Stop the Politicization of Prayer!

 

Stop the politization of prayer, couples who pray together stay together.

I’m back from cataract surgery. Well partially back, so this will be short but wanted to let you know that I’m seeing so much better. Still working on close up vision, but it will come. Every day is an improvement. Thank you whoever prayed for these two surgeries. I felt those prayers! Speaking of prayers . . . .

The Attack on Prayer

The attack on prayer is what God told me to discuss today. Yes, God talks to me, and if you’re a believer He talks to you too, just like you talk to Him . . . in prayer. As I prayed about the topic for my first blog back, I woke up this morning with a definite word from the Lord: Write about the return to politicization of prayer. “Return” because it was politics that removed prayer from schools. Politics removed mentioning God and Jesus in schools. Politics has removed God from the public square and replaced the ways of God with the ways of Satan.

That’s right, it’s not God’s culture today, it’s Satan’s culture. Jesus talked a great deal about the ways of the “world” and reminded his disciples and followers that Christians—us— are not of this world, we’re only in the world. We aren’t to conform to the world, but change the world.

I [Jesus] am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by[a] the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17:13-121

Mentoring Can Change the World: Starting with Our Children and Grandchildren

Right now, a federal appeals court has banned prayer at the opening of town council meetings. Because the commissioners said Christian prayers, which they have done for years, the angry atheists and the ACLU filed a lawsuit to ban the prayers, but the ACLJ is fighting back at the Supreme Court. Pray for the SCOTUS to uphold the right to pray before these meetings.

Our President and Vice President called for prayer after the horrific massacre in the small First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX. As prayer vigils were held in that tiny town, the media, entertainers (I use that term loosely), and liberal politicians began criticizing prayer.

Which brings me to the world’s view of prayer:

They don’t understand prayer . . . because they don’t understand God.

They don’t believe in prayer . . . so they don’t believe in God.

They don’t think prayer is “enough” . . . they think action is enough.

They don’t want God’s laws . . . they want culture’s laws.

They mock prayer as weak . . . while they remain arrogant, prideful, and ignorant.

They don’t recognize the power of prayer . . . only the power of man.

They are lost souls without prayer!

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:16-18

Listen to Pastor Paul Buford, who pastors River Oaks Church two miles from Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church, when A MSNBC Anchor Asks Texas Pastor if Prayers Are ‘Enough’ After Church Shooting — His Answer Is On-Point

Thoughts and Prayers

Here’s my opinion on the phrase “thoughts and prayers.” Unbelievers say, “My thoughts are with you.” I even heard a member of a media talk panel clarify that he only supported “thoughts, not prayers!”

But Christians often say, “My thoughts and prayers are with you.”  What good are thoughts? Thoughts are how the situation makes us feel and may cause us to do something kind for the person suffering . . . but thoughts aren’t transmitted tangibly, mentally, or spiritually to the sufferer.

“Thoughts” however can prompt us to pray for the person or situation. Every time we “think” about them, the Holy Spirit prompts us to pray. I think a better witness to the unbelieving world criticizing “thoughts and prayers” . . . and a more sincere comfort to those suffering . . . would be, “Every time the Holy Spirit brings you to mind, I pray for you!”

I see social media full of “praying” and prayer emoji’s comments, but we must not write that unless we’re actually praying. It’s often a sentimental response, but we’re lying if we don’t follow through and actually pray for that person or situation. They’re counting on those prayers.

Forsaken God?

If you haven’t read my book Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, I encourage you to read it now! Here is a comment from an Amazon reader who said the book reminded her of the importance of every believer keeping God in the forefront of his or her life, and how we can impact our failing culture.

This is a very thoughtful and timely book. We watch even now, as our society pushes God out of the picture and yet Janet reminds us through scripture as well as personal stories of how much God wants to be in our lives and His goodness toward us. When we remove Him from our lives and our culture, we are the ones who pay the price as we forsake Him. I love the practical application steps at the end of the chapters. They are easy to do and follow and a reminder of the blessings that are available to us when we simply recognize and walk in the goodness of God.

Read Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten today!

I also want to encourage you to watch a new Fox News program, The Ingraham Angle, 10 ET weeknights. We DVR it. Some jealous media critics have labeled Laura Ingraham “The church lady” because she always wears a cross necklace, is bold about her faith on the program, and confronts assaults on religion. I’m impressed with her reporting style and conservative platform. Here is her coverage of “Are Thoughts and Prayers Now Political?”

My Surgery Prayer Witness

I guess I just can’t write a short blog. I’ve missed all of you, so I’ll close with a “prayer story” from my second eye surgery. When everyone left the room after the pre-surgery prep, like the first time, my husband took my hands, we closed our eyes, bowed our heads, and Dave prayed for my surgery. When we lifted our heads and opened our eyes, surgery nurse Martha was waiting with the wheelchair to wheel me into the surgery suite. The room was just as cold as before, and as they positioned me on the table, I began to tremble . . . like the last time. Maybe nerves, maybe the freezing temperature!

Nurse Martha calmly said, “You have nothing to worry about, you’re all prayed up!” I knew then she had seen us praying and waited quietly at the door until we finished.

She was right. I then told her how Jesus had reminded me that morning that He would be watching over the surgery. Then I added, “Of course Jesus is always with me. And so many people are praying for me, they’re praying for the doctor, and for all of you too.”

Don’t let prayer become political. Don’t let prayer become controversial. Never be ashamed of a conversation with your precious Lord and Savior. Stand firm in the power of prayer.

Pray continually! 1 Thessalonians 5:17

See also my blog The Miracle of Steve Scalise: A Testimony to the Power of Prayer

Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, is available at all Christian bookstores, online book stores, Amazon, Kindle, and signed by Janet at her website store

Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten is available at all Christian bookstores, online book stores, Amazon, Kindle and signed by Janet at her website store.

