It’s that season again where we have the privilege of voicing our preferences by voting for the President of the United States, along with many other supplemental office positions.  Warriors from multiple branches of the military have given their lives to fight for these freedoms and it should be taken seriously.  We should all take part in this opportunity to engage in selecting the policies and people that determine how we will operate as a society.

I am not a big fan of politics or the ridiculous garbage that goes along with it.  Politics and religion generally put a strain on relationships, but it’s important to fight for what you believe in as respectfully as possible.  I’m going to touch on both subjects here so get ready!  People will get offended and that’s just the nature of disagreements.  “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”.

-If you have NOT educated yourself on the policies and principles each candidate represents (from reliable sources).  You don’t have to be a scholar in each area...just a reasonable awareness.
-If you are voting based on race or gender
-If you are voting for a particular candidate just because your friends/family are…even though you may trust them.
-If you have been pressured
-If you aren’t confident in your decision (even if it’s not your ideal preference)

There are many factors in voting and you will agree/disagree with multiple aspects of each candidate.  You may like portions of one and portions of another.  You won’t fully understand each policy and principle and it will seem a bit overwhelming as if the pressure is all on your shoulders.  Promises are often made during campaigns that can’t realistically be kept even with good intentions.  This is where personal discernment based on historical data comes in.  There will always be additional factors that each potential president will not anticipate (like wars, storms, crisis situations…etc) but you are voting based on which candidate you think can handle the situations the best while working with their subordinates.  Once again, you may not agree with all decisions each candidate would/will make but we even disagree in some areas with our best friends.  It’s natural.

As a follower of Jesus Christ (a Christian), theological integrity is quite important to me.  I want a leader that will utilize their position to influence our society in ways that align the closest to my belief system.  Does that sound selfish?  Sure it does…but I’m considering it passionate.  I am so passionate about the God I believe in that I want everyone that I can possibly reach to experience the same relationship that I have with God.  If you aren’t passionate enough about what you believe to want to share it with others, you probably aren’t that passionate about it.  Does it impact freedom?  Not really.  A relationship with Jesus Christ is a personal decision that can’t or shouldn’t be forced on you.  If you don’t want it while here on this Earth, that’s your choice – although scripture (which I choose to believe) says in Phillipians 2:10-11 “…every knee shall bow and every tongue confess…that Jesus Christ is Lord”.  I personally believe in hell and I want my friends and family to experience eternal life in heaven praising our Creator instead of eternal life in hell.  I don’t expect a candidate to “force” you to follow his/her religion but I would love to see some of the basic principles exercised.  Many of those principles were part of our historical foundations anyway.

Good stewardship, fiscal responsibility and the sanctity of life are large factors in my decisions.  I look at the fruit of a man (historically) more than promises for the future.

Needy and Poor – I’m all about feeding the needy and poor.  My wife and I give a large portion of our gross income to missionaries and ministries that are God’s hands and feet across the globe.  We also give to charities and individuals, and it’s never recorded on public record since some aren’t tax deductible.  We generally don’t advertise our giving because it’s not about us but it’s important for people to see examples on occasion.  We have been called poor in the past because of our frugalness and lifestyle but we’re confident that we are rich in the things of Christ.  We give because we want to – not because we have to.  The Bible is clear about taking care of the needy and poor among us but that is the responsibility of the communities in which the needs reside.  This also encourages proper accountability at local levels.  I also believe the terms “needy” and “poor” aren’t interpreted correctly in the Biblical sense.  Needs are basic food, clothes, shelter and water… not cable, cell phone, electronics, fancy cars, alcohol, drugs, expensive bling….etc.  Many people choose to be in the situations they are in for various reasons.  I’ve heard and seen that in person.  It’s especially easy when there are government systems in place that encourage dependency and laziness.  Even though I don’t think government should be the administrator of those programs, we will still have them regardless of who is president.  I’m just looking for the candidate that will regulate it the most efficiently and effectively since it’s the tax payer’s monies they are playing with.  Each additional dollar the government takes from you to “invest” in someone they determine “needy and poor” is one more dollar we don’t have to freely give on a personal level when a true need arises.

