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Friday’s prayer

On Fridays I pray for my country.

I watch the news sometimes or hear Sweet William recount the latest offering from opposing stations and perspectives. It never seems to be good news. Opinions are argued out, people talk over one another, and I shrink, trying to make sense of it all.

Each side proposes to have the answers. Do they? Can they back up their words with actions? Can they bring promised change? Can they make life better?

As we approach election day in the United States, the future is uncertain. By mid-November, one side will celebrate and the other side will wail that we are destined for inescapable disaster.

I can easily get caught up in the rhetoric, the reports that have no basis of reality but only seek to stir up controversy. As I watch and listen, I begin to think it is all about controversy.

I ask a question posed by Pontius Pilate to Jesus over 2,000 years ago: What is truth?

Truth stood before Pilate, but he was unaware, consumed with other agendas. I perceive we are guilty of the same. We are consumed with our own projects and plans. Truth has become selective, personal, changeable, situational. It has been reshaped until it is not truth at all. No wonder our foundations are shaky.

I pray for my country, the coming elections and for people to take responsibility to vote their conscience and exercise their rights as citizens. I pray that people will do the right thing. I pray that love would replace hatred, that light would shine in darkness, that good would overcome evil. I pray that God will be honored and we will see who He is. The I AM. The Self-Existent One. The essence of love as well as consuming, burning holiness.

I won’t give in to fear though it is frightening in the cities and country towns. I remember God is sovereign over the elections, over our country, and over every thing that lives and breathes and moves in the vast creation.

He is righteous and will set things right though He tarries long. He reaches for the sinner, the fallen, the lost, the self-righteous, the wanderer. His love is unending. He is faithful and just, awesome in power, completely other than all else. He is holy. And He is good.

What is truth? I know what it is. It is Jesus. And no matter what the newscasters report or what the world looks like around me, He is Lord over all.

And that is undeniable reality.

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The gift of choosing

I don’t remember the first time I voted in a state and national election.  Wish I did.  I wish I could remember how it felt at having reached the age where I could  make my voice be heard.

When our one and only son was on the precipice of turning 18 years old, he asked what was going to happen then. The unspoken message I heard was, “I’m getting ready to become an adult and I’m expecting to start making all my own decisions.  Right?”

No, not right.  He was still dependent on us, and we were still paying the bills.  He would still have a curfew and be expected to abide by our rules.  This is what I told him happens when you reach 18.  “You can be tried as an adult for a crime.  You can join the military.  And you can vote.”  Not exactly what the son was hoping to hear.

Yet, years later I contemplate the privilege of being allowed to choose.  It is not the norm in many countries.  In too many places, the choices are made for the people and they must then live with them, like it or not.

Sweet William and I got out early this morning and made our way to the voting booth, he in his wheelchair and me pushing him up the ramp.  Dispite the cold dark pre-dawn, it felt good and right to be there.  We were proud when we completed our task.

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The gift of being allowed to choose was put into effect by our founding fathers.  Did they see that same gift in the Holy Scriptures and pattern the plans for a brand new country after God’s example?  I wonder.

In a world gone terribly wrong, where disease is rampant and crime continues to rise and families are falling apart and we are wasting our resources and knowledge is increasing yet our children are being fed too many lies, we wonder why God allowed sin to come into the world at all.  Couldn’t he have just eliminated the opportunity to do wrong?  Couldn’t He have removed that one tree in the garden that was prohibited to Adam and Eve?  Why let that temptation even be there?

What God gave us all was the gift to choose.  He gave freedom.  As with any gift, it can be taken and cherished and used in the right way, or it can be abused or thrown aside as something with little value.  We see it all the time.

In God’s greater wisdom, He made a choice Himself, to give humans a right to choose Him or reject Him.

I am grateful to be an American.  With all of our problems, we are still the greatest nation on earth.  I pray for her, that the foundation upon which she was built will not crumble away.  I pray that her people will make wise and prudent choices when we stand at the election booth.  I hope we choose life over death for our nation.

May God help us.  May our flag of freedom yet wave.  And may we make choices that will honor the very God who gave us this right.

I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live and may love the Lord your God, obey His voice, and cling to Him. For He is your life and the length of your days, that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers . . . ”