Archive for August, 2016

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

August 15, 2016

My mother-in-law Betty passed away tonight. She was a prayer warrior and a testimony of faith in Jesus. She was actually my husband’s stepmother, but like his dad, Allen (who passed in 2010), she always treated me like one of her own. She had many admirable qualities, but her steadfast faith in Jesus, her Savior, was one of her best. There were many family dinners and occasions where the family’s expression of faith was led by Betty and Allen and provided my daughter with a legacy of Christian faith and living that I am grateful beyond measure that my daughter was able to experience.

I know I will miss her, but in my sadness I am remembering some verses that offer some comfort. The first is Hebrews 12:1-3.

12 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

This online source explains the “cloud of witnesses” this way.

http://www.gotquestions.org/cloud-of-witnesses.html

“We are surrounded by the saints of the past in a unique way. It’s not that the faithful who have gone before us are spectators to the race we run. Rather, it is a figurative representation and means that we ought to act as if they were in sight and cheering us on to the same victory in the life of faith that they obtained. We are to be inspired by the Godly examples these saints set during their lives. These are those whose past lives of faith encourage others to live that way, too. That the cloud is referred to as “great” indicates that millions of believers have gone before us, each bearing witness to the life of faith we now live.”

Betty now, along with Allen, and the other loved ones who have gone before us are a part of that “cloud of witnesses”. I can’t help but think of Mark Schultz’s song, Cloud of Witnesses, and the words toward the end of the song. I can imagine Betty, despite her 93 years on this earth, running “the final mile” to the throne surrounded by all those who went before her, and who is now in the arms of the Savior.

So when it comes the time
That heaven calls
They’ll come running to see the ones who’ve gone before,
Ran the race and made the journey home,
To find waiting for them at the finish line,
Cheering happily
They will run
And they will see

A cloud of witnesses
Lined up on a street of gold
As they run the final mile.
That leads them to a throne.
And through the cloud of witnesses
They see God upon the throne.
And as they fall into His arms,
They know they’re home in
A cloud of witnesses,
Surrounded by a cloud of witnesses.

 

In closing, I’d like to note 1 Thessalonians 4:13:

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.

I will miss Betty and I am deeply saddened by her passing. I understand from family members that she passed peacefully. Though some tears may fall, we now know that she is rejoicing.

Why I won’t vote for Trump or Clinton

August 8, 2016

There have been a number of good editorials and opinion pieces written lately explaining why the writer has chosen not to vote for either Trump or Clinton. They all offer excellent reasons and reasoning why neither one earns their vote (or mine). Here are links to those articles, as well as a link to a series of videos that explains why voting for the lesser of two evils is not something in which a Christian wants to participate.

http://unhyphenatedamerica.org/2016/06/28/lesseroftwoevils/

http://drkevinbaird.com/wp/2016/07/29/__trashed/

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/438623/conservatisms-moral-crisis-defending-trumps-lies

http://www.dailywire.com/news/3896/shapiro-i-will-never-vote-donald-trump-heres-why-ben-shapiro

http://stepstopoliticalepiphany.com/

But I particularly liked the following article by Susan Wright because it captured, in a fairly concise way, my thoughts on the matter, from a Christian believer’s point of view.

http://www.redstate.com/sweetie15/2016/08/07/christians-crossroad-choosing-lesser-two-evils-still-choosing-evil/

Christians at a Crossroad: Choosing the Lesser of Two Evils is Still Choosing Evil

by Susan Wright

at a crossroads blue

“Of two evils, choose neither.” – Charles Spurgeon

And here we are, at a crossroad for choosing.

Turn to the left, and you find yourself in the camp of Hillary Clinton. She is the Teflon candidate. She has weathered more scandals and been let off the hook for more misdeeds and missteps than probably any known candidate in our nation’s very short history.

How she manages to elude justice and become the Democrat nominee, I have no certain idea. I suspect there is more than a slight bit of collusion going on behind the scenes. Politics is a cesspool, and until very recently, we could claim the Democrat end to be most corrupt and putrid.

