“Politics, Choices & Trusting God” March 28

 

Politics, Choices & Trusting God - God's Word does not ordain a certain kind of government, but God's people are to pray, seek His wisdom, and obey His commands in whatever circumstances and under whatever form of government they find themselves.God’s Word does not ordain a certain kind of government, but God’s people are to pray, seek His wisdom, and obey His commands in whatever circumstances and under whatever form of government they find themselves.

Also, in what are you trusting? Our government, living in America, your own resources? What do choices have to do with trust?


Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 17 & 18
Psalm 37.37-40
Proverbs 12.20-22
Luke 4.1-30

 

Politics, Choices & Trusting God

 

Deuteronomy 17 & 18:

God & Government

 

Chapter 17.14-20:

14 “When you come to the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16 But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ 17 Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.

18 “Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, 20 that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.

God’s Word does not ordain a certain kind of government, but God’s people are to pray, seek His wisdom, and obey His commands in whatever circumstances and under whatever form of government they find themselves.

God, Government & Our ChoisesLeaders should be those “whom the LORD your God chooses.” In a nation like ours where we choose our leaders, they should not be chosen on the basis of political expediency or personal gain. Instead, we should pray, seek godly counsel, and search God’s Word for the characteristics of godly men.

“You may not set a foreigner over you.” Certainly, this has national implications, but more important are the spiritual ones. Look again at verses 18-19, “he shall write for himself a copy of this law … he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes…”

Of course, this was written directly to the nation of Israel. God intended the nation to be a theocracy, led by God Himself through His chosen leaders. Instead, they would demand a king like the nations around them. And while there would be consequences, God still provided wisdom for living under the authority of kings and other leaders. And there is much we can learn from His instructions about living under our government today.

Our most important consideration when choosing leaders should be, Continue reading

How I Made My Voting Decision

 

How I Made My Voting Decision - It's been a tough election year for most of us. Many feel it's nearly impossible to whole-heartedly support either candidate. Personally, I've run the gamut of thoughts during and after the primaries, including, "I may not vote at all." And as the process has gone on, I'm not any happier about the choices we have. The question I've pondered is, "What is the right thing to do?"

How I Made My Voting Decision

 

It’s been a tough election year for most of us. Many feel it’s nearly impossible to whole-heartedly support either candidate. Personally, I’ve run the gamut of thoughts during and after the primaries, including, “I may not vote at all.” And as the process has gone on, I’m not any happier about the choices we have.

The question I’ve pondered is, “What is the right thing to do?”

 

Lord of All

 

I don’t believe our lives as a believers should look like a pie chart with a “business slice,” a “civic slice,” a “family slice,” a “social slice,” and maybe a “religious slice” where we keep God. God is God of all of life and He rightfully expects to be ruler over the whole pie.

Our faith and the principles of God should inform how we do business, how we love and raise our families, how we conduct our social lives and every other area, including how we carry out our civic duties.

Jesus taught that we were to be good citizens:

… “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God” (Lk. 20.25).

Paul added to that idea in Romans 13:

¹ Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.

Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority (NLT).

And Proverbs 29.2 tells us:

When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice.
    But when the wicked are in power, they groan.

So, in a nation like ours where we choose our political leaders, we should do all that we can to see that godly people are in authority.

I’ve written often about “the goal of life” Paul talked about in 2 Corinthians 5.9:

Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

So what would be pleasing to God?

 

The Sovereignty of God

 

While I believe as Christians we should do our part to elect godly leaders, God is not limited by anything we do. He’s not limited by who wins the election or the kind of political system under which we live.

He has cared for His people through the centuries under even the most oppressive governments. In the first century alone, believers “turned the world upside down” (Act 17.5-6) under one of the most wicked and oppressive governments in history.

We also must remember that government is not our savior. It’s not the answer to the moral and spiritual problems our nation faces. We are the light of the world (Matt. 5.16). It’s our job to make disciples and teach others about God and His Word (Matt. 28.19-20).

