NovelSisters

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To Vote or Not To Vote, That is the Question

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I don’t know about you, but this election year has been a tough one. I normally know who I’m going to vote for way in advance, but this year, neither of the presidential candidates seem like good options. I know I still want to vote for the local elections and the other things on the ballot, but when it comes to the president, I’m having a hard time caring. I figured there are probably a lot of other people in my shoes, who don’t really want Trump or Hillary as president. So I thought I’d share some thoughts, and maybe it’ll help you with your decision in voting.

First off, I know the Presidential Election is always what gets the most publicity. It seems like every 4 years America sets all it’s hopes and dreams on their candidate winning and making a difference. But as I’ve seen from past elections, who’s president doesn’t immediately change America. We have a government with checks and balances for a reason, and our judges and congress have a lot of say in what happens to our country too. I think a lot of people tend toward making the president into some kind of idol and thinking that that one person can solve all of this countries problems, but even if the candidates were more likable it doesn’t mean they could save our country. Only God can do that. And He is the one we should really be trusting in. So I’ve resolved to trust Jesus with the result of this election. I have no idea who would make a better president, but He does, and He’s the One who’s really in control. So no matter who wins, I’m not going to get upset or try to move to Canada or something. I’m just going to keep following Jesus and obey Him as my King.

But when it comes to the actual ballot casting, I don’t want to just throw up my hands and not make a decision. So I’ve come up with a way to help me decide and I thought it might help anyone out there who is also trying to make a decision.

#1 Look at the candidates stance on issues you care about and even if you don’t care for their personality, maybe what they supposedly stand for can help you decide.

#2 And this one helped me out the most. Instead of looking at Trump or Hillary look at their vice president picks instead: Pence or Kaine. Somehow they seem a little more normal to me, and I think if I’m choosing to vote for one of them, I can make my decision. Plus if anything does happen to the president, that person would end up becoming president.

So anyway, I hope you still go out and vote this year, even if this year’s election is a little crazy.

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Knowing God’s Will

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I’ve been thinking a lot about God’s will recently and how a person knows what God wants them to do, or what His will is. I’ve had a few conversations about it recently and this past weekend seemed to give me a perfect illustration, so I thought I’d write about it. I know there are a lot of Christians that struggle with this and I admit, I have too. And I’m still not great at it, but I think I can give a few helpful suggestions to those who are struggling with how to hear from God. And maybe through my experience, you can get a better idea of what listening to God and doing His will can look like.

So here it goes. This past weekend I came upon one of those decisions. I’m sure we’ve all been there. An opportunity presented itself and I had to choose to say yes, or no. Which was the right answer? What did God want me to do? What was His will? It might help, if you knew what the actual decision was about, so I’ll tell you. I was invited to go to the Passion Conference in Houston. I have heard about the young adult conference, with all it’s big name pastors and worship leaders gathering to encourage 18-25 year-olds. And honestly, I had always wanted to go. I’ve loved many of the books these pastors have written and sung along to the radio with a lot of the bands that would be performing. And the conference was all about God and Jesus and being passionate about your faith. So God would obviously want me to go… right?

Well it wasn’t that simple. I thought about it, prayed about it, and talked to other Christians I trusted about it. (Hint, this is a good way to determine what God’s will is.) And I came to a realization.

Here are the reasons I had for why I should go:

-I’ve always wanted to go to Passion.

-I’m 24, this may be my last chance.

-I really like Francis Chan.

-I could really grow in my faith.

-Maybe this will help prepare me to be used by God.

Now these aren’t bad things, but can you spot the pattern? I, me, my, the language is all self centered. Now compare this list of why I wanted to go, to why I wanted to stay.

Why I should stay:

-My small group needs me to help set up the church on Friday and if I go to the conference, I couldn’t help them.

-I’ve made a commitment to be at church on Sunday, and help lead the Jr High girls group. There’s only one girl leader, and if I’m not there, there won’t be any.

-I promised to help plan a Superbowl Party for the youth group, and if I’m gone all weekend, even if I make it to the party, I won’t be much help and will really put the other person planning it in a bind.

I knew that I could ask all of these people to let me off the hook. After all, an opportunity like this doesn’t come up very often. They’d understand. But what would God think? What is following Jesus really about anyway? Is it about learning more about Him? Is it about praising Him with lots of other believers? Is it about getting spiritual highs? Or is it about being faithful in the tasks He’s given you to do, not matter how mundane, or unexciting they are?

The more I thought about it, the more I felt like going to the Passion Conference would be all about me, doing what I wanted no matter how it affected others. And me staying, and fulfilling my promises was really what would honor God. And I told myself, “I don’t need to go to a conference to follow Jesus. I can follow Him and glorify Him right here, where He’s put me.”

Now I don’t want you to get the impression that the Passion Conference is wrong or not needed. Lots of people go and it has changed their lives and helped them grow. But in this situation, it wasn’t God’s will for me. So I stayed, and I helped at my home church and, I’m glad I did. In the sermon on Sunday, my pastor said that it’s hard to be certain about God’s will. The whole point of following God is being close to Him, not knowing what to do. But he did say there was one thing you can be certain about when it comes to God’s will. God’s will is always for you to die… to self. And looking back on my decision, I can say that is what I did. And my decision led to some really great things happening. I was able to connect with two friends about service opportunities in the future, I was able to disciple young middle schoolers and spend quality time with them. And thankfully, I was able to be with my family when we heard the news that my grandpa had passed away.

So, I hope this story helped with learning how to listen to God and do His will. If you’ve been struggling with a decision, my suggestions would be:

-Do what you know is right.

-Do what is unselfish.

-Pray.

-And ask friends and family for their perspective.

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