Friday, December 27, 2013

Is The President Our Neighbor?

     This is a question I ask myself many times.  Are those in leadership considered our neighbors?  I cannot help but recall the story Jesus gave, about the good Samaritan.
     In light of my opinion that they are my neighbors, I have to take stock of some things.  Am I, as a Christian, called to mock those in leadership?  Am I called of the Lord to jest?  Am I called of my Saviour to rebel against all authority?
     I understand that there are, indeed, times to "rebel."  When the authority before us seeks to step into God's authority in our lives, we "rebel" against the one seeking to overstep their authority, in order to obey God.  Such was the case for Peter and the other apostles:

"And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men."
(Acts 5:27-29)

     Yet, I have found it, too often than not, commonplace for folks to speak out against leadership.  I am not speaking in regards to when they warn people of the lies, the deception, the evils, and the wickedness of those in power.  I am talking about mockery and jesting.
     It saddens me that Christians would be more up-in-arms about civil government, rather than what goes on in their church(es).  Do I hear the cries of evils that are permitted within the church gatherings?  Do I hear folks despairing over the lukewarmness of the hearts of those meeting in the name of the Lord?  Do I hear pleas for people to awaken to the dangers of men and women who seek to lord over and dominate their brethren?
     Do I hear the concerns of believers regarding the heresies that are prevalent in the churches?  Do I see any warnings from Christians regarding the dangers of carnality and licentiousness?  Do I see any soundings of the trumpets; to warn Christians to be on guard for false teachers and wolves in sheep's clothing?
     The overwhelming answer is "no..."  Save a few.  Honestly, most would rather judge those without than within.  Yet, through Paul the Lord says:  

"It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person." 
(1 Corinthians 5:1-13)

     Now, please understand.  We are called to walk circumspectly; to be discerning.  However, if we are all wrapped up in the affairs of the world, to the neglect of the church, it will be to the church's detriment.
     Should we not be more prone to pray for the repentance of the wayward?  Should we not be praying for God to give them wisdom?  Should we not be beseeching the Lord, (who has their hearts in His hands), to put men like Daniel in their midst?
     I recall three Hebrew men, who were contemporaries of Daniel.  The king erected a graven image of himself, to which all were to bow and worship at the appointed time.  Did those three mock and ridicule him?  Did they shoot off the lip, at how arrogant and "blah-blah-blah" he was?  Did they say, "We better keep him in check, lest he think he is a god!"
     No...No...No.  I do not recall them doing or saying those things.  What is recorded, is that they humbly kept their obedience to the Lord, by not yielding to the pressure to worship a man and his graven image.  What did that cost them?  It almost cost them their lives!
     What did the Lord do?  He met them in the fire.  He kept them from harm.  What did that testimony do to King Nebuchadnezzer?  He repented.
     How many stories have we heard, of men and women who faced the "consequences" of not yielding to corrupt government, all the while respecting them?  They threw no railing accusation(s), were not proud against them; yet, they firmly stood with Christ.  Many lost their lives.
     Have we forgotten that God sets up and dethrones rulers?  Any one in any authoritative position is a ruler, a judge; whether we like that terminology or not.  Why does God allow them in our lives?

"By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth."
(Proverbs 8:15-16)

     Why do we seemingly have so many of them?

"For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged."
(Proverbs 28:2)

     What are we to do about it?

"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."
(Romans 13:1-10)
 
 What are we not to do?

"The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord."
(2 Peter 2:9-11)

"Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core."
(Jude 8-11)

