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Pray For Those In Authority Over You

September 27, 2012 Leave a comment

1 Timothy 2:1-6

Go to any of the main-line or even lesser known news websites or magazines and you’ll find a plethora of unbiased and biased writing about our currently political situation…election year.  Not only is this considered a historic election cycle, but one that has the attention of most all the nation and world.  I’m not only talking about the presidency…but also congress and state and local elections.  To most of us living in the states, this is huge!  It’s mammoth no matter what side you stand on.

I’m trying to gain perspective.  Each commercial and advertisement and billboard vies for our attention and commitment.  But that’s because to me, right now in 2012, it’s very personal.  I am living in the here and now.  My kids are growing up in the here and now.  The parents and students I work with are living in the here and now.  I’m thinking about the rest of my life as well as the 70+/- years of all those I work with.  Sure, I’m thinking of my future and theirs as well.  I want the best and safest for all.

But….yes, here comes the big but…if I pulled back 6000+ years of human history, this is nothing new.  Parents like me worried about their kids growing up in the culture and political environment at all points along the big timeline.  My fears are not new.  My hopes are not new.  But they are very personal to me.

What does God think about our present day worries?  Well, for one, worry is a sin.  Just saying.  Jesus said in Matthew not to do it because it causes fractures in our relationship with the Father.  Jesus didn’t worry…he had hope that overcame worry.  So I have to say, I’m trying really hard not to worry about this election cycle.  I’ll do my part.  I’ll study the situations at hand and the philosophies of those wanting to be elected.  But, no matter what, my hope in an eternity will not be taken away.  On the extreme side of things, a communistic/atheistic regime could overthrow the USA and my hope in an eternity still could not be taken away.  In the end Jesus wins…no matter who sits on an earthly throne locally, statewide, nationally or globally.

Here’s where the main verse comes into play.  Paul writes to Timothy, instructing him how to teach leaders to pray.  Paul encourages Timothy to pray and lead others in prayer for “all men, for kings and all who are in authority.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)  Why?  I mean, Paul could have encouraged people to fight for their rights and picket and vote (all good things when done with the right spirit), but he didn’t.  In this day and time, Rome was without a doubt pressing its own culture and philosophy of life as well as its religion.  Christianity was not thought of highly and even held under thumb.  So…politically, there have been people and currently are people in rougher situations than us…but God’s plan for man still isn’t thwarted and narrowed.  We see this in verse 3.  Paul instructs people to pray for ALL those in authority…for their best!  Verse three says, “…it is good and acceptable in God’s sight” that we do this.  Again…why?  Because, as God’s plan holds, He wants ALL men to be saved.  It’s not about us.  It’s all about eternity.

Can you imagine what might happen if we all put aside our political sway, and put away the prayers that ask God to save us from those opposite of our political philosophies, and simply prayed for our leaders to see God…so they could have the hope we have…so they could see Jesus crucified and risen…no politics involved?  I’d call that a continuation of the Movement Jesus started when He sent the disciples out to start the Church.  Are you all in?

Let’s pray for those we oppose.  Let’s pray for those that we agree with.  Let’s pray for our current situations, but let’s pray for God’s will…that those men and women would be saved.  Who knows, in Heaven you may very well be surprised who accepted Jesus and now stands beside you worshiping the Lamb.

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

Ed

Picturesque Examples:  (…this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior)

  • Student prays for Teacher
  • Jailed prays for Jailer
  • Player prays Coach
  • Worker prays for Boss
  • Slave prays for Owner
  • Child prays for Parent
  • Ticketed prays for Officer
  • Citizen prays for President
  • Homeowner prays for Township Trustee

“God’s man in God’s place, doing God’s will to God’s glory, will never lack God’s support.” ~Hudson Taylor

Whatville and Whoville and 1000 Years

April 26, 2012 3 comments

Partial Reprint of a Previous Article I’ve Uploaded…

What is your church preference?

  • While filling out an application for employment, the applicant came to a query which asked, “What is your Church Preference?”  The man, not being a person of extraordinary intelligence thought through the question for some time because he really needed the job. He wanted to impress the employer and answered very confidently, “I prefer a red brick church.”

******

We’re in the middle of a fairly lengthy discussion of the book of Revelation.  All through the book we see references to the church.  The verses we are focusing on today, though one subject often causes controversy, talks about the church (the 1000 years).  But if we don’t have a correct definition of the church, we are likely to miss the importance of why this letter was written and how it speaks to our daily purpose/battles as well.

As silly as the joke above might be, it very well might be nearer a truth in our American church society today.  If you listen close to the way we talk about our churches, we mention things associated with places, street addresses, programs, target groups, worship music and, of course, buildings.

Let’s speak frankly for a moment.  The Bible talks specifically that we, who claim Christ as Lord, are members of His body (Ephesians 5:30).  The Bible only separates church families by place names, or more specifically the city where they meet (Writings of Paul and Revelation).  The Church has two focuses…Love God and Love people (Matthew 22:37-39).  The church has one purpose.  It is to help people cross over from their life of sin into a life in relationship with the Forgiver of Sins (Matthew 28:19-20).  The Bible does not separate church families by philosophy, style of music, size of building, number in attendance, or length of Sunday morning services.  We are to be one body acting together in focus and purpose throughout the world.

Author and speaker Reggie McNeal said it this way, “Its moving from ‘Whatville’ to ‘Whoville.”  It’s moving from a place called the church to being the church wherever we are.  Moving from building to person.  Wherever you are, the church is.

Ok, I’m sure I got some of your buttons pushed from the comments above.  But we really can’t argue with Jesus’ model prayer in Matthew 5.   Jesus has us praying for God’s will to be done through us, His church, here on this planet, as it is in Heaven.  This reminds me of His prayer in John 17:19-23 right before He goes to the cross…

  • I pray also for those who will believe in me through [the Disciples’] message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

We are here, on earth, to be a real and tangible presence of Heaven…though not completely perfect.  So how are we doing in this area?  How are we doing in our local communities?  How are we doing through the week in our workplaces and schools?  Are we a fresh vision of Heaven to all who see us?  Are we a constant 24/7 representative of Heaven?

Some questions for evaluation for yourself or your church family:

  • When people see me do they see God?
  • When people hear me do they hear God?
  • When I make decisions, do people see the decisions that God would make?
  • Do people see God’s forgiveness when I forgive?  Do I forgive?
  • Do people see God’s care when I care for them?
  • Do people see God’s unconditional love when I am around?

….or

  • Do they see me instead of God?
  • Do they hear my attitudes and selfishness instead of God?
  • Do they see decisions that are for ‘my good’ rather than ‘my neighbor’s?’
  • Do they see me holding a list of their sins?
  • Do they see me caring more for my personal stuff than theirs?
  • Do they see love when they deserve it, and love withheld when they don’t?

As Steve Kimbrel has aptly said, we are ‘outposts of Heaven’ in the place we live…in the place we work…in the places we spend our time…for the people we are around.

  • “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

It is my understanding that we are within that 1000 years that John wrote of.  We are the Army chapter 19 talks about as we march forward taking people from the grip of Satan and presenting them with the truth of Jesus.

love-serve-spread the Word,

ed

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