endure this time when our nation has seemingly approved of tossing what God calls good out the window, and live righteously and justly, we will further confirm our place in the kingdom of God. And we shouldn’t endure only an Obama presidency, we must endure all things for the sake of the Gospel (1 Cor. 9:12; 2 Timothy 2:10). Go beyond enduring this new President. Endure those who ridicule you and your support of someone other than Obama. Endure those who call evil good. Endure all things so that some might be saved.

Eric Redmond, writing over at Justin Taylor’s blog (go read the whole thing), says “it is not virtuous to side with the majority because one does not wish to stand out among friends, or because one is unwilling to examine all information on an issue, or because one wants to dispense dislikes toward current leadership, in spite of righteous reasons to vote against the majority—in fact, under some circumstances, it can be a horrendous evil.” While he is speaking of how one should vote in this quote, it is equally true of how we should react to the results. Don’t abandon Scriptural convictions in the face of moral decline.

2. Be obedient to Scripture.
Remember what I wrote yesterday? Scripture is clear that we are to live in submission to our government (Romans 13:1). This means we are required to obey the laws we have elected Obama to enforce; we are required by God to pray for him (1 Timothy 2:1-2); and we are required to honor him (Romans 13:7; 1 Peter 2:13-18). Be obedient to the Bible’s commands to submit to authority.

3. Live redemptively in this new age.
If you take a serious look at the Scriptures we’ve used here in this post, there is an underlying theme that runs through the entire concept presented here. Have you noticed it yet? Here’s a hint: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) You see that? There is no law against living out #1 and #2. If you follow these first two encouragements, you ought to be displaying the fruit of the Spirit. And if you are displaying the fruit of the Spirit, who can bring accusation against you? Who can ridicule you without looking utterly stupid and foolish? Who can call you backward, bigoted, rigid, and stupid without looking like a bigot themselves? Who can say you “need to move to Iran” without making him/herself look like an intolerant idiot?

Indeed, if we are living out our obedience to God and manifesting the fruit of the Spirit, any idiot can look at you and say, “We need more Americans like that!”

And when you’ve done that, you have made absolutely sure that the only stumbling block in front of you is the Gospel itself. They have no reason to be offended by you except for the Gospel. And God has promised through his Word that some will hear and believe that Gospel.

You see, even this election result is under God’s express control, and even the election of a blasphemer to the highest office in the land can bring God glory. So what will you do? Will you work to bring God glory by how you live under an Obama presidency? Will you work to bring glory to God by how you relate to our President-Elect? Will you work to make the Gospel the only offense “Obamamaniacs” have against you? Let’s pray.

Lord, we come to you humbled by your sovereign control over all things. You have allowed Barack Obama to be voted into office. It is obvious to all that he is your man for this time. We humbly and joyfully submit to your will for America and our government. Humbly, because you alone are responsible for the authority we voted to give Obama. Joyfully, because your will has been done, and it was a history-making, barrier-shattering will; and because you are doing a new thing in our lives with this new President.

We beg of you to create in us clean hearts, O God; and to renew steadfast spirits within us. Restore to us the joy of your salvation, and take not your Holy Spirit from us. Empower your people, O Lord, to endure all things until the end, no matter how impossible we may think it is nor how evil we may believe it to be. Empower us to honor you by our conduct towards our government. Let us glorify you by submitting to Barack Obama. Let us lift up your name by lifting Obama up to you in prayer. Let us shine your light on America and the world by our obedience to the laws Obama has been selected to uphold.

Make us more like your Son Jesus Christ day by day. Make us to display the fruit of your Holy Spirit, that none may have reason to accuse us. Make us nothing before your Gospel of salvation, that our only offense may be that Gospel alone.

Finally, Lord, we beg of you to glorify yourself in this day. Glorify yourself in Barack Obama. Glorify yourself in Joe Biden. Glorify yourself in the midst of all that has happened and will happen. Glorify your name in all the earth!

In the most high and holy name of your Son Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

On the Eve of An Election

November 3, 2008 1 comment

As the 2008 Election comes to maturity this week, it is appropriate that we take a few moments to seriously consider this opportunity. Many of us will head to the polls tomorrow. Many of us will vote for John McCain. Many of us will vote for Barack Obama.

I am convinced that this election presents us with the worst choices we have ever faced. On the Republican side of things, we are faced with essentially the status quo, with a few changes that reflect that John McCain is most definitely not President Bush. On the Democratic side, we are faced with negative change, and a candidate who has consistently refused to be clear about what he really believes, talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Obama is most definitely (politically speaking) an Antichrist. He is a far, far-left Democrat, though he is not, thankfully, an extremist. He has no new ideas. All of his ideas have historically failed. He is a flat-out supporter of abortion on demand, no matter his rhetoric about wanting to reduce the number of abortions (a flat-out lie any way you slice it). He has repeatedly stated his first order of business if he gains the White House is to sign a bill into law that essentially eliminates all restrictions on abortion. His economic plan will actually put this country further in debt, a prospect which I have no desire to foist upon my daughter. He thinks children in school should be required to think homosexuality is okay. I have no intention of calling what God calls evil good, nor do I intend to teach my daughter to do the same. Further, he wants to take my hard-earned money and give it to the welfare recipient who is essentially being paid to make babies and sit on his/her butt. Incredibly, he even thinks it’s cheaper for us to buy insurance for our children. Last I checked, that’s not what Grace’s doctor bills said. He has no qualms about saying what people want to hear in order to get their support. He is even endorsed by terrorists. He doesn’t even want to finish the job in the Middle East! And that’s apparently not enough to make thinking people step back and say, “Wait a minute….”

McCain is most definitely the lesser of these two evils (and I’m getting very, very tired of this terminology). He is essentially the opposite of each of the positions I’ve given above. The only real positives of his platform are, for instance, energy independence by relying on our own resources (drill baby drill); stopping the flow of money to foreign countries that, in his words, “don’t like us very much;” a willingness to tackle the credit crisis head on (even though he hasn’t even articulated how yet); stopping handouts to businesses and corporations through tax incentives; winning in the Middle East; and so on. If not for his selection of Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate, I would have been tempted to not even bother voting for him. I’d have been tempted to waste my vote by going third party or not voting at all. He has done nothing to instill confidence in me that he has the answers our country needs.

Further, neither candidate has original ideas. They seem to be stealing and copying ideas from each other much the way cell-phone makers are stealing and copying the iPhone concept these days. They seem to be getting in a price war with each other, battling to see who can offer a bigger “tax cut” or some such economic nonsense. This is truly the worst election choice to hit America in a very long time.

So, in the midst of all this nonsense as this election cycle comes to a close, what should we as believers do?

1. Realize that God is firmly in control of the election.
Romans 13:1 says very clearly that no one rules unless God has given him the power to rule, and no one rules now without that power from God (NCV). This means that it is God alone who decides who will become President of these United States, and he will use our votes to make it happen. No matter who wins this election, he is the winner only because God has allowed it to be so. This should humble us who are believers and cause us to think seriously about the people God has allowed to attain public office. It should cause us to seriously pray about our vote and how God would have us use that vote to bring about his purposes.

This is not to say that if it becomes clear that God is going to allow a blasphemer such as Obama (I couldn’t get more obvious about what I think there, could I?) to assume office, that we should cast our vote for that person. What that tells me is we should vote for the candidate who most reflects God’s righteousness and justice, and if that candidate does not win, we should praise God that he has given us the perfect opportunity to proclaim his Gospel in a land that may no longer hunger and thirst for righteousness. In other words, we should become voices crying in the wilderness.

Look at the evil kings of Israel or even the foreign kings that oppressed and enslaved Israel, or even better, the Roman emperors under whom Christ and his followers were persecuted and killed. Even more clearly, Communist China! All of these were allowed to ascend to power by God alone, and those who loved righteousness and justice were to actively work to bring about those qualities in their countries. But notice how that worked – such righteousness and justice was not preached with success, as a rule, until such despotic blasphemers were allowed to rule! When all was well and good, the people ignored God’s command for holy living. Then an evil king came and solidified their unrighteousness. It was not until an unbeliever conquered the nation that the people hearkened to God’s gospel and repented. It may well be that America needs the same thing.

