How to Celebrate a Peaceful Post-Election Thanksgiving

happy_thanksgiving

During our small group prayer request time, a reoccurring request went something like this: Please help us be a light on Thanksgiving with the eclectic group of people attending with differing political and faith beliefs.

Whether it was all family, all friends, invited guests . . . or a combination . . . most were apprehensive how the day would turn out.

In the fragile aftermath of a volatile election, I imagine many of you are having similar concerns and conversations. I remember my mom cautioning that if you want to keep the peace, don’t talk about religion or politics, As a kid, I never understood her warning. Believers are supposed to tell everyone about Jesus. How could we not talk about our Savior, since our identity is in Christ? And isn’t everyone entitled to his or her own political opinion?

Then I grew up and learned that Jesus and politics are indeed quite controversial, but I still don’t think that means we shouldn’t talk boldly about them . . . we just need to be respectful. My first priority in life is being a born-again Christian and all other roles follow after. But as I wrote in Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten: “Bold doesn’t mean obnoxious. It simply means not being afraid to speak the truth in love, even in the face of adversity: ‘Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold’ (2 Cor. 3:12).” For example, if someone asks what I write, I answer, “Christian nonfiction.” Or I’ll say, “I’m a Christian author and speaker.”

For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. Philippians 1:20 NLT

So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. 2 Timothy 1:8 NLT

Is Thanksgiving a Religious Holiday?

That could be an awkward question in some circles.

I was with a group of people when I mentioned how I hoped people would set their differences aside on Thanksgiving Day, and one person said, “It’s just a time for eating a lot of food, watching football, and shopping online anyway.”

Me: “I’m pretty sure the first pilgrims who celebrated Thanksgiving didn’t have TV or Amazon.

Another responded: “Well at least Thanksgiving isn’t a religious holiday.”

I asked: “Who then are we thanking?”

Complete silence.

Of course, the answer is: God.

Abraham Lincoln made it an official national holiday “as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe.”

The English colonists we call Pilgrims celebrated days of thanksgiving as part of their religion. But these were days of prayer, not days of feasting.

We read in Genesis that God spoke everything into being, and yet, many will be sharing turkey and dressing with people who don’t believe in, or discount, the existence of God. They don’t know where they’re going when they die, or where everything we enjoy on earth came from . . . and maybe they don’t even care. They’ll walk out of the room during prayer before the meal, and may try and start an argument over the election. Maybe after a few drinks, their conversation will turn ugly, even though innocent young eyes are watching and ears are listening to how “adults” interact.

As I prayed and talked to the Lord, here’s a list I hope will help any who might be apprehensive this Thanksgiving. I’d love to hear your ideas too.

Don’t worry about what to say—“Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” Mark 13:11 (Jesus was instructing his disciples, but I think it could apply to us too if we felt our faith was being tested or put on trial.)

Speak kind words— “Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Pr. 16:24 NLT

For your part, maintain peace—“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18

Don’t ask or answer antagonistic questions, walk away or change the subject“Interfering in someone else’s argument is as foolish as yanking a dog’s ears.” Pr. 26:17 NLT

Play with any children present“We will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.” Ps 78:4 NLT

Don’t drink“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18 NLT

Smile, Smile, Smile“Fix my eyes on God— soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.” Psalm 42:5 The Message

Listen“Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.” Pr. 12:15 NLT

Take a deep breath and think before you speak—“There  is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.” Pr. 29:20 NLT

Less is more—“The more words you speak, the less they mean. So what good are they?” Ecc. 6:11 NLTThere’s “A time to be quiet and a time to speak.” Ecc. 3:7 NLT

Say mind prayers continuously.—Pray continually” 1 Thess. 5:17

Have a secret sign or word between you and someone else that signals: Let’s change the subject or move into the other room.—“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.” Ecc. 4:9

Put on the Armor of GodPut on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Eph. 10:6:18

If you’re Hosting—Pray and thank God for each guest. Ask to be a blessing and to share joy. Pray over your home and each chair at the table. Pray before the meal as you normally would, your guests know they’re coming to a Christian home.—“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:9

If you’re a Guest—As you walk up to the home, pray you’ll be a blessing and that God will stir up the fruit of the spirit in your heart. If you’re hosts don’t pray before the meal, bow your head and pray over your food as you normally would. — “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Gal. 5:22-23

Thanksgiving is a day for harmony and focusing on God and giving Him thanks and praise in whatever way He leads. Fiction writers have a saying: “Show don’t tell.” Which simply means, you don’t always have to speak Jesus with your words, you can show Jesus with your actions, and people will want what you have!

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4 NLT

Past Thanksgiving Blogs

Here are several past Thanksgiving blogs you might enjoy. I do give thanks for each of you who have followed me on my Monday Morning Blogs, and I pray you have a joyful, peaceful, and God-filled Thanksgiving Day.

Acquiring Overshadows Thanksgiving

What Are You Most Thankful For?

Love Your Body During the Holidays

Thanksgiving Tablecloth Idea

In Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten I share how to use your tablecloth as a “praise-cloth” to preserve memories for generations to come. Here is an excerpt from the book. I hope it gives you some ideas. I’ll be taking our tablecloth with us this Thanksgiving, and here is a picture of ours. We’re now writing down the sides.

thanksgiving-tablecloth-full

When my breast cancer journey started [2002], I became keenly aware of making memories with my family. At times like that, you think seriously about your mortality and the legacy you want to leave with your loved ones. You appreciate each new day of life. The sun rising every morning is an act of God to celebrate.

