In the last 2 years the American people have been inundated with political rhetoric and viewpoints. I have heard that many are thinking of not even voting, for they find both candidates undesirable. There is a lot of anger, stress and opposition within America. The election is important, and we all must exercise our constitution rights. Voting is more than just a right it is also a responsibility. While I agree that all eligible people should be registered and vote; there is more to voting than casting a ballot. As Believers we are commanded to respect and honor those civil authorities over us [Romans 13]. We are to “render unto Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s. We live in two worlds, as believers were are to be “pilgrims and aliens” for we seek a city whose builder and maker is God; having said that we do live life in the earthly existence so we can just ignore civil issues. I have been in a dilemma as many of you asking “how do I exercise my citizenship in America, while remaining faithful to trusting God?” Well I know that Caesar is always going to be Caesar, therefore I must seek what God’s will is in all things. Our voting responsibility means that we must be informed about each candidate, and seek to understand what God is doing in our country. As the Holy Spirit illuminates your understanding through reading and listening to the abundance of material – you have to ask “How does God want me to vote?” Let me give you two examples from scripture that will show you that God’s choice isn’t necessarily man’s choice. The first is when Israel wanted to be like all the other nations and have a king. Samuel told them they didn’t need a king, they had Jehovah. Pressed by the people, God instructed Samuel to let the people have a king. God gave them King Saul, he was the tallest and most impressive “candidate,” needless to say, Saul last a year before the Holy Spirit was removed from him by God. [1 Samuel 9-11] The second example was King Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon. The Father in heaven chose to elevate Nebuchadnezzar to a lofty position as the greatest kingdom to ever exist. God used the Babylonians as His instrument of discipline towards the unfaithful Israelites. The reigning king Zedekiah was flabbergasted that Jeremiah would proclaim such a thing to the people of Judah. The point I am trying to make is that people want a king of their own liking and supportive of their own agenda and issues. However, God is the reigning King and will remain so. We may not like what He is doing – but we must accept His judgment and person He chooses to raise to power. Now I know that the situation for my two examples is opposite. God chose Nebuchadnezzar to discipline an unfaithful, carnal people of God. They went into captivity for 70 years – only 4600 people were saved after the disciplining of God. I don’t think I have to explain the condition of America. But I do want you to know why we are in such a condition. I believe that the “Church” is the fault. The Church has followed the demise of Israel then; it stands to reason any people who refuse to live for the Lord will be the object of His punishment and anger. If we want to see the morality and ethics of our nation changed to a biblical standard, then it starts with us. We must live out what we say lives in us. Jesus Christ is the difference maker, not an elected official. I am reminded of how the early Church was persecuted terribly by the “Caesar’s” yet they turned the known would upside down with the Gospel. Who do you vote for? Be educated on the candidates, be fervent in prayer and listen to the Holy Spirit being convinced of what God in doing in our midst – then vote accordingly and leave the results to God.
Tag Archives: America
The theme is Wake Up America – sounds like a very emphatic call for the Church. Yet most of what I have viewed today has been about Cinco De Mayo or Holocaust Remembrance. While the latter to holidays are worthy in their own right, I find a disparaging problem with America even willing to Prayer, not just for the country, church or cultural environment, but to pray period.
Isaiah 58:1 is the theme verse “Cry loudly, do not hold back; raise your voice like a trumpet, And declare to My people their transgression, and to the house of Jacob their sins.” Obviously, the organizers have in mind a time of confession and repentance from known and secret sins, both for Israel, and the nations. But repentance happens individually. I am distraught with the cultural shift to unrestrained, unremorseful sinning for personal right and identity. I was talking with a pastor friend this week, I had to ask him, “is this the End of the Age?” He said something interesting, “I never expected things like this in my own time, but for my grandchildren’s time. I didn’t expect the change would happen so fast.”
This tells me that while he did expect a “falling away” he felt he would be okay. There is great forces of evil working and lurking over most of the world. An apathy has taken hold of people, where they just want to live out their days without fighting for what is biblical truth. The Church is a micro-cosmism of the culture, it saddens me that the Church isn’t more concerned about the Lost or the direction all of humanity is going. But rather wanting their own “felt needs” met at the expense of the generations that follow.
