Friday, March 18, 2016

Trusting God in Our Elections

Our 7 year old son was disappointed when he heard that Marco Rubio was no longer running for President. His mother and I were actually supporting a different candidate, but when our son heard Marco Rubio's name on the radio he asked me if he would be a good President. I told him that I thought he would. From that point on, he was rooting for Marco.
Not everyone agreed with his choice, just as not everyone agrees with mine. The fact that my choice is not the front runner proves that point. I actually heard a discussion on the radio concerning this topic and one of the people began to speculate about who Jesus would vote for. I turned to my wife and said, “well I guess we will find out. He voted for President Obama last time.”
I, however, did not vote for President Obama in either of the last 2 elections, so why would I not vote for a man that I believed Jesus had voted for? When I say that Jesus voted for our current President, I mean that God ultimately decided to allow or stop every President or potential President our country has ever had. “Daniel answered and said, "Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him. "And it is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men, And knowledge to men of understanding.” (Daniel 2:20-21 NASB) Daniel shows that God has the power to remove and set up kings. He continues, "This sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers, And the decision is a command of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, And bestows it on whom He wishes, And sets over it the lowliest of men."
(Daniel 4:17 NASB)
God is in control of who rules over nations, but notice that He does not always chose the best men to rule. “He sets over it the lowliest of men.” Every candidate running for President has sinned and come short of the glory of God. In fact every past President- even George Washington- has sinned. As I go to the ballot box, I must make a judgment call based on the information that I have, realizing that God is ultimately in charge of who actually becomes our next President and that He does not promise to give us the most righteous or smartest ruler.
Still there are benefits to having a righteous ruler. Proverbs 29:2 says, “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, But when a wicked man rules, people groan.” (NASB) We understand that God is ultimately in control, but He also gives man a certain amount of freedom to make decisions. How all that balances out is decided by God Himself. Thus with an understanding of God's sovereignty over our elections, I also understand our responsibility to do what is right. With that in mind, I vote for those who I believe would be a righteous leader. For example, I look at their view of the unborn in making a determination.
I also realize that God allows evil men to rule. In I Kings 11:31 we read of His selection of Jeroboam who was an evil king over Israel. Though they did not have an electoral college like we do, Jeroboam rose to power as the people rallied around him. This is a reminder that an all powerful God is able to use even sinful men to accomplish His ultimate purposes.
Romans 13 reminds us that the governmental powers are ordained by God. As Christians we should prayerfully consider our voting choices and should realize the benefits of voting for a righteous ruler. At the same time, we need to trust God even if we are given an evil ruler that may end up causing much grief for our country.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Conforming vs Transformation

When I was a child, my little brother asked who would win if a mountain lion attacked a horse. Well, about a month ago we found out that the Broncos defeated the Panthers in the Super Bowl. Imagine that you were a Broncos' fan, but you had been invited to go to the super bowl by a group of friends who were die hard Panthers fans. They agreed to give you a ticket and to pay your way to the game as long as you wore a Panthers jersey to the game.
You still wanted the Broncos to win, but you did not want to pass up the chance to go to the Super Bowl, so you conformed to their request. Wearing the jersey did not turn you into a Panthers fan, but it got you into the game.
You were not actually transformed into a Panthers fan, you simply conformed to your friends request. How does this fit into the issue of faith? Christianity should not be about being conformed to some outward appearance or even conformed to some set of ideas, but rather to being transformed by Christ. Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (NASB)
Obviously Christians should not be conformed to the sinful behaviors of the world, but what if we are simply conformed to the idea of presenting ourselves as Christians without actually having an inward transformation? Christ had to address this very issue when He says, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.” (Matthew 23:25 NASB) The scribes and Pharisees were conforming on the outside, but inside there was no transformation. They were conforming both to an external appearance to be seen of other men, and also to a set of rules and standards drawn up by man. The problem was not with their zeal to obey God, but rather a zeal to follow man's standards while rejecting God's. Sadly that is still what happens today when religious people focus on conforming to religious expectations rather than being transformed by God.
True transformation should have an affect on our lives. In the Matthew passage Jesus next says, Mt 23:26 "You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.” (NASB) True transformation should cause the Christian to conform to God's standards, but simply conforming gets men stuck in ritual rather than renewal.
If you really become a Panthers fan, you will want to promote that team. It will be transformation rather than conformation. If you think that Christianity is simply going through the motions of religious expectation, you do not understand transformation. Christianity is about realizing you are a sinner in need of forgiveness. It is about changing direction in your life to follow Jesus Christ. It is realizing that He is your only hope for forgiveness. At that point old things are become new and you are completely transformed from a lost sinner on his way to the lake of fire, to a Christian saint who is now following the risen Savior.
Conforming is about following people. Christian transformation is about following and obeying Christ no matter what people think. Please visit