42 Prayers to Election Day – Dilemma

Word,  

We need inspiration, teaching,  reproof and correction.  

Help us in our dilemma.

We need YOUR discernment.

Train is in YOUR righteousness. 

Open our 💕 hearts. 

Which candidate is complete and equipped for every good work?

Who will flame violence? Who will bring peace?

Make our choice clear.  Amen. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 

43 Prayers to Election Day – Why Pretend? 

​Truth,  What is your secret to honesty? 

You don’t pretend to love us.  You really love us. 

Help us to do the same.  

Help us hold  tightly to all that is good – loving with genuine affection, honoring one another and serving you enthusiastically by helping others,  praying,  serving others.

Bring us together during this divisive election. 

Help us remove our masks and embrace truth. 

Amen. 

Romans 12:9-11

​44 Prayers to Election Day – Mercy

Teacher, 

Turn, Lord, and deliver us from panic and fear;

    save us because of your unfailing love 

not for our failed attempts at righteousness.

Mercy Lord.  

Mercy.  

Stir up mercy within us.  

Help us see our neighbor.  

Guide us to love and vote for a leader who will love our  neighbor as much as you love us and our neighbors. 

We pray for mercy.  


Amen

Recharge Yourself – Finding your energy source and plugging in

rechargeHow Do You Recharge?

Are you tired, worn out, lack energy or feel depressed? What is your energy source? When is the last time you plugged yourself in?

God invented wireless charging long before Nikola Tesla demonstrated it in 1891 or Meredith Perry made it a reality for our technology.

In 1921 Carl Gustav Jung gave us a greater understanding of how we were created to charge without wires. Some of us need an outside energy source while others have inner source.

If you haven’t guessed, I’m referring to the way we are wired with a wireless extrovert, introvert or ambivert energy source. Being an extrovert or an introvert has little to do with whether we like people. This trait is more about energy than relationship. Extroverts seek an outside energy source and introverts have an inward energy source.

We don’t choose our energy source.  We are born wired as an extrovert, introvert or ambivert.  It is futile and draining to try to change someone’s energy source, even our own.

Extroverts draw their energy from interactions with the people around them. The more time they spend with other people, the more energized they become. Extroverts can be shy. They are not always loud or talkative but extroverts gravitate toward social interaction. Extroverts lose energy while alone and can become depressed in the absence of others. Therefore it is important to encourage extroverts to socialize.

Introverts reenergize in the absence of other people. Introverts find interactions with other people draining regardless of how they feel about the other person. Time with a loved one is just as draining as the person sitting next to them on the bus. So it is really important for introverts to have a space of their own to reenergize especially if they spend most of their day with other people.

If an extrovert and an introvert are invited to a party, the extrovert may feel too exhausted to go to the party while the introvert may be full of energy and eager to go. At the party the extrovert gains energy while the introvert becomes drained with each social interaction.

Sleep is a necessary energy source but it isn’t the same type of energy we get from our personality source.  An introvert exhausted from exposure to too many people will not be ready for more interaction the moment they wake up. Nor will a people deprived extrovert wake up more energized and in less need of interaction.

How long does your battery last? An extreme extrovert’s battery runs down quickly in the absence of people so they need lots of daily contact with people. An extreme introvert can go days without human contact and is easily exhausted by human interaction.

Extroverts and introverts can become overwhelmed, overstimulated and exhausted. Introverts and extroverts can be people-oriented or task-driven. They are equally intelligent. Extroverts and introverts may put others needs before their own and be overly concerned about what others think. Both may be sensitive.

Recently, there has been much talk about ambiverts or people who draw their energy from people and time alone. Ambiverts are rare.

Jesus and God are ambiverts. Jesus spent lots of time alone in the wilderness to pray and lots of time with people. If Jesus was an introvert He probably wouldn’t have had twelve disciples. If Jesus was an extrovert He would have been exhausted after 1 much less 40 days in the wilderness.

Also we know that Jesus is with each one of us all the time and in all places. That is a lot of social interaction even when we don’t acknowledge His presence.

Name extroverted and introverted biblical characters. Who are you most like?

Our energy is also related to our pace, how quickly we reenergize. The rabbit and the turtle compete with one another at work, home or in the community. It is no secret that we work at different paces. Couples, parents, teachers and employers quickly notice someone’s pace but disagree on which pace is best.  Have you been told you are too slow or too fast?

The best pace depends on the project.

Each pace has a place in our unique puzzle. There are tasks that require speed and quick turns while others require accuracy and precision. And some require both. Fast paced individuals talk fast, move quickly and get a lot done in a short amount of time. Others have a much slower pace with life in general. They are more cautious and deliberate. Slower paced individuals may not get as much done but they may be more accurate and thorough. Both may have short attention spans and be impatient. It is futile and exhausting to try to change someone’s pace.

