I know elections can bring out the passion in people on all sides—no matter how they vote. Here it is the day after the elections and You are still God! You still reign. You have your eternal plans which last long after any man-made promises or schemes are forgotten. It is good for people to listen to candidates and make their choices for who they believe will make the best leader. It is wise to study questions on the ballot and make choices. With all the ugly fighting and hurtful words that fly around in the heat of an election, it is wise to be humble as both the winner and the loser. The vote is counted. The results are in. Now we need to live in peace with the choices which have been made.
My four and five year old grandkids play on a soccer team. They know how to have fun playing, enjoy one another and the game, and relish in the cheering on the sidelines. They also know how to show respect while winning and losing. The parents from both teams make a human tunnel for both teams to go through while giving high fives for a great game. The day is not ended upon whether or not they win or lose. How nice it would be if there was no name calling, ugly rumors spread, hatred for those on the opposing team… how much more respect could we have for one another if candidates and their supporters kept their passion for their beliefs, and not let that passion turn ugly and personal toward their opponents. What if we had respect for those who believe another way would work better? What if we loved those who disagree with us and us with them?
Father, our enemy is not flesh and blood (Whether it is family, a spouse, ex-spouse, co-workers, neighbors, political parties, or anyone else with skin on.) Our enemy is the one who likes to stir up hatred, division, disagreements. It is good to have passion for what we believe. It is better to have love for those who do not believe as we do. Lord, I love You passionately. Yet that passion means nothing if I don’t love others. And You tell me to love others—especially those who appear to be my enemies. Yes, it is the day after another election—and You still call on us to love others.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-13
“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as Your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:44-48
“Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice, or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn His wrath away from him.” Proverbs 24:17-18
Father, show me how I can love and pray for those who disagree with me…
I am getting ready to go vote for the offices and questions on my ballot. I know my little vote counts. I realize that there have been many deaths and other sacrifices throughout our country’s history to guarantee that I continue having the right to go fill in those blank spaces on a ballot. Yet, my one single vote goes much further than I can imagine. It is important that I study and vote to keep that right and others safe for my grandchildren and generations to come.
It is easy to get caught up in all the rhetoric, arguments, power struggles over these elections which culminate today. The choices I make are important—so important that I dare not make them without bowing before You, the highest authority. You get my vote first of all. I come to acknowledge that You created all that there is. There is no other higher power or authority on earth or in the heavenly realm. No one voted You into Your position. You are the Great I AM! Nothing can change that. You always have been and always will be. Nothing that was made was made without You, Your Son and The Holy Spirit. You could be a tyrant and wield Your almighty power without giving us a say. Yet, in Your perfect plan, You created us with a free will—with the freedom to choose You or not. Each of us has rebelled against You and sinned against You, yet You still sent Your own Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins and raised Him victorious over death and sin so we could freely choose You or not choose You. His blood was shed so I could choose.
I want You to know that I choose You, Your Son and the Holy Spirit. You are my King above all earthly kings, presidents, judges, legislators, commissioners, governors. Whoever I vote for today (and I ask Your wisdom in selecting who I vote for) will be here today and gone tomorrow. But You, O God, reign forever and ever. Thank You for the incredible sacrifice You gave so I could freely choose. I choose You for my God, my King, My everything—and I pray that my choice has an eternal impact on everyone around me for generations to come.
“They lay their crowns before the throne and say, ‘You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being.’” Revelation 4:11
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:16-18
“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20
Heavenly Father, let me choose You and Your Son Jesus Christ on this day…
Sometimes I need to get away from my little world to get a new glimpse of how powerful and mighty You are. I recently took a short trip with my husband to Colorado for a Fallen Firefighters’ Memorial Service. We went to honor my husband’s great uncle who died in 1925 when big gas barrels blew up as he had just finished fighting a fire. This had been a huge family story. They were to add his name to the national memorial by Pikes’ Peak. Then we were gathered with 217 other families whose loved ones were killed in the line of duty. Each of them had a story—most of whose grief was fresh from the last year. Over 7000 people were at the main service where 217 firefighters in dress uniform presented firefighter flags to each family. I saw more grief in one place than ever before, yet I knew You were already at work helping each person in very unique and personal ways.