If you received this post by email, please leave a comment here.

Mentoring in a World Forsaking God

Mentoring in a World Forsaking God discusses the need for bringing God's laws back into our world not gun laws!

We all woke up a week ago to the tragic news of the horrific shooting in Las Vegas. Those of us who know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior began to pray. We prayed for the families who had lost loved ones senselessly and for those who watched their friend or family member die in their arms. We prayed for those fighting for their lives in hospitals and the doctors and nurses going without sleep and rest to save as many as possible.

We heard the heroic actions of so many and the amazing, fearless first responders who walked into danger, not knowing if they would walk out, and we praised God for them. The very courageous police force, the subject of recent unjustified ridicule and disrespect, were the very men and women everyone relied on to stop the carnage. Because that’s what they do . . . regardless of skin color, gender, religious beliefs or political views—their goal and mission is to save lives, even at their own peril.

It didn’t take long however for the liberal media, Democrats, and Hollywood to politicize this tragedy. Pointing fingers, nasty words, criticism, turning their platforms into a political agenda even as many lay dead and hundreds wounded.

As our president called for prayer and unity, many chose harsh words of disunity. They turned a tragedy into an opportunity to create more strife and grief in our country. Not one of the opportunists praised our president for calling for prayer and putting flags at half-mast—the very flag that has been the subject of protest and unpatriotic shameful rejection.

But the comment I can’t shake from my mind, I heard on a news clip “We don’t need more prayer, we need more laws.” God and the value of prayer discounted and replaced by opinions and verbal attacks. The name of God used only in exclamation not reverence.

Last week, I wrote about Steve Scalise’s shooting. He gave all the glory to God and prayer for the miracle of his survival and recovery. When asked in an interview if he had changed his mind about the 2nd Amendment, he said, absolutely not. Had he not had armed security with him on that baseball field, all might have died.

I’m not going to argue the 2nd Amendment, but the blatant hypocrisy of liberals arguing that more gun laws are the answer to violence and evil is misguided and misinformed.

  1. Hollywood glamorizes violence, bloody shootings, death, and random killing—the more gruesome the better—to depict graphic and horrific ways to take lives for the shock value and “thrill” for box office dollars. Stars live in alarm-protected homes with bodyguards and heavy protection.
  2. Then you have those people glamorizing the assassination of our president and supporting riots and protests, not condemning Antifa but encouraging them. People like Nancy Sinatra tweeting “murderous members of the NRA should be executed by a firing squad.” A former CBS lawyer saying she “was not even sympathetic” for those killed in Las Vegas because “country music fans often are Republican gun toters.” Right out of the terrorists’ and shooters’ playbook: kill those who don’t agree with you.
  3. Late-night so-called “comedians” becoming liberal politicians attacking the administration and the country.
  4. These same people want to remove every mention of God and the “original law”—the 10 Commandments—from public places, schools, courts, the public square, and yet, think more manufactured laws will trump “thou shalt not kill.” “Thou shalt not lie.”
  5. There’s no agreement on additional laws needed, ignoring the fact that criminals and evil people don’t follow laws.
  6. Football players politically and publically disrespecting our flag, the National Anthem, the police force, and our President.

To have their liberal voices heard in protest, they divide the country even more by blaming everything on our President, gender, race, political party, denouncing our history . . . everything and anything except what would really make a difference—turning our country back to God.

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.” Luke 11:17

And that’s what our enemies see right now, a divided country ready for a fall.

THE ONLY GUN LAW WE’LL EVER NEED:

Thou shalt not kill (Deut. 5:17 KJV)

Christians Can Make a Difference

“One day Jesus told his disciples a parable to show that they should always pray and never give up.” Luke 18:1

I would encourage you to read the story Jesus shared with his disciples of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8.

In Mentoring for All Seasons, I have a chapter on Mentoring in a World Forsaking God, and you may remember that I wrote a book last year Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten. The world needs to remember God and we can make this happen.

We live in tumultuous times in both the church and the world. Confusion and fear reigns among newer believers who don’t have a solid foundation in the truth to help them discern evil from good, lies from truths, abnormal from normal. If more women would reach out to each other with understanding, prayer, and biblical truths, there would be far less fear, backsliding, and sin in women’s lives.

Since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, every generation has lived in a fallen evil world. One of their sons killed the other one and since then, what one generation does in moderation, the next generation does in excess. Just as the apostle Paul saw the need for mentors in his day, we desperately need mentors today. Yet, many who should be stepping up to mentor and teach the next generation are falling away from Titus 2, just as quickly as our world is falling away from God.

What Can We Do?

So how do we ordinary Christian women make a difference in today’s confused and fallen world? As mentors, we speak, teach, and train the truth to our mentees, straight from the Bible. We must daily read our Bibles and let God’s Word speak, teach, and train the truth to us so we can respond to life’s issues from God’s perspective. Together M&M’s learn spiritual wisdom and scriptural principles to help navigate the moral decline of our culture, and in some cases, the foundation of the Christian faith.

We can’t lose hope.

We can’t ignore what’s happening around us.

We can’t live fearfully.

We can pray for revival.

We can pray for everyone blinded by lack of faith in God . . . yes, all of them!

We can pray for the victims of evil.

We can ask God what He wants, us, His people, to do. What action does He want us to take?

We can share Jesus because we live in a time of uncertainty.

We can reassure our children and grandchildren that they can make a difference in this world too.

We can live by the 10 Commandments in our personal lives, and know that it’s not by law we’re saved, but by the grace of Jesus. We don’t follow God’s laws because we have to, we follow them because we have Jesus in our heart.

We live as godly role models in a world that has forsaken God.

Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed.

