Faith

THE POWERS THAT BE

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Romans 13:1

True, God ordained the powers that be or authority as far back as the days of Adam and Noah and Moses. Some of the first civil laws given in those days have served as the basis of some of the human laws we abide by today. Human laws and human government were both instituted to regulate man’s life on the basis of the standard of what’s considered to be right and wrong.  But arguably the most popular (and misunderstood) scripture on authority, Romans 13, has inappropriately been used to oppress humanity in the name of God. So, true, in God’s plan He provides for authority, but, He’s not responsible for their actions. In fact, if those in power get out of line, they will be judged by God, the Highest Authority of all.

It is important to grasp that the men and women in power are not God’s servants in government unlessthey do what is right by the people they govern. The Bible outlines the duties of those in power, that they should use their power toLearn to do good; Work for justice; Help the down-and-out; Stand up for the homeless; and Go to bat for the defenseless(Isaiah 1:17). No civil servant should fool themselves to believe that aside from the kind of good work that God recognizes, that they are doing God’s work.

On Change

If change in government needs to occur, it’s up to humans to make it happen. After all, God doesn’t vote nor does He run this fallen world. As believers, we have dual citizenship, meaning that we’re citizens of heaven and of the earth. But since earth is our current home, we cannot have our eyes so fixed on Jesus that we don’t look horizontally at the fact that who’s in government and how they govern matters. We have to live in this world and as agents of salt and light, we have to use our influence and our standards to expose darkness with our light. We are not dishonoring God’s command when we speak truth to power or when we do not align with or embrace their ways, but instead we are bold, keepers of a higher standard, and are following a long history of doing the same. Think Moses to Pharaoh and the Three Wise Men to King Herod and the Apostle Paul to King Agrippa. I don’t know about you, but like them, I would rather obey and honor God than men (Acts 5:29).

Civic Duty

Since human government is part of God’s moral government to preserve human society on the earth, as citizens of the earth, it is our duty as such to establish, maintain, support, and engage in human government. We should not only vote in every election, but we should also offer our input and serve in public office as we are led and graced to.I know some people have reservations about discussing politics because of our differences of opinion and or party affiliations, but it’s our perspectives that invite us to reason together and solve our most pressing issues. So, it’s not really about politics, it’s about improving the lives of people. Even more, if those in power refuse to reason together, they do a disservice to those they’re charged to serve.

On Submission

No doubt, we are subject to the governing authority, but we are not called to submit to what God does not stand for. We are to speak truth to power graciously, but assertively and consistently. I leave you with a point made by Dr. Martin Luther King, meanwhile confined to a Birmingham Jail, on Christians being subject to authority:

“One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

10 Truths to Cure Worry

The Great Physician is in and He is always ready to treat new and existing patients in need of His loving care. He is never full so you won’t have to ever go anywhere else to receive the attention you need. He understands that every patient is different and their ability to handle worry also differs, but He prescribes and orders the same treatment to cure it, the command–DO NOT WORRY (Matthew 6:25-34). In times when you feel a sense of uncertainty, when you feel like the cares of life are too much to bear, take a dose of the most potent remedy there is–the Word of God. You have nothing to lose in trusting God, but plenty to gain including the peace of God that relieves worry and allows you to sleep through a storm and to remain calm in chaos. Combat worry by concentrating on what you hope will be instead of what you dread. Your relentless faith in things hoped for and your focus on a good report and a brighter day will be peace to your mind and wellness to your body and your soul. These ten truths to cure worry when taken seriously and consistently will have you better and stronger in no time.

