If America Was A Land of Wisdom

Due to the ongoing issues of gun control, abortion, gay marriage, and other things, I’ve been thinking about the principle our nation was founded on.

People debate whether this nation was founded on Christianity or Christian principals, but the one thing no one argues is the principals that started our nation and what ties everything together.

Freedom. 

The word “freedom” (or “liberty”) is found in most American speeches, historical documents, and at the center of most judicial decisions. For better or worse, it the central tenet of the American life. No matter what the issue is, it always comes back around to freedom. In the name of freedom, we have some great things in America: the ability to personally succeed, to worship, to assemble, to debate and argue, to choose how to raise our children, etc. Yet in the name of freedom, we have done some terrible things in America such as kill over 50 millions babies in the name of convenience.

We believe freedom is the state of being completely unbound and unfettered, from all law and responsibility. That is not the scriptural stance of freedom. Christians understand that biblical freedom isn’t be unbound from everything, but being fully bound to Jesus. Since He made us, submitting to Him fully is the only way to experience true freedom. Yet, America wants nothing to do with this.

Our elections are currently about which candidate is going to protect our freedoms the best and give us “new freedoms.” In the next two elections, I’m sure we’ll see candidates promise freedoms to particular people groups, current illegal activities, and leisure activities. They will win because of this. Freedom is the center of everything we do in America.

But what if it wasn’t?

What if America was founded with wisdom at its center, not freedom?

I know that we wouldn’t enjoy some of the things we enjoy now (possibly like capitalism), and I’m not foolish enough to believe America would be a “moral” nation if we were centered around wisdom, but wouldn’t it be slightly better? Our arguments wouldn’t be centered around our selfish desires (what we currently call “rights”), but around what is the wisest thing, what is best for all parties.

The gun control debate wouldn’t be about rights over safety but the wisest way for prevent violence and implement safety.

We wouldn’t base our elections on the candidate who promises the most freedoms but the smartest and wisest. Maybe our country wouldn’t be in as much debt as it is now.

I’m not sure the abortion argument would of even came up (same with the gay marriage debate) since we wouldn’t be fighting for rights, but how to live wisely.

At the same time, James says there’s a carnal wisdom that’s “worldly, fleshly, and demonic” (James 3:15). It promises that wherever this wisdom is, “there will be disorder and every sort of vile practice.” So maybe America wouldn’t be any better if it was founded on wisdom instead of freedom.

What we really need is Jesus to return. He’ll lead the world (including America) in all righteousness.

Even so, come Lord Jesus.

Jeremiah & Judgment

For the last 15 years, there has been growing talk about the judgment coming to America and what should be done to stop it. Last year, the CEO of Chick-fil-a (a restaurant I love) said this regarding gay marriage and God’s judgment on America:

I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, “We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.” … I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

Obviously these remarks were taken quite offensively and led to protests and counter-protests and many chicken sandwiches.

During this time last year, I read through Jeremiah to see what the Bible says about this subject. In my opinion, there is no better book to read about God’s judgment than Jeremiah, since that is its sole focus. Many think Jeremiah is discouraging or depressing; but Jeremiah isn’t a depressing book because of the prophecies. It’s depressing because people outright ignored God’s warnings.

I wanted to post some of my thoughts about the book of Jeremiah and also my thoughts about our “God is sending national judgment” thinking.

Judgment is God-centered

One of the scariest and most solemn verses in Jeremiah is where God lays out his charge against Israel and why He’s sending judgment:

Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:12-13 ESV)

God doesn’t judge nations because they do bad things. All nations are made up of sinful people who will make (and sometimes even serious) mistakes. God remembers this. God doesn’t judge a nation based on how many laws are good for Christianity and how many are bad for it. No, God judges nations for two main reasons: they forsake Him and replace Him.

This point is stated over and over again throughout Jeremiah. Even though God does talk about the evil things they are doing, He tells them they are doing these things because they are not seeking Him. The root of national judgment is God. He is (99% of the time) the only determining factor.

A revival of moralism doesn’t prevent judgment.

This point killed me. It came when I realized when God called Jeremiah.

The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, to whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, and until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month. (Jeremiah 1:1-3 ESV)

Many times we skip over these introductions in Scripture, but this one is quite important. Why? Let’s read what King Josiah was doing before God called Jeremiah to prophecy judgment.

Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father; and he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet a boy, he began to seek the God of David his father, and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, and the carved and the metal images. And they chopped down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and he cut down the incense altars that stood above them. And he broke in pieces the Asherim and the carved and the metal images, and he made dust of them and scattered it over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem. And in the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far as Naphtali, in their ruins all around, he broke down the altars and beat the Asherim and the images into powder and cut down all the incense altars throughout all the land of Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem. (2 Chronicles 34:1-7 ESV)

Let’s stop and think about that.

King Josiah begins a moral revolution in the land. He starts tearing down every altar of idolatry in the land. It would be the equivalent if the President of the United States (with the support of the government) shut down the pornography industry, put prayer back in schools, outlawed gambling and prostitution, and created Christian laws to start enacting a theocracy. It was a huge win for morality. But a year into this revival of morality, God calls Jeremiah to prophecy judgment on the land.