24 Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. Galatians 3:23-24 NLT

 

Excerpts from Mentoring for All Seasons used with approval from Leafwood Publishers

Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, available at all Christian bookstores, online book stores, Amazon, and signed by Janet at our website store.

Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten also available at Christian bookstores, online bookstores, Amazon, and signed at our website.

If you received this post by email, please leave a comment here.

The Miracle of Steve Scalise: A Testimony to the Power of Prayer

Steve Scalise gives God the glory for the miracle of his recovery and tells how he prayed sepcifically and put everything into God's hands.

You probably remember three months ago when Republican House Majority Whip, Steve Scalise, was shot down by a deranged man trying to kill Republicans. Scalise was practicing on a ballfield with other Republicans preparing for an upcoming congressional charity baseball game. Several others were also shot on that June 14 morning, but Scalise’s wound was almost fatal had it not been for the quick actions of fellow players.

Scalise sustained a single rifle wound, entering his left hip and passing through his right hip, also known as a trans-pelvic gunshot wound. The round did substantial damage to bones, internal organs, and blood vessels. After extensive medial inpatient rehab, he returned September 29, 2017 to the floor of the House of Representatives, still on crutches. He will continue rehab now as an outpatient, so he’s still on the road to recovery. But following is how Scalise started his speech:

When I was laying out on that ballfield, the first thing I did once I was down and couldn’t move anymore, is I just started to pray and I’ll tell you it gave me an unbelievable since of calm knowing at that point it was in God’s hands. And I prayed for very specific things, and I’ll tell you pretty much every one of those prayers were answered and there were some pretty challenging prayers I was putting in God’s hands. But He really did deliver for me and my family, and it just gives you that renewed faith and understanding that the power of prayer is something that you just cannot underestimate. [Applause] So I’m definitely a living example that miracles really do happen.” Listen to this live Steve Scalise on his return to the House of Representatives 9/28/17

What a testimony to the power of prayer as Mr. Scalise publically gives God all the glory for seeing him through this horrific ordeal, right from the moment it happened. He understands that his life was touch-and-go from the ballfield to the hospital, and if there had not been someone who knew how to give aid before the medics arrived, he probably would have died on the grass that day. But he didn’t die, and he knows it’s a miracle! Even more impressive, he’s telling the world that God still performs miracles!

Have you thought of that recently? Have you remembered all the miracles God has done in your life? He performs them every day. Have you told others about them? In Forsaken God: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, I have a chapter “Honoring His Wonders and Miracles,” and in the Introduction, I write:

Memory builds faith.

Memories preserve the mighty works of God, but how many godly men and women failed to write down, or tell of, the miracles they saw God perform? How many works, deeds, and miracles has God done in your life … in my life … in the lives of our families … that we took for granted and never shared or acknowledged? Miraculous acts of faith lost to the next generation and lost to us when we need most to remember God’s goodness to help us through a trial or tribulation.

The power of prayer in mentoring relationships is remember how good God has been to us in the past.

Prayer & Praise Is An Integral Part of Mentoring

My tagline for mentoring is Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, the subtitle for Mentoring for All Seasons. Have you seen God at work in your life? Has He performed a miracle? Then just like Steve Scalise, share your story! Someone else may need encouragement in a particular season of life and walk with the Lord, or maybe needs to know that God is real.

A mentor, sharing her testimony and the power of prayer helps another woman discover the answers to her life issues are through prayer and the Bible. Mentoring is always a two-way relationship as they search the Bible together, pray for God’s guidance and wisdom, and wait for answers. Proverbs 3:5-7 (NLT) clearly tells us:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.

As a mentee learns to depend on God and His Word in her life seasons, through the guidance, prayers, and support of her mentor, she can then help another woman going through similar seasons. Thus, the cycle of life and mentoring carries down through the generations: God’s plan for the propagation of Christianity and the church.

Prayer and Praise Journal Helps Record Prayers and Miracles

I suggest that mentors and mentees (M&M’s) always pray at the beginning, during, and end of their time together. The Bible and prayer is the foundation of spiritual mentoring. In the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry, prayer covers every aspect of the ministry and M&M’s are matched through intercessory prayer.

Sometimes a mentee might feel uncomfortable praying if praying a loud is new to her. That’s fine, the mentor can pray for both of them, until the mentee feels comfortable. All my books have a Prayer & Praise Journal. In Mentoring for All Seasons, you’ll find it at the back of the book to record prayers, as well as God’s answers. And that’s where you begin to see the power of prayer. So often, we forget what we prayed for when God answers or we forget to go back and thank God. Recording prayer requests helps us remember God’s goodness.

Another way to use the Prayer & Praise journal is to help the mentee start praying. She can just read the prayer requests and praises aloud.

The beauty of Steve Scalise’s testimony reminds us we all have an open door to God’s ear and He is the God of miracles. We don’t need a pastor or someone else praying for or over us. God hears the petitions of His people, on our own, or when two or three are gathered together in His name. When He answers, be sure you give Him all the glory.

Have you got your copy yet of Mentoring for All Seasons? It’s available now at all Christian bookstores, online bookstores, Amazon, and signed by me on our website shop. I’d love to hear how God is using it in your life and the life of your church to bring about a revival of mentoring and Titus 2.

Thank you to everyone who left comments and emailed me with answers to my questions about the Ketogenic Diet in last weeks post. I’m still stumbling through starting and am not in ketosis yet. It’s a huge learning cover for me, so if you have any more tips please share!

Mentoring in a Season of Tragedy and Uncertainty

Mentoring during a time of tragedy and chaos is exactly what will help women incurring loss and fear in today's undertain times.

Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, fires, riots, death tolls, North Korea, ISIS, our country divided . . . . Not to mention illness, dreaded diagnosis, family unrest, divorce, prodigals . . . . Protests against our President, Christian values, and God. Tragedy and uncertainty assails us when we turn on the news or browse through social media or listen to talk shows. No wonder many are living in fear and dread of the next crisis because there seems to be a new one every day. If there isn’t a crisis, the media creates one.

