Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Attitude of Gratitude

At the advent of November’s fourth Thursday, I’m taken with a nation joined by appreciation that, in spite of selfish bent, has perpetuated a day of thanks in tribute to its God-breathed foundation. As heart-warming sentiments satiate our homeland, respect to freedom and liberty reaches its annual peak; however, even with the uptick in selfless ruminations, Thanksgiving has modified into one of the most ironic holidays in our history, since many employ the celebrative mission without prevailing vision of thankfulness really means. But in placement of concern, I must commit to a higher faith. For such an institution, implemented by God at the beginning of time, has never wavered, sustaining course to liven hope. A basic rewind through history confirms this.


For before the creation of the world, thanksgiving existed as a result of relationship, evident within the Trinity. And through infinite time into post-creation, thanksgiving evolved through Cain & Abel, the Feast of Weeks, Noah’s offering, Pentecost, the Last Supper, from Plymouth Rock into our post-modern age. So as stories and revelations among centuries of antiquity merge, we find a significant truth, anchored to a rich and ordained heritage that surpasses textbook content.

Truth is: Thanksgiving is much more than an expression of regard and benediction; it is an emphatic attitude of gratitude that transcends tradition, refreshes reverence and enhances worship. Thanksgiving celebrates not only what we have, but what we give. It commemorates past, present and future sacrifices, inspiring us to continue ripening the fruit of goodness and generosity within. And while an annual day set apart for blessing is appropriate, this is only so as a result of the privilege we have to cultivate the sharing of it. For when a posture of gratefulness is fostered, we sharpen our swords to combat a deceptive negativity, one that contrasts the call to love God and our brother in intimate detail. How can we not see how great the honor is to participate in such veneration, to corporately value the way thanksgiving, whether by word or action, enlarges our capacity to encounter a deeper relational connect with one infinitely higher then ourselves, in turn, fastening our desires to : peace on earth, enduring joy and unconditional love.
Landing on an élite intro to any thankful list can be arduous. But if I had to pick one piece from a vast assortment, I would say, “I’m thankful for a God who doesn’t give up.” Yes, God gives us so many things to be thankful for, but the one thing he absolutely doesn’t give is “up”. He never relinquishes reforming the yielded heart, moving them to seek the inherent mysteries of grace. And grace, in favor and spiritual blessing, stirs us to a stronger belief in the wanting of what we don’t deserve, to be established to the end, called into companionship and participation with Christ.  Thus, Thanksgiving should be celebrated as a day that honors the joy experienced by permanent illumination, by unity in humility that constantly reminds us just how blessed we truly are. And my blessedness is, no doubt, enriched by those who have extended the same grace bestowed by my Creator. How thankful I am for the expansive list of those I’ve met who have gone against the grain to live as imitators of Christ, holding true to truth by allowing it to override any lacking of holy inhabitation. Assuredly, I am rejuvenated by the serendipitous and divinely deliberate moments uniformly marked by consecrated invasion, and equally encouraged by the advancements that have narrated this new book, contracted through rubble now into a season of fresh ink and a restored plotline.

I leave with the three Scriptures and a couple stanzas, written in recent years (slightly edited), that have collided with current heart to mark my Thanksgiving this year…
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I'm thankful for so many things, a list can barely show
The magnitude of gratitude in all He will bestow
But still to mark in history
Is best than lost in mystery
So listen well So I may tell
The year from each periphery
I'm thankful God is always on
The current, next, and times foregone
The moments I'm in sync to plan
Even when I cannot stand
I rejoice for friends and brand new faces
And distance to unchartered places
A family with unique resolve
And strength to rise and not dissolve
And futures glazed with promised hope
A God faithful to broaden scope
And render us no longer captive
Free to live with love so active
Beheld I seek my Diadem
Awed at wonders sured to stem
With much oblige, I say to You
My all is Yours for all You do
Lord, may our country now appease
To yield again to God on knees
Of reckless and fearless abandon
Please be our will for us to stand in
And lead us on to higher calls
And break down all afflicting walls
Teach us to be thankful when
We fight to find on earth, heaven
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In times of excitement, times of enlightenment I call upon thanksgiving 
And while said past, I sum at last Its better name, thanksliving 
‘Cause life’s too short to pass a day 
Where praise is out, as if at fray 
If airs within is lost, we’ll find 
To live as pleased enchants the mind It elevates immortal joy 
And goodness bounds to fill and cloy 
Our longing for a higher will 
That steadies paths with holy seal 
May yearning for the right lead on 
To gratitude and fear undone 
Let toasts be made to hands divine 
For favor, rest; for bread and wine
A year of marveled restoration 
Releasing gracious transformation 
So now I bid a cheer to dear 
Thanksgiving and her wondrous sphere
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Listen to me, all you who are serious about right living and committed to seeking GOD. Ponder the rock from which you were cut, the quarry from which you were dug. Yes, ponder Abraham, your father, and Sarah, who bore you. Think of it! One solitary man when I called him, but once I blessed him, he multiplied. Likewise I, GOD, will comfort Zion, comfort all her mounds of ruins. I’ll transform her dead ground into Eden, her moonscape into the garden of GOD, A place filled with exuberance and laughter, thankful voices and melodic songs.” ~ Isaiah 51:1-3 (MSG)