The implication couldn’t be clearer: a revival of morality has little to do with stopping judgment. The reason is because, like I mentioned in the point above, morality (or the lack thereof) isn’t the main reason for judgment. People forsaking God is the real and main reason for judgment. The sad truth of the matter is that people can act righteous and be even more worthy of judgment.

In America, there is strong talk about the need for a revival of morality. Many think that if we outlaw gay marriage, put prayer back in schools, have a Christian president, or stop vile things from being on TV, that this would stop the coming judgment from God and make us a “Christian nation” again. This thinking couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, I believe it would be worse for us. It would sear our consciences and let us believe that we are good and righteous while hearts and minds are still forsaking God. When people stop forsaking God and start seeking Him, morality is fixed. To fix morality without turning the heart back to God is deadly. That’s why God tells Israel:

Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 3:10)

“If you return, O Israel, declares the Lord, to me you should return. (Jeremiah 4:1)

All judgment is from God, regardless of the servant.

From the beginning, God promised he would raise up the Babylonians to destroy Judah. Daniel said around this same time to the king of Babylon:

He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings. (Daniel 2:27)

When a nation is overthrown or attacked, the Bible is clear: God’s will was involved. It isn’t a game of free-will Russian roulette. God controls the hearts of kings/leaders and moves them to accomplish His will. They are His servants.

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will. (Proverbs 21:1)

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)

“It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me. Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and I have given him also the beasts of the field to serve him. All the nations shall serve him and his son and his grandson, until the time of his own land comes. (Jeremiah 27:5)

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will send and take Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and I will set his throne above these stones that I have hidden, and he will spread his royal canopy over them. (Jeremiah 43:10)

“Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize dwellings not their own. (Habakkuk 1:5-6)

In America, we often think that we can control which leaders govern which nations. We live in endless fear of dictators and nations with nuclear ambitions, acting that if we don’t worry and don’t try to do something preventative that one of these dictators will attack our country. While I believe it’s in the heart of all men to do terrible evil, the Bible shows us that national attacks are stirred in the hearts of leaders by the Lord. Whether Pharaoh (multiple ones), Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Darius, or other kings in the Bible, God predestined them to conquer. The prophecies and scriptures show this to be true.

Sometimes, God won’t change his mind.

There has been an uprising of mass gatherings of prayer, fasting, and repentance in the last twenty years. Groups like Promise Keepers and The Call have rallied people to join them and to pray for two things: to stop (or delay) judgment upon our nation and to turn the nation’s heart back to God. I have no problem with the faith of these two statements. I believe that only prayer and fasting can help do the impossible — turn hateful hearts to Jesus.

The problem comes when we think that if we cultivate enough prayer, that God will change His mind. This absolute is nowhere in scripture. That’s why the Bible says:

Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God? (Joel 2:13-15)

Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” (Jonah 3:9)

“For this the earth shall mourn, and the heavens above be dark; for I have spoken; I have purposed; I have not relented, nor will I turn back.” (Jeremiah 4:28)

I have no problem praying in hope that God may change His mind, but it is never an absolute thing. He only answers prayers that line up to His will. If His will is to judge a nation, ten million hours of prayer won’t change a thing. Sometimes the most that will happen is that the judgment will be temporarily delayed.

Judgment cannot be delayed forever.

Even though judgment is delayed, it does not mean it’s deleted. There will come a time where it cannot be delayed any longer. This is the reason why God says in Jeremiah:

Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the Lord; and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this? (Jeremiah 5:9 & 29; 9:9)

You have rejected me, declares the Lord; you keep going backward, so I have stretched out my hand against you and destroyed you—I am weary of relenting. (Jeremiah 15:6)

The things we do and evils we commit are done, ultimately, against Him. Therefore, He has every right to respond accordingly. Sometimes the reason judgment falls is that God is tired (figuratively speaking) of delaying it and postponing it, especially when nothing is truly changing in the hearts of the people. When judgment finally happens, it’s because it is the will of God. When the Lord finally decided to judge and destroy Israel, He told Jeremiah:

As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you. (Jeremiah 7:16)

When God’s mind is made up, it’s a sure thing. No prayer or plan of man can change it. Yet, even in His decision to judge, there is mercy and patience. It would be another twenty years before God would move Babylon to destroy Jerusalem.

God will eventually judge everyone.

Even though God may use ungodly people and nations to accomplish His purposes in judgment, it does not mean that He winks at their sin and hatred of Him. Jeremiah complained to the Lord in Jeremiah 12. Jeremiah was mad that God would judge His own people for their evil while the heathen nations around them were living prosperous. The Lord then responds by talking about the judgment He’s bringing upon those nations:

But if any nation will not listen, then I will utterly pluck it up and destroy it, declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 12:17)

Later, God would speak directly against Babylon, His servant, and judge them for what they did.

For this is the vengeance of the Lord: take vengeance on her; do to her as she has done. (Jeremiah 50:15)

Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will stir up the spirit of a destroyer against Babylon, against the inhabitants of Leb-kamai, and I will send to Babylon winnowers, and they shall winnow her, and they shall empty her land, when they come against her from every side on the day of trouble. (Jeremiah 51:1-2)

The Lord has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes, because his purpose concerning Babylon is to destroy it, for that is the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance for his temple. (Jeremiah 51:11)

This should show us that no nation, no matter how great and powerful they are, no matter if they are God’s chosen nation to judge the earth, all nations will be judged and many times the judgment they reap is the judgment that God helped them sow.

