We Are Americans

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The election is over and the Democratic candidates are now the president elect and the vice-president elect. The people have spoken, in what has been noted as the largest voter participation in the history of our nation. All over America, a mix of emotions can literally be read in the faces of its citizens. There are many who jubilantly celebrate the historic appointment of the nation’s first black woman as vice-president. There are those who celebrate the tenacity of a man who spent more than half of his life devoted to politics; failed to attain the presidency twice before, but gave it one more shot for the win. And then, there are those who genuinely grieve the political-loss of the most recent one-term president. America’s many faces tell the story today.

Now what?

If this election has taught me anything, it has solidified just how broken we still are. Even after the results were announced yesterday, social media hatred was alive and well, coming from both sides of the political line, shared by the common citizen and super-celebrity alike. Everyone is taking potshots. Some of us are kicking fellow Americans when they’re down, while others (among us) are cursing the celebrations as premature and fleeting. One thing is for sure; we’re not healing.

Allow me to share something for a moment. Folks, I give you: The New Colossus (Emma Lazarus 11/2/1883)

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
‘Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she
With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’”

This is the poem adorned on the Statue of Liberty (just in case you didn’t know). It was supposed to represent what we, as a people, stand for. We’re all immigrants if you trace back our individual histories. As such, we should all be one people. That’s what the idea of America being great was supposed to be about; the giant melting pot. But, in the 244 years since our official establishment, we have not always seen accurate representation of all our citizens. Yesterday, for the first time in our 244-year history, a woman—not just any woman; but a woman of color—was chosen to hold the second highest position of leadership in our nation. Folks, I seriously need you to take a moment to put whatever your political allegiances are, to the side, and recognize this fact. We just elected a woman of color to become vice-president of the United States of America. In our 244-year history, that position has been held by white men! We—as a nation—just made history!

Just as the senator’s appointment to vice president is something that should be celebrated by all Americans, we should also be collectively mourning another historical event: the Corona Virus. In the 21st century, this pandemic is still running rampant. There is no vaccine. There is no cure. Its tole is devastating on the population of the entire world. While our national-economy should be a priority, we have to come to terms with the fact that…if we don’t do something about this pandemic, there will not be anyone left to comprise an economy. This isn’t a Democrat or Republican problem; it’s not even an American problem. This is a worldwide problem. And it didn’t just magically go away, while we were voting.

We have to stop fighting. We’ve been doing it for long enough. The new president elect is calling for unity in the nation, and I get that it’s going to take some folks longer than others to get onboard with his rallying cry. But we absolutely must do this. It’s bigger than political ties. Personally, I want my great-grandchildren to see an abundant life someday. That just doesn’t happen unless we all take to heart the words of “The Colossus”. Right now, we’re all tired and weary; and we’re taking out our frustrations on one another. We have to change that. We have to turn it around. My enemy shouldn’t be my neighbor, who voted Red. My church brother shouldn’t hate me because I voted Blue. We need each other. When we come together, there is nothing we can’t accomplish. That’s what we do, because we are Americans. Today is a brand new day. Let’s get to work. People, let’s get to work for each other.

What Do You Want To Do About That?

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Romans 8:28 (NLT): “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

Hi. I’m back, and I want to share a story because it’s time…

The Old Testament book of I Samuel, chapter 8 introduces us to the nation of Israel turning away from God and asking for a King (to rule over them) in His stead. At the time, God’s representative—Samuel—was aging out of his appointment. Despite Samuel’s righteous heart, his two spoiled sons were dishonest men. The people didn’t want either of those characters to fill the roll of their father once he was gone, so they demanded that Samuel appoint a King to lead the nation after him. Israel had seen how the other nations of the world governed themselves, and wanted to be just like everyone else.

Naturally, Samuel was pretty put off by this ridiculous request, so he consulted the Lord, rather than make any emotional decisions. He went to God through prayer. And you know what? God answered him, basically saying (translated in Ennis vernacular),

“Hey, don’t worry about it, Sam. I’ve got you. You go on ahead and do whatever it is they want you to do. Just know they’re not disrespecting you or your service. No…they actually have the audacity to disrespect Me with this foolish request. So, you give the people what they want, but I want you to tell them precisely what they’re going to get, as a consequence of this request.”

And so it was, Samuel gave them permission to elect a king from among themselves. The people chose Saul. And God allowed it to happen. Saul was a handsome specimen of a man and honestly, that trait won him the position; that’s just about all he had going for him. Eventually, what Samuel warned against came to fruition in Israel’s first king. He did such a bad job at God-honoring leadership, that God removed His Spirit from Saul and placed it over a young man who would go on to be called, “A man after God’s own heart”. That young man was king David.

