Fear God, Honor The King

Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God (Matthew 22:21).

The Bible has much to say to God-followers about how to interact with earthly governments:

  • Wise King Solomon told us to “fear the Lord and the king” and not go along with rebels against the government (Proverbs 24:21)
  • Daniel said several times that “the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone He wishes” (Daniel 4 & 5)
  • The Apostle Paul declared he was no rebel to either the civil or religious governors: “I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar” (Acts 25:8)
  • Later on, Paul reminded the church that government officials are God’s servants, and that we need to give them the respect that is owed to them (see Romans 13:1-7)
  • Peter counseled Christians: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors … Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor” (1 Peter 2:13-17)

But a man that exemplifies this balance between fearing God and honoring the king best is Mordecai. Mordecai was a Jew who served the Babylonian king faithfully—

  • He protected the king from would-be assassins
  • But disobeyed the king when the law of the land conflicted with God’s law
  • Then Mordecai helped the king get out of a bad law written by an evil man

A mark of a godly leader is one who knows the difference between fearing God and honoring earthly kings.

How can today’s leaders live out this principle? This is something that should lead us to prayerfully search the Scriptures, and then boldly live out what the Holy Spirit reveals to us.

This is Part 13 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts by clicking here.

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Thursdays With Oswald—Spiritual Honor

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Spiritual Honor

     “I am a debtor to Greeks and to Barbarians” (Romans 1:14). Do I feel this sense of indebtedness to Christ Paul felt with regard to every unsaved soul I meet, every unsaved nation? Is it a point of spiritual honor with me that I do not hoard blessings for myself? The point of spiritual honor in my life as a saint is the realization that I am a debtor to every man on the face of the earth because of the Redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ.” …

     Am I doing anything to enable Jesus Christ to bring His Redemption into actual manifestation in other lives? I can do it only if the Holy Spirit has wrought in me this sense of spiritual honor. When I realize what Jesus Christ has done for me, then I am a debtor to every human being until they know Him too.” …

     Is it my conviction among men that every man can be presented “perfect in Christ Jesus”? Or do I allow men’s sins and wrongs so to obliterate the power of the Redemption that I sink under them?

From So Send I You

Some powerful questions for every Christian to honestly answer:

  • Does my salvation mean enough to me that I am burning with passion for others to know this salvation too?
  • Am I hoarding God’s blessings, or am I passing them on?
  • What am I doing to make sure everyone knows about Jesus?
  • Do I write some people off as “unsavable,” or do I believe Jesus can reach every single person?
  • Am I living like I really believe that?

God Takes Care Of You

“When God pardoned you He gave you His Son. And ‘how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’ (Romans 8:32). When a father gives his son the whole orchard, it is absurd for the child to ask for one apple. …

“On the other hand, a wise father may bequeath a huge estate to his child—but not let him control anymore of this inheritance than he can manage properly. In the same way, God gives believers a right to all the comforts of life, but His infinite wisdom proportions out smaller amounts for their actual use according to the needs of each soul. Thus if you should have much less than someone else, this does not mean God loves that person more, but that He cares enough to supply according to your ability to profitably use.” —William Gurnall, in The Christian In Complete Armor

Thursdays With Oswald—Out Of The Wreck I Rise

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Out Of The Wreck I Rise 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39

     The Apostle Paul is not talking of imaginary sentimental things, but of desperately actual things, and he says we are “more than conquerors” in the midst of them all, super-conquerors, not by our wits or ingenuity, our courage or pluck, or anything other than the fact that not one of them can separate a man from the love of God in Christ Jesus. … 

     The word “tribulation” has its roots in the Latin tribulum—a sledge for rubbing out corn; literally, a thing with teeth that tears. … 

     “Anguish” comes from a word meaning to press tightly, to strangle, and the idea is not a bit too strong for the things people are going through. … Can the love of God in Christ hold there, when everything says that God is cruel to allow it, and that there is no such thing as justice and goodness? Shall anguish separates us from the love of God? No, we are more than conquerors in it, not by our own effort but by the fact that the love of God in Christ holds. … 

     In every one of “these things” logic is shut up. … A man can go through tribulations which make you hold your breath as you watch him; he goes through times that would knock the wits out of us and make us give way to blasphemy and whimperings. He is not blind or insensitive, yet he goes through in marvelous triumph—what accounts for it? One thing only, the fact that behind it all is the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Spiritually, morally, and physically the saint is brought clean through, triumphant, out of the wreck wrought by tribulation, anguish, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril and sword. Whatever maybe the experiences of life, whether terrible and devastating or monotonous, it makes no difference, they are all rendered impotent, because they cannot separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. “Out of the wreck I rise” every time. 

From The Saints In A Disaster Of Worldliness

Thank You, Jesus, that because of Your love “out of the wreck I rise” every time.

