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Post Election — Response —

POST-ELECTION STATEMENT

Dr. George O. Wood
Assemblies of God General Superintendent

The election, at long last, is over.

As fellow believers, we offer to our new leaders the pledge of our prayers and our commitment to be good citizens in this wonderful land that the Lord has privileged us to live in.

In this moment as I talk with you, I do not know the results of the election because this was recorded prior to the election. I wanted to bring these comments to you without knowing who won – because our responsibilities as Christians transcend politics – and we must be who we are regardless of who wins.

The first century Christians lived in a time far different than ours. The government was a repressive dictatorship. Life was cheap. Slavery was practiced. Infanticide was common. Romans chapter one outlines the steep and deep degradation morally and ethically in the prevailing culture.

Christians then, unlike us, did not have the right to vote. In fact, throughout the first 200 plus years of the Church, Christians were a persecuted minority.

Yet, those early Christians turned the world upside down and right side up. How did they do it? Through the ballot box? No. Through electing leaders that were preferential to their point of view? No.

They changed the world by being what Jesus called them to be – salt and light.

I must confess that during these past long months of electioneering, I let the externals of politics take too much of my time and interest. Perhaps you did as well. It’s easy to get so overly absorbed in politics that we lose sight of the fact that our citizenship is really in heaven – that governments, presidents, senators, and political leaders come and go – but the kingdom of God lasts forever.

I am not saying that we should not be involved, as citizens, in political issues; but I think it is vital that we keep perspective. Our focus should be more on winning people to Jesus than winning elections. We need to be more concerned about the progress of the Gospel than the progress of a political party.

I want to call you to refocus on the health of the church – that the real answers to eternal issues lie not in the government – but in a revitalized body of believers that transforms neighborhoods and communities through our witness in word and deed.

The apostles told the first century Christians five things.

1. God is the sovereign Lord over human history and government. In Romans 13, Paul wrote: 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.

This admonition applies to any Christian living in any country at any time period – whether in China, Uganda, Cuba, Russia, India, Nigeria, or the United States.

But, what does it mean that the authorities that exist have been established by God? Exactly what you think it says. God raises up nations and leaders.

The results of this election did not catch God by surprise. Although we voted, nothing happens without God’s permissive will. He allows us to choose good or evil and, in a democracy, the government He gives us is the one we choose. Sometimes our vote results in leaders who fail us and they become a means of God’s judgment; other times leaders follow after God’s heart and they become a means of God’s blessing.

Daniel said to the unrighteous world ruler, Nebuchadnezzar: the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men (Daniel 4:17). To the unrighteous ruler, Pilate, governor of Judea, Jesus said: You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above (John 19:11).

So, as we come out of this election as Christians, we must catch our breath and pause. We must put on our Biblical glasses and see Jesus as the Lord of human history. If the early Christians could flourish under a persecuting totalitarian government, then in America we Christians have even more reason to flourish because of the democratic system that gives us the freedom of speech, assembly, and worship.

2. The second advice the apostles gave was that government is designed to restrain and punish those who do evil.

Read Romans 13:3-4 or 1 Peter 2:13-17. In fact, Paul calls human government God’s servant to do good by bringing punishment on the wrongdoer. The word he employs for servant is the same word that elsewhere is translated as deacon. Those in civil government are meant to be God’s deacons. They are to approve what is right, and disapprove what is wrong; and thereby serve the cause of justice. Of course, if they fail in their task then the society and culture that they represent crumbles. Paul’s view was that the Roman dictatorship, as bad as it was, was preferable to anarchy.

When there is no government, everyone does what is right in his or her own eyes.

If you don’t believe that, then remove government totally from your community for just seven days – all kinds of mayhem to person and property would occur.

3. None of us necessarily like the third counsel given to early Christians – but, if you look in Romans 13:6-7 you’ll find it: if you owe taxes, pay taxes! Need I say more? Without taxes, the government cannot provide the duty it owes citizens to keep them safe from harm.

4. That brings us to the fourth counsel the apostles gave to Christians living under any desirable or undesirable government – pray! Paul writes this to his younger colleague, Timothy: I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – the kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

So let’s do what Paul asks. Let’s offer to God both intercession and thanksgiving for those elected to office. Why? Not because our candidate lost or won – but because, the Lord hears our prayers and it’s His desire that we have the kind of governmental climate which permits us to flourish as the followers of Christ. Look at what Paul says in the next verses from 1 Timothy 2 (verses 3 and 4): This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. In other words, a government that provides peace for Christians makes for an environment in which the church can multiply.

The apostle Paul gave the counsel to pray in the face of a looming threat of persecution. He asked the church to pray that the oppressive and persecuting hand of the government would be stayed. And, early Christians kept praying for that even in the midst of fierce opposition and martyrdoms.

We may be inching into a day in America when Christians no longer have the favored status they have enjoyed. Increasingly, the secular culture seeks to marginalize followers of Jesus, hold them up to caricature, and portray them in the most unfair manner possible. There may come a day in America when believers face outright persecution. So, we must continue to pray that the Lord will help America to preserve its freedoms; and that, resulting from our freedoms, we may continue to see Christ’s kingdom grow in America; and, that from our land will come a powerful awakening that results in world-wide revival.

5. We are to show respect for those who hold office – whether executive, judicial, or legislative; whether national, state, or local; whether Republican, Democrat, Independent, or other parties. The New Testament explicitly tells us to do that. Hear the Apostle Paul: Give everyone what you owe him . . . if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor (Romans 13:7). Hear the Apostle Peter say the same thing: Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king (1 Peter 2:17).

Obviously, in America we do not have a king. But, we have a president and we have a governmental system that has three branches nationally – and these three branches also form state and local governments. We are to honor those who hold positions of authority.