Our hearts deceive us and make us think we won’t be judged.

One of the most quoted verses in the Bible has to be Jeremiah 17:9, but let’s read it in context:

“The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; with a point of diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of their altars,while their children remember their altars and their Asherim, beside every green tree and on the high hills, on the mountains in the open country. Your wealth and all your treasures I will give for spoil as the price of your high places for sin throughout all your territory. You shall loosen your hand from your heritage that I gave to you, and I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, for in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever.” (Jeremiah 17:1-4)

So this chapter’s context is about Judah’s sin and the certainty of God’s judgment and wrath against them.

Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. (Jeremiah 17:5-6)

God tells them that they turned their heart away from God and decided to trust in themselves instead. But whose fault is this? God answers the question.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind,to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

God is saying that their (and our) hearts were deceiving them into believing that God wouldn’t see and wouldn’t judge them for their evil deeds.

Prophecy may be treasonous.

When your nation/government rejects God and avidly seeks evil, any prophecy against them will eventually be seen as treasonous. Name calling was only the start. Speaking the truth and the word of God landed Jeremiah in jail. Jeremiah was beaten by the chief priest, Pashhur (in Jeremiah 20), for the things that he was prophesying. But when the word of the Lord is in you, you can’t be beaten into silence.

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FAQ

I’m posting my personal thoughts as questions and answers in summary of this post.

So, is judgment coming to America?

Yes.

Why is judgment coming to America?

I would say because of Jeremiah 2:11-13 and 22:8. In truth, God judges all nations who do not seek Him wholeheartily. So judgment is not just coming to America, but to most (if not all) nations. The final judgment will culminate in the Great Tribulation.

Can we delay it or cancel it?

There is no way to cancel the judgment coming to this land. God has planned the exact day it will happen. I’m not even sure we can delay it anymore, though we can still pray to that end.

Yet, what is the purpose of that end (that He would delay judgment)? My personal feelings on the matter of praying to delay judgment is this: it’s incredibly selfish. I feel like this has been happening for the last 40 years. I find it to be the equivalent of saying “God, don’t judge me. Judge my children.” It shirks responsibility and accountability. Is it not more honorable to accept the judgment for your (and previous) generations so that your children may be spared? It irks me that American Christians want spiritual authority but not spiritual responsibility.

Is there any hope then?

Of course. Judgment and mercy always flow together. A.W. Tozer states:

He has always dealt in mercy with mankind and will always deal in justice when His mercy is despised.

The doctrine of the divine unity means not only that there is but one God; it means also that God is simple, uncomplex, one with Himself. The harmony of His being is the result not of a perfect balance of parts but of the absence of parts. Between His attributes no contradiction can exist. He need not suspend one to exercise another, for in Him all His attributes are one. All of God does all that God does; He does not divide himself to perform a work, but works in the total unity of His being. (link)

This means that God does stop being merciful in order to judge. Rather, it is a natural response for God to judge evil and it is a natural response to give mercy to those who cry out for it, before, during, and after. This is why one event like 9/11 can occur and it can spiritually destroy someone’s life and save someone else’s.

How should the church respond in light of the coming judgment?

In repentance and in humility. Peter states:

For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)

While great judgment will come to this nation one day, it will come to the church first. In many ways we, Christians living in America, have the same issues that Israel did in Jeremiah. Although we have an ultimate sacrifice in Jesus and don’t have to worry about being judged without hope, the Lord does chastise His children, and sometimes the chastising can be a little tough, but it is always loving.

When we start seeing our sins, we will start responding humbly to our nation regarding their sins. We will start praying like Habakkuk:

O Lord, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O Lord, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy. (Habakkuk 3:2)

What is the scriptural way to prepare for coming judgment?

Pray, fast, obey, worship, and memorize the Bible. There’s no need to start storing food or making underground bunkers. God speaks harshly many times throughout Jeremiah to those who would try to seek shelter and comfort by their own hands and strength. Don’t be anxious and trust God (Matthew 6).

How bad will the judgment be?

I don’t know, but it won’t be nearly as bad as when Jesus returns. Ponder that.

The Smoking Gun Debate

Disclaimer: these are my personal thoughts about guns and gun control. Take it with a grain of salt. My goal is to lay out the argument as I see it, without the memorized rhetoric of any political party.

It’s been a difficult year. There have been several massacres across the US, from movie theaters to elementary schools. While the people and situations have changed, one thing has not: the weapon used. In each circumstance, a gun was used to kill and injure many people. Each time this happens, Americans are quick to voice their opinions about how we need more or less guns and more or less control of them. Sadly, these debates devolve into bitter verbal fights based on political party to the point that we can’t even have a reasonable, adult-like conversation about guns and gun control. Typically, sweeping generalizations are used and rational thought is put away. The point of this post is to lay out a few points about the whole issue so that hopefully some of us can have a reasoned and unbittered discussion about this issue.

Before I start, I want to add a couple of points to my disclaimer at the top.

