Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
Nowhere in the Scripture do I find us being called to completely isolate ourselves. We are not called to merely surround ourselves with people who are just like us. Not only does that sound incredibly boring to me, it smacks of the the pride that leads us to pray like the Pharisee Jesus described:
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' Luke 18:9-12
We are called to be holy, set apart. We are called to be in the world, but not of the world. We also are called to engage the world:
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Matthew 5:46-47
One of the lessons of this election is that we must engage in the dialogue of the culture. Only then do we have an opportunity to shape the dialogue for Him.
I do know folks who voted for Obama. And I also know of at least two who voted for McCain after hearing my positions and, I believe, as a result of the Lord hearing my prayer that their hearts would be turned. I don't agree with the folks who voted for Obama, but I still love them and still pray that their hearts will be turned. I believe they have been blinded to the Truth, so I pray that the eyes of their hearts will be opened.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
As I prayed about what to say, how to react, words from the Prayer of Confession came to mind. The whole prayer is listed below to give context for those who may be unfamiliar with it.
Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name.
The phrase I heard, "by what we have left undone," echoed in my mind. So I asked the Lord what I had left undone. His answer surprised me.
In the final weeks of the election, many of us issued a call to prayer. We repented before the Lord for our complacency (things we have done) and our complicity in the culture of death (things we have left undone). Our repentance was pleasing to the Lord.
He now wants us to walk out that repentance. He wants us to be even bolder in our stance for Him. We cannot be silent. We must speak for life. We must actively participate in the pro-life movement in our communities. We must support adoption (a key element to pro-life that is often overlooked). We must be aware of pending legislation and speak up. We must pray.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
The prophet Daniel understood the long-term effects of Israel's decisions when they ignored God's covenant and commands. Daniel realized that the desolation of Jerusalem would last for seventy years. I can't help but think of where we are as a nation. How long will the desolation of the United States last?
We must confess, as Daniel did, that "we have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws." We have "transgressed your laws and turned away, refusing to obey you."
As others have done, I urge you to fast and pray on Monday, November 3. Because I believe the Word is life, I urge you to pray Daniel's prayer as recorded in Daniel 9:4-19. Confess the sins of our nation. Confess your part in those sins. Plead for the mercy of God on us and the generations to come.
We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of YOUR GREAT MERCY. O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, heart and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay.
Friday, October 31, 2008
He says He will tell those on the right that they are blessed by His Father and will offer them their inheritance in the kingdom which has been prepared since the creation of the world.
The Lord describes the sheep (and later contrasts them with the goats). The sheep are those who fed Him when He was hungry, gave Him something to drink when thirsty, visited Him in prison, clothed Him, and cared for Him when He was sick.
Today I think He might add, "I was in the womb and you protected Me."
Jesus then promises, "The King will say, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'"
For the full reference, read Matthew 25:31-46.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
We are a nation at war. Our military is strategically positioned throughout the world. The most important battle we face, however, is one not in Baghdad or Tikrit. It is a battle in the heavenlies.
Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. (Ephesians 6:12)
Tank, missiles and drones will not protect or save us. The best of our elite forces will not come to our aid. Our weaponry is different. As the Apostle Paul wrote,
Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.(I Corinthians 10:3-4)The single most effective weapon we have in our arsenal is prayer. When the apostles were imprisoned for preaching the Gospel, they didn't call for others to march in protest. They didn't form a letter-writing campaign. They didn't call for a news conference. They prayed.
In the remaining week before the election, I join with others in calling us to prayer. Cry out to the Lord. Listen for His voice. Ask Him to show you how to pray. Engage yourself in the battle. Pray like a warrior. Pray without ceasing. God is faithful. He will hear and heal our land.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Although the official Church was silent, some Christians were bold and took a stand. Among them was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian and pastor who was imprisoned and executed for speaking out against Hitler and his henchmen. Before Bonhoeffer was hanged, he wrote:
We are the Church and we cannot be silent now. We must cry out because the blood of the innocent is crying aloud to heaven. Our voice must be loud, clear, resolute and united on November 4. We must speak for life.
I am guilty of cowardly silence at a time when I ought to have spoken. . . . The church must confess confess her timidity, her evasiveness, her dangerous concessions. She has often been untrue to her office of guardianship and to her office of comfort. She was silent when she should have cried out because the blood of the innocent was crying aloud to heaven. She has failed to speak the right word in the right way at the right time.... She is guilty of the deaths of the weakest and most defenseless brothers of Jesus Christ.... She has not borne witness to the truth of God.... By her own silence she has rendered herself guilty because of her unwillingness to suffer for what she knows to be right.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Any doubt in your mind that this is a human being? Any doubt in your mind that this human being needs our protection?
Earlier this week, the Catholic Archbishop of New York wrote an open letter alongside this photo, asking similar questions. He concluded his letter with these words,
Look and decide with honesty and decency what the Lord expects of you and me as the horror of "legalized" abortion continues to erode the honor of our nation. Look, and do not absolve yourself if you refuse to act.
