Monthly Archives: October 2015

“Truth We Need After Election Day 2015!” (Pray for Our Leaders!)

Many are wondering what the future holds. One notable entry I noticed on FaceBook the day after the election was a picture of blackness depicting how the person felt the day after. So no doubt feelings and disappointments for many are at an all time low. This article is written regardless of who you voted for or how you felt the day after. For I am certain that there are probably just as many who are celebrating as much as those who are feeling disappointed.

Yet either wallowing in disappointment or on the other hand riding the excitement of the election for change is not to be the main addendum to this long political campaign. As the new government gets down to setting up shop and starting the work so we too as Christians must get on our knees. We as Christians do not have the option of letting our personal disagreement with our political leaders prevent us from praying for them. As we prayed for Mr. Stephen Harper, we will also pray for Mr. Justin Trudeau. Duty demands it.

The apostle Peter wrote that believers are to “…therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man (I.e. authority) for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good…Honour all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king” (1 Peter 2:13-14, 17).

Paul wrote to Timothy, “Therefore I exhort first of all that you make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for everyone, for kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour” (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

My wife graciously reminded me yesterday how difficult it must have been for Peter and for Paul to write these words. Because who was the emperor when they wrote these words? None other than one of the most notorious political leaders of history, “Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus”, known generally and horrifically as Nero.

I cannot be certain what his hair looked like…though a statue bust makes it look pretty wavey. NeroHistory does record for us that Nero murdered his own mother his step brother and both of his wives. He was known for his grotesque brutality to those closest to him. And if that was how he treated his own family one can only imagine how history records how he treated those outside of his family. According to the ancient Roman historian Tacitus, in 64 AD Nero is believed to have started a fire in order to clear land for a new palace complex. Nero is infamously known as the emperor who played the fiddle while Rome was burning. Tragically the fire consumed roughly half of Rome and with his popularity suffering greatly for many different reason… So what does Nero do? He decides to blame the fire on Christians. Tacitus also records for us that, among other things, the early Roman followers of Jesus “were covered with the skins of wild animals and then torn apart by dogs, some were crucified, some were burned at torches to light as night.” (The One Year Christian History, p. 322)

Yes, we can be thankful that none of our Canadian political leaders local, provincial, federal, present day or historical can claim such infamous stories. But as leaders of our country they still have a great deal to be accountable for. Yet we, as believers, are called to pray for those who are in authority. God’s Word is clear on this principle…and we, as Christians must do it.

So how then, should we pray for Prime Minister designate Trudeau? How do we pray for those we may not agree with politically, socially or spiritually? How do we pray for those who are in authority over us? How do we truly pray for them…maybe you respect him, or maybe you don’t. Regardless, how do we pray for those who may legislate policies and decisions that we do not agree with?

  1. PRAY FOR HIS HEALTH & SAFETY…In Ezra 6:10, the pagan Babylonian king Darius located a letter from king Cyrus requesting God’s faithful people in Jerusalem to pray for his life and the lives of his sons. I am certain that our Prime Minister designate Mr Justin Trudeau has great security to protect him. But still…we should pray for the safety of him and his young family.
  2. PRAY THAT HE WOULD UPHOLD JUSTICE…The government is fundamentally given the opportunity and responsibility to honour and protect its citizens. We need to pray that they will uphold truth and justice. Likewise, they are also responsible to punish those who break the law.(See also: Romans 13:3-4; 1 Peter 2:14). To than end, we should ask the Lord that those in authority at all levels of governance would fulfill them well.
  3. PRAY THAT HE WOULD PURSUE AND FOLLOW TRUTH…In the Old Testament account of young king Manasseh, he came to power as a twelve year old and ended up reigning 55 years. Scripture records that “he did evil in the sight of the Lord…” But finally the Lord got a hold Manasseh’s attention and in his affliction he called out to the Lord his God, and “…humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.” When a leader is not following the ways of the Lord we need to pray that they would follow the Lord’s ways and repent if they don’t. The great news about Manasseh is that he repented and ended up knowing who God was. (2 Chronicles 33:1-20) should remind Christians that for those in government leadership, personal character and political actions are entwined. Yet the account of Manasseh really should remind us that even evil men, when they repent sincerely, can be used by God to restore what they have ruined. So pray for the hearts of all our leaders to be turned toward God and His Word.
  4. PRAY THAT THEY WOULD GOVERN WITH WISDOM…Jeremiah sent a letter of God’s Word to the elders who had been carried away from Jerusalem to captivity in Babylon teaching them to “seek the peace (i.e. welfare)of the city” where they would be taken. “And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace, you will have peace.” Jeremiah 29:7 Imagine seeking the peace/welfare of the land in which we live. Imagine what that looks like. Pray that Justin Trudeau will govern well with wisdom and integrity. Pray that our parliament would govern with wisdom for the “peace/welfare of the city” (Jeremiah 29:7), not for personal gain nor for the advantage of a favoured few. Their concern must be for the well-being of all.
  5. PRAY THAT GOD WOULD ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSES THROUGH THEM…Regardless of their willingness to be used by Him. Proverbs 21:1 …the king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will.”  Even those who resist Him God still fulfills His plans and purpose. In your prayers for our new Prime Minister and his government..remember Who is truly sovereign. God is, and Him alone. “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us break/tear off their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords (ropes) from us.’ He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision (i.e. He ridicules them)” Psalm 2:2-4. (It should be noted that it is God who ridicules…not you and I)

Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales; Look, He lifts up the islands as a very little thing. And Lebanon (i.e. all nations) is not sufficient to burn (i.e. they are as nothing), and they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless…It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless (i.e. meaningless). Scarcely shall they be planted; scarcely shall they be sown; scarcely shall their stock (i.e. tree) take root in the earth, when He will also blow on them, and they will wither, and the whirlwind will take them away like stubble” Isaiah 40:15, 17; 22-24 (Note: bracketed are alternate translations). The terminology used in this passage makes very clear that God is not threatened at all by those who may be full of themselves, maybe drunk with power like Nero and possibly believe they can unseat His omnipotent and eternal rule. God sees them…the Nero’s, the Putin’s, the Obama’s and the Harper’s and the Trudeau’s) as nothing more than grasshoppers.  So there is nothing for you and I to be overly concerned about either. But they do need us to pray for them and bring them before the mercy seat of the Most High God, who does rule in the kingdoms of man.

Daniel 4:17 “…the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowliest of men.”

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“Truth We Need on Election Day 2015”

On Monday, October 19, 2015 Canada will cast its vote for the one who is to hold the office of “Prime Minister of Canada”. (Reported history will be made…either it will be the longest serving Conservative government…the second youngest Prime Minister…or the first PM with a beard in over a century) we have had 22 different PM…all with diverse political personalities and legacy to live with. Some served in tumultuous times…some caused tumultuous times.

The party that forms the next government of Canada, will be facing more turbulent days. Over the past 11 weeks we have seen intense drama with those who desire to be PM. Each leader presents a “party platform”, a basis for leadership, promises made to Canadians that they will try to accomplish in their term of office. Fortunately, it culminates tomorrow when the PM for the next term will be formally announced to the Canadian public. All speculation will be silent and we will know which party has won the most seats in the parliament of Canada.

We need to think about the election. The shape of the Canadian future will depend on the party that is elected. Each party believes they have the answer to the ills/fallacies of Canadian society. It is not my role to tell you how you should vote. You have probably already established or will establish that by the time you go to the polls. But God’s Word does provide for us…guiding principles as we face Election Day.
BIG IDEA: Regardless of outcome…leader/party/member…God is in control… He is “Sovereign”.
In His sovereignty…God is very much concerned with this election and of that matter every election.
Some believe that God, after having created the world, took His hands off the ordinary working of the world…such as elections…leaves it up to us to make the decisions. But Scriptures clearly teach that God has a plan that He is working all of creation towards…a plan of ultimate fulfillment and He will see it through to the end. Every decision that is made, every vote that is cast will accomplish exactly what He wants it to accomplish.

What is the “sovereignty of God”?
According to Webster “sovereignty…“ is having undisputed political power, having the right to make decisions and act accordingly.” That means that God, as the Creator of all things, is Lord of all things and therefore free to do whatever He wills. He is not subject to…nor is He answerable to anyone. Which means that man is in no position to judge God for what He does. He rules in all things whether we agree with Him or not.

In Romans 9:20-21 Paul uses a metaphor of a potter and a lump of clay and how the potter, the creator can do with that lump of clay whatever he wants. The clay doesn’t say “Hey! Why have you made me like this?” Doesn’t the potter have power over the clay…? Of course he does. The potter also has a goal in mind. He knows exactly what form it is that he wants to fashion and shape with his hands. In the same way, God has a plan. Though it may not appear like a plan to us yet nevertheless He is moving human history as He has always done toward an ultimate goal. He has the power to sway governments and rulers and princes and kings. Though most have no idea that they are in the hands of Almighty God!

