A Christian’s Responsibility

As Christians we have responsibility that is given by God in our government. Before you judge this too quickly, let me say that in no way is this a political statement and in no way am I here to tell anyone who to vote for or how to vote on specific issues.

What I would like to do is explore where we should stand as Christians today. We are to take a stand morally, especially when it comes to issues that can effect an entire generation. I hope to shed scriptural light on what we as Christians should stand for and how we can influence a generation in need of Christian example.

1 Peter 2:11-17 gives us instruction on this matter. It states:

“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 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. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2:11-17 ESV)”

In essence, Peter’s instruction to us is to be in the world but not of the world. We are instructed to be careful of how we carry ourselves and not to rebel against the government but to set examples. We are not to stir up discourse in the world. We are also instructed not to use our freedom as tools for evil. We must be servants of God and with that we must be servants to others.

We are called to honor each other and to love one another. We are also called to fear God and honor the government. We should take a moral stand, and as Christians in America we have responsibility to vote and to be involved in the government through that. We can vote and give our say in who is elected as the leaders in out community and country. We can vote based on our morals, morals that are founded upon scripture, and make a difference in our nation.

In saying this, I encourage you to register to vote. I encourage you to take your stand on our morals today. Let your voice be heard today and encourage others to do the same We must all take a stand together on the moral grounds that we know from the Word of God. Through this we can set an example for a generation that is turning away and seeking satisfaction in worldly desires.

Please consider today the stand that you can take and seek knowledge in voting morally as a Christian. Let your voice be heard and stand firm on the Godly foundation that you have been given.

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What are we Doing?

“The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished. By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil. When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice. The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” – Proverbs 16:1-9, ESV

This scripture speaks volumes to us, especially in today’s time, and this week I want to issue a challenge to each of you who reads this. There are many things that we do that can keep us from experiencing the blessings of God in our lives, and the unfortunate part of this is that many times we do not see it because we are so sure we are in the right.

I can think of a number of things going on in our society today that speak to this, and honestly, I know there will be some of you who disagree with me on this, but I invite you to please look at this with me and study it yourself. I feel that there are groups today at work in our world who think that there is nothing wrong with what they do, and in looking at scripture we can see why. Proverbs 16:2 tells us that in our own eyes we are fully doing what is right, but God weighs the spirit. In our mind’s eye we are doing what we feel is right, but does the Bible not also tell us to be careful what we show approval for?

There are many issues that we have around us in society today that we need to filter through the Bible to make sure we are not approving something that is wrong in the eyes of God. The unfortunate thing that I see around us today is that we are all guilty of this in some way or another, but we lose sight because our own ways are right in our own eyes, while we spend time trying to correct someone else’s problems because we feel they need correction.

Here is our issue, whatever it may be, we tend to criticize others of the way they are living while we ourselves have things that are hampering our walk. According to what we see in this section from Proverbs 16, all of our steps should be directed by God, not just his or her steps while mine are surely rooted in God. He did not ask us to condemn one another, but to love and respect everyone. Truthfully, according to what we see in verse 3 is that our commitment to the Lord and His ways will establish our plans and actions today. This means that if we focus on His ways, He will direct our steps; if we commit to His ways, our hearts are transformed to His purpose.

This covers all manners of sin…we cannot be on the fence about what God’s purpose and will are in our lives. Whether it be lies, lust, or any other sin that we come across in the world today, it is not our job to allow and show approval for things that God has spoken of in His word. His word gives us clear definitions of what is right and wrong, and the biggest problem that man has today in the world is that we all want to justify our own actions by ignoring what God says, but that can be dangerous. Again, God is clear about His intentions for us in His word. Don’t let your fence riding cause you to miss out on God’s blessing.

“Because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” – Revelation 3:16

When We Sing, When God Sings

Something that has been on my mind lately is what happens when we sing and when God sings. I started studying for a sermon this past Sunday, and as I studied, I started meditating on two sections of scripture that I feel can bring us joy and blessing in our lives.

The first is in Acts 16:25-40 where we see the story of Paul and Silas in prison and the opening words of the section tell us that around midnight Paul and Silas began singing praises to God with the other prisoners listening. These men began praising God in their time of weakness and trouble. They were seeking God and trusting Him through one of the most difficult times they had ever faced.

