Are We So Simple as to Believe We Can Trade Freedom for Safety?

 

The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps. Proverbs 14:15, (1978 NIV)

 

It's been quite a year, hasn't it? A disease popped up and turned the world on its head. All of a sudden we went from a world where people pretty much tended to their own business, to a society that shut themselves in their collective homes and waited for whatever authority that they were under to tell them what to do.

 

How has that worked out so far?

 

Just think about what we have done in America: We have allowed the authorities to shut down our businesses for "safety's" sake. They promised it would protect both our lives and the lives of our grandparents. But now we have had literally hundreds of thousands (perhaps more) of our small businesses - businesses that were the product of the blood sweat and tears of generations of the very families we sought to protect - permanently shut down. For "safety's" sake! And now many people who had worked all of their lives to build these businesses have seen their dreams destroyed and have been cast onto the rolls of welfare.

 

Worse still, many public officials in our nation decided worship was dangerous - and many who wear the name of Christian agreed. So they stopped worshipping together and many even went the "extra mile" of reducing their Bible study and prayer life. At the same time many of the same public officials deemed that abortion clinics, casinos, and liquor stores would be allowed to remain open - for these were essential American activities. Is it any wonder that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito came out the other day and chastised the American people for being too willing to give up their liberties?

 

Now we have witnessed an election that has been wrought with scandal. It doesn't matter who you wanted to win, but shouldn't you want a fair election? Yet we are being told not to worry, that our leaders have everything under control. Nothing to see here. Just move on and accept whatever people in power want you to accept.

 

Do you know what is next? They have developed the vaccines that will "save" America, yes my good friends, it will even save the world. It is true, that small portions of the products of our abortion industry have been reported to have been necessary in the development and production of these "life saving" vaccines. But, don't let us worry our pretty little heads that the unborn had to die so that we might be safe. After all, isn't this what heroes do?

 

Solomon was right when he penned those inspired the words from Proverbs some three thousand years ago: The simple really will believe anything, if they think it is in their best interest to do so. But, even if any of these foolish things that we have been doing over the past year should actually lead to a bit more "safety" for us all, be sure of this: It is a safety that we neither deserve nor will be able to long enjoy. For those who give up liberty for safety have always found that they had neither in the end.

 

 

 

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Benjamin Franklin, 1755

The 1st of Eternity

I sought the LORD and He heard me, and delivered me from all of my fears. Psalms 34:4, KJV

 

If you were to look at the calendar you might think that today is the 24th of November. And you would be right if you are looking at it from merely a physical point of view. However, if you are looking from a spiritual viewpoint, today is the 1st of Eternity, for in reality that is exactly what this day is. In fact from God's perspective everyday is the first day of eternity.

 

Consider this truth by examining the passage above. In this Psalm, David is recording the events surrounding the time he fled from King Saul. The ironic part of this is that until that day David had been a champion in King Saul's service. In fact, it is likely that there was no man in Saul's kingdom who was more loyal to him than was David. But, kings being who they are, Saul somehow decided that David was a threat to his power and had determined the best solution was to just kill him.

 

So David went from being a commander in the army of Israel, to public enemy number one - just like that. To compound his peril, in his haste to escape Saul, David had fled to the land of the Philistines - to the hometown of Goliath. If you recall from your history, David had inflicted a heavy loss upon the Philistines some time earlier by defeating their champion Goliath, thus beginning the downfall of the power of the Philistines. Essentially, David had gone from the frying pan into the fire.

 

What is David's reaction? He seeks the Lord. And the result of this reaction? He is delivered! So, David goes from one enemy to another and instead of having his life end, God delivers him to a new life: In effect, the first day of his eternity!

 

Would such a "rescue" be helpful to you? We have seen a year like few others. Everyone seems to be panicking over physical terrors, from disease and political intrigue, to financial difficulties and food shortages. So what are we to do? What did David do? Did he give up when things looked bleak? No, David sought the Lord! He prayed and God heard that prayer and delivered him. And he got a new start to a new life!

