Government Shut down

First and foremost, I feel the need to state the obvious. No matter who is in charge of our government, or what they do, Jesus is king. That being said, did you know that our government follows a distinct pattern that was standout in the midst of monarchys. The predominate style of government was a monarchy, but the Jews only king was God and then Moses had a system of judges who incrementally oversaw increasingly large numbers. These judges according to Exodus 18, were to men that were seen as wise and Godly men, they were not only responsible for upholding the law, but they were held to a higher and stricter standard. Rightly so, those who are to make and enforce the laws must also be subject to them. If they are not, they are setting up a ruling class of people who are above the law. God viewed His people as created equals with Him as their ruler. We are a Republic with Democratic tendencies, because all men are created equal.

More and more this seems to be what is going on in this country, that we are two classes. A ruling class of wealthy men who have their own agendas. Agendas that likely have nothing to do with what is best for our nation. Now, I am sure that it will not take much guessing for any of you to figure out where I stand on Affordable Healthcare Act, but that said if it is going to be the law, it needs to apply accross the board to everyone.

The problems that this nation is facing are so much bigger than just this act. We seem to have almost forgotten about the need to raise our debt ceiling again. This is also a huge problem. We have failed to cut costs and if we continue to fund, um everything, we will default. Funding Obamacare is just the tip of the iceburg. We need a huge scale back of our government. We are headed for disaster and I just don’t see how we get back.

Last year, when I got sick I was unable to work. I had to incur debt to pay for healthcare and related things. Shortly after, I was forced out of my full time job. During the last few months, I have had to cut my spending. Getting rid of things that were good and beneficial. What I need now is to increase my income. I could for a breif period of time use more debt to get through this, but that can’t continue. I can already feel the weight of lower income and higher debt. I can’t imagine how bad it would be if this pattern of borrowing to pay debt had been going on for years! Yet, that is how our government operates. It’s scary.

Now, I am not sure if shutting down the government is the best way to address these issues. I think that even the powers that be have forgotten what the fight is about, they just want to win. Meanwhile, the people suffer while the ruling class fight like petulant children.

We need to be on our knees praying for our leadership, clearly, they are in need of wisdom. Imagine if every Christian got on their knees and prayed for wisdom for our leaders. What if each one of us prayed for the revival of this land and begged God to forgive our national iniquities? Before we can have national holiness, we must first have personal holiness. We must work on having our own lives in accordance with God’s will and pray for personal revival and then let that fire spread through out our home towns, permeate our nation, so that we can have corporate holiness that the world will see, that will be so compelling that they can’t help, but to be part of it.

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Christian Politics

There are few topics that stir hot emotions like the topic of politics. This is probably why it is a topic where we need to find our common ground and be sure that our conversations are respectful, the world is watching. As Christians, I think that many of us agree on the basic ideas, where we differ is in how to accomplish our goals.

For example, all of us would agree that Christ would want us to do our part to make sure that the poor, the fatherless, the widowed etc. do not go with out a roof and food. Where some of us part ways is how this gets accomplished. I am personally of the opinion that charity is not the place of our government. There should be fewer government programs and more private ones. Many of the ones the currently exist are run by religious organizations, but I do not in any way think that charity should be limited to religion.

Here is my reasoning for this line of thinking – the government needs to have funds to handle the things that the government is specifically supposed to be in charge of. Things like roads, military, police, and education. These should be the primary focus of government. right now, so much money is being spent on public welfare that the primary concerns of government are being neglected.

The second reason for this line of thinking is that if we become overly indebted to our government for our basic necessities how will we dissent we our government is too big? We will become a society afraid to bite the hand that feeds. Look around, this is happening. There is no free lunch. Everything has it’s price and the price is too high, because the price will be our freedom.

Third, as Christians we know that we are blessed by God for our generosity. Is it possible that individuals miss out on the blessing of God because we are allowing the government to do our job? I do believe that God blesses our generosity and that we can be generous even out of a little, but if the average citizen kept more of their income they would be better able to be charitable, I think they would be too.