What do you do when you are facing tough times? Do you trust God and seek Him and praise Him? Do you sing to Him in your times of trouble?

In the next verse we see that there was a great earthquake and the prison gates were opened and their chains loosened. These men trusted God and sang to Him in a time of trouble and the earth shook! But how?

I am offering a theory on what may have taken place during this time, but I want register a disclaimer that this is only one of many possibilities that may have taken place during this time. But in studying the scripture we see that when the Lord returns there will be a loud shout of praise and the earth will shake and graves will open. With this in mind I look back to Zephaniah 3:14-17 for this theory:

“Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: ‘Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.’”

I feel it is highly possible that these words are encouragement to each of us, and feel that Paul and Silas experienced in this moment what happens when God sings. They were singing praises to God, encouraging the other prisoners, and those prayers and petitions made their way to the throne room of heaven. It is possible that God chose to sing along, scripture tells us that God’s voice is like thunder. Again, I am not saying that it is what happened, but isn’t it a wonderful picture, men rejoicing and praising with all their heart and God joining in, singing with them, rejoicing with gladness?

This is what happens when we are obedient to the scripture, when we praise Him, he is faithful to His word. God promises that he will rejoice over us with gladness and will exult over us with loud singing. What an amazing God we serve!

Today, sing in your times of trouble, you never know what will shake the earth and loosen the chains that are holding you back, so sing to your heart’s content. Praise God today for He is good!

Eating Crow

If you’ve ever heard or used the term “Eat Crow” then you likely know where this is going, but it may not be exactly what you’re thinking…

That being said, I must first start off giving an apology to any, and every, one that I have ever offended by spouting off out of frustration before allowing God to form my thoughts into encouraging and worthwhile statements; meaning, I realize, and have come to realize that I have said a number of things that have caused regret in my life; saying things I have heard or reacting before giving myself time to even assess a situation, or if I have said something that wasn’t intended the way it was taken,  I am quite sorry.

This apology is extended to anyone who I have caused any type of heartache and difficulty to…no matter what it is or why…I ask for your forgiveness…

I say this, because for us to move forward in life we must find redemption…and over the past few weeks I have come to realize a need for myself to self-evaluate and truly examine the heart of the issue…my heart in the issue.

That being said…I also realize that we need not beat ourselves up over things that we realize were mistakes once the moment is passed…and believe me…we have all done this…we have all eaten crow at some point in our lives.

We are not unlike some of the closest to Jesus, however; just look at the story of Peter…How much Crow did he have to eat after telling Jesus that he would not deny him?

Take a lesson from Peter, or Paul…Or maybe look at Job, David, Noah, Adam and Eve…in fact, many of the Biblical accounts of those who we consider saints of the Scripture made mistakes, but it was through those mistakes that God developed them into who they became.

It is with this in mind that I have been thinking and praying on three verses out of the book of Ephesians:

“Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to live worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3, CSB)”

We must bear burdens, not cause them.  We must take account in our own lives for our own actions.  Live worthy of the calling you have received…or, as the KJV puts it, the vocation to which you are called. The only way we can move forward in life is with a unity of the Spirit, bonded in peace…let’s face it….Crow really doesn’t taste that good, so what do you say we remove it from our diets?

Just Four Simple Words

Over the past few weeks we have been in the midst of a Sermon Series at the church about “Growing Pains” in our faith.  As I have been studying the topics for each week, I came across something that I honestly had never really caught before when studying the story of Moses…and that is, how simple the call that God laid on Moses was…and yet it was in this realization that I saw just how closely related to Moses we actually are.

God asked Moses to go back to Egypt and to say four simple words to Pharaoh, “Let My People Go!”

That was it, that was all Moses was having to undertake, just four simple  words…

“Let My People Go!”

And yet, it was in this that I saw how much like Moses we tend to be.  He immediately responded by saying that he “wasn’t good with speech and tongue.” Moses made an excuse….he questioned the calling because, as he put it, he didn’t speak well.  Sure sounds like a lot of us, making excuses as to why we can’t be involved in the church, why we can’t talk to our friends and families about Christ, or even why we can’t take a stand on social issues because we feel we aren’t good enough to accomplish what needs to be accomplished.

God’s answer to Moses is the same to each of us today, and it can be found in Exodus 4:

“Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”  So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord?” – Exodus 4:10-11

God responds to Moses by simply saying, “I don’t need your excuses, I am the one asking you to go.  I will be there, I will handle it, I just need you to follow my plan.” And He is saying that to us today!  God is calling us to do things for His Kingdom, He isn’t calling us because we are the most qualified…He’s calling us because He needs us to follow through.

In essence, God is simply asking us to say four simple words…He has a plan to carry out, and He needs us to accomplish the task when asked to do it….stop making excuses as to why you are not good enough to follow through.  God doesn’t want our excuses, he just needs our service…He will take care of the rest!

No Worries, No Problems

I know many have heard the old song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”  That song popped in my mind as I sat down to write this because I have been thinking about the topic of worry for the past few weeks.  I know that scripture tells us not to worry, as many of us know, in the book of Matthew we see Jesus say, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (6:34, KJV)”

Don’t worry about the things that will come tomorrow, because you might miss out on the opportunities of today.  In Psalm 3 we see David mention this type of thought:

“Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. (KJV)”

In verses 4-6, David lays out this beautiful schematic for living without worry.  He states that he cried to the Lord, and that he was heard.  David then does what we all must do when we cry to the Lord and trust in His power…David lets it go.  David then lies down and rests, resting in the knowledge that God had taken care of his situation.

We all need to have the same mentality as David when it comes to giving our problems to the Lord, if we have asked God to take care of it, we must trust God to take care of it.  Too many times we find ourselves continuing to worry about things that we have, “given to God,” and it is keeping us from experiencing the true joy that God intends us to have in our lives.

David then follows up by saying that he will not be afraid of the “ten-thousands” that have set themselves against him…No worries!  David knew that no matter what would come his way, he had given it all over to God, and he was safe from defeat…He would be saved because of God’s promises.

We all have this same promise today if we have given our lives to Christ…we can all rest in the knowledge that God has our problems handled and we can move on to enjoying the day that He has set before us while He is working on us.  Praise God that He doesn’t leave us alone during our times of need, Thank Him today for helping you find joy in times of trouble.  I challenge you today, if you have turned it over to God…leave it there; let Him do what He has promised you today.

Seeking Perfection

As a new year starts and everyone takes a deep look at their life to see what type of changes need to be made to better life as they move forward.  As this happens, one thing that many seek to do is perfect their goals, and as Christians, this is something we must do as we enter a new life with Christ.

This being said, we find ourselves sometimes getting comfortable in the early stages of a walk with Christ, but we never “grow up” in our new life.  There are many, as addressed in Hebrews, who get comfortable in the “milk” of the Word, but never push themselves to move into the solid “meat” that is needed to grow deeper in our relationship with God.

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.  For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.  But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” – Hebrews 5:12-14 (NKJV)

The word translated as “full age” here is the word Teleios which is translated two different ways in the scripture…as either “perfection” or “coming of age”.

For us to realize all that God has for us to experience in life, we must challenge ourselves to dive into the deep end with God as our goal.  We must begin to keep our eyes on Him, so that we will adapt and begin to look like him.

It is like when we are younger and we watch our father and follow him around. We long to follow in his footsteps, at times even putting on his shoes and stumbling around in the oversized shoes just to feel what it is like to walk in his footsteps.

In the same way, God invites us to do the same – we are invited to put His shoes on and to begin to walk in His footsteps as we grow.  The thing is, just as with our earthly fathers, as we grow we begin to find a way to begin to fill those shoes a little better each day.  We grow into our own footsteps as we mature, and walking in this way ensures that we let go of the milk and begin to crave the meat of the message.

So as the year begins, I encourage you to seek perfection…seek to love one another as God loves us…show mercy and grace to each other.  Handle life’s situations with gratitude and grace, stop bickering with one another, and allow the love of God to shine through in the difficult situations. Show maturity in how you handle all things and allow yourself to grow up through the Spirit.  In doing this, we will do as Jesus states and become perfect or come of age, “just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”  (Matthew 5:48)

Seek that perfection or maturity in your life today…allow the Spirit to guide you into a deeper relationship with God in the coming year.