God is Not Interested in Your Comfort

What is it with the modern American church’s obsession with thinking God wants us to be comfortable? What then do you say to the underground church in China? That God has abandoned them because they are persecuted? God is not interested in our comfort. He is interested in having His way in us. And rightfully so. And when our happiness conflicts with His holiness, our happiness will either cease for the moment or we will reject God. “God of all comfort?” Read the whole context:

“Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you [is] steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also [you will partake] of the consolation.”  2 Cor. 1:3-7

Living for the Moment

instaEEver since this little human entered my life, and since his daddy just joined the Navy, I’ve been thinking: we were originally designed to live 800+ years, and in my imagination, those people in Genesis that lived 800+ years took things slowly, made things well, took their time. I’ve decided to take my time too. I may not have much of it, but I’m tired of my American culture causing me to wish away my life without living it; without living in it. I’m taking my time with my boys, trying to live in each moment, instead of wishing them away.

Just thought I’d share.

It’s Gotta be Mitt!

Democrats are really good at uniting behind one person. Republicans, too caught up in religious beliefs and who knows what else, vote in a divided and sporadic manner. We cannot afford this type of voting in this primary. This election is too important. We must have a united front that can withstand the liberal media and Obama campaign in the general election.

I am going to finally put aside all my withheld opinions and unashamedly try to get you to vote with me. For those of you who don’t know me, you can read my tiny bit of qualification regarding politics on my about me page.

I heard a moderate talk show host tonight say that the Republicans are dropping the ball on getting someone besides Obama elected! Really guys? Even the moderates can see it? This election is important, so put aside your anger that’s getting directed at me and really, just listen.

You have two choices: Gingrich or Romney. I know neither one is great and so do you. But because Gingrich has gained some momentum, you may be more inclined to vote for him than a couple of weeks ago. I am here to lay out for you the pros and cons of voting for either potential nominee.

Gingrich: The Positive

  • He is emotional, unafraid to stand in front of the liberal media and proclaim their bias, and a great debater.
  • He is great at inspiring and uniting people for a cause. Just look at what he rallied congress to do that got him elected speaker.
  • He is can be endearing (if you watched the early debates). Gingrich has been my “emotional attachment” since the first debates. He can be very warm and fatherly, the kind of man you could see comforting the nation in a time of trouble.
  • He is very pro-Israel and understands the middle-east conflict better than any other candidate.
  • He is brilliant. He knows history.
  • He has been in politics long enough to understand how to actually change things, not how to ideally change them. He gets the system.

Gingrich: The Negative

  • He is emotional. He flies off the handle. This will cost us.
  • All of the complaining about the media elites will not service him or anyone else in the general election. I heard Michael Medved make an amazing analogy of this yesterday. He talked about dating vs. a committed relationship. When you’re dating someone, it’s fun to hang around someone who is emotional, headstrong, even a little crazy. But when you’re looking for a committed relationship, that’s not what you look for. You look for a more serious long-term candidate. Catch my drift? Republicans may be favoring the emotional guy now, but in a general election, people will give serious thought to who they believe is a steady candidate.
  • Have you noticed that the media isn’t attacking Gingrich? That’s because they want him to be the nominee. They think he will be easier to beat than Romney. The Dems are saying, “Go Newt!”
  • If he were to become president, I would be scared. If you look even slightly into his history of leadership, you don’t see a strong leader, you see someone who will abandon all morals to accomplish what he wants in the moment.
  • The above also goes for his personal life. When my husband found out that Gingrich had repeated affairs and divorces (and then remarriages), he said he could understand someone making a mistake once, but to do that repeatedly shows a lack of commitment in a person in general. If he can’t commit in his personal life, how can we a expect him to commit to political policies?
  • Gingrich will not win the moderate vote. We need the moderate vote to win this election, because no matter who the nominee is, this election will be a close one.
  • If you support Newt, can you tell me what he would do as president? I have heard a lot of Obama-bashing and nice ideas, but I honestly have no clue what Newt’s approach to the presidency would be (and I watch every debate).

