by Suellen | Ambassadors for Christ, Awakening
Did I just say that?
Christians have often stayed away from politics. The process can be so negative, with all of the mud-slinging, each side seeming to slander the opponent with impunity. It often creates strife – even in families. When debate starts, people seem to dig in their heels on their point of view, and the divide gets stronger than ever.
When it’s so negative, some people just “stay out of it.” They want peace at all costs, so they just ignore the dialogue and pretend that nothing unusual is going on. After all, they say, “This is the world, not God’s kingdom.”
I have a different view. In fact, when I wake up every morning and count my blessings, one of the greatest is that I live in a free society. I don’t have to be concerned about the authorities stopping my Christian worship. I don’t have to dress a certain way, or limit the number of my children, or worry about my daughters and granddaughters being able to attend schools and pursue their dreams.
Because our nation has been blessed by God, there are many more perks we can list. Warm or cool houses, running water, electricity, good sanitation, ample food…the list goes on and on. We are truly a blessed people.
I’m quite sure that the reason for this is that our God has had His hand on our nation from the beginning. Even Christopher Columbus noted in his diary that He felt that Providence had miraculously allowed his small crew to make the journey to the new world. Later, when the first adventurers started coming to the new country, they were seeking a place where they could worship their Christian God freely. Then, when the first settlers signed the Mayflower Compact dedicating the new country to God, our nation was started in covenant with God Himself. What a significant foundation.
The ingenuity and creativity we have enjoyed, the entrepreneurial spirit we have demonstrated, and the standard of living we have come to expect, all have come from God’s blessing. We have had His guidance and protection from the beginning.
So why is it so important to involve ourselves with politics? We have been entrusted with a tremendous responsibility. In our free society, we have the right and responsibility to vote for the people who will lead us, make laws, and activate other decisions which affect our lives. For us not to vote, indicates that we don’t honor our freedom to do so.
And for us to vote the way God wants us to, we need to know what the candidates stand for.
Successful democracy depends on an educated populace. We can’t afford to stick our heads in the sand and just hope that “God’s will is being done.” He is counting on us to pay attention and vote for His will.
So go beyond the surface,and find out what the candidates believe. Don’t just look at what they say, look at what they do.
As you do your research, ask yourself these questions. Do they honor this great country and the constitution, which many believe was inspired by God? Do they honor religious freedom? Do they honor all life – even the defenseless, like unborn babies? (Oops, I’m giving myself away). Do they want to provide opportunities for people to pursue their dreams, or do they want to control the process?
Listen to the debates,and take a look behind the rhetoric to assess the truth.
Then, make your plans to vote for God’s candidates in November. We need to exercise our right to vote. We don’t want to lose the privilege God has given us to live in this free country. A country which is free to strive for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Let’s look at what some founding fathers said about this.
We electors have an important constitutional power placed in our hands; we have a check upon two branches of the legislature . . . the power I mean of electing at stated periods [each] branch. . . . It becomes necessary to every [citizen] then, to be in some degree a statesman, and to examine and judge for himself of the tendency of political principles and measures. Let us examine, then, with a sober, a manly . . . and a Christian spirit; let us neglect all party [loyalty] and advert to facts; let us believe no man to be infallible or impeccable in government any more than in religion; take no man’s word against evidence, nor implicitly adopt the sentiments of others who may be deceived themselves, or may be interested in deceiving us.
[John Adams, The Papers of John Adams, Robert J. Taylor, ed. (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1977), Vol. 1, p. 81, from “‘U’ to the Boston Gazette” written on August 29, 1763.]
Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.
[Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1907), Vol. IV, p. 256, in the Boston Gazette on April 16, 1781.]
Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust be men of unexceptionable characters. The public cannot be too curious concerning the character of public men.
[Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1907), Vol. III, p. 236-237, to James Warren on November 4, 1775.]
