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Nearing decision time.


Many decisions are made years before they must be realized. An old story illustrates this. It seems that a city in the Bible belt experienced a mammoth Saturday night snowfall. That Sunday morning the local pastor went to the church to survey the situation. Snow and ice covered all the parking lots, building entrances, and walkways. As the pastor walked around he reasoned that attendance would be small that day. As he was going back to his office he came across an older church member exiting his car. "Well, brother Smith, I see you awoke this morning and decided to venture out into this weather anyway", he said. The older gentleman replied, "No pastor. I decided forty years ago when I became a Christian I would attend church today". It's just a fact. Many of our most important decisions aren't circumstantial. They reflect our deeply held values.

It was real to me the other day. Driving down I-26 a lady talking on a cell phone cut me off in typical morning rush hour traffic. I swerved to avoid an accident, said a few choice words, and gave her the look. I wanted to jerk her out of the car and throttle her, or at least tell her a thing or two. But, I didn't. My life commitments and Christian faith moderated my actions so I wouldn't do something more reckless or that I would surely regret. Not to beat someones brains out was a decision I had made many years ago.

Voting is usually one of those decisions too. When we drop the ballot into the box or pull the lever our choices will be the result of study, deliberation, prayer, and yes, our values. Many times these will be life decisions we made at some point prior to the event. Making my decision about how I will cast my votes November 6 will involve a process that must include touching base with those things that matter most to me. it is especially true in this important mid term election. For me, the media hype, fake news, and the violence so visible in our population demands greater care in this election. I will have to weigh more factors in finalizing my choices. But, over the next week nearing decision time this process will guide me---

1. I will be informed about the candidates.

Hey, this is the information age and I can know just about everything about every

candidate. There are few secrets today. This will involve in-depth study of their

personal, professional, public, and private lives. Study of this nature is often difficult

because the media massages data and gives us false images of them. Therefore, I

will seek to discover unbiased facts about their lives, positions on the issues, and

their records.

2. I will examine the party platforms of the political parties.

Candidates are the product of political party mechanisms. In the process of

nomination the candidates will align themselves with a party platform. This

usually announces the agenda of the political parties from which the individual

candidates will launch their campaign. Beyond their own positions I want to know

where their colleagues stand and how they will support one another and steer the

machinery of our vast government at national, state, and local levels.

3. I will reflect deeply held value decisions that I've made since becoming a voter.

This election has ignited opinions, passions, and personal flash points not

experienced in fifty one years of voting. Here, I want to insure consistency with

my previous value decisions so that inflamed emotions don't dictate my actions.

4. I will pray like never before.

There are so many Bible verses that direct us to prayer. At the forefront is the prayer

for humility so that he can guide me in settling the uncertain and inflamed emotions

of the hour. My biggest problem in this regard is being unteachable, that is having

made up my own mind and holding stubbornly to my own positions. My prayer here

is a Bible promise God gave me the night we found out about our son's murder

over seven years ago---

Humble yourselves therefore under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due

time.

1 Peter 5:6, NIV

Best not approach God when possessed of an arrogant, prideful heart.

5. I will cherish this opportunity to fulfill my role as a citizen.

Here are two things I know already: I will not stay home on election day, and I will

not throw my vote away. Two many Americans have sacrificed their lives to protect

this sacred privilege for me to pout about the poor choices or selfishly ignore my

responsibility as a citizen. Just the same, I will not cast a meaningless vote on

election day, meaning I will not write-in a far-fetched candidate or a childish

substitute for my responsibility to our system of elections.

Is this a foolproof guide to Godly election results? Not hardly. But, I do trust his word and his promises, and I've needed some counsel approaching November. Here are several promises I'm relying on----

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.

Proverbs 19:20, ESV

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with

my eye upon you.

Psalm 32:8, ESV

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,”

Isaiah 30:21, ESV

We're nearing decision time. I want to be ready when it arrives.

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