How you should Vote as a Christian

How you should Vote as a Christian

VoteYes, I’m going to tell you how to vote as a Christian – without apology!

[guestpost]For today only, I am deviating somewhat from the topics you have come to expect. I will return to topics related to good health, loving relationships, and joyful spirituality next week.[/guestpost]

National elections here in the United States happen less than six weeks from now. This election season has been unusually brutal, and these last few weeks promise to be even more so. Money, politics, personalities, scandals – it’s not pretty.

There are many issues on which people base their votes – the economy and jobs, national security, law and order, social justice and equality, illegal immigration, environmental issues, personal freedom, energy policy, the candidate’s character, and more. And God cares about all these things.

But as a believer, there is only ONE criterion on which you can legitimately base your vote:

Which leader is most likely to be beneficial to the Kingdom of God?

Especially this year when disagreements are so sharp and rhetoric so heated, we need to take the larger view – that of the kingdom of God.

Continue reading...
How to Find the Presence of God

How to Find the Presence of God

You may have heard or read things about the presence of God. You may have experienced times yourself when God seemed very near and something special happened. Or you may think all this talk about the presence of God is just super-spiritualizing and meaningless for you, even though it may sound nice.

I’ve been there. I grew up experiencing a very intellectual Christianity. I’m forever grateful for the knowledge I had gained about the Bible, etc. But all that knowledge left me dry and empty when I faced some very difficult times as a young adult. The stuff I knew in my head wasn’t making any difference in the internal torment I was experiencing.

Everything changed when I began to experience the presence of God. It first happened in a large gathering of other hungry Christians, and then I started sensing God’s presence at other times even when I was alone. But not until more than ten years later did I begin to learn HOW to enter God’s presence without waiting for one of those ethereal moments of serendipity.

From my own experience and from Scripture I can tell you that God’s presence is real, it’s palpable, and it changes you. (2 Corinthians 3:18) While He is here with us every moment, sometimes He makes His presence known and felt to us humans in an extra dimension. It’s more than emotions. It’s deep. It’s real. And it’s priceless! Some people call these times the manifest presence of God.

Continue reading...
More Than Gratitude: Trusting God for ENOUGH

More Than Gratitude: Trusting God for ENOUGH

Joy in the MorningThere’s something powerful about relishing the enough-ness of where you are and what you have right now. It’s more than gratitude, although that is important. Some call it the abundance mindset, or the glass-half-full mentality. I call it trusting God to be ENOUGH.

Think about your prayers. How many of them are requests?

  • Please heal me of my sickness.
  • Please bring me the money that I need.
  • Please bring me a spouse.
  • Please fix my spouse so that we are happy together.
  • Please bring more people to my church.
  • Please give me more opportunities to expand my ministry.

It’s right to bring our requests to God; we are told to do that in Scripture. But if your relationship with God is based primarily on asking Him for things when you need or want help, you’ve made God into a heavenly vending machine; put in a prayer, get out a blessing.

How long would your relationship with your spouse or a good friend last if most of your conversations with them sounded like your prayers – you’re always asking for things and never listening?

If you’re a parent you know what it means to want to give good gifts to your children. Jesus said our Heavenly Father feels that way about us. (Matthew 7:11) But you also know that if your children are always focused on asking for – and receiving – things, they are not likely to mature into happy, productive, responsible adults.

Continue reading...
How to Know God as your Husband

How to Know God as your Husband

There’s that Scripture you know should mean more to you: “Your Maker is your husband.” (Isaiah 54:5) But you’re just not feeling it. You’re single, and you desperately want to feel some “skin in the game,” not some nebulous spiritual platitude. Or you’re married, and if God is anything like your husband you’ll pass, Thank you very much.

God blessed me with over seven years of a loving marriage. I wrote about what it means to find God as your Husband a couple years ago, and my marriage certainly helped me understand some new dimensions of God’s love. Now that I’m single again after my husband’s death the reality of God as my Husband has taken on a new depth once more. And it’s got nothing to do with some nebulous spiritual platitude.

For all the ways in which modern Western society has allowed women to take care of themselves (and that’s a good thing), there’s a part of us that still needs a man. Or at least some of us think we do. Some of us rush from one relationship to the next, unconsciously (or consciously) desperate to find the one who will finally make us OK. Others of us refuse to pretend to need a man, ratcheting up our independence, certain that we’ll be misused or betrayed or at least disappointed – again – if we let our heart risk allowing a member of the male species inside. We may parade our independence in front of our friends, or we may relentlessly complain about how the man we ended up with is making us miserable.

Some of us are miserable without a man. Some of us are miserable with the man we chose. Remember, if you’re out there looking for Mr. Right, there are a lot of married women who be happy to give him to you! Ladies, this ought not to be!

Continue reading...
How a Christian Deals with Money Worries

How a Christian Deals with Money Worries

Money WorriesMoney worries can have you by the throat. Perhaps you’re out of a job and don’t have any immediate prospects. You’re at or near retirement and you don’t have much savings, if any. You see the news reports about economic instability in the world and it scares you. You’re recently out of school, carrying big school loans, and there’s no job waiting for you. Your marriage dissolved and you’re left carrying the financial responsibility of raising your children alone. Financial instability is scary.

In our recent reader survey, money worries was one of the top issues you wrote about. Money certainly ranks at or near the top when it comes to causes of marriage conflict, political controversy, and personal stress.

For the Christian you may feel added pressure. You may have heard sermons or TV programs that discuss how God wants to bless His children with good things. Even if the preacher doesn’t directly promise a financial windfall, you would certainly get the idea that if you give to this church or this ministry God will reward you with material blessings. Perhaps you’ve heard that so much – and perhaps given so much – and still struggle financially, that you wonder if there’s something wrong with you that is keeping you from receiving God’s blessings.

Or perhaps you have heard other sermons or TV programs that rail against the “prosperity gospel,” and you really don’t want to hear about it anymore.

Continue reading...