When I saw the theme Wake Up America, I immediately thought of Revelation 3:1-6, the church at Sardis. The dead church that thought it was alive. Jesus tells the Church to “Wake Up and strengthen that which remains, and which are about to die, for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.” Pretty much the Church had started something but did not have the desire or motivation to finish the task. I think of the Great Commission as something the Church has fallen short of completing.
If like my pastor friend thinks that these are the Last Days, and the time is short, what manner of people ought the Church be? There should be a sense of urgency about us. We must declare the Gospel and the warning of God that He will come and judge the world. I know a lot of people talk about prayer, but many only talk about it. Those days have to be over – the believers of this age must intercede for the rest of humanity. Wake Up Church, let your voice be heard over the noise of the culture!
During the month of May there is many activities that will command our attention and participation. There are graduations, weddings, Mother’s Day, National Day of Prayer and Memorial Day. How e choose to celebrate these special events is just as important. There are two specifically that I want to highlight in this article. My choices are Mother’s Day and Memorial Day.
Mother’s Day is always a high point for families and church sermons. The moms are recognized and applauded for their great effort in raising children, keeping the household running smoothly and their own professional accomplishments in or outside the home. All well-deserved accolades; my focus really is on Memorial Day. It used to be called Decoration Day, a day that was initially set aside to remember the Civil War soldiers and their high cost of battle. It became officially Memorial Day in 1971. Major General John Logan, and representatives of the Grand Army of the Republic, observed Decoration Day at Arlington National Cemetery, by decorating the graves of the Union soldiers. Other places have claimed to be the originator of the day; one such place was in Columbus Mississippi, while placing wreaths on the Confederate graves, in plain sight were graves of the Union soldiers left barren; so the women also placed wreaths on the Union graves as well. In the passing of time Decoration Day came to be seen as a day of reconciliation for the nation, as well as honoring the dead.
No many of you know that I just returned from a trip from Washington D.C.; where I was able to take in many of the memorials that our nation has erected to recognize the many military personnel who have fought and died for our country. I was left with many emotions as I viewed each of the major war tributes to the fallen. I believe that it is absolutely essential to continue to recognize the Fallen Soldiers who fought for the “rights” of all people to be treated equally and fairly within our borders as well as foreign soils.
As a retired military man, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the vast innumerable graves that dotted the land side overwhelmed me. I stood watching and listening to the dedicated Marines pace back and forth in front of the Tomb. I was equally impressed with the hush that enveloped the crowd of spectators. It reminded me of how important that every person’s life is in the scheme of things. Often the Unnamed go unnoticed. Rather than being identified, they can quickly become just statistics on a piece of paper. I am proud that out nation continues to revere the men and women of our armed forces.
Today the world we find ourselves living in is a very confusing one. It seems that so many are fighting for their OWN individual rights. But this bothers me for the pursuit of personal rights and freedoms and deteriorated the rights and freedoms of the masses. We live in a day when the rights of the minority override the betterment for all of mankind.
When I apply the various institutional and systemic battlegrounds I cannot but help think about “what are we really fighting for anymore?” I say we, because while I am retired from our countries military, I am still a Soldier. I am a soldier of the Cross. Again, when I read the scriptures, I read about love for God, fellow man and the betterment of the world. The Gospel is that power, not kings, queens and presidents. It is the Lordship of Jesus in our lives, being visible to others which make the difference.
In light of the presidential election that looms over our nation; so many are fighting for things that are surface issues, not core issues. I grant you that our election will determine much of the future for United States, but also for the world. I have always viewed the USA as the model for the world to see, that may be a bit naïve. America use to be a place where all people could feel a self-respect and honor. Now I know we haven’t always gotten it right, the Civil War is a clear example of that. But I am perplexed at the state of our Union. Instead of being a “light of the Gospel” it seems that there is a dark ominous cloud hanging over America. We all know there are many issues – mostly cultural issues that have really divided the people. Depending on your perspective, you will view these issues as absurd or worthy of the fight. As I looked across the grave filled cemetery of Arlington, there was a sense of pride and joy for a nation that got some things right. I walked away as a multi-faceted soldier and wondered to myself, are we just fighting battles, having already lost the war?
Some of you may think this is just a political-laced article, I hope not. Something I was reminded of recently – “If we desire to change our communities and country’s moral and ethically culture, we have to first change the culture of our churches.” It starts with us, soldiers of the Cross must wage war against the adversary – I think we have lost who the real adversary is; let us fight the “Good Fight” – and know what we are fighting for!