Just before the ceremony began, I received a report that my 87 year old mom had fallen and broken another hip. She was in indescribable pain as she was transported by ambulance to the hospital. It was overwhelming to receive this news from three states away while I was sitting on the front row of such an intense ceremony. I struggled with whether I should immediately return or not. Since I couldn’t make it back for the surgery, others would be affected by my decision, and the knowledge that You and my other family members at home were with her—I finally decided to stay. Quite a few times, I had to fight against my emotions to place her in Your hands again.
We drove up into the Rocky Mountain National Park which goes way up into the mountains. I lost phone service for most of two days. Once again, I had to trust You when I not only couldn’t be with my mom (like I had always been before when there has been medical emergencies), but I couldn’t hear her voice or get a report. Yet when I gazed continually upon the massive mountains in all their glory, it was a reminder that You are so much larger than anything anyone can ever face. Then I looked up above me at the sky which was incredibly closer than in Oklahoma, I thought of how small these massive mountains appear from an airplane or even from space…and how You are the One who created all there is—including galaxies I cannot see. The more I praised You, the more I trusted You, and the more peace I had.
I got home to see my “perky-ready-to-face-the-rehab-in-front-of-her” mom and was showing her the photos we took of the overwhelming beauty and size of the mountains. They looked so tiny in the photos. It was almost disappointing. The photos were pretty but could never catch the glory we saw. Father, You are indescribable. We can try to share Your love and mercy given to us through Jesus Christ, but it’s only like a photo. Until the person we share with accepts and experiences You for themselves, they cannot fully fathom the indescribable glory of who You are. I suppose we will be discovering more and more of Your indescribable glory for all eternity! Let my tiny praises bring joy to an Indescribable You!
“Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it.’ Isaiah 40:4-5
“‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor My covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10
“’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’” Revelation 1:8
Lord God Almighty, I praise You because…
One of my relatives has been visiting his brother who is in a halfway house after serving 9 years in prison. It was not his first time to spend years behind bars. He is getting a real taste of freedom. He has a paying job. He can walk to the store to spend his money. He can take a bath immersed in water for the first time in 9 years. He is going through a little culture shock because the world has changed so much in those nine years. He is more than intimidated by cell phones and technology. He seems to not only enjoy his freedom, but so far he realizes he needs to guard it. I’m certain he will face temptation to go back to his old life—even though he knows it leads to that hellish life of imprisonment. I pray with all my heart that he finds true freedom in Christ which cannot be taken away as we keep our eyes on Him.
Father, I was talking to someone else last night who never went to prison but was just as much a prisoner of darkness. She was held down, humiliated, abused, fearful for her life and the lives of others, was made to feel absolutely hopeless. She was drug down into a pit of darkness where there seemed no way out of. And yet she is finally free! She absolutely knows she was freed by Jesus. She is living in the light of Jesus Christ instead of the dark deadly pit of sin. She also needs to guard that freedom. There are constant temptations trying to pull her down. As long as she keeps her eyes and soul focused on You, that darkness has no power over her. When the temptation comes to go back towards her old dark hopeless life, all she has to do is call the name of Jesus—the name at which all powers must fall.
Lord, as we celebrate America’s freedom once again, I think of the cost of that freedom. It was bought with the blood of men and women willing to die for our freedom. But even America’s freedom is fragile. We must guard it—not only with people who are still willing to give their lives to defend it—but with our personal responsibility to use that freedom wisely; to live our lives in the light of Jesus; to shine out with Your love and holiness that comes only from the high cost of Jesus’ holy blood given for us so we could be free. Father, when I am tempted by the world to go back to my old life, let me guard my precious eternal freedom by looking to You! Because of Jesus, I am free indeed!