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” ~ Colossians 3:15-17 (MSG)

Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!” ~ Hebrews 12:28-29 (MSG)



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Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Importance of Being Unsatisfied (Part 2)

Seven months ago, on the night of July 21, 2008, my hand peregrinated into the world of the abtruse and emerged victorious. For on this night, I explored the options of how sweet life can be understanding the importance of being unsatisfied.

Now since then, I have quailed a bit with the realization my title should have ideally engaged a variant of prefix, with “dis” (implying progression and advancement) being the designator, and an “ex-nay” on “un” (possessing a more past-orientation). But for now I must dwell in the house of mercy conceded to me by the writing gods…

In a few short hours, I, along with a fifteen-member team from Lee University, will be soaring over the mighty Gulf of Mexico on route to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Our mission, as we have chosen to accept, is to ignite joy and life through several local, church-based communities through devoted service and ministry.

So as the takeoff meter ticks down, I find it especially tasking not to bethink on what has occurred so far in 2009, a year of overwhelming overcoming.

Since the clock has struck ’09, I feel I’ve tasted only the scintilla of God’s vast awesomeness. And with the end of five-year college career rapidly approaching, I tell you today I desire, I yearn, and I dream for more than just a spark from a superior Father, but for an enduring rekindling of passion that will illuminate a increased hunger for God again and shatter the mold in the pieces of me that have grown anemic and uncharacteristically wavering.

Athough life has been rather pale lately, during the past few weeks, I’ve come to understand how I'm in dyer need of something I can’t yet describe. With a slightly vexatious yet promising future ahead of me, I have sensed my spiritual antennas to have caught a bit of static. And now I stand face to face with the very word that captured my world late last summer: dissatisfaction .

Now I could spend the next several paragraphs attempting to render the internal warfare raging within; however, I feel compelled to instead use my new found sense of dissatisfaction for purposes of motivation and spiritual ignition, as compared to rambling off word bites of regret.

Dissatisfaction, I’m learning, will be a saving grace for me until the day I die. And glory to God, this facet of me has reemerged in significant fashion once again at a crucial juncture in my life.

In a way, I feel like Indiana Jones during the final moments of the last crusade, preparing to take a leap of faith onto a platform he can’t see, over an abyss that he can – a fitting analogy that applies well into the action of my own ‘currency.’

With my comfort zone moments away from breaking drastically, I crave to be shaken, a hope I will no doubt see in motion as I set foot on alien ground. I depart emotionally exhausted, yet I am anticipative of experiencing supernatural glimpses of God’s wonder.

And with my farewell to everything familiar, I remind myself of the words God filled me with on that July mid-summer night:

“Dissatisfaction is not so much a pit to dig out of but rather a bridge walk that connects a stunned epicenter to its arrival at a new and better place. It’s not so much an ambush of guilt lurking in the shadows as compared to a springboard that launches one in line and in sync to his/her calling.”

To be continued...
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Bloom on the Fruit - Thoughts on the Mysteriousness of Women

Written Fall 2008

As the years on my meter increase, not only do I realize how little I know about life in general, but also how meager my understanding of the opposite sex truly is.

Women are strikingly puzzling creatures - fascinating yet painfully befuddling at times.

But praise God, for I wouldn't have it any other way. Predictability and the overall lack of mysteriousness in women shouldn't be promoted as entirely positive qualities.

For most, sharp, dynamical contracts in behavior is what provides flavor and spark. I concur that the best relationships in the world are constructed on principles associated with expecting the unexpected and striving for a personality that embraces the many curveballs life throws out.

But back to my effeminate convictions...

It has been said that women are like fine china. I prefer the more romantic approach to women being more like the bloom on fruit, inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau. Delicate handling is a required.