Consider well the important trust . . . which God . . . [has] put into your hands. . . . To God and posterity you are accountable for [your rights and your rulers]. . . . Let not your children have reason to curse you for giving up those rights and prostrating those institutions which your fathers delivered to you. . . . [L]ook well to the characters and qualifications of those you elect and raise to office and places of trust. . . . Think not that your interests will be safe in the hands of the weak and ignorant; or faithfully managed by the impious, the dissolute and the immoral. Think not that men who acknowledge not the providence of God nor regard His laws will be uncorrupt in office, firm in defense of the righteous cause against the oppressor, or resolutly oppose the torrent of iniquity. . . . Watch over your liberties and privileges – civil and religious – with a careful eye.
[Matthias Burnett, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Norwalk, An Election Sermon, Preached at Hartford, on the Day of the Anniversary Election, May 12, 1803 (Hartford: Printed by Hudson & Goodwin, 1803), pp. 27-28.]
I have one great political idea. . . . That idea is an old one. It is widely and generally assented to; nevertheless, it is very generally trampled upon and disregarded. The best expression of it, I have found in the Bible. It is in substance, “Righteousness exalteth a nation; sin is a reproach to any people” [Proverbs 14:34]. This constitutes my politics – the negative and positive of my politics, and the whole of my politics. . . . I feel it my duty to do all in my power to infuse this idea into the public mind, that it may speedily be recognized and practiced upon by our people.
[Frederick Douglass, The Frederick Douglass Papers, John Blassingame, editor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982), Vol. 2, p. 397, from a speech delivered at Ithaca, New York, October 14th, 1852.]
[T]he time has come that Christians must vote for honest men and take consistent ground in politics or the Lord will curse them. . . . Christians have been exceedingly guilty in this matter. But the time has come when they must act differently. . . . Christians seem to act as if they thought God did not see what they do in politics. But I tell you He does see it – and He will bless or curse this nation according to the course they [Christians] take [in politics].
[Charles G. Finney, Lectures on Revivals of Religion (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1868), Lecture XV, pp. 281-282.]
Thanks to www.wallbuilders.com for providing these documents.
Never forget how important your part is. Our blessing and our responsibility go hand in hand!
So let’s keep on Soaring!
by Suellen | Ambassadors for Christ, Kingdom of God
Anthony Morgan left the Secretary of State’s office with a bounce in his steps. He could hardly wait to get in touch with his wife and give her the great news. He had been chosen to be the United States Ambassador to Glokwando. He would be representing his beloved country to the government of this far away land.
He and his family would live in the American Embassy in Glokwando. A beautiful, almost palatial complex from which he could conduct his business.
Now there was much work to do. He would have to learn the language and study the culture of these people. But more importantly, he would have to fully understand the mission. He would want to represent his country in an honorable way, so Anthony would need to study to be certain that he understood the United States position in dealing with these people.
The rules of engagement. The history of the relationship between the countries. And most importantly, the goals of his government in performing this mission.
He would certainly expect the full backing of the United States government as he carried out his duties.
Does that sound like a terrific assignment?
Well, I have some great news for all Christians everywhere. You, too, have been chosen to be an ambassador. An ambassador for Christ – representing God’s kingdom to all the people of the earth.
After we are born again, our home country is now God’s Kingdom, not just our earthly homeland. Even though we are living on the earth, our allegiance is to One higher than the earth. Our allegiance is to our God. The Creator of all things.
As with any job, there are benefits and privileges – along with responsibilities.
To really understand this assignment, it helps to look at ambassadors in the natural realm.
First, they must be citizens of the country they represent. You wouldn’t see an ambassador of the United States being a citizen of Russia. Obviously, they must be a citizen of the country they represent. A citizen in good standing and loyal to their home country.
To be a citizen of God’s Kingdom, one must be born again. I’ve talked about that in other posts. And to be in good standing, the person must be faithful to God and to His Word.
Second, a natural ambassador must learn about his own country. The history, the laws and customs, and the philosophy – the guiding principles of that country. In order to represent his own government to another nation, he must be faithful to execute the plans assigned to him.
For instance, a Russian ambassador and a Turkish ambassador to the United States would have different agendas and different perspectives on what they want accomplished. Each would represent faithfully the desires of their own countries.
