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Voting and praying

The United States has just had an election.  The right to vote gives all citizens a voice in deciding how the country will be run.  Christians, like other citizens, should exercise this right, but we have another way we can influence the government and that is to pray for our leaders.  Jeremiah sent a letter to the Jews who had been taken into captivity in Babylon urging them to do this.

 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.  (Jeremiah 29:7)

The apostle Paul gave the same command to Christians.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  (1 Timothy 2:1,2)

In both cases the reason is the same.  We will be better off if we live under a stable government that cares about the welfare of its citizens. Read the rest of this entry

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Christians and government

Christians disagree about how involved we should be in government.  Some believe we should not be involved at all and not even vote in elections.  Others think we should use the government as a way to promote Christianity.  Most Christians adopt a position somewhere between these two extremes.  We need to look at what the Bible says about this subject.

We are commanded to pray for our government leaders.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  (1 Timothy 2:1,2)

The command is found in the Old Testament as well as the New.

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.  (Jeremiah 29:7)

This was what Jeremiah told the exiles in Babylon to do.  Since Christians are citizens of Heaven we are in the same position as those exiles; we are exiled from our native land and living in a foreign country.  This is true even if we are living in the country in which we were born. Read the rest of this entry

Leaving vengeance to the wrath of God

We are commanded not to avenge ourselves but to leave all vengeance to God’s wrath.

 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

But just how do we leave vengeance to God?  If what another person does to hurt us involves a violation of the law, there is a very easy way.  Inform the police and press criminal charges against him.  Here is what the Bible says about the role of government.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:1-4)

Did you notice the last sentence?  For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.   When we ask the government to take action against someone who has hurt us we are not avenging ourselves but turning the matter over to God’s servant. Read the rest of this entry

Our debt to Caesar

Jesus said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  He was responding to a question about the legality of paying taxes to Caesar and his answer shows that we must pay our taxes.  Some people protest government activities that they consider evil or immoral by withholding the percentage of taxes that goes to support such actions.  Jesus’ statement does not give Christians the option of doing this.  We must pay all the taxes imposed on us; if Caesar misuses the tax money we provide in ways that are contrary to God’s will, he will answer to God for his actions.

Our obligation to Caesar goes beyond just paying taxes. Read the rest of this entry

Choose your battles wisely

In the past Christianity has had a strong influence on American culture.  That influence has grown much weaker and that fact is reflected in our laws.

Because humans are created in God’s image human life should be protected.  Today abortion is legal and there is a movement to legalize suicide by the terminally ill.

God established marriage as a permanent union between a man and a woman.  Almost all states have no fault divorce laws which make it easy to end a marriage and many of them allow marriage between two members of the same sex.

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Pray for Daniel

The prophet Daniel was one of the captives taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar when he conquered Judah.  He was fully committed to obeying God even though he was a captive and as a result God placed him in a position where he could have a godly influence on the king.  As a result, Nebuchadnezzar became a worshipper of God.

Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
Daniel 4:37

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Christian citizens

Philippians 3:20 says of Christians,

Our citizenship is in Heaven.

When someone is naturalized as a citizen of a country he gives up whatever citizenship he previously had and no longer has any allegiance to his former country. So does this mean that when we became Christians we gave up our citizenship in our earthly country? There are some Christians who think this is so and that for this reason Christians shouldn’t get involved in any form of political activity. Read the rest of this entry

Beating the air

It is possible to expend a lot of energy without accomplishing anything useful.  Paul warned against such useless efforts in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. Read the rest of this entry

Steps to national repentance

Leviticus 4 contains instructions for those who have sinned and want to be forgiven. There are four sections for four different classes of people. For anyone who wants to see his nation turn back to God this order is significant.

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