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A Father’s Job June 18, 2017

Posted by JP in Parenting, Uncategorized.
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My wife and I raised 3 children together, while we have not always been successful at being parents (we all have our weak points and occasionally fall short of our goals – after all we’re only human) we have for the most part succeeded in raising 3 healthy, happy, productive and loving children.  So what I will share with you here is not coming from a parental “educator”, it is the hard won knowledge of a father with 70+ year experience raising children.

As father’s it is our job, our God-given duty, role, responsibility and ultimately, our loving pleasure and privilege to embody and demonstrate the following traits for our children:

Person of Refuge

Dad’s we are the person in our children’s lives that they think of when they need protection. We are the person they will run to for refuge. That means we have to always be available to our children, the safe haven they can quickly, freely and naturally come to for protection and rest. As a place of refuge, we need to reflect to our children that we are a secure place for them and not a place of scolding or threats.

Protector

This role encompasses our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual protection. As children we particularly need protection, and we need to have our values, purities, and our honor protected into adulthood. A father not only protects his children from harm, but protects their hearts and minds as well. (2 Thess. 3:3)

Provider

This is perhaps one of our more instinctual roles of a father. A father initially provides necessities. He also creates an environment for growth through love and encouragement. We look to our fathers to provide for us what we may not be able to provide for ourselves while teaching us how to eventually become independent. (Genesis 22:14)

Friend and Supporter

Being a friend to our kids doesn’t mean that you are a party buddy! It is said that a child learns how to interact with others on the lap of a father. We seek a sort of friendship with our father that teaches us what friendship is. A healthy friendship with a father gives us boundaries and helps us understand what is safe and what is not. (John 15:15) You need to always be available for your kids, listen to their delights and their problems. You must consistently be there when they need you, to be filled with unfailing love, mercy, compassion and slow to anger. Children today face so many more difficulties in life than 30-40 years ago. What tears children down is being overwhelmed with problems, hardships and life’s trials with no one there to support them. Fathers need to be someone who can provide strength and support, that person they can rest and rely on, as they grow in every area of life.

Counselor – A father is a guide. He directs his children toward the path in life that promises to fit them best. A father who has his child’s best interest in mind will gain the trust of his child as a counselor. This where the “sacred no” and the “sacred yes” come in. (Is 9:6)

Companion and Counselor

There are too many kids in the world today that rarely if ever hear a word of encouragement or affirmation. Fathers, it is so important that we communicate with our children. You need to continually encourage them, let your kids know that they measure up, that you are proud of them and their accomplishments. Let them know that you have a special place in your heart for them. Tell them again and again how great they are.  A father is a guide. He directs his children toward the path in life that promises to fit them best. A father who has his child’s best interest in mind will gain the trust of his child as a counselor. This where the “sacred no” and the “sacred yes” come in. (Is 9:6)

Forgiving

Dad’s don’t hold grudges and are quick to forgive their kids. Growing up for kids today is challenging and if we are honest with ourselves, when we were growing up we had our moments. We made mistakes, we had our bad days where we were downright mischievous, we rebelled against our parents.

Fathers need to be patient when our kids do something wrong. We don’t hold grudges or hold past mistakes over their heads. Now this doesn’t mean we are indifferent or passive, but great fathers will instill wisdom in our children through love, not anger or rudeness and not criticism or harshness.

Trustworthy

One of the earliest thing children learn growing up is whether they can trust those who care for them. Fathers need to commit themselves to being consistently trustworthy in the lives of our children. This is the foundation in providing our children with a stable environment. Our children should always be able to rely on Dad to be dependable, truthful and consistent.

Life Teacher

Not withstanding the roles clarified above, as Father’s we are “Life Teachers”. We have a responsibility to educate our children in the things that make daily life bearable for those around us (those who live, play, and work with us) things like:

Using magic words such as hello, please, you’re welcome, I’m sorry, and thank you.

Being honest, being on time, being diligent, showing friends their sympathy, as well as showing utmost respect for their elders and all teachers.

Manners and cleanliness:  being clean, not talking with their mouths full, and how/where to properly dispose of garbage, being organized, taking good care of their belongings, and that it’s not okay to touch others without permission.

Being honest, you do not have a right to something just because you want it. If it is not yours, don’t touch it.

Fatherhood is not to be taken lightly. It is the most challenging, difficult, exhausting, but, by far, the most rewarding role a man can take on.

