Friday, September 28, 2012

The Christian As Voter

The Christian As Voter

I posted this article two years ago before the 2010 midterm elections and I saved it to post before the Presidential election this year. The article is by John Flanagan. He is the founder and editor of the Oro Valley Christian Reader. Hope it gives you some things to consider.

God Bless

As we are on the brink of another election cycle in our country, many American Christians will soon go to the polls and cast a vote for their favorite candidates and preferred political party of choice. I have often wondered how a professing Christian could vote so casually and without considerable reflection upon the character, integrity and values of the candidate of their choice. Yet millions of professing Christians will support candidates who are openly wicked, leading scandalous lives, and holding convictions that are anathema to the faith and even, in some cases, detrimental to the moral direction of America in these troubling times. Dear Reader, as you are about to cast your vote, does it matter to you if the candidate of your choice favors abortion, including late term abortion? Does it matter to you, as a Christian, if your candidate has no concern for traditional marriage between one man and one woman? Do you care if the candidate of your choice is a man or woman who is openly antagonistic towards religious freedom, free speech, or viewpoint expression? Is it important to you that the party represented by your candidate has a platform that supports abortion for convenience, favors the rescinding of the Defense of Marriage Act, supports hate crimes legislation to stifle criticism that dares to contradict deviant and immoral lifestyles? Is the candidate of your choice an individual who articulates evasive or vague responses to important issues affecting American Christians, or is your candidate direct and unafraid to speak the truth? Are you willing, as a Christian voter, to weigh these areas against the word of God, conscience, and the moral direction of our land? Many Christians will claim that these issues are not important and will vote on the basis of positions for or against an intrusive centralized government, socialist policies, limited government, activist courts, fiscal spending, foreign wars, or concerns about immigration and border security, as well as the threat of terrorism and the policies needed. While these issues are important, too often Christians will compromise their faith values for the sake of supporting candidates who may openly hold Christianity and morality in contempt. Are candidates of this type, despite agreement on some issues, worth our vote? Should a Christian voter prefer to be pragmatic rather than righteous? Does this justify voting for a particular candidate? These are questions each reader must ask himself or herself. Some Christian leaders oppose the church’s involvement in politics or activism, while others promote activism as an expression of our faith and values. Social causes are important, however, the true role of a Christian is to be a witness for Christ in a fallen world, rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but avoiding activism at the expense of evangelization. Even without participation in protests or activism, a Christian should always be a good citizen, and in nations where there is a Constitutional right to vote, one must be sure to vote. However, when a Christian does vote, it is not a casual matter. Who you vote for reflects your values as well as the condition of your heart.. Reader, as you approach the polling place this November, remember that God looks at the heart. The Bible says that “the eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” If the candidate of your favorite party does not hold a worldview that is compatible with your faith, it is incumbent on you to reconsider your vote. Character, integrity, virtue, respect for life, moral values; these all count. Our nation needs men and women of character in government, and we must be discerning in our thinking before casting our votes. ——- John Flanagan is the editor and publisher of the Oro Valley Christian Reader

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Moment Of Clarity

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

Psalms 19:14 (NASB)

Man I am sitting outside on my mother's back porch and it is one fine day. It is gorgeous up here in God's country, East Tennessee.(smile) My mother had a stroke a couple of weeks ago(her second) and it left her somewhat diminished both physically and mentally. But, she is still pretty sharp and continues to improve every day. Although she spends a good deal of her time resting in her bed, she still manages to keep up with what's happening in the world. She is interested in the election and wants to make an informed decision this year when she votes. That being said something odd happened recently.The other morning she just walked from her bedroom, unannounced, into the kitchen where Carol(a relative here to help with memaw) and I were sitting. She then informed us that she wanted all of us to join hands and pray that she would be acceptable in God's eyes. The suddenness of it all took me aback but we all stood there and joined hands and prayed the prayer of the above verse. After praying she was thankful and went about her day as usual. I wondered what had caused this sudden desire on mother's part to humble herself before God and pray for His "acceptance". My mother has been a Christian for most of her life and knows Jesus. I wondered if God had spoken to my mother in her bed about her mortality or whatever. I didn't have a clue.

I was watching some television as I thought about the scene in the kitchen and a commercial came on about the wisdom of buying gold in these perilous times. It was the same commercial that I had seen thirty years earlier only the company selling the gold was different. The point was now, as then economic turmoil and upheaval in the world made gold a wise and profitable choice. It ended with a phrase that caught my ear. The spokesperson said that purchasing gold would"protect you from the problems of the world". Gold was indeed the answer.

You know the magicians of high finance practice their secret arts to manipulate money the world over. They breed fear either to sell you and me a product or to take advantage(through insider knowledge) of different types of markets to enrich a very select few at the expense of many. All of us 99%'s out there(smile) Not only that but the political and economic soothsayers spin their yarns about which is the "correct" course that we as a nation and people should take. One says "this is the right path" while the other says" no here it is" all the while charading as though they cared about the people they supposedly serve. How was it that Jesus described the generation in which he lived?