How long we hold a charge and how long we need to charge is also related to our pace?

What is your pace? Are you still tired and exhausted? Go recharge.

It’s not a sin, it’s a command.

“‘Love …As I have loved you,’” John 13:34

Lord of Grace, you love me. You understand me. You have given me your heart, your soul, your mind, your strength and your body. Please Lord help me to be kinder and gentler with myself. Help me love myself the way you love me. Forgive me for the way I’ve treated someone you love dearly – me.  Help me recharge. In Jesus’ name. Amen

 

Racism Below the Surface

Racism Below the Surface

I wept for the vulnerable citizens of Baltimore as I read articles detailing the Department of Justice (DOJ) recently released report.

I love my city. I was born in Baltimore at Church Home Hospital where Edgar Allan Poe died. It was a hospital for the poor and a home for elderly women that served the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War.

I pray for Baltimore to wake up to embrace her people of color and poverty as fellow citizens contributing to the beauty of Baltimore and in need of protection.

It takes effort and energy to stay awake. It rattled me. I’m angry and frustrated; looking for someone to blame.

I’m tired of the racial disparities in our justice system.  My first instinct was to write a post about how angry I was at everyone who allowed this to happen and send out a rally cry for an advocate with authority to hold everyone accountable.

The tension between black and blue lives has become a bruise that refuses to heal – another civil war.

I have loving, caring responsible friends in blue that would be hurt and alienated with such a broad brush response. It would fuel the war and increase the divide. I’d be hurting people I respect to show my allegiance to other members of the family. It would be juvenile, immature, and irresponsible and counterproductive.

I hate conflict. It makes me tired and exhausted. I yearn to return to my peaceful slumber.

Resting in the deep embrace of helplessness to change the system and lack of responsibility for sins inflicted upon others.

By sleeping just below the surface, I could enjoy the warmth of its covers, knowing I need to get up but repeatedly slipping back under its spell, while hopefully appearing a strong advocate for my siblings of color without betraying my friends in blue.

I comfort myself with assurances that I would never do the cruel and degrading things described in the report. I’m a good person. I’m not racist. I have black friends. I had a black roommate. Diversity is important to me. I’m an advocate.

Black lives matter.

It’s not my sin. I’m not responsible. I’m not a police officer. How am I  part of the justice system?

Ignorance is a sin I’ve taken far too many words to confess without confessing as I wrestle to pretend I ‘woke’ a long time ago when I barely got out of bed. I judge my neighbors slumbering next to me feeling superior to their ignorance (Matthew 7:3-5). I struggle. Should I wake up my neighbors or let them sleep? Do I confess or defend my ignorance when I look in the eyes of everyone who witnessed my slumber? Because once again I found myself resting just below the surface.

I knew what I needed to do.

On July 19, 2013, around 1:38 p.m., I woke up.  I didn’t know I was asleep. Like Peter in Acts 12:7, an angel shook me and suddenly I was awake. I wasn’t fully awake but I was much more aware of my part in racism and social injustice; and couldn’t claim to be an innocent bystander.

It began when I heard my President of the United States say,

‘when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son.  Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.’President Barack Obama Remarks on Trayvon Martin

And I pulled my head back, eyes wide open, I noticed President Obama and Trayvon looked very similar. And then President Obama continued,

‘There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store.  That includes me.’ 

Guilt washed over me. I’ve done that. I worked retail.  I didn’t physically follow them but I watched them.  I notice African-Americans in stores, which means I am still watching them.

Do I watch or notice all people with my flesh tone?

When I waited tables, I heard the stereotype that African American’s wouldn’t tip well, would try to get their food for free or run out on the check.  This means consciously or unconsciously, I was less likely to believe them when they had a problem, slower to serve them or served white customers first; and watched them.

I don’t recall any of the stereotypes to be true.

They tipped well but why would anyone give a good tip to a waitress who was giving better service to everyone around them?

I want to make excuses and explain myself but the cycle has to stop.  My behavior was wrong. I confess. I sinned.

President Obama continued,

‘There are very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars.  That happens to me — at least before I was a senator.’

Oops!  I do that.  No excuses. I would be hurt if everyone locked their doors when I walked by. My behavior was wrong. I confess. I sinned.

President Obama continued,

‘There are very few African-Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off.  That happens often.’

I knew I did this. I tried to reassure myself that I didn’t hold my breath or was eager to get off but even a few floors is a long way to go if you’re trying to avoid eye contact.

I was trained to protect my purse. But it wasn’t a safety issue. The President wasn’t talking about safety. He wasn’t suggesting to be unsafe or unprotected or foolish. He was talking about racial bias. Assuming danger solely on the basis of a person’s skin color.

Was I clutching my purse every time I saw an unknown African-American man and did I do the same with white men?  This would take time to realize how programmed I was to grab my purse or avoid talking to African-American men.