Jesus read this scripture from the Old Testament as recorded in Luke 4:18-21: “ ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of our Lord’s favor.’ Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on Him, and He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’”
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13
Father, am I living in prison or in freedom?
Like millions of people today, I am both happy and sad that Billy Graham left this world to go home with You. Our world will miss Him. It is incredible how You used one willing humble man to lead so many to an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ. I’ve been thinking how grateful I am for my own connections with him and his wife. Not only did several family members walk down a Billy Graham crusade aisle to begin their life with You through Jesus, but his wife Ruth was personally responsible for telling the editor of Decision magazine to publish my first series on marriage. I never met or spoke to her, but her encouragement kept me writing for You.
My husband and I volunteered like so many others at the last Mission OKC revival for three nights. (Again, one of my stories was published in the special OKC issue of Decision magazine handed out at Mission OKC.) It took two men to hold Billy up as they walked him to the podium. It was disheartening to see him so weak—until he sat down to speak. Then the power of the Holy Spirit took over! He seemed like the most powerful man alive as he once more led thousands to a new life through Jesus. But one instance surrounding that same revival spoke to me of the man Dr. Graham really is.
The day Mission OKC was to begin, a young man who was a good friend of my son had taken off work to go fishing at a city lake. He had been severely stressed by finances and his wife’s health and desperately needed a break. As he was fishing by himself when he noticed an old man slumped over on some rocks. He went to see if he could help. The old man lifted his head and smiled that Billy Graham smile and told him he was just fine but thanks for checking. He explained he always finds a solitary place to pray over a city before he preaches. Then he began to ask my son’s friend about his life. He ended up ministering to this burdened young man for almost two hours. Lord, I thank You for Billy Graham who was always ready and willing to lead people to Jesus whether it was one at a time or thousands at a time. I look forward to meeting him and his wife—after I fall into Your arms!
Quote from Billy Graham: “One day you will hear that Billy Graham has died. Don’t believe it. On that day I will be more alive than I ever will be.”
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. O Lord, truly I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant; You have freed me from my chains.” Psalm 116:15-16
“Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.’” Revelation 14:13
Lord God, help me answer Your call to come to You just as I am…
My Lord and God,
I am joyfully declaring my total dependence upon You today! As our country celebrates our independence as a nation, we read the Declaration of Independence which announced for the whole world to hear that the newly-founded United States of America was officially separating from the unjust rule of the King of England. Those who signed the historical document knew it would most likely cost them life and their worldly riches (theirs, their families’ and their new countrymen). Indeed it cost dearly. Millions of lives have since been sacrificed to gain and protect our country’s freedom. I am indeed blessed to have been born in the USA…although I did not have a say in that blessing.
I do, however, have a say in freely giving up my rights to my own life. It is the best choice I’ve ever made. Whatever worldly riches and rights I willingly laid aside to acknowledge my dependence upon You as my King is nothing compared to the richness of living with Jesus now and forevermore. What a relief to know I do not have to live up to laws which are unobtainable; to pay taxes which put me in chains of bondage; to be ordered about with no compassion by a worldly king who doesn’t even know me. You are the King of kings yet You humbly offered Your one and only pure Son Jesus Christ to pay the ultimate price for my freedom. You are the absolute maker, designer, and Lord of all yet You long to have an intimate personal relationship with little me. It is not Your nature to rule over us with an iron hand, although You alone have the power and authority to reign for all eternity.
You invite all of us from every tribe and nation to willingly be a part of the only kingdom that truly counts. You do not force us but wait upon us to realize we can’t do anything without You. We indeed find more than we could ever hope for or imagine as we realize our great need for You. It is with upmost love, trust, faith, hope and with everything I am that I once again tell You that I need You. I need You salvation, guidance, comfort, direction. I need the blood of Jesus to open the way. I need You to breathe, move, live. I need You to live in and through me so I can fulfill Your purpose for me, so I can draw others to You, so I can love joyfully and completely. I need You, Oh, I need You. Every hour I need You! I have found true freedom in my dependence upon You, My True King!
