My Weekly Prayer Partner email. I thought I would share it with you.
I woke up sick to my stomach this morning and have been feeling this way all day. Yes, it has to do with the election last night. Regardless of the outcome, and which candidate I would have woken up to hear was our new President Elect, I would have felt this way.
I am so sad at the tone of our nation. The anger, bitterness, division and lack of civility that this last year has seen. I'm so sad and literally sick to my stomach today because so many people I know are hurting. Their candidate lost, others are gloating and rubbing it in. Both sides making insensitive remarks and painting the whole other-side with a broad-brush as if all voted for some dark, sinister devilish motive.
I know and love Christian believers who were passionate for all the candidates for president. All had their various reasons. Honestly, it sounded like very few liked their man or woman very much. As I have said in many past elections, I have to vote for the lesser of two evils but in this case, I'm not sure there was a lesser.
To hear some talk, it was as if God had anointed a new Pope for America and their candidate was God's pick. I hate to say this but it's the first time in my 38 years in ministry, I could not stand before those I lead and say vote your Christian conscience and your biblical beliefs. I'm personally not sure that was possible for a Christian. Now don't get me wrong, I believe in voting and Christians should be passionate but I'm not sure candidates can always rise to that standard.
Please let me share my heart with you today. I don't believe Christians please God when we let our anger, bitterness, disappointment or victory affect the way we treat others who might differ from us.
It so saddens me when we as Christians actually think a politician is going to save or doom America. When we live out of fear, bitterness, anger or retribution and let it rule us, it says we are putting our hope more in a man or woman than in our God.
Yesterday morning, I posted an Instagram post and tagged it: #GodisinControl.
We all say it but do we believe it?
As Christ Followers, we have the greatest weapon God has given us. It's not the ballot box or even a social media post. It's prayer. Do we not think God is not aware of the issues in our country? Do we actually think it's a politician who will change it?
Honestly, I think it's only prayer. Please pray. Pray for each other. Pray for ALL our elected officials from the proverbial local Dog Catcher to the President. Yes, as I remember President Obama saying 8 years ago after being elected, "Elections have consequences," but for Christians, we do not have to fear or try to control the outcome and consequences. God will take care of that. Either we have faith or we don't. We believe He is in control or we don't.
Please let me plead with you to pray and not let anger control us.
Pray, do not let pride control us.
Pray, do not let our personal feelings cause us to treat others who differ from us badly.
Pray, instead of cursing.
Pray, instead of getting even.
Pray, instead of gloating.
Pray, for our leaders.
1 Timothy 2:1: "So, first and foremost, I urge God’s people to pray. They should make their requests, petitions, and thanksgivings on behalf of all humanity. 2 Teach them to pray for kings (or anyone in high places for that matter) so that we can lead quiet, peaceful lives—reverent, godly, and holy—3 all of which is good and acceptable before the eyes of God our Savior 4 who desires for everyone to be saved and know the truth."
I learned many years ago that politics divides and it's never been more evident than in this election. But as Christians, we must rise above that and love and pray for those we might even disagree with or as Jesus said, love those who spitefully use you.
Love BUILDS UP!
Politics divides, love conquers. Love one another. (He didn't put qualifiers on it.)
God did not call me to promote or endorse a candidate. I am grieved at the many pastors on both sides who publicly endorse and even campaign for a candidate. When they do, they own that candidate and no candidate is perfect, all will disappoint us. People will identify us with that failure or party. I am so sad to see so many pastors take sides. God loves all sides. Jesus died for ALL!
God has called me to love, pray and care for all of our flock and for us to reach out with the GOSPEL to all people. Not just those we agree with. When we let our politics divide us, we take away the platform to share Jesus.
I have been alone all day, working on the finishing touches of this weekend's message. Ironically it's on Grace and to Go...... in Grace. We need to give each other a lot of grace this week. Give people a hug that are hurting. Be sensitive to those who might disagree and above all give grace and God's love. Begin with praying for one another.
Jesus gave us the Gospel to share. It means Good News. Let's share some Good News with someone this week. People need Jesus and hope, not a politician. For me, I will continue to challenge Oasis to feed the homeless each week, fill food pantries of local ministries, love kids, help the hopeless, go love Haiti and other countries and cities like Detroit and those in our neighborhoods that need help. That is where you will find Jesus. May we continue to be about His Kingdom business and not so focused on a temporary home that will soon pass away. Eternity is at stake.
I love you guys.