I warmly greeted most women and white men but rarely African-American men. I looked at white men’s faces, how they dressed, how they carried themselves and lots of other assessments to decide if they were safe. But the only African-American men I looked at were co-workers, children and family of friends.

I wouldn’t even know I was on an elevator with President Obama unless he was with his wife and children.

Racism isn’t about how kind I am to the people I know.  It isn’t even about whether I’m courteous to strangers.

It is altering those subconscious evil thoughts that cause me to act or think differently about someone based solely on their appearance.

It means applying the same thoughts,  memories, conclusions and actions to all groups of youth. And treating everyone with the same respect I have for the President,  my family and friends. 

The first time I “woke” for a moment to become aware of racism and social justice in my community was my senior year of high school when my family moved to a diverse community.  I wish my siblings of color could say the same.

I confess after hearing and acting on President Obama’s remarks I realized my efforts to become more racially aware were about me.  I was creating a better resume, developing tools to learn how to connect with people of color, so I was successful and likable, so I could declare – “I’m not racist” – “I’m not prejudice” – “I’m a good person”

But had I changed?

I mock the mob that brought their lunch to the crucifixion, while I stand there shaking my head and eating my own.

While I greatly appreciate the many accomplishments of the Obama Administration, especially guaranteed healthcare for my medically fragile daughter, the next part of his remarks will always have a profound and lasting impact on me and my future. And it was also the key to my current conflict.

‘And then, finally, I think it’s going to be important for all of us to do some soul-searching.  … a conversation on race… [can] end up being stilted and politicized, and folks are locked into the positions they already have.  On the other hand, in families and churches and workplaces, there’s the possibility that people are a little bit more honest, and at least you ask yourself your own questions about, am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can?  Am I judging people as much as I can, based on not the color of their skin, but the content of their character?  That would, I think, be an appropriate exercise in the wake of this tragedy.’

And this is also true for blogs and Facebook. I realize this post won’t change anyone but me. It is simply a letter of appreciation to my President for giving me the greatest tool to chip away at the biases, preconceived foolish notions, attitudes and prejudices that hold me back from loving my neighbors of color.

It took time and effort to purposefully reprogram myself to stop grabbing my purse, relax and trust.

The challenge to answering, Am I judging people as much as I can, based on not the color of their skin, but the content of their character?” was paying attention to my thoughts and how I acted with friends, family and strangers with my same flesh tone, and learning to share those same behaviors with everyone.

Such as back to the elevator, I was shocked and ashamed to realize I was more likely to hold the door or allow people with my same skin tone out first.

My awareness of African-American men young and old changed.  I greet them on the elevator the way I greet everyone else.  Deliberate behaviors become natural. 

Awareness shatters stereotypes. I noticed men interacting with their children, their success, their wedding rings and their smiles.

Exploring my own biases and sins awakens empathy to embrace others in hope.

am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can?’ 

This is a powerful and difficult question. It is a prayer I ask God to help me to answer as I spend my entire life wringing as much bias out of myself as I can especially in elevators, on the streets, in church, at home, at work, in my community and for the city I love – Baltimore.

God help us to be a better place.  Amen.

To The “Trumper”- Maybe? A Biblical Case

_88160170_trump-promoDISCLAIMER: I am a believer who is thankful Christ is always walking with me no matter how off course I may wander as a totally free spoiled privileged educated white evangelical pastor’s wife.

I have not been forced to publish this nor do I feel forced to publish it anonymously.  However, I may regret this post if Mr. Donald Trump decides to encourage the 2nd amendment believers to “maybe take care of” me. But since I have so few followers, I’ll assume I’m safe.

I feel inspired to publish a response to an article that keeps popping up on my Facebook feed which I  don’t believe speaks for all evangelicals.

Link: To The “Never Trumper”- A Biblical Case For Trump

Please feel free to share this post.

I tried to simply respond to the post. I read the entire lengthy article and other comments, but my comment fell into perpetual awaiting moderation while other more favorable comments written after mine have been approved.

DISCLAIMER: Being a pastor’s wife, being educated, being white, and maybe even being a believer provides me no extra privilege in heaven or extra special relationship or love from our Creator.

Like a favored child, my heavenly parent has greater expectations of me than the non-believing siblings in this-worldly play pen.

I, also, pray for guidance on how to vote in November. I understand, accept, love and respect that many fellow Christian and other Americans completely disagree with me. And that is totally okay and I sincerely doubt it’ll be that big of a deal when we all gather for the big party of life ever after.

I can be very passionate in my beliefs and strong calling to protect and speak for anyone I believe to be powerless – which is not always a strength when I fail to listen or assist instead of take over. I don’t want to be a bully and hope never to hurt anyone the way I have been hurt but fully confess I have sinned, fall short and am no one’s savior.