            Holidays like Thanksgiving have new meaning. Typically, Thanksgiving is a celebration where family and friends gather for a feast, and everyone says what they’re thankful for in the past year. But after finishing the dishes and putting away the leftovers, how many really remember what everyone said?

The Thanksgiving following my first breast cancer surgery, I had an idea of a Thankful Tablecloth. I purchased a Thanksgiving themed tablecloth with plenty of white space and a box of wash-resistant colored markers. After Thanksgiving dinner, I brought out the markers and asked everyone—kids included—to find a spot on the tablecloth to write what they were thankful for that year, sign, and date it. We traced handprints for the tiny ones with their name and age.

Today, we have years of thankful messages to read every Thanksgiving and remember the many acts of God’s goodness to us and the people who joined us at the celebration table each year. If we go to someone’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, I ask if I can bring our Thankful Tablecloth and markers.

            When I go to be with the Lord, I pray my family will continue bringing out the Thanksgiving Tablecloth as a reminder through the generations of how good God has been to our family and friends. [Excerpt from Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten]

 

thanksgiving-tablecloth-message

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Colossians 3:15 NLT

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What Do We Tell Our Churches about a Trump Presidency?

greatest-republican-turnout

If you’ve followed my blogs, you know I’ve been stumping for Trump, not because I think he’s the savior of America—no that’s Jesus—but because President-elect Trump represented the only platform that would lead our country back to God. Trump has his faults, like all of us (John 8:7), and the media, celebrities, elitists, Democrats, and even the establishment Republican Party, have relentlessly attacked him and his family. But President-elect Donald Trump stayed the course to victory . . . conservatives won this battle in the cultural war.

The “deplorables” outvoted the celebrities and the elitists. The liberal progressives didn’t think they needed you and me—everyday Americans, “little people,” and whatever else they called us because we weren’t going to matter anyway when they ruled over us. They thought we were dispensable.

How Did the Media get it So Wrong?

The night before the election, my husband and I rented the documentary Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party—a cross between sci/fi, horror, and tragedy—except it’s not fiction, it’s a true story. Even if you saw it at the theater, I implore you to rent it and listen to the extra interview with Jonah Goldberg to learn the significance of how God intervened on November 8th to protect us from the clutches of Democratic progressive liberalism. And Carol Swain, a black born-again Princeton and Vanderbilt professor with five degrees and former Democrat who explains how she, “came out of the darkness into the light,” and switched from the Democratic to Republican party when her research proved it was the Democrats who fought to keep slavery, founded the KKK, started Planned Parenthood to exterminate blacks, and now have them enslaved again.

At first my husband didn’t want to watch Hillary’s America, but Dinesh D’Souza did an excellent job of portraying the roots and plans of Clinton to not just preside over America, but literally to own America, a goal she set out with her mentor Saul Alinsky in college.  My husband and I were back on our knees, where we had been fervently crying out to God for months in our private prayer time, in our church, our small group, with our friends…in our prayer closets. We prayed for Trump and Pence to win because, as you’ve heard me say repeatedly, they represented the conservative platform that would give us a chance to put God back into the public square. This was so much more than a political battle—this was a spiritual battle raging in the heavenlies—and continues to rage in heavenlies and now in the streets.

And that my friends is what the media missed. They didn’t poll us in our prayer closets . . . but God heard and tallied every prayer. There is power in prayer. There is power in the name of Jesus. There is power when two or more gather and pray in the name of Jesus. If you doubted that in the slightest, God made it clear on November 8, 2016.

I laughed as the media scratched their heads in shock and tried to come up with every possible scenario of why and how they were so wrong.

They kept saying we missed the “silent Trump vote.” That had to be it. Perhaps that was part of it.

You Cannot be Silent Any Longer!

i-voted-trump

In the last few weeks prior to the election, more people on social media were willing to stand up for Trump, but prayer groups were “closed groups.” Few were brave enough to admit they were voting for Trump. Even Clinton in her concession speech told her followers to come out from behind their closed social media groups . . . and that was good advice for us too. Christians notoriously don’t like conflict. Who does? But our role model, Jesus Christ, never shrunk away from conflict when it was a case of right versus wrong or exposing sin or evil doers. Paul never avoided speaking the truth. John, Peter, James and the disciples went into all the world by foot and by sea to spread the Gospel.

We proved on November 8th that we are the majority, but we can no longer be the “silent majority”! We came out in force, but now is not the time to retreat behind our church doors, back into our homes, and safety of our comfort zones.

God gave Republicans the House, the Senate, the Presidency, and the Vice Presidency, and we’re going to have some conservative Supreme Court judges. This is a window in time, in history for a revival, but we can’t expect Trump and Pence to do all the work. We need to support them on the ground and we need to let them know the issues that are important to us.

Do not let fear rule you.

Do not let the Clinton followers intimidate you. They lost, you won.

That doesn’t mean you gloat, but it does mean you celebrate victory and give God ALL the glory. Let the world know where that victory came from. Be bold for Christ!

Now is not the time to be politically correct or “safe.” President-elect Donald J. Trump needs our prayers for protection, for picking a cabinet, for wisdom, and for success.

