First a couple updates, then thoughts on (US) voting for a Mormon(?)
Paul told us exactly what his thorn in the flesh was - He said an angel of Satan was sent to buffet him to keep him from being exalted (by the Word). (Some translations use 'messenger' rather than 'angel', but in the Greek it is 'an angel of Satan was assigned to me to buffet me'.)
In this series I show you in Acts this demonic assignment in Paul's life, what the Lord's instruction meant to him, and how Paul learned to walk in the grace and authority of the Lord. This is instruction for us on how to break similar demonic assignments, and I hope you'll find it a blessing.
Let's face it; There are times we haven't done anything to provoke people or circumstances against us, but attacks come anyway. We wonder ‘Why is this happening God?’ This series will help you identify them, and break those assignments with specific things the Lord taught me about rebuking them.
Barb and I just returned from our Lithuanian conference, and the whole week was an amazing time in the Lord. Our conference was held a Friday-Sunday at a camp, and Monday-Tuesday in homes, and filled with worship, practical instruction, prayer for all on that Saturday night, and wonderful food & fellowship.
One example from that week: Monday night was a meeting with a couple who lead a house church in their flat. I don't often share details about what I see when the Lord opens my eyes to His realm in meetings, but that Monday night meeting was so anointed I'll share a bit here.
As often happens, as soon as we (20+) all gathered I saw angels in the room, just observing. The worship was truly anointed, and suddenly I saw four angels I've often seen just before the Lord enters a room. I call them 'the guard', because there are always 4 of them, they always precede the Lord by 15-30 seconds, and are dressed in a way that makes me think they are high ranking, with robes and colors that communicate rank. They normally swoop in from above in a blur, and stand forming a square, and the Lord comes a few seconds later right in their midst.
This is what happened that night, and then He walked over to me, spoke a few things briefly, and then walked around the room talking to each person as we sat in near silent worship. I'll share one testimony from the night:
He walked over to a friend, a powerful woman who leads another house church but whose husband isn't saved, and the Lord and her suddenly disappeared in what seemed to me to be a bubble of light for about 5 minutes. Later she said the Lord took her away flying among clouds to a waterfall, and to a meadow with flowers, all while speaking encouragement to her – that’s just 1 example from the night. From my perspective, not knowing about what went on inside the bubble of light until later, it seemed they just disappeared, then a few minutes later the bubble disappeared and the Lord continued walking around the room, picking up where He had disappeared without breaking stride, speaking things to everyone there.
As you can tell the trip was spiritually rich.
October 5-12 Barb and I will be visiting the house churches in New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, and will be joined by 2 from Tulsa and 2 from Alabama as well. Though its too late for this trip, for future reference, if you are in our network of house churches or are a ministry friend we encourage you to consider joining us in our travels! It is so wonderful to visit each other, as we follow Paul’s pattern seen in Acts and as seen in his letters to the churches, as we practice the Biblical pattern of house church networking.
Election in US
I shared a few weeks ago in this space a small part of what the Father told me about the election. I shared this part: "As it stands now, Romney will win the election and the Republicans will take the Senate."
But I didn't share the rest of what He said because some of what He said hadn't taken place yet. He actually continued talking, telling me who Mr. Romney needed to pick as a running mate to win because that state would prove to be important in the election, and what would happen if he didn't choose that person.
I only told 2 others at the time what He said, and another since then...but I will report to you that Mr. Romney chose someone other than who the Father commented on that day, so I continue to pray for our country as the outcome is unclear to me at this point. The Father has remained silent about it since then, and usually that means what He said last, stands. Thus the call to prayer.
It is amazing to me how apolitical the Father is - apolitical meaning 'having no interest nor association with politics'. He is King after all, of the universe. Maybe apolitical isn't as accurate as saying He is God and the kingdoms and economies of this world don't threaten Him one bit. He is above it all, yet interested for our sakes and the spread of the gospel. All will one day be submitted to Him, but until then...
Vote for a Mormon?
And this brings me to address the question I've been bombarded with by so many emails in the last month, usually expressed something like this: "John, who should we vote for? I have a problem voting for a Mormon, but can't vote for Obama either. What do you think?"
Though this is a US election, and my 'Weekly Thoughts' and this e-newsletter is circulated among about 50 nations, the principles I share here are relevant for all. In the Gospels and the days of the writing of our New Testament, that part of the world was under the domain of the Roman Empire. There was no voting for elected officials, politicians held office by appointment and favor of Rome, so there are no instructions in the NT telling us to exercise our right to vote.
We are told to obey the authorities, and to pray for all those in authority that we may lead quite and peaceful lives - but nothing about praying for or about the character, ethics, family life, or religion of those in public office. There are no instructions to pray for instance, that Herod would repent and return to his Jewish roots. There is no verse asking the saints to pray for Caesar to come to the Lord. There is no instruction to pull down demonic strongholds over Rome or any other city or nation that the kingdom of God might advance.
But a Mormon?
We aren't voting for a Republican or Democrat, Mormon or Muslim - we are voting on the Office of the Presidency of the United States. The President-elect puts his hand on a Bible and says: "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Whoever takes office, it is about their ability to execute the office of President, to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. That is our question: Which candidate will best do that?
There are well meaning believers saying a vote for Romney is a vote for anti-Christ, a vote anti-Israel, and a vote for Mormonism, but they miss the point. It isn't about their religion, its about how they can execute the office of President.
This isn't popularity vote like some Junior Class President in high school. We are voting on who can best execute the office and protect, preserve, and defend the Constitution of the United States.
So laying all the other distractions aside, who do you think can best execute the office, and preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution? Answer that you you'll know who to vote for.
The Dog Catcher
If you apply the litmus test of a man's religion to the vote of President, then to not be a hypocrite you must do the same for all you vote for, from the Dog Catcher to City Council to School Board to the Judge who wants to remain on the bench. Do you vote or not vote for each person on every ballot based on where they go to church, temple, or just stay home? Or do you vote for them because they can fulfill the office they seek? That they will be good for the School Board, good for the City Counsel, etc?
Furthermore, how many Christians voted for Ronald Reagan, and ignored wife Nancy's weekly consultation of the Astrology charts and the fact she sought the advice of her personal Astrologer? We could go back to JFK and his numerous well-documented affairs, the corruption of LBJ, the non-faith of Ford or Southern Baptist yet way liberal Carter....but the vote isn't on religion, it is on how well the person can execute the office of President and defend the Constitution.
So separate both men's religion, and vote on what they must swear to on January 20, 2013 - those are my thoughts.
Thank you to all who remember us in their giving. I encourage all believers to live the lifestyle of a giver as scripture says, to bless those who are a part of your life – discipline yourself to set aside ‘seed’ for people in the body of Christ and eat your bread as II Corinthians 9:7-12 says – there is a different level of grace on those who discipline themselves to live as givers, a grace of timing and favor and joy that is unmatched on earth.
Thank you for your prayers. A personal note on our son Chris – We had a total of 3 weeks of travels, a week in the US right before our 2 week Europe trip, and by the last week of travels Chris was emotionally very down that last week, refusing to get out of bed until noon, resisting efforts by the group home aides to get him up, refusing to eat and so on. We'll keep our travels more spaced out in the future and limited them to 2 weeks maximum for his benefit.
Chris is doing well now, and we continue to talk through and plan the process of modifying our home for him for his weekly visits (2 days/1 night per week)
– thank you! John and Barb