A Good Day To Pray For The President

Yellowstone Day 3

An election year often produces more buzz over the next President than concern over the current President. Yet, the office of President produces the potential to make landmark, life altering, decisions every day. They don’t get weekends off and the buck stops with them. For instance, with the passing of Justice Scalia, President Obama’s appointment to the Supreme Court will impact the nation for years to come.

This is a good day to pray for the President. But it is always a good day to pray for the President.

Whoever the President, whatever his party, however long he holds the office; it is the duty of saints to pray for him. Indeed, 2 Timothy 2:1-4 encourages saints to pray broadly for leaders and kings among men. Let’s remember that our brotherhood, Christ’s kingdom, crosses all national boundaries because the Lord Jesus rules in the hearts of men. In other words, there are Christians praying for their rulers in Democracies, Dictatorships, Monarchies, Communist States, and even Islamic States – all at the same time.

Whatever could all Christians ask that all national leaders could influence? Again, 2 Timothy 2:1-4 offers the answer:

  • Peace – “that we may all lead a quiet and peaceable life…”
  • Godliness – “…in all godliness…”
  • Dignity – “…and reverence…”
  • Salvation – “who desires all men to be saved…”
  • Proclamation of the gospel – “…and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

George Washington set a positive precedent by encouraging people to pray.

“It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors.” – George Washington, 1st President of the United States of America

Abraham Lincoln confessed that his work was too taxing not to pray for himself.

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” – Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America

National calls for prayer still come from our leaders, but often in the aftermath of some sort of tragedy. That’s not a criticism but an observation. Where else can we turn in dark hours? Yet, I can’t help but wonder, if our leaders entreated our prayers daily and we responded with daily prayer for them (and our neighbors) if some tragedies couldn’t be avoided altogether?

Today let’s not limit our prayers to thanksgivings for Washington and Lincoln. Let’s make supplications and intercessions for the President of the hour and the leaders of the world. The Bible teaches us what to say. And let’s remember to pray for them all again, tomorrow.

By Andrew Roberts

“A Little Lower Than the Angels” Or a Little Better Than an Ape?

 

 

 

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Where did we come from?

What could be more human than contemplating this great question? Human beings are unique among God’s creatures for pondering and debating their origin. Yet God’s true word, the Bible, reveals the simple and wonderful facts of the matter.

On the sixth day of Creation, God made all animals that walk on the earth (Genesis 1:24-25). He spoke them into existence and they came forth from the earth. Then God created man separately, in His own image (Genesis 1:26-8). God intended man to have dominion over all of the earth and over all of the animals. Man is not (and never was) just another animal. Man is superior to animals. He did not descendant from them.  In the details recorded in Genesis 2:7, 18-24 it is clear that Adam found no animal comparable to him. Without Eve, Adam was alone, though he was surrounded by animals.

People are not animals. Some people teach that they are simply animals. Some people act like a bunch of animals (to their shame). But the Bible is clear. “All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds” (1 Corinthians 15:39).

Consider Jesus Christ. Part of His unique role in God’s redemptive plan involved dying to pay for our sins (make propitiation – 1 John 4:9-10). In order to die, He shared in “flesh and blood” with all the people (Hebrews 2:14). He “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). He “came in the likeness of men” and was “found in appearance as a man” (Philippians 2:7-8). “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death…” (Hebrews 2:9).

You see, He was fully God and fully Man at once. I’m comfortable saying with Paul that it is a great mystery how “God was manifested in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16). But I believe it. And to be man – flesh and blood human – is to be a little lower than the angels; not a little better than an ape. Humanity is not equal to the animals. Humanity is closer akin to spiritual beings than terrestrial beasts. We are a little lower than the angels.

But some people don’t see aspiring angels in their fellow man. They only see lucky apes. They approach life from Old-Earth-Evolutionary presuppositions. The planet is a billion years old. The dinosaurs lived 65 million years ago. Some ape-like creature was transitioning into modern humans over the past 2 million years. Here we are today trying to figure out which apes or ape-like creature people descended from.

I read about a cartoon where a princess kissed a frog in one frame and in the next frame she is kissing her prince charming. The caption read: “If a frog instantly transforms into a prince that is a fairy tale. But if a frog transforms into a prince over 300 million years, that is Evolution.”

Well, the October issue of National Geographic details the latest find of a supposed missing-link ape-like creature called Homo naledi. A cache of fossilized remains was discovered in a cave system in South Africa in 2013. It is thought that between 15-18 specimens are being reconstructed from the extant fossils. No one knows how old the bones are or how they came to be in the cave.

While the magazine offers beautiful photographs of artistic models and paintings of what Homo naledi looked like, the artists had to use imagination to fill in the gaps of fossil evidence. Page 37 says, “While primitive in some respects, the face, skull, and teeth show enough modern features to justify H. naledi’s placement in the genus Homo.” But when one sees the fossils pictured on pages 44-48 it is clear that there is no complete skull at all, and the face bones themselves are missing. Only the top of skulls, one lower mandible and partial upper teeth plates have been recovered. Thus there is no way to know if the creature had a “flat” face like a human being or the more elongated and sloped face of an ape.

According to the article, Homo naledi has shoulder blades, a flared pelvis, and long curved fingers all consistent with apes. It also has a small braincase consistent in size with smaller extinct apes. But its legs are long, its hand could probably hold a tool, and its foot looks pretty human. Their working hypothesis is that Homo naledi is a transitional fossil and probably the root of the human family tree. Thus today, humans are a little better than an ape.

I think this is a fascinating story of paleontology and discovery. It is neat. But I’m not persuaded this is the missing link which finally demonstrates Man’s evolutionary chain. Currently, the evidence would also support the hypothesis that a new species of extinct ape has been recovered or perhaps it shows there was more variation in the extinct ape Australophithecus afarensis (“Lucy”) than previously realized.

Ideas have consequences. If people accept the opinion that humans are evolved from animals – just a better breed of ape – it can impact them negatively. But when we remember that we are created in the image of God, and closer to angels than animals, it informs the way we look at life positively.

  • Human life is sacred. We are made in the image of God (Genesis 9:6).
  • We are responsible to treat our neighbors, animals, and the environment “humanely.” We have dominion and the stewardship that comes with it (Genesis 1:26, 28).
  • We can look up, knowing that we aspire to be God’s servants and to exist with Him in heaven.

We’re only a little lower than angels! Let’s remember who we are and live like it this week!

By Andrew Roberts

10 Facts about Angels

324912564_1009fbbcfc_oHow much do you know about angels? How often do you even think about angels? It is interesting how the subject of angels is one that is found all throughout the Bible. It is topic that God wants us to have to some understanding of.

Consider 10 facts the Bible gives us about angels:

  1. Fact #1: angels are real. They are not mythical imaginary creatures like unicorns and fairies. Instead they are real created beings by God (Psalm 148:1, 5; Colossians 1:16). The fact that angels are created shows us that they are not deity. They are not self-existent like the persons who make up the Godhead (Psalm 90:2).
  1. Fact #2: angels are very powerful and mighty (Psalm 103:20; 2 Peter 2:11). There was a time when an angel killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night! This action saved the kingdom of Judah from going into captivity during Hezekiah’s reign (Isaiah 37:36-37). If one angel could do this much damage, what do you think 72,000 (12 legions) angels could have done when Jesus was being arrested in the garden? See Matthew 26:53.
  1. Fact #3: angels are limited in knowledge. Unlike God, angels are not all knowing. They do not know when the Lord will return and the world will end (Matthew 24:36). They also did not understand the plan of God for our salvation until it was fully revealed (1 Peter 1:12).
  1. Fact #4: angels are spirit beings (Hebrews 1:13-14). This means that they possess a nature that is perfectly suited for heaven. This explains why Luke refers to them as “heavenly” (Luke 2:13). Being heavenly means that angels have no earthly substance (unlike humans). And yet, there are many times in the Bible when they appeared as men (Genesis 19:1-5; Matthew 28:1-2; Mark 16:5; Luke 24:4; John 20:11-12).
  1. Facts #5: angels carry out the will of God (Psalm 103:20). In the past God used angels to make announcements or give instructions (Luke 1:26-27; 2:8-13), deliver His people from troubles (Daniel 6:22; Acts 12:5-9), execute judgment on evil men (Psalm 78:43, 49), and reveal His will (Zechariah 1:9; Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 2:2; Acts 7:53).
  1. Facts #6: angels have the power of free will. Instead of being spiritual robots, angels possess the ability to make choices. Some have even chosen to rebel against God (Matthew 25:41; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6).
  1. Facts #7: angels serve us every day! They are constantly doing things for us that we are completely unaware of. While the precise elements and activities of their ministering are not revealed in the scriptures, we should nevertheless be thankful that God is using them to help us in our lives. We can’t see them, but they are constantly rendering service for us (Hebrews 1:14).
  1. Fact #8: angels have a special interest in our salvation. Just like the prophets in the Old Testament desired to know God’s complete plan for our redemption, the angels did too (1 Peter 1:10-12). They rejoice when sinners come to God (Luke 15:8-10). They will be present when we stand before Jesus on the Judgment Day (Luke 12:8-9). It is sad that many times angels seem to be more concerned about us being heaven than we are!
  1. Fact # 9: angels will liberate us from the earth. They will come with Jesus when He returns and the world is destroyed (Matthew 25:31-32). Jesus will then use them to separate the faithful from the unfaithful (Matthew 13:36-43). Several other verses in the New Testament emphasize these truths (1 Thessalonians 4:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
  1. Fact #10: Even though they are higher than us (Hebrews 2:6-7), angels are not to be worshiped. God the Father is to be worshipped (Matthew 4:10). Jesus is to be worshipped (Matthew 14:33; 28:16-17). The Apostle John tried to worship an angel and was told not to (Revelation 22:8-9).

There are many things about angels that we need to be impressed with. But above being impressed with these spirit beings, we need to be more impressed with Jesus! Jesus is above angels (Hebrews 1:13). Angels worship Jesus and are in subjection to Him (Hebrews 1:3-6). Jesus is the Savior, King, Lord, and Redeemer! Unlike angels, Jesus is the source of our salvation (Revelation 1:5)!

Let us not to get so mesmerized with angels, that we take our focus off Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). There is nothing wrong with studying what the Bible says about angels and even being impressed with what they can do. But let us always remember that Jesus is who we must submit to and put our complete trust in (Matthew 28:18).

By Shawn Jeffries