  1. I grew up in a strong Republican family. I grew up (and still currently live) in Florida and was raised by godly parents who believed in guns. The kids always knew where dad kept his revolver and knew the purposes it was there for (note: it was far out of our reach). I do not come from a “left-side” or “liberal” family. They were/are very conservative.
  2. I am politically independent. Over the last 8 years, I have fully separated myself from any political party, primarily the Republicans (also Tea Party) and the Democrats. I find things that are both right and greatly wrong with both sides. I am not writing this to explain a certain party’s political beliefs. I am writing this as my own personal thoughts on the matter. Regardless of your party, you will find things to agree and disagree with in this post, but in the end, I’m writing it for me.
  3. I am a Christian. This is a huge point for me. How Jesus and the Bible feels about an issue matters to me. Everything else is secondary. Yet, I want my doctrine unblended by politics. If the Bible doesn’t take a position about something, then as a Christian, that has to matter to me. I can’t put words in Jesus’ mouth.
  4. I love guns. While I don’t hunt, I have fired guns for fun and love doing so. I would do so more if I chose to invest the time and money it requires. It’s quite exhilarating and I find much joy in firing guns. So I write this post not as a hoplophobic (afraid of firearms).

Now that I have made these disclaimers, let me try to lay out the rational argument as I see it.

Both sides are being thoughtful.

As I opened this article with, this discussion can turn ugly quick. It is important to remember that both sides of the argument (for guns vs for control) are caring and are passionate to resolve the issue of massacre-by-gun problems our country is facing. “Pro-gun” advocates strongly feel more guns (given to the right people) would fix the issue. They feel people would be able to better protect themselves if they had guns. “Pro-control” advocates strongly feel less guns would fix the issue. They feel people would be able to better protect themselves if guns were not part of the scenario.

The allowance (or control) of guns isn’t a biblical principal.

I stated earlier:

I am a Christian. This is a huge point for me. How Jesus and the Bible feels about an issue matters to me. Everything else is secondary. Yet, I want my doctrine unblended by politics. If the Bible doesn’t take a position about something, then as a Christian, that has to matter to me. I can’t put words in Jesus’ mouth.

This rings true for this issue. The truth is that our second amendment “right” isn’t a scriptural one. The Bible, particularly the New Testament, contain no verses that say “it is God’s will for you to own a firearm.” To look at this gun vs gun control issue rationally, the first thing we have to do is loudly state the obvious: this is not a biblically moral issue. The Bible doesn’t invoke or outlaw the use of guns or people owning them. We shouldn’t try to twist scripture to make it say something that it does not. In fact, the end of the Book of Revelation hints that it might be damnable to do so (Rev 22:18-19).

There will be no weapons in the millennial kingdom.

While the Bible doesn’t give a position over the current debate, there is something that is clear: once Jesus returns, all weapons will be destroyed.

Many people say eschatology isn’t practical, but this point proves them wrong. Let me summarize what happens at the end of the tribulation:

Jesus returns and those who believe in Him are forever changed to be like angels — asexual, forever sinless beings. He also completely destroys all those with the mark of the beast (antichrist). An angel locks the devil in a bottomless pit for 1,000 years. This is what we call the millennial reign of Christ, where Jesus rules and governs the earth, on the earth, for a 1,000 years. He makes all the rules. There will be no law that He doesn’t agree with. There will be no media influence that goes against His character.

After the 1,000 years, the devil is released to tempt the nations one last time to fight against Jesus. They amass themselves and are quickly destroyed. But who are these people that the devil is able to sway? They are people (or children/grandchildren/etc of those) who weren’t saved upon the return of Christ and who also did not take the mark of the beast. These are the people who will repopulate the earth (since the saved will have new asexual bodies) and who the devil will attempt to tempt.

(For more info and scriptures on this, read this, particulary point 3-C )

The implication couldn’t be clearer: even under the perfect rulership of Christ, people will still choose to rebel against Jesus and immerse themselves in their own sin/evil. We’ll come back to this point later and discuss that no law or ruler can keep people from choosing to do evil things.

In Isaiah 2, one of Isaiah’s many chapters about the millennial kingdom, this is what Isaiah says will happen:

It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. (Isaiah 2:2-4 ESV)

Many people love this scripture passage.  They use it as a text regarding nuclear disarmament  But that’s not what it is about. It’s about a total weapons disarmament. Jesus won’t just get rid of nukes. He will get rid of every weapon that’s made for war and death.

That tweet hints at my feelings about guns and gun control, but it’s not a perfect comparison. Why? Because in the millennial kingdom, alcohol will be allowed but guns still won’t be. Alcohol (wine) will be consumed correctly — for celebrating and not to fill a void on the inside — yet guns won’t be “redeemed”. The thinking “guns are for fun and recreational use” is not an eternal truth. It may be allowable now, but there is coming a day where it won’t be.

Again, let me reiterate. The Bible does not take a position on gun vs gun control in our present age. It only takes a position about it when Jesus comes back, and that position is in favor of gun control. I am not saying that we should take this future stance the Bible takes on gun control and apply it as a standard for today (although I believe we should allow it to be part of the debate). What this should show though is that the entire gun vs gun control debate is one based on personal opinions and preferences, not divine principals.