If you turn to the right at this crossroad, you find yourself with Donald J. Trump. His supporters are made up of a mish-mash of the poorly educated, the angry, who desperately need a scapegoat for their anger, Nazis (No, seriously… Nazis), and the odd addition of Christians who feel he is the “lesser” of two evils.

If the idea of Christians united with Nazis for a common goal (getting Trump elected) causes you to recoil in disgust, you are not alone.

I’ve watched the nightmare of Trump unfold for the past year and I’ve taken every opportunity to sound the alarm about what he was. As a nation, we had better to choose from, but Trump was chosen by the people.

Trump is an unrepentant adulterer. He owns gambling houses. He demeans women, veterans, immigrants, and the handicapped.

Trump has not only cheated on his wives, but has cheated small business owners out of their rightful pay. He’s made a fortune out of sticking it to those he owes debts to, and has left creditors holding the bag, as he has used the bankruptcy courts to avoid payment.

He is ungracious, profane, and a bully.

Those the people choose to represent them are a direct reflection on the people, themselves.

So what does that say about Trump’s supporters? Or Hillary’s, for that matter?

More importantly, what does it say about those Christians that want to use the excuse, “At least he’s not Hillary” as a reason for supporting such a man?

I am in full agreement that we can’t let Hillary get in the White House. The damage she would inflict on our nation and our constitutional freedoms would take generations to correct.

I am equally convinced that Trump is not the answer for a Christian.

To Spurgeon’s point, there is no acceptable level of evil. Christians who are willing to trade Hillary’s wickedness for Trump’s, simply because of the magical “R” beside his name betray their principles, as Christians.

That “R” doesn’t stand for righteous.

What I’m hearing from most is that they will support a man who has never displayed anything hopeful or godly in his life, on the off chance that maybe he won’t be as bad as they know Hillary will be.

Is that faith?

If it is, it’s misplaced and misguided, at best.

I was told last night that if I stood against Trump, I was battling against God.

It was a curious and disturbing statement. I have to assume this person, in her zeal to exalt Trump, was incorrectly applying Romans 13:2:

“Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” Romans 13:2 NIV

As it is, however, Trump is not president, nor any authority, at this point.

He’s a reality TV star running for the presidency, and giving fair warning about him is not out of line with what God would have us do.

All throughout the Old Testament, God allowed for wicked leaders to be placed in authority over the people. Quite often, we can assume it was to humble the people and bring them back to Him. So it would seem, per Proverbs 16:4:

“The Lord has made everything for its own purpose,
Even the wicked [according to their role] for the day of evil.” Proverbs 16:4 AMP

As it appears, either Trump or Hillary would be a punishment on this nation, and we would deserve it. If these are the representatives of our values that we clamor for, even our Christians, then is this nation worth saving, or do we belong on the ash heap of history?

I offer this for your consideration: At a crossroads, you don’t have to take the left or the right. Sometimes, you just go straight ahead.

If by associating with wickedness and sin, we aid in the fall of many people, do we not bear a portion of that wickedness on ourselves?

There comes a time to stay the course and not be distracted or led astray by doubt, fear, or party loyalty.

I’ve made a choice to stand on my faith and my Christian principles. I will not aid in ushering in any age of corruption or wickedness by placing the sacred trust of my vote with anyone who does not represent my values.

Does that mean God is going to honor my faithfulness by not giving us Hillary or Trump?

No. We may very well end up with one of the two evils that the people have clamored for.

What it does mean, however, is that I held to my faith, and will continue, through the good days and the bad, alike.

My God has been faithful to me through hard times before. I refuse to bow to fear. I refuse to “go along to get along.”

I will stay the course, looking neither to the left or the right, because our answers are not there. I’ll vote my values, whether those are popular or even successful in this election, and whatever happens after, I will still trust God.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” 2 Timothy 4:7 NLT