Interestingly enough, it's in the delicate handling that has led me to my newest aura of frustration.

A few months ago, a female friend of mine needed a vent outlet. She was having one of those days not even Ben & Jerry could salvage. And out of 6 billion people, I just so happened to be her first choice as a rant escape route.

Now every guy should realize when he is selected as a "rant escape route" by a member of the opposite sex, there is no backing down. You have been chosen! Natural selection has found its victim. Time to close off distractions and focus 150% on your newly oppressed companion.

To all you guys out there, it's important to note all ego and sarcasm must go. For in fifteen seconds, you will find yourself submerged under a platform of negativity. To be prepared would be the best move you could make.

If you can manage the initial challenge, you're almost set. Sure, you can collect your $200 and make your early move, but keep in mind this is not ordinary Monopoly. Chances are you'll be behind bars before making it around the board one time to tell about it.
Why? Because within minutes, you'll encounter the toughest mountain of all - the seemingly insurmountable combination of vague reception and perhaps the ultimate knock on male psyche: helplessness.

You see, a woman will only jump off the deep end if she feels comfortable (which never happens anyway because how can a woman vent and feel completely comfortable at the same time?) She'll establish her feelings first, but will remain shallow on the situations at hand. Talk about the ultimate emotional incapacitation.

Also, a woman doesn't need a man to go "Dr. Phil" on them so much. Women need men who can commit to listen. Experience tells a man this is true nine out of 10 times. Women need you to look into their eyes and tell them everything will be all right, even though you feel like it's December 26, 2004, and you're standing on the beaches of Kata Noi Beach, Thailand staring into the eyes of three massive tidal waves.

Yes, waves of dramatic energy are slamming you in the face, whether you like it or not. But put down that white flag, my fellow man! Don't lose all hope just yet.

Remember, you are accomplishing what every woman says you can't do: multi-task. Not only are you listening to them rant, you are assembling multiple puzzle pieces spewing as lasers from raging, pulsating lips! Give yourself a quiet pat on the back and press on...

Now the most natural response during this stage is trying to solve the mystery of the "issue" - hoping to crack codes so you may eventually lead your dismayed damsel down a path to some form of breakthrough.

Well, congratulations! You've now entered the outer gates of my dilemma. Again, don't stress! It's treatable. It's entirely fixable.

The problem: see last paragraph.
The solution - well, it's relatively simple.

First, channel all your attention on the listening component. Depending on how dier the circumstances, she made need you to rescue her at some point; however, chances are you're not at a position to do it just yet. Quench the desire to "Robin Hood" her. Certain signs do exist concerning how to woo her from present onslaught. Still, you need to know theses signs before executing some radical "Ethan Hunt" maneuver. What are these signs? Press me enough and I'll share them with you. But for now, it's a different message for a different day.

Second, deflect her biting remarks. Guys, you must not absorb her verbage 100%. Part of every woman's claptrapping involves phrases linked to the idea that we have no idea how she feels. Sure, a few diamonds of truth can be found at the core of this notion, but is it so necessary a woman must derail a man's confidence in her attempt to surface her head above the waters? I hope the answer is clear to all of you...

If your tongue is safe-guarded and yet you find yourself on the receiving end of insult, politely bombast her back and get the heck out of there! Actually, upon second though, don't do this. But seriously, be what every woman wants you to be: a man! A wise man once told me at lunch last year: take it for what's it worth! I leave my argument at that...

I must retire for now before my mind does a "Columbia" on me. Remember, men, this is part of our role. We must step up to the challenge like a vintage Michael Jordan in his game 7 performances.

Surely, God smiled on the day woman was created - not just because He officially set the bar of "fine," but because he knew how often we, guys, would turn to Him in moments when we never could handle the bloom on the fruit.

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Faith with a Side of Fries

Life decides to hurl a string of nasty curve balls at the most inopportune moments. Your previously balanced lifestyle now finds itself challenged. And all the while you recognize God is necessary in both involvement and intervention. However, you have three meetings sandwiched between five classes, followed by choir practice, a Greek social event and an internship starting the next day. 

You wish you could fix the problem by adding four to five hours to the day. But what is really being overlooked here is that you’ve let your agenda become so saturated with extracurriculars, any time with God is now on-the-go, like a quick pit stop at Sonic during happy hours. 