16 "But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children, 17 and say, 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.'

Matt 11:16-17 (NASB)

Jesus was talking about spiritual matters here but it fits our current world like a glove.We are strolling along in this spin zone looking for security and protection, all the while warships are massing in the middle east from all over the world. Russian ships in the Mediterranean protecting the Syrian coast from invasion. Ships from America, Britain and God knows who else are collecting in the Persian Gulf to protect that other "protector" from the world's problems...OIL; should Israel launch an attack against Iran. I can tell you this when the bombs start dropping and the guns start shooting all the spin will stop. IMMEDIATELY. Threaten the world's oil supply and see what happens.But, you know something?..You can't put gold in your gas tank and neither does it or oil fill an empty stomach.God forbid that it should come to that, although, for many that is already a reality.

In the midst of all my musing it suddenly hit me. It seemed to me that my mother had all of a sudden had a moment of clarity in the bedroom, kitchen,or wherever the other day. When my mother came into that room wanting to pray you could have rolled up in an armored car with all the gold in Fort Knox and it wouldn't have mattered. In the midst of all the spin she could see what was really important. As she approaches her date with destiny the only thing that REALLY matters is her relationship with the Lord Of Glory. Is she acceptable in HIS sight? That's her only REAL concern. How do I know? I talked with her.

As eternity is VERY big in her window she realizes her ONLY PROTECTION is in the shed blood of Jesus. She desires to be acceptable to Him in word and thought. We should all have such moments!

God help all of us to seek and find YOU in these perilous times.


Romans 10:13 (NASB)

God Bless

Saturday, September 15, 2012


My commentary on recent events.

1 The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.
Psalms 14:1 (NASB)

Well, here we go again. The Arab Spring has turned into an American nightmare.

I was taken aback earlier this week, actually shocked is a better word, as I viewed a picture that had been taken and posted on Facebook. It was a picture of a man outside the Democratic National Convention with a sign that read " If Jesus returns kill him again." No, it wasn't the fact of where he said it, he could well have been at the Republican Convention. It was what he said and the boldness of his declaration that hit me; no fear of God or man. We are in... how would you put it?.... perilous? or difficult? times. Yeah, that about sums it up.

1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
2 Tim 3:1-4 (NASB)

Listen folks, as much as the politicos want to push the idea, this election is NOT ALL about the economy. Never has been, never will be. I've been listening to politicians preach the economy to me for going on 45 years now..and guess what? Yep. You got it. My economic status has generally been the same. Oh yes, there have been blips, and ups and downs but for the most part it's been steady as she goes. God has seen to my needs since I became a Christian in 1975.My guess is that no matter who is elected, I will get up the following morning and go to work just as the vast majority of other Americans will also do.

While we individually and as a country have over time, developed tunnel vision about our economic well being, we have as a nation, amongst other issues, changed our policy concerning prayer in schools, the legality of abortion and what literally constitutes a marriage between two individuals. At present we are in a ideological battle over the course that our nation should take concerning free enterprise or a welfare state. We teeter on the brink of national bankruptcy(if the truth were known, we probably already are bankrupt) and we are dangerously close to becoming a second rate nation. We are experiencing epidemic levels of abuse, drug, child, SELF. We are the most medicated nation in the world and the most depressed by some standards. And to top it all off we just announced a couple of days ago that we would CONTINUE to send billions of dollars of aid to countries that are threatening our embassies and KILLING our citizens!! All the while there are homeless people ALL OVER our country that could use those billions. The wave of violence and hatred toward us in the middle east is once again mounting. Over a silly film? Don't you believe it!! That film may have been the trigger but as long as we are a Christian nation that supports Israel we will be despised by the Muslim world. Why is this happening to us? Here's my take. Scroll up to the beginning of this message and read the verse and the first paragraph again.

4 The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied; I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood, Nor will I take their names upon my lips.
Psalms 16:4 (NASB)

You see the deception is exposed in this verse. It's not the fact that there is no God(only a fool would believe that) that's not it. We have bartered for ANOTHER god. THAT is the problem! Listen there are millions the world over that have bartered for the god of false religion. BUT, there are also millions that have bartered for the gods of materialism, capitalism, socialism and any other "ism" that is out there. You get my drift? The Word Of God has been and right now IS being played out before our very eyes.Understand this.

1 Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 3 "Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!"
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them.
Psalms 2:1-4 (NASB)

You can carry around signs threatening to kill the Lord Of Glory till your face turns blue. But, let me assure you HE IS coming back and NOT as a suffering servant! He is the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS and the ONLY solution to the world's woes. Disregard at you own peril.

