Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Prayer for Revival

God, You are good and all Your promises are true! I will praise You all of my days. You wrap me with Your goodness and Your grace. Your faithfulness overwhelms me! Your Presence is better than life. Yes, better than riches and gold is Your Spirit to me! In Your Presence is freedom and love. You fill my life with peace and joy. You are mighty to save, and nothing is too difficult for You! Power and strength go before You. You hold the universe in the palm of one hand, and walk hand-in-hand with me with the other. You order my days. You call me Yours. You have good plans for me. You are for me. You delight in me. You rejoice over me with singing. You appoint leaders and officials; You cause nations to rise and fall. You placed the sun and moon in the sky to give us light. You breathed the stars into their perfect places. Who is God but You? You create and You destroy, both give life and cause it to cease. I will trust in Your goodness, and in the strength of Your arm will I place my confidence. Your faithfulness follows me all of my days. You will never fail me or forsake me. You uphold me with the right hand of Your righteousness. Your words to me are life! Your Spirit uplifts me. Consume me, God! Consume me with Your consuming fire. Fill me up so that there is more of You, and less of me. May my heart beat as one with Yours! Give me a heart to see, that I may see with Your eyes and with Your heart. I pray that I may have a heart for Your people as You do. I pray for revival, God! Send Your Shekinah Glory! Take up residence within us as a people. We long to feel Your Presence continually. We long to see Your miracles again. We long for people who have never experienced You to suddenly feel Your Presence in a real, tangible way. For You to knock their socks off! That we would all fall on our faces before You, hungry for a fresh outpouring of Your Spirit. In the streets, in our homes, in the schools. In Your Spirit is power! We long to see Your power again, God. Come transform us, God. Transform our hearts before You. Heal us, save us, sanctify us, redeem us, fill us, consume us. We need You, God! We fall on our faces in admission of our absolute need of You. Without You we are as nothing! What else can satisfy? Who else can fill our emptiness? Only You. Who else can heal every part of us? Who else can give hope when it seems there is none? Who else can give peace and joy when circumstances should warrant otherwise? You and You alone can do all these things. We wait for Your touch, God, and we ask You to come! Come in our churches, our families, our cities, our state, our nation. Pour out Your Shekinah Presence upon us! We long to be filled, for our families, churches, cities, nations to be transformed in You. YOU are God of this city, church, family, nation, and we want what YOU have for us. There is more to this life than what so many have been living. You have MORE for us than what is happening around us today. Come transform us, God. We ask You to come and work among us. We want more, God! More of You in our lives. We can't get enough of Your Presence, Your Power, Your Glory. We ask for more, God!

This post is linked with these great linky parties:

Missional Women  Faith Filled Friday

  Titus 2sdays Link-Up Party

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fear Versus Faith: How Will You Choose to React to the Outcome of This Year's Election?

In the days following President Obama's re-election (and over the next 4 years), we as Christians have a choice to make in our attitudes and how we respond. Will we respond in anger? In despair? Do we allow ourselves to be overcome with worry? Do we give up?

Although there are many emotions we could choose to (re)act with, when it comes down to it, there are really only two: fear or faith. Which one will you choose?

There are two things I would like to share with you. The first is a "31 Day Prayer Challenge" (although a more appropriate title might be a "4 Year Prayer Challenge", or even an "Every Day, Every Year Prayer Challenge", because the biblical truths behind it will be truths for President Obama's entire re-election term and for any President elected after him). This challenge came to me via the facebook update of a friend of mine, Mindy Gleghorn (who also happens to be a fellow homeschooling mom). The following was her status update:

Okay, here is what has come to me in my uninterrupted morning shower, (those are rare and appreciated around here:)....this goes out to everyone who's president is still Obama....like it or not! First, take any negative emotions your have about it all, and give it to God; be done with it. Clear your heart and mind of resentment, disappointment, etc... Ask God to remind you of how He loves the worst of the worst (I'm not saying Obama is the worst guy either!) as much as the next guy, and that He commands you to do the same!  
Second, begin praying for our President, and all leaders in our government. Pray sincerely, (like you would if you liked them:)...we as Christians are commanded to love, and in order to love someone, we must pray for them! We are told to pray for our leaders, and I believe that the only way we are going to get the President that this country needs/deserves, is to pray for the one in office...not vote one in!! Friends, we have a man in office, and he is not an evil man, he is just a man and he needs our prayers! He needs all the help he can get!! 
The Bible says "where 2 or 3 agree....it shall be" (more or less).... Well I don't have an official count but there are a lot more than 2-3 of us!! What we see with Obama, or any candidate for that matter, is NOT what God sees. God can change anything/anyone, but if we are spending all of our time being bitter, mad, angry, and putting him down then how is that going to help? If you truly believe in the power of prayer then you won't question that this will work. 
I am going to use my "31 days of Praying for your husband" challenge as a template (which by the way is proven effective, with personal experience:), and I am going to pray for Obama, and other leaders. I'm going to pray for his heart, and that he begins to feel this crazy hunger for the Word, and for The Lord! I am going to pray that he begins to seek after Godly wisdom with gazelle intensity...so much that he does not even understand what is happening! I am going to pray that he will truly seek after God's Word, wisdom, and guidance on all matters of his own life and the lives of the people in this country! Friends, God did not say pray for someone until we are tired of it, but to pray until IT IS DONE! Put aside all the negative, and pray for this man!I recently read, "It is easy to act like a Christian, but not to RE-ACT LIKE ONE!" How will you react to this election? I choose love, which is what I believe God commands of me. So here goes.... 
DAY 1: Father, I pray that Barack Obama and all the men/women in government will grow spiritually and consider their accountability before YOU! I pray that they will guard their heart by developing spiritual discipline, by reading Your Word, praying, and meditating. I pray their hearts will be filled with a crazy fire to seek Your Truth and make decisions, based on what You command! Thank you, Father!.....so, to all of you Americans (Christians and those of you who don't believe in prayer or God, ect...) anyone who want great things for yourselves, your families, and your country....DARE YA TO PRAY!

A friend of Mindy's made this comment to Mindy's status: 

So glad you brought this to mind. As I begin to learn the Word, the one that comes to mind is Paul...he is my fav so far since there aren't too many yet to compare to...Paul had such faith. But he sure didn't have it in the beginning! There is HOPE!

 Mindy also said the following in response to friends' comments:

And [God] does change people!  We are ALL proof of that! If we think that praying truly and sincerely for Obama or anyone is a waste of time, then we don't have the faith we claim to have! God's power does not stop at a point of being too difficult!

Regarding why she wrote the status update:

I was up early as usual with it all on my mind, and I was praying for what HE really wanted us to do with it all. When HE gave me this, it also came with instructions to share [it with other people]...I knew from experience to just do what HE was telling me because I knew if I thought about it too much I would talk myself out of it, so I grabbed my IPad, sat at my table, towel still on my head, and began typing. HE knew what He was doing; I'm just really grateful that HE used me to share it.

When asked to explain more about the "31 Day Prayer Challenge:"

[The 31 Day Prayer Challenge] is a prayer challenge that I did with my husband...after completing month one, and then starting a second one with different prayers and scriptures he began (after 10+ years) attending church with us and seeking after God's heart! God is moving in his life and doing amazing things! That's how I know it works! There were so many days that praying was the last thing I wanted to do or thought I could do for him. That's how I felt about [President] Obama this morning:) They can google "31 days of praying for your husband" and a number of ones will show up. There is a good one on iMom also. Ya know, the first one I did was the best ever, and I can't find it! Crazy thing is, I found it folded up in a homeschool curriculum book that I bought used online...I had that book in a box for 2+ years, and one day about 6 months ago I found it while flipping through the book...It changed my heart towards my husband, and helped change my husband's heart towards the Lord. What I am going to do, is take the challenge I have right now...and I am going to write up "presidential/government leader" version for each day...some will work, some won't. But there are even tons of prayer challenges already out there for leaders...I am going to really listen to God each morning as to what I need to pray for them about, and combine that with the challenge Scripture I am on.

I will be writing another blog post soon with more information about the Presidential "31 Day Prayer Challenge," but in the meantime, I encourage you to pray for our re-elected President in your own way! You can also do an internet search as Mindy suggests to get some ideas for now. 

The other thing that I would like to share with you is an article by Russell D. Moore from Christian Post entitled How Should Christians Respond to Obama's Re-Election? It is excellent. 

As I said earlier, I will be posting more on the 31 Day Challenge, but in the meantime if you feel God is calling you to join Mindy and me in praying for  our President and other elected officials, please leave me a comment and let us know. There is power and encouragement in knowing that others stand with you, especially when they are standing in prayer!

James 5:16 b --The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

1 Peter 3:12a --For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer...

John 14:14 -- If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

Friday, November 2, 2012

How to Be an Informed Voter - Links to Make the Democratic Process Easier

{Note: edited to add 11/03/2012}

Sometimes voting can be confusing and frustrating. There is nothing like confidently walking into your polling station and marking your choice of candidates, only to turn the page and find out that you are not in the district you thought and aren't really sure which representative you should vote for now. Turn the page again, and you are confronted with a list of 8-12 judges that you've never heard of. Followed by "Proposition A" that you had no clue about, written in a language that is about as clear as mud. Perfect. Now what? You make your choices as best you can and slip it in the ballot box. As you put on your "I voted" sticker, you can't help but wonder if there is a better way.