As we face this election let’s remember three important truths…The first we need to remember is:
1. Remember…God Is In Control (SOVEREIGN) Over the GOVERNMENTS Of Man
He always has been…and He always will be. Remember Daniel…a young Jewish man, exiled to Babylon became an influence for God before the foreign kings of Babylon. Daniel as a young man was well on his way to becoming a friend/advisor to kings. At one such time, the king Nebuchadnezzar was having frightful dreams…he called in his wise advisers demanded them to tell him his dream. He expected them to know what he dreamed without him telling them…as if they were mind readers. He threatened them with death if they failed to do so. Well… they couldn’t do it and the king ordered all wise men be destroyed. Daniel knew Arioch the one doing the execution so he found out from Arioch what was happening. So Daniel then went to the king and asked him for time so that he could tell the king the interpretation of the dream. That night God showed Daniel the interpretation of the dream. And Daniel responded in praise to God by saying: “He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding…” Daniel 2:20-21 acknowledges God removes…and raises up kings. Then later, Daniel explains the dream and tells king Nebuchadnezzar that it is God who removes and raises up kings. “You O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength and glory and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of heaven, He has given them into your hand, and [He] has made you ruler over them all.” Daniel 2:37-38
King Nebuchadnezzar learned, through Daniel…that it is God Almighty who put him where he is. In Daniel 4:17 Nebuchadnezzar said: “…know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men.” Another king…Solomon…attributed with writing much of the wisdom literature. Many proverbs deal with the fact that the king/ruler is only a vessel in the hands of Almighty God.
Proverbs 8:15-16 he wrote of God: “By Me kings reign, and rulers decree justice. By Me princes rule, and nobles, all the judges of the earth.” In other words, God makes kings reign and rulers to decree justice.

Napoleon Bonaparte, was asked at the height of his military career, if God was on the side of France? Napoleon apparently answered: “God is on the side that has the heaviest artillery.” Then of course came the famous Battle of Waterloo where Napoleon lost the battle and empire. Years later, in exile on the island of St. Helena he was humbled…and is reported to have quoted the words of Thomas a Kempis a Christian author and thinker “Man proposes; God disposes.” God works His will in the lives of all emperor’s kings, presidents and prime ministers.
Proverbs 21:1”The kings heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”
It doesn’t matter how we look at it…God is IN CONTROL/SOVEREIGN over the Governments of Man.  Therefore, He is SOVEREIGN over the elections that are used to put that man in place.
So we cast our vote…our wonderful God given democratic responsibility…yet in voting…every decision is still in the hands of God. Proverbs 16:33The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”

God is in control of the election tomorrow…It is God who raises up leaders and God who brings down leaders. The heart of the leader is in the hand of the Lord like a river of water…God turns the heart wherever He wants it to go. Every leader voted into office…will be there because of the Lord. Whether we like it or not. Every decision made in legislature in the coming days is from the Lord. Whether we like it or not…it is for the sovereign plan of God who is working out His will and His way.

2. Remember…God is in Control/Sovereign Over the PLANS of Man…
The psalmist David, in a very difficult time was comforted in knowing…that God is in control over his very situation. He wrote: “But as for me I trust in You, O Lord; I say You are my God. My times are in your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.” Psalm 31:14-15

David knew that his time was in the hands of God. Whatever he faced as a leader as God’s man.
David continued to trust in the Lord in the midst of his adversity and his enemies. He believed God would ultimately vindicate him from all of this trouble and persecution.

MAN HAS PLANS…Most of us have plans for our lives…for careers, family, leisure, financial, retirement, short/long term and plans for every minute of our days. We have Daily Planners that structure our day so that we can accomplish what we need to. For the most part they are good…But it is what we do with those plans and what we expect from them. We have the tendency to think we are AUTONOMOUS and INDEPENDENT and SELF-SUSTAINING. We like to think of our plans as our own plans…our own platforms…and our own promises…but there is a higher authority when it comes to our plans. God and His will…He rules. God said: “I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you…”

Using the election as an example again…each of the candidates in our ridings and in each of the parties have plans for their regions and for all of Canada. Each one has made promises that they will try to keep. And accusations fly for every unkept promise. But each of them have plan. Ultimately…all of their plans are in the hand of God. Their times…their results and their stands …they’re all there…they are in the hand of God. So often we think that we are the ones who have to fix our situations. We think that the control of our lives is in the steering wheel that we long to hold on to. Yet in reality, we need to trust and believe that it is God who controls the very circumstances of life.
Psalm 75:7God is the Judge, (i.e. He executes judgment)…He puts down one and lifts up another…”

So does this mean that God has all of mankind on puppet strings and influences every move and decision? Absolutely not! In a beautiful way God has given to man the freedom to think and the freedom to make decisions. The freedom to choose. Yet in the decisions we make…God is in control. He is sovereign.