So as ambassadors of God’s Kingdom, we study His word and spend time with Him in order to represent Him well. We want His principles to be our guide for what we do.
We will get more into our mission statement later.
First let’s look at three important privileges we receive as God’s ambassadors. What can we expect as benefits?
And how do we appropriate them?
Deuteronomy 28 is a great place to start for understanding God’s promises – and even His desires for you. The first 14 verses list promises we can expect when we are faithful to the call of God. These promises are often referred to as the Abrahamic Covenant. Galatians 3:13,14 tells us that Jesus paid the way for Christians to inherit these blessings as well.
Looking at these scriptures and others, what can we expect?
First, we can expect God’s blessing upon our family.
Blessed shall be the offspring of your body… Deuteronomy 28: 4a(NASB)
The Lord will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. Deuteronomy 30:6 (NASB)
All your sons will be disciples taught of the Lord; and the well-being of your sons will be great. Isaiah 54:13 (NASB)
When we look at the faithfulness of God not only to Abraham, but also to his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob, we see the picture of God’s desire to bless our entire families. For generations to come.
Now our part of the plan is to fully invest in God’s Word and apply it to our lives.
Second, we can expect provision.
An ambassador knows that he will be supported by his home country. Usually quite lavishly. In a similar way, as God’s ambassadors, we can expect provision from Him. This is not to say that there won’t be times when our faith is stretched to receive this provision. Yet God’s provision will be there – sometimes from the most unexpected places.
The Bible is full of words promising our provision, and giving us wisdom on how to receive these natural blessings.
The Lord will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hands to, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God gives you. Deuteronomy 28:8 (NASB)
The Lord will open for you His good storehouse the heavens to give rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hands. Deuteronomy 28:12 (NASB)
Philippians 4:19 And your God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NASB)
And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. II Corinthians 9:8 (NASB)
God’s Word is our instruction manual to let us know what we can expect, and how to appropriate His blessings.
We learn that our provision is linked with our obedience and our faith.
If you be willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land. Isaiah 1:19 (KJV)
Never does God want us to be selfish in receiving. In fact, He indicates that we reap what we sow.
Give and it will be given unto you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing shall men pour into your lap.
Now for the third benefit: protection.
A natural ambassador can expect the armies of his sending nation to promise security and safety. In a similar way, as ambassadors of Christ we can count on protection from God’s heavenly army: His angels.
A favorite reminder of this truth is found in II Kings 6:8-15
The king of Aram was attempting to conquer Israel, but Elisha the prophet had been thwarting their plans.
God had been showing Elisha what the Aramites were planning, and Elisha had been warning the Israelites. As a result, none of the evil plans were working, and the King became very frustrated. He decided to capture Elisha.
The king located Elisha in Dothan, and sent a huge army with chariots and weaponry.
Elisha’s servant woke up early and saw that they were surrounded by this evil army. Frightened, he ran to wake Elisha. They were surrounded, and there was no hope for them.
I love Elisha’s famous response.
So he answered. Fear not. More are they with us than they who are with them. II Kings 6:16 NASB
Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. II Kings 6:16-17 (NASB)
Elisha prayed for God to strike the army blind – and the angels did it. Then Elisha led them away to another place where they received food and water and were returned to their own land.
Needless to say, they never came again.
This episode shows us that we are surrounded by angelic beings. We can’t see them, but when we are God’s people, we can count on them for protection.
When speaking of angels, Paul says:
Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation. Hebrews 1:14 (NASB)
And there is this:
Bless the Lord, you His angels, mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word. Psalm 103:20 (NASB)
When you and I – as ambassadors – speak God’s word, we activate our angels to accomplish what God has promised. They are part of God’s plan for us and our mission.
My husband had an interesting encounter several years ago.
Distressed about some things which were happening, Mickey was walking around our den, wringing his hands and thinking. Maybe praying a little.
Suddenly he had a vision.
He saw what looked like a hockey penalty box – loaded with angels. They were sitting, watching, and waiting for Mickey to speak the Word.