Fatherhood takes work, it takes training and education, it takes many hours of labor just to get the basics done right. This job, Fatherhood, is a contract position and the term of the contract is in fact: forever.

The job you do, as a Father, will have effects on the health and welfare on your immediate family and all those they encounter on a daily basis. It will have an effect on your children’s children and all those they encounter on a daily basis, and will have an effect on society for generations to come.

 

 

 

Depression in Men April 4, 2017

Posted by JP in Absolute Favorites, Discussion, Uncategorized.
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(none of the following is my work, just me passing on to you the information from experts regarding a widely unrecognized issue)

Depression in men has long been an ‘unrecognized’ problem, It seems likely men suffer from depression just as often as women, but they are less likely to ask for help.

Men tend to think of themselves differently than women and this can be quite unhelpful. Compared with women, they tend to be far more concerned with being competitive, powerful and successful. Most men don’t like to admit they feel fragile or vulnerable, and so are less likely to talk about their feelings with their friends, loved ones or their doctors. This may be the reason depressed men often don’t ask for help. Men tend to feel they should rely only on themselves and it is somehow weak to have to depend on someone else, even for a short time.

Men also tend to be less adept at recognizing symptoms of depression than women. A man is more likely to deny his feelings, hide them from himself and others, or try to mask them with other behaviors. And while men may experience classic symptoms such as depressed mood, loss of interest in work or hobbies, weight and sleep disturbances, fatigue, and concentration problems, they are more likely than women to experience “stealth” depression symptoms such as irritability, substance abuse, and agitation.

Instead of talking about how they feel, depressed men may try to make themselves feel better by using alcohol or drugs. This will usually make things worse in the long run. Their work will suffer and alcohol often leads to irresponsible, unpleasant or dangerous behavior. Men with depression also tend to give their work a higher priority than their home life, which produces conflicts with their wives or partners. All of these things have been shown to make depression more likely.

For married men, research has shown trouble in a marriage is the single most common problem connected with depression. Depressed men can’t cope with disagreements as well as women. Arguments actually make men feel very physically uncomfortable. So, they try to avoid arguments or difficult discussions. Depression in men often leads to the situation where a man’s partner will want to talk about a problem, but he will not and will do his best to avoid talking about it. The partner feels they are being ignored and tries to talk about it more, which makes the depressed man feel he is being nagged. So, he withdraws even more, which makes his partner feel even more that they are being ignored . . . and so on. This vicious circle in male depression can quite easily destroy a relationship.

Depression affects millions of men of all ages and backgrounds, as well as those who care about them—spouses, partners, friends, and family. More than just a dip in mood in response to life’s setbacks and disappointments, depression changes how you think, feel, and function in your daily life. It can interfere with your productivity at work or school and impact your relationships, sleep, diet, and overall enjoyment of life. Severe depression can be intense and unrelenting.

Depression in men can often be overlooked. Many men find it difficult to talk about their feelings so they tend to focus on the physical symptoms that often accompany depression. This can result in the underlying depression going untreated.

Men suffering from depression are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. It’s important for any man to seek help with depression before feelings of despair become feelings of suicide. Talk honestly with a friend, loved one, or doctor about what’s going on in your mind.

There is plenty men can do to overcome depression. The important thing is to recognize the symptoms.

The three most commonly overlooked signs of depression in men are:

  1. Physical pain. Sometimes depression in men shows up as physical symptoms—such as backache, frequent headaches, sleep problems, sexual dysfunction, or digestive disorders—that don’t respond to normal treatment.
  2. Anger. This could range from irritability, sensitivity to criticism, or a loss of your sense of humor to road rage, a short temper, or even violence. Some men become abusive or controlling.
  3. Reckless behavior. A man suffering from depression may exhibit escapist or risky behavior such as pursuing dangerous sports, driving recklessly, or engaging in unsafe sex. You might drink too much, abuse drugs, or gamble compulsively.

If you identify with several of the following, you may be suffering from depression.

