Even a little yeast is not good…

Today marks seven days until Election 2020. Some evangelicals have called this election the most important election in our lifetime. I disagree. Perhaps, it may be true for the Christians/evangelicals holding on to traditions of man, but I don’t see it any more important than any other election, at least not to Christians trusting in God and His plans. I have Christian friends that are very political, calling democrats baby killers. Their biggest concerns seem to surround abortion, abortion on demand and same-sex marriage. But, I also have friends that don’t vote because they believe it’s not scriptural. Scripture is clear on how God sees these two issues and God has never changed His standard. And being Holy He never will. Scripture however is ever so clear that many woes are due to sexual immorality. So why would evangelicals want Christians to fear anything, more so the plans of man? I am baffled as to why they spread fear to a community to whom God has commanded “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’” Isaiah 41:10

Last night, as I lay praying, it came to mind that the results of this election, in no way will delay, modify, or cancel the plans God has ordained for this nation. Evangelicals can pray for a man that will repeal abortion rights, put prayer back in school, save suburbia, or any other worldly status the religious leaders demand. They can pray for a king. And God may or will answer their request, but it will be according to His wisdom and His will. Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:31-33) who walked in the ways of God – asked the people to pray for God to save them in their time of trouble. “So Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-five years. His mother’s name was Azubah daughter of Shilhi. He followed the ways of his father Asa and did not stray from them; he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. The high places, however, were not removed, and the people still had not set their hearts on the God of their ancestors.”

“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.”

1 Thessalonians 5:1-3

Can we honestly say that the status, or influence of the church has not been directed by politics, or politicians? Let me direct you to Scripture.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. _ Matthew 7:15

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”

Romans 1:18-25

“There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.”

“A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who speaks lies shall perish.”

The fear of the Lord leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil.”

Proverbs 19: 21; 9; 23

Scriptures can be taken out to prove, or disprove what man has to say about anything happening in the “world.” Jehoshaphat prayed and God answered his prayer, but Jehoshaphat walked in the ways of God. Who is walking in the ways of God? When the rebellious are coming from all walks of life and many call themselves Christians – who is walking in the ways of God? Many of them defy authorities because they would rather obey God than man, because no man will stop them from worshiping God, but Scripture clearly commands us to obey authorities. It took decades to abolish slavery, but evangelicals want fellow Christians to believe that this one election threatens our religious freedoms. Who is he that walks about looking for whom he may devour? Do you think that “he” wears only one label? Who was he that first used Scripture for selfish gain?

A return to the dark side

The last two presidencies have revealed a dark side among Americans. I want to believe that we had dealt with that dark side. Definitely many Americans, especially younger ones, felt we had gotten way past our shortcomings. This year, COVID-19 was used very successfully to manipulate a people for political and religious objectives. It brought out the best and the worst of us all.

Traditionally, we have been a nation divided by many issues, yet we managed to get along. Has it been an equitable society? Not for everyone – and not across social or racial lines. I was born in 1959, and the Civi Rights movement was in high gear and would not end until it took the lives of Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy and Malcom X and not until Americans witnessed one Bloody Sunday. That’s where an Alabama state trooper fatally shot Jimmie Lee Jackson, a young African American demonstrator (Source: https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/selma-montgomery-march). That was not the first time a person of color was killed by an officer of the law, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.

I prayed-asking God to show me what one thing has united this nation? I wanted to believe the love of country united us. But I couldn’t accept that answer, because so many Americans were singing the praises of a man that has brought so much dishonor to the highest office in our country.

Sometimes, as Christians we don’t know what to pray for. So God gave us a helper.

“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

Romans 8:26

History, tells our story of unity. History lays out the struggles, the battles, the violence, the fears, and the victories. From the formation of this nation, through the final hour when people of color would finally walk beside their white brother without having to bow down, but history also notes that too has been a difficult journey. And it shows us there was still much work to be done. For no sooner did a freedom become law that stipulations were placed on that freedom – making it difficult for the victors to exercise those new freedoms. The right to vote – a freedom gained decades ago, continues to be – one of those freedoms that still needs fighting for.

How have I managed to make sense of the social and racial unrest, the civil disobedience, the religious pharisees in the land of the free and home of the brave? I had to look at my 60 years on this land for clarity. No doubt every single American found a way to deal with all the drama of 2020. Many conservative Americans chose to blame democrats for all the ills of society. I’ve look to historical documents, but everything I see is one man’s interpretation of any particular incident or event. My siblings lived and experienced 1933-1960, in south Texas, so I look to their experiences to help me understand what it must have felt like living in those times. My brother remembered feeling proud hearing the boss call our dad by his first name “Pancho” until he learned that was what he called all Mexicans. Segregated schools for people of Mexican descent were located miles from where they lived, no bussing, one pair of shoes, no school supplies, having to miss school, or drop out of school to go work the fields, that was their way of life. It was all they knew.

I don’t know how anyone made sense of this year, but in sixty years, the year 2020 will go down in my history as the most challenging year. Not for any reason except because it is not an easy thing to control the tongue. It is so easy to blast people, especially on Facebook.

My mother was only twelve years old when she married my father, a man ten years her senior. She gave birth to four children before she was was age 20, and buried two before the fourth child was born. This story and many more like them was the life for many Mexican-Americans to varying degrees here in south Texas. My sister talks about the Mexican-Americans that had decent homes, nice clothes, jobs. I’ve listened to my older friends talk about their experiences during segregation. One might say it wasn’t that bad.

For my mom and dad, the reality was being singled out for relocation to Mexico. Why? Well… that’s what the American government wanted – to relocate Mexican-Americans to their presumably their native land – Mexico. Forced relocations is not new to this country. The Native Americans were forced off their land. During WWII Japanese Americans were rounded up and placed in camps.

By the time I came around in 1959, my family was living in San Antonio. Big city living and rural living is quite different, experiences are different.

Christians tend to believe we are living in the end times, the last days, the rapture is imminent. That those same sentiments are felt today is a good sign. If you read the letter, the writer concludes “that we are so near to the last days that all we should do is get our own house in order.” Wise words from the past. Check out the scripture references. Read Psalm 139.

“Jehoshaphat, did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. The high places, however, were not removed, and the people still had not set their hearts on the God of their ancestors.” There is the answer… the people must set their hearts on God and not on any man.

Blessing to all.

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