Our culture will never change unless hearts are first changed.

We must remember, too, that it’s God Himself who raises one up and removes another from positions of authority (Dan. 2.21). But when the nation of Israel demanded a king like the other nations, He gave them one (1 Sam. 8.5). So we shouldn’t take our responsibility lightly, beginning with prayer.

 

My Voting Decision

 

So how did I decide?

I’ve always based my voting decisions on moral, biblical issues, so with all due respect to her supporters, I knew I could never vote for Hillary Clinton because of her stand on abortion and gay marriage, among other things. Not because I hate women who have had an abortion or people living a gay lifestyle, but because God forbids those things (Ex. 20.13; Rom. 1.26-27).

Our nation rightfully deserves God’s harshest judgment for the blood of the million plus babies who are murdered each year in the name of women’s rights and now we are trying to redefine the institution of marriage, an institution that was ordained by God Himself (Gen. 2.22-25).

But I don’t agree with many of Donald Trump’s choices and attitudes either. So the real question for me was, “Would I vote at all?”

Decision MagazineThen one day, as I went through the mail, a copy of Decision, a magazine put out by Billy Graham’s Ministry, found its way into my hands. On the cover was a picture of the two candidates and the headline, “Two Visions. Two Americas.” But it wasn’t the headline that caught my attention. As I thumbed through the pages, I came to an article comparing the two party platforms.

If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time you’ve probably seen similar comparisons. I know I’ve seen many of them, but reading the stands from each platform made me realize what I needed to do.

The article stated, “Many decisions are made at the president’s desk, but the major political party to which he or she belongs wields significant power over which domestic and international policies are advanced and what becomes law.”

I’m not naive enough to think that because any political party says they stand for something, that our elected officials will necessarily do what’s right or that laws will automatically be changed. But given the choices, I realized my responsibility was to vote for the one whose platform most aligned with God’s principles and pray for those who are tasked with carrying out those goals. Whether or not they do is ultimately in God’s hands and the candidates are accountable to Him.

Here are some excerpts on various issues:

  • Sanctity of Life

Democratic: “Democrats seek to repeal the 1976 Hyde Amendment so that federal funds can be used to pay for abortions. The platform says, ‘We will continue to stand up to Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers.’ Democrats support ratification of UN efforts that affirm ‘the reproductive rights of women’ globally.”

Republican: “The GOP asserts the sanctity of human life and affirms, ‘The unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed.’ The party supports a Human Life Amendment making clear that the 14th Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth, and it salutes states that require informed consent, parental consent, waiting periods and clinic regulation.”

  • Marriage

Democratic: “‘Democrats applaud last year’s Supreme Court ruling that ‘LGBT people–like other Americans–have the right to marry the person they love.'”

Republican: “The GOP platform condemns the Supreme Court’s rulings that removed the ability of Congress and the people to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The GOP urges the reversal of those decisions, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment.”

  • Religious Freedom

Democratic: “The Democratic platform says, ‘We support a progressive vision of religious freedom that respects pluralism and rejects the misuse of religion to discriminate.’ The party opposes a religious test to bar immigrants or refugees from entering the country.”

Republican: “Republicans affirm that religious freedom in the Bill of Rights protects the right of the people to practice their faith in their everyday lives. The platform endorses the First Amendment Defense Act, which would protect faith-based institutions and individuals from government discrimination.”

  • Federal Judges

Democratic: “The platform says: ‘We will appoint judges who defend the constitutional principles of liberty and equality for all, and will protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion.”

Republican: “The GOP platform states: ‘A critical threat to our country’s constitutional order is an activist judiciary that usurps powers properly reserved to the people through other branches of government.’ The GOP supports the appointment of justices and judges who respect the constitutional limits on their power and respect the authority of the states.

  • Internet Safety and Decency

Democratic: “The platform supports ‘a free and open internet at home and abroad.’ The party would seek to strengthen cybersecurity while ‘protecting the privacy and civil liberties of the American people.”

