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I Timothy 2-3: God Has Asked Us to Pray Not Politicize

I know this post is a day late and a dollar short regarding its timing in world events. However, I did make these comments in a little more timely fashion on my other blog. However, I can only comment as the reading gets to these points and with the election so recent, this is the point that really stood out to me in today’s reading.

Paul told Timothy: “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” (I Timothy 2:1-2, ESV).

You have now read the sum total of what God asks us to do to impact national policies. I guess I struggle just a little when every four years Christians act like voting is our Christian duty to God and then act like if we don’t vote for the “right” candidate then we are putting our souls in jeopardy. Since we are at this passage, I just have to repeat that God has never asked us to spread His will politically. God has never asked us to try to get people to obey Him by voting His precepts into national law.

Now, I certainly believe we are allowed to participate in the democratic process. I certainly believe we are allowed to vote if we want. I just don’t find the Bible saying we have to vote for a specific candidate in order to make sure America is more godly on any particular issue. We certainly shouldn’t be going around acting like a person must not be a real Christian because they are voting differently than we are.

I get two things from these verses.

 

  1. If we truly want to impact some national policy, the thing God has asked us to do is pray.
  2. If we want to pray about the one national policy God has directed us to be concerned about at a national policy level, then we will pray that our government will allow us as individuals to have peace and the ability to serve God the way He has commanded us.

 

That’s it. That’s the sum total of what God has asked us to do regarding national policy. So, let’s get the politicizing out of the churches. Let’s get the politicizing out of discussions about eternal destinies. Instead, let’s pray to God that those in authority will continue to let us serve God in peace and godliness.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

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November 14, 2008 Posted by | I Timothy, Politics, Prayer | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1 Thessalonians 5-2Thessalonians 1: Pray Without Ceasing

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.”

This quote is usually attributed to Aristotle, though many have copied it. I think most of us would like to be excellent. We would like to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd. We especially would like to do that in God’s presence. I Thessalonians 5:16-18 describes one of the habits of excellence we must have if we want to stand out. In fact, what we learn is if we want to stand out in the crowd, we need to stop standing and start kneeling.

Paul wrote:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (ESV).

When I first studied this passage, I thought the progression we were to notice is from rejoice to pray to give thanks. However, I recognized that these were merely three variations of the same action. I think the part Paul really wanted us to notice was “always” to “without ceasing” to “in all circumstances.”

1. Rejoice always.

The word translated “always” literally means “every when.” Paul is saying that our prayers of rejoicing should be done at all times. He is using hyperbole here. He did not mean literally that our holy hands must be lifted 24 hours a day. Rather, it is much like if I asked someone, “Do you like rock music?” And they said, “Absolutely, I listen to that all the time.” We do not think they mean 24 hours a day. We do not think they mean they are sneaking their mp3 players into the congregational assembly and listening. We understand this figure of speech. They simply mean they listen to it when they can. They listen in the morning, afternoon and evening. They listen to it whether they are happy or sad, whether things are good or bad. This is how we should rejoice–at every when. We do not check our daily rejoicing off the list to make sure we get it in. We rejoice all the time; morning, noon and evening; good times and bad; happy or sad; up or down.

2. Pray without ceasing.

Having a prayer habit of excellence not only means we pray all the time. It means we never stop praying all the time. We don’t let the circumstances of life get in the way of it. We don’t just pray all the time for a week or two because of a sermon. We do it all the time without stopping. Think about Daniel when it was made illegal to pray. He kept up his prayer habit. 

3. Give thanks in all circumstances.

If we want a prayer habit of excellence, we need to make prayer a part of every aspect of our lives. Prayer should be part of our work lives, our school lives, our family lives, our neighbor lives, our hobbies, our recreation, everything. Prayer is not just for “church.” Prayer is for life. It is for every aspect of life. We need to begin everything we do with prayer. We need to end everything we do with prayer. We need to sustain everything we do with prayer.

If we rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances, then we will develop a prayer habit of excellence and we will stand out because we have knelt down.

Keep the faith and keep reading,

ELC

October 9, 2008 Posted by | I Thessalonians, Prayer | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 3-4: Ask and Think Big

I can’t read Ephesians 3-4 without being drawn to Ephesians 3:20-21:

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (ESV).

God can do what we ask or think. Not only that, He can do all that we ask or think. Not only that, He can do more than all that we ask or think. Not only that, He can do more abundantly than all we ask or think. Not only that, He can do far more abundantly than all we ask or think. This doesn’t say He will do anything we ask or think. It simply says He can. There is no request that challenges God. There is nothing that causes God to have a V8 moment, saying, “Whoa, I don’t know about that one, that’s tough.”

But did you also notice that this is through the power working in us? This is not something He does in spite of us. This is not something He does without us. This is something He does through us. If we are surrendering to Him, He can do amazing things through us. Surely the miracles of the apostles recorded in Scripture give us at least a picture that God can do amazing things through us when He wants. You and I may just be plain ol’ Jane and John Doe, but our God is not plain. He is powerful and He can do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think by the

 power at work within us.

What does this mean? It means we need to start thinking and asking. We need to get in God’s word and figure out what He wants and start asking for it. Start asking for Him to do it through us. But more than that, we need to think and ask big. I’m not saying trying to test God. I’m just saying let’s rely on God. Let’s have faith in the God who can do beyond what we are asking, so let’s ask Him do to even more.

What a great God we serve.

Keep the faith and keep reading.

ELC

August 21, 2008 Posted by | Daily Bible Reading, Ephesians, Prayer | , , , , | Leave a comment