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:5-8
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, , who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” Philippians 3:20-21
“Halleluiah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!” Revelation 19:6b
King of Glory, help me see what areas I need to let You rule over…
Passions and emotions are volatile over an election that many people initially were upset about because they were disappointed over the two choices for president. Lord, both candidates are frail humans- just as any president and candidate in history has been. No matter who was elected, the president elect will come and go (just as all other presidents, kings and earthly leaders have.) You alone are God Almighty! You alone stand throughout eternity! You alone are high above all kings and kingdoms and governments- both in this world and in the spiritual world.
You have more power than the mightiest earthly dictator. You could force us to bow down and serve You as our God and King…yet You wanted it to be our choice. You gave us a mind and will of our own to decide who we will serve. That’s incredible since we have such fickle minds which follow the latest craze or school of thought. We are quick to follow our selfish desires, ambitions, and plans. Oh Lord, I am so grateful for Your patience with me. You have waited for me to realize my great need for You. You waited for me to acknowledge my rebellious sin against the very One who created me and loves me. You waited while I chose other people and things above You. You waited while I angrily questioned why I had to go through things. You waited in love for me to make my eternal choice. You have forgiven and forgotten all my sins against You when I chose to accept Your sacrifice of Jesus.
I voted in the recent election because thousands of people (though they never knew me) died in battles to insure and protect my right to choose. I have voted for earthly leaders who do not know me. I read in 1 Samuel 8 where You wanted to be a very closely involved loving King who personally led His people…but they demanded an earthly king. You warned that worldly leaders will tax, send our sons off to war, make us work and rule our lives. You gave the people what they wanted. Father, I choose You to be my Ultimate King because You sent Your very own pure and Holy Son Jesus to die for my sins so I can be intimately involved in Your life and You can be intimately involved in mine. You love me because You made me and I am Yours. You know me better than I know myself and You still love me! I can trust You to lead me through this changing world which often seems full of chaos and unrest. All is well because You reign forever…and You are personally leading me! Your love is unchanging. You are my God, my King, my Lord, my Choice!
“But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life…” Deuteronomy 30:19-20
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit- fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My name. This is My command: Love each other.” John 15:16-17
Father, forgive me for my choices in the past. Today, I choose…
As of today I have yet another reason to vote in our country’s elections. Our second great-grandson was born. My life is flying by! How can it be that our granddaughter who I watched being born gave birth herself?? We now have 12 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. I am voting for each of them, for all the kids I care for at work and at church, and all their parents and for future grandchildren yet-to-be-born. My one little vote is only one…but I must use it wisely for it will affect so many precious people. Father, our governing leaders can make a big impact on the future of the lives of many.
My vote can have an impact on their freedom, their way of life, morals, education, healthcare, safety, finances, resources available, the character of the world they live in… My vote needs serious consideration. I cannot afford to cast it simply on what a candidate says because talk can sound good and is empty without actions. I cannot vote on ads paid for by candidates. I don’t personally know any of them so I cannot base it on my relationship with them. I can’t vote on what those running against them say because facts can certainly be twisted. ..so how can I know the truth about who to vote for? I can research their speech, history, relationship with You and pray about my vote…which is exactly what I’ve been doing. Now I need Your final input on my vote tomorrow. You know ALL about each person running for office. Nothing is hidden from You. You know their strengths, weaknesses, motivation, their future and their past. You know who is needed for such a time as this. I need You to help me vote!
Although my vote is important and the stakes seem high, it’s so reassuring to know that the future doesn’t depend on these human leaders…that You reign from generation to generation. Even more important than my vote to all these younger generations are my prayers. I know without a doubt that You will be with them whatever they face in this life. I may use my little vote on behalf of many for one candidate per office for one term …however my prayers to You on behalf of all these precious young people will stand forever because You are eternally our God from generation to generation!
“You, O Lord, reign forever; Your throne endures from generation to generation.” Lamentations 5:19
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
Father, I ask Your guidance as I cast my vote for earthly leaders…yet I bow before Your Son as my eternal King and You as my God and pray for these young people …