The problem is that while I believe that we were a nation that was founded on Christian principles, we are not a Christian nation. We are democratic-republic. This means that all of the people have a say, Christians and atheists alike ( and all the others too) have the right to equal protection under the law. Charity shouldn’t be legislated, but morality can’t be either. I can’t say enough that we can not hold people who do not claim to be Christians to our standard. This is where the issues can be easy convoluted. Biblical standards are true. They are correct. I believe this with every fiber of my being, but I also believe in the right to believe as you choose.

Not all truth claims are created equally, but this does not mean that people don’t have the right to believe false truth claims.There are many who feel that we need to legislate morality. This includes laws like DOMA, as one example, I understand where that line of thinking is coming from, because I agree that the disintegration of the American family has a lot to do with the collapse of our culture. It is our job as Christians to be the light and the salt. It is our job to pray for those around us, to pray for our government – at every level, and to pray for our pastors, leaders, and churches. It is our job to make a difference within our circle of influence. True change, lasting change, only comes from within. We can’t legislate that. We can pray for it.

Train them up

Psalm 127:3-5 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

One of the greatest blessings that we can have is the gift of children. When it comes to the idea of reflecting Him, one of the greatest ways we can do that is to leave a legacy of believing children. With great privilege comes great responsibility. This phrase, first voiced by Voltaire has a lot of truth to it. Each of my children is an amazing gift from God, but each of them also needs to be raised up in the ways of the Lord. This is something I must take active participation in, the television and society around us is certainly not going to do it.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

While I do believe that this verse refers to teaching our children about the Lord their God, I think that it also means that God has given them gifts and it is my job to help them discover those gifts and use them to glorify the Lord. Doing this means knowing your children, being available to them, and often it means prayerful anguish. We must pray for wisdom and guidance from God, because while we are raising them, He is raising us.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

We are all called to teach our children to love the Lord with all our hearts, to make his word part of our everyday lives. Simply having them at church on Sunday isn’t enough. If you haven’t been doing this that is ok, we can’t change the past, but every minute offers us the opportunity to start over. We can ask forgiveness for our failures and begin to do as the Lord commanded. We are all fallible people who make mistakes, sometimes, mistakes that are huge. It is so wonderful to know that we are not just fallen, but also redeemed and although, in some cases we may have made a mess, God says he can take it and redeem it.

If you are not a parent, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be a part of shaping the next generation. There are so many hurting children in this world, I would bet that you know one right within your circle of influence. Reflect His light with every opportunity and most of all pray. Pray for our children, they face so many hardships, pray the children in your extended family, pray for the children in your church.

Reflecting Him despite Pain

The last few weeks have been tough to say that least. My disease had come to a point where I was given the choice to live in pain or to go through what I knew would be a painful surgical procedure followed by a long recovery. With a hope of again being healthy in sight, I chose to have the surgery.  Ten days out, and eighty percent of my intestines lighter, I am feeling much better. It was at the lowest point of exhaustion and infection that I realized that our physical health is so important.  Comprehension when attempting to read the word eluded me, prayers bounced off the ceiling, my heart wasn’t fully alive, it was trying to sleep.

 

Finally, I found myself begging God to please impress upon his saints to pray for me as I couldn’t do it for myself. In this life as Jonathan Edwards once preached we truly are all living s on ice.  What keeps our feet strong on the straight and narrow path is the hand of God, be clear on this it is his hand not ours that holds us.  Even when in my weakness his hand never let go of mine.

 

For where two or three have gathered 

together in My name, I am there in their midst.”  Mathew 18:20

 

This brings me to an important part of keeping close enough to God to reflect his light; we must be a part of a Christian fellowship. There are many who feel, and not completely inaccurately, that the church is tough to be part of because it is made up of people who are far from perfect. We all have sinned, we all fall short of the glory of God, and there are wolves in amongst the sheep. This is all the more reason that we must be in prayer for those around us and draw close to God and join battle with and for each other.

 

Having a circle of fellowship with sojourners who seek to fight for the narrow path of relationship with God is hard. There are indeed few who find it, but we must try to find one another. This is not a battle God intended us to fight alone. I am so thankful that God did indeed call people to fight on my behalf. This means that there were some who kept themselves in a position to hear the call and chose to be obedient to it. I could feel the prayers, I felt God’s peace rush over me like a wave. Grace like rain had new meaning. Who is God calling you to pray for today?  We must fight to stay on the narrow the path, but also we must fight for each other.