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Friday, May 7, 2010

A Christian Approach to Political Concerns

It must have been tough to live as a Christian in the Roman Empire. The emperors were pagans. None of them held Christian values, and several persecuted believers mercilessly. Nero set believers on fire as human torches. What would Christians have posted on facebook if it had existed in such anti-Christian times?

Would they have scorned, ridiculed, and insulted the political rulers? I don’t think so. Their role was to pray for those who ruled them, submit to every ordinance, serve as ambassadors for Christ, walk in love as children of light, and seek a city whose builder is God.

As citizens, we don’t have to roll over and play dead; we can express our opinions and convictions in love, be gracious, manifest the fruit of the Spirit in our words and deeds, and vote. We can be assured that God is still on the throne and fully in control.

May God bless—and rescue—the USA!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Garage Sale!

I guess you can find a good bargain at a garage sale. I found a good wheelbarrow at a neighbor’s garage sale. He even inflated the front tire for me. Most of the time, though, I walk away from a garage sale wondering why the stuff for sale wasn’t trashed. After all, who wants a size-10 combat boot paired with a size 12? Why buy a rusty grill that can’t stand straight and is full of holes? What does anyone want with an 8-track player? And what good is a rake that’s missing a dozen teeth?

Strange, isn’t it the value some people attach to junk?

Before becoming a believer, the apostle Paul (Saul of Tarsus at the time) valued religious junk highly. He thought God did too. He was proud of his religious pedigree, seminary training, and devotion to religious works and ceremonies. But one day he saw how worthless his religious “treasures” were, so he walked away from them and embraced the Cross. He put his trust in Jesus for salvation. He wrote: “I count them [his religious credentials and efforts] as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:8).

Martin Luther understood Paul’s value system. He said, “Man only needs Jesus Christ.” Like Paul, Luther stopped trusting his religious affiliation and efforts to save him and, instead, trusted in the sufficiency of Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary.

Ephesians 2:8 and 9 teach that God saves us by grace not works. Religious deeds fit the sinner’s need about as well as a mismatched pair of combat boots fit his feet.