We start this week with the reading of the book of Isaiah. This prophets writings will carry us into April. Isaiah is a major prophet, and one that is not without controversy. You may have heard of Deutro-Isaiah, which is basically Isaiah 40-66. Some scholars think that the restoration prophecies of Isaiah are too long after the prophet lived to be attributed to him. Isiah ministered under five kings of Judah, a period of about 110 years. To look more closely at the events Isaiah writes about, read 2 Kings 14:17-20:21. This passage takes in the reigns of the kings mentioned in Isaiah 1:1.
The time frame of Isaiah is before the Assyrians defeat Samaria and the Northern Kingdom fall; with this in mind, Isaiah writes of the “vision of the LORD for Judah.” The time frame of the Kings mentioned put Isaiah preaching long before the 10 tribes of Israel fall. One would think that the judgment messages would be to the Northern Kingdom at this time not the Southern kingdom. We could look at the dynasties of each Northern and Southern kingdoms; specifically 19 kings, and 19 dynasties in the North. But 19 Kings and 1 dynasty in the South, the Davidic Kingdom Dynasty. Remember the promise of God to David that there would not cease to be one of his heirs sitting on his throne. Ultimately, Jesus the “Lion of Judah” will sit eternally on David’s throne. Could it be that with Jeroboam and his successors, that led the apostasy and anarchy of Baalism be already rejected and judgment pending from God? We know that Judah is God’s chosen people [not to say the other 10 tribes were not part of the original plan] where He will bring forth the Savior/Messiah Jesus.
Obviously from the 1st chapter there is a “worship that has gone wrong.” People have turned from God, and gone their own way. While they continued to worship in Jerusalem, they added worship “on the high places” also. The sin of idolatry has saturated the holy Zion. Even though indictment after indictment is given in chapter one, we still observe the “hope of restoration” in verses 18-19. Of course this is not without warning, if they refuse to return and repent in verse 20. The worship in Judah had become so infiltrated with pagan rituals of new moons, and festivals. The problem was even though the nation Judah continued worshiping at the Temple; God was repulsed by their actions. Judah was acting like as long as they kept God happy in the Temple sacrifices, they could do whatever else their hearts desired. Now things are not as bad as things will get, but they are bad enough. During the reigns of Manasseh and Amon, the sons of Hezekiah, Judah will hit an all-time low in morality; capped by the sacrifices to the fire god Molech.
Indictment after indictment, Isaiah brings against Judah. The description of Jerusalem in 1:21-23, speaks of the polluted, mixed religion of the day. In a constant barrage of evil adjectives, Isaiah identifies both the depth and extent of the “failed worship.” This should cause us today to think of what we have made worship in our churches to be. Do we think we can just “do something” and expect it to be acceptable to Jehovah God? 1:24-26; hints at the cleansing that Yahweh will accomplish in His judgment. It is a sad testimony of God’s people to realize that they have the One and Only True God; yet they were never satisfied, seeking after more sensual gods to their liking. We [mankind,churches] are guilty today of desiring not God, but our own form of worship, a worship that feeds our more basic instincts and animistic desires. [Michael W. Smith – Coming back to the Heart of worship, it’s all about You Jesus]
We find quickly that God is not pleased with His people. He is sovereign, He is in control and He will rule without equal. God is going to judgment Judah and Jerusalem in the future. Even though there was ample warning, Judah didn’t listen. While God is long-suffering and merciful, people take it for granted that they “got away with sin.” Not so, Yahweh see all.
Jehovah will direct the future events of rulers and conquests for His own will. Judgment is coming and judgment must begin at the house of God. Today in America, we must consider our own ways – is judgment pending for America? Assyrian kings will devastate the Northern Kingdom and Samaria in the near future of Isaiah’s writings. Will Judah take heed to the fallen Northern Tribes? No is the answer. Just because Judah gets a reprieve, doesn’t mean that God will now justifiably send them into captivity. The waywardness of Israel/Judah is evident. They were cautioned not to “engage with the Canaanite nations, lest they be duped into following their immorality and idolatry – they did it anyway. God is a jealous God – He will not shrug His shoulders at our unrighteousness!. Isaiah 5 speaks clearly about the reasonable expects that God should have for Judah or any nation that has benefited from His providence to them. A sad story will unfold – yet it will not be without hope of tomorrow.