Seriously, who has a free moment to spend an extended quiet time with God these days? Who can offer up sacrifices of prayer, intercession, times in the Word, thanksgiving and service where the time is measured in hours, not minutes? Why are people so content with serving and ‘loving’ a Creator who has ultimately been turned into "fast God?" 

Christian collegians around the country have made the all-too-common mistake of compartmentalizing God. It’s one of several post-modern spiritual diseases sweeping this country. We don’t utilize God’s power in our lives in every aspect. God is our focus in the shower in the mornings and by our bedsides late at night, but in between He is hardly accessed – reduced to a checklist, a pickup or a mere craving, for food - or better yet, fast food! 

We talk to Him, worship Him and dwell on Him on the fly, whether on route to the next class or in our many daily mini-breaks when our attention is split among 10-20 thousand different things.

How do we address the problem? Well, like most circumstances, acknowledge the problem and make it known – whether to a friend or an authority figure (though in every case, it deserves to be mentioned to God). But this is basic. 

The step that is often missed by young adults ties back to the prayer element. Do we pray about everything we put our hands to? Do we seek God in every little detail or just turn to Him on the ‘big’ decisions? Do we openly join any club or embrace any opportunity that intrigues or entices us without allowing God to join our decision-making process?

Such questions are imperative to dwell upon.

God was never meant to be treated like a Happy Meal or a routine rendezvous in a drive-through. In the end, our faith must continuously be examined as the main entrée of our being, rather than being limited to just a side of fries.



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Life in Death

From February 26, 2007


I lost a dear friend of mine recently -- twenty-two years suddenly cut short by an ill-fated black ice patch on an Arkansas interstate. When the news first broke, I felt as if I was being sliced open by a Kutko knife. The recovery process in its initial stages was brutal --anything but “smooth sailing”, a journey to which some of you can relate. But as I reflected on her life and the events surrounding her passing, I struck a reservoir of what seemed to be premature contentment. At first I questioned if I was handling the situation properly; however, the more I processed and digested my emotions and thoughts concerning her death, the more I began to tap into a new understanding of what it truly means to live.

Emmy didn’t just believe in God, she lived for Him; her very words and actions echoed a burning passion to follow Christ. I had the opportunity to become close friends with her last year as her physics lab partner. While she wasn’t a stunning blonde or a “Miss America” type, she possessed something that was of far greater significance: a strong willingness to give of herself. Whether time, energy, or faith, Emmy shined as one who took delight in serving those less fortunate. Her positive attitude was contagious, and simple hang-time with her closest friends was enough evidence for me to truly know she was leaving her own unique legacy to those around her.

But knowing this only made the pain worse from the get-go. I had to “POE” (“Process of Elimination”) away negative mindsets, mentally check-marking all the wrong ways to respond to the news. Denial…check! Anger at God…check! Believing I could never overcome the loss…check!

After eliminating all unnecessary reactions, the heartbreak had transformed into a most unusual joy. At this point, I decided to meditate on the meaning and realities of death, and how it signifies the beginning of a perfect existence, compared to the ending of a natural one, which pales in comparison.

A friend of my father’s, who pastored “Church on the Way” in Orange County, California once said, “A believer in Christ never dies an hour too early, or an hour too late.” I’ve been imagining all the comebacks that could possibly be thrown out in response to this statement. Emmy lived more in twenty-two years than some people live in seventy or eighty years. Great! So why couldn’t see live another fifty, sixty years living in a way that was just as productive and fulfilling?

Questions along these lines only remind me of how limited our natural minds are. We are a people who hate not having the answers, and the truth of the matter doesn’t change even when discussing life’s greatest mysteries. So I can completely see why the ‘Ask Jeeves’ culture we live in today would cringe at any response along the lines of, “There are some things in this life no one understands.”

Boring! What a [cop]-out, Camoron! There’s no brilliance in that statement!

Ah ha! Flaw exposed! I’ve been wondering why we so often waste time seeking intelligence over what is pure, what is right, what is just, and what is true. If we desire an intelligent solution to explain life’s million dollar questions, would it not come out of searching for these values? What some see as an easy escape route, I see as absolute truth. The moment we realize our very existence on this earth is only the beginning of something far greater than our natural minds can ever perceive, the moment we take on a bracing freedom that transcends all knowledge and all pleasure.

If life loses its mysterious element, what joy is there when we encounter the unpredictable…the unexplainable? If we held all the answers, everything would become predictable and expected. Is it wrong to ask, “Why?” No! What I am saying is that we can’t expect to find the answers every single time we come to a crossroads and can’t find the words. Our mental limitations are not in vain. I believe the fact we can’t understand everything that happens in this life is an intentional plan to bring us to a crucial realization that we are not alone. We were not created to live and die, but live and live eternally through faith in Jesus Christ.