DISCLAIMER: I always fall short. I am actually very short. I’m barely over five feet tall.  I always fail to do everything I feel called to do. I procrastinate and run out of steam. I need a savior and I am very thankful Christ is a better savior than me. Can you say the same?

Enough with the DISCLAIMER, except one more, I stopped making wagers over 20 years ago when my pastor hubby stopped gambling, which I thought was a bit of a wager but that would be another post.

Besides I’m not sure what the wager would be to get the author of the other post or anyone else to read the rest of my post (rant). But the best kudos would be something in the comments section.

I agree with my fellow pastor’s wife, the Mrs. Last Chance America, Trump is biblical. I could build a biblical case for Trump. It may not have the same conclusion as Mrs. Last Chance.

I stand by my comment that her arguments apply to Hillary, Trump and every other candidate – Christ can use anyone for God’s glory.

Remember the Magi from the east came to worship Christ.   And remember all the other outsiders in the old and new testament. The best thing about the bible is that everyone, including me is in the bible. 

The Bible isn’t PG. The Bible shares stories of great leaders and scary leaders. God uses regular people like King David to do great stuff and the Bible doesn’t hide his scary leadership moments.  

I agree Americans aren’t voting for Trump to lead our church. We are voting for someone to hold our pocket-book, our safety and our freedom.

Trump has an extremely long record of broken promises to many businesses that Trump failed to pay after they completed work on one of Trump’s failures. I do not want Mr. Trump holding my pocket-book.  Do you?

I fail to see how Trump is like the man in Luke 9  who wasn’t one of Christ’s followers but was casting out demons? I agree Trump has cast lots of folks and plans to cast many more but who are the demons? Are the demons protesters?  Are the demons news reporters? Are the demons Muslims? Are the demons black people? Are the demons women? Who are the demons?

Trump doesn’t make me feel safe. Will he cast out everyone who fails to vote for him? Does Trump make you feel safe?

“As President, he (Trump) has gone to great lengths to prove that he will protect and champion the rights of the American evangelical if he were to be elected, even if he does not personally embrace those values”. The anonymous Mrs. Last Chance America

Really?  Has Mr. Trump actually articulated any of the promises you claim?

I have listened to Mr. Trump.  I listened to his speeches and find Mr. Trump rarely finishes a sentence. He spouts coded assurances. Everything he says ends up having to be interpreted.  And the interpretations are made on baseless assumptions.

When did Trump hand out his decoder ring for “He’ll take care of it” and “Make America Great Again” I NEVER heard him explain what that means.

Here is my biblical recommendation to Mr. Trump:

 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God”. 1 Corinthians 14:27-28 (NIV)

As for the promises many evangelical Christians claim Mr. Trump will protect:

  • Conservative Supreme Court Justices
  • Right to bear arms
  • Abortion restrictions
  • Christian’s rights to complain, speak freely and prohibit rights of other Americans.

If I was a gambler, I believe the odds of Mr. Trump doing any of these things are not good because the odds would be based on facts that repeatedly find Mr. Trump has among other things, an honesty problem. And I prefer not to be a malicious witness to his false reports or lead fellow sheep astray.

Exodus 23:1

[ Laws of Justice and Mercy ] “Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness.

 

I am also appalled at the way the Body has treated the members, including former Republican and Democrat POTUS, Republican leaders, Democrats  and other evangelicals who feel called NOT to endorse Trump and seek other candidates to champion their cause.

Their votes count. They make statements. They are important.They make America Great!

I will stop short of biblically endorsing any candidate in this post because I don’t speak for God about those issues.  Biblically, God loves them all, the atheist, Muslim, Jewish, evangelicals, people of color, police officers,  Hillary…and Trump

Leviticus 19:12

“‘Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.

I believe other candidates will protect our right to freely worship any faith or not, the future of mine and everyone else’s children (even children of color), protect 2nd amendment rights and allow everyone to speak freely about homosexuality, gun violence, marriage, the Gospel and everything else.

SheepAs for my decoder ring, freedom is important to me.  I hear the Holy Spirit urging me to make a decision based on the actions of Matthew 25, I will pick the candidate (sheep) that I believe will:

  • Feed the hungry, clothe and shelter the poor – not cut programs
  • Welcome the stranger not build a wall to keep them out
  • Visit the poor or prisoners – not scream to lock people up not found guilty of any crime
  • Protect life – not increase the number of assault rifles on our street or suggest 2nd amendment supporters should maybe take care of their opponent.

And I will vote for someone like Jesus, who hangs out with sinners like me who Christ promises to be among.

Trump sounds like a goat to me but vote for him if he sounds like the boat for you.

Hopefully, I keep my right to complain if he wins.

I join Mrs. Last Chance’s call to pray for everyone in authority – all the people of America.

Amen.