     As Christians, what is our purpose?  Is it to govern government?  Or, is it to reach the lost for Christ?  Are we to be carried away with this life, or prepare for the next?  Are we to be consumed with the carnal, to the neglect to the spiritual?
     I enjoy learning about government and politics.  Yet, I realize most of it is carnal.  It is carried about with the wisdom of men.  Some of the mechanisms can be traced back to a Christian root, or to a general moral code.  All good stems from the Author of Truth.  I realize, though, that nothing will change, until hearts are changed.
     Why are we not praying more for our nation?  Why are we not lifting up our leaders, our neighbors, our enemies, our friends, to the Lord of lords?  Why are we not seeking the benefit of others?  Why are we consumed with our rights and pleasures?  Why are we not treating our enemies kindly?  Why are we not living out Christ's commands?
     We are succumbing to Satanic attacks, quite well.  We are not paying attention that we are in a very real warfare!  We pass much of it off as something else.  We ignore the fact that devilish activity is very much alive and real today.
     Why are we not seeing it?  Why are we not being discerning?  Why are we not being on guard?
     The devil has done a competent job at deceiving people; particularly saints.  He has effectively immobilized many Christians.  How can I say such a thing?
     Everything is going contrary to God's will.  Amongst Christians, it is taboo to stand firm on Christ's teachings.  To say that women are to be keepers at home, men to provide for their families, women to not be pastors, children to obey their parents, women to dress modestly like women, men to dress modestly like men, that there are certain standards that are non-negotiable...That is akin to "legalism."  That word is tossed around so easily today.  Why?  People do not want to be told how to live their lives.
     That goes right back to why I asked, "Is the president our neighbor?"  No one wants to be put under control.  Are we not to be praying for people?  Or, is he excluded?  Would you speak the same about your husband, your pastor, your councilmen, or any other person in authority?
     Maybe you do, or you have.  Is it justifiable?  Can you admit that your jesting and mockery is just with God's law?  Or, would you be convicted, like I have been, that instead of that behaviour, we should be praying and living examples of holiness?
     I am thankful for the concern of the morality of our nation and world.  Is it any surprise that this world is wicked, though?  I know God is not surprised at it.
     Does the mockery and jesting solve the problem?  Does it become a Christian?  Does it encourage holiness?
     I propose the notion that we should pray.  I know I do not do enough praying.  I propose the notion of praying for godly leaders; that those unsaved leaders would be surrounded by Daniels; that the leaders make wise decisions; that God changes the hearts of our leaders (from the president to the husband); that Christians would start living, thinking, loving, and speaking like Christians; that by the examples of the Christians, people would come to know the Saviour.  We absolutely cannot expect a godly nation, when Christians are not even living godly.
     It starts at home.  Who are the keepers of the home?  We women are.  How can we affect a nation?
   
"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
(Matthew 22:37-40)

"Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement." 
(1 Peter 3:1-6)

     By us ladies living according to the pleasure of God our Father, we can affect our men...Who can then, in turn, affect the nation.  The children that are raised in a home that fears God (even if it is just one parent), can then go out and be useful tools for the Lord.  Maybe they will be like Paul, who was able to witness to a heathen king!
     I am so greatly burdened over the fact that the focus is off.  Name-calling gets no where.  Prayer goes right to Christ.  Christ intercedes on our behalf, to the Father.  Should we not be discussing these matters with Him?

"Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things." 
(1 Timothy 3:11)


"But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men." 
(Titus 2:1-3:8)

     What could happen if there was faithful prayer, that was according to the will of the Father?  We will only know if we do it.  What could happen if their was faithful living, that was according to the will of the Father?  We will only know if we do it.  Why not start?  Maybe it will take years.  Maybe folks will not change, like Pharaoh.  Yet, God still delivered, did He not?  Shall we not be found faithful?


     
      
   



Friday, December 13, 2013

Touched With The Feeling Of Our Infirmities

"Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him; Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."
(John 13:1-17)

This morning, I was reminded of this passage of Scripture.  God reminded me that I am to have a servant's heart, just like my Saviour.  He reminded me of many things.

Just like me, Christ knows what it means to suffer.  I know that when I go to Him with my burdens, He understands.  Yet, compared to Him, though, I do not know one iota of suffering! 

"Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
(Hebrews 4:13-16)

Christ knows what kind of things I feel, what things overwhelm my heart and mind.  Yet, He is reminding me to come to His throne, that I may obtain mercy and grace in my time of need.  There is no reason for me to go about constantly overwhelmed by the things burdening me:  He has the help I need.

So, even though there are things getting me "down," I know how I ought to behave myself.  If I keep that in mind, I will fare much better, than if I do what I normally do:  keep musing upon the problem(s).  If I keep in mind that Jesus served His disciples, His friends, those whom He called family; knowing that all His friends (indeed, His family) would forsake Him at His most trying hour, even going so far as to deny they knew Him; then, I can make it through my trial(s).  Compared to Him, I have it easy.  And yes, I do compare myself to Him, to keep myself checked into reality.

When I see what troubles me, and see what troubled (and troubles Him still) Him, I feel foolish.  Yet, I do no see Him upbraiding me for it.  I see Him telling me to come to Him with it/them; and, getting onto me for not giving Him my burdens!  

I see Him telling me what to do, and what not to do.  I see Him reminding me that He is my Heavenly Father, and that He knows best.  I see Him reminding me to have faith in Him.

All these reminders are a much needed, much soothing, balm to a stinging and worn heart.  It puts a fresh perspective in my mind, and gives me the refreshment I need.  Just speaking about it now, gives me the energy I need, that I have lacked for many months.

I hope that those verses help you out there.  I know I am not the only one who suffers.  I hope that you, too, will be encouraged with the Saviour's heart towards His blood-bought children.


Jesus washing feet 12
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