Monthly Archives: January 2012

Jesus Voted Democrat in 2008

I know I just offended a bunch of people by using that for a title.  Was that on purpose to get your attention?  A little.  However, it is also very much the point I want to make this morning.  Actually, this post has been brewing in my mind for quite a while.  I feel it is timely to pull the trigger on it because I live in South Carolina, and we are at the center of the Republican primary fight until Saturday.

Before you get out your pitch forks and torches and come hunting to string me up for making such a claim, please hear me out.  This comes from some of the stuff God has been teaching me over the last year, and he is still teaching me even now.  I feel like it is time to share some of these thoughts and maybe start a conversation about them.  Maybe God is teaching you some of the same things.  Maybe he needs you to start thinking about them.

Let me start with my credentials.  I am a recovering hardcore conservative.  I am still really conservative, but the edges are starting to soften.  As long as I can remember, I have been interested in politics and the way the world works.  I started watching the news at a very early age, I followed the events of the world, and I asked my dad questions all of the time about America’s leaders (he was a Marine, so I figured he should know).  The first time I saw the White House was like going to Disney World for me.  One of my prized possessions is the letter I got back from the first President Bush after I wrote to him during the Persian Gulf War.

As I grew up, I became more and more set in my political thoughts.  I was a proud Republican.  I thought the Religious Right was always right.  Conservative became a badge I loved to wear.  I was really into the primary politics during the year I was a senior in college.  I really felt like I was being a good Christian to be pulling for the “good guys.”  When I met Christians who labeled themselves “liberal,” I almost always doubted their faith.  I did not know how that could be possible.

That pretty much stayed somewhat the same until very recently, except for the doubting of people’s faith…I stopped doing that a long time ago.  God really did a work on the amount of trust and stock I put into politics and conservatism as a movement.  When God took a hold of me last year and shook me awake, he opened my eyes to who he is, what the world is for, and my place in it all.  A part of this was seeing that maybe there is more than labels like conservative and liberal and more than who might be in office at any given time.  Maybe I need to put less worry into it.  Maybe God is in control way more than I give him credit for.

As I wiped the sleep from my spiritual eyes, I started to realize a few things that I need to refocus on:

  • God is sovereign, and this includes our government.  No matter who is leading our country, the bills they are passing, or how much it seems they are ruining or helping the “American way,” God is not asleep at the wheel.  He knows what is going on.  He has been around a while.  He has seen countries come and go.  As a matter of fact, he was the one who caused the comings and the goings.  He knows what he is doing.  If a democrat or republican becomes president, it is not like this is a shock to him.  Like what this means or not, who ever sits in the Oval Office was put there by the Almighty himself.  Really.  Romans 13:1  says, “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.”  All authority comes from God.  That means it truly comes from him and is intended by him.  Those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.  Despite what you might think about it, God put both George W. Bush and Barack Obama in the role of President.  Really.  I know that may be hard for people on both sides of the matter to take, but it is true.  God is ultimately in control.  We kind of just need to deal with it, trust him, and get to the bigger job of loving him and loving others.
  • I need to trust and submit to what ever authority I am under, even if they are a different political party.  Not that there is anything wrong with supporting and being involved with a political party, I myself fully intend to vote in the republican primary on Saturday.  We live in a democratic republic (those of my readers who live in the US, at least), and we have the right to vote.  We need to take advantage of that.  However, there has to be more to life than that.  Be involved, but we can not make that our identity.  God has called us to so much more than politics.  We can write to Congress and try to get our voices heard, but there has to be more than that.  At some point we need to realize that God put these people where they are, and though we disagree we need to submit to their authority.  Do what you can to get things changed, but do not make this your whole life.  God has called us to two major jobs, and that is to love him and love others.  We can do that no matter who is in office and what they are doing.  We can do that even if we had a monarch or dictator (though it would be more difficult).  When we submit to our rulers, we are really submitting to God.  That is what we are supposed to do.  If you doubt, go read further in Romans 13.  Verses 2 through 5 are pretty clear on this point.
  • Agree or disagree with taxes and what they go to pay, we need to pay them.  I intended to just focus on trusting and submitting to authority, but I decided to end out Paul’s thoughts in Romans 13.  The final thoughts on government are in verses 6 and 7, “Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do.  Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.”  I know I might be opening a can of worms on the taxes thing, but if we are to trust and submit to our government, we need to pay our taxes and move on.  Seriously.  It would be nice to have extra money, but we need to trust what God is doing.  Use your vote to try to change things.  Write a Congress person or two, but just move on.  Don’t spend your life worrying about the taxes.  God is in control and he will take care of you.