Romney: The Positive

  • Romney has that steadiness that is needed in a president. He is unwavering, and despite common gossip about him, has not changed any of his political views in a long time.
  • Romney aligns with the basic evangelical Republican hot topics that decide votes. Even more-so in some ways than Rick Santorum (and neither one is evangelical so religion can’t be part of the argument).
  • Romney understands business management and politics. Lord knows we could use some of that fresh perspective in the White House.
  • Romney has a solid family life and very few areas where he could be legitimately attacked by the Obama campaign. They are afraid of Romney. I think they will resort to lying through their teeth to attempt to defeat him.
  • Unlike Gingrich, you know what you are going to get with Romney.
  • He did amazing things with democratic majorities in Massachusetts. That gives us the security that he will know, better than W., how to get things done even if he doesn’t have control of congress.
  • He can definitely win over moderates and even some dems are quietly admitting they’d vote for him over Obama. (Some already have in this primary season.)
  • He’s the kind of man you’d hire to run a business, why isn’t he the kind of man you want to elect as president?

Romney: The Negative

  • He is a little stoic, distant; I always want to shake him a little and tell him to relax. I do think it affects people liking him.
  • Sadly, and shallowly, evangelicals may reject Romney simply on the basis of religion. Guys: Christian nation, secular government. Read this for a Jew’s bipartisan perspective.
  • The media has created this portrayal of Romney as a moderate, even though that was not the case in 2008 when he ran for president (and he has not changed any policies since then). However, perception is reality for many people and it is a problem for Romney, true or not.
  • Admittedly, he is more moderate (though still conservative) than I or any of my evangelical friends would really hope for, but please read this previous post for my thoughts on why that is not an issue this election.
  • Sometimes Romney has too many points in his plans for change. Good plans, but too heady.
  • He doesn’t have as much hand-on political experience as Gingrich, which, when we’re talking about really changing Washington, would be helpful.

There you have it. I hope you will read at least a few of the articles I’ve linked to before writing me off or commenting. Please think about our party’s nominee in light of the general election ahead. Please step back and think about the long-term impact of this election. It’s our last chance to overturn Obamacare. It’s important…so important.

And if you didn’t follow me, I’m saying: vote for Romney! And if you’re still a Gingrich fan, please, let’s talk!

The Lesser of Two Evils: Conscience Voting

“I would rather be governed by a competent Turk than an incompetent Christian.” –Martin Luther

This post assumes that you are a Christian who believes in Biblical doctrine over denominational doctrine. That said, I am going to draw the following conclusions in the most logical manner I am able, since I am trying to display a logical train of thought using my right-brained mind. Bear with me.

The primary presidential election of 2012 is upon us. And, to my chagrin, I once again watch my friends and family base their votes on one of two things: the candidate who most agrees with their own moral beliefs, or the candidate who has the most emotional appeal to them.  I call the first group “conscience voters,” and if you are one of them, I beg of you to read on.

A conscience voter is mainly concerned with one thing: his account to God. I agree that we are all accountable to God for our actions, however, in being accountable to God, we must also be concerned with how our vote affects future generations, i.e. their long-term impact. Take the primary of 2008 for example. The evangelicals wanted Huckabee (why not? He aligned with their beliefs to a T), the practical voters and non-religious chose Romney, a more moderate but respectable choice. The moderates chose John McCain. No true majority wanted John McCain, however the 3-way split of conservatives gave us John McCain. This is a classic example of conscience voting gone wrong. McCain was never a strong candidate and was absolutely squelched by Obama’s campaigning skills.

Do you believe that a truly righteous, Sermon-on-the-Mount-living person, is represented in one of the 4 Republican candidates? If you cannot answer yes, then you are already affirming my point: we must vote for the lesser of two evils. I would venture to say that all of the candidates sin on a regular basis and are in need of grace.  So if this is true, it follows that we must choose the best of the immoral bunch, since none compare to our righteous leader Jesus. In this way we are already headed down the path of the lesser of two, or 4, evils. Where you and I differ at this point is opinion-influenced practical thought.

Let me put it this way:  I, along with thousands of Christians, vote for Rick Santorum because he conflicts least with my religious beliefs. The vote splits four ways between Santorum, Gingrich, Romney, and Paul. Who comes out on top? Well not Santorum for sure. Let’s say Gingrich for the sake of argument. Now my choice is Gingrich or Obama. I am left with a lesser-of-two-evils decision and a non-voting decision. If I decide not to vote because I disagree with both candidates, I am in effect voting for whoever wins. If I decide to now vote for the lesser of two evils, I am changing my voting style halfway through an election and have defied my previous reasoning.

Now let’s look at another scenario: I, along with thousands of other practical voters, take a step back and look at the 2008 and 2012 elections overall. I recognize the 3-way split of 2008 and the power of Obama’s campaigning skills. I put aside my emotions and say, “We cannot have four more years of Obama, so who can beat Obama?” I come up with only one option: Mitt Romney.  An unlike-able fellow, rather aloof, yet strong and presidential. A man who became pro-life because he self-educated. This is my only choice. I cannot let my emotions sway me. I become a Romney supporter instead of a Romney fan and cast my vote. Romney wins the primary and now my choice is Romney or Obama (or Santorum and Obama, or Paul and Obama). But now I have already taken the approach that I want the lesser of two evils, so the choice is already made.