You have an opportunity to act on November 4.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
You Should Be Allowed to Vote
You got 14/15 questions correct.
Generally speaking, you're very well informed.
If you vote this election, you'll know exactly who (and what) you'll be voting for.
You're likely to have strong opinions, and you have the facts to back them up.
Wanna see how you do? Click on the vote button above. Let me know your results!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
First, it was yet another thinly-veiled swipe at Senator McCain's age (". . . if he wins, he will be the oldest man sworn in for his first term as president."). I know lots of 72-year-olds who are healthy, vibrant, and capable. Time to stop age discrimination. And time to stop inserting it into discussions just for the sake of drawing attention to it yet again.
Second, I really didn't need to know that Joe Biden takes medication to help with urine flow or with his sinuses or with his cholesterol. Can't some things remain personal and private? Where is dignity when you need it?
Third, if you go down this path, then would you really be satisfied knowing a candidate's current health status? Do we need to go back a generation or two and find out the causes of death of their parents and grandparents? How about gauging their work-out routine? Who's going to be on the nutritional analysis squad, checking the fat grams in every bite they take? Or, who's going to keep the tally on the smokes the 47-year-old presidential candidate bums from the press core or how many pieces of Nicorette he chews?
Should we have general information about a candidate's health? Yes. But do we need to have their entire medical record on display for all to see? No.
One indicator of the candidates' general physical fitness is the stamina they've shown on the campaign trail. Under that analysis, they all are generally fit.
Knowing a candidate's current health status is no guarantee of future health. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow. So, let's take it as a given that the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates are generally in good health, stop with the lists of medications, and move on to more substantive issues.
Monday, October 20, 2008
McCain was a complete hoot at the Alfred Smith dinner. Not only did he deliver the lines with perfect timing, he enjoyed every second of it. He's comfortable in his own skin. Knows who he is and (equally importantly) who he's not.
Sarah Palin, too, was comfortable in her own skin and delivered her lines flawlessly on SNL. Few of us could have walked into the lion's den with such grace and good nature. And, she's got rhythm!
Friday, October 17, 2008
Kudos to MSNBC for making this available. In recent weeks, most of the mainstream media coverage of Sarah has been negative, nasty, insulting. But the Nightly News got it right on this one.
Kudos to Sarah for continuing to demonstrate her love as a mother, her commitment to pro-life, her genuine depth of care and concern.
Friday, October 10, 2008
The book describes 10 characteristics that are necessary in a 21st century leader . . . characteristics that Sarah has, of course. With a forward by Chuck Colson, it offers insight into what makes Sarah so appealing and so qualified for Vice President.
It's available online and at bookstores everywhere. Links are below.
Barnes & Noble
I've got my copy. Run get yours!
Friday, September 26, 2008
The author talked about how Americans once honored the office of President, even if they did not agree with the office holder. He recounted the sacrifices men, women and children made during WWII and how the nation rallied together with a common purpose of defeating the enemy. He recalled the support of the media for the nation's cause and how entertainers offered their public support rather than public criticism.
At the end of the email, another writer decried Obama's statement that "we are no longer a Christian nation," and called on Christians to pray for our nation. (You can hear Obama's comment here and read more about it here.)
A couple of hours later, I got a rebuttal email from my friend's sister (whom I also love and who will be called Miss E for this post). She took the position that we are still a Christian nation, that a lot of wrong things have been done in the name of Christianity, and that we all just need to love each other.
A little later, I got Miss B's rebuttal to Miss E's rebuttal. After I stopped laughing at the tit-for-tat between the sisters (they're quite a hoot and couldn't be more different), I began thinking about the underlying issues. And, I just had to weigh in on it.
We are a nation at war. Our war is on several fronts. The most obvious is the one involving our troops in Iraq. Every night before my nine-year-old son goes to sleep, he prays for "peace in Iraq and that our troops come home safely." We all need to pray that prayer.
The second front is the global war on terror. There really are evil people in the world. Some of those evil people really hate the U.S. and want to do us harm. They are willing to sacrifice women and children in their cowardly efforts.
The third front is the war for the heart and mind of our nation. It is more than a culture war. It is a spiritual war. We all are aware of the atrocities committed in the name of Jesus over the last 2,000 years. We as Christians have repented and need to continue to repent for that. But I think Miss E's approach is incredibly naive and misses the seriousness of this third kind of war. This is a war that won't be settled by singing Kumbayah and passing the s'mores around the campfire. This a war that can only be fought on our knees.
I feel like our nation is the frog in the pot. The heat has been turned up gradually and we're not even aware that the temperature is rising to the boiling point and to our peril.
Am I saying that people of other faiths shouldn't live in the United States? Of course not.
I am saying, however, that when we entertain the idea (whether intentionally or by apathy) that our nation should no longer be Judeo-Christian so that everyone feels comfortable, we need to understand the consquences of that. Especially if we ignore the tenets of Islam.
