Let Christians Vote As Though They Were Not Voting (by John Piper)

Voting is like marrying and crying and laughing and buying. We should do it, but only as if we were not doing it. That’s because “the present form of this world is passing away” and, in God’s eyes, “the time has grown very short.” Here’s the way Paul puts it:

The appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away. (1 Corinthians 7:29-31)

Let’s take these one at a time and compare them to voting.

1. “Let those who have wives live as though they had none.”

This doesn’t mean move out of the house, don’t have sex, and don’t call Honey. Earlier in this chapter Paul says, “The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights” (1 Corinthians 7:3). He also says to love her the way Christ loved the church, leading and providing and protecting (Ephesians 5:25-30). It means this: Marriage is momentary. It’s over at death, and there is no marriage in the resurrection. Wives and husbands are second priorities, not first. Christ is first. Marriage is for making much of him.

It means: If she is exquisitely desirable, beware of desiring her more than Christ. And if she is deeply disappointing, beware of being hurt too much. This is temporary—only a brief lifetime. Then comes the never-disappointing life which is life indeed.

So it is with voting. We should do it. But only as if we were not doing it. Its outcomes do not give us the greatest joy when they go our way, and they do not demoralize us when they don’t. Political life is for making much of Christ whether the world falls apart or holds together.

2. “Let those who mourn [do so] as though they were not mourning.”

Christians mourn with real, deep, painful mourning, especially over losses—loss of those we love, loss of health, loss of a dream. These losses hurt. We cry when we are hurt. But we cry as though not crying. We mourn knowing we have not lost something so valuable we cannot rejoice in our mourning. Our losses do not incapacitate us. They do not blind us to the possibility of a fruitful future serving Christ. The Lord gives and takes away. But he remains blessed. And we remain hopeful in our mourning.

So it is with voting. There are losses. We mourn. But not as those who have no hope. We vote and we lose, or we vote and we win. In either case, we win or lose as if we were not winning or losing. Our expectations and frustrations are modest. The best this world can offer is short and small. The worst it can offer has been predicted in the book of Revelation. And no vote will hold it back. In the short run, Christians lose (Revelation 13:7). In the long run, we win (21:4).

3. “Let those who rejoice [do so] as though they were not rejoicing.”

Christians rejoice in health (James 5:13) and in sickness (James 1:2). There are a thousand good and perfect things that come down from God that call forth the feeling of happiness. Beautiful weather. Good friends who want to spend time with us. Delicious food and someone to share it with. A successful plan. A person helped by our efforts.

But none of these good and beautiful things can satisfy our soul. Even the best cannot replace what we were made for, namely, the full experience of the risen Christ (John 17:24). Even fellowship with him here is not the final and best gift. There is more of him to have after we die (Philippians 1:21-23)—and even more after the resurrection. The best experiences here are foretastes. The best sights of glory are through a mirror dimly. The joy that rises from these previews does not and should not rise to the level of the hope of glory. These pleasures will one day be as though they were not. So we rejoice remembering this joy is a foretaste, and will be replaced by a vastly better joy.

So it is with voting. There are joys. The very act of voting is a joyful statement that we are not under a tyrant. And there may be happy victories. But the best government we get is a foreshadowing. Peace and justice are approximated now. They will be perfect when Christ comes. So our joy is modest. Our triumphs are short-lived—and shot through with imperfection. So we vote as though not voting.

4. “Let those who buy [do so] as though they had no goods.”

Let Christians keep on buying while this age lasts. Christianity is not withdrawal from business. We are involved, but as though not involved. Business simply does not have the weight in our hearts that it has for many. All our getting and all our having in this world is getting and having things that are not ultimately important. Our car, our house, our books, our computers, our heirlooms—we possess them with a loose grip. If they are taken away, we say that in a sense we did not have them. We are not here to possess. We are here to lay up treasures in heaven.

This world matters. But it is not ultimate. It is the stage for living in such a way to show that this world is not our God, but that Christ is our God. It is the stage for using the world to show that Christ is more precious than the world.

So it is with voting. We do not withdraw. We are involved—but as if not involved. Politics does not have ultimate weight for us. It is one more stage for acting out the truth that Christ, and not politics, is supreme.

5. “Let those who deal with the world [do so] as though they had no dealings with it.”

Christians should deal with world. This world is here to be used. Dealt with. There is no avoiding it. Not to deal with it is to deal with it that way. Not to weed your garden is to cultivate a weedy garden. Not to wear a coat in Minnesota is to freeze—to deal with the cold that way. Not to stop when the light is red is to spend your money on fines or hospital bills and deal with the world that way. We must deal with the world.

