I respectfully disagree

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Today’s reading is in Romans chapter 13. This is all about honoring people in authority over us. This applies to employers, parents, and especially our governmental leaders. There seems to be a lot of confusion today about honor and respect and yet disagreeing with someone in authority. I am a bit concerned with some of our conservative talk radio programs lately. They seem to be getting very disrespectful of our government officials. There is a way to disagree with someone in authority and yet still honor and respect them. We must not buy into the two great lies that are accepted in today’s culture. The first lie is that if I disagree with you that means I hate you and disrespect you. The second lie is that if I love you that means that I agree with your all of your life choices. Both of these are NOT true and we need to learn how to disagree with people without being disrespectful as well as loving people and not agreeing with them, especially with people who are in authority over us. A person that God has put in authority over us does NOT have to earn our honor and respect. We honor and respect them for their position, believing that God has placed them over us.

Here are a few things to consider when you disagree with someone in authority over you. The first thing to look at is your heart attitude. If you do not respect them, then get that right first, because your attitude will affect everything else that you say and do. Have you prayed for this person and asked God what you should do first? If you are going to talk to a work supervisor that you disagree with, it might be a good idea to take a look at your work record before you do. Are you one of their best workers, do you do good work, are you a team player, do you show up early? You don’t have much to stand on if you have not done your part first. Also it would be good to process how you will react if what you have to say is not received. Are you still going to respect this person in authority or are you going to become rebellious and start talking bad about this person with your peers? It is fine to express our concerns and disagreements but we must be willing to accept the fact that we may not be heard. How are we going to handle that? I say go ahead and do what you are supposed to do and serve the person in authority. Do your work unto God and if you are right let God prove you right or let God replace that person in authority in His time.

Obviously, we should never do things that are wrong even if we are told to do so by people in authority over us. There are times when God will raise up people to put an end to wickedness and evil, but most of the disagreements we deal with on a day to day basis are not this severe. Speak your mind, stand for what is right, but always remember to honor and respect those that God has placed in authority over you. Your life will be blessed if you do.

Don’t miss the boat!

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Today’s reading is from Matt 24:37-39. Jesus said in the last days it would be like it was in Noah’s day; people just kept doing their own thing right up until the flood came. What happened to all the other godly people in Noah’s day? Somehow they ‘missed the boat.’ It is possible to get so out of touch with God that you don’t know what is going on and what God is doing! It is possible that God’s Holy Spirit was speaking to them, surely Noah preached to them. Yet they were too caught up in the ways of the world. They didn’t think judgment was really going to come. They didn’t think they were that bad! People tend to ignore the reality of judgment. This is true in almost every age. It was true in Noah’s day; it is true in our day. In Noah’s day people were breaking the laws of God’s, and did not even consider the possibility that the Lord would punish them for their disobedience.

Even as the culmination of history approaches, when Jesus Christ will return to earth, people will still go on living in rebellion against God, giving no thought to the consequences of their sin. Certainly we see this in our day. Many people want nothing to do with God, they never go to church, and never read the Bible. They don’t hesitate to violate God’s laws, and some even claim the Ten Commandments and the Bible are outdated and irrelevant. Most never seem to consider the possibility that God will punish them for their behavior. The moral decay in our society is obvious. Living together before marriage, divorce and homosexuality has become so common that many folks no longer think it is wrong anymore. Honesty, simply telling the truth is becoming a lost virtue. Many young people seem to be unable to distinguish between right and wrong. A big reason for this type of epidemic of immorality is that people ignore the reality of God’s judgment. They were breaking every one of God’s commands, but did not even consider the possibility that the Lord would punish them for their disobedience. Many folks are uncomfortable with the topic of God’s judgment and even the concept of hell. They prefer a nice, loving God, who is always trying to help everyone. But God will punish evil. That is an important part of His character. Exodus 34:6,7 “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished.” What are you doing to make sure you don’t miss the boat?

Beautiful feet!

