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God Bless President Obama and God Bless Us!

Barack Obama is President of the United States (POTUS) again. On Tuesday the Commander in Chief was reelected to remain in his office for four more years.

If you look at the voting statistics, it was a fairly close vote. Maybe it wasn’t as close as some people thought it would be, but it was by no means a landslide victory.

So now what? What will all the Republicans do? More importantly, what will conservative Christians do? As I shared in a previous post this week, there are a number of things that are concerning about what the Democrats are trying to do. There are things being approved and proposed that are contrary to our faith and beliefs. Thus, many conservative Christians might have been left frustrated and disturbed after Obama was reelected on Tuesday.

What are Christians to do? How are we to react?

With respect and honor! Once again, we review two key Bible verses:

Romans 13:1-2  Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

1 Peter 2:13-14, 17  Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right . . . honor the king.

No matter who is the President of the United States–or even if we live in a country with communism and a dictator!–we owe our government respect and honor. That doesn’t mean we have to agree with every policy or platform. But that does mean we ought be humbly respectful.

God is in control of this entire universe. He created it. He preserves it. Thus, it was according to his holy will that Barack Obama is the one he has allowed to become president.

Why?

Only God knows.

But we do know these things:

  • God promises never to leave us or forsake us
  • God promises that all things work for our good
  • God promises that his kingdom and his Church cannot be defeated

Thus, humbly we accept God’s will and move forward. Maybe Obama was your vote. Maybe not. It doesn’t matter any more. God allowed  Obama to retain his office. God’s will was done.

Therefore, we are to respect our President. We are to pray for our President. We are to pray for our country. And, if we want to make some real changes in our lives and in our country, then we can be resolved to vow what Joshua did in the Old Testament:

Joshua 24:15  But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD!

That crystial-clear focus will bring real change in our lives, our communities, and our country.

God be with President Obama. God be with the United States of America. God be with us.

May his will be done. May his kingdom spread.

All Good Christians Are Republicans! . . . Right?

In case someone out there has been cowering in a bomb shelter or was sucked into a black hole for the last few weeks, I’ll tell you that today is an important day. It’s election day. Today is the day to vote for local leaders and officials, vote on amendments to laws, and perhaps most importantly, vote for the POTUS–President of the United States.

And if you were said bomb shelter hibernator who was out of touch with reality, I’ll also tell you that the two candidates for president are democratic incumbent Barack Obama and republican Mitt Romney.

Undoubtedly, you have not been living a reclusive lifestyle and have been a part of the real world. So undoubtedly, you know about the election and the two candidates. It’s hard to miss the info! TV ads, radio ads, billboards, bumper stickers, and random phone calls have bombarded Americans for weeks and even months. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets are smothered in political ads and political bantering right now.

Unfortunately, politics have made their way into many churches too. Pastors and other ministers have been boldly heralding choices that need to be made by members of their congregations. And often times–but not all of the time–conservative Christians will find themselves on the Republican side of things.

Where I live, in northeast Florida just barely at the bottom of the Bible belt, this is the case. Most conservative Christians in these parts tend to be in the Republican party. This is not always the case. But this is often the case.

As a pastor I have a lot of people ask me a lot of questions about politics and the election. Sometimes these Christians are a little biased from one political party or the other. But it begs the question:

Are all good Christians Republicans?

I’ll cut to the chase rather than making this a really, really long blog post. NO! NOT AT ALL! In fact, I would almost go so far as to say it is sinful and unbiblical to 100% assert that people are bad Christians if they are democrats and/or vote for Barack Obama.

What do we know from the Bible? Here are two key Bible sections to give guidance:

Romans 13:1-2  Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

1 Peter 2:13-14, 17  Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right . . . honor the king.

The apostles Paul and Peter are very clear. As Christians we owe honor, respect, and obedience to all the leaders that God has placed over us (as long as they are not telling us to do something against God’s will). And remember, those words were first written in a time when Christians were being persecuted actively by the Jews and by the Roman Empire which was led by an emperor who called himself a god!

God did not establish any particular political party. But God did establish government. So again for that reason, we owe the government honor, respect, and obedience regardless of which party is leading our country.

So when it comes to an election in a country that is privileged to have democracy, we Christians are left to use our own good minds and judgment in making choices. Understanding that the government’s job is not to make everybody Christian or to run the Church but only to rule, protect, and punish, we are thus free to choose whatever candidate we like.