You may be wondering why I would write on this topic the day before Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness officially releases tomorrow, September 12! Because mentoring is invaluable in all seasons of life; so yes, I include a Tragedy Season. It’s not if tragedy happens, it’s when! At sometime in our life, we’re all going to need mentoring or we can mentor from our experiences.

What a blessing to see so many using social media to mentor from their experience with a crisis. As hurricane IRMA headed toward Florida, many who had just experienced hurricane Harvey in Houston were helping Floridians prepare by posting lists of what to stock up on and how to prepare their homes, cars, families. Those who lived in safe areas were offering shelter to strangers. The news couldn’t help but report on how everyone was pitching in to help each other through the many tragedies and losses that occurred from these hurricanes.

Many focused on thanking God that they were still alive even though they lost all their earthly possessions and would have to start all over again. In at least nine states, including Idaho where I live, fires are raging out of control and air quality is unhealthy from the smoke. Christians experience tragedy and loss just like everyone else; it’s painful and hurts. In the Season of Tragedy in Mentoring for All Seasons, I point out that “We desperately need assurance from someone who survived a crisis with her faith not only still intact, but stronger than before.”

There are also Mentor Tips on what not to say or do with a mentee. The main one: don’t minimize her feelings or make her seem like a bad Christian because her faith is tested and she questions what God is doing. The Mentee Tips point out that the mentor can’t make everything right in the mentee’s life; but she can offer encouragement, a source of Christian love, hope, support, prayer, and understanding.

Several Scriptures I suggest to study together during a tragedy or crisis are:

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Math. 28:20b

“Remember your promise to me;
it is my only hope. Your promise revives me;
it comforts me in all my troubles.” Psalm 119:49-50 NLT

“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!” Psalm 30:11-12

There are so many others, especially in the Psalms. Journaling or writing down feelings helps to get them out too. A reminder that what feels overwhelming and horrendous will reflect God’s love for us and be our testimony somehow, someway, someday.

Like many of you, I have family in Florida and it’s hard not to obsess over every report of hurricane IRMA. But I’m in Idaho so instead of feeling hopeless and helpless, my husband and I pray continuously (1 Thess. 5:17). Just like the Scriptures tell us to do. We didn’t just pray for our family; we prayed for everyone suffering—maybe that meant we were praying for some of you and your loved ones.

Sometimes it takes a tragedy to turn hearts back to God. Whatever you think of our President, or whether or not you voted for him, he declared Sunday September 3 a National Day of Prayer. He couldn’t stop the hurricanes, the flooding, the winds, the next hurricane, the loss of homes, the heartache, but he could try to turn hearts back to God through prayer.

That gesture got very little coverage by the media or his critics, but it’s exactly what will start the healing process in everyone’s lives. We need revival in our country, and God’s people need to lead the way back to a country founded on “In God We Trust.”

In Mentoring for All Seasons, you can read more helps and tips on being a mentor and a mentee during tragedy, uncertainty, and crisis on pages 216-217. In the Mentor and Mentee Shares section, author Heather Gillis tells her tragic story of losing her young son. A mentor helped her take the healing step of writing, which led to Heather mentoring many suffering women. Exactly what mentoring is all about! Chapter Thirteen: A Difficult Season, covers numerous difficult seasons women encounter, including Illness and Health Issues—Yours or a Loved Ones, and many more.

Here’s how you can help me spread the word about Mentoring for All Seasons!

If you’ve followed my blog and the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry, you know my heart is not about book sales. My passion is to bring the generations together and help them live out God’s direction for all Christian women in Titus 2:3-5. I give all the glory to God for allowing me to be About His Work, by blessing me with the incredible privilege of starting this ministry, and then, blessing me again with the unexpected ability to write!

If you feel lead to help share the mentoring message of this new book, here are some ways:

You can also tweet from all the tweets in this blog.

Thank you! It’s a privilege and honor to connect with you each week. Please let us know by leaving a comment how we can pray if you or a loved one has been in the path of Harvey or Irma.

Mentoring Helps in Seasons of Tragedy and Uncertainty. A mentor can share from her experience and comfort and pray with a troubled mentee.

Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness is available now on Amazon, Kindle, and Signed by the Author at her website.

Author Bio

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 19 books. She is also the author of Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.

She is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.

Visit Janet and sign up for her Monday Morning Blog and online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com

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What to Do When You Don’t Like Your Life Season

What Do You Do When You Don't Like Your Life Season? Cry yell scream get depressed? None of those things are going to change things. God tells us in Ecc. 3:1-8 that there's a time for every good and difficult season under heaven but read and discover how God and mentoriing can help you survive this season!

We’ve all heard it said, “There’s a time for everything.” Or “You’re just in a season, it will pass.” In fact, it’s Scriptural—

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”—Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

The good and pleasant seasons sound wonderful and just what God wants for us, right? It’s so easy to think that God couldn’t possibly want what we perceive as a bad or unpleasant season for us. And yet this Scripture passage tells us that God made both, and while we’re alive, we’re going to experience every season—the good and the bad—under heaven.

Pastor Rick Warren often says that life is like a roller coaster: if you’re going up and experiencing a good season, brace yourself because in about three weeks you’ll probably find yourself going down into an unpleasant season, screaming all the way!

We try so hard to hold onto those feel-good seasons, and there’s nothing wrong with that—we should have times of joy, dancing, laughing, loving, and peace. But when the not so good times roll, we need to remember that God has not left us. He’s walking right beside us through the mourning, weeping, uprooting, and war seasons, and that’s when a mentor is so helpful to remind us that she made it through her tough seasons and we will too.

