A Good Day To Pray For The President

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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

The Answer For Hatred

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On this MLK Day it is good to pause and reflect upon the incredible life’s work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He modeled peaceful protest and cast a vision for genuine racial equality in a nation that had been framed with the words, “all men are created equal.” Dr. King died for this cause nearly 48 years ago. Sadly, recent events demonstrate that racial strife still simmers in the hearts of some Americans with occasional eruptions of violence and lawlessness in various places around the country.

What can change the hearts of men and transform aliens and enemies into brothers and sisters? The gospel of Jesus Christ can do it. That’s what every person needs. Racism and hatred is sinful. Murder, theft, and revenge are sinful. Injustice and crime demand requital. But as men seek to “even the score,” only greater inequities are achieved. Human beings are not a perfectly Just, Omniscient, and Holy “scorekeeper” to make everything right. Only God can do that. God promises perfect Justice and Righteous Judgment in the end (Acts 17: 30-31; Romans 12:19-21; Revelation 20:11-15). Yet, for today, His Word reveals grace and forgiveness that truly makes peace and allows for healing through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The answer for hatred is a changed heart and that’s something the gospel achieves. But it means we look at ourselves and our problems from a different perspective – from God’s perspective found in the Bible.

First, God created all mankind. Human life is sacred and human beings share a fundamental dignity because we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28; 9:5-7). We all have common ancestors in Noah, as well as Adam and Eve. The apostle Paul preached concerning the true God, “He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth…so that they should seek the Lord…” (Acts 17:26-27). No matter the nation, tribe, or language someone speaks, we are the brotherhood of humanity. And regardless if another person is aware of this Bible truth, because I am aware of it, I have the responsibility of treating that person accordingly.

Second, all have sinned. Clearly people do not treat each other like we are all one big human family. Hate, theft, murder, war, deception, evil speech, and evil surmising too often characterize our human interactions. All such evil proceeds from a defiled heart (Matthew 15:18-19). It is sinful and evidences the reality of sin – the Bible diagnosis for the wickedness we do against God and our fellow man. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). Our ancestor Adam sinned by transgressing God’s rule and each of us since has transgressed the teachings of God. Cain murdered his brother Abel and such sins of hatred and violence have separated brothers from each other and from God throughout the ages.

Third, the gospel is for all. But God devised a plan wherein peace could be achieved between Him and His creation as well as brotherhood fashioned between sinners. According to Ephesians 2:11-18, God created one body, His church, the body of redeemed sinners in Jesus Christ. Brotherhood is restored there. Sins are forgiven in Jesus, by the sacrifice He made to pay for them. Sinners are reconciled to God and restored in forgiveness and salvation toward one another. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ teaches Christians (members of that body) how to treat others – with the grace and forgiveness that we have found in Him (Matthew 6:14-15). The gospel changes our mind and heart (Romans 1:16; 12:1-2). We see ourselves and the world around us differently. And we are taught to treat others differently, to seek their welfare and the salvation of their soul above all else (Philippians 2:1-11).

The evil of hatred is ancient. The answer to hatred is timeless: the gospel. But one virtue of MLK Day is to remind us how timely the gospel is to answer hatred, as well as all our sins and iniquities.

By Andrew Roberts

5 Great Things from 1 Peter

5 Great Things from 1 Peter

                How do you typically use the expression “That’s just great?”  Like most people I typically use this expression not to convey truth, but rather irony and sarcasm. I use it to convey the opposite of what I say. For example, if my wife says to me, “Honey, our son just spilled his milk on the kitchen floor,” I will say, “That’s just great!” What I really mean, “What just happened is bad and now I am upset!”

This is an expression that we often use in our culture, but let’s apply it to the Bible and make it one of truth.  In fact, let’s take the statement and apply it to the things that are found in the wonderful little letter of 1 Peter. In each of the five chapters of 1 Peter you can find some things that truly are great for God’s people.

