Thursday, February 28, 2013

Are You Running Scared?

The wicked flee when no one is pursuing,
But the righteous are bold as a lion.
Proverbs 28:1

What is your reaction when the boss calls you and tells you to come to his office? Do you have a moment of panic where you ask yourself: "Did he find out about what I did?" What about "I hope he doesn't ask me about that project (that I'm behind schedule on)". Just to be clear, I know the questions you probably ask yourself, because they run through my mind too!

But Peter tells us in 1 Peter 2:12 "Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation". We should live our lives in such integrity and faithful conduct that we can boldly walk into the bosses office without being afraid of our actions being found out.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Identify Yourself! Friend or Foe?

Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.
Proverbs 27:6

I have several men in my life that I trust to tell me the truth when I ask them a question. Even if they think, or know, that I might not like the answer. Every man should have such men in his life, men who know you're a sinful idiot and love you anyway.

But, let's turn that verse on its head: If a friend answers my questions truthfully and tells me the truth even if it might cause me, or my ego, pain, what does that make someone who tells me a "little white lie" so that they either don't have to hurt my feelings or don't want to have to defend or establish their position? Those actions sound deceitful to me...

Jesus told us in Matthew 5:37 "But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes ' or 'No, no'; anything beyond these is of evil."

Are you a faithful friend, or a deceitful enemy?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mind Your Own Business

"Like one who takes a dog by the ears is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him." Proverbs 26:17

As a lifelong Southern Baptist, I firmly believe that universal application of this verse by members of all churches would remove most of the gastric distress experienced by staff members. I will quickly and truthfully admit that I wrestle with this issue. When I hear about a friend or family member that has been wronged, I want to rip open my shirt and jump in as the hero to save the day. But Scripture makes it clear that I should stay out of strife that is not mine.

Then again, I remember hearing Jesus say something about this issue too...

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" Matthew 5:9

So how should we reconcile these two verses? Personally, I have come to the conclusion that we are allowed to get involved with the strife of others in three situations: First, if we are asked and invited by one of the parties to help resolve the situation. NOT to sit around and gripe about it, but if we are asked to give Biblical counsel on what they might have done wrong and how they should reach a point of reconciliation with the other party. Second, if both parties ask you to act as an arbiter or mediator to again, give Biblical counsel with regard to resolving the issue. The third option, which should be approached only after specific prayer, is in the following criteria. You must know, have a relationship and be respected by both parties. Both parties must have dug in their heels and are no longer trying to resolve the situation, and are leaving the offense to brood without forgiveness.

If one of those situations is not present, just leave that doggy alone and keep walking!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Praying for our leaders

I have several Christian friends that are left of center. Whenever I speak against the actions of our current President, they love to trot out Romans 13:1-7. You know, the verses talking about how God ordained government and has placed every ruler over us. That we should render the taxes, respect and honor due unto them. I do not dispute, disagree or minimize these verses. I will, however, point out the hypocrisy of the same people who protect this POTUS but spent the previous 8 years lambasting the last one…

So then, how do we subject ourselves to an administration that is forcing acceptance of homosexuality in all aspects of life, as well as forcing individuals, organizations and business owners to pay for abortions in violation of their own Scripturally based beliefs?

We have other Scriptural guidance on the issue. Both Titus 3 and 1 Timothy 2 tell us to pray for our leaders. Fortunately, those passages not only tell us TO pray for our leaders, they tell us WHY to pray for them. Paul tells Timothy to pray for them that they might be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth! He also tells Titus that reason, but also adds that we should remember that WE were once lost, disobedient fools ourselves.

Daniel is the quintessential example of a man of God living in an ungodly land. He gave respect and honor to his king, and in Daniel 6:21 even blesses the king with the greeting “O king, live forever!” This was after the king had thrown Daniel in the lion’s den for praying to anything other than the king.

Again, how do we pray for an ungodly leader? I believe that the answer to that question lies in the words of a king. David writes in Psalm 141:5 that he prays against the DEEDS of the wicked.

I submit that we are charged, required and expected to pray for our leaders, legislators and judges. We are to pray that they will gain knowledge of the Truth. My personal phrase that I tend to use is that they “not be able to take a step without tripping over godly counsel”. But we are also to pray against their deeds of evil, against the powers of this world oppressing the people of God.