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Before the election, I suggested that we “Vote: Then Stay Calm and Carry On.”

Well, the people have voted.  We cannot blame the president for what will or will not happen.  His ideology and hope for America were made clear through his unapologetic support of abortion, partnership with Planned Parenthood, promotion of sodomy, new definition of marriage, and health care mandate that forces Christians to choose God or Caesar.   The people, whether church-goers or not, determined the kind of leadership this country will have for another four years.

For the believer, nothing has really changed.  The day before the election is the same as the day after.  In all circumstances, we are to stay calm and carry on.

But, how can we do this?  How can we carry on the work of Christ in a nation that puts its trust not in God but in government?  In a culture that lifts the “right” to uninhibited sexuality and abortion above the right of conscience and faith?  In congregations that compromise God’s Word for the sake of church growth?

We stay calm and carry on.

There is a passage from Scripture that many of us like to offer as encouragement to friends or family.  It reads: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).  Left to itself, this passage assures us that all will be well.  All will turn out for good.  But, Steve Elliott of Grassfire.com and my own Pastor Beisel remind me how crucial it is to read all of God’s Word in the context of when and why it was written.

The “future and a hope” passage is from a letter that Jeremiah wrote to the surviving elders, priests, prophets, and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.  Please take note that the Lord God “sent” His people into exile.  It didn’t happen by accident.  It wasn’t because Nebuchadnezzar outwitted God or was more progressive.

What were exiled and captive people of God to do?  They were to be faithful.  They were to “build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce.  Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.  But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:5-7).

They were also to heed God’s warning.  “Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in My name;  I did not send them, declares the Lord” (vv. 8-9).

Then the Lord continued, “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill my promise and bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (vv. 10-11).

It is for this reason that I started Titus 2 for Life years ago.  After hearing the cries of so many Christian women deceived by the world’s focus on sexuality and “my right;” after hearing their cries after choices of promiscuity and abortion, I was motivated to encourage believers using God’s Word of Genesis together with the mentoring model of Titus 2.  Young pastor Titus was concerned for his congregation.  They were pressed on all sides by a culture that craved new ways and personal fulfillment.  What could Titus do for the few believers so that they would be equipped to raise up Christian families and, at the same time, push back against evil?  St. Paul offered Titus a model for mentoring that has always proved effective for any generation – in or out of exile.

So, on a quiet evening, please read Jeremiah 27-33.  Read the whole story.  Then, read Titus 2:2-15.

But, don’t stop there.  It has become very important for me to remember what happened when God’s people came out of exile.  In the Book of Ezra, we learn that only a few of the Jewish exiles wanted to return to Jerusalem and their homeland.  Most were unwilling to give up their Babylonian property or lifestyle to which they had become accustomed.  They didn’t want to return to “old ways.”  So, with only a few faithful ones returning to rebuild Jerusalem, the work was hard.  Some people in the area offered their help.  Those people didn’t worship Yahweh but held to a blend of mixed religious beliefs.  Suffice it to say that they had their own motives for wanting to help.  God told His people to refuse the help of unbelieving neighbors in the land.  Why?  Because accepting help from non-believers would obligate God’s people to pagan ways.  The potential for corruption in worship was too great if God’s people became aligned with non-believers (Ezra 4:3).

I pray for courage and opportunity to use the model given me for mentoring.  Even if it means being strange or unpopular, I pray for help in persevering for God’s glory rather than my own.  At Titus 2 Retreats, I often tell women that I feel exiled in my own country even though never forced from my home.  Perhaps, that’s how it will be for the rest of my life on this earth.  After all, I am but a stranger here on a journey to my heavenly home.  I’m not sure I ever felt “different” in my youth, but I do now.

Identity is everything.  God doesn’t call me to fit in with the world or grow comfortable with my desires.  He calls me to be holy as He is holy.  And when I am not, He reminds me of all He did for me in Christ Jesus.  In exile or not, I am His.  Redeemed to holiness, I can fear less.  Serve more.

In exile or not, I can trust my identity.  Resist deception.  Mentor away from evil.  Seek what is good.  Plant the seed and till the soil.  Raise the standard.  Be fed with Word and Sacrament.  Not be ashamed.  Run my race.  Encourage family.  Stay calm.  Carry on.

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I really don’t understand my generation nor do I understand my parents’ generation.  We cry out for ourselves.  We want government health care, government assistance, government support.  We worry that someone will take away Medicare, Medicaid, and access to inexpensive prescription drugs.  “These are our rights!” we claim.

But, where are the arms of the government?  Where are the hands?  The heart?  The soul?  Where is the government when we need encouragement in times of loneliness, difficulty, or loss?

Government is not a person.  It does not think.  It does not care.  It is only what the people shape it to be.

Government can only provide programs and assistance for its citizens when the citizens provide the funds.  These funds are called taxes.  We have to pay them… or suffer penalty of law.  In other words, we are depending on the coerced charity of people who don’t know us and maybe don’t even care.

My generation had not a brain in its collective head when it demanded uninhibited sexual freedoms and legalized abortion.  “I am a sexual being; therefore, it’s my right.”  “I deserve to be happy.”  “It’s all about me.”

Well, now what?  Sexualized, “all about me” Boomers want their Viagra for “performance edge in the bedroom” AND a government health care plan.   Tell me, Boomers, is there anything else we’d like on the backs of our children and grandchildren?