  1. God’s people have a great salvation in Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:10-12). This great salvation was foretold by the Old Testament prophets (verse 10). It was something that God’s angels desired to look into (verse 12). It is something that has been secured by the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18-20). Do you have this great salvation in Jesus? Have you believed in Jesus as God’s Son, turned away from sin, and been immersed in water for the forgiveness of your sins? If not, then you have yet to receive this great salvation found in Christ. You need to change the course of your life (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38-47).
  1. God’s people have a great example to follow in the Lord Jesus (1 Peter 2:21-23). Keep in mind that Peter initially wrote this letter to Christians in the first century who were suffering for the cause of the gospel. These saints were being arrested and even killed for what they believed. Why would they be willing to endure these things? Because Jesus suffered first (1 Peter 2:21). Jesus is the great example and high priest who stands in the presence of God for disciples. As His priesthood Christians do as He did. They boldly proclaim the majesty of God and abstain from things that are sinful (1 Peter 2:9-11). Are you doing that?
  1. God’s people have been given a great command (1 Peter 3:15). Peter says disciples have the responsibility, duty and privilege to always be ready to give an answer for the hope they have in Christ. Unfortunately, because of a lack of knowledge many of God’s people have no answer at all for their faith (Hosea 4:6). They have neglected to add to their faith “knowledge” (2 Peter 1:6). They are unable to adequately explain what the Bible says about salvation, the church, worship, or godly living. This problem can only be solved by daily reading and studying of the scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15). Will you make time to diligently learn God’s will each day (Psalm 119:97)?
  1. God’s people have been given a great name (1 Peter 4:14-16). That great name is Christians. This is a name so great that it is worth suffering for it (1 Peter 4:16). It is a noble name (James 2:7). It is the name that disciples wore in the first century (Acts 11:26). It is the name that Paul persuaded men to wear when he taught them the gospel (Acts 26:28). It is not a name to be hyphenated. It is not a name to be worn by Saturday night sinners who are Sunday morning church-goers. It is a name that is to be protected with honor. Followers of Jesus are to thank God every day that they are able to wear the name Christian.
  1. God’s people have a great enemy (1 Peter 5:8)! His name is Satan! Whether you know it or not, but every day you are being hunted by Satan. He knows how much God loves you and that is why he is seeking to devour you spiritually. In fact, he is strong and ferocious that Peter called him a “roaring lion.” He will stop at nothing until he completely separates you from God. How do you defeat him? By being “sober” and constantly on the “alert” (verse 8). By resisting him firm in in the truth of the gospel (verse 9). By always trusting God to do exactly what His word says! Only when you do these things will you be able to defeat this great and terrible enemy.

There are many other great things that can be found in 1 Peter. But here are just five that I hope will bless and help you this week. Always be mindful of these great things. Pray about them. Mediate on them. Allow them to humble you. In the midst of all you face in life, allow these things to motivate you to cast your cares upon God (1 Peter 5:7).

BTW: If you are looking for a place to learn more about the word of God, I want to invite you to visit the Jackson Heights Church of Christ. We are located at 1200 Nashville hwy in Columbia. Our website is http://www.thebibleway.org

Please feel free to visit and learn more about the word of God with us!                                                                                          – by Shawn Jeffries

 

A Lifetime of Rest

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Not only is today the last day that it is socially acceptable to wear the color white, but today is Labor Day. This first Monday in September is a National holiday that provides many American citizens a break from the rigors of work and school and allows them to spend this day resting and doing whatever they please.

It’s always nice to have a break, because quite frankly, life is hard; there are bills to pay, kids to raise, jobs to attend, and classes to pass.

Aside from the physical, mundane aspects of life, Christians are engaged in spiritual warfare. The devil is constantly trying to tempt us, discourage us, and keep us off course. Juggling the routine aspects of life while trying to flee from sin can be pretty laborious.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just have a lifetime of rest?  I’m happy to tell you, we can.

I’m reminded of the words of Jesus.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls,” Matthew 11:28-29.

Our Heavenly Father has sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into this world to give us what no one else can give—rest from the burden of sin. In order to obtain this rest, Christ tells His disciples in the above passage to “learn from Him.”

We learn from Jesus by being absorbed in His word.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth,” 2 Timothy 2:15.

Those who are absorbed in the word of God will learn truths that will comfort, encourage, strengthen, and protect them from both the physical and the spiritual burdens of life.

If we are daily meditating on, consumed in, and are practicing what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise, we will be lavished with God’s peace and love (Philippians 4:8-9). God’s peace is greater than what any National Holiday or employer can provide; this is a peace which brings forth a lifetime of rest and true happiness.

By Timothy G. Ruffin