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Archive for July, 2014

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that beare ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” (Romans 13:1-2)

Government: What’s a Christian to do?

Have you ever listened to a Bible teaching on Romans 13:1 and come away believing all an American Christian can do is vote, and then trust God for everything that vhappens after that? Well if we lived in a country where all we were allowed to do was vote, that would be true, but that is not the case in the United States. Voting is only one of several activities that the government (whom we are submitted to), encourages it citizens to exercise. It could be argued that if you’re not exercising all your liberties [as they pertain to government function and personal citizenship], then you are not wholly submitted to these higher powers.

What are those activities? Here’s the short list:

Rights, Responsibilities, and Duties of a U. S. Citizen (and Christian)

  • Vote
  • Serve on a jury
  • Run for office
  • Become eligible for federal grants and scholarship
  • To communicate with the world.
  • Demonstrate and/or protest
  • To express and/or publish one’s opinions or those of others.
  • To practice one’s religion
  • Support and defend the Constitution
  • Serve the country
  • Participate in the democratic process
  • Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others
  • Participate in your local community
  • To enjoy equally the rights, privileges and protections of personhood as established by law.
  • To petition an official for redress of grievances
  • To petition a court for redress of grievances
  • To petition a legislator
  • To help enforce laws and practices and to resist those which are not

Jesus Didn’t Do These Things

Jesus didn’t vote either. One reason may have been because the government in Jesus’ day gave little or no such freedoms to their citizens. I suspect if the topic of voting was brought to His attention (and if voting was a liberty granted by Caesar), Jesus would have said ‘vote,’ and vote wisely.

Without any doubt, there is ‘no authority except from God, and those governments and officials that exist are established by God,’ but ask yourself, is God establishing these offices based on our civil participation (or lack of participation) in the legal process?

  • Do we get political tyrants because we have only voted and did little else?
  • If our government grants us liberties and we ignore them, can we consider ourselves submitted to these higher powers?
  • Are we resisting the very ordinance of God laid out in Romans 13:1-2?
  • Are we in fact getting what we deserve?

How do these things line-up with Psalm 37?

Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers.  For they will wither quickly like the grass And fade like the green herb. Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Psalm 37:1-3

It cannot be argued that Christians are ‘strangers and pilgrims’ here on earth, but nowhere in the Bible are we counseled to forgo our responsibilities towards stewardship in citizenship. Quite frankly I believe the United States is in the downward spiral that we’re in because Christians have not been faithful with these duties. Some Christians don’t even vote! That is a complete failure in submission to Christ Jesus and His ordinances regarding this matter. If something is wrong with government locally, federally, or on the state level, and we’re sitting on our hands and biting our tongues until the next election, then we deserve whatever political wrath that comes down the pike.

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it…Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Genesis 1:28; Colossians 3:23-24)

Consider the list of liberties above and how God would have you exercise your freedom as a citizen subjected to those with authority over you.  If you have been given rights by your government (like voting) and you ignore those rights, you are submitted to apathy and negligence rather than those who rule over you.

What are your thoughts?

Please use Bible Scripture to support your position if possible.

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My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Rob Cruver, senior pastor of Zarephath Christian Church, in Zarephath, NJ recently provided some valuable insight to the James 1 Bible passage. He shared that back in the day when this epistle was penned, Christian Jews were severely ostracised for their new-found faith in Jesus. They were fired from jobs, excluded from events, banished from the temple, shunned by their friends, and rejected by their families. The ‘divers (various) temptations’ that James was referring to was the allure for these believers to tone-down their Christian rhetoric just enough so they could keep their jobs, friends, and families.

liteTempting Indeed

Is that not what we are witnessing today? Aren’t Christians willingly toning down their religious presence so as to not be rejected. Isn’t the government regularly chiming-in, “Be as Christian as you want, but just keep it to yourself.” Don’t our well-meaning friends and families consistently echo the same advice?

This is not the counsel of James.  He admonishes us to stand firm in our convictions and to try (test) our faith and witness what God will do as a result. In this time of patience, our Lord and Savior is working our perfection and wholeness in us. He will meet every need.  If jobs, friends, and families be lost, so be it! God has something better in store for us. It was a tough message for these early believers and it is a tough message for us. The question that remains is do you trust Jesus to keep His word; are you willing to patiently standby while your faith is tried?

Trust Him. He is faithful.

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

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“When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ’How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ’Let us go after other gods’–which you have not known–’and let us serve them, ’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 12:29 -13:3

More Than Yoga

God’s admonition to His church is exceedingly clear; leave the false religions alone–don’t listen, don’t inquire, and don’t be curious. Is our Father in Heaven envious of these false gods? No, He is jealous for us. In the same way a dad is jealous for his daughter; wanting only the best for her, our Lord is jealous for His bride wanting only the best for us. God knows there is a very present danger when we commence poking around in realms we ought not to be. Quite frankly, how non-believers choose to worship their false gods is none of our business.

What does that have to do with yoga? Consider that ‘yoga‘ is a Sanskrit word that means to join with (in this case, the false god named Brahman) and the mantras that yoga instructors have followers chant are the names of Hindu gods and many are designed to call them forth. Sadly a large percentage of those who get involved with yoga also get involved with Hinduism, New Age religion and the occult.

Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips. Exodus 23:13
Are there benefits to doing yoga? Apparently there are, but those benefits do not outweigh the risks, and at best they are temporary. Do not be deceived. Just because you have taken part in yoga (or horoscopes, astrology, etc) and haven’t been adversely affected does not mean you won’t be. Most importantly, these practices are not pleasing to God and He should never take a backseat to what we find pleasurable.

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear…1 Peter 3:15

Study His Word

Every moment that we spend investigating the ways of another religion, we could be spending in God’s word. There is of course the argument that suggests that by knowing more about these other beliefs we can become better witnesses for Jesus. It’s a ridiculous claim. That’s like saying Tiger Woods can teach Michael Phelps how to golf if he first learns how to swim.

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. 2 John 1:10
Another Strong Warning
Does that mean we should turn away the Jehovah Witness and the Mormon who show up at our door steps? I believe it does, if it is our intention to learn something. When we listen to lies, we risk spiritual injury. Having said that, a few years ago (in ignorance) I took the risk and listened to two very nice and very knowledgeable Jehovah Witness ladies. What I learned from that experience was that these women knew their fake bible better than I knew the truth. From that moment on I set out to correct that. The Apostle Paul warned us in the book of Ephesians that we should give no place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27), but I think God spoke most clearly through His servant David when he penned these words:

I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word. I have not departed from Your judgments, For You Yourself have taught me. How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. Psalm 119:101-105

And there you have it, ‘Hate every false way.’

It’s not a matter of intolerance or narrow-mindedness; it’s a matter of defense. God’s Word is a lamp for our feet and every other way only serves to diffuse that light. It’s my testimony that before I knew Jesus I packed my head with the refuse of this world and at this moment there is precious little space left, therefore I will choose wisely the things I allow to take up residence therein. God’s counsel is wise counsel—drop the yoga and any other practice that is ungodly in its design.

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