That brings us back to the title.  Jesus did vote democrat in 2008, and his vote was the only one that counted.  The hard part for us, especially as free-voting Americans, is to realize that no matter who “wins” office it is God-ordained and our job to realize God’s authority through it.  Politics can not run our lives.  Worry about who is in leadership has never been meant to be.  Yes, we do need to do our part, vote, and contact leaders when we disagree.  In the same note, we need to move past that and look for what God has for us to do day to day.  Even if our country fails and we are thrown into uncertainty, God is still God and he is still in control.

So go vote, but also love everyone around you and show them God’s love…no matter who they vote for.

Father, Jesus, and Spirit, please help me know your authority and submit to it.  Help me to see you no matter who is in office.  Thank you.  I love you.  Your son, Joe.


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Number Two…Part Two

Now that ID (my second child) has been with us for almost two weeks, I thought I would write a follow-up to my post Number Two.  I have had a lot of time to think and reflect on the experience of going from the father of one to the father of two, albeit the thoughts are from a slightly sleep deprived mind.  Even though I now am in the process of potty training a toddler along with changing a bazillion newborn diapers, this is still not about that number two.  🙂

Here are a few of the things that I am learning:

  • Patience is hard at three in the morning.  I am trying hard not to get fustrated with LA and/or the baby when the ID is fussy and can’t be consoled, but it is hard.  I am being reminded time and time again that I do not have heavenly patience on my own.  It only comes from the Spirit.  I wish I could say I am doing really good at seeking the Spirit early in the AM, but I am not.  I just know what I need to work on.
  • Love can be equal and different.  I love both of my sons so much.  I love hanging out and playing with NB.  I love holding and cuddling with ID.  They are in two different phases of life, and the fathering skills are different for both.  Patience can be harder with the preschooler, especially when he is having trouble adjusting to not being the only one, but that goes back to my first point.  I do love them equally, and I love them differently.  They are different.  I will just stay in prayer that as they grow I will remember that and not compare them to each other.  I just want to love them for who they are individually.
  • I am still a selfish sinner in need of a Savior.  With to kids needing my love and attention, it is becoming even more apparent how selfish I am.  I am so prideful.  I want my time notched out for me as well as them.  I know rest time is important, but I use it as an excuse.  Even now, NB is watching TV when I probably should be playing with him.  I will play with him as soon as I am done, but it is an example of the problem.  I want to use tiredness and the need for a mental break as an excuse to worship at the throne of me.  I need to trust God to give me the energy, strength, and mental ability to do all I need to do for my sons and wife.  I need to admit to God that I am a selfish, prideful man.  I need to preach the Gospel to myself and remind myself that I am nothing without Jesus, and I can’t be the father and husband I need to be without Jesus and the Spirit.  I need the Gospel to be ever present.
  • I need the Bible more than ever.  In the last week and a half, I have found excuse after excuse not to read the Bible.  A week and a half is a long time to go without reading the Bible for me now.  I felt it.  I knew I needed to get back into it.  I finally did yesterday, and it was so refreshing.  I need to recommit to reading it everyday, meditating, and spending quality time with God.
  • God will provide.  I won’t go into all of the details, but God has seen our needs before we have known them and has provided.  It has been amazing.  God does not always meet our needs in the way we think they need to be met, and sometimes he does.  The thing we need to learn is that we can trust him.

Okay, there are a lot more things that I am forgetting, but maybe I can get to those later.  I just knew I needed to write a little.  It is something that burns in my heart until I do.  I need to go play with my son.  Hopefully you can glean something from what God is teaching me.

Has God taught you anything really cool, life-changing, or obvious but needed lately?

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The Sweetness of My Son

I am in the hospital with my wife and our second son.  ID was born two days ago.  This morning I just could not get over how awesome it was to just hold him in my arms.  I imagine that is when God is the most pleased with us.  When we are nestled in close and completely relient on him.  Like newborns, he wants us to know we need him for everything.

So often I am more like my almost-three-year-old.  I think I can do everything.  Even the things that I know I should look to God for help, I want to do on my own.  I get anxious and stubborn,  “I do it by myself,” to quote NB.  Though he still needs me, the independent streak is very obvious.

i live my life between the two attitudes.  Completely relient or rebelliously independent.  As I spend time with ID, my new boy, and get fustrated by NB, my firstborn, I hope I continue to analyze myself and my relationship to God.

Right now, with the sleep deprivation, I think I am closer to the newborn.  I know I can’t do this alone.

Okay, I hope this one made sense.  Just some random thoughts from fatherhood as I sit here looking at my newborn son.

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