 

And we can too... if we have the wisdom and courage to do so.

 

Do you?

 

As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. For He says, "In the time of my favor, I heard you, and in the day of salvation, I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.  II Corinthians 6:1-2, NIV (1978) 

 

 

ARE YOU SURPRISED?

The simple believes everything, but the prudent looks where he is going.   Proverbs 14:15, RSV

 

I look around at people who are stunned at the possibility that cheating could have occurred in our recent election. These same folks seem to also be surprised that the ones who got the results they wanted are not at least wanting to get to the bottom of these accusations of wrong doing. They seem genuinely perplexed that those who won by suspicious circumstances do not want to investigate to make sure that the right thing is done.

 

Are you among these bewildered souls? Are you surprised?

 

I have noted through the years how often the righteous are surprised at the capacity of the unrighteous to do evil. People tend to assign the same set of values to others that they themselves have, so an honest man is often surprised when a dishonest man lies to his face. Part of maturity is recognizing that the righteous and the wicked do not often act the same way. Part of wisdom is to recognize the trap we fall into when we assign our values to people who clearly do not share our faith.

 

For example, would you ever vote for someone who promises to uphold someone's right to terminate the life of a baby? If not, you should not be surprised when those who would use devious methods to gain power. Would you support someone's right to enter a country in an illegal manner and then expect the legal citizens of that country to pay for their illegal behavior? If not, you should not be surprised when those who do stand for these types of "rights to do wrong"  bend the rules a bit to get their man or woman in positions of power. It is the same for our differences in whether people have a right to burn and loot and injure the innocent, in their quest to get what they want. We could list a thousand specific examples, but hopefully we see the point: The unrighteous do not have the same standards that the righteous do... so don't be surprised.

 

And we shouldn't resort to evil in response to evil. While we see the merit in that truth, we are left with the thorny issue of what to do. Perhaps we can start with this plan of action: If we have been participating and supporting evil ourselves, we can repent. If we have gotten away from reading the Word of God, which contains the answers to all of our problems, then we can get back to our studies. If we have stopped praying as much, we can start praying more - this would be a good time to do so. If we have stopped worshipping for what ever reason, we can get back to the worship.

 

But, if these things don't sound very appealing, then I guess we could go to plan B... we can just continue to be surprised while we witness our once great nation going the way of the unrighteous, because we are just too simple to do anything else.

 

The Prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. Proverbs 27:12, NIV

OBEY YOUR AUTHORITIES

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.   Romans 13:1-2, NIV (1978)

 

What do you think of this passage? I believe it is one that Christians better be giving a great deal of thought to, for we live in unsettled times. So, is God commanding us to obey our authorities no matter what? We better figure out the right answer to this question, because we will be judged someday by the One who will hold us to account for the that answer.

 

Do you think that most Americans even know who their supreme authority is when it comes to the laws of our land? Is it the law makers - from the national to local levels? Is it the executive branch, from mayors to governors to presidents - are they our final authority? Perhaps it is the judicial branch, from our municipal to federal judges, all the way to the Supreme Court?

 

The answer, of course, is all of the above when they agree with each other and the constitution, but what happens when they don't. Did you know that America is set up under a constitution that was designed to be the supreme law of the land, and that when the legislative and executive and judicial branches come into conflict with this document that they are no longer the proper authority? If you didn't know this, why not? Maybe it's because most schools have stopped teaching founding documents and founding principles.

 

I wonder why that is...

 

Here is something else to think about - something far more important. Who is the authority when it comes to religious matters? Is it the Pope, or your pastor, or your preacher, or maybe even your church elders? You may be surprised to hear this answer, but here it is: None of the above, unless they are in agreement with the Word of God. Since the religious groups mentioned are definitely not in agreement with each other, then there can be only one source when it comes to our final authority: The Bible!

