Encouragement From The Word

God, keep our land

On Monday, Canadians go to the polls to elect a new federal government. It has been a long campaign, and filled with more rhetoric and attack than visions and promises.

For followers of Jesus, it would be nice if there were one party with whose platform we completely agreed with, for that would make it easier to cast a vote. But we are not likely to find such a thing. And there are Christians in all parties (as well as people of other faiths, and no faith at all).

So what’s a believer to do?

Really, there are three things we are called to do around an election.

First, learn. We need to go through an election campaign prepared to learn what each party (and candidate) espouses in terms of platform, core values and promises. Try to wade through the propaganda, which is everywhere, and learn what each party and candidate stands for. Then ask yourself, How does this mesh with what I believe?

Second, pray. Once you have learned as much as you can, seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you prepare to vote. Don’t just take sixty seconds to pray before you mark your ballot; pray as you learn, and ask the Lord to help you discern what is going to be best for Canada before you get to the polling station.

Third, vote. God appoints a government for a nation through the people who vote. It is both a civic and a Christian responsibility to participate in the democratic process that has the potential to shape the future of the country.

As we approach election day, join me in praying those familiar words of our national anthem: God, keep our land glorious and free!

Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God” (Romans 13.1, NLT).

Encouragement From The Word

Promises, Promises…

Last weekend, the Prime Minister asked the Governor General to dissolve Parliament, thereby sending Canadians into an election campaign – an eleven-week season that promises to be full of, well, promises.

While there will be heaping helpings of vitriol and negative advertising, we all hope that there also will be some positive statements made; after all, we want to know more about what a party or a candidate stands for than what a party or a candidate stands against. Yet recent Canadian electoral history, at all levels, suggests to us we will see (and hear) more negative than positive campaigning.

We sometimes become jaded at hearing campaign promises, because we know that once a government is elected, the reality it faces upon taking office almost by necessity changes the outlook of the party (and its leader and its members). Some allegations against others have to be retracted. Some promises have to be reconsidered.

Human promises are almost always like that, because we can’t see much of the future. We wonder what is around the corner, but until we round it, we can’t know.

Thankfully, God can see all of the future. God knows what is around the corner, and because of that reality, we know God’s promises will always be true.

What are your favourite promises of God? I’m fond of many, but two in particular stand out for me:

The Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31.6, NIV)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”(Romans 8.38-39, NIV)

God’s promises, found everywhere in his Word, can be relied upon fully. What are your favourites?