What to Tell Our Children

I’m baffled by the rhetoric of “What am I to tell my children about Trump winning the election?” You tell them God blessed America with a miracle and gave us another chance to get it right this time!

Tell them…

We can have righteous judges who will honor the constitution and not try to rule our lives and make laws outside their jurisdiction.

We can try to reverse a law that allows babies to be killed in their mommy’s tummies, even right up until the day of delivery.

We can have affordable healthcare.

We have a chance to try and take marriage back to the way God created it to be between a man and a woman only and to protect businesses who do not wish to participate in gay marriages.

We won’t have laws forced on us that men can go to the bathroom with our daughters or change clothes in their locker and dressing rooms.

We can put God back in the public square and maybe even back in the schools where He has always belonged.

We will have laws enforced and borders in place to stop people who want to do us harm, from coming illegally into our country.

God’s people spoke and were heard, and you my child and grandchild will have religious freedoms reinstated and protected like our founding fathers fought for and so many gave their lives for.

What Does the Church Do Now?

The Benham Brothers made a short video the day after the election, and it’s exactly what I was thinking. Please listen, it’s short and to the point. I’ve always said this was a spiritual and moral battle more than a political battle, and praise God we were victorious in this battle, but the battle is far from over.

So we don’t retreat and go back to business as usual, we armor up in the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18). Pray to support President-elect Donald J. Trump and VP Mike Pence, however God leads you and your church. My husband and I pray an Armor of God prayer from Dr. Charles Stanley* every morning that I encourage you to also pray and share, because it’s “Battle On.”

When you face opposition, and you will, as you see the progressives are not going to retreat quietly, then use the only thing Jesus used, the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.

Notice in Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus didn’t get into long dissertations with Satan, he used Scripture. As the vulgarities and vileness spewed on my social media prior to the election, I started doing exactly that, and you know what…Satan retreated. Yes, I say Satan, because do your research, the heart of the progressive liberal agenda is progressively away from God as the foundation of the country—there’s only one force that would be at the heart of that movement and that’s Satan. Many cursing me were “proud progressive atheists.”

Now we have the hard work of not just making America great again, but reminding our fellow Americans that it will never be great until all remember that our country is founded on biblical principles. If we want God to bless America, we must remember “In God we Trust.” God divinely answered our prayers in this election and gave us another chance . . . let’s get to work to honor Him and give Him all the glory for the things He has done. That’s what I’m telling my grandchildren!

I Wrote My Last Book for Such a Time as This

Many have thanked me for standing in the gap and publically taking a stand for the outcome we saw on Election Day, but it needs to be all of us together. For everyone who turned that map red, we need to support our vote and support President Trump.

Who Will Stand in the Gap

Post-Election Prayer

We the people made our voices heard . . . but still the “world” isn’t listening. We need to speak louder. More than just a quiet X on a ballot. If you want our country to move away from the elitist atheistic “progressive” attitude, you must be an involved citizen. I’ve said this so many times, if I was speaking, I’d be hoarse!

I have been championing great authors and their books during this election, I would now ask my Christian brothers and sisters to read and put into action the book the Lord had me write for this very moment when we have seen victory. I’m not trying to sell books, I’m trying to move a sleeping giant into revival. To help the body of Christ now rise up and turn our culture back to God. There are study questions at the end of each short chapter, and reflection questions within the chapter. It’s a book for both men and women. We’re getting requests now for large groups to do Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten because now is the hour to claim America back for God. Won’t you join me?

“Trump gave nervous evangelicals a gift that many of them lacked—the gift of boldness.”–Lance Wallnau, God’s Chaos Candidate .

Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten is also available signed on our website. *The link to the Dr. Charles Stanley’s Prayer is at the end of the Excerpt from Forsaken God?.

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A Miracle Story of Love, Family, and Restoration

Ricky praising

Most Sunday mornings, Ricky was in the front row of church, sitting next to his parents Jean and Don. Often Ricky would accompany the worship team by playing the drums, strategically placed for him next to his front-row seat. I’m told that at one time, he joined the praise band on stage.

Ricky and drums

When Dave and I moved to Garden Valley and started attending Crouch Community Church, we didn’t know the history of the Brown family. We did, however, immediately see the love this senior couple had for each other—always holding hands—and for their adult son, Ricky, who occasionally had to have his drumsticks quieted after the music had stopped playing.

You see Ricky was a very special son, and as the church overflowed with family and friends at Ricky’s memorial last week, we learned more about just how special he was. If you have a special person in your life who can’t communicate clearly, or at all, there’s probably a depth of spirit like Ricky displayed in unique ways. God has a way of gifting these special people with love, compassion, and spiritual insight.

Enjoy Ricky’s miracle story, shared at his memorial service, and his family now shares with you:

 

Ricky Lee Brown born August 28, 1956, passed from the arms of his parents to the arms of Jesus on Saturday March 19, 2016, at the age of 59. Ricky left behind . . . for now . . . his parents, Don and Jean Brown, his sisters Sheri, Cindy, and Lindi, and countless family and friends.

Ricky’s life story is one of restoration, the strong bond of a loving family, and the unending miracles of God.

Ricky is the firstborn, and only son, of Don and Jean Brown. At birth, he only weighed 4 lbs. 10 oz., and it took a month for him to gain enough weight to come home from the hospital. This was the beginning of nine and a half months in and out of hospitals.