 

If you didn't know this, why not? Maybe it's because most churches have stopped teaching the Bible.

 

I wonder why that is...

 

When the apostles were brought in before their authorities for preaching Jesus, they were asked why they were disobeying their orders not to preach about Christ any more. Their reply was instructive: They said, "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).

 

So what's the point of all of this? Is it to create anarchy in the streets of America and in the churches of the land? Far from it! The reason that the founders made a final authority was to resolve the problems created by evil men, or by men who were ignorant of what their supreme authority really was. Where did they get the idea of a final, supreme authority? The founders were almost unanimously believers in Christ and students of the Word of God. And the Word of God has always indicated but one true Supreme Authority, and it has never changed.

 

So, for those who are struggling with which authority to obey, you can do one of three things. You can submit to whoever claims power, whether legitimate or otherwise. You can, by default, just go with the flow and not even think about it. Or, you can go with the proper authority of God and men. This will require an effort most are unwilling to give, because most men are lazy - that's how we got into the mess we are in today.

 

If you want to find out more about your proper governing authorities (at least for those who live in America), may I suggest three readings that will help? The first is the Declaration of Independence. The second is the Constitution. The third is the Federalist Papers, which are essentially an explanation of the founder's original intent for the Constitution.

 

Before you read these, though, may I suggest you start reading the Bible - wherever you may live - to find out about the true, Supreme authority? Without a working knowledge of the Bible, you cannot function as a Christian or as a citizen of a country that was founded on this very document.

 

Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." Acts 4, 18-20, NIV

IT IS TIME

Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; Hosea 10:12(a), NIV

 

What a year this has been. From the disease that popped up in the first part of the year, to the response that followed, we have been through a lot. We have witnessed riots by those who were unhappy, with arson and looting and violence on a scale usually seen only in third world countries. Now, we are going through an election that has been so corrupted that, regardless of the outcome, half of the nation will never accept its result. Add to that the food shortages and homeless realities that are cropping up all over the world and we can see why most people feel a bit more stressed and confused than normal. But, then again, things haven't been normal for quite some time. Why is that, you may be wondering...

 

I believe the root of the problem is that we have stopped sowing righteousness. I believe that a people who accept the mass killings of innocent children and call it their right to choose, and who then turn around and accept orders to stop worshipping with the church because, they say, we haven't the right, have likely forgotten what righteousness is, so how can they possibly begin to sow it.

 

Maybe it is time to get back to our roots. In America we have a Constitution. It is our final authority when it comes to all things on a governmental basis, but we have forgot that and have thought that our elected officials and their minions were our ultimate governors. So we kill the unborn, celebrate immorality, close down churches and call it right behavior. Does this sound right to you? Looking at the world around us, I am afraid we have forgotten that we even have a Constitution.

 

But far worse is the fact that we have forgotten that we have One who is our final authority in all things: The Lord! We have forgot that He has provided us with a document that is the final say in all things! Yet we have turned to men with strong opinions, smooth speaking skills and impressive degrees to tell us what God really wants, even when it isn't. Again, it is time to return to our roots by returning to God and His Word.

 

Until we do these things, we will never be able to have anything that resembles "unfailing love" because God has placed the immutable principle in all areas of life that we will always reap what we sow. And, He tells us, that we must first break up our unplowed ground, but most have failed to do this because they have been distracted by wicked people who have been abusing their positions of authority... so what can we do?

 

We can begin to seek. We can seek out what our nation was founded upon, instead of continuing the same practices that have reduced its people to shame and poverty.

 

But before we can do that, we need to seek God and find out what He wants us to do. Until we do that, any attempts to right the wrongs of our nation and the world will never succeed, because we will attempt to right the wrongs with the opinions of men, rather than the way of God. We have all seen how that has worked out.

 

Don't you think that it is time?

 

For it is time to seek the LORD, until He comes and showers righteousness upon you. Hosea 10:12(b), NIV