4 Habits of God-fearing Christian Voters (2016 Election Results)

 

The way to God


We’re often reminded to ask ourselves, when we’re at a critical juncture, this simple question: What Would Jesus Do? Frankly, as I’ve reflected on the 2016 US Presidential candidate who was declared the winner, I’ve mused on a similar question: How Would Jesus Vote?  The spiritual voice in my head keeps telling me firmly that the man who prevailed on Election Day wouldn’t have been Christ’s choice.

  • If you feel as I do, this post is for you.  Can we talk?

While our faith in some of our fellow citizens may have been badly battered, we can’t let our faith in the Almighty waver.  We can’t. Scripture tells us that when we’re weak, he’s strong.  In times like these, strive to find comfort in those who voted like you . . . and the one who walks with you and me and ‘makes our path straight’. Acknowledge the Almighty, even on those days when you turn on the TV and see something about politics that makes you want to scream or cry.

  • To put it simply, when abiding Christians are presented with a mountain, they must trust that they’ll have the power to climb the unclimbable. They know they’re not climbing alone.

Four Habits for dealing with your Post-election mountain

How can you successfully deal with the huge mountain that the events of the last 35 days, and the campaign season which preceded it? There are 4 habits, four steps to climb the political/societal mountain that you, I, and those who voted for one of the defeated candidates should practice.

  1. Stay: Don’t flee and run from a challenging situation.   When you do choose to stay, be engaged, not paralyzed due to indecision – like a deer in a car’s headlights.  Those deers don’t fare very well, do they?   Stay engaged and face the situation at hand.
  2. Pray: If you do, a way to deal with the giant may be divinely revealed to you.   Guess what?   With some help from Him, you may even be able to take down the giant without casting a single stone!   The Lord doesn’t utter ‘void words’! (Isaiah 55:11).
  3. Slay: If you haven’t run or avoided asking the Lord for help, you’ll be in a far better position to deal with the situation – slay the giant.   Your ‘walking buddy’ will not leave or forsake you.  David (1 Samuel 17) knew this! You and I should too, right?

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The 4th Habit is about what you can do for OTHERS.

  • Assist others, don’t avoid or abuse them.

This is based in the well-known Biblical parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25 – 37).   A Sermon my Pastor (Dr. Rev. James A. Webster) gave on September 18th on this parable revealed how people in life, when faced with ‘man lying on the side of the road’ situations, generally fall into one of three categories:

  1. Assisters (the category God wants abiding Christians to be in)
  2. Avoiders (crossing to the other side of the road)
  3. Abusers

You may be asking now: Who might be someone needing an assisting, Good Samaritan like me? Three groups of people come to mind:

  1. People who are the victims of post-election hate, racism, bigotry, or anti-immigrant hatred. You may be able to assist such people in a way that they’ll never forget. Ever!
  2. Like-minded Christians who need to be reminded to stay, pray, and slay. If this is a racially-diverse group, this has the potential to be mutually beneficially. There is great power in knowing that people who don’t look like you DO share similar feelings.  Even if they aren’t very religious, the things you hear from spiritually-grounded, moral people may make their day – or yours.
  3. Someone who voted for the man who was the victor, but who is now having reservations about the voting choice they made 5 weeks ago. This may be the toughest group to work with. However, what you do could change how they vote and live forever.  You may be the designated angel to convey the benefits of studying the Bible and using the What Would Jesus Do question to guide their life – and future election choices.

I can speak to the amazing power of interacting with those in the second group.   In the next post on this blog I will share a story of someone who helped people (1st group) who were the victims of racist and misogynistic rants.  Who says Good Samaritans only happen in the Bible?

  • A New England businessman, in a rowdy Southern bar on Election Night, got more than he could stand.

Peace be with you.

Greg Silverthorne

66 Assurance Way

 

John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme (Poem, audio)


A Love Supreme

I will do all I can to be worthy of Thee O Lord.
It all has to do with it.
Thank you God.
Peace.
There is none other.
God is. It is so beautiful.
Thank you God. God is all.
Help us to resolve our fears and weaknesses.
Thank you God.
In You all things are possible.
We know. God made us so.
Keep your eye on God.
God is. He always was. He always will be.
No matter what…it is God.
He is gracious and merciful.
It is most important that I know Thee.
Words, sounds, speech, men, memory, thoughts,
fears and emotions – time – all related …
all made from one … all made in one.
Blessed be His name.
Thought waves – heat waves-all vibrations –
all paths lead to God. Thank you God.

