Do not let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good. Â Â Â Romans 12:21 (NCV)
I am writing this devotion the morning of the election. I am writing it before I know who won â€“ because, frankly, it doesn’t matter who wins between these two men. I know there are some people who read my statement and have just â€œun-friendedâ€ me! So if you are still with me, I hope you will read at least another 1-2 lines. It is important who I voted for. It is important because I prayed and obediently voted for who I believe God told me to vote for. And whoever wins, I will pray for him and believe that God can use him effectively for His Kingdom.
Jesus chose His first disciples not because they believed the way He did. Peter tried to talk Him out of going to Jerusalem, remember? Jesus didn’t even choose all â€œgood and practicingâ€ Jews. He sent, arguably, His best evangelist and teacher, Paul, to â€“ wait for it â€“ the Gentiles! Jesus chose disciples and who He uses not based on human, quanitative characteristics but on His insider knowledge. Jesus knows our hearts. He knows what He can do with our hearts. I daresay that whoever wins this election, like every president before him and all of us sitting out here making our judgments, he will not have a heart that is where God desires it to be. And I think the Oval Office makes a great crucible to refine a person, don’t you?
Only 43 men since 1789 have answered to the name, â€œMr. Presidentâ€ (If you think I miscounted, remember Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms and that’s your history lesson for the day.) If I look at pictures of these men and compare how they looked going in and how they look even after two years, they all have aged. If that doesn’t pull at my heart and encourage me to pray, well I need to check my heart with Jesus even more!
Dwight Eisenhower was president when I was born. His predecessor, Harry Truman, had to make the decision to send an atomic bomb to destroy two entire cities in Japan. John Kennedy came close to a similar event in Cuba. Lyndon Johnson had the Viet Nam War. Jimmy Carter had 52 hostages to negotiate out of Iran. H.W. Bush had the 1st Gulf War and George Bush had terrorist attacks and the 2nd Gulf War. Barack Obama has economic crises here at home and, oh yes, some fanatical jihad guys who will do anything to destroy everything that the US stands for because â€“ well just because it isn’t what they stand for!
The older I get â€¦ the more questions than answers I have. The more I study the Bible and build my relationship with God the more I find myself leaving my agenda and know-it-all attitude behind and lean on Godâ€™s ways. Itâ€™s hard. Itâ€™s awesome! Itâ€™s hopeful. It means that the future will have more hope in it â€¦ because I trusted God for it. And this is what I will pray for my president, whoever he is: that he will continue to grow in his relationship with God and learn to trust Him more. That he will learn to cry out to God first and lean on God’s understanding of any situation that comes across his desk.
All of you must yield to the government rulers. No one rules unless God has given him the power to rule, and no one rules now without that power from God. So those who are against the government are really against what God has commanded. And they will bring punishment on themselves. Those who do right do not have to fear the rulers; only those who do wrong fear them. Do you want to be unafraid of the rulers? Then do what is right, and they will praise you. The ruler is God’s servant to help you. But if you do wrong, then be afraid. He has the power to punish; he is God’s servant to punish those who do wrong. So you must yield to the government, not only because you might be punished, but because you know it is right. Â Â Romans 13:1-5 (NCV)
The song today is one that will be familiar to you all. But did you know that Irving Berlin wrote the song in 1918 while he was serving in the Army during World War I, the â€œwar to end on all warsâ€? He stuck it away in a drawer. Kate Smith introduced the song to America on her very popular radio show in 1938 as the US was again preparing for another war. Take the time to watch this 50 year old movie clip that, with some updated clothes and cars, would reflect us again today. Near the end of the clip is Irving Berlin standing behind a desk with a future president sitting nearby reading a newspaper. Thank You, LORD, for blessing me to live in the United States of America. God bless our president with Your wisdom, LORD. May we humble ourselves and seek Your face, LORD, in all ways, every day.
God Bless America written by Irving Berlin (1918, revised in 1938) and sung by Kate Smith