And knowing where Emmy is today, singing in the largest choir in the universe, worshipping God, I cannot help but sit here overwhelmed with that same, perhaps not so unusual, joy.

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The Importance of Being Unsatisfied (Part 1)

We feel unsatisfied until we know ourselves akin even with that greatness which made the spots on which it rested hallowed; and until, by our own lives, and by converse with the thoughts they have bequeathed us, we feel that union and relationship of the spirit which we seek.” ~ Jones Very

As the summer dusk fades into black of night, so it is I am unsatisfied - so enduringly and unshakably unsatisfied. And even as the sun rises on another day, and the windows of yesterday shatter beneath me – even as glory overwhelms me so purely, so it is I remain unsatisfied.

Listen. Do you hear it? Do you fear it? Do you wish to be near it?

Chances are you don’t and that’s perfectly understandable, comprehensible and everything in between.

Listen. Do you hear it? It’s the sound of people trembling at the sound of its utterance. Unsatisfied. Painful, isn’t it.

And yet, I’ve come to realize just how people relate to this particular world: many live to defy it, many thrive to deny it and several more strive to decline it.

Truth be told, I’m not better or worse for being out of this norm. And I am in no way superior for being a recipient of a Spirit-given epiphany. No one is. But if I were to die today, what goes with me is something I have found that sadly many people never do…and that…is the importance of being unsatisfied.

So how do I paint this Michelangelo style, in way that stirs, lures and endures rather than purrs and deters.

I suppose for now you’ll have to relate through the median of me, note the fair connections and proceed with caution as I lay some groundwork.

If we are ever to grasp the beauty in dissatisfaction, then we must understand how being unsatisfied has more to do with long-term, foundational soul building than short-term, provisional disenchantment.

Dissatisfaction, then, is not so much a pit to dig out of but rather a bridge walk that connects a stunned epicenter to its arrival at a new and better place. It’s not so much an ambush of guilt lurking in the shadows as compared to a springboard that launches one in line and in sync to his/her calling. This, in my opinion, is the silver lining to joy’s strength. You see, the easy route - the road more traveled by - is always the road where emotional decisions are closely based on its naturality.

No doubt, I understand that it’s natural and perfectly human to desire meaning out of everything and for a sense or action to be dependent on what is deserving. But why do we hesitate to implement control over the end results of the many situations and circumstances that hold in them key importances that govern and rule our lives? Why do people mutilate their psyche, and occasionally their bodies, in hope to establish restitution and penance for a crime or wrongdoing they’ve committed?

For it is so that such a move is tragically bonded to its innate want to feel sensible. And it is the very yearning for truth, the desperate want to go beyond sensibility that holds the key for those who seek to become overcomers.

Behold, this is a lesson that has taken me years to not just realize but apply and utilize time and time again: to be unsatisfied is the first step into embracing a higher life.

And within the ‘higher life’ one can find grace, acceptance, understanding, perspective and perseverance – all beyond measure. It is here where our deep is more or less crying out to Deep as compared to meeting and being refined by it to the point we are ultimately transformed, and we come out completely fresh and anew. And all the while our initial dissatisfaction fades into an entirely alien and unrecognizable entity.

Still not everyday soon after will be easily navigable. If anything, the storms will only seem to multiply, while the grounds beneath seem to sink all the more. And yet the purpose for dissatisfaction leads us on, for we know now how it’s meant to save and guide us in times of tribulation – in times when all we seem capable of doing is withstanding. And to the quivering voice that seeks the death of my heart, I can now stand up and say:

It is true that I am unsatisfied. It is true I am unsatisfied that my past comes nowhere close in capturing the wholeness of me. It is true I am unsatisfied with the decisions of long ago that were linked to the shattered glass of a contorted self-image. It is true I am unsatisfied with unintentionally setting people up with falsehoods in which they may or may not hold to this day. It is true that I am unsatisfied with once possessing likenesses to those who have grieved me in ways they will never see. It is true I am unsatisfied that I had many a chance to overcome my doubts and deepest apprehensions only to yield to susceptive sensitivity. It is true, it is true, it is true I am unsatisfied of how I’ve failed, why I failed and the key moments of which the failures themselves occurred.