This is why I'm writing this post. To make being an informed voter easier. Voting is important. Especially informed voting. I have put together a list of links and resources so you can be just that: informed, and not feel like you have to guess the truth based on each candidate's affiliated political party or ads you've seen on tv.

1. Find out exactly what (and who) is on the ballot and what districts you are in. 

Any state: http://vote-usa.org/ Enter your address and it will show you a sample ballot, along with links for each candidate so you can compare. It will also tell you what districts you will be voting for, which is extremely helpful. (Note: The sample ballot does not show which judges will be on the ballot, but it does show federal and state candidates and other measures you will be voting on. Also, using the sites "Compare Candidates" feature is not always helpful, because the site does not have any information on many of the candidates. The site does at least let you know the candidates and measures on the ballot so you know who to research.)

Missouri specifically: http://jcebmo.org/on-the-ballot. The sample ballot shows all districts, not just your own, but this includes judges. I printed this off and, using the district information I got from http://vote-usa.org/, I crossed off the districts that were not going to be on my ballot. When you print this off, you only need to print off the pages that include the sample ballot. For this year's election, that includes pages 1-11. Pages 12-19 contain information on voting locations only and do not include ballot information. As you do your research, you can make notes on these pages on where the candidates stand on the issues most important to you.

Other states/territories: If you live in another state and would like to look up the ballot, including judges or anything else that may not be included in vote-usa.org, do an internet search for "sample ballot alabama" or "what is on the ballot in alabama" (or whatever state you're in) and you should be able to find it. If you get too many results, you may need to narrow your search by including "Nov 6, 2012."

2. Research where each candidate stands on the issues most important to you. For me, the most important issues are protecting and upholding life in all it's forms, including unborn life. There are several ways that you can look up where candidates stand on life and other issues important to the family.

National Right to Life You can see all the National Right to Life endorsed candidates for each state here

Missouri Right to Life You can see all the candidates endorsed by Missouri Right to Life here. (Endorsed candidates are in caps. Read the key to find out what other symbols mean.) This is a perfect example of why you cannot assume where candidates stand based on political affiliation. For Missouri Lieutenant Governor, for example, neither the democrat nor the republican candidates are endorsed, but Cynthia Davis is (running on Constitution platform). Also, in District 31, Shelia Solon, a republican, is not endorsed by MO right to life, while her opponent, Dale Walkup (a democrat), is. 

Citizen Link Voter is a website by Focus on the Family designed to help voters know where candidates stand on life and other family issues.  This site is a fairly recent development, and for my state (Missouri), it says "No candidate information has been provided." Hopefully this site will be more helpful in the future.

{Added 11/03/12} AFA Action {AFA = American Family Association}. Use AFA Action's voter guide to see their ratings for different candidates. Each candidate is graded based on how confident the AFA panel is that he or she will vote conservatively if elected. You can also click "Show Details" to see how different organizations within the panel individually rated each candidate. Very helpful resource.

{Added 11/03/12} Christian Coalition of America The CC surveys candidates on important issues and examines their records. The voter guide includes various issues and indicates whether each candidate supports or opposes each position. {Heads up: You have to sign up for the site before you can get your voter guide.}

3. Research the Amendments and Other Measures Also on the Ballot. Now that you know what and who is going to be on your ballot and where the candidates stand on issues important to you, research the amendments and other measures (i.e. Propositions, etc.) so you can make an informed vote. I obviously do not have links for every measure for every state, so the best way is to do an internet search on each one and do your own research. Since you are already know what the measures are from step 1, this shouldn't be difficult.

4. Make a list of your choices to take with you when you vote. You can simply print off the sample ballot and circle the candidates you choose or write them down on your own. This ensures that you do not forget all the work you've done!

With regards to judges: Unfortunately, I have not found a way to effectively research judges and where they stand on important issues. Legally, judges are supposed to be impartial, and their beliefs are not supposed to inform their judgments. They are there to interpret the laws that already exist, not conform the laws to their belief systems. Unfortunately, we all know that sadly this is not the case. Because they are said to be impartial, researching their beliefs and affiliations is difficult.

Note regarding comments: If you have more useful links or if these links helped, please leave me a comment and let me know! However, the comments are not to be used as a place to make a case for anti-life or anti-family positions. I realize that step 2 takes a very strong pro-life stance, which is something I have no intention of apologizing for. Any disrespectful or otherwise unhelpful comments will be deleted. Thanks for your cooperation. :)

{Disclaimer: This blog post does NOT contain any affiliate or paid links.}