Republican: “The platform states: ‘The internet must not become a safe haven for predators. Pornography, with its harmful effects, especially on children, has become a public health crisis that is destroying the lives of millions.'”

The article also covers each party’s position on:

  • National Defense
  • Terrorism
  • Human Rights (the Democratic stand has mostly to do with LGBT rights, even forcing policies on other nations)
  • Immigration
  • Addressing Poverty
  • Law and Order
  • Israel and Jerusalem

So while I don’t have a high view of the candidate, because of his party’s stand on biblical, moral issues, I’ll be voting for Donald Trump in November. And I’ll trust God to do in our nation what only He can do.

I also know I need to recommit myself to praying more faithfully for our nation, its people, all the candidates, and whoever will become our next president.

How about you?

Blessings,
Donna

How I Made My Voting Decision - It's been a tough election year for most of us. Many feel it's nearly impossible to whole-heartedly support either candidate. Personally, I've run the gamut of thoughts during and after the primaries, including, "I may not vote at all." And as the process has gone on, I'm not any happier about the choices we have. The question I've pondered is, "What is the right thing to do?"


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“Should you admonish a sinning brother or sister?” August 16

 

Should you admonish a sinning brother or sister? - As Paul is winding up the book of Romans, he tells us that, as believers, we are able to admonish one another when biblically necessary. That means risking what people may think, even their rejection, in order to speak the truth in love when there is an issue that is hurting others, hindering their walk with God, or hurting the cause of Christ. In our fast changing world, many things that were once universally considered wrong are now called right. Speaking up when God's standards are at stake is going to be more and more costly ... but God's grace will abound to those who remain faithful to God and His Word.As Paul is winding up the book of Romans, he tells us that, as believers, we are able to admonish one another when biblically necessary. That means risking what people may think, even their rejection, in order to speak the truth in love when there is an issue that is hurting others, hindering their walk with God, or hurting the cause of Christ.

In our fast changing world, many things that were once universally considered wrong are now called right. Speaking up when God’s standards are at stake is going to be more and more costly … but God’s grace will abound to those who remain faithful to God and His Word.

And notice to whom this passage was written and what we need to do before we go to someone.

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 23-25
Psalm 96.7-12
Proverbs 23.9
Romans 15.1-24

 

Should you admonish a sinning brother or sister?

 

Romans 15.1-24:

For Our Benefit

 

bible study

Verse 4, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”

The Scriptures, in particular the Old Testament (like the book of Job), were written so that we might grow and learn by the examples of others, good and bad. God patiently instructs us in how we should change and shows us the results of unbiblical living. And as we grow and come to understand God’s love and grace, we find comfort in His faithfulness to those who remained devoted to Him.

 

Admonishing When Needed

Let’s look at one more verse in Romans 15:

“Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another” (v. 14).

Notice this verse is not written to pastors or counselors or spiritual leaders. It was written to the believers at Rome and by extension to us as believers. Paul says all of us are “able to admonish one another.” That word for admonish means, “exhort, admonish, and instruct.” Admonish means, “to rebuke or to advise or warn someone to do, or not do, something.”

So God expects us to be willing to get our hands dirty, to risk what people may think of us and even rejection, at times, in order to speak the truth in love to those who are sinning, as well as, those who need encouragement.

However, we must guard against a harsh or self-righteous attitude. We are to confront others lovingly, gently, tentatively, especially if we’re not sure of the circumstances, and humbly. That requires checking our own motives and a careful self-examination to make sure we take the logs out of our own eyes first (Matt. 7.3-5).

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6.1).

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Job 23-25:

Understanding and Comfort from a Book like Job

 

Adult Woman Reading a Bible. CloseAs we continue to read through God’s Word, especially the book of Job, it’s tempting to grow tired or get confused by all that is happening. As we read of Job’s sufferings, his friends’ lack of mercy and grace, and God’s silence so far, we should ask ourselves some questions:

How will coming to understand this better help me be more patient in my sufferings and disappointments? How can I learn to trust God more? What can I learn from listening to Job’s “comforters“? What can I learn from Job about responding to unjust criticism?