The focus of my book Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture has Forgotten is for us to remember how good God has been in all the seasons of our life. God never abandons His children. This is a message we need to share with each other and with the culture, especially during these challenging times we live in today.

Reasons for Not Liking our Life Season

Usually we don’t like our life season because:

It’s painful or uncomfortable.

We’re jealous and like what someone else’s life looks like more than our own life.

We’re living with the consequences of our, or someone else’s, behavior or decisions.

We’re discontent or discouraged.

We’re not sure if God still cares about us.

What would you add to the list?

We all have difficult seasons we want to end. Or maybe we’re in a wonderful season that we never want to end. Many life seasons we have no control over, even though advertisers and the culture would try to make you believe differently. They set us up to fail either way by thinking if we just drink the right cola, take the right pill, own the right car, use the right cosmetics and anti-aging products, eat the right food, reach success . . . every season of our life will be heavenly. The aging clock is going to stop and somehow God made our life to be different from everyone else’s life.

But that’s a lie and those who buy into it will never be content because everything God lists in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is a season that everyone will experience.

What to Do When We Don’t Like Our  Life Season

We probably feel like crying, screaming, maybe yelling, getting depressed, ignoring, or trying to get out of it. If we’re honest, we’ve all been there.

But soon we realize that the only thing that works when we don’t like our life season is to ask God how He wants us to deal with it, and then listen carefully to how the Holy Spirit speaks to us. It’s that still small voice we hear guiding us when we cry out to God. We might not know how to get through the season, but God does. So often He’s talking, but we’re not listening.

Someone on a friend’s Facebook post asked how my Christian friend knew what God wanted. Did he have a direct line to God? I thought, Yes he does! Every Christian has a direct line to God the world doesn’t understand, and one we don’t use nearly enough: praying to Jesus who hears every word and the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us even when all we can do is groan.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

While writing this post, I met a woman whose husband has cancer. As she shared her story, I heard in my mind hug her and pray for her. Mind you, we had just met, and I had already told her I would be praying for her husband and their family since I understood having had breast cancer three times. But as she kept talking, I knew I was to pray for her now. So I said, “Let me pray for you,” and stepped forward to hug her; but she didn’t realize that I meant right then. I knew God meant right then! She needed it and she was so grateful.

I had tried to talk myself out of it, and how many times is God trying to tell us what to do “right then,” but we’re dismissing His words of wisdom to see us through this season and on into the next one. That’s when a mentor can step in and do just what I was able to do for this woman, even though we barely knew each other. Can you imagine how much comfort can come from two women who have a personal mentoring relationship?!

God doesn’t want us going through any season alone, but He also doesn’t want us listening to anyone who isn’t giving us biblical wisdom. That’s why in Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, every season has Scripture to study together that applies to the various issues women might experience in that season.

Being a mentor, or a mentee reaching out to another woman for guidance, doesn’t mean the mentor has all the answers or the Bible memorized. It just means she’s willing to search God’s Word and pray together for Him to tell you both what to do in the life seasons you might not like right now; and then, you both reach out and help someone else going through something similar.

And that’s exactly what Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us we need to do when we’re going through a life season we don’t like!

What to Do When You Don't Like Your Life Season? Find a mentor who has experienced it already and let her support and encourage you. Read some helpful tips on how to survive those unpleasant life seasons.

Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness is available now for order or Kindle or signed by the author.

Author Bio

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 19 books. Her latest release is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness.

She is also the author of Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.

She is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.

Visit Janet and sign up for her Monday Morning blog and online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com

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Why I Have Hope for Katy Perry

My book Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter: Hope, Help & Encouragement for Hurting Parents, is about a prodigal, aka me, raising a prodigal. As I’ve read about Katy Perry’s recent public confessions of why she turned away from her childhood Christian faith, I saw a certain parallel to my life. No, I never became a multimillion dollar, outrageously popular pop star, but I did turn my back on my Christian faith after my divorce and became a very successful businesswoman living a worldly life while raising my prodigal.

Katy’s father is a pastor and her childhood home was faith-filled. In her public therapy session aired on Viceland, she went by her birth name Katheryn Hudson. Faithwire wrote an article from this session, Why Kathy Perry’s Rejection of Her Childhood Faith Should Concern Every Bible-Believing Christian. They quoted Hudson as saying, “I grew up with a lot of born-again Christian beliefs around me, and so I had people around me — like-minded people — and I would say it was a bit of a bubble,” Hudson explained. “I was a very curious person, and the curiosity — sometimes it wasn’t allowed because you had to have faith.”

The article goes on to say that Hudson explained she was “curious about what was going on in the rest of the world, and how they lived, and what they saw as they were living . . . I felt like I was missing out.” She decided to explore her singing career further to “pop [her] own bubble, to get out of [her] own situation.”

“I guess I was just trying to get out of one way of thinking. It was like ‘do as I say, no ifs, ands, or buts. It was based on my religious upbringing… I have so many questions. I ask all the questions in the world, and all the questions in the world have gotten me to where I am at now.” [To read the whole article]

There is so much in that last statement about finding answers in the world, which made her rich and famous, but spiritually bankrupt denouncing her faith and  singing songs with provocative, shocking lyrics and movements that many young girls listen to and imitate.

Why did she turn to the world for answers? Because she couldn’t find answers to her questions in the church. She was raised around born-again Christians, but never actually says she was born-again.

In Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten, I challenge the church with that same thought: “If we don’t teach our children to follow Christ, the world will teach them not to. Not encumber them with rules easily broken, but guide them toward a relationship they wouldn’t forfeit or jeopardize for anything.” I ask the question: “How many are making sure their children and grandchildren understand, accept, and embrace the Christian lifestyle? How many know, for certain, their children have a personal relationship with Jesus?”

