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Let's Shine and Not Whine

Dear Friends,                                                                                     October 2012

            Among the things that are worse (much worse) than the “creeping crud” that I’ve been battling these last few weeks (coughing, congestion, sinus pressure, etc.) is a “creeping crud” of a much different kind; namely, the ever-increasing flood of lies, false promises, manipulation, and voter fraud that comes with modern elections.  

            The first “creeping crud” makes me sick.  The second type sickens the whole culture.

            And it has really plumbed the depths this time around regarding irrationality and immorality, hasn’t it?  Bold misrepresentations of the economic numbers.  Cover-ups of the scandals of Benghazi, Fast and Furious, and more.  Lying about the abortion mandates of Obamacare.  Playing the patsy to Muslim extremists and the Communist thugs of China and Russia.  Refusing to defend DOMA.  Pimping for Planned Parenthood.  A dramatic escalation of the welfare state while dismantling America’s national security. Wow.  

            And, of course, the lies about these things do not just come from the political ads and the speeches but also from the press, Hollywood, the big union bosses, and the other powers that be.

            However, the Christian who is trained in the Holy Scriptures should not be completely surprised at this state of affairs.  Saddened, yes.  Even horrified.  But not surprised.  For the Bible has made it clear that the last days would be marked by unprecedented levels of lies, violence, false religion, sexual perversion, lawlessness, and a zealous hatred for God and those who serve Him.  

            Furthermore, even in such a wicked arena, the Christian need not be cowed.  Ours is not to whine and hunker down nor is it to just turn up the volume of our “contemporary Christian music” and act as if these evils are not, in fact, on the loose.  No, our duty remains the same as that proscribed for believers of all eras, all locales, all situations.  We are to put on the armor of God; wield well the sword of the Spirit; pray without ceasing; and confidently, joyfully enter into the fray.

            It's time to stop the whining -- whining that these days are not like the good old days of yore. And it's time to stop the pining -- pining for the rapture (a deliverance I very much believe in, by the way) or even the delights of our future state. Yes, of course; heaven should be a huge motivation for us. But it's a motivation for us to invest our lives for Christ now rather than twiddling our time away until then. 

            Rejecting both the whining and the pining leaves us then the noble and adventurous option -- shining. Specifically, shining the light, love and truth of Christ all around us.

            Christians are called (and, praise God, we are also fully equipped) to a humble, heaven-anticipating lifestyle – one that involves a dedication to personal purity, Bible study, prayer, gratitude, joy, and a willingness to bear the banner of authentic holiness everywhere it is needed.  That includes the family. That includes the church, the neighborhood, social institutions. That includes the marketplace.  That includes the arts.  And, yes, that includes politics. 

            Among the specific action steps “into the fray” that Claire and I have taken in recent weeks has been emphasizing (in our conversations, our correspondence and my entries on Vital Signs Blog) the political implications of our current spiritual warfare.  This has carried over in our Facebook networking quite a bit also. I’ve addressed these matters from the pulpit of the church where I’m preaching and encouraged the people to join in the voter registration effort that has been organized there. We participated in the Life Chain together (more than half of the adult members of the congregation were involved!) and we hosted a special letter-writing event where people from the church contacted politicians, businessmen and other “opinion leaders” about the issues of the day.

            Also among the items that have drawn no small amount of attention are our candidate yard signs (ours are the only ones we’ve seen in our extended neighborhood) and the quotation we circulated from Billy Graham. Said Dr. Graham, "I will turn 94 the day after the upcoming election, and I believe America is at a crossroads. I hope millions of Americans will join me in praying for our nation and to vote for candidates who will support the Biblical definition of marriage, protect the sanctity of life, and defend our religious freedoms."

            As Dr. Graham’s remarks emphasize, it is our spiritual duty to Christ that requires us to engage the enemy wherever he is pressing.  And that means we all engage in frequent and fervent intercession.  It means we preach the undiluted gospel and carefully, honorably teach the Word of God.  It means that we do our work to His glory, that we care for our families and the needy, that we support effective relief actions, missionaries and relevant para-church ministries. 

            It means that we protest injustice and cruelty even as we promote righteousness and compassion.  It means church, sidewalk counseling, CPC ministry, services to seniors, holding the hands of the sick and lonely, and more.           

            Specifically for Vital Signs Ministries, we are carrying on with Vital Signs Blog and the networking connected to that. We are adding articles to our Russian-language website.  We continue with sidewalk counseling and prayers outside the abortion mill.  We are still writing articles and letters, still preaching and teaching, still visiting friends in the hospitals and nursing homes.  And we’re still presenting “When Swing Was King” to appreciative audiences in 11 senior facilities every month.  So, thank you all so much for your generous support in helping Vital Signs keep shining strong. We deeply appreciate your faithful friendship.