The Christian’s debate: guns for protection vs The Sermon on the Mount.

One of the biggest arguments I hear from “pro-gun” advocates is the need to protect themselves, either from the government, wild animals, or from a thief/murderer/rapist/etc. I cannot speak to a non-Christian about this matter, even though I think my conclusion at the end of this point can be applied to them as well, but I can speak to Christians about this.

In Jesus’ great Sermon on the Mount (SOTM), He says:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:38-39 ESV)

This is the where I think Christians need to debate. Instead of debating gun vs gun control, we should be asking “if Christ didn’t defend Himself against being attacked, even to death, do we have the right to?” Remember, it is Jesus we are to follow and become like. What Moses, Elijah, David, etc did here is irrelevant. They weren’t perfect, but Jesus is. Many times we ask “what would Jesus do?” when we should be asking “what did Jesus do?”. I won’t give you my personal thoughts on this matter since it’s something I wrestle with, especially when thinking of my family being in danger. I’ll be honest and say that’s it’s a conflict inside me between taking protection in my hands and leaving protection in God’s hands. There are many nights where I hear the thoughts of the 1st century martyrs and feel their burden, the same as mine.

However, there is one other question to be answered: does Jesus allow defense of oneself (and family) unto death? It’s one thing to defend yourself and family. It’s another thing to do it in a way that kills the other person. I hear Jesus’ words to Peter when Peter tried to defend himself and Jesus:

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. (Matthew 26:52 ESV)

This is the question I think all “pro-gun” advocates for protection purposes, Christian and not, can be asked:  what about mace or pepper spray? It is something that would completely stop the attacker and yet let them live. If the government does bring stricter gun control or even start banning guns, can’t you defend yourself by other non-lethal means? Pepper spray is far reaching and for the most part, your assailant won’t have a gun either. I personally feel that the “guns for protection purposes” argument is more based on preference and laziness of thought.

Sidenote: if you absolutely don’t care about the assailant’s lost of life, I encourage you to check your heart and your Bible.

Guns kill the people that people kill.

This is probably the point that frustrates me the most. Currently, this is the crux of the gun vs gun control debate: who/what actually kills — guns or people?

It frustrates me because the answer is simple: both.

I mentioned this before in a post about a different issue:

There was one phrase that kept coming up from Christians:
If you’re going to have an affair, you’re going to have an affair. Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. The issue is the heart, not Facebook.

Every time I hear that phrase, “the issue is the heart, not {insert noun here}” there is always something that doesn’t settle right in my heart. I think it’s because that statement assumes that if you have the desire to do something, you eventually will. I don’t agree with that and I don’t find that statement supported in the Bible. I think the phrase should be: the issue is the heart and what we do with any temptations.

The problem with the phrase ”the issue is the heart, not {insert noun here}” is that it seems to ignore any device of temptation. The Bible takes time not just to speak concerning our evil desires, but also concerning the temptations that would seduce us into sin. In truth, there is a “opportunity cost” in sin. The Bible knows that if we remain in the place of temptation without fleeing it, we will succumb to our evil desires. The Bible pushes us to not only fight temptation, but to proactively flee from it. It commands us to flee “any appearance of evil”.

So there is more to the issue than just the person behind the actual evilness. There is also the method and thing that empowered the person to act evilly. In reality, most people believe that about certain issues. It’s why we have laws and content ratings on TV, even though lust and such are in the heart of the person watching. It’s why alcohol is sold to people 21 years old or older, even though youth who want to get drunk will find a way.

Let me argue out both sides of the question:

Will more gun control laws (or banning them altogether) help prevent murder?

  • NO
    No law will ever prevent the evilness and depravity of the human heart. Until Jesus comes, we will continue to see massive massacres committed by murderous people who are evil and demonic. And like I previous mentioned, even when Jesus returns, people will still choose to do horrible and evil things despite a (being) perfected world. No law or ban can ever stop someone who is committing premeditated and well planned murders.
  • YES
    While laws and bans can’t stop premeditated and well planned murders, it can (1) limit the death count of the massacre and (2) limit the number of local murders that happen every day. Let’s look at both of these statements.

    1. Typically when guns are not used in a massacre, the death count is lower. It takes more time to kill with a knife or other object than with a gun. Also, other weapons are more easily defended against. How many times in the last 10 years has there been a massacre by hand or knife that the death count has been more than 9? If we truly believe that “every person matters and is important”, then this point needs to be taken seriously.

    2. It is truly sad that the only time we hear the gun control argument is when there is a highly televised public shooting/massacre. If the national news networks don’t broadcast it, most people are numb to the murders that happen everyday. People are killed everyday by guns (as wells as other means). Will gun control/banning stop all these cases? No. Again, premeditated murder is rarely stopped, but not all murder is premeditated. Some are from quick fits of rage. Some are accidents, particularly times when kids find their parents’ gun. Some are committed by people who have a documented history of mental problems and issues who should have never been allowed to own a gun in the first place. I do believe that stricter gun control laws or bans could help limit these types of shootings.

Let’s review: we are called to deal with the heart of the person and the temptation that empowers them to do evil. While gun control laws or banning doesn’t deal with the heart, it would help with the temptation, at least a little. And isn’t any help better than doing nothing?