During that time, doctors and family members suggested putting Ricky in Nampa State School. Doctors said with Ricky’s health and physical issues, he wouldn’t live past eleven or twelve and would never walk. With the overwhelming advice from doctors and family, Don and Jean went through the court system and made Ricky a ward of the state when he was 8 1/2 months old. It was the most painful thing that Don and Jean had ever done.

They visited Ricky regularly and introduced him to his three sisters Sheri, Cindy, and Lindi. Right from the beginning, Ricky was compassionate. Jean remembers one time when he was in the state home, a baby started to cry. Ricky pulled himself with his arms over to the crib and patted the baby, trying to comfort it.

To everyone’s amazement, Ricky miraculously started walking at age eleven—the age doctors had predicted he wouldn’t live past—and he finally stopped running a persistent high fever. His sister, Cindy, started working at the Nampa State School in her late teens so she could spend more time with Ricky.

In his twenties, the family moved Ricky to a group home in the Boise area as part of a new program to try to teach life and work skills to disabled individuals. After Ricky’s three sisters left home, the Browns were able to visit Ricky more frequently.

Ricky loved classic country music and liked listening to it loud!

He also loved to tear apart anything he could get his hands on—radios, bikes, and in later years, his clothes. He loved to gas up the car, even if it was only to top it off.

Ricky could only put five words together, at most, but he used those words to ask people: if they were going to work? If they had a payday? And if they were going to church? Ricky’s happy smile and his thumbs up were his trademarks!

smiling RickyRicky thumbs up

Another Miracle

When Ricky was thirty-seven, he became extremely ill while still living in the group home, so Don and Jean made the decision to bring him home. Doctors told the Browns they would just be taking him home to die, but they said, “So be it. He’s our son, and we want him with us.”

By the grace of God and the help of family, they discovered that the current health problems were yeast related. Jean found a book on how to treat yeast with diet, and she became vigilant with Ricky’s diet and nursed him back to health. This same son, who doctors said would not live past eleven or twelve, would never walk, and was sent home at thirty-seven to die, fully recovered from the “terminal” illness! That’s what God, love, and family can do!

Don and Jean couldn’t bear the thought of giving Ricky up again, so he continued to live with them and they started the parenting season all over again. The Lord redeemed the years they lost while Ricky was in group homes, and they had twenty-three glorious years living together as family.

Ricky and sisters

Ricky’s relationship with his sisters and other family members flourished as he became a part of family reunions, jam sessions, weddings, and birthday parties. As a trio, Don, Jean, and Ricky traveled the country playing music and enjoying countless adventures. One of Ricky’s greatest loves was the drums. He had a set in his room and spent hours listening to music and playing along. He also spent hours tearing his drum set apart. He loved smashing cans and taking them to the recycling center for a “payday,” which he promptly put in the offering box at church.

Family picture

Ricky and Don on horse

 

Ricky and Don camping

As Ricky got older, he enjoyed putting together puzzles and sorting coins or Legos. Amazingly, he was able to put puzzles together picture-side down on the table. For someone doctors said wouldn’t live past eleven, and would surely die at thirty-seven, Ricky enjoyed a long life of almost 60 years surrounded by his loving family, friends, and community.

Ricky touched many lives with his joyful spirit and his love for Jesus. Just as Jesus said in Matthew 18:3, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven,” Ricky was a great example of childlike innocent faith. We know that right now he is enthusiastically enjoying heaven.

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The Brown family hopes that Ricky’s miracle story has been a blessing to you, and especially an encouragement to all who have a “Ricky” in their life. If you have a story to share with the Browns, or want to tell them how their sweet restoration story touched you, please leave a comment to encourage them and pray for them as they grieve the loss of their beloved son.

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God Does Tell Us How to Vote

Dr. Carson

I remember as a little girl hearing my parents warn: Never get into discussions about politics or religion—especially among family and friends. The basis of their warning was that people differ so much in their opinions that it will only cause disagreements and maybe estrangements. And it did!

That seemed so strange since as Christians of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20), we’re told to go out and tell the world about Jesus. And if Jesus is the most important person in our life, and our whole life centers on Him, how could we be silent? Wouldn’t our faith influence our politics? Wouldn’t fellow believers agree?

The adage of my parent’s time has become the “political correctness” of our time. Don’t offend anyone with your beliefs or they’ll label you a hater and bigot for opposing something the Bible clearly calls sin. Even all Christians don’t agree on what constitutes sin . . . or agree on much else actually.

In our culture, if we mention God, Jesus, or the Bible, we’re dismissed as religious zealots or troublemakers—sometimes even among fellow Christians.

How Is God Forsaken Politically?

In working on the title for Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, my husband suggested we put a question mark after Forsaken God? to make us stop and think if this could be true. Many Christians can’t imagine ever forsaking God, but it happens so frequently today—not intentionally, but unconsciously—that we may not even realize we’re forgetting Him. But it is happening right now during the elections. How often do you hear people including God in the reasons for their political persuasions and voting choices?