Find it far-reaching if you like. This reasoning does not take into account the intense spiritual battle being waged over this important election. However, if we waste our votes on candidates who cannot even win the primary, let alone stand strong in the face of the liberal media, agenda, and Obama, we will have four more years of Obama. And this Obama will be unrestrained by re-election, and who knows what that could hold for the future of our country.

To borrow a story from a man much more qualified than me to pursuade you on this subject, think of it in light of this scenario:

Suppose I’m fleeing from a burning hotel and discover a damsel in distress on the way out. She’s helpless, pinned down by a heavy beam. For some reason, my many hours of typing haven’t resulted in enough muscle to free her. So what’s the right thing to do? If I stay with her, we both die. If I leave her there and run for help, someone might be able to get her out. The idealist reasons that practical results are irrelevant and conscience requires that a man of principle must not abandon a damsel in distress. But most people abandon idealism in these situations. They understand that conscience sometimes dictates that we do what is practical.

Conscience is dictating that you set aside your emotions this election. Your children are dependent on your wise decision. May we all look outside of ourselves as we walk into each voting booth and change the course of history.
(Change the course of history? Why yes, as a matter of fact.)

__________________________________________

UPDATE: If you haven’t been following this primary very closely, please view my list of pros and cons of the two frontrunners here.

Americans: Change Your Perspective

I’ve been reading the Bible in chronological order. Tonight as I read Deuteronomy 2:7, I stopped and thought, “Wait, what did Moses just say?”

“The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing.”

Lacked nothing? For 40 years the Israelites had nothing but the clothes on their backs (miraculously preserved, Deut. 8:4), manna and water. Lacked nothing? Are you hearing me? God’s perspective (through Moses) = they lacked nothing. THEY ATE THE SAME THING FOR 40 YEARS!

This parallels with the Sermon on the Mount where the only things Jesus mentions as needs are food and clothing:

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ for after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” Matt. 6:31-32

I just keep thinking, “I am so American. I am so ridiculously selfish and short-sighted.” God knows my needs and He considers my needs to be only food, drink, and clothing. How he must look at me when I complain that I don’t have the comforts that I want! How much do even the middle-class in our society border on God’s standards of repulsive self-indulgence?

I’m not trying to say that all God is doing is looking at us and shaking His head in displeasure. I think He does have compassion on us, and I also think that Deuteronomy has reminded me that I can never blame God for not getting my wants, because He has always supplied my needs.

Love & Humility

“If an experience fails to engender humility, charity, mortification, holy simplicity, and silence, etc., of what value is it?…In this faith God supernaturally and secretly teaches the soul and, in a way unknown to it, raises it up in virtues and gifts…When together with the words and concepts the soul is loving God and simultaneously experiencing this love with humility and reverence, there is indication that the Holy Spirit is at work within it.” -St. John of the Cross

As I was driving today, these were my thoughts…

I have experienced deep pain, I have felt the sting of betrayal, the dagger of rejection; I have felt the offense of close friends, I have been torn by the gossip of others. I have seen the hypocrisy of leadership and not pointed my finger; I have stood in the face of being falsely accused.

I have been wrong. I am often wrong. I have hurt people close to me. I have spoken pointed words knowing exactly where they will hurt the most.

And in all of this, in every situation, in all human and spiritual relationships, I have seen that only two things are worth experiencing them all: love and humility. If I can come out of these situations, whether I am the injurer or the offender, with love and humility, it’s worth it.

I’m not trying to rewrite a letter from Paul, though skimming them last night is probably why this is on my mind. It’s sounds so simple: respond well, taking the low road and love through the hard things. Yet so many of us choose the easy way of offense, selfishness, and pride, so we stay in our immature state.

I know many people who are twice my age and still take the easy path. I want to set my face towards the low, unattractive door. I want to come out of every situation with a little more love and a little more humility.

The Best Bible Study Advice I’ve Ever Heard

Being in a prayer room for 40+ hours a week for over 3 years now, I have heard almost everything there is out there on ways to study the Bible. The quote below takes the cake for the best advice I’ve ever heard and the one I try to implement in my own studies:

“Study the Bible with blank paper. When you’ve exhausted your own research, then turn to commentaries. Always spend more time in the Word than human words.” – David Pawson