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DEVOTION JUNE 2013

        
   Submit to the Government

    
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2Therefore whoever resists The authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake. 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. Romans 13:1-7

      In the passage above Christians are instructed to be subject to the governing authorities because those who are in control of the government are appointed by God. Those who resist the authority resists the ordinance of God and will bring judgment on themselves.  Paul goes on to exhort us to do good and not evil. Those who do evil will be prosecuted and executed.   Furthermore we are instructed to pay taxes to whom it is due, customs to whom it is due, fear whom we should fear and honor to whom honor is due.
 
      Since the Bible is God's Word and is the authority we should look to for direction on how to live the life God wants us to live we have to ask ourselves how does this passage apply today.  When you analyze the government Paul talked about and the one we have today you realize there are a lot of similarities.
 
     Our current government, led by President Obama, supports and promotes homosexuals living in sin, the killing of pre-born children (and as a Senator, President Obama voted for the killing of partially born children), He calls this evil good and in a speech actually asked God to bless It.  He allows spying on our press and the invasion of privacy of law abiding citizens, the suppression of gun ownership and the oppression of religion which violates the first, second and fourth amendment of our constitution.  (His people are taking the fifth amendment because they are unable to tell the truth about the laws they have broken.)   He tells us in a speech that he wants a transparent government where governing and the passing of bills is more easily followed than any previous government and then asks Senators to pass bills without reading them.  He has constantly been caught in cover-ups and lies surrounding the Fast and Furious giving of guns to Mexican drug dealers and IRS harassment of Christians, the lack of support for our Embassy people in Libya, and the serial killing of people in other nations via the use of drones.  It appears we are using terrorist tactics to fight terrorists regardless of the innocent people killed
with the terrorists.
  
     So what is the Christian response to such a government? First and foremost we are to remain faithful and rest on the rock of our salvation while exercising our ability to pray for mercy and speak out against tyranny.  The Old Testament prophets were not shy in telling evil and perverse kings that they were not following God's edicts.  They let them know that God's judgment was coming.   In some cases the kings repented and the judgment was put off. In other cases judgment was rendered by God.  And that is the way God wants it.  David never took up arms against God's anointed one Saul, even though he had multiple opportunities to do so.  He knew the principle of giving honor to whom honor is due.

    Elijah, dejected because he thought he was the only follower of God during the reign of Ahab, was reminded that God had kept a remnant faithful to Him.   But they were never silent in their opposition to the actions of these bad kings. 

    In the New Testament, John the Baptist was not afraid to tell the unrighteous leaders the truth about their sins.  Jesus didn't back down from the authorities.  Saul, after he became Paul gladly witnessed to kings, governors and emperors. Today, the faithful remnant needs to pray for strength, for patience, for God to change the course of these evil times and for divine protection during the persecution.
 
     How should we conduct ourselves is given to us in Philippians 2:14-16 and Mathew 5:13-16.

 14Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,  16holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Philippians 2:14-16

13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.  14 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Mathew 5:13-16

      So, Christian, hold fast to your salvation while you navigate through life in this crooked and perverse generation, not being afraid to say right is right and wrong is wrong in a loving way that glorifies God in heaven. Remember, no one can steal our joy, so we do all things without complaining. However, speaking the truth, letting your light shine, touching this world for Christ is our duty, not a dispute.
   
     Finally,based on the direction this nation is going, for judgment to be averted we need to pray for forgiveness, repent of our apathy to God's direction and acceptance of sinfulness as the norm.  The often used verse in 2 Chronicles still applies today and we need to take it to heart.
   

     13 "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people,  14if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:13-14

  


 

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