  1. You feel hopeless and helpless
  2. You’ve lost interest in friends, activities, and things you used to enjoy
  3. You’re much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual
  4. You’re consuming more alcohol, engaging in reckless behavior, or using TV, sports, and sex to self-medicate
  5. You feel restless and agitated
  6. Your sleep and appetite has changed
  7. You can’t concentrate or your productivity at work has declined
  8. You can’t control your negative thoughts

If any of this strikes a cord with you I urge you to speak to your doctor, or visit: Anxiety and Depression Association of America 

Friends in Safe Spaces March 17, 2017

Posted by JP in Discussion.
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Five Truths March 15, 2017

Posted by JP in Uncategorized, Venting.
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More political thoughts… March 12, 2017

Posted by JP in Politics, Stupidity, Uncategorized, Venting.
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As I have been reading news reports regarding the various issues facing our Nation I am continually amazed at the inability of people to see truth through all the rhetoric, obfuscation of facts, and to employ a bit of common sense. It seems to me that too many people are blinded by their ideology and refuse to be objective in viewing the issues, and solutions to the problems that face our country.

I am by no means perfect, or completely unbiased in my thoughts and feelings about many of the issues being discussed in the media, however, I try to be balanced, fair, and objective before forming an opinion. I actively seek out contradictory opinions, and information regarding an issue before I take sides on a particular issue and often times because of this practice, my ideas and opinions fall out of the ‘norm’ of my usual conservative viewpoint.

Looking at some of the issues I see that reasonable, and commonsense solutions are entirely possible, if one steps away from the ideology and inflammatory rhetoric of the vocal extremists.

Immigration:

Entrance into this county illegally must be ended, completely. We have laws that govern immigration and those laws must be enforced, consistently and completely, albeit, with a hand of compassion.

It is said that this nation was built on immigrants, and immigration is a cornerstone of the concept of America. To this I agree, however, we no longer ‘need’ immigrants to build the Nation so it makes perfect sense to ensure that those who do enter our country can be a benefit to our society and intend us no harm. Subsequently, the Administration’s temporary travel ban is a logical, and acceptable, precaution to take while the Government improves our vetting process to better ensure that those immigrating here in the future benefit the country and intend us no ill will.

Current illegals should be subject to current laws governing residency and deportation. Those that are productive, beneficial, members of our society need to be provided with an opportunity to attain legal status and become contributing residents (taxes, etc.). While those who are apparent drains on our society (ie; criminals, those receiving public aid, unemployed, etc.) should be sent back to whence they came.

State and City governments who refuse to cooperate with Federal Immigration rules and law must absolutely have all Federal funding withheld. Sanctuary city policies must be eliminated and those officials refusing to comply with the laws should be removed from their positions and/or prosecuted.

It is important to remember this: When the federal government abolished slavery the US economy did NOT collapse, despite the protestations of the slavery proponents. The same will be true by the elimination of the illegal alien labor force. It will require some economic adjustment, but it will not be a devastating blow to the economy as some have suggested.

Health Care:

The Affordable Care Act, implemented by the Obama administration through force and lack of proper legislative process was doomed to failure at its inception. The idea was good, I believe everyone should have access to adequate health care (preferably at little or not cost to the recipient – and yes it is possible). The problem was the law itself was flawed and unsupportable as written.

The new health care law being touted by the GOP is not much better than ‘Obamacare’. There are some improvements, but overall it is still lacking. What needs to happen is for Congress to launch into a full-scale, bipartisan, assault on the issue, partnering with the health care industry leaders and develop a system in which everyone receives coverage at low/no cost and allowing those who wish to pay for their own coverage to do so.

To do this there are a few things we all need to understand:

Businesses (drug and insurance companies specifically) will NOT be making large profits – the best they could hope for most likely would be to break even on the provided coverage and perhaps more profit on the voluntary/optional plans.

Tort reform MUST be implemented. We cannot reduce health care costs effectively if doctors, clinics, and hospitals are subject to outrageously high settlements, or are continually defending suits from claimants not happy with the care they received.

Federal, State, and City governments (specifically Congress) must have the same coverage as the average citizen. What is good for one must be good for all.

Elective procedures (including abortion) should NOT be covered under the provided policies. Of course they should be made available, but at the consumer’s cost.  If I want to have a vasectomy, or a  nose job, or a butt implant, I should be able to do so as long as I am willing to pay for it.

Individual rights:

Women’s rights, LGBT rights, Minority rights, etc. must NOT preclude anyone else’s rights. This includes religious tolerance. Above all else, this nation was founded upon the ideal of religious freedom. That freedom must remain a hallmark in our pursuits of rights and freedoms. To force a person, or business owner, to comply with a practice that violates the dictates of their religious beliefs is abhorrent. One cannot assert that a Christian baker who refuses to make a cake for a gay wedding is discriminating unless one can show that the operation of their business is discriminatory as well (do they refuse to employ homosexuals? Do they refuse to sell cookies, or cupcakes to people based on their color, nationality, sexual orientation?)