Often when we fail to grow in our understanding of Scripture it’s because we fail to ask the right questions.  Continue reading

November 5 “The politics of ‘what’s in it for me'”

promise what's in it for meWe still live in one of the freest societies that has ever existed, but if we’re not careful we may throw it all away, not because we support one political party or another one, but because we vote with a “what’s in it for me” attitude, instead of for godly character and a willingness to stand up for what’s right in God’s eyes.

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 1 & 2
Psalm 119.153-160
Proverbs 28.12
Hebrews 1.1-14

Well, we are beginning 2 new books this morning, Ezekiel and Hebrews, as we continue on our journey through God’s Word, what the old Bible preacher J. Vernon McGee called “the Bible Bus”!

On to the Word …

 

Ezekiel 1 & 2:

Everything we need

Ezekiel will cover many of the same events as Jeremiah and Lamentations, but it begins with a spectacular and unusual vision where God allows Ezekiel to get a glimpse of His glory. Like many of the prophets Ezekiel would be prophesying to a stubborn and hard-hearted people, who often mistreated those who spoke truth they didn’t want to hear.

As well as, being filled with other meanings, this incredible vision would help strengthen Ezekiel, encourage him in the reality of God’s power and majesty, and help prepare him for a difficult job. What a great encouragement to us that God never calls anyone to do something without giving him all that he needs to carry it out.

Continue reading

August 16 “You are able!”

imagesCAN6P5I6

As the Paul is winding up the book of Romans, he tells us that, as believers, we are able and, therefore, should be willing to get our hands dirty, risk what people may think, and risk rejection, in order to speak the truth in love.

Today’s Readings:
Job 23-25
Psalm 96.7-12
Proverbs 23.9
Romans 15.1-24

Job 23-25:

Understanding and comfort from a book like Job

As we continue to read through God’s Word, especially the book of Job, it’s tempting to grow tired or get confused by all that is happening. As we read of Job’s sufferings, his friends’ lack of mercy and grace, and God’s silence so far, we should ask ourselves some questions.

How will coming to understand this better help me be more patient in my sufferings, disappointments, and temptations to wonder where God is? As the story continues to unfold, and we see God’s response and the latter part of Job’s life (chapter 42), how can it bring us comfort?

Often when we fail to grow in our understanding of Scripture it’s because we fail to ask the right questions. Now to today’s reading.

goldI shall come forth as gold

23.9-10, “When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; when He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”

What a great statement of faith after all Job had been through! We may not be able to “see” what God is doing “on the right hand” of our lives. We may not understand why he is allowing something else “on the left,” but when we understand the goodness of God, the trustworthiness of God, the faithfulness of God, we can know that if we will stay focused on Him, when it’s all said and done, we, too, will have been tested and refined and come forth as gold!

anxiety & depressionIf you feel that you are being tested and you’re struggling to understand or if you want to help someone who is, James MacDonald has an incredible study called When Life is Hard available in print or on Kindle . You can also purchase a video Bible study kit from his website Walk in the Word. Continue reading

March 28 “God & government”

Has God ordained a certain form of government? In a republic like ours where we choose our leaders, what part should our faith play in our voting decisions?

God & government

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 17 & 18
Psalm 37.37-40
Proverbs 12.20-22
Luke 4.1-30

Deuteronomy 17 & 18:

God & government

Chapter 17.14-20:

14 “When you come to the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16 But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ 17 Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.

18 “Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, 20 that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.

God’s Word does not ordain a certain kind of government, but God’s people are to pray, seek His wisdom, and obey His commands in whatever circumstances and under whatever form of government they find themselves.

Leaders should be those “whom the LORD your God chooses.” In a nation like ours where we choose our leaders, they should not be chosen on the basis of political expediency or personal gain. Instead, we should pray, seek godly counsel, and search God’s Word for the characteristics of godly men. Continue reading