When I was writing Forsaken God? last year, I had no idea what the political arena would look like this year, or that it would be an example of the premise of the book. But what I did see coming was a steady cultural forsaking of God and embracing of the liberal abandonment of the Bible. Just today, I read about an owner of abortion clinics who said she was sure Jesus approved of abortions because she was raised as a “liberal Christian”—an oxymoron! I wrote in the Generation to Generation section of Forsaken God?:

The next generation is falling away from the church in droves or erroneously choosing a pseudo-gospel of compromise and feel-good theology. Today, even children from Bible-believing homes may not have the tools or fortitude to equip them to face a liberal world drifting away from the God of the Bible.

We cannot assume that all Christians will be voting the conservative agenda in a world that indeed is forsaking and forgetting the God of the Bible. “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myth” (2 Tim 4:3-4).

God Does Tell Us How to Make Every Decision, Including Voting ….

As Christians voice their political opinions in conversations and on social media and in blogs, I seldom hear the use of Scripture or prayer as the basis for their choices and comments. One exception is Pastor Max Lucado, who broke the typical pastoral nonpolitical protocol to speak out about Decency for President because he’s alarmed at some Christians straying away from our core values and biblical roots as criteria for a presidential nominee.

Like Pastor Lucado, I’ve observed disturbing responses to the current political scene, which I list below, but God provides us an antidote and voting guide when we remember Him and His Word.

  1. We’re angry, disillusioned, want change—which are all legitimate feelings as long as they’re not the sole basis of our decisions or lead us to choices that go against our beliefs and values. We can personalize these verses when we consider how to vote and who we’re voting for:

Character: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Eph. 4:31

Language: “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” —Col. 3:8

Attitude: “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.” —1 Tim. 2:8

“Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.” —1 Cor. 7:17

  1. I want, I need, I don’t like, I feel, I believe—Self-centeredness is never a good basis for making godly decisions. Try personalizing these verses.

God help me remember when I vote to: “Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.” —Ps. 119:36 “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” —Pr. 16:18

“When you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”—Eph. 4:21-24

  1. Don’t talk to me about God or the Bible. You’re placing your faith in a very complex work written over a long period of time.” As Christians, we are to remember . . .

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”—Heb. 13:8

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” —Ps. 119:11

“I love God’s Word: I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” —Ps. 119:16

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” —2 Tim. 3:16-17

  1. God is in control, just be silent and let Him pick who is going to be PresidentGod never tells us to be apathetic, ineffective, or silent, and He uses His people to do His earthly work. How can He pick someone, if we don’t vote?

God says: “Select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.” —Ex. 18:21*

Speak out for Christ: “When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”’

Our part in the elections: “Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say.” —Pr. 16:33 (MSG)

Christ has commissioned His Body, the Church, of which He is the Head, to effectively participate with Him in this world: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” —John 15:16

So What Do Christians Do This Election?

Republicans who stay home

We pray and then we go out and vote remembering that no man is perfect—Moses was a murderer, King David was a murderer and an adulterer, Paul was a persecutor of Christians . . . . But if we vote for the Republican conservative agenda and platform, then God can work through whoever wins the earthly mantel.

Max Lucado wrote a follow up blog post to his Decency for President post and he titled it Worried Enough to Pray?

Pray for God to:

  • Bring unity in His church and His people
  • Put a man of integrity and character who loves the Lord as President
  • Help us do whatever God asks to return our country and our culture back to God
  • God’s will be done on earth as it is in Heaven
  • Add your own prayers:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chr. 7:14

Then we do our civic responsibility and privilege, confident that we have done what we can in the way that God called us to work with Him as Christians:

Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. 2 Cor. 1:12

*Bryan Fisher Host of “Focal Point” has an excellent article “The Bible Does Tell Us Who to Vote for” in which he explores in detail Exodus 18 and the criteria Jethro told Moses to use in selecting godly leaders. I highly suggest reading this well-written article.

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The Urgent ‘Affluentza’ Epidemic

wallpaper of cross

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We are an affluent society laboring under the tyranny of the urgent: marketers prey on our “don’t-want-to-miss-a-great-deal,” “gotta-have-it” obsession. If there’s a limited time to buy, then the product must be worthy of our time, energy, and finances. Our culture suffers from an urgent affluentza epidemic that has now invaded our churches and Christian lives.

The Lord recently pointed out to me how affluentza epidemic is transmitted virtually through the numerous emails I receive with subject lines like:

last chance, sale ends at midnight, discount ends tomorrow, only 48- hours left to buy, free shipping for the next three hours, exclusive in-store offer, exclusive online offer, exclusive holiday offer, today only, final days, clearance sale, order now before it’s too late, sale ends, last minute buy, flash sale, today’s deals, one time only, last day, you’ve been chosen, trending gifts going fast, hurry, don’t miss. limited time offer . . . .

You get the picture because you could add to the list. I found these in my email “trash.” That’s what I think of most marketing emails. As soon as an “urgent” sales campaign is over, another one starts.

I remember a friend once looking at the newspaper and exclaiming, “Wow look at all these sales. Maybe we should go shopping before the sale ends.” I laughed and said, “Don’t worry, tomorrow’s paper will be full of more ‘great buys.’”

When we moved to the mountains with no shopping centers, a city dweller said, “You’re going to miss all the sales in town.” I responded: “There will always be a sale going on somewhere any day I’m in town. And I’ll save so much money and time not running all over for the next big deal.”

