Vote Your Faith

“Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,
and to God the things that are God’s.”
(Matthew 22:21 (ESV)

The first presidential debate of the 2012 election has just taken place, the lines are being clearly drawn between the leading candidates, and November 6th is rapidly approaching.  And while there may be some grand revelation that comes out in the next 30 days, chances are, you’ve already made up your mind and know who you are voting for – in fact, with early voting, you may have already voted.

But here’s something to think about: Has your faith influenced your decision at the polls this year?  Interestingly, the Family Research Council reports:

many believers don’t even consider their Christian values when voting, often choosing candidates whose positions are at odds with their own beliefs, convictions, and values.  A study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life a few years ago showed that 62% of Americans say their faith has little to do with their voting decisions.  That’s tragic because Jesus expects us to influence every part of culture and society as salt and light-including the democratic process.

Too often, we connect ourselves with a political party, and then begin to project our values and beliefs into that party.  We think, ”Well, if I believe this, and I’m a member of the party, then surely the rest of the party believes it too.”  We look to the “religious right” or the “progressive party” to affirm and fight for our values, when in reality, neither party can perfectly represent that which makes up the Christians hopes and expectations.  We must remember that we are sojourners here, that our nation, while perhaps the best experiment in freedom and liberty man has known, is governed by fallen man, and is, as such, liable and even prone to fall and fail at times.

The Family Research Council goes on to say,

Obviously, Christian “rulers” would have Christian values, right?  Not necessarily.  There are a lot of folks who use Christian lingo, but when you look at their positions and votes and their associations, it becomes evident that they do not line up with biblical values.  That’s why it is so important to do your homework on the candidates.  Don’t just listen to their campaign rhetoric, look at their records in office.  Don’t just watch their political ads, look at their positions on the issues.  Think about this: Every candidate has his or her own set of values and positions on important issues. Don’t you think that where a candidate stands on moral issues is far more important than the party he or she belongs to or the campaign ads and promises?  Shouldn’t we vote for candidates who share our moral values?

So this hear, I encourage you to vote your values.  This may be a risky vote, because it may mean voting for a third party candidate, and the third party seldom has a chance to win a national election.  But win or lose, our loyalty must be with the Lord Jesus; we must vote his values.  This means, at the very least, voting for those who protect and defend the sanctity of human life, especially that of the unborn.  This means voting for those who protect and defend marriage as between one man and one woman, and will support the central institution of our society, the family.  This means voting for those who will defend the freedom of religion, the freedom of religious expression, religious practice, and religious assembly.

Next Week – What to do When You Don’t Like Either Candidate?

SDG

Things to be Thankful For

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise !
Psalm 95:1-2

Once again Thanksgiving is upon us, and I’m not ready for it.  For me as a Pastor, Thanksgiving tends to get overlooked.  The fall is so busy in the church with the start of all the new programs and classes.  Even in October I start looking ahead to Advent, Christmas, and the start of a new year.  If it wasn’t for Thanksgiving, I don’t know if I’d ever stop to think about the things that I am really thankful for.  Just for tomorrow’s big day I thought I’d share some things for which I am truly thankful.

  • My Family – I know it sounds cliché, but I am very thankful for my family. 
    • I have four wonderful children.  They can try my nerves, they’ve given me gray hairs, and sometimes I wonder how much I could get for them on eBay.  But the joy they bring and the pride I have in them far outweigh anything else.  I love watching them grow and learn, to see their unique personalities emerge.  Thank you God for these wonderful blessings.
    • I have a wife who knows me and still loves me, and for that I am eternally grateful.  She gets me, and that’s quite a miracle.  I wake up every morning and she’s still there – and I’m the luckiest guy on earth.  I know I don’t deserve her, I often take her for granted, but I do thank God for bringing us together and giving us the love we share.
  • My Job – I have the opportunity to do what I love for a living, and that’s something rare.  I am blessed to be called to the ministry; I get to share on a daily basis the Good News of God’s love; I get to witness the grace of God changing lives; I’m called Pastor and I am trusted and respected as a teacher of God’s Word.  Some days I am overwhelmed by the calling, but I am thankful that God has led me here to serve Him and His congregation.
  • My Nation and those who defend her.
    • I thank God that I get to live in a nation where Liberty and Justice are the foundation of our society.  Some might say that those great ideals are being eroded, but the fact that we can say that without threat of violence or repercussion is evidence that we are still a free nation.
    • I am truly grateful for those men and women who volunteer to serve this nation in the Armed Forces.  Every day they offer themselves in defense of our freedoms, they fight to protect our way of life.  They don’t hear it enough, so I’ll say it again, “Thank You!”
  • My Salvation in Christ – Most importantly, I give thanks to God for the gift of Salvation He has given in Jesus Christ.  I am constantly aware of how little I deserve God’s love and favor, how far from Him I strayed.  Left to my own ways, I would never earn God’s forgiveness, nor would I even care.  But God, who is rich in mercy and love in Jesus Christ, has made me alive with Him, has washed me of my sin, has called me to walk with Him, and has filled my heart with hope.  Thank you, Father, for your love for me in Jesus my Lord!

Have a great Thanksgiving, and may you find many things for which to be truly thankful!

SDG