But I refuse to be bounded. I refuse to be held captive by the conditions that induced the deepest of my displeasures and instead will rise on the opportunity to be forever changed. Because that is how I’m called to respond – that is how I’m designed to react so even in the midst of my greatest dissatisfaction, I find You.

God be with me and hold me close…for it is also true I am satisfied in You and how You’ve opened my eyes to Your beauty in all things – for in all things, there exists many importances: of being grateful and slow to pride … of being selfless … and… of being unsatisfied.

 
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The Phantom Song Proposal






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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Proposal Song - "Dear Love, I'm Finally Home"


Ok, so it isn't perfect. But she still loved it anyway. :) And at least the lyrics are decent:

Verse 1

When he was a child, he talked like a young man
Blessed with a dream before his life began
He knew

And boy grew in stature, he started to realize
How nothing compared to looking in the eyes
Of one he prayed for
Of one he would adore

Chorus

And when the one is found
The journey starts anew
As worlds collide
Two hearts betide
To pen new love in tome

And as the pages fill
Divine unraveling
Flames love sincere
It's clear, my dear
You are my heart
Dear love, I'm finally home

Verse 2

When she walked into light and (en)raptured attention
Sweetening life into awestruck completion
He knew

And time ticked on by, they would understand glory
Narrating joy in an unfolding story
Of how one came from two
Of how I will love you

Bridge

This I pledge to you
To honor and be true
My deep, I'll always bring
Can this be happening?

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Politicked

Election Day is here, and if I’m honest with myself and the world, I’m pretty politicked right now. Granted, I’m not the biggest political guru in America. In fact, I consider my bureaucratic reticence equal to a preservation of sanity, not to imply an advocacy of ignorance or indifference, as much as contentment in the limited exposure of diplomatic dealings.

I’m not writing this to preach how conservatism will help this country in select ways. But I will say in recent years, I’ve opposed many executive policies to have come out of the White House, and in response, I’ve had to pace politics as a precaution against discouragement. Granted others have higher tolerance levels, which I sincerely commend, but regardless of political affiliations, the bottom line is: when the spiritual meets the political, faith must always have room to breathe. And if our allegiance is to remain anchored in God before country, we must activate hope through the power of prayer. When we lock into prayer on behalf of country and elected authority, we will find that dissension melts away, laying the red carpet out for trust to build on. And as trust increases, so does our hope in providential sovereignty.

Still, in recent weeks, I’ve rediscovered how an overabundance of Fox and CNN can risk spoiling prospective interest concerning campaign developments. As exciting as close presidential elections can be, there’s only so much prejudice, partisan and dogmatism I can tolerate in one thirty-minute news segment. Yes, I do care about the marriage of authority and government from sea to shining sea. But upon voting in my third consecutive election, I confess: I’m still having a tough time caring about each intimate detail about each presidential perspective. Personally, I much rather discuss the decisions that influence the needle direction on this country’s moral compass. One thing is for sure: change is inevitable; whether it is worthy of believing in remains to be seen; however, the outcome of tonight’s election does not have to reduce your faith to a piñata. God does not change, and that is something we’re called to celebrate 24/7/365.

So as you watch the votes come in tonight, be encouraged to pray for mercy and for strong character rooted in the Word of God to emerge out of the ashes and rubble of rebellion. In all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, remember the King of kings orchestrates all things for his glory. A presidential term can never overcome the ways of God, for He uses history to guide His divine plan. In remembering Christ, we must find the excitement that comes when we commit to pray for the kings of this time, “and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

Yes, there are many questions left to be answered. Yes, this nation has abandoned its position of living on bended knee. However, the question we can ask ourselves right now is: will we accommodate our vote with something more powerful? Will we pledge allegiance to a faithful God who does not ever forsake us, even in times of peril and uncertainty? Will we position ourselves to receive an unquenchable, unfathomable love, one that comes with a rich inheritance and encourages us to live and walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:25) and grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18)?

Pray that our next president and his cabinet of leaders and advisors will labor in the Lord, that miracles of any shape and size will inspire unity among those in authority (Ephesians 4:3-6). Embrace the opportunity to resist the devil and fear of man on their behalf. Relish the privilege to speak life and grace into their strategies and ideologies, and for courage and righteousness to endure in every place they set foot.

When we consider the big picture, tonight becomes a good night no matter how you slice it. Especially when we humble ourselves, pray, and seek the Lord’s face, that we, as one nation under God, will turn from our wicked ways, to hear from heaven and to receive forgiveness and healing" (II Chronicles 7:14).

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