But as we deal with it, we don’t give it our fullest attention. We don’t ascribe to the world the greatest status. There are unseen things that are vastly more precious than the world. We use the world without offering it our whole soul. We may work with all our might when dealing with the world, but the full passions of our heart will be attached to something higher—Godward purposes. We use the world, but not as an end in itself. It is a means. We deal with the world in order to make much of Christ.

So it is with voting. We deal with the system. We deal with the news. We deal with the candidates. We deal with the issues. But we deal with it all as if not dealing with it. It does not have our fullest attention. It is not the great thing in our lives. Christ is. And Christ will be ruling over his people with perfect supremacy no matter who is elected and no matter what government stands or falls. So we vote as though not voting.

By all means vote. But remember: “The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17).

Voting with you, as though not voting,

Pastor John

Link to Original Post

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Scripture @ Sunrise 10.22.08

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  –2 Corinthians 5:17

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Creator calls a butterfly.”
-Elisabeth Elliot

A picture I took of a butterfly at Henry Clay’s Home a few weeks ago.  I love the little surprises God blesses me with!  :o)

Missionary Update: A&O Home

Update from Odali & Kathy Barros
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Hey folks!  Hope all is well with you all.  We are all doing fine.  We have had all kinds of things happening.  We thank all of you who have been faithful in your prayers and support.  May God richly bless each of you.

I went to the city were we have been working for almost 2 years.  The building that we have been building is almost done.  We need to put in the windows and door.   They are already using the building for services.  They are having an average of 20 per service.  They have a new young married man that is helping them in the church.  He is a Christian that came from Japan.  He live in this city, Alvorada do Sul.  It is nice to have someone that lives in the same city to help in this ministry.

This last Friday we had one of those special suppers for bringing visitors to meet us and for us to meet them.  This was the largest group yet.  On Tuesday night we had sand volley ball night.  And we had over 20 visitors also.  On Friday night we had over 30 visitors.  It was fantastic.  Here in this area it is not well accepted to go to a Christian church.  So having this group of people that are not Christians out is just marvelous.  Along with all the other visitors, we also had the elected mayor here.  He stayed here until almost 11:30 pm.  It is really neat to see the people that come out to eat stay around and talk after the eating is over.  Everyone just seems to enjoy the atmosphere.

We heard today that the mayor gave an interview on national TV.  He said that one of the very first things he plans on doing, is getting Alpha and Omega back and working.

Also we had an invitation today to work is juvenile detention centers in several cities around here. We would have to get a team together to work with this.  They would be teaching the kids all kinds of different things.  Please pray with us about this.  That if this is Gods will we will do a good work.   No decision has been made.  We are going to get with the Alpha and Omega board and study each detail.  We want to do God’s will!

We are excited and waiting anxiously for next week.  KathyLee and Dan and family are about to arrive!!!!  We are really looking forward to having them here with us. We are excited about seeing our grandchildren.  And looking forward to meeting Little Daniel for the first time.  He is almost 2 years old and Julia is 3 ½.  It had been two years since we have seen her also.  Well, it will be and exciting moment.

Also we have 2 boys back with us.  Cleber and Ari.  They have been back for 2 weeks.  We are their legal guardians.

Visit aohome.org!

Scripture @ Sunrise 10.21.08

“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”  -Hebrews 12:1

There are certain things that are not sins themselves but that tend to weigh us down or become distractions and stumbling blocks to our Christian growth.  One of the worst of these is the feeling of despair or hopelessness.  A heavy heart is indeed a weight that will surely drag us down in our holiness and usefulness.

The failure of the children of Israel to enter the Promised Land began with their complaining, or as the Word says it, “All the Israelites grumbled” (Numbers 14:2).  It may have started with a faint desire to complain and be discontent, but they allowed it to continue until it blossomed and ripened into total rebellion and ruin.

We should never give ourselves the freedom to doubt God or His eternal love and faithfulness toward us in everything.  We can be determined to set our own will against doubt just as we do against any other sin.  Then as we stand firm, refusing to doubt, the Holy Spirit will come to our aid, giving us the faith of God and crowning us with victory.

It is very easy to fall into the habit of doubting, worrying, wondering if God has forsaken us, and thinking that after all we have been through, our hopes are going to end in failure.  But let us refuse to be discouraged and unhappy!  Let us “consider it pure joy” (James 1:2), even when we do not feel any happiness.  Let us rejoice by faith, by firm determination, and by simply regarding it as true, and we will find that God will make it real to us.  selected

The Devil has two very masterful tricks.  The first is to tempt us to become discouraged, for then we are defeated and of no service to others, at least for a while.  The other is to tempt us to doubt, thereby breaking the bond of faith that unites us with the Father.  So watch out!  Do not be tricked either way.  G.E.M.