As Christians, we must set the example for being respectful to those in office – whether executive, judicial, or legislative. The recent campaign at all levels and all parties was often filled with bitter rancor, distortions,
smears and lies. That must not be a part of Christian’s behavior. We must not lose our principles
when fighting for principle.

As believers, we can help set a better tone for the national discussion. We can hold to our views without being unkind, without rancorous voices, without becoming filled with anger or hatred toward those with opposing views.

Our ultimate goal as Christians is not to win an election, but to win people to Jesus. We will only win those whom we clearly love, and for whom we show love.

Now that the campaigns are over, let the real campaign begin. Let’s win America for Jesus!

Let’s pray that the Lord will send to America a Great Spiritual Awakening – that from sea to shining sea, the glory of the Lord will break forth in the lives of our fellow citizens. May God bless America as America blesses God!

How Would Jesus Vote?

I am reading this very relevant book. No matter what, Followers of Christ should be praying for our nation. May God direct our paths and may we make decisions that glorify His cause!

2 Chronicles 7:14

The 2008 election is shaping up to be one of the most important political contests in American history. In fact, Dr. D. James Kennedy believes it will be a watershed moment that could impact our very survival as a nation under God.

Values voters—people whose political views and votes are based on their faith in God—are being targeted as never before. As the campaign season moves forward, the significant players will debate terrorism, radical Islam, nuclear threats, global warming, social issues, gay marriage, immigration, education, health care, and many other essential issues that can create sharp ideological divisions.

Into this overwhelmingly complex political situation, Dr. Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe bring a clear, compelling, and nonpartisan exploration of what God’s Word has to say on these critical matters. How Would Jesus Vote? isn’t intended to tell readers which candidates to support; rather it offers a Christ-centered understanding of the world to help readers draw their own political conclusions.

31-Day Election Prayer Calendar

Gotta love this 31-Day Election Prayer Calendar. It gives us a focus point for each day leading up to the November 2008 elections. The main web site is found right here.

If you want to download this PDF file for your use, just click here.

It is important to those who are Followers of Christ help our nation through the power of prayer.

So look at the Presidential candidates. Look closely. Examine Obama and Biden and McCain and Palin. Then apply the values that would most honor Jesus. After all of that and after prayer? Vote, by all means — VOTE!

Rhetoric

Merrium-webster.com states the definition of rhetoric this way:
Main Entry: rhet·o·ric           Listen to the pronunciation of rhetoric Pronunciation: ˈre-tə-rik

… 1: the art of speaking or writing effectively: as a: the study of principles and rules of composition formulated by critics of ancient times b: the study of writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion 2 a: skill in the effective use of speech b: a type or mode of language or speech ; also : insincere or grandiloquent language …

 

In a time where politicians parse words, we must skillfully listen, analyze, and use wise judgment. Context is EVERYTHING and historical evidence aids us in decision making.

That’s one reason I love God’s word, the Bible. Even though it is not a history book, per se, it is filled with history. But even then, the context of the writers point to one thing. It leads to the plan of salvation, how to be forgiven from our sins.

I challenge anyone reading this blog to explore the words of the Bible — in CONTEXT. You will learn that Jesus lead a sinless, blameless life and took upon Himself the sins of the world for our forgiveness. Through God’s plan we can be forgiven.

 

This fundamental message has changed my life. I’m far from perfect, but my journey is AWESOME — because by being forgiven, my faith keeps me moving forward with a perspective on life that has a promise.
Read John 3, read Romans 10, read 1st John, then go to Jeremiah 29:11. You will find that Jesus has a love beyond our pre-conditions — in fact it’s unconditional.



Are you looking for the kind of love that will not fail?

How to Watch a Debate

I receive an e-mail subscription sent to Pastors from Focus on the Family and H.B. London. In light of the ongoing campaigns and tonight’s debate, I thought I’d give you some of the thoughts contained in my inbox.

EXCERPT FROM “The Pastor’s Weekly Briefing,” Sent October 2, 2008.

Mr. Johnson outlined the following observations that he had gleaned from experts. Some of the comments are mine.

  • Listen actively. Switch from a passive mode to a learning mode. Pay attention.
  • Focus on substance not style. It is not so much how they look and how they sound as it is the clarity of their plans and positions.
  • Ignore subtle and disruptive behavior. You have seen candidates twist questions to the point that no answer is ever really given. You need to listen for a response that represents your questions. Discount gamesmanship.
  • Keep an open mind. Sometimes I find myself wanting the debaters to say what I want them to say and discounting the other person, even if he or she makes sense. Do you? My political bias many times gets in the way.
  • Turn off the TV when the debate is over. I really agree with Mr. Johnson. “The spin zone and post-debate analysis are designed to influence you. Make up your own mind.” I probably will make up my own mind, but, so often, I turn to the analysis I agree with rather than taking some time to weigh the results. Take some notes.
  • Give your own grade. Be objective. Weigh the significance of the issues. The polls are for the masses — the debate is for you as a God-assigned influencer.

In the Acts 26 debate, Paul was right — Agrippa was confused.

Apostle Paul: “What I am saying is true and reasonable” (Acts 26:25).

King Agrippa: “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” (Acts 26:28).

END EXCERPT

Enough Said!

When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan.
Proverbs 29:2 (NLT)

When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.
Proverbs 29:2 (ESV)

When good people run things, everyone is glad, but when the ruler is bad, everyone groans.
Proverbs 29:2 (MSG)

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.
Proverbs 29:2 (NKJV)

When the [uncompromisingly] righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked man rules, the people groan and sigh.
Proverbs 29:2 (AMP)