As he began to speak God’s Word, they rushed out of the penalty box and started to work. He knew they were performing the Word. And he knew that the answer was coming.
And the answer did indeed come – almost immediately.
There are many examples in the Bible of angels working on behalf of God’s people. They are there for our protection and deliverance.
So as ambassadors for Christ, we can expect many benefits. We can expect blessings on our family. We can expect provision. And we can expect protection.
The word of God is filled with wisdom on how to appropriate these many benefits. As we study God’s word and apply His principles, we will see the fruit of our labor.
What does our God expect in return? As God’s ambassadors, we have a job to do.
That message is for another day.
by Suellen | Bible, Faith
Faith can seem like a strange thing. One day you are on top of the world. You are facing huge obstacles, yet you are trusting God and you know way down deep in that place that’s hard to describe, that you are going to come through this OK.
In fact, you are quite sure that the obstacles are crumbling before you.
Then there are other days. (You know, one of “those” days).
Just getting out of bed in the morning seems like a huge feat – and one that you might not be able to pull off!
So what happened? How can that be?
One day you’re up; one day you’re down. One day you see yourself right up there with David …and Paul! The next day, you’re more like Demas, the loser.
Will you ever be consistent and not wavering? You begin to doubt your ability to walk with God in a reputable way. Can you truly be His person?
Yes, you can. You just have to understand the nature of faith and why it may seem elusive.
One way to grasp the right perspective would be to compare your spiritual strength to your natural strength.
Life is fluid. Health is fluid. Strength is fluid. Strength of any kind is not like an object which you acquire and proudly display. It is part of your living being, and as in any part of life, there are efforts which are essential to maintain it.
Consider an athlete – such as an NFL player. Can you imagine what would happen if he took his strength for granted? He wouldn’t be around very long.
Even when he looks and acts like he has arrived at the zenith of physical perfection, he continues to work out and to practice. And, if he suffers an injury and has to sit out for awhile, his training increases to a new level upon his return. The athlete knows that his strength, endurance, and physical expertise are totally dependent on practice and training. He would never expect to maintain his desired level of achievement while in a total rest mode.
We need to take a lesson from the athletes. We need to honor the precious thing we call faith – our belief in God – our trust in His Word – and our zealous appropriation of all that He has for us. We must realize that our fath is a living thing. It grows or it diminishes. And a lot of the current status of this precious faith is dependent upon our current mindset.
The Bible says that “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17) The nutrition which feeds our faith is God’s Word, and if we aren’t nourishing our spirits with his rich food, our faith will be diminishing. Even if yesterday we considered ourselves spiritual giants, yesterday’s food will not keep us full of faith. It’s like the manna in the wilderness which became rancid on the next day. We need fresh food everyday.
Let’s go a little deeper.
“Word” in Romans 10:17 is the Greek word “rhema.” It means the spoken word. The revealed word.
As you read the Bible, verses will seem to leap off the page and “speak” to you. You will sense that God is speaking those verses to you personally, and your faith will be built up by them.
As you meditate on those words, they will become planted in your heart and your mind. They will become yours to believe and to act upon.
Then in Jude 20, we see that faith is built up by praying in the spirit. So how is your daily prayer life? Do you check in with your spiritual headquarters every day, listening for direction, heeding His nudge, and listening for His voice of encouragement and affirmation?
Do you speak His Word into the atmosphere around you, changing the fog of delusion into the clarity of His vision?
Remember, yesterday’s manna is rancid. (Exodus 16: 15-20). Every day we start with a new need for our Father and His Word. Every day we have an opportunity to build on our strength of the past, or to allow that strength to recede.
Staying the same is never an option.
As a pastor, my husband led those in our church to say often, “I believe God.”
That seems so simple, you might think, well of course we do. But as you say those simple words, you will find your spirit leaping within you. A resounding, “yes!” You do indeed believe God and not man.
All of society around us needs us to be true believers, strong in our understanding and faith.
So let me encourage you. Believe God and strengthen your faith continually.
Read His Word. Pray. Do those things which build up your faith, and those things which cause it to continue.