His way … it is so lovely … it is gracious.
It is merciful – thank you God.
One thought can produce millions of vibrations
and they all go back to God … everything does.
Thank you God.
Have no fear … believe … thank you God.
The universe has many wonders. God is all. His way … it is so wonderful.
Thoughts – deeds – vibrations, etc.
They all go back to God and He cleanses all.
He is gracious and merciful…thank you God.
Glory to God … God is so alive.
God is.
God loves.
May I be acceptable in Thy sight.
We are all one in His grace.
The fact that we do exist is acknowledgement of Thee O Lord.
Thank you God.
God will wash away all our tears …
He always has …
He always will.
Seek Him everyday. In all ways seek God everyday.
Let us sing all songs to God
To whom all praise is due … praise God.
No road is an easy one, but they all
go back to God.
With all we share God.
It is all with God.
It is all with Thee.
Obey the Lord.
Blessed is He.
We are from one thing … the will of God … thank you God.
I have seen God – I have seen ungodly –
none can be greater – none can compare to God.
Thank you God.
He will remake us … He always has and He always will.
It is true – blessed be His name – thank you God.
God breathes through us so completely …
so gently we hardly feel it … yet,
it is our everything.
Thank you God.
ELATION-ELEGANCE-EXALTATION
All from God.
Thank you God. Amen.

JOHN COLTRANE – December, 1964


  • From the liner notes of the jazz musician’s classic, A Love Supreme (February 1965 release).

 

Have hope in Him, God: Vote, don’t fret

ChurchSign_voteLAMB

 


Inspired by my Pastor’s Sermon today, “God’s Got Your Back” (Isaiah 41: 8-10), I offer one thing Dr. Rev. James A. Webster (Oak Ridge First Baptist Church) said: You do what you can do and God will do the rest.  The 10th verse of the 41st book of Isaiah reads:

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.’ (NKJV)

Folks.  As I drove home the words for this post entered my spirit.  While Pastor Webster did not in his sermon allude to voting (or the current elections), he touched on the ‘uncertainty’ in the nation and the world.  God is surely a balm for that uncertainty he feels – and I agree.  

My firm belief: Just vote and let God do the rest.  The ‘Lamb does indeed have the answer’, especially when our nation’s political parties don’t.  Some politicians don’t have an answer frankly.  Some offer platitudes and simply hope you’ll trust them to figure it out.  Guess what?  I trust the Lord.  God’s Promises are never broken.  Have faith that our Heavenly Father will help this nation heal from the rancor of the last 3 months of the U.S. general election – and the earlier primaries.

Did I vote?   Yes, I voted yesterday in NC.  In fact, I was the first person in line!  While the Guilford County polling place opened at 8:00am yesterday, I was there at about 7:20am.  I was done voting by 8:05am. There was a decent size line when I left Bur-Mil Park at that time.

  • As citizens, it’s important that we vote.
  • As Christians, while you’ve chosen Jesus as your personal savior, you can also help choose the next President of the United States.  As a 55-year old African-American I know that many suffered or perished so I could vote; when I was born (1961), Blacks didn’t have that right.  They do now.
  • I took this photo 17 days ago at a church less than half a mile from my home by the way.

Have hope in God. Vote, don’t fret.  Scripture tells us “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:11).

  • Again, God’s got your back.  Let the candidate of your choice have your vote.

Peace be with you,

Greg Silverthorne, 66 Assurance Way

8 Pillars of Living a ‘Godly Life’ (Scripture)

  • Faith
  • Goodness
  • Knowledge
  • Self-control
  • Perseverance
  • Godliness
  • Mutual affection
  • Love

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3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.

8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

(2 Peter 1 NIV)


Photo credit: Jerry Worster/flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

If you’re desperately down, don’t give up! (Faith)

A Must-share story (I’m sitting here with a loaded gun/Enough Tribulations).

When a blog post lingers in my mind for several days, I feel compelled to share it or comment.  Given the way the ‘inspirational post’ began, I was (frankly) a bit apprehensive to keep reading it, at first.  However, I came back to it later and did read it.  I am glad I did!  I thank Minister Gertrude Ferguson for sharing this Grand Slam story in her post.  An excerpt and a link to full post can be found below.