The answer is not more guns or less guns. The answer is Jesus.

Like I just said, laws cannot deal with the heart of a murderer. Only Jesus can do that. Sadly our nation has fully and completely rejected Him and we are left to our own evil. As a nation, every massacre is completely deserved. I mourn with the victims and families at the death and the pain incurred, but I cannot say that we don’t deserve these things. As a nation, we have chosen the side of the enemy whose primary purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy. While we should mourn, we should not be surprised. We are reaping what we have sown. Even in the terribleness of these situations, the truth of the Bible is not shaken.

As a church, we need to pray that God would do whatever it takes to draw this nation back to Jesus. He’s the only One who can turn this nation back to Himself.

The conclusion

Now that I have laid out my personal thinking about the issue, let me lay out some of my final thoughts about it.

  • Since we don’t want Jesus as a nation, we are left with our own laws and rules. I think some laws/rules can be put in place to help limit murder-by-gun, at least on a local level.
  • As a Christian, “guns for protection to kill the assailant” isn’t permissible for me. So the only purpose that I can see that guns would serve is recreational, either for hunting or joyful target practice (which I currently enjoy). Recreation (aka entertainment) isn’t a good enough reason for me to oppose gun control, regardless of how much fun I find it. Since people are important, they should matter more.
  • If very strict gun control/bans are made, I think the law should allow for government-watched gun ranges and hunting parks where people can still enjoy guns but do it in a safe controlled environment. In fact, make it a private business initiative. If the only place that civilians were allowed to use guns were an authorized gun range/park, capitalism ensures that these places would have great guns and would be quite enjoyable.
  • If sudafed is under government watch because you could possibly make meth from it (something that affects the individual), why are we allowed to purchase and own guns (something that can affect others) without stringent government watching?
  • I understand that banning/limiting guns to help limit murder has the same consequence as limiting/banning alcohol to prevent drunk driving: the loss of pleasures for those who are using it responsibility. But (as a Christian) remember: many things are permissible but not all things are beneficial.
  • I should get some serious pepper spray for my house/family.

Scriptures About God’s Sovereignty In Governmental Elections

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. (Proverbs 16:33)

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will. (Proverbs 21:1)

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. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. (Romans 13:5)

And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad-in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls- she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. (Romans 9:10-18)

Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the LORD that a man gets justice. (Proverbs 29:26)

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. (Matthew 10:29)

Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. (Daniel 2:20-21)

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds. “At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity. When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars. I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn; do not lift up your horn on high, or speak with haughty neck.’” For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another. (Psalm 75:1-7)

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2:13-17)

You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, (Daniel 2:37)

All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:35)

So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” (John 19:10-11)

Knowing God’s Will Is Easy

“I just want to know God’s will for my life.”

The reason many don’t know what is the will of God is because we think that it’s something unique and special for every person. They are looking for the special job, spouse, church, or life God has for them that He’s keeping secret. They’ll give themselves motivational talks using Jeremiah 29:11 (out of context) and never plant themselves somewhere because they’re always looking for this greater plan and greater will.

Knowing the will of God is easy because the Bible tells us clearly what it is. In the New Testament, the phrase “this is the will of God” is found three times. The verses are broad yet direct and they speak and apply to everyone. So what is the will of God and what does He require of us?

Your sanctification

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor… (1 Thes 4:3-4)

God’s will is for you to be pure and to mature. He desires us to let His grace take full effect in our lives. He wants us free from sexual bondage, whether it’s sins committed alone or together. The process of the Holy Spirit daily moving us to be “holy” is called sanctification. Tim Keller said it best:

“To be holy is to be wholly God’s.”

Jesus wants partnership with us. He wants us, not just a one-time decision, but a life completely focused on Him. That’s why that in the process of sanctification, you become what you behold. The more we focus on wickedness, the more evil we act out. But the more you focus and look at God (whether by worship, prayer, reading His Word, talking to Him, etc), the more the Spirit moves and compels you to become like Jesus. These stirrings, movements, His compelling us is called His conviction.

Conviction defined is “the Holy Spirit asking you to say yes to what He is moving you to do.” Therefore the process of sanctification, of being continually transformed, is simply the process of continually saying yes to God.

Sanctification is about God changing you on the inside and it affecting the outside. The Holy Spirit moves your heart to forgive someone who betrayed you and you say yes to Him and forgive them. It’s not about a book of commands or a list of dos and don’ts, it’s about saying “yes” to whatever the Holy Spirit moves you to do. (Spoiler: All the things He will move your heart to do are already found in the Bible.) The problem with pushing commands down people’s throats before the Holy Spirit changes their hearts and compels them to say “yes” is — on our best day we’re simply robots (a cog if you will), not lovers. Every decision is a chance to show God how much we love Him in the arena of our life. Jesus gives salvation so that lovers could love Him forever (John 17:2-3, Psalm 91:14-15). He wants lovers.

I rather have an imperfect wife that loves me than one who does all the right things to where I don’t have to lift a finger…yet is doing it all out of duty and is completely out of love with me. No matter how good we act, we will be blown away by how much “slack” Jesus picked up for us. We don’t say “yes” because it’s the right thing to do or to fulfill a to-do list that keeps us out of hell. We say “yes” because we love Him.

