Gracious Heavenly Father, Ruler of all things, as our nation elects new leaders, we ask for Your wisdom and guidance in our choices. Give to all our leaders wisdom to lead with justice, strength to uphold the laws of our nation, and courage to stand up for the truth. Continue to bless Your Church with faithful pastors, teachers, leaders and members. We ask these things in the name of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. Amen.
For as many years as I can remember, the phrase “America is at a crossroads” has been used prior to a presidential election, pitting one candidate against another and one ideology against another. But in reality, the phrase ceased to be true a long time ago.
American society has traveled beyond the crossroads. At some point in the last few decades, our society chose a path: the wide and straight path to destruction. As a society, we have abandoned traditional morality based on natural law for an emotion-based individual morality that quickly changes based on one’s thoughts and feelings. Nothing is wrong and nothing is right. We can only say, “It’s right for me.” If we dare to tell someone they are wrong, we are immediately labeled a “hater.” There is no room for discussion, no room for debate, because there is no room for absolute truth. The road continues to widen and slope downhill, so we, as a society, continue to stumble faster and faster toward our fate.
All is not lost, though. Not everyone has chosen that road. There is still a large segment of our society that has not left the intersection where the roads diverge. They still stand at the crossroads with one foot on the steep and rocky path, calling out to their friends, family, and neighbors, pleading with them to return. That segment are Christians who have not succumbed to the lies of Satan and who not only want the country to return to traditional morals, but want all those who have chosen the path to Hell to turn from that path and live through faith in Jesus as their Savior.
That segment of Christians is faced with a challenging task this year: voting for a presidential candidate. We look at the character of the two major candidates and we may wonder how we can choose. One of them likely will be president. While we may not personally like either of these candidates, we need to look not only at their personalities and behavior, but also at what they claim to represent. We cannot see into anyone’s heart. We can look at what they claim and what they do. There are important issues for Christians at stake in this race, and we dare not give in to our own emotions, but instead face the realities of our nation both today and in the future.
We are not electing a spiritual leader. We are electing a government leader. But that government leader can have a profound impact on the work of the Christian Church and the lives of Christians. We have recently seen hostility in some areas of our government toward Christian beliefs if those beliefs are based on God’s Word and seek to follow that Word. We have seen that hostility reflected in new laws and how those laws are enforced. We have seen government agencies attempt to coerce Christians into actions that violate their consciences. No president can do this on their own. But the president generally sets the tone and the path of the country.
There are many considerations when choosing a candidate, from personal safety to the economy. Each may hold varying degrees of importance to each voter. But as Christians, one of the primary considerations must be our future and the future of our children in this nation. As we choose our nation’s leader, please pray for guidance both for you and for our nation. Consider what your vote will mean for your future as a Christian in this country and what it will mean for the future of the Christian Church in our nation. And no matter the election outcome, we pray that the Gospel of Christ may have free course for the glory of God and the salvation of many souls. And, as always, we pray, “Let God’s will be done.”
Rev. Paul Fries
Gracious Heavenly Father, Creator and Ruler of all things, we ask for Your protection for the people being affected by Hurricane Matthew. Give them strength through the storm and character to endure the aftermath. Guide all emergency workers and officials to make wise decisions and keep them safe. As in all things, let Your will be done. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Gracious Heavenly Father, we ask your blessings on all who labor in every vocation You have provided. Remind us all of the blessings of our work, and for the ability to work to provide for ourselves and our families. Be with all who are unemployed or unable to work any longer. Give us thankful hearts that You provide all things for our good. Above all, we thank You for the saving work of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. In His name we pray. Amen.
Recently in the presidential campaign both candidates have accused the other of being a bigot. This is one of the worst slurs that can be cast at a person in our society. Christians have been accused of being bigots for a long time. What is a bigot? Merriam-Webster.com defines a bigot as “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions or prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.” What we see, then, is that bigotry, when applied to the Christian context, involves two things: the first is how one regards different beliefs and the second is how one treats people who hold those beliefs.
The first thing we need to keep in mind when it comes to the teachings of the Christian faith is that they are not human ideas or opinions. They come from God No prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:20-21)
God tells us that His Word is the truth. Your word is truth. (John 17:17). We are to believe what God tells us in His word and not deviate from it. Be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. (Joshua 1:7).
In regard to the matter of salvation, the Bible reveals that we are all sinners who deserve God’s wrath and punishment. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23). The only way a person is saved is through the life, death, and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Scripture says, Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name un-der heaven given to men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12).
The fact that God declares His word to be the truth means that all other belief systems are false. They are human opinion and do not lead to God. Ultimately, they lead people to eternal death. Holding fast to the truths of God’s word is not bigotry. We must do so if we are to have any confidence in our relationship with God and have the certain hope of eternal life.
How are we to treat people that do not believe the way we do? The Bible tells us that we are to “love our neighbor as ourselves” (Matthew 22:39). The parable of the Good Samaritan shows us that our neighbor is everyone, not just those who live next to us. To love our neighbor means that we seek what is best for them. The best thing we can do for our neighbor is share the Gospel with them, so they believe in Christ and are saved.
The Bible forbids us to hate others. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. (1 John 2:9). This means we are not to speak evil of others or mistreat them in any way. Sadly, because of our sinful nature we find ourselves falling short of the glory of God. Individual Christians may be guilty of bigotry. When such sin is identified the Christian should immediately repent of it, and seek forgiveness from God and the one he has offended.
The Christian church does not teach or endorse bigotry of any kind. May the Spirit guide us to love others according to God’s will, while holding fast to the truths of His Word.
Rev. Matthew Luttman