We are all equal, we all breathe the same air, bleed the same blood, and are citizens of the same country. We must all be treated equally, fairly, and without extra consideration, or less consideration.

So many out there today throw around the words ‘racist’ and ‘fascist’ and yet fail to realize that their very actions are definitive of what they accuse others. Any organization that promotes the advancement of any group above any other is by definition ‘racist’.

Of course, I do recognize that at times there are practices that do not comply with this Country’s laws and philosophy’s of equality and fairness regardless of race, creed, color, nationality, gender, etc. but those practices needs be reconciled specifically and not made to appear as a national fault.

It comes down to the same idea as immigration; we are a nation of laws, and we must comply with those laws, and enforce those laws.

Taxation, Budget and Economy:

So much of what we do, want to do, or should do, in this country revolves around cost. The issue is that we seem unable to conceive of how to pay for the things we should do (health care and education for instance). While the problem is not simple to solve, it is solvable.

Taxation: A flat tax rate on individual income is the most equitable solution. In our current taxation scheme an individual with a higher income is taxed at a higher rate than those with lower incomes. My question is this: does that individual with a higher tax rate receive a higher level of representation in the government? Does my 25% tax rate entitle my vote at the polls to carry 25% more weight than someone only taxed at 10%?  No, it does not. Consequently our tax system contravenes our nation’s founding philosophy protesting ‘taxation without representation’.

Federal grants to foreign countries: Our government sends billions of dollars to other countries. While this is not necessarily a bad thing in terms of global stabilization and promotion of peace and cooperation, the reality must be faced that much of our internal needs can be paid for if those monies were directed inward instead of outward.

Funding of Public Assistance programs: If we discontinue providing Public Assistance to those who are in our country illegally we could saves millions of dollars in Public Aid. It makes no sense to me that our government would give someone money who is not a citizen, or legal resident. Why pay someone to violate our laws?

Tax subsidies to businesses that are profitable already.  Why should be give money to a business that makes a profit? Can they not utilize their profits to pay for whatever the subsidies are paying for?

Tax subsidies to US business moving operations out of country: While this practice is being addressed by the current Administration I must mention it here; if you move your operations out of country you should lose all government assistance, and have your products taxed upon entry into this country.

The bottom line for me comes down to this: My family budgets our money in order to pay for the things we need to live. If I do not have the money for something I want, I do without. If there is something the family needs we revise our budget in order to divert the necessary funds to that need. We do not live outside of our means and we prioritize needs and wants in order to live within our means. The government should do no less.

Give Peace a Chance March 8, 2017

Posted by JP in Discussion.
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No minds - If you are going to be close-minded would you mind being close-mouthed as well?

Take out the trash February 12, 2017

Posted by JP in Discussion.
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This morning I heard an interesting analogy regarding forgiveness:

When someone sins against you (does you harm in some way – emotionally, physically, financially, etc.) it is like they have brought a bag of garbage to your house and dropped it on your living-room floor.

Forgiveness is simply the act of you picking up that bag of garbage and taking it out; disposing of it so it is no longer in your house. However, many of us do not take out that garbage. We may move it around – take it into a back room for example and shut the door (out of sight, out of mind…. really?), we may just push it over to the side of the couch, or leave it sitting in the middle of the floor.

The problem is that the garbage is still there. It begins to smell; even if it is in the back room with the door closed, the smell will eventually come out and permeate our entire house. The smell will overshadow everything good in our house and lessen the good with its rotting stench (ever try to cook and eat a delicious meal in a dumpster?).

Our house is our life. It is the entirety of who we are, mentally, emotionally, and physically. The smell of rotting garbage that we have not disposed of properly will eventually permeate our lives ruining everything that we have, or do, or try to do, and will poison and sicken us.

Forgiveness thought of in this way makes a whole lot more sense to us as we reflect on the biblical admonitions to forgive:

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Matthew 18:21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Forgiveness is not about the blessing of another, it is about the blessing of oneself; of following the example of our Lord in His faithfulness to forgive us of ALL of our wrongs, and it is a practical way to keep ourselves healthy in body and spirit.

Anti-Trump protests are hipocracy at its worst February 8, 2017

Posted by JP in Discussion.
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Where was all the talk of Presidential ‘legitimacy’ when Bill Clinton won the 1992 election with a 5.56% LOSS in the Popular vote? Where were the riots, the ‘not my President’ protests? Where was all the nonsense when Clinton won with a much wider deficit than Mr. Trump?