12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; 13 and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. 14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. 16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, " Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, 18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.
God Bless 

Friday, September 7, 2012

One Solitary Seed

26 And He was saying, "The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; 27 and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows—how, he himself does not know. 28 The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. 29 But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come."
Mark 4:26-29 (NASB)

I thought that I would share a friend's testimony this week. I received a phone call from him this week and it touched my heart and spoke to me about the power of God and His Word.

I met Scott at an employment orientation for a trucking company named CRST. The first time that I saw him, he had come into my room where a group of us had formed just to shoot the bull and whatnot. The conversation somehow rolled around to my getting robbed a few times at a former employer. I remember saying how frightening it was to have a gun pointed in your face. Scott then replied that if that happened to him, he would help the robber pull the trigger. He then looked at one of the men in the room and said "you know what I mean" and left the room. Well, the orientation went as scheduled and the new drivers went out with their various trainers and that was that.

While we were out with our trainers those acquaintances were maintained through cell phones. We would call each other to see how it was going and whatnot. At the end of our training we were assigned to our teams and Scott and I ended up driving together. We spent the next couple of months travelling the country together. We talked about all sorts of stuff; occasionally about God but not very often. The one thing that stood out to me during that time was the bad dreams that Scott would have. I mean I would be driving down the road (I was the night driver normally) and all of a sudden a blood curdling scream would come out of the sleeper. This was no ordinary bad dream, I am here to tell you that it was nasty. I remember remarking that if I got sleepy I wouldn't have to worry about it because Scott, sooner or later would wake me Eventually we both left CRST and ended up driving together with another company.

It was with this company that Scott and I became good friends. I spent many weekends at his house with him and his wife Sherry. While on the road we talked a great deal about things and I learned that Scott had suffered a great deal in his life. His heart was broken in a million pieces and had a wound that was open and would not heal. He was broken. His wife was enduring dialysis every night and he himself had suffered through a heart attack and triple bypass. Both he and Sherry were on many different medications and generally struggled to maintain their health. But, the suffering they endured physically was pale in comparison to the spiritual pain they were enduring. You see Scott and Sherry had lost their beloved son and Scott's mother in a horrific traffic accident while on vacation in Florida a few years back.

After receiving an insurance settlement they turned to drugs and alcohol screaming for some relief from the pain and guilt and bitterness. This went on for some time until the money ran out but the pain was still there. Scott didn't have any reason for living and told me as much all the time. All he wanted was to see his mother and son. Well, we were on a run from Tennessee to Laredo, Texas and were in Dallas one night. I was driving as usual, it was late at night or early in the morning(?) and Scott let out with this scream at the top of his lungs and I hollered back at him,but got no response. I hollered several more times with no response and I got scared. I thought he was dead. I pulled the truck over on the side of the Interstate and literally trembling I turned around towards the sleeper berth praying that he wasn't dead. I yelled again and he woke up to my relief and told me that he had the worst dream that he had ever had. We went on down to Laredo and on the way back we were in Dallas once again and here begins my message. While driving around Dallas that night, Scott accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior. There was no great fanfare. No crying or shouting. Very matter of fact actually. All Scott would say about his conversion was that it was the first time that he had ever been told that God would take HIM to heaven. No great awakening, no sudden desire to preach the Word or become a great evangelist. Just a desire to go to heaven and see his son. I sometimes wondered if God had really touched him that night. Fast forward a couple of years.

I was thinking this week if there were any purpose in my life. Wondering if there were a reason for getting up in the morning other than just to survive. Nothing was or had been happening. Just more of the same. Been feeling like that lately? Just in the doldrums. Yeah I've been dealing with that for a while. Well, the Lord answered my question this week with a phone call. Scott called me this week and told me that he was reading his Bible and had ordered some C.D.'s from Dr. Charles Stanley to help him understand trhe Bible better.He was just gushing with enthusiasm for God and His Word. The phone call touched my heart and encouraged me. That scripture was put on my heart today and I thought I would pass it along.

God spoke to my heart about casting seed. We don't ever know when that kind word or action is going to plant a seed in someone's heart.We don't ever know when enduring difficult circumstances will touch someone's heart. We don't know if that prayer offered up in disappointment and despair is the prayer that changes things. God said to keep casting the seed. Only eternity will record the life or lives that were touched by those seeds that we sowed and planted.

He was born in an obscure village
The child of a peasant woman
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until he was thirty

He never wrote a book
He never held an office
He never went to college
He never visited a big city
He never travelled more than two hundred miles
From the place where he was born
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness
He had no credentials but himself

He was only thirty three

His friends ran away
One of them denied him
He was turned over to his enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing
The only property he had on earth

When he was dead
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend

Nineteen centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind's progress
All the armies that have ever marched
All the navies that have ever sailed
All the parliaments that have ever sat
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life
God Bless