  1. Worry is Wasted Energy Worry is a waste of energy because it is partly the fear that something bad could happen. There is always the possibility that something bad could happen, but the alternative is that something bad will not happen. So, do not waste time on worry, what will be will be because the reality is that in this world we will encounter trouble, hard times that are our tests, and in such moments we are made. The ultimate peace and confidence is understanding that God will be with you no matter what life brings. Read 2 Timothy 1:7; John 16:33; Romans 5:4
  2. Cast Your Cares on God To cast means to throw or move in a forceful way, throwing your cares with abandon to God immediately releases the heavy weight of worry from your heart and tosses your concern in the hand of the One who can actually change people or situations. Read 1 Peter 5:7
  3. Have Faith in God Fear and faith cannot inhabit the same space. Fear is the antithesis of faith. Faith is the ability to hope in what has not yet materialized in the natural world. To have faith in God is to have hope in the God of possibilities, the God that cannot lie, and the God who cannot fail. It is not a matter of if He will come through, but when His timeline is for coming through. If He delays His intervention, trust that He has not forgotten, but will intervene on time. Read Mark 11:22-24
  4. All Things Work Together for Good No matter what happens in our lives, the good, the bad, and the [downright] ugly, it is all working together for our ultimate good. How refreshing and comforting to keep in mind while we are going through that eventually and with certainty God will make use of all things negative, that no experience will ever be wasted, and that everything will serve us for good. Read Romans 8:28
  5. The Lord is With You Understand that the ultimate Fixer is always with you. So replace worry with calm and replace fear with hope. Read Isaiah 41:10; Matthew 28:20
  6. Do Not Worry, Pray In your trouble cry to the Lord, and He will rescue you. As you pray and cry out to the Lord, He is already calming the storm through divine intervention and making the necessary provisions for you. Read Psalm 107:29
  7. Change Your Thinking Meditate on what will aid in your mental well-being and rid your mind of the thoughts of worry that threaten your peace. Think on the following things and the peace of God will be with you: truth, whatever is honest, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report, whatever is virtuous, and whatever is praiseworthy. Read Philippians 4:6-8
  8. Worrying Robs You Of Today Tomorrow is not promised and takes care of itself. Worrying about tomorrow robs you of today which you have right now in your hand to impact and to find the joy, light, and goodness in it. Read Psalm 118:24; Matthew 6:31-34
  9. Trouble Does Not Last Always Just as seasons change, trouble has a definite end point when it must come to an end, we just have to wait patiently for God because (unless it’s revealed to us) we do not know when trouble will come or when it will go. The comfort is knowing that God knows, that He is faithful, and most of all that He cares about what you are going through and will take care of you. Practice ignoring the enemy’s lies that the storm will never end; not only will it end, but you will make it through the storm alright. Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
  10. Praise Remedies Worry One sure way to eliminate your worry is to begin to thank and praise the Lord for who He is and for the wonderful things He has done. While praising you are minimizing the thing or person that is causing you to worry while magnifying God’s ability to do anything, but fail. Furthermore, while praising, you are reaffirming your confidence in God, and affirming your faith in the God who is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Read Hebrews 13:8; Psalm 107

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Looking Beyond the Storm

God is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable],
A very present and well-proved help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1 AMP

We never welcome storms whether they are natural disasters or storms that we encounter in our own lives. Storms cause fear, worry, and even death. They are the result of a fallen world much different than the perfect world that Jesus created. After six days of creating, God “looked over everything he made [and He concluded that] it was good, so very good (Genesis 1:31 MSG)!” Unfortunately, the world we inherited is far from good. As a matter of fact, storms themselves are proof that all is not right with the world. As we await Hurricane Irma here in Florida, a massive storm that has already displayed her power and has already claimed several precious lives, now more than ever, we have a greater awareness of the fragility of our existence. We are faced with the uncomfortable reality that we are not in control. No doubt the enemy capitalizes on moments like these as his diabolical plan is “to steal, kill, and destroy” everything that we hold dear (John 10:10a). Yet, what the devil intends to harm us, God uses for good and to save many as they turn to and put their trust in Him (Genesis 50:20). In times of trouble, God is near; He’s a very present and proven help when we are seeking Him most (Psalm 46:1).

We naturally view storms for their potential for destruction, but I challenge and encourage you if only for your own peace, to look beyond the storm. Look beyond what’s in front of you, and consider the opportunity storms present to put the sovereign God of the universe more brilliantly on display. Look beyond the storm at the countless blessings that still remain. Count them and reflect on how these blessings as opposed to your struggles can be more magnified. Look beyond the storm at what we are inevitably going to which is an outcome of good and of mercy that will follow us regardless of the troubles this life brings. Look to God, our mighty and impenetrable refuge and strength; turn more earnestly to Him. For only in the safety of a perfect God can we find the perfect peace we need in order to survive our storms.