The Trumpet Soundeth: Christian, for whom are you voting?

This blog is rarely political because i have always thought that politics are personal and when we start discussing political things it is divisive. (And i just want everyone to get along.) But at this point in time, in this country, if i do not stand up and say what i need to say, then how can i live with myself at a later time? And actually, at this point in time, in this country, everything has become political — wearing a mask in the middle of a pandemic, going to church, going to school, having a summer picnic, or a simple conversation with your neighbor…

So this September i am standing up for what i am passionate about. i hope you will hear me out before you stop reading. And if i don’t change your mind, please, at least consider what i’m saying.  We need civil discourse in this country now more than ever.

If you are a Christian, you have a huge responsibility in this election. The current president is counting on you to reelect him because he passes himself off as someone who supports the Conservative Christian agenda. Somehow, for me, it has become more than a conservative/liberal agenda; it is about returning our country to common decency and democracy. My question to you is What Would Jesus Do?

For each of the next thirty days, i will post a Bible verse and a short discussion that (i hope) will make you think about what this president does, and says, and how he acts every single minute of his life. And if you, as a believer in Jesus, can still say at the end of these thirty days that you will be voting for him, then there’s nothing else i can do. But, at least, i have tried to make you think about choosing country over party, unity over division, compassion over hatred, civil discourse over anger, democracy over chaos…

Don’t you long to wake up in the morning and not have to hear who the President has made fun of today, or what new outrageous thing he has tweeted?

And if you have made it this far, i owe you at least a first Bible verse:

For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Luke 6:45 (Translation is from the Berean Study Bible)

Vase of flowers and bible

Character

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” –Colossians 3:12

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” — Colossians 3:13

“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” — Colossians 3:14 

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” — Micah 6:8

Thus says the Lord of Hosts: Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another…”  –Zechariah 7:9

There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
         haughty eyes,
        a lying tongue,
        hands that shed innocent blood,
         a heart that devises wicked schemes,
        feet that are quick to rush into evil,
        a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” —
Proverbs 6:16-19

“Anyone who can be trusted in little matters can also be trusted in important matters. But anyone who is dishonest in little matters will be dishonest in important matters.” — Luke 16:10

O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved. — Psalm 15:1-5

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. — Romans 12:3

Language and Words

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. — Ephesians 5:4

“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding but only in expressing his opinion.” — Proverbs 18:2

The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth. — Proverbs 12:22

“Talk no more so very proudly; let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed.” — 1 Samuel 2:3

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person, For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person… — Matthew 15:18-20a

Issues

“Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the foreigner, or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.” –Zechariah 7:10

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in heaven.” — Matthew 5:16 

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” — Ezekiel 36:26 

“I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable.” —Jeremiah 2:7

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. — Romans 12:16-18

Leadership and Wisdom

A fool uttereth all his mind; but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.” — Proverbs 29:11

The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. –Proverbs 12:26 

And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” — Mark 9:35

“Without counsel, plans go wrong, but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22

Our kings, our princes, our priests, and our fathers have not kept your law or paid attention to your commandments and your warnings that you gave them. — Nehemiah 9:34 

For inquire now of bygone generations, and consider what their ancestors have found; for we are but of yesterday and we know nothing, for our days on earth are but a shadow. Will they not teach you and tell you and utter words out of their understanding? — Job 8:8-10

Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. — Titus 2:2

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules the people groan.–Proverbs 29:2

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. — Philippians 4:8

Can a corrupt throne be allied with you–a throne that brings on misery by decrees?”–Psalm 94:20

Money and Riches

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” –Luke 14:28

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” — Matthew 6:24

The wicked earns deceptive wages, but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward. –Proverbs 11:18

75. Listen, your stuff is talking

This is part 7 of several posts discussing Richard Foster‘s chapter on Simplicity in Celebration of Discipline.

This past week a group from our church spent four days in Manasquan, Mantoloking, and Lavalette, three towns on the Jersey Shore that were affected by Hurricane Sandy. Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. FosterOn Saturday evening we went to the coffee-house type worship at the church. The speaker was Jen, part of the praise team, who spoke passionately on the Simplicity chapter in Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline.  I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe that our Maker puts things in our lives for us to learn and be amazed by them. So, I was amazed. Two other women in our group had also participated in the Celebration of Discipline book study this spring. We all looked at each other and smiled. Yes, this talk was for us.

One by one, she spoke about the practical guidelines Foster puts forth, which, if we follow them, will lead us to a life of honest simplicity. The key words here are If we follow them

Foster’s eighth guideline for practical simplicity is this: Obey Jesus’ instructions about plain, honest speech.

Jen read this one, looked at the audience and said humorously, “I’ve got this one nailed.”

I laughed along with the audience. Not because I had this one nailed, but because I know how she felt to finally come upon one of Foster’s instructions that allows you to think, “Yes! Got it!”

So what are Jesus’ instructions about plain, honest speech?

Let your yes be yes

In Matthew 5:33-37 he says : “And don’t say anything you don’t mean…Just say yes and no. When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.” (paraphrased in The Message by Eugene Peterson.) That is — No excuses, no whining, no explaining, no fancy talk, no elaboration, no maybes, no swearing… Yes, I’ll be glad to. No, I’m sorry, I can’t.

In past posts “stuff” has dealt mostly with physical stuff, perhaps because that is usually what we think of when the ubiquitous word stuff rolls off our tongue or across our keyboard. But today, let’s think of stuff  as the baggage we carry around every day, those black garbage bags that color our thoughts and our speech. Bitterness, anger, jealousy, envy — all those ugly words weigh us down and come out in our talk.

eat your words

It used to be called Diarrhea of the Mouth; now it’s called TMI. It is very difficult to claim Not Guilty on this one. Ever just want to fill the silence with talking and then realize that you are saying nothing of importance? Ever interrupt someone just to get in your two cents? Ever say something and then think, Why did I say that? Ever say, Well, don’t tell anyone this, but… Ever talk just to feel important? Ever speak of someone unkindly?

Yes, to all the above. It’s not pretty to admit.
if you can't be kind

We’ve all been in conversations when suddenly the talk takes a turn for the worse. Words spill out, awkwardness ensues, someone leans down to tie a shoe… Perhaps you were the listener? Perhaps you were the talker?

We’ve also all been in conversations when the other person stops listening. Their eyes glaze over, body language changes, they lean down to tie a shoe… And we are likely to think them rude, when we should be wondering if it could be our talk.

Listening is an art, yes, but so is speaking. And maybe we should all just shut up? My Mom always used to say,

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.”

I used to hate it when she said that. Behind her back, I would mouth the words and roll my eyes. But today, I’m here to say, You were right, Mom. (Are you listening?)

Those  words that spill out from our stuff? They can only get us in trouble. With our friends, with our families, with our spouses, with our bosses, with Jesus. So, Zip your lips, Think before you speak, Put a sock in it, Bite your tongue, Pray for patience, Leave the room. Whatever you have to do to keep your speech honest and upright and pleasing, just do it. For the person you’re with, and for Jesus.Don't let your words be swords

Do I have this one nailed? No, but I’m trying. And when I can’t do it myself, I can call on the one who was nailed to the cross for me.