Again I warn in Forsaken God?: “The church failed to reach out to the next generation with a message relevant to the world they live in today, but the secular world was ready and waiting for them. . . .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.”

I stress exactly what Katy Perry said she couldn’t get from the Christian “bubble.”

They need mentors and parents to have the tough, honest discussion about abortion, sexuality, sexual exploitation, marriage, same-sex attraction, transgenderism, radical Islam, cults, drugs, alcohol, suicide . . . whatever they’re facing in their world.

My “Katy Perry” Story

When I left my good-girl Christian lifestyle, even though I was a born-again Christian since age eleven, I felt just like Katy that I was missing something “out in the world.” Satan makes sin seem fun and enticing. And there were plenty of people ready to teach me the “world’s ways.” I was naïve enough not to understand how quickly I was being sucked into that lifestyle.

I wasn’t raised in a Christian home like Katy was, but I did have a very devout grandmother who planted the seeds of faith in me. My mother would drop me off at church, but I was on my own. I loved everything about church and did find mentors and “spiritual mothers” to answer my questions until I went away to college and there was no one guiding me not to marry an unbeliever or pray with me about my choices.

What Brought Me Back to the Lord?

After seventeen years of backsliding, I was invited to a Harvest Crusade where Pastor Greg Laurie asked the crowd if they were ready to die that night? The Lord had gradually been bringing me back to Him through attending Pastor Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, and I knew the answer to Pastor Laurie’s question was, no. I rededicated my life to the Lord that night and God has been using me About His Work ever since.

I think Katy Perry, Katherine Hudson’s, public “therapy” session is her cry for help. I know she feels God on her shoulder calling her back with every provocative move, word, and action she uses to try to separate from Him.

What Can We Do?

Katy Perry’s mother, a minister’s wife, author, and a mentor to many Christian women, has some advice that she shared in an interview by J. Lee Grady, Charisma News, “How Katy Perry’s Mother Praises God Through the Pain.” Grady asks: How does a Christian mother handle it when she sees her daughter drifting so far from the values she taught her?

“The devil definitely tries to steal my joy,” Mary told me. “I sometimes have to fight depression.” A few years ago, Mary anchored her soul to Psalm 113:9, which says, “He gives the barren woman a dwelling, making her the joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!”

“That verse inspired her to write her 2015 book, Joyful Parent, Happy Home. Mary believes if you want your children to live for God, “You have to get happy and stay in the ‘God zone.’ Mary’s close friends also support her unconditionally. And she asks new friends to agree with her in prayer for a miracle turnaround for her daughter . . . Mary believes parents of prodigals must focus on others rather than wallowing in their own pain. For the past 11 years she has poured her life into women who attend her Arise conferences.” The full interview is at CharismaNews.

Mary also mentioned something important that I share in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter: show unconditional love to your prodigal, and as much as it is up to you, keep the lines of communication open.

Praise God, both my daughter and I enjoy a wonderful relationship with God and each other. I now have precious grandchildren to help pour into spiritually. I want to make sure I’m not just telling them what to believe, but helping them come to their own conclusions. To feel free to ask us questions and to help them solve their faith problems without giving them the answers we think they should arrive at. To help them develop problem-solving techniques and know where and how to go to the Bible when they question something happening in the world.

When they ask if I know that Katy Perry “used to be a Christian,” we talk about the fact that if she did give her heart to Jesus as a child, she still is a Christian, but she’s not living like one, so let’s pray for her.

The 6/26/17 issue of Time Magazine, quoted Katy’s apology for “criticized acts of cultural appropriation”: “I didn’t know that I did it wrong until I heard people saying I did it wrong. And sometimes that’s what it takes.” Let’s pray Katy hears from God that she’s been doing wrong and apologizes to Him. Someday, Katy could have an amazing testimony and God will use it for good. Pray it’s soon before she influences more young girls and women for the world.

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

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PS I just realized this is the end of June already and should be Love Your Body Monday, but this post was on my heart so I’ll post a Love Your Body blog for the 4th of July week!

Are You The Woman Today You Want Your Daughter to Become?

If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know I’ve been writing, editing, and proofing a new book, Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. Last week, I turned in my final proof edit to the publishers, Leafwood Publisher, as I anticipate it’s September 12, 2017 release. Then I learned the exciting news that this book is now on Amazon ready for preorders! You can order now, and as soon as it’s in stock at Amazon, you’ll receive your pre-release copies. The more preorders, the more they bring in stock. Will you help me get this book into the hands of mentors and mentees, those wanting to know how to be a mentor or mentee, and Women’s Ministry Directors to guide women in all seasons of their life.

This book will guide and equip women from tweens to twilight seasons in how to biblically mentor or be a mentee! I think it’s the first book of it’s kind written for both M&M’S! One endorser has already said every Women’s Ministry Director needs this book in her library. As the summer goes on, I’ll share more tidbits about this book for all women.  So drum roll please . . . I’m unveiling the cover!

The Mothering Season

When I speak to women about mentoring, I tell them that their first mentoring responsibility is to their daughters if they have daughters or nieces. They’re the role model for these young girls and they’re mentoring to them what it looks like to be a woman today: either a woman of the world or a woman of the Word. And then, I ask the question: Are you the woman today you want your daughters to become because they’re watching you, and as much as they don’t want to be like you, they will probably become just like you at sometime in their life.

In Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, I share how during my backsliding years, my daughter wanted to be just like me. I realized some of the poor choices she was making were a reflection of the poor choices she was watching me make.

That was a huge revelation to me that I needed to make some changes in my life. When I did rededicate my life to the Lord and start living a godly life, she didn’t want any part of it. She liked the way we were living more by the world’s standards than by God’s ways. And that’s the story I talk about in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter. I went down on my knees and prayed Scripture for her daily for six years; all the time showing and role modeling for her the blessings of being a rededicated woman of faith.