Marketers use our desire to think we’re getting a great deal with a limited buying window to seduce us into buying things we don’t need with money we shouldn’t be spending for things that often end up stashed away in the garage or back of the closet.

What is ‘Affluentza’ Epidemic?

If you’re wondering if I made up the word affluentza, I did. But I couldn’t think of a better word to describe how salesmen, companies, and marketers entice us to think their product or gadget is something we can’t live with out, when you only have to drive by a garage or moving sale to see how many of those things were actually worthless.

We live in one of the most affluent countries in the world, but we always want more. This need to acquire–the affluentza epidemic–started with the most affluent couple in the Bible: Adam and Eve. They had everything in the world, and wanted for nothing. So how did Satan tempt them? With the only thing God told them they couldn’t have: to be like God.

And man has been in a power struggle with God ever since to: own more, make more, acquire more . . . .

The next time you see one of those adds that entice you into thinking this product will bring you contentment, joy, peace, happiness, wealth, a better life, health, wisdom . . . ask yourself: Is this from Satan or God?

There’s Only ONE Urgent Offer That Matters

This Christmas, don’t buy into the urgent affluentza marketing hype. There’s only One truly urgent offer; it’s free and you’ll never want again. . . but it’s an offer that won’t last forever. We don’t know when Jesus will return and we don’t know the number of our days. We all have friends, family, neighbors, workers, mentees . . . who don’t know Jesus . . . that’s the ONLY “time-is-running-out,” “must-have” offer that should get our attention.

There are people in our sphere of influence who have passed away without believing in Jesus. Maybe they were even affluent in earthly possessions, but they were spiritually bankrupt, and we didn’t seize opportunities to create a sense of urgency for them to make decision for Christ. We thought there was time, but there wasn’t.

That may be a sober way to look at Christmas, but in the wake of the senseless, random killings in our world today, how could we think of Christ’s birth any other way? He came to earth to offer the One and Only Gift worth our time, energy, resources, and urgency because this salvation offer does have a time limit . . . an hour, the next three hours, today only, tonight, last chance . . . with our last breath or Jesus’ return to earth.

If you’re a Christian, God chose you to do everything in your power this Christmas, and every day, to share Christ’s free Gift of Salvation with a world where the end time could be near.

I appreciate each of you who follow this blog, and I pray your Christmas makes a difference in someone’s eternity.

Merry CHRISTmas!

Here is a poem that I wrote a few years ago, and many ask me to share it every year because it has an urgent message we need to apply in our lives every Christmas and every day!

Time To Sit With You

Lord, so many things to do,

No time to sit with you.

There’s presents to buy,

And I must bake a pie!

But isn’t it all about Me?

What’s closed your eyes to see.

The purpose of Christmas day,

Isn’t how much you pay?

Lord, each year we hear that said,

Yet, still it comes with dread.

Anticipating all to do,

No time to sit with You!

This is MY day.

Don’t I have a say

In how you spend your time?

Remember, you are chosen…Mine!

But Lord, relatives will soon be here,

And the lawn Santa still needs reindeer!

There is so much to do,

Still no time to sit with You.

Relax and enjoy Me this season,

Let your activities have a reason.

This is My Birthday celebration,

And all I want is your attention.

Oh, Lord, we’ll make it all about You.

Do You think we should have fondue?

We’ll read the Christmas Story,

And give You all the glory.

Sit down and read My Word.

Your craziness is absurd.

Come spend some time with me,

Forget the Christmas tree.

Oh, Lord the cookies are all baked,

I have such a headache.

I know I need to pray,

But I’ve had such a day!

Lives are waiting to be saved.

Did you hear Me when you prayed?

It is certainly no wonder

Your world is all asunder.

No, God, I didn’t hear a word,

I was busy stuffing the bird.

I want to just slow down,

But I feel I’m losing ground.

You’ve made it all about you,

And all your parties too.

My message to the lost,

Overshadowed by homemade cranberry sauce.

Lord, that’s not true,

You know I do love You.

It’s just I feel a call,

To make this the best Christmas of all!

You’re wasting your time.

Do you think you could top Mine?

I had a virgin birth,

As my entrance to earth.

Oh, Lord, I’m beginning to see,

How You want to use me.

Telling Your story to all who will listen,

Is the true Christmas mission.

Spending time with Me,

Is the only way to flee

The world’s strangling control

On your time and very soul.

Oh, Lord, Your music softly plays,

As the candle glow displays,

The beauty of time spent

With our Gift heaven sent.

You’ll go against the flow

Taking time to help a lost soul.

But when the day has come to end,

You’ll have the joy of a new friend.

Oh, Lord, forgive me please.

Help me put down my car keys.

It really is so true,

There’s ALWAYS time to sit with You.

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What Are You Most Thankful For?

happy_thanksgivingToday starts Thanksgiving week. I’ve talked to so many people who tell me that Thanksgiving is one of their favorite holidays. For Christians, it ushers in the season of thanking God for His provision, but most importantly thanking Him for sending His One and Only Son to die on a cross to offer each of us eternal life.

I wonder how many think about our Salvation at Thanksgiving?

We typically thank God for our family, our home, our jobs, our health, our friends… answers to prayers . . . all of which are so worthy of our praise. But I would like to challenge you this year, when it comes your time around the dinner table to answer the question: “What are you most thankful for?”

Your answer will be, “Jesus Christ in my life.”