When you find discouragement creeping into your thoughts, run to Gods Word. Ask Him for guidance in what to read. Then read and meditate. Allow that Word to become part of you.
If you do these things, you will keep the faith!
by Suellen | Biography, Faith, Quotes
Frederick Douglass was one of the great movers, shakers, and thinkers of the 19th century. As a young slave in Maryland, he learned to read – and began to teach his fellow slaves by reading the Bible.
Determined to be free from slavery, young Douglass escaped and fled to New York to a safe community for freed slaves.
Then his attentions turned to freeing others.
Frederick Douglass established a newspaper, North Star, and became a writer and orator. Douglass traveled the United States and into Europe speaking for the abolition of slavery – and for women’s rights.
He wrote several autobiographies, sharing his stories of slavery, deliverance, and his Christian views.
Douglass was truly a remarkable man. One who stood up before his time. Before it was fashionable.
His quotes are significant nearly 2 centuries later.
One is especially significant today.
I have one great political idea. . . . That idea is an old one. It is widely and generally assented to; nevertheless, it is very generally trampled upon and disregarded.
The best expression of it, I have found in the Bible.
It is in substance, “Righteousness exalteth a nation; sin is a reproach to any people” [Proverbs 14:34].
This constitutes my politics – the negative and positive of my politics, and the whole of my politics. . . .
I feel it my duty to do all in my power to infuse this idea into the public mind, that it may speedily be recognized and practiced upon by our people.
An amazing man. An amazingly accurate outlook.
[Frederick Douglass, The Frederick Douglass Papers, John Blassingame, editor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982), Vol. 2, p. 397, from a speech delivered at Ithaca, New York, October 14th, 1852.]
by Suellen | Faith, God's Guidance
My grandson, Charlie, is in Middle School now, and a very bright guy.
Recently I thought of an episode which happened several years ago. He was about three, sitting on my lap, when with wide eyes, he began to tell me his story.
Spider Man, Batman, Pink Venom, Black Venom, and Green Goblin were having a “spend-the-night party.” He animatedly continued to create this adventure, which eventually led to a gi-normous (that’s bigger than gigantic or enormous alone) box falling on their heads and they had to fight it off.
All of us listening to Charlie’s imagination on steroids, couldn’t help but chuckle. What a creative mind! You could see the wheels turning as he churned out his tale.
Later, in a quieter moment, I began to think how we adults lose that creativity. What happens to us? Why are we always so methodical and logical about any visions or goals we might have?
Why do we always settle for the “norm?”
If everyone “settled for the norm,” we would have none of the cutting edge technology, space travel, or medical wonders of our generation. So some are not settling, but how about you? How about me?
The Bible says that faith is the substance of things “hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.”(Hebrews 11:1)
The hoped for is the thing I want to talk about today. The hope is like a blueprint in your mind of what you are believing for. If you don’t have a picture in your mind of what you are believing for, then how can you have faith for it? You can’t!
In another blog, I talked about the woman who came to Jesus, pushing through the crowd to receive healing from a hemorrhage. She had been living with the condition for 12 years, and had spent all of her money on doctors, but had not received her healing. Yet she clearly had a vision of herself being healed by Jesus, because she said that she knew if she touched Him she would be made well.
That was creative hope, which didn’t settle for what all of the natural evidence suggested.
Can you imagine what her family might have said to her that day? They probably would have told her that she had been to the best doctors, now just accept this condition and do the best you can with it. They might even have told her that God wanted her to be sick. But she knew better than all of them. She knew that Jesus could accomplish what natural man never could. And she was right!
That creative hope is from God.
He created us in His image, and He always has a special plan in mind about the progression of things. He has special plans for you, but if you are always too busy to spend time with Him, you will never know these plans. You will never develop the Godly hope He wants for us.
Let me encourage you today to spend time with God and His Word. Pray and expect Him to answer.
Ask Him to show you some plans He wants for you. As you continue in this direction, you will begin to see desires drop into your heart…Godly desires. Desires that your faith can then catapult into reality.
In the meantime, enjoy the journey. It’s truly an adventure when we are walking with God!