I’m happy to say our story took a happy turn and Kim did eventually give her heart to Jesus, and she has done a much better job than I did raising her three children in a Christian household. She’s mentored them in character qualities that her two daughters and son are obviously noticing. For a school project, 3rd grader Sienna was to write why her mom should be in People Magazine. I must admit, I was troubled by this teacher’s choice of a magazine that 3rd graders had no business knowing about or writing an article for, so I was relieved when Sienna said she had no idea what People Magazine was, anyway!

But what did impress me were the character qualities Sienna wrote that she saw in her mom. My daughter is a fitness instructor with a fabulous figure, she’s gorgeous, dresses stylishly, and always looks beautiful. So when Sienna decided to write about why her mom should be on the cover of People Magazine, she easily could have talked about these superficial, outward qualities, but at eight-years old this is what she wrote, exactly how she wrote it, no edits from Grammie:

My mom should be on the cover of the People magazine. My mom’s name is Kim Mancini. My mom is medium height, has brown hair, and her eyes are brown. There are so many reasons why my mom should be on the cover of the People Magazine.

One of the amazing things about my mom is that she is trustworthy. My mom trusts me all the time. My mom does not lie. My mom is trustworthy with my whole family. Now you know why my mom is trustworthy.

My mom is the most honest person in the world. She is honest with me. She once said, “Do not be scared that’s not real.” My mom is honest with my grandparents. There is no doubt, my mom should be on the People Magazine because she is so honest.

My mom is so helpful. My mom helps me when I am hurt. My mom helps me with my homework. She helps me get ready for school. My mom should win an award for being the best mom ever. My mom is the best mom in the world.

By Sienna

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Sienna’s mom, is trustworthy, honest, and helpful. Later she wished she had included hardworking. Isn’t that what every mom wants all her children, not just her daughters, to say about her?! Good job Kim.

What would your kids write why you should be on the cover of People Magazine?

The Mancini family. Sienna is next to her brother

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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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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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Guns N’ Bibles

Woman with sword of the spiritMy husband and I give participants of our small groups, family, and friends a handout for Preparing for War from the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18. Periodically we’ll ask:

                  “So are you putting on the armor of God we told you about?”

Almost universally, the response is a shrugging of shoulders and “No, we’re not . . . .”

When we were first married, I studied spiritual warfare at Fuller Theological Seminary with Dr. Charles Kraft, and my husband went through a Neil Anderson course on spiritual warfare. God knew the spiritual battles we would incur in our years together, so He equipped us both with the understanding that “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 realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

God warns that the only way for Christians to fight this inevitable spiritual battle is to Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:10-11).

We are cautioned to 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).

No Weapon Formed Against Us Can Prosper

Bible_Gun

For 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.                2 Corinthians 10:3-4

This blog post is not about owning guns, but it is about Christians choosing a gun over the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17).

  • Believers who fear man more then they fear Satan.
  • Believers who put more faith in a gun’s protection then faith in God’s protection.
  • Believers who pack a gun, but don’t unpack their Bibles.

Jesus didn’t protect himself with a rock, a sword, or a knife. He fought evil with God’s Word, the sword of the Spirit, the only weapon He ever used. But sadly, today many of Jesus’ disciples know more about guns then they know how to use the only offensive weapon in the armor of God, the sword of the Spirit. They’re going out every day into the world spiritually naked without the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit securely prayed in place (from Ephesians 6:10-18).

And Satan gloats. If he can get Christians focused on trying to defend and protect themselves more with man’s weapons than fighting him with God’s weapon, Satan wins.

Do You Have a War Room?

Many saw the movie War Room and I’m sure were impressed with the power of prayer portrayed in this movie. But how many went home and set up a War Room? When I told my 7 year-old granddaughter the name of the movie, she wasn’t sure she wanted to watch it because she thought it would be a war movie. After our family watched it together, I asked her: “Do you know what a war room is now?”

Sienna: “A room where you pray,” she said confidently.

Friends, I hope you realize the mighty power of Jesus we have within us is not just fictional in a movie. Miss Clara in War Room understood how to use that power. She stood up to the assailant demanding her purse at knife point and told him in the “name of Jesus” to put down his knife. And he did. But some will say that’s just in the movies. . . . Maybe not.

Let me share with you a real-life “Miss Clara” story that happened last week to one of my Facebook Friends, Terri Gillespie. I asked Terri if I could share her story with you and she said absolutely.

*****************

Jan 10, 2016 on Terri Gillespie’s Facebook Post

Yesterday, at 1:26 pm I was robbed at gunpoint.

As I type these words, it still feels surreal. And as I process the event, I realize how easy it would be to turn this into a political issue, or a statement on the darkness of this world, but it was so much more than that.

First, what happened: My friend, Cathy and I were traveling back from our writing retreat at the Jersey shore. We decided to stop in Vineland, NJ for some lunch and shopping. We had a lovely experience with the young woman who helped us—she was a Christian and Zionist—and walked back to my car with our purchases.

My vehicle was packed with our bags and other packages from a weeklong retreat. Our clothes hung from the backseat carrack.

I couldn’t find my cell. I opened the back door on the driver’s side, placed my purse on top of a suitcase, and leaned over to search for it.

I asked Cathy to call my cell to see if it was in my purse. I felt something tapping me on my back and thought it was the clothes hangers. Finally, the phone rang in my purse, just as I felt the tapping again. I straightened and turned and there was a young man with a gun. He made sure I saw he had a gun. I remembered thinking two things. One: “Oh man!” Two: “Do glocks come in silver?”

He motioned toward my purse and whispered something. I hesitated, then reached for my little wallet. I remembered a scene from the movie War Room and I turned toward him and said, “Jesus loves you. He wouldn’t want you to do this.”