Some Christians feel strongly that the Republican party is a good one to affiliate with because of issues like abortion and gay marriage. I happen to be one of those Christians.

Yet on the other hand, this election year proves a good point. Now what do those die-hard conservative Christian Republicans think about Mitt Romney? He’s not Christian. He’s Mormon. There are a lot of issues that come up with that. It presents a big problem! This year proves that one can’t just say, “All Christians need to be Republican.” This year, the republican candidate isn’t even Christian himself!

The bottom line is: I’m not going to tell you how to vote. (I did allude to how voted though.) More importantly, God doesn’t tell you to vote for a specific candidate or party. 

Rather, God gives you a mind, reason, and a conscience to vote for the person you think will best govern this country and allow for God’s Word to be preached and shared.

God bless you in that careful thinking and voting. God bless our country in the results. May his will be done.

Daily Devotion on Romans 13:1-7

Text:  Romans 13:1-7

There isn’t a lot of respect these days when it comes to government.

It’s not quite the same feel as the Vietnam Era though. There aren’t quite so many protests or anti-war hippies (to be stereotypical) running around. But one could argue that there’s even less respect for the government today than ever before.

First, politicians haven’t done much to earn respect lately. In a new age of social media and instant notifications and news, hardly anything is hidden. So when there is scandal, it is instantlyhuge deal. And there have been plenty of political scandals of late. Embezzling, theft, fraud, adultery, immorality and more litter and tarnish the reputations of so many.

Then there are the citizens themselves. Again we can look at the technology and social media available today. Any person in the world can share what they think and believe by blog or Facebook or Twitter or dozens of other avenues. If someone has an opinion about government–even misinformed, wrongful, and biased opinions–those opinions are readily and easily availably to all.

So when it comes to lines in the sand, the differences between liberals and conservatives are vast and nearly insurmountable. Of course, then there are those who form political parties completely different than all the rest!

In this boiling political pot then, there is little respect given. Liberals can’t stand conservatives, and vice versa. Peace-lovers can’t stand war and the military. The military can’t stand those who seem to be “unpatriotic.” Republicans think Democrats are looney and Democrats think Republicans are ancient and archaic. Citizens call for real leaders. Leaders call for real citizens. (Whatever either of those things means.)

How different from what God teaches and commands! Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities this chapter opens with. If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. 

What a rude wakeup call that is for most United States citizens!

Note how it didn’t say, “only if you agree with the government,” or, “if it’s your political party,” or “if you think things are going well.” These are blanket commands from God to submit to the government and to give respect and honor, no matter what government or leader you are under.

Why?

For there is no authority except that which God has established.

So even if you are of a different party, different opinion, or different agenda, the government is due honor, respect, and obedience because God has established it. You can disagree. You can work to pass different laws. You can vote however you want. You can discuss better choices. But the government is always due honor, respect, and obedience because God has established it.

So on this Memorial Day, we can give thanks for our government leaders. We can give thanks for our military personnel past and present who have given of their time and even their lives to defend this country and our freedoms. (Note in verse 4 how God allows for military force and appropriately severe punishments!)

No matter your political party, no matter your opinion on the “issues,” no matter how well current politicians are leading us, we can thank God for the government he has given us and then give them appropriate honor and respect.

God be with our leaders. God be with our military. God be with our country.

Prayer: Lord God, you hold all times and places in your hands. You watch over, protect, and preserve your faithful people. You provide safety and protection through governments of this world which you have established and guide in the days and times of history. I ask that you continue to watch over our good country. Bless us. Preserve us. Give us good leaders. And finally, guide us through your plans for this world until we join you in your glorious kingdom. I pray in your mighty name. Amen.

The Fourth Commandment

The Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and mother, that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.

Would you be alive today if God’s Old Testament laws were still in place? God demanded in Deuteronomy 21 that any son who refused to obey his parents should be stoned. If I had known as a child that I should have been killed for disrespecting my parents I might have thought twice before letting my little defiant heart make itself known.

God knows his creation. He made everything you see out of nothing, so it makes sense that he knows the best, most beneficial way for this world, his world, to run. In this commandment he gives some clear directives on how to get the most out of this creation. This is the first commandment with a promise attached to it. God says that if this commandment is obeyed a long, enjoyable life is promised. Implicit in this promise is that if we fail to follow this commandment things will not go very well. Read the rest of this entry