Rejoice, pray, and give thanks

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thes 5:16-18)

These verses have a resounding theme. “Always”, “without ceasing”, “in all circumstances” are all words to describe what God wants from us: a constant relationship with Him. These verses are set up this way to show us that it’s quality as well as quantity that’s important to God regarding spending time with Him.

Many times I hear people say something along the lines of  “God would rather you spend a hour completely focused on Him than a day randomly thinking of Him.” I can understand the heart it comes out of, but it is inaccurate. While God does want us to spend focused time with Him, however long it may be, He desires to continually talk with us and be in our thoughts/hearts throughout the day. 1 Thes 5:16-18 gives us ways how to make that happen. When we take rejoice, pray, or thank Him during our day, it keeps us connected to His Holy Spirit.

I rarely go a few hours without talking to my wife. How much more should I talk to the lover of my soul and savior of my life?

Be subject to governing authorities

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. (1 Peter 2:13-15)

I’ve talked about this before, but I’ll restate it here:

When we speak against governmental leaders, we speak against the people God put in office. Again let’s think about this. Paul tells them not to rebel or resist governmental leaders, the same leaders who would seek them out to kill them several years later. There is nothing a government can do that allows us to rebel or resist them except for the forcible command to worship someone else. Yet even in those cases, we aren’t allowed to get violent, but to meekly worship God like Daniel did in Babylon.

The Bible doesn’t say to pray for good taxation rights or for a good economy plan. It says to pray that we might live in peace and live in peace in a dignified way. Contentious activism isn’t what the Bible calls us to. It calls us to peaceful and dignified prayer.

So in summary, even if the government (that God appointed) makes a unfair tax or law that commands money from us, the Bible calls us to submit and pay it, all the while praying in a dignified way for their (and our) peace.

I’ve also talked about our response and our place in politics:

The problem lies in that no man or woman or group of people can help make America a theocracy, moral, or to love God. The only person able to do that is Jesus Christ and He will only do that when He returns. But instead of Christians crying out to Him for justice, change, and for Him to move on the hearts of governmental leadership, we decide to complain, whine, and backbite the people we elected to office. We, as the church, need to pray that the Holy Spirit would move and soften hearts of our governmental leaders. One encounter with Him and everything can change. For example, my friends and I pray that Jesus would meet with President Obama and his wife in such a way that he becomes the greatest pro-life advocate president in history. It can happen, if we pray!

So whether it be the president, or local government and law enforcement, we are commanded to submit and obey what they say. Peter says that if we would do this, it would silence anyone who would try to speak against us. Is this the true reason why the Christians seem to be attacked in America, because we’re not submitting but rather arguing with our leaders?

Summary

I hope this post has helped you see what the will of God truly is. If we do these things, then we are living in the will of God. It doesn’t matter if we are single, working at Target, going to a 30-person church in a town of 2,000 people in Kansas somewhere. The will of God isn’t based on any of those things. It’s based on the scriptures listed above, so be encouraged and live for the will of God!

Scriptures About A Christian’s Response To Obamacare

Due to the Supreme Court decision to uphold Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare), I thought I would post some scriptures that talk about what our response should be to the ruling and the upcoming “healthcare tax”.

The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Luke 20:19-25 ESV)

Jesus never once rallied us to fight against our government leaders regarding matters of taxation or payment. Let that settle in: during a time where tax collectors were thieves and could demand you to pay anything out of their greed, Jesus still says to obey the system. In my own opinion, if Caesar started a “walking tax”, Jesus would have commanded His followers to pay it, if no other reason then to obey other scriptures in the Bible.

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. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. (Romans 13:1-7 ESV)

Paul not only says to pay our taxes but also tells us that God puts everyone in office. Everyone. When we speak against governmental leaders, we speak against the people God put in office. Again let’s think about this. Paul tells them not to rebel or resist governmental leaders, the same leaders who would seek them out to kill them several years later. There is nothing a government can do that allows us to rebel or resist them except for the forcible command to worship someone else. Yet even in those cases, we aren’t allow to get violent, but to meekly worship God like Daniel did in Babylon.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4 ESV)

The Bible doesn’t say to pray for good taxation rights or for a good economy plan. It says to pray that we might live in peace and live in peace in a dignified way. Contentious activism isn’t what the Bible calls us to. It calls us to peaceful and dignified prayer.

So in summary, even if the government (that God appointed) makes a unfair tax or law that commands money from us, the Bible calls us to submit and pay it, all the while praying in a dignified way for their (and our) peace.

Help To Better Pray For Our President

It’s election season again. During these times, it can be easy for us as Christians to get caught up in the verbal abuse of candidates instead of praying and blessing our governmental leaders like the Bible calls us to.

Here are a few helpful tips on how to better pray for our president.