Thank God for your salvation . . . even if there are nonbelievers present . . . especially if there are! Then do everything you do to the glory of God whether it’s cooking, playing games, fellowshipping, even watching football!

If we say that Jesus is at the center of our life and we put Him above all else, doesn’t it only make sense that He would receive our greatest praise and Thanksgiving?

If we say we are blessed, it’s important that we remember the source of all our blessings is God and we direct our attention to Him. In my upcoming February release, Forsaken God?, I talk about celebrating Thanksgiving as a way to remember God’s goodness and I ask the question:

Thanksgiving is a day set aside to acknowledge and celebrate God’s acts of kindness and provision to America. What could you do to put the focus more on God at Thanksgiving and less on feast and football?

I would love to hear how you answer that question. Leave a comment below and let me know.

NO-shopping-on-thanksgiving

I also hope that you are not treating Thanksgiving as another shopping day, whether at the stores or online. That might seem like a harsh challenge, but you can read my thoughts on that in a post I wrote Thanksgiving 2013 “Acquiring Overshadows Thanksgiving.” I would encourage you to read that post before you break out your credit card or grab your car keys.

A Thanksgiving Prayer from David

This Thanksgiving I bless you with a psalm of Thanksgiving. May this become your Thanksgiving praise also!

That day David first appointed Asaph and his associates to give praise to the Lord in this manner:

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
    tell of all his wonderful acts.
10 Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
11 Look to the Lord and his strength;
    seek his face always.

12 Remember the wonders he has done,
    his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
13 you his servants, the descendants of Israel,
    his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.
14 He is the Lord our God;
    his judgments are in all the earth.—1 Chronicles 6:7-14

A Reminder of the Purpose of Thanksgiving from President Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation. Thanksgiving Was to Be An Annual Day of Thanking God:

It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with His guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the rivers and seas with unusual health. …Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.”

I pray a blessing over each of you this Thanksgiving Day as you give praise where praise is due!

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Slow Down You Move Too Fast!

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Thought you might want to see what the garage door looks like down for a feel for the scene of the “accident”

Garage door half open

About where the garage door was when I ran into it–of course the car was not in the garage but out in the driveway.

All my life, someone has been telling me to slow down. I walk fast, talk fast, move fast, think fast, type fast . . . you name it, I do it fast. Consequently, I often run into things and usually am touting a bruise to prove it. When I had my tonsils out at five years old, the hospital was ready to turn my parents in as child-abusers because my legs were battered and bruised. My parents quickly explained that I was just an accident-prone, fast-moving kid.

I’d like to say I’ve outgrown those clumsy, fast-moving tendencies . . . but alas, I have not. Last Sunday morning, I overslept so I was rushing to get ready for church. I heard my hubby start up the car, so I grabbed my Bible and purse and flew down the stairs and into the car. Just as Dave was pulling out of the garage and telling me how nice I looked, a questioning voice came into my mind, Did you unplug the straightening iron?

Without stopping to consider if I had or not, I leaped out of the car telling my husband over my shoulder that I had to run back in the house. He just happened to be in the process of putting down the garage door . . . and the next thing I remember I was lying flat on my back in the snow looking up at the half-way down garage door above me.

I thought the door was coming down on me, so I jumped up just as my husband was getting out of the car to see if I was OK. I took inventory that nothing was broken, ran back in the house, confirmed that the straightening iron was indeed unplugged, and ran back to the car.

I asked my husband “What just happened?” He said that he was in the process of putting down the garage door and “You jumped so fast out of the car that I tried to stop the door from coming down. But before I could get it back up, you ran right into it.” That explained the extreme pain I had over my left eye. He said I lay on the ground for a while before getting up, and he was just coming to see if I was all right, when I stood up.

Fortunately, I fell back onto a soft mound of snow, which saved me from pounding the back of my head on cement and probably doing some real damage. As I walked into church that morning, I was still dazed and seeing stars. I wondered if I had a concussion and worried that I was for sure going to have a black eye and a goose egg on my forehead, since there was no time to ice it. Or I should say, I didn’t take time to ice it . . .

As I sat in church and started seeing more clearly, I began praising God that He must have laid me down gently in the snow after my forehead went full speed into the open edge of the garage door. And I thought about the fact that I knew the straightening iron was unplugged, so why did I question myself?

Deadline Attacks

I just happened to be on a book deadline and always seem to come under attack when I am writing something about strengthening marriages and family. Then I knew the source of the questioning voice—it was Satan planting doubt in my mind. And because I do everything fast, I hadn’t stopped to discern the origin of that voice. I had run right into what could have been a devastating accident. In hindsight, I saw clearly the trap I had fallen into because of my rushing.

 Hearing God's Voice

Then to confirm my enlightenment, I came across the above diagram on Facebook. Some of you might have seen it since I posted it on my timeline and explained how I had let Satan’s voice cause me to . . .

  • Obsess over the straightening iron not being unplugged, even though I knew for sure I had turned it off. So even if still plugged in, there wouldn’t have been a problem. But I also knew that I had unplugged it. I fell for the doubt trap that sly Satan set for me.
  • Worry that I might cause the house to burn down in the hour and a half we were at church.
  • Confusion about whether or not I had unplugged the straightening iron.
  • Pushed out of the car.
  • Frightened that I was going to have a concussion.
  • Rushing all morning . . . head long into an accident.