Cathy asked me if I had found my phone yet. I assured her I had. Thankfully, because of the curtain of clothing hanging, she had no idea what was going on. She only heard bits and pieces of my side of the conversation.

I pulled all the cash from my wallet—$12.00—and handed it to him. I apologized it wasn’t more. He rolled his eyes and asked for my car keys. I whispered, “You’re taking my car? You’re leaving us stranded?”

He motioned the gun toward Cathy and said he would kill her.

I said, “No, please. She just got over cancer. She almost died.” But, I handed him the keys.

I either repeated what I said, or I said that Jesus loved him. Perhaps, both. I tried making eye contact with him throughout. His gaze was mostly everywhere but on me. At this point, he looked briefly at me, then looked down. Cathy told me later that I kept saying Jesus loves you.

The young man handed me back the keys. He paused as though not sure what to do next. I thanked him and patted him on the shoulder and repeated one last time, “Jesus loves you.”

He turned and walked away.

Shaking, I shut the door, opened the driver’s side door, and started the car.

Cathy asked me if I was okay. I think I said something like, just a minute. Frankly, I was afraid that the young man would change his mind and return, so I wanted to get out of there.

Finally, I was able to tell Cathy what had just happened.

Cathy prayed as I drove back onto Highway 55. We thanked the Lord for His protection. We prayed for that young man that God would touch his heart and change his life from that moment on. We prayed for miles and miles. We talked, then prayed some more.

I was so grateful—am so grateful. Grateful for God’s protection of my friend and me. Grateful for the young man’s mercy and that in the midst of evil plans, he made the right choice to stop. Grateful that my friend did not have to see all this happening. Grateful to be able to go home and hug and kiss my husband.

*****************

Terri goes on to explain that she did report the crime, then she adds: “This morning when I first awoke, I remembered to forgive the young man and prayed again for his salvation and that his life would change for God’s glory. I’m sure there is more for Cathy and me to process and I would appreciate your prayers for us and our families as we do this; but please, as you pray, please remember this young man. Pray for him.”

When I asked Terri if she thought they would have all walked away unharmed if she had a gun, her answer was telling:

Do I think the outcome would have been different had I been armed? Yes. And that’s why I was glad I wasn’t. It really forced me to be totally dependent upon the Lord.

Several Facebook comments:

You were saved by using the Word of the Lord – may we always remember that they are mightier than any sword (or gun).”

“He was truly “disarmed” in the Spirit.”

Here’s a picture of my War Room. Let’s flood social media with pictures of our War Rooms and Sword of the Spirit.

My War Room

                   My War Room

My Weapon, The Sword of the Spirit

My Weapon, The Sword of the Spirit

We Have the Same Power!

A couple booked a wedding on our farm. Dale and I prayed that the Glory of the Lord would encounter them. I walked into the bedroom where the bride and bridesmaids were getting dressed and asked if I could pray a blessing over the wedding and marriage. The bride looked at her bridesmaids inquisitively. She said, “Sure.” They gathered close. I put my hands on the bride. I asked JESUS to encounter their hearts… At the first WORD of JESUS-tears streamed down their faces like I’ve never seen. There’s POWER in the NAME of JESUS! I prayed in boldness that the couples offspring would boldly declare Christ as Lord and be warriors for HIM. When the prayer was finished, she held her womb, with tears rolling and hugged me. One day EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue confess that He is LORD!I Don’t EVER be afraid to be bold with His NAME!—Facebook Post from Sharon Glasglow shared with permission

We hear songs like “There is Power in the Name of Jesus”, but how often do we tap into that power within us? The words from Jeremy Camp’s song, “Same Power,” ring so true for all Christians:

SAME POWER

I can see

Waters raging at my feet

I can feel

The breath of those surrounding me

I can hear

The sound of nations rising up

We will not be overtaken

We will not be overcome

I can walk

Down this dark and painful road

I can face

Every fear of the unknown

I can hear

All God’s children singing out

We will not be overtaken

We will not be overcome

The same power that rose Jesus from the grave

The same power that commands the dead to wake

Lives in us, lives in us

The same power that moves mountains when He speaks

The same power that can calm a raging sea

Lives in us, lives in us

He lives in us, lives in us

We have hope

That His promises are true

In His strength

There is nothing we can’t do

Yes, we know

There are greater things in store

We will not be overtaken

We will not be overcome

Greater is He that is living in me

He’s conquered our enemy

No power of darkness

No weapon prevails

We stand here in victory

Jeremy Camp and Jason Ingram © 2015 Stolen Pride Music (ASCAP) (admin. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Sony ATV Timber Publishing / Open Hands Music (SESAC) (Admin. by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LL

Dear ones, I’m not so naive to think we will ever have a society without guns, but I am passionate about the number of empty War Rooms in the homes and hearts of fellow Christians. We may never have a government that turns completely to God to guide our country, but that doesn’t mean that the body of Christ can’t join forces in utilizing the greatest power that ever lived, and lives within each of us: the Name of Jesus Christ and the Word of God.

Breastplate of righteousnessI leave you with these important questions to ponder:

  • Do you believe you have the “same power” that rose Jesus from the grave?
  • Are you ready and equipped to use the power of Jesus within you?
  • If so, I beg you to daily clothe yourselves and your children in the Armor of God and set up your Prayer War Rooms! Arm yourselves with God’s Word, the Bible, and be ready to go into action.

Your life and the lives of those you love could depend on it.

Here are links to two versions of Praying the Armor of God that I have on my website Prodigal Support page:

Simplified version of Putting on the Armor of God Daily

Armor of God Personalized and Expanded

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Also a reminder that my new book Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten releases February 9th. Amazon is taking pre-orders now. Order today to be sure they don’t run out on the 9th.

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