I like to cultivate the spirit of happiness!  It retunes my soul and keeps it so perfectly in tune that Satan is afraid to touch it.  The chords of my soul become so vibrant and full of heavenly electricity that he takes his fiendish fingers from me and goes somewhere else!  Satan is always wary of interfering with me when my heart is full of the happiness and joy of the Holy Spirit.

My plan is simply to shun the spirit of sadness as I would normally shun Satan, but unfortunately I am not always successful.  Like the Devil himself, sadness confronts me while I am on the highway of usefulness.  And it stays face to face with me until the poor soul turns blue and sad!  In fact, sadness discolors everything around me and produces a mental paralysis.  Nothing has any appeal to me, future prospects seem clouded in darkness, and my soul loses all its aspirations and power!

An elderly believer once said, “Cheerfulness in our faith causes any act of service to be performed with delight, and we are never moved ahead as swiftly in our spiritual calling as when we are carried on the wings of happiness.  Sadness, however, clips those wings or, using another analogy, causes the wheels to fall off our chariot of service.  Our chariot then becomes like those of the Egyptians at the Red Sea, dragging heavily on its axle and slowing our progress.”

-From October 16 Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman

Scripture @ Sunrise 10.20.08

Summing Up Sunday

“Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder…”  2 Peter 1:12-13

Here are pictures of my notes from yesterday’s messages:

I’d also like to personally apologize for the crazy offertory mishap tonight. It was like trying to jump off a merry-go-round going 100 mph, but having your feet super glued to the floor. I went to the wrong spot and I just couldn’t get back in! haha! Thanks for your patience!

How great was it to see Sheridan & Anita along with our other visitors tonight?! What a blessing it is when the Lord sends smiling faces our way!

I enjoyed our time together at Cracker Barrel…I think all of us were there! The only thing about having a ginormous group is you don’t get to talk to everybody. :o( We’ll have to rotate tables next time! :o)

Oh, and thank you, Mrs. Jennie for all the laughs this evening! The Lord truly blesses me when I get to ride with you. You’re an absolute joy to be around (not that you read this…).

I hope you’ll stay tuned for the rest of the Scripture @ Sunrise posts this week!

Lots of Love in Christ,
Sarah
Psalm 19:14

Weekly Announcements (October 19-26)

LAST UPDATED SUNDAY, October 19

Monday, October 20
Review your notes from yesterday’s messages!
*Pray for Sis. Anita Stanton today as she goes for her first radiation treatment.
*Pray for Sis. Laura today as she nears the finish line!  :o)

Tuesday, October 21
Men’s Morning Meditations- Men, warm up your chilly fall mornings with God’s Word, fellowship and a cup of coffee at your Pastor’s home from 6:30-8:30 a.m.  Come at your convenience!
Happy Birthday to Sis. Lydia!

Wednesday, October 22
7:00 p.m.– We will continue our series on evangelism and the kids will continue studying the book of Mark!
*Pray for Lisa today as she has her c-section!  :o)

Thursday, October 23
Have you hidden God’s Word in your heart this week?
Happy Anniversary to Danny & Cheryl!

Friday, October 24
How about that Sunday School Lesson?!?!

Saturday, October 25
Have you prepared your heart for worship?

Sunday, October 26
10:00 a.m.– Sunday School (John 7)
Devotion: nobody is signed up until January 3, 2010 (Bro. Paul!) Claim it by e-mailing or calling me if you want this Sunday! Thanks!
11:00 a.m.– Sunday Morning Worship (2 Peter 1:16-?)
Ushers: Harry & Tom (alternates: Daniel & Steve G.)
6:00 p.m.
– Sunday Evening Worship (Exodus 22)

Da-Da-Da-Dum
Save the Date! Saturday November 1, you are each cordially invited to Denise & Charlie’s wedding! 4:30 p.m. Click here for more details. Keep in mind that it is in Crab Orchard! They are registered at Target, Walmart and Bed, Bath & Beyond. (Click on these links to view their registries)!

...are getting married!!!!
...are getting married!!!!

Missionary of the Month:
Nathan, Carrie & McKenna Radford
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Links of the Week

  • InTeRrUpTiOnS!  My dad often refers to how the Lord schedules his day for him.  This article by one of C.J. Mahaney’s daughters echoes that very same principle.  And includes this great quote:
    “The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life.  The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination.  This at least is what I see at moments of insight: but it’s hard to remember it all the time.” The Quotable Lewis, (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 1989), 335. Kristin, Mahaney’s daughter likes to  refer to her “interruptions” as “sovereign deliveries.”  Isn’t that a great reminder?!

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Zechariah 9:17– “For how great is His goodness, and how great His beauty!”
My prayer is that He will manifest that in your life this week!

For the Glory of God

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