America was supposed to be built on the principles and beliefs of God-honoring men. Now, history is rife with instances of those same founding-fathers failing to uphold God’s two most important decrees (Love the Lord your God with all your mind, soul, and spirit and love your neighbor as yourself), but they at least attempted to somewhat build our country around some version of what they decided God’s word meant to them. Again…not even close to perfection, but that’s another discussion for another time. As time marched on, our nation has strayed farther and farther away from God’s word. In the process, we’ve somehow managed to redefine what it means to be Christian. Our culture has successfully interwoven into the very fabric of our faith; so much so that the average person can’t recognize many self-proclaimed Christians by their behavior anymore; by their fruit. We are just like everyone else in the world, instead of being world changers.

The saga of the current administration leading right into the present days following the election, reminds me of the story of Saul. There are Christians among us who vehemently support the idea of God appointing the current president to office. And you know what? I would agree with them, but for extremely different reasoning. God did (in fact) put him in that seat, within the oval office. He did so, just as he gave Samuel permission to appoint Saul as Israel’s first king. He did so, just as he appointed king Nebuchadnezzar power to take into captivity the southern kingdom. Now to be fair, Israel didn’t ask for King Nebuchadnezzar. He was sent as punishment. The point I’m making in including him, is that God was—and is—always in control.

Our current president is a flawed man, just as all men are. None of us are perfect. By the democratic process our country is privileged to have, he was nominated and elected to be our commander-in-chief. In truth, we all knew what type of character he possessed long before he was appointed. Yet, despite the warning, he was given an opportunity to lead this country in a God-honoring way.

Many of my Christian brothers and sisters out there have stood behind him and supported his every decision. Just as King Saul had loyal subjects who saw absolutely no wrong in his leadership, Christ-followers were (and are) willing to ignore many of the president’s character flaws to support his politics. Today—at this very hour—the sanctity of the democratic process is being challenged by some of those very followers choosing to overlook character flaw for personal victories. The man in charge is attacking the democracy which placed him in power.

But it’s really not the politics that disappoint me right now. It’s the way we’ve all deteriorated into treating one another, as a result of the politics. This political climate has really revealed what is in the hearts of each and every one of us. It’s downright scary. It’s shameful. It’s the opposite of what it really means to be Christian.

I’ve personally shouted to the heavens, “Forty-five is not my president!”. I’ve unfriended many people that I once felt safe speaking to. I’ve argued my points, rebutted differing opinions and stopped speaking with close friends. Family, this is within the body of Christ I’m talking about here! It’s not just me either. It’s all of us. Right now, if you’re taking the time to read through this, you’re thinking of someone you’re disappointed in; someone maybe you had to block; someone who shared a different political view than you. We’ve all lost sight of what it truly means to follow God.

In the last few days, I’ve seen Christians hold emergency prayer meetings in favor of the president retaining his position, lest the challenger win, and the world goes straight to hell. Likewise, I’ve seen Christians hold emergency prayer meetings in favor of the former vice-president winning the election by landslide to ensure the utmost humiliation of the current administration. The social media memes are by far the worst. Christians are mocking opposing camps in deplorable ways. To add insults to the many injuries, Christians from both sides of the political line are calling on like-minded brethren to pray for their specific candidate’s victory, while simultaneously calling on all Christians to pray for God to heal our land.

Really?! What’s that got to do with God’s will being done?  

Saul—despite his many victories in battle—was a major failure when it came to serving the LORD. He used the people to his advantage, and still they followed him. Yet, God allowed this to happen. He gave Israel exactly what they asked for. Today, we are reaping what we’ve sown in this country for generations. We’ve turned our backs to God, and He’s given us exactly what we’ve asked for along with everything that comes with it. Despite these hard facts, we’ve still chosen to put our faith and prayers into these two candidates first, while continuing to hate and ignore one another because of our differences in opinions. Satan…right now…is winning. Don’t kid yourself, believer. Right now, while you’re awaiting the victor of this 2020 election, the real winner is him. We asked for him.

What do you want to do about that?  

Honestly, I don’t need you—any of you—to agree with my thoughts. But I need you to think about your own heart for a moment, and really consider where it is…right now.

Some of us are leaving our home church over race relations. Some have stopped speaking to brothers and sisters because they have different political views. Some have decided that there’s nothing wrong with our nation that wasn’t caused until (insert whatever). Some have simply decided that Christianity is a sham, based on how we’re treating each other. So, the question still stands.

What do you want to do about that?

Romans 8:28 is special for me, because it puts my life into perspective. If I love God, then I have to believe that all things—all things—will work out ultimately for my good, because I’m called according to his purpose. That means, instead of me praying to God to put my choice in candidate into the oval office, I’m going to pray that His will be done, no matter what that might look like in my eyes. His vision is a lot stronger and longer than mine ever will be. I’m not going to pray for what I want. Rather I’m going to pray for what God wants, and I’m simply going to choose to accept His decision. History has proven, if I turn my back on Him and He gives me what I’ve asked for selfishly, the results can be quite disastrous.