Comparisons Are Killers

It is always a thrill for me to watch a young leader excel so wonderfully! Yesterday I listened as our youth pastor Josh Schram brilliantly illustrated a key component that can kill relationships or build them up.

Trust me: Josh’s opening illustration is worth the watch in the video below!

Here are a few takeaways I had from Josh’s message…

A relationship killer is comparing yourself to others. 

Comparing yourself to others may make you feel superior to them or inferior to them, but neither of these feelings serve a useful purpose, and neither of them honors God.

The fastest way to kill something God is doing in your life is to compare it to what He’s doing in someone else’s life.

When we compare someone else’s highlight reel to our behind-the-scenes mess, it makes us feel less than what God intends because it always increases dissatisfaction. Remember: living this way is comparing yourself to an artificial standard.

Notice how God speaks to us as individuals—Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. (Galatians 6:4-5, emphasis added)

A relationship builder is examining yourself.

Jesus ran His own race, and we are called on to remove any obstacles that keep us from running our own race too (see Hebrews 12:1-2).

  • Run your own race.
  • Stay in your lane.
  • Stay focused on Jesus.

No one can be a better you than you.

Remember: someone else’s success is NOT your failure (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-26).

I need to ask myself: Am I being the best me I can be with what God has equipped me to be? If the answer is “yes” then everyone else gets better!

Don’t compare your relationship with God or with other people to others’ relationships. Instead, examine yourself to make sure you are being the best you God created you to be!

The Promised Power Of Pentecost

When the Israelites were delivered from Egypt on the night of Passover, fifty days later they arrived at Mount Sinai where God delivered the Ten Commandments to them. This became the birth of the Jewish nation. For millennia following this, not only did the Jewish people observe Passover but they also celebrated “The Feast of Weeks” (also known as Pentecost) fifty days following Passover.

But on the first Pentecost after Christ ascended to Heaven, something amazing happened which was a game-changer for the new Christians. An event which became the birth of the Christian nation.

On that Pentecost Sunday, the Holy Spirit was poured out on Christ’s followers in a way never before seen in history. Although this had never been seen before, it was the fulfillment of something God had promised thousands of years before.

  1. Promised

This blessing of the Holy Spirit had been hinted at when God first called Abraham, as He promised that from Abraham would come a blessing for all peoples on earth (Genesis 12:3). Jesus said that this blessing would be realized with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and then Peter tied the Day of Pentecost experience to the fulfillment of those promises (Acts 2:38-39).

  1. Commanded

Jesus had this empowerment of the Holy Spirit and He wanted all of His followers to have it too, so His directive to His follower is not a suggestion. Twice when Jesus tells His followers to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, the verbs He uses are commands (see Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:4).

  1. Normal Experience

For the first Christians, the baptism in the Holy Spirit was a normal experience for them following salvation. This baptism gave them power to…

  1. Initial Evidence

The baptism in the Holy Spirit is accompanied by an initial physical evidence of speaking in a language you’ve never studied. This is to be an unmistakable proof—primarily to you—of the Spirit’s outpouring. But the ongoing development of Christlike character is the continual evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

So what’s the controversy? Why do people spend so much time arguing this baptism isn’t for us, or for now? If we start down that path, what else are we going to say is outdated or exclusive for some?

Doesn’t seem much more logical to simply accept what God promised all His people?!

So here’s the question I would ask you—Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit? If not, why not?

Thursdays With Oswald—Whose Temple Is My Body?

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Whose Temple Is My Body?

     If you have been laid hold of by the Spirit of God don’t think it strange concerning the spring-cleaning God is giving you, and don’t clamor for anything because it will have to go. … My body is designed to be a “temple of the Holy Ghost,” and it is up to me to stand up for the honor of Jesus Christ in my bodily practices. … 

     The Spirit of God will not allow me to use my body for my own convenience; the whole limit must be God’s. I am not to serve my own ends with my body, I am to serve the ends of Jesus Christ and be a devoted disciple of His. … 

     The historic Temple was twice cleansed by our Lord; and when He came again to Jerusalem He no longer spoke of it as “My Father’s house,” but “Behold, your house is left onto you desolate” [Matthew 23:37-38]. A terrible pronouncement, and a terrible possibility in our own lives. It is appallingly true that we may get to the place where Jesus can no longer say of us, “My Father’s house”; where He can no longer give us the benefit of scourging and cleansing, but can only retire, a weeping Christ, over our willfulness. “How often would I … and ye would not!” … 

     I am responsible before God for conducting my body as the temple of the Holy Ghost. Am I doing it, or is my body dictating to God, telling Him what it must do? … “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” [Romans 6:12]. 

From The Soul Of A Christian

This is the key question: Is my body my house or is it my Father’s house?

In other words, after becoming a Christian am I saying, “I can do whatever I want with my body” or am I saying, “My body is Yours, God, to do with as You see fit”?

Whose temple is your body?

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