(Note: I will be writing this article around President Obama, our current president)

Pray Humbly

Some of my favorite verses in the Bible are Matthew 5:3-7:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

These verses are key to us praying rightly and effectively for our president. These beatitudes are a progression. I talked about this progression before:

Being “poor in spirit” is simply to realize where you would be without the mercy and grace of God. It is a realization that you cannot save yourself and you are forever doomed without God intervening into your life. The next step is to mourn that you are living for far less than what God wants for your life (Matthew 5:4). After that happens, when you realize who you are apart from God and you mourn consistently for all the things you do apart from God…true meekness and humility set in (Matthew 5:5). Something comes over you that you realize that there is no judgment or consequence you don’t deserve. That causes a hungering and thirsting for God to start in your life (note: the true realization of weakness always draws us closer to the Sufficient One) and you start desiring God above all else (Matthew 5:6, 6:33) and then because of the hunger and because of the true humility…you are compassionate towards people. You feel for them. You desire mercy for those in the struggle and you pray and long for mercy for those who don’t want to struggle anymore.

I also stated a huge outcome that comes out of following these beatitudes:

We stop judging and start giving mercy to others (deserving or not) in view of our need for mercy.

I find that many of our prayers and comments that we use towards President Obama come from a place of pride. Somehow, we forget our sinful nature, our helpless state apart from Christ, and start judging the president for his. We become like the Pharisee in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14 ESV)

God calls us to pray for our president out of humility in view of our (and his) need for mercy.

Pray Contextually

I am a huge fan of praying the Bible. When we pray the Word (in correct context), we pray the perfect will of God. The problem comes when we start taking verses out of context and twisting their meaning.

I’ll use Psalm 109:8 as a example. This is a verse that is often quoted and prayed about President Obama from many Republicans/Tea-Partiers. Here is what it says:

May his days be few; may another take his office! (Psalm 109:8 ESV)

This, on the surface, looks like a great Biblical prayer to pray for a president you don’t like. There are a few issues with this though. First, this verse does nothing to bless or help our president. It’s the equivalent of praying for someone to get fired. It’s not mercy, it’s judgment. Secondly, and most importantly, it is a verse taken completely (and wrongly) out of context. Let’s look at what that portion of Scripture is talking about.

Appoint a wicked man against him; let an accuser stand at his right hand. When he is tried, let him come forth guilty; let his prayer be counted as sin! May his days be few; may another take his office! May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow! May his children wander about and beg, seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit! May the creditor seize all that he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil! Let there be none to extend kindness to him, nor any to pity his fatherless children! May his posterity be cut off; may his name be blotted out in the second generation! May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the LORD, and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out! Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth! For he did not remember to show kindness, but pursued the poor and needy and the brokenhearted, to put them to death. He loved to curse; let curses come upon him! He did not delight in blessing; may it be far from him! He clothed himself with cursing as his coat; may it soak into his body like water, like oil into his bones! May it be like a garment that he wraps around him, like a belt that he puts on every day! May this be the reward of my accusers from the LORD, of those who speak evil against my life! (Psalm 109:6-20 ESV)

This will not be a popular statement, but if you quote verse 8 towards Obama, you are wishing (consciously or not) this entire portion of Scripture on him. I think we all can agree that this portion of Scripture should never be praying towards another human being before the mark of the beast. Yet, because we don’t strive to be contextual or positive in our prayers, we say and pray things that are totally against God’s heart for the president.

The Bible is not meant to be a weapon used by our anger and self-righteousness. It is a guide on how to effectively touch God’s heart. Let’s remember mercy in all our prayers and use verses that correctly, and contextually, help give words to that end.

Pray more for the person instead of the issue

I fear that many of us tend to focus on a particular issue than about the person who is behind the issue. The reason why this is a problem is because God always cares about the person, but may or may not care about the issue. God cares more about the soul of our president than He does for universal healthcare. We have made lesser things the major things we focus on.

I also think that most of our prayers are about wisdom more than salvation, mercy or revelation. Now I think praying for our president to have wisdom is a great prayer, but it is a short-term prayer. A person can only be president for a decade at the absolute longest. While his position will require much wisdom, those four or eight (or possibly ten) years will be quickly spent. What will happen to him then? What will happen after people stop praying for wisdom for him? What about his soul? Much better is it to pray for him to fall in love with Jesus and fear Him than it is to pray for wisdom alone. So pray for wisdom. Just don’t forget about the eternal.

Example Prayers

To help show how these three points work together, here are a few short 15-second prayers for President Obama. These prayers are taken from Ephesians 1:17-18, 2 Peter 3:9, Timothy 2:1-4 and others.

  • Father, I thank You for President Obama. I pray that You would give Him a spirit of wisdom and revelation…so that he would know Jesus better. Open the eyes of his heart. Enlighten them to the glory of the cross of Jesus. Make Yourself known to him. Visit him, speak to Him, reveal Yourself to him. In Jesus’ name, amen.
  • Father, I thank you that you are as patient towards President Obama as you are to me. You don’t desire any to perish but that all would come to repentance. So I ask that You would draw him closer to You. Convict his heart with Your truth and give him the grace to respond. Continue pouring out your mercy and patience on him. In Jesus’ name, amen.
  • Father, grant President Obama peace, both temporally by calming stress and frustration in his life and eternally by leading him to find the peace that Your Son purchased on the cross. Protect him from wicked men. Put godly men of influence (Daniels, Josephs, etc.) in his life and on his staff. Bless his family. Keep them healthy and safe. Use the Obamas to glorify Your Name in the earth. In Jesus’ name, amen.