The Enough Tribulations post states, to start the inspiring story of a desperately down man:

“I once heard a story of a man who was desperately down to his wit end of troubles.   In his desperation, he went into his room and loaded a gun. He was about to kill himself!

As he sat there with the loaded gun, he decided that he had to pray before committing this suicide.   He prayed and asked God to intervene to show He’s really there, and if He does, then he would not kill himself.

After praying, the man waited to see what would happen.  Lost in his suicidal thoughts, he was startled by . . . “

  • Link to full post.

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66 Assurance Way

 Photo Credit: Josh Sniffen/flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Christians: Be a ‘For Real’ Worshipper

Sunset with Cross


Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

John 4:21-24 (NIV)


Just as important to a Real Christian as having Proper Priorities is their regularly engaging in Proper Worship.

  • Not all worship by saved children of God is real or proper.  Real Worshippers are informed and transformed, they aren’t simply conformed.
  • They are Christian Disciples, not just diligent churchgoers.

Unlike the Praise that such faithful Christians offer to the Lord, Worship is a public, group-oriented aspect of one’s Christian life.   It is church based.   As a member of a church that the Holy Spirit has guided them to, Real Christians avoid being passive, unengaged Pew Parkers.

They, after getting settled into a new church, are constructively engaged in at least one ministry.   They are tithers as well.  Lastly, those who are real worshippers ‘put on the full armor of God’.   Written by Paul, the scripture in Ephesians 6 captures so well what those who are living a Real Christian life are all about.


 

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.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.  Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Ephesians 6:10-20 (NIV)


Worship which is proper, which is ‘in spirit and in truth’, is critical to every abiding Christian’s Walk.   During one’s life, you’ll be in Spiritual Warfare from time to time.   Having God’s full armor will allow you to endure and walk with Confidence!

  • Strive to be a fully-armored, Real Worshipper.

Grace, mercy, and Peace to you.

   66 Assurance Way


Photo Credits: iStock

‘A Love Supreme’ for God: John Coltrane’s Story

John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme is easily one of my favorite recordings of jazz music.  As noted in the Arun Rath story I quote below, it is his love for God that fueled this awesome 1964 recording by the talented jazz saxophonist.  It was released 50 years ago this year (February 1965).  How Coltrane got to the point of creating this classic album is reflected in his personal life.

  • Only 40 years old when he died in Long Island in 1967, today would have been the jazz musician’s 89th birthday.
  • He underwent a transformation in the months leading up to the December 1964 recording.  His new life view sparked his praise of God, including this 50-year old jazz masterpiece.

Personally, it took me a while to appreciate this album.   Like my spiritual growth, my taste in jazz music evolved over time; initially a Ronnie Laws (another saxophonist) lover, I grew to love the jazz expressions of John Coltrane, Keith Jarrett, & McCoy Tyner.  Once I came to understand Coltrane’s music, it was hard to really appreciate Laws anymore.

  • Excerpts of two NPR stories on this classic jazz recording are offered below.

As I read Eric Westervelt’s post, I thought of the importance of knowing someone’s story.  How Coltrane (Sept. 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967) came to his respectful praise of God, and what that change meant, is a fascinating story.


A Love Supreme is Coltrane’s ultimate spiritual testament: The “love supreme” he describes is God’s love.


While A Love Supreme is a recognized musical masterpiece, it had enormous personal significance for Coltrane.  In the spring of 1957, his dependence on heroin and alcohol lost him one of the best jobs in jazz.   He was playing sax and touring with Miles Davis’ popular group when he became unreliable and strung out.   Alternately catatonic and brilliant, Coltrane’s behavior and playing became increasingly erratic.   Davis fired him after a live show that April.

Soon after, Coltrane resolved to clean up his act.   He would later write, in the 1964 liner notes to A Love Supreme, “In the year of 1957, I experienced, by the grace of God, a spiritual awakening, which was to lead me to a richer, fuller, more productive life.”

But Coltrane didn’t always stay the clean course.   As he also wrote in the album’s notes, “As time and events moved on, I entered into a phase which is contradictory to the pledge and away from the esteemed path.   But thankfully now, through the merciful hand of God, I do perceive and have been fully reinformed of his omnipotence.   It is truly a love supreme.” [Emphasis added]


Check out:

Greg Silverthorne, 9/21/15

66 Assurance Way