Deuteronomy 15:11 “There will always be poor people in the land.  Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” – It’s not a matter of being generous, it’s about being good stewards.  If you really want to help someone, teach them a skill in conjunction with helping with their basic needs.  Sometimes people don’t really “need” help but they might be in a tough spot so we personally “choose” to help them.  There is no problem with that and I encourage this practice but that should be the choice of the people and not the government.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 “…If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” 11-13 “We hear that some among you are idle.  They are not busy; they are busybodies.  Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.  And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.”  - This is where the phrase, “idle hands are the devils workshop” comes from.  There are exceptions like certain handicaps but our government gives out too many exceptions for people perfectly capable of doing some type of work.

Stewardship/fiscal responsibility – What incentive is there for someone to work hard and make wise decisions if the fruits they’ve earned are stripped away from them?  We fight for equal rights (which will never logically exist) in so many areas but rich, middle class and poor get treated differently.  I believe everyone should pay an equal share (percentage) based off of what they earn…not a floating scale with unequal write-offs.  If someone my age goofs off in grade school, plays video games all day, mooched off of parents/others, skips college and can only get a $5 an hour job while I started working at the age of eight, studied hard in grade school, worked through grade school and college and paid for my own college to get a higher paying job… I shouldn’t have to share my earnings with them (redistribution) to cover their chosen laziness.  The law of reciprocity kicks in – “you reap what you sow”…but then we cancel natural accountability with handouts.  Our government shouldn’t implement programs that force us to send additional tax dollars to cover bad stewardship.  If we expect current and future generations to respect hard work and dedication, we can’t continue to reward laziness.  Our government must lead by example as well.  If the gov’t can’t balance the budget and work within their means, how do they expect the American people to follow suit?  I’m looking for the candidate that has been financially successful and responsible.

1 Timothy 5:3(-8) (subscript from the Life Application Study Bible, NIV) – “Paul wanted Christian families to be as self-supporting as possible… The church has always had limited resources, and it has always had to balance financial responsibility with generosity.  It only makes sense for members to work as hard as they can and to be as independent as possible, so they can adequately care for themselves and for less fortunate members. When church members are both responsible and generous, everyone’s needs will be met.” (*This concept applies to our nation and government as well!*)

Proverbs 6:1-5 (subscript from the Life Application Study Bible, NIV) – “These verses are not a plea against generosity, but against overextending one’s financial resources and acting in irresponsible ways that could lead to poverty.  It is important to maintain a balance between generosity and good stewardship.  God wants us to help our friends and the needy, but he does not promise to cover the costs of every unwise commitment we make.  We should also act responsibly so that our family does not suffer.” (Again, this concept applies to our nation and government.)

I don’t believe in redistribution on any level for personal taxes.  If McDonald’s charged me $1 for a burger and $2 for you, you would be mad especially if you worked hard and made wise decisions to put you in a better position.  That $1 loss cancels your efforts and reduces your motivation to try so hard in the future.  How about $100,000 house vs $200,000?  This inequality in taxes/fees cancels the premise of treating people equally on so many levels.  I’m looking for a candidate that will move closer to equality/fairness in the financial sense even though we’ll most likely never see a flat tax.  I do however understand encouraging businesses with reasonable tax incentives to encourage domestic job creation and comparable with foreign competition.  Those formulas are too lengthy to discuss here.

Sanctity of life – This topic is always sensitive and disputed on multiple levels.  Simply put, I believe life begins at conception and I intend to vote accordingly based on who is for or against abortion.  The Bible is pretty clear when it says, “you shall NOT murder” in Exodus 20:13.  That precious and innocent life doesn’t have a choice at that stage and he/she is counting on their mom to protect them…even if they made bad decisions.  There are a few exceptions that I’m willing to be accountable for if I’m wrong…including capital punishment.

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…”

Psalm 139:13-16 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb…”

These are just some of my personal convictions for voting but it goes way beyond these topics.  You may not agree and that’s ok.  At the end of the day, we are each accountable for our own personal convictions.  For the Christians, if you’re convictions don’t line up with the Word of God, you may want to revisit them.  All I ask is that you make the most educated and informed decision you can as these decisions will make a lasting impact.

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