2016 Election:

Trump 45.98% Popular vote, 56.5% Electoral College

1992 Election:

Clinton 43.01% Popular vote, 68.77% Electoral College

Donald Trump refused to say that he’d respect the results of this election. That’s a direct threat to our democracy.

That’s not the way our democracy works. We’ve been around 240 years. We’ve had free and fair elections and we’ve accepted the outcomes when we may not have liked them and that is what must be expected of anyone standing on a debate stage during a general election…

And let’s be clear about what he’s saying and what he means. He’s denigrating—he’s talking down our democracy. I for one am appalled that somebody who is the nominee of one of our major two parties would take that kind of position.

Hillary Clinton on accepting the 2016 election results

On immigration:  President Trump institutes a temporary halt on immigration almost identical to the halt instituted by the Obama administration in 2015, yet there is and uproar from the left (and even from Obama himself).

Mr. Obama used his rights as president to put a halt to some immigrants from arriving here six times. President George W. Bush used the executive powers six times as well, Bill Clinton did so twice, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter instituted bans using their executive powers a combined seven times.

Where were all the protests for those 19 bans? Where were all the cries of racism?

 

 

Question: “What does the Bible say about illegal immigration?” February 4, 2017

Posted by JP in Discussion.
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From Gotquestions.org

Answer: Note: We wholeheartedly believe that Christians are called to be compassionate and merciful toward immigrants (Exodus 22:21; Leviticus 19:33–34; Matthew 25:35). We also believe that the United States should have a more compassionate and merciful immigration policy. However, that is not the question at hand. The question at hand concerns illegal immigration—whether it is wrong to violate a nation’s borders and transgress its immigration laws.

Romans 13:1–7 makes it abundantly clear that God expects us to obey the laws of the government. The only exception to this is when a law of the government forces us to disobey a command of God (Acts 5:29). Illegal immigration is the breaking of a government’s law. There is nothing in Scripture that contradicts the idea of a sovereign nation having immigration laws. Therefore, it is rebellion against God to unlawfully enter another country. Illegal immigration is a sin.

Illegal immigration is definitely a controversial issue in the United States (and some other countries) today. Some argue that the immigration laws are unfair, unjust, and even discriminatory—thus giving individuals justification to immigrate illegally. However, Romans 13:1–7 does not give any permission to violate a law just because it is perceived as unjust. Again, the issue is not the fairness of a law. The only biblical reason to violate a government’s law is if that law violates God’s Word. When Paul wrote the book of Romans, he was under the authority of the Roman Empire, led by Emperor Nero. Under that reign, there were many laws that were unfair, unjust, and/or blatantly evil. Still, Paul instructed Christians to submit to the government.

Are the immigration laws of the United States unfair or unjust? Some think so, but that is not the issue. All developed countries in the world have immigration laws, some more strict than the USA’s, and some less strict, and all have to deal with illegal immigration. There is nothing in the Bible to prohibit a country from having completely open borders or to have completely closed borders. Romans 13:1–7 also gives the government the authority to punish lawbreakers. Whether the punishment is imprisonment, deportation, or even something more severe, it is within the rights of the government to determine.

Illegal immigration is a complex issue. The vast majority of illegal immigrants in the United States have come for the purpose of having a better life, providing for their families, and escaping poverty. These are good goals and motivations. However, it is not biblical to violate a law to achieve a “good.” Caring for the poor, orphans, and widows is something the Bible commands us to do (Galatians 2:10; James 1:27; 2:2–15). However, the biblical fact that we are to care for the unfortunate does not mean we should violate the law in doing so. Supporting, enabling, and/or encouraging illegal immigration is, therefore, a violation of God’s Word. Those seeking to emigrate to another country should always obey the immigration laws of that country. While this may cause delays and frustrations, it is better than acting illegally. A frustrating law is still a law.

What is the biblical solution to illegal immigration? Simple—don’t do it; obey the laws. If disobedience is not a biblical option, what can be done in regards to an unjust immigration law? It is completely within the rights of citizens to seek to change immigration laws. If it is your conviction that an immigration law is unjust, do everything that is legally within your power to get the law changed: pray, petition, vote, peacefully protest, etc. As Christians, we should be the first to seek to change any law that is unjust. At the same time, we are also to demonstrate our submission to God by obeying the government He has placed in authority over us.