A.W. Tozer “The Knowledge of the Holy” uses the example of an ocean liner:  “An ocean liner leaves New York bound for Liverpool. Its destination has been determined by proper authorities. On board the liner are several scores of passengers. These are not in chains, neither are their activities determined for them by decree. They are completely free to move about as they will. They eat, sleep, play, lounge about on the deck, read, talk, altogether as they please; but all the while the great liner is carrying them steadily onward toward a predetermined port. Both freedom and sovereignty are present here and they do not contradict each other. So it is, I believe, with man’s freedom and the sovereignty of God. The mighty liner of God’s sovereign design keeps its steady course over the sea of history. God moves undisturbed and unhindered toward the fulfillment of those eternal purposes which He purposed in Christ Jesus before the world began…
Proverbs 16:1The plans of a man’s heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.”
Proverbs 16:9 ”A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps…”
We have hopes and dreams, vision…we set goals and objectives in order to accomplish. But when it all comes down to the bare facts it is God that ultimately directs our steps.
Proverbs 19:21 There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel that will stand.”
All of this has great implications for our lives…not only the election but for looking at every detail of our lives…to know the all-powerful, all sovereign God is watching over the details of our lives. He is leading us even in the worst of our situations to accomplish His will and purposes in and through us. What better place is there to be than right smack in the centre of where God wants us to be? Are situations out of your control? Threatening to cause you to despair?…God reminds us He is in control. God is in control of the government and God is in control of the plans of man.

3. REMEMBER  GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF MAN
Have you faced situations that seemed unfair…and you ask where is God when that happens?
A. Even in Those Situations That Seem UNFAIR… God is in control.
Hanna of the OT is a beautiful example…torn apart with grief because of barrenness…inability to bear children. Yet when God grants the answer to her prayer and gives her an infant son Samuel…she raises her voice in praise and sings: “The Lord kills and the Lord makes alive…He brings down to the grave and brings up…The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and He lifts up. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory.” 1 Samuel 2:6-7 …Hanna acknowledging God is in control of her circumstances.

Buck O’Neill…was a black man who played professional baseball Negro-American League…before African Americans were allowed to play in the all-white major leagues. By the time 1947 rolled around the colour barrier was broken and players like Jackie Robinson had integrated into the major leagues of baseball. But Buck Williams was too old . Many of his friends grew very bitter and angry that they missed the opportunity to play. They thought that life had dealt them a devastating blow. They thought the timing was unfair. Buck when he was asked if he had any regrets he answered…”Waste no tears for me…I was right on time…I don’t have a bitter story to tell…I truly believe I have been blessed.” O’Neill believed God was in control even when it seemed the circumstances of life was unfair.
B. Even in Those Situations That we Call “ACCIDENTS”…God is still in control. God is in control of all circumstances of life…nothing in this world is simply mere chance…Was it by chance Jonah, wanted to go his own way to Tarshish to escape God’s call to Ninevah? Was it by chance that a great storm came up and threatened the existence of all on board? Was it by chance that the crew of the ship drew lots to find out who was responsible? Was it by chance that the lot fell on Jonah and he was thrown overboard?Was it by chance that a great fish swallowed him…that sent him packing toward Nineveh?
No…it wasn’t by coincidence or chance that all this happened…it was all the action of a loving God who controls the uncontrollable situations of life…to teach us and to bring us to where He wants us to be. Proverbs 16:33The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”
C. Even in Circumstances That Are Considered SINFUL…God is in control of them.
When cruel and corrupt people and their leaders oppress…God is still in control of them.
What better example do we have than the trial and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ?
Jesus was delivered up to wicked, cruel and spineless men…mocked, beaten, given an unfair/unjust trial. Though He was innocent…He was condemned to die by wicked men who hated Him. Judas…betrayed Him for silver “Why would God allow that? Where is God when things don’t go our way?”
Peter said in his sermon in Acts 2:23 to the people of Jerusalem that “This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
It was in the definite plan of God that Christ was to be delivered up to sinful men by Judas…
It was the definite plan of God for Him to be beaten and crowned with thorns and scourged.
It was the definite plan of God for Him to suffer the unjust, corrupt and unfair trial.
It was the definite plan of God for Christ to suffer and die on that cross for the sins of man.
It was the definite plan of God for Him to defeat sin and death and the grave by resurrecting from the dead
All of this was already known. It did not take God by surprise. God used sinful men to accomplish His perfect plans.

Does God use sinful people in your life to teach you lessons…YES. Does He allow UNFAIR/UNJUST circumstances to work in you the characteristics of His Spirit? YES. What about those so called “ACCIDENTS”…Does God use them to mold/make His people trust in Him? Absolutely.
CONCLUSION: This election is a timely reminder of the fact that God is still in control.Nothing escapes His notice.…the plans and the actions of man in this election and every election to come will eventually culminate in the fulfilled plan of God. God’s plans will be established. Friends…do YOU trust Him today? Not just for today but also for tomorrow? He wants your trust…Friends He is glorified when His people trust Him.