Monday, October 27, 2008

why pray?

I have been asked that question several times and the rationale for asking is based on several familiar points of conjecture...

"...if God is sovereign and has already decided what He is going to do, why should we pray?"

"...if God already knows the end from the beginning how can we possible alter His divine plan?"

"...if God is going to do "His will"--as well He can--what is the purpose of prayer?"

The context for such questions generally revolves around issues like the necessity of voting, the concern for unsaved loved one and the inevitability of suffering and death. Why pray if God has already "cast His vote?"

Several very simple reasons come to mind.

1. God commands us to pray.

2. God invites us to come to Him boldly in time of trouble to find "grace and help".

3. Jesus prayed, and set an example for us. Why would He have prayed knowing full well the Father's plan?

4. The Word of God promises results if we pray, i.e. "the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (KJV).

5. Prayer acknowledges my confidence in God and affirms my dependence upon Him.

As the election nears, I will cast my vote with he confidence that I have prayerfully done what I should have done and then, I will rest in the results with the certainty that God is in control.

As I pray for unsaved loved ones, I am reminded that God loves them more than I do, and I can know He will exhaust His resources in calling them back to Himself.

And, as I counsel those going through suffering, and some facing death, I am grounded on the promises off God's word and His assurance He will stand by us, strengthen us and, in the end, save us for eternity.

That's why I begin every day with prayer and my default system in any situation is "Pray!"

Friday, October 24, 2008

how much stock do we take in the stock market?

I met with a financial advisor today. Ouch.

The monies we have placed in the stock market for retirement are about 50% of what they were three months ago. Retirement is merely a dream for me today.

As we try to salvage our remaining funds I am struck for the moment with a sense of panic. I feel sick to my stomach.

I am remembering that there are literally millions of people in our country who have lost their homes, their savings--some have lost their pensions with failing companies. Where will they turn? What will they do?

Psalm 31 closes with these words, "Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord". I am asking myself...

1. Is my hope in the Lord?

2. If it is--and I insist it is--why should I feel weak and sick?

3. Will I, then, "take heart"?

I'll let you know how well I do; at this moment I am praying that God will help me refocus my faith in Him...and not take so much stock in the stock market.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

what makes me want to vote...

These are two of my eleven grandchildren, and this picture is as fresh as this morning's e-mail.

These are two of the reasons I will vote November 4th. Actually, I am going to mail my absentee ballot in tonight.

My vote will reflect my values and my commitment to the Word of God as the final authority in matters as critical as these which face our country.

1. My vote will reflect my commitment to the sanctity of life.
2. My vote will resonate with my affirmation of traditional marriage.
3. My vote will recognize the importance of a Supreme Court that honors the Constitution.
4. My vote will reaffirm my rejection of socialism and the coerced redistribution of wealth.
5. My vote will rally the hopes of our troops who are sacrificing their lives for our country overseas.
6. My vote will reassess the perils of increased taxation on people like us.
7. My vote will render support for caring for the needs of the less fortunate by encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit of our nation's people.

I am voting because I want my grandchildren to enjoy the blessings of this country that have been preserved for me to enjoy...and I want them to keep smiling...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

the importance of my vote

As a believer I am overwhelmed with the importance of the coming election and all that it portends for our country. My concerns about issues that are rooted in the truth of God’s Word motivate me as we faithfully pray for our country. Issues of economics and national defense are the front page news items but the political debauchery and moral decay of our country are hugely responsible for the mess we are in. Political solutions and military strategy will not change what is wrong with our country.

The abandonment of our commitment to the sanctity of life impacts the issues of abortion and euthanasia so that at each end of the life cycle there are repercussions. Our treatment of individuals whether as prisoners of war, aging citizens of society, illegal aliens working in our country, or unprotected babies in the womb reflects our value of life and the choices we make to secure it.

Where I am most frightened as a pastor, father and grandfather is in our state court’s decision to overturn the voter initiative approved by 61% of Californians in 2000 that simply said, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California”. Four activist judges in San Francisco disregarded the people’s vote so now a constitutional amendment is in place to restore the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman in State Proposition 8.

A “no” vote on this proposition bas been characterized by this way. “…the sanctity of marriage will be destroyed and its powerful influence on the betterment of society will be lost. (it)…would result in the very meaning of marriage being transformed into nothing more than a contractual relationship between adults. No longer will interests of children and families even be a consideration…The marriage of a man and a woman has been at the heart of society since the beginning of time. It promotes the ideal opportunity for children to be raised by a mother and father in a family held together by the legal, communal and spiritual bonds of marriage. “

Porposition 8 protects the people’s will about preserving marriage. It is not an attack on the gay lifestyle nor does it take away any rights or benefits for domestic partners. It protects our children from being taught in public schools that same-sex marriage is the same as traditional marriage. It also protects churches from being prosecuted for teaching that homosexuality is sin, a basic biblical doctrine.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome has said, “If we lose, our movement will be dealt a blow that will set us back on a whole range of issues.” He is right. The attempt to redefine marriage will have succumbed to the will of the people once again. And traditional marriage as we know it—as God’s Word defines it—will be preserved.

You may feel ambivalent about the national election. Frankly, though the issues are of infinite importance, I have had difficulty being excited about either candidate. Moral issues, however, and the future composition of the Supreme Court in addressing the content of these, is a deep concern of mine and is a determination in how I will ultimately decide my vote.

For Christians, there should be no confusion about Proposition 8—Democrat, Republican or Independent. The Bible is clear about marriage. Ephesians 5 reminds us of the unique relationship between a husband and a wife and Ephesians 6 about their relationship as parents to their children. To alter that is an assault on everything for which the Word of God stands.

And it is reason enough for everyone of us to vote on November 4th. Do it prayerfully.