“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:13–16).

7 Things Christians Need to Remember About Politics February 1, 2017

Posted by JP in Discussion.
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How to be in the world, not of the world, in a culture of political vitriol.

Not only are believers excused for their political indiscretions, but they are often applauded for committing them. Slander is explained away as righteous anger; winning arguments are esteemed higher than truthful ones (whether or not the “facts” align); and those who stir up dissension are given the pulpit. So I balk when pastors tell me the Church should engage in the political process. Why would we do that? The political process is dirty and broken and far from Jesus. Paranoia and vitriol are hardly attractive accessories for the bride of Christ.

Rather than engage in the political process, Christians have a duty to elevate it. Like any other sin, we are called to stand above the partisan dissension and demonstrate a better way. Should we have an opinion? Yes. Should we care about our country? Yes. Should we vote? Yes. But it’s time we talk politics in a way that models the teachings of Jesus rather than mocks them.

It’s time we talk politics in a way that models the teachings of Jesus rather than mocks them.

Here are seven things to remember about politics:

1. Both political parties go to church

There’s a Christian Left and, perhaps even less well-known, there’s a secular Right. Larry T. Decker is a lobbyist and head of the Secular Coalition for America. He’s an “unaffiliated Christian,” but his entire job is devoted to keeping religion out of the U.S. government. Party lines are drawn in chalk, and they’re not hard to cross. The Church must be engaged in politics, but it must not be defined by the arbitrary lines in politics.

2. Political talk radio and cable “news” only want ratings

When media personalities tell you they are on a moral crusade, they are lying to you. These personalities get rich by instilling fear and paranoia in their listeners. If we give our favorite political ideologues more time than we give Jesus, we are following the wrong master. There are unbiased, logical and accurate news sources out there. But it’s up to you to be a good steward of information—to fact-check for yourself, take ideology with a grain of salt and make decisions based on facts rather than gossip.

3. Those who argue over politics don’t love their country more than others

They just love to argue more than others. Strife and quarreling are symptoms of weak faith (Proverbs 10:12; 2 Timothy 2:23-25; James 4:1) and are among the things the Lord “detests.” We need to rise above the vitriol and learn to love our neighbors the way God commanded us. We need to love our atheist neighbor who wants to keep creationism out of schools; our Democrat neighbor who wants to keep gay marriage and abortion legal; our Republican neighbor who celebrates death penalty statistics and gun ownership; and yes, even the presidential candidate from the other side.

If you’re mocking your governing leaders on Facebook, the Holy Spirit is grieved.

4. Thinking your party’s platform is unflawed is a mistake

The social policies of your party were constructed by imperfect politicians fueled by ambition. It’s nearsighted to canonize them—and it will make you obsolete in a few years. Every four years, the parties adopt a current, updated platform at their respective conventions. And while they stay on general tracks, every four years the platform evolves to meet the needs of a growing, modernized and changing party. The Republican party of today doesn’t look like it did 10 years ago. We need to know when to change our views to meet a changing culture—and when to stand by them.

5. Scripture tells us to pray for our governing leaders (2 Timothy 2:1-4) and to respect those in authority (Romans 13:1-7)

Translation: if you’re mocking your governing leaders on Facebook, the Holy Spirit is grieved. We should spend more time honoring our leaders and less time vilifying them. This doesn’t mean praying the President will be impeached; it doesn’t mean praying your candidate will win. God commands us to pray for our leaders—for their wisdom, for their hearts and for them to be led by Him.

6. Don’t be paranoid

The country is not going to be destroyed if your candidate loses. As 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Stand up and demonstrate what God has given you. America has functioned—albeit, at varying levels of success—for years under the direction of alternating Democrat and Republican control, and at every flip, the other side thought it was the end of the world. It’s not. And if we’re a Church that believes God is in control, we have to believe that He is the one in control of the end times—not whoever’s in office now, and not whoever succeeds them.

7. Stop saying, “This is the most important election in the history of our nation”

It’s not. The most important election in the history of our nation was when Abraham Lincoln was elected president. Before that, we thought it was OK to own people. Every generation thinks it’s living in the most important moment in history. We’re not, our parents were not and our children probably won’t be. And that’s OK.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated from an original version posted in September 2012.

Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/current/politics/7-things-christians-need-remember-about-politics#HjOrEzOKr7d4kS4j.99

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