Under Islamic law and tradition, everything would be different -- from who could sit with us at a table in a restaurant to our freedom to gather at His Table each week.
Under Islamic law and tradition, I wouldn't be able to write this post. My daughter wouldn't get to pursue her passion for ballet because she wouldn't be allowed to wear a leotard or tutu in public. Under Islamic law and tradition, Sarah wouldn't be allowed to run for Vice President.
I'm not ready to give in to that. Are you?
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Six years ago I attended The Journey to Wholeness in Christ, a ministry of Christ Anglican Church in Mobile. Conlee and Signa Bodishbaugh taught the concept of the true feminine and the true masculine. Signa has written a book by the same title which I highly recommend. At the conference and in the book, she teaches that because we are created in the image of God, we all have both feminine and masculine characteristics.
Unredeemed, we live out of false sense of self, exhibiting both false masculine and false feminine attributes.
The false masculine is characterized by:
- a drive for power
- sexual conquest
The false feminine is characterized by:
When we are redeemed and renewed in Christ, we can be transformed into the true masculine and true feminine. Our nature is restored into the image of God with both masculine and feminine characteristics. One may have a dominant tendency toward the feminine or the masculine, but everyone has some of both.
Those who display the true masculine:
- set boundaries
Those who display the true feminine:
Whew! That's a lot to absorb. But, as you look at the characteristics of the false self, I see the pantsuit brigade. They often display the characteristics of the false masculine. Strident. Harsh. Aggressive. Taken one step further, they become mean-spirited, haughty, proud, and arrogant.
When some hear the word "feminine," they hear "weak." Unredeemed, feminine is weak and whiny and pathetic. Redeemed, however, femininity is strong, confident, receptive, and humble.
So, I'm thrilled that Sarah Palin has a healthy dose of the true feminine and the true masculine; she operates out of a true sense of self. She has the ability to initiate, organize, analyze, and define. She also senses, perceives, intuits. That is a strong, healthy combination of attributes. And, it makes for a strong leader. One we desperately need.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Council member. Mayor. Oil & Gas Commission Chair. Governor.
As a wife, Sarah has supported Todd in every endeavor. She's been there to cheer him on in the 2000-mile snow machine race. She's held down the fort when he's been gone a week at a time to the North Slope. And, she's worked alongside him in the family commercial fishing venture. Not glamorous work. Hard, physical labor.
As a mother, Sarah has unconditionally loved and supported her children. She's been the PTA mom, the hockey mom, the youth group mom. She's also been the mom who has, by word and example, continued to love her children no matter their limitations or mistakes. What a rich heritage for them. We should honor her as a mother.
As a politician, Sarah always has entered the race as the underdog. Maybe that's one of the many reasons she has so much appeal to ordinary Americans. We love the scrappy fighter who consistently advocates for what she believes is important in her community.
She is the only vice presidential candidate with both executive and regulatory experience. She knows what it means to balance not only the family checkbook, but the State of Alaska's budget. She understands the decisions mothers across the country make every day (whether to buy her child's new shoes this month or wait until next month). And, she's made those kinds of fiscal decisions on a much larger scale (pay $382 million for a bridge for 50 citizens or find another way to meet their needs). We need that kind of common sense approach and we need it now.
Sarah has been willing to blow the whistle on the unethical tactics of her colleagues -- even to her own political peril. She has not blinked.
Regardless of the rhetoric and pithy sound-bites from the other side, I believe Sarah is capable. She is smart. She is a quick study. She has insight and wisdom. And, I would say, she has the gift of discernment. She is precisely the kind of leader we need in the 21st century.
If we as a people are not willing to protect the most innocent and vulnerable, what does that say about us? That life only matters when it's convenient? That it only matters when it fits in our career plan? That it only matters when we have enough money, or the right house or the right person in our life? That it only matters when we think the child we're carrying is perfect?
The opposing side says a woman should have choice as it relates to her body. Well, she does have a choice -- she has a choice to protect herself from becoming pregnant by whatever means she prefers. It's the old freedom with responsibility thing.
I've been the beneficiary of two women who decided to give life in the midst of really difficult circumstances and I'm eternally grateful. After losing six babies in miscarriage, I was honored to adopt a daughter in China and a son in Nepal. The birth mothers of my children chose to protect them, give them life. Their decisions must have been difficult. But they chose life. In doing that, they gave the world two amazing people. And, the world is so much richer for that.
I often wonder who's missing in the world. Who should have been here? What contribution is the world missing because they're not here?
To me life matters. It matters to Sarah, too.
Sarah Palin is pro-life. Really. Always. She's pro-life when her doctor reveals her son has an extra chromosome. She's pro-life when she's about to be a grandmother at 44. She walks the talk. That says a lot about her character, her priorities, her faith.
I like Sarah Palin.
There. I said it.
Over the next few weeks, I'm going to try to articulate why I like her and why I think she is a credible candidate for the vice presidency. The reasons won't be in order of priority. They'll just be written as I think, ponder, and have time to write.