Thus sayeth the Lord about this year's election

You may have clicked on this blog thinking you were going to get a definitive, Biblical answer to the question "How should I vote?"  I am sorry to disappoint you but the intent of this post is to help you think Biblically about this election and every election.
This article contains three links to articles/videos I have found helpful not necessarily clarifying.|I have also included a couple of ideas/principles I heard or developed in thinking about this election.
Here is the first principle.  Your vote in this election does not mark you a Christian.  Let me clarify.  One is a Christian because he is saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Belonging to a certain party or voting a certain way does not make you a Christian. 
A Christians's Hope is found in God who is sovereign, Jesus Christ who saves and the Holy Spirit who empowers believers.
This article My Prediction for November 9 by Max Lucado (maxlucado.com/prediction-november-9) shows this idea of Real, Eternal Hope.
"I have a prediction. I know exactly what November 9 will bring. Another day of God’s perfect sovereignty. He will still be in charge. His throne will still be occupied. He will still manage the affairs of the world. Never before has His providence depended on a king, president, or ruler. And it won’t on November 9, 2016. “The LORD can control a king’s mind as he controls a river; he can direct it as he pleases” (Proverbs 21:1 NCV)."
"Circle November 9 on your calendar and write upon it the words:  Our good God rules the world."

There are two school's of thought I have heard regarding casting your vote.

Look Beyond the Candidates to the Platforms

"We have a command, choice and a contrast to consider this and every election."
From Know the Truth's Shall I vote video by Philip Decourcy - www.facebook.com/kttradio/videos/1667947446828516/

The Character of every candidate must be considered

"[Many Christians] are being awakened to the idea of what it means to be resident aliens, of what is means to be strangers and exiles who are concerned about neighbors and concerned about justice in the public arena but don't derive our identity from that."www.russellmoore.com/2016/09/28/thoughts-election-2016/

There are good reasons why many godly men and women have fallen into one of these two school's of thought.  As I mentioned earlier I don't think one of these options is less Christian.  My challenge to each of us this election is to be responsibly trusting God.   

In reading and listening to many different pastors and writers about this year's election, there is at least one thing that is very clear.  This year's presidential race and election is very unique.  This is one of the reasons I planned for EBC's Soul Care groups to do the ONWARD study - to help people and our small groups think about contemporary issues Biblically. 
As November 8th keeps getting closer, 
personally, I am still thinking through the candidates and the issues.
Pastorally, I want to help those I pastor consider what their action steps are going to be.

Here are two things I am thinking through this election.

First, PRAY for wisdom and direction.  VOTE responsibly.  PRAY for our elected officials.

Second, LOVE GOD - everything is an act of worship.  Vote in such a way that God is first.  You are worshiping and trusting in God.  LOVE YOUR NEIGHBORS - I need to consider how my vote is going to impact others. 

your vote is more important than you think
your vote, our votes, can never thwart or slow down God's plan.

Here are a couple of quotes that have recently challenged my thinking.

Testimony of Conversion and Calling

A week from today is my ordination council.  I am very excited and a little nervous.
One part of this council is sharing my testimony.  One page of my doctrinal paper is about my testimony and calling.
You can read it in the paper HERE or read it below. 

In preparing for this day, I have been really thinking about the fact that I want this time to be more than just an examination of my knowledge.
I want it to be a time to glorify God for what He has done for me and through me.

I did not grow up in a Christian home.  My parents would go to church occasionally but one of the biggest memories I have growing up was getting picked up in a van and taken to Vacation Bible School.  I began attending this area church more and more.  After some time my parents began attending also.  God used a couple with passion about sharing Jesus with children to connect my family and me with a local church.   

Over time we began attending another church.  At the age of twelve, I was invited to camp.  It was there that God grabbed a hold of my heart.  I do not remember the speaker or the sermon.  I do remember being overwhelmed by the fact that I could not live the life God wanted me to live in my own strength.  I repented of my sin and called out to Jesus to save me.  God provided me with Godly pastors, Sunday school teachers, other mentors and friends to help me grow in my relationship with God.  While I wish my testimony in middle school and high school to my classmates was stronger, I can see how God had been working throughout my life.  Throughout college (Penn State and Roberts Wesleyan College), God provided me with various leadership and ministry opportunities that helped me grow.  One of those opportunities was a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.

Krista grew up in a Christian home attending Emmanuel Baptist Church and Emmanuel Christian School.  When she was ten years old, Jesus saved her from her sin.  After talking with her mom, she prayed, asking God for forgiveness and trusting in Jesus for her salvation.  Growing up at Emmanuel Baptist Church, serving in Sonshine and other ministries and seeing the godly examples of her parents and others helped prepare her for ministry opportunities here, in South Africa and the Dominican Republic. 

Krista and I met while teaching at Santiago Christian School in the Dominican Republic.  I tell people God used my time in the Dominican Republic to grow in me a love for Krista, teaching the Bible and the local church.  My first year in the Dominican Republic, I was excited to teach several mathematics classes and a little frustrated that I had to teach one Bible class.  Over the eight years at Santiago Christian School my responsibilities completely flipped.  During my last year in the Dominican Republic, I taught one math class and all of my other responsibilities were Bible related.  I had many different opportunities to teach and preach the Bible.  For a couple of years I was involved in the leadership of an English Christian fellowship.  Several different individuals shared with me that they could see a passion for and ability to teach the Bible. 

After eight years serving at Santiago Christian School, we returned to the states.  I taught at Emmanuel Christian School for four years.  During this time I served as an Adult Bible Fellowship teacher, middle school youth sponsor and deacon at Emmanuel Baptist Church.  This time in Toledo proved very helpful and encouraging.  People in our local church affirmed my passion and ability to teach the Bible and lead.  We decided to go to Baptist Bible Seminary for more training.

Our time at Baptist Bible College and Seminary proved to be another challenging and affirming time.  While serving as dorm parents, a rescue mission chaplain and in other areas, God continued to provide opportunities for me to grow as a teacher and leader. 

Over the last six years, we have been blessed to serve at Emmanuel Baptist Church.