What To Do When You Hear Satan’s Voice

When I heard that doubting voice, I should have:

  • Prayed and asked Dave to wait a moment.
  • Rethought my steps of leaving the house.
  • Confirmed in my mind that I had turned off and unplugged the straightening iron, or calmly told Dave I had to go back in the house.
  • Waited for him to put the garage door back up.
  • Walked slowly back into the house.
  • Looked where I was going.

I have printed out God’s Voice/Satan’s Voice diagram, and it’s on my desk to remind me to slow down and take the time to listen carefully and know the source of the voice I am hearing. You may be wondering if you can really hear God or Satan, and the answer is absolutely. Usually, we don’t stop long enough to hear the still small voice of God because it’s drowned out by the clamoring loud voice of Satan.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

If you’ve ever felt obsessed, worried, condemned, discouraged, confused, pushed, frightened, rushed, defeated, exploited, depressed, anxious—you were listening to Satan. God doesn’t talk in that tone of voice to us.

God’s voice is calm, comforting, convicting of sin, encouraging, enlightening, guiding, reassuring, loving and “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God’” (Psalm 46:10).

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” (Hebrews 1:1-2).”

After a lifetime of rushing, slowing down will not come easy for me, but I know with the help of Jesus, “I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13, NLT)

How about you? Anyone tracking with me? Please let me know how you’ve learned to slow down. There’s strength in accountability, and I need all the help I can get!

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Acquiring Overshadows Thanksgiving

Women On Shopping Sale Stock Images - 21849044

To me, Thanksgiving ushers in an end-of-year season of thanking God for our many blessings, celebrating our biggest blessing—the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ—and setting purposeful goals for the next year.

I pondered and prayed about our local Christian radio station playing Christmas music all day October 31. Were they countering Halloween or getting a head start on the Christmas shopping frenzy? Most of my FB friends chose the first explanation, and I agreed.

The Black Friday frenzy is once again creeping into Thanksgiving

Now we have the infringement of Thanksgiving Day with some stores preempting “Black Friday” by opening on Thanksgiving Thursday! Two years ago when this trend started, they opened at 9 PM or midnight, but this year many stores are pushing the envelope and opening as early as  Thanksgiving morning!

The separation between Black-Friday and Thanksgiving is blurring.

The shift to earlier hours started in 2010 and has accelerated since then, said Kathy Grannis, spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation, which is based in Washington, D.C. Last year’s Thanksgiving shopping event was the biggest yet: More than 35 million people hit the stores and shopped online, up from 29 million in 2011, according to an NRF survey conducted by BIGinsight.–Sue Doefler. The Republic

Sadly, millions of people plan a quick “Thank you God for this meal,” which they’re gulping down to be the first in line for the “can’t miss, one-time-only, one-hour-only bargains.” Seriously? These stores run sales all year round and even more at every holiday. And financial analysts show that many of those stores opening on Thanksgiving are under performers and want us to help them get back into the black. Or their trying to make up for six less shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year . . . like we’re not all going to get our Christmas shopping done if we don’t start on Thanksgiving. Again, I ask, “Seriously?”

When I mentioned at our Thanksgiving dinner two years ago that I found it sad when a grandma at the table was going home to catch a nap because she had to go to work later at Wal-Mart, there were questions as to what I saw wrong with this new “tradition.” Here were my answers:

  1. Instead of focusing an entire day on thanking God for providing all we need and already have (something we should do every day) there’s a frenzied rush to acquire more than we need.
  2. Store workers no longer enjoy an entire holiday off. While shoppers are trampling each other for the “only-while-supply-lasts deals,” store employees have had to skip dessert to get back to work.
  3. It’s definitely not God enticing crazed consumers to go shopping on a day set aside to thank Him for life and provision. So if it isn’t God . . . who else would it be whispering in ears, “Did God really say you shouldn’t go shopping on Thanksgiving? He just doesn’t want you to get that great deal.” Hmmm seems like a conversation something like that took place in the Garden of Eden.
  4. How long will it be before after-Christmas sales start Christmas afternoon? If shoppers really support the opening of stores on Thanksgiving . . . it’s only a matter of time.

God Says . . .

In Exodus 16:4, the Lord said to Moses regarding the food He was providing for the Israelites, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.” Later in Scripture, we learn that those who gathered and horded more than they needed lost everything.

In Matthew 6:24-26 God warns and assures us: “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?

And in 1 Corinthians 10:14 “So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols.”

Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to You All

Enjoy what the Lord has given you this Thanksgiving, be generous with your time, pray for wisdom and discernment in your acquisitions, and above all, share with everyone you meet the greatest “deal” of all time—eternal life through believing in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

I would love to hear from you regarding what your family is doing to avoid the commercialization of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Please leave a comment below and share ideas with others.

 

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A Testimony to the Power of Prayer

This is an incredible story of God answering prayer in the moment. This story was not on the front page, but Good Morning America noticed it and interviewed Angela Montez about the day she prayed to his knees a young man with a gun and the intent of robbing her. It was all caught on her office video.

This is a testimony you could play whenever you wonder: Is God really listening? I would love to hear your reaction after you watch it.

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/clerk-recounts-alleged-robbers-dramatic-change-heart/story?id=8887628

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