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Today’s reading is found in Romans 10:15, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace.” Let’s be honest, some people have feet that are not really that beautiful, but apparently when we go about spreading the gospel of peace our feet are beautiful to God! Whenever pastors talk about sharing the gospel with the lost, people tend to feel a little guilty. Most of us feel like we are not doing very well at witnessing. Over the years I have read many books on evangelism. Most of these talk about memorizing certain scriptures so that you can share them with people when you are telling them about God and His ways. Also, I have read some books that give you specific answers you can have prepared so you are ready when you are asked standard questions about God. These are all good to do, but the most effective way I have found to preach the gospel of peace is to have a very close relationship with God and as you go through life be willing to share with others what God is doing in your life. It is pretty simple, really. Sometimes people do not understand the importance of the relationship between a testimony and witnessing. When we share a testimony, we are telling someone something specific that God has done in our lives. Witnessing sometimes is telling a person some facts about Christianity or about how to become a Christian. Witnessing is most effective when we combine it with a personal testimony about what great things God has done for us.

Whenever I have done this I have found it to be well received. People don’t feel threatened when you are sharing something about your own life, even if it is talking about God. Also, if there is any interest in what is going on in your life this is their opportunity to ask. If they don’t ask, then I move on. This takes a lot of pressure off of me, thinking that I have to witness to everyone and have to know all the answers before I can share my faith. All I need to do is to stay close to God and continue to allow Him to change my life. Sharing that will others will make my feet beautiful. How are your feet looking?

Who’s Your Daddy?

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Today’s reading is from Matthew 23:9, Jesus said, “Call no man your father.” I believe that Jesus was referring to the fact that no human father could ever meet all the needs of his children. When I became a father I determined I was going to be the best father I could be. On a scale of 1-10 I wanted to at least be a 9½, but I have come to the realization that I have not been able to meet all of my children’s needs. I have often failed them. I made mistakes with them and have hurt them. They will need to deal with the fact that some of their needs are still unmet. My hope is that instead of being mad at me for not being the perfect father, they will come to the realization that ONLY the Father in heaven is able to truly meet their needs. They will need to release me and accept me for who I am.

Some people never come to this realization and they are still calling their earthly father, “Father” wanting him to meet their unmet needs. Until they let go and look to God to meet their needs they will live frustrated and unhappy lives. God is the ultimate Father. He is the true Godfather. He knows what we need and is capable of meeting those needs. He left us a great example of what kind of Father He is, by the way He related to His Son, Jesus while He was on the earth. At Jesus’ baptism God the Father spoke out of heaven, “This is My Son in whom I am well pleased.” Even Jesus needed a little encouragement from His Father and so do we. When Jesus went up into the mountain and was transfigured, His Father spoke again. “This is my Son, listen to Him.” Jesus’ Father knew how to encourage and bless His Son. Only God our Father truly knows what we need and when we need it.

My dad was a great father. I never saw him drunk, or heard him curse. He always provided for us, his twelve children! I always felt safe, yet he was far from the perfect father. He made mistakes and there were times as I was growing up that I was mad at him for not meeting all my needs. I am so grateful that God opened my eyes to see my father as a fellow human being who was doing his best. It was only when I came to the realization that there was only one who could ever meet those inner needs that I had and allowed God to become my heavenly Father, that I was able to let go of my demands that my father meet all my needs. There are so many people who are still mad at their fathers, because he did not meet all their needs, or not even very many. Well, Jesus has something to say to you, today, “Call no man your father.” Let your earthly father go and look to your Godfather in heaven to meet those inner most needs of love and acceptance. “Who’s your daddy?”

All things work to my good

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Today’s reading is in Romans 8:28. This is one of the great promises of the Bible. Over my years of reading the Bible I have chosen this to be one of my ‘life’ verses. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” As we go through life sometimes things happen to us that are difficult to handle and hard to understand. We may face a challenging sickness, stressful relationship, financial difficulty or some other demanding situation. How good it is to know that we can take every situation to God and ask Him to fulfill this promise in our lives. It isn’t always what happens to us that determines our future but how we respond to what happens to us. If we will give God an opportunity to get involved in all of our life situations, ask Him to show us how we should respond or not respond we can be assured that ALL things will work to our good. Are you facing some challenging situations right now? Are you able to see God’s hand in it yet? If not, hold on and keep looking He will bring good out of it.