2. Realize that our government is working for God.
Romans 13:6 makes it clear that the government is “God’s public servants” (HCSB) and have given their time to this work. This means we should submit to those who are in public office. Submit to Obama and Biden. Submit to McCain and Palin. Submit to your state and local senators and representatives. Don’t believe me? See Romans 13:1 again – “Everyone must submit to the governing authorities” (HCSB). Romans 13:7 tells us we should “show respect and honor to them all” (NCV).

3. Pray for our government.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 is very, very clear about this – I tell you to pray for all people, asking God for what they need and being thankful to him. Pray for rulers and for all who have authority so that we can have quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to know the truth.

Why pray for our elected officials? Romans 13:4 says that “government is God’s servant to you for good” (HCSB). Awesome. They are there to do good for us! And one thing that can be said about both candidates this election is that they are trying hard to present an agenda that they are convinced will benefit Americans. No wonder we should pray for them – we need to ask God to keep them on that path, and to show them a more excellent way!

You can’t get clearer than that, can you? Pray for McCain and Palin. Pray for Obama and Biden. Pray for your state and local senators and representatives. The upside to doing this is huge – we will be able to live quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God! And if we are able to live this way, we will do the most we can to spread the Gospel to as many people as possible!

This past Sunday my pastor, Tim Bender preached on “Christians and Government.” In his message, he gave us Six Ways to Direct Your Vote.

1. Vote Biblical principles over Party.
Do you agree with everything the party promotes? Does the party follow biblical principles? Don’t be fooled by a platform that looks and sounds good, but directly goes against the Bible!

2. Vote Biblical principles over Pork.
Do you want to waste federal money just to help your area? Do you want to do the most good for the most people or are you just out for your local economy? Don’t be fooled by promises to help just your area!

3. Vote Biblical principles over Pocketbook.
Are you out to fatten your bank account? Or are you out to see that people who actually need help get the help they need? Remember, Scripture says money is a root of all kinds of evil. Don’t be fooled by money!

4. Vote Biblical Principles Over Person.
Are you voting for a relative, a co-worker, a friend? You have no special interest in that person that would be served by voting for them? You may know that person much better than the voters! What if this person is a chronic liar? Would you still vote for him/her simply because of your relationship? Don’t be fooled by your relationship to a person!

5. Vote Biblical Principles Over Popularity.
Are you voting for someone just because they are your idol, they’re good-looking, they’re cool, they’re awesome? Don’t be fooled by how popular a candidate is!

6. Vote Biblical Principles Over Political Speech.
Does the candidate’s personal life and political record match up? Do they really believe what they are saying? Are they “walking the talk?” Or are they just “singin’ and dancin’;” that is, saying what they need in order to get your vote? Don’t be fooled by what a person says; check their record!

When You Vote Tomorrow
Having said all that (I’m at 1600 words!), when you vote tomorrow, I only ask that you do one thing before you enter the booth and pull the lever. Ask yourself if the people you are planning to vote for give God the most glory. If not, please, please, PLEASE re-think your vote and vote for someone else! Also, please do not waste your vote by voting for a third party candidate who has no chance of winning. That shows at worst a detachment from the reality of the situation, and at best a lack of common sense. How different could this nation have been if all those third-party votes actually went to one of the two candidates who actually had a chance to win!

I will not waste my vote on a third-party candidate, no matter how tempting it is to do so. I will not waste my vote by not voting. I will honor God by backing a candidate who has a direct chance to win, and of those who do, I will vote for the one who I am convinced by Scripture and conscience is the most God-honoring choice among them. Therefore, I am convinced for personal, common-sense, and Scriptural reasons that the most God-honoring choice this election is John McCain. If he wins, to God be the glory. If he does not, to God be the glory. The Gospel will have a greater platform to be proclaimed no matter who wins, and in the end that is all that really matters!