Government is an institution without a heart, mind or soul.  It doesn’t know us.  It is not in touch with us.  It cannot love us or help bear our burdens.  America’s older citizens clamor for care and support, but – duh! – what were we thinking?  Fearing any inconvenience, so many of my generation aborted the living souls who would have grown up to care for us.  My generation aborted the very flesh and blood that, unlike government, would have had bonded relationally with parents and grandparents.

We aborted those feared to be “inconvenient” or “burdensome.”  But, allowed to live, those children would have lessened the fears of parents who may be labeled by a “death panel” as a financial burden to society.

God does not scratch His head, wondering how He will care for all the people.  That’s what generations are for!  Fifty million babies (the number of those aborted in the U.S. since 1973) would have pumped energy, creativity, and consumer dollars into a now dead economy.

People my age and older – who should know better – proclaim, “It’s the economy, stupid!”  We dismiss what are called “social issues.”  Well, dismissing social issues — the sanctity of human life, marriage, and family – helped create the mess we’re in.  Refusing to dialogue about personal responsibility, moral ethics, and values made an already spoiled citizenry more selfish and lazy.  Tolerant of everything except discussions of “right and wrong,” we listen to a sound bite here, read a headline there, and vote for whoever will send the most financial assistance our direction.

“It’s the economy, stupid!”  No, I disagree.  The economy is the way it is because we’ve been living off the investments of our Founding Fathers and every father who worked honestly and faithfully to provide for his family.  We’ve been living off the investments of mothers who understood that a nation is built upon vibrant homes and children taught self-restraint.  We’ve been living off the investments of others but, as my husband says, invested very little – if anything – ourselves.  Now that’s stupid.  And, as it’s been said, you can’t fix stupid.

A long time ago I was compelled to become involved with pro-life and family ministries as a volunteer.  Although probably considered “illiterate” by university-types, I have been hungry to learn through reading and research.  My worth cannot be measured by a salary, but I have been blessed to travel the country speaking with and listening to countless people from all walks of life.  My Biblical worldview allows me to see all people of every color, ethnicity, and culture as part of the human family because they are all creations of God.  That means that people – and the conundrum of social issues – matter to me.

Government can’t do what I do.  It can’t do what anyone who cares for their neighbor can do.  My arms have reached out to comfort women hurting years after their abortion choice.  The Spirit of my Baptism moves me to love complete strangers with no strings attached.  A great number of these “strangers” have become my friends and fellow sojourners.

With the desire to help eliminate costly health problems such as sexually transmitted diseases, pre-marital sex, and abortion, I joined with two other moms to start a caring pregnancy center (CPC).   Every service we offer is freely and willingly provided, not coerced by compulsory “taxation.”  When funds are needed, we work to raise them.  We invite – never demand – our community to join with us in making a positive difference for people in times of fear or need.  We provide at no charge the pregnancy tests for which Planned Parenthood charges (in spite of all our tax dollars sitting in their coffers).  We mentor toward personal accountability and the stability of marriage.

Government is not a person.  Government is without hands, heart and soul.  Government does not love its neighbor as itself.  Government can provide assistance only when its citizens provide the funds.  And, in too many cases, government welfare tends to enslave the people.

For this reason, I’m going to the voting booth not to vote for a Republican or Democrat.  Not to vote for one personality over another.  But, to vote for leaders who will defend human life in the womb and, therefore, human life in old age.

To vote for leaders who will defend the sanctity of marriage as the institution created by God for a civilized world.  Who will defend the freedom of more than worship, but expression of faith in daily life.

The economy will begin to fix itself when life, marriage and family begin to matter more.

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“All the people care about is the economy.”

“The people aren’t interested in ‘social issues’ like abortion, homosexuality or gay marriage.”

“There they go again,” reports MSNBC and others.  “The ‘radical right’ is working abortion and marriage into the conversation.”

Rightly so.  Social issues, as they are called, are moral issues.  The legalized killing of preborn human children is a moral issue.  Re-defining marriage is a moral issue.  Teaching our children that homosexuality is just a choice on the “sexual menu” is a moral issue.

Everything has a moral component.  The government has a moral obligation to protect “life and liberty,” to maintain a strong military, and to live within its means.  It should encourage responsible, orderly behavior and a good work ethic.  It should protect families from drug cartels, terrorists, and enemies from within and without.

Anyone running for office should have moral integrity.  Moral character.  Moral and ethical fiber.  It’s not just my opinion, but God’s mandate that people who rule a nation should respect the life that He creates.  Anyone who compromises on issues such as abortion, infanticide, embryonic stem cell research, assisted suicide, and euthanasia has lost (or never had) a moral compass.

Those who seek to experiment with marriage and family float rumors.  They say that Americans don’t really care about same-sex “marriage.”  They add: If someone is against gay “marriage,” then they must be against homosexuals.  Not true.  People who believe they are homosexual are persons, too.  They are  people loved by God.  But, God is the Creator of marriage and, therefore, He alone defines it.  God created marriage for one man and one woman because it’s the best environment for children, it connects children to their biological origins, and it brings two opposites — male and female — together to mentor boys and girls in the way God intends for them to go.

Moral integrity is practiced — or not practiced — on Wall Street and in every business.  In education.  In health care.  In courts of law.  In the military.  In homes.  And during election cycles.

My eyes have seen that men and women who defend the sanctity of human life generally have a moral compass not only in place but in operation.  Leaders — in the home, community, church, and government — who value the life that God creates and redeems in Jesus Christ are imperfect leaders to be sure, but they are accountable to someone other than themselves.  Their God determines right and wrong.  Their neighbors matter.  Their choices reflect hope for a new generation.

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