I must first admit that I am not an expert in politics however; I do enjoy the subject and have studied this topic. I understand enough to know that politics affect our lives; therefore I like to pay attention to what is going on in this area. I also see that we have a great need to stop viewing politics as a generational and racial thing: “My dad is republican so I must be Republican.” “I am a minority so I must follow Obama.”
American Politics 101 tells us that the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are different in their perspectives of how the government should carry out their duties. History has also told us that throughout the years these ideologies have changed. There are basically two ideals: A liberal view and a conservative view. Some are further right and some are further left.
The liberal view has the tendency to move away from the absolutes of God; places great focus on Government Programs as the savior for the people and demand high taxes to pay for these programs. Liberals are, for the most part, okay with the practice of abortion. They see it as a right for the woman to do so. Liberals are also, for the most part, okay with same sex marriage. Radical Liberals have little respect for what the Bible has to say about things; they have also little respect for the constitution. Everything that represents an absolute, they will question. So is God a Democrat? I don’t think so!
So then, God must be a Republican? I don’t think so either; because the Republican Party today has lost its identity. They seem to be scared of the liberal media so, they go back and forth; it is almost like they are ashamed of showing a conservative view. Their colors are currently pastel. The bold colors that President Reagan spoke about are currently out the window in the Republican Party. They have no identity, so they can’t be identified with God’s Character.
So then, God must be Conservative like the top conservative radio personalities in the US: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, and Michael Savage. Politically speaking, they are appealing to many people. They believe in small government, lower taxes, strong defense and they seem to have a passion and love for this country that I do not sense in the Democratic Party. However, if you listen to these guys like I have, ask yourselves these questions: Do these guys represent the character of our God in their messages? Do they promote praying for our leaders? Do they promote loving our enemies? Other than talking, what else are they doing to help our nation get closer to God? One of these Radio personality praises a friend of his for walking up every day at 4:00 AM to go to work, returning back home to his family at 9:00 PM Monday through Friday and also working Saturday and Sunday. The man provided all that his family needed; but did he really? It seems like they worship capitalism! Is that what God tells us to do? What about raising our children, what about spending quality time with the family. Is it all about money? The conservative movement operates from a legalistic view of God and there seems to be very little grace. So is God conservative? I am going to let you be the judge of that; now you can engage in your discussion as I am eager to read what you have to say.
“Nineteen responsibilities for one another”
It is important that we understand that these nineteen responsibilities that we are suppose to be doing for one another are above any culture. We may say that some of these responsibilities are not culturally sound, but in reality they apply to all of us. The culture of the Bible goes above any of our individual ways of doing things. These responsibilities were taken directly out of the Bible.
|1. Confess Your Sins to One Another (James 5:16)
2. Pray for One Another (James 5:16)
3. Encourage One Another (Hebrews 10:25)
4. Honor One Another (Romans 12:10)
5. Receive One Another (Romans 15:7)
6. Teach One Another (Romans 15:14)
7. Salute One Another with a Holy Kiss (Romans 16:16)
8. Serve One Another (Galatians 5:13)
9. Bear One Another’s Burden (Galatians 6:2)
10. Be Kind to One Another (Ephesians 4:32)
11. Be Tenderhearted to one Another (Ephesians 4:32)
12. Forgive One Another (Ephesians 4:32)
13. Edify One Another (I Thessalonians 5:11)
14. Consider One Another (Hebrews 10:24)
15. Have Compassion for One Another (I Peter 3:8)
16. Be Hospitable to One Another (I Peter 4:9)
17. Fellowship with One Another (I John 1:7)
18. Love One Another (I John 3:11)
19. Lay down Our Lives for One Another (I John 3:16-18)
Have you considered the power of these words? Have you been able to see how far we are from even the direction of a strong relational Body of Christ? Can’t you see that a “God bless you relationship” on Sundays is not enough according to God’s standards?
“Father, not only do we struggle with loving you above all things, but we also struggle with loving each other. Father, we want to please you; help us to love you above all things and, for this article’s sake, help us to be able to have such strong relationships with one another so that we may confess our sins, pray, encourage, honor and receive one another. Help us father to teach each other and not be afraid of saluting our brothers and sisters with a holy kiss. Help us oh Father to serve each other, to bear each other’s burdens, to be tenderhearted, to forgive, to edify, to consider, having compassion, to be hospitable, to learn to fellowship, to love and to be able to lay down our very lives for one another. Father help us to be a real family and to be able to go beyond the conflict into the successful passing of the test where we can never be easily offended. May no one feel alone in the mix of your people. Make us real towards one another. Do it in me first. In Jesus name… Amen!”
“It is time for leaders to get a little closer”
Our issues with the shallow relationships we have in our American churches must also be addressed from the top to bottom. This mentality that our leaders should be unapproachable is biblically wrong. Perhaps they like the accruements and so, want to be viewed by others as perfect people that can’t do wrong, however let’s look at First Thessalonians 5:12.
|“And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you…”
| The word “beseech” means, “I pray! Please! I beg you!” Paul is not making a light casual suggestion; this is important. The word “know” means, “To be acquainted with.” How can we become acquainted with pastors to whom the only time we see them is from the pulpit? Many, after they are done preaching, leave the building like arrogant rock stars with body guards on each side. If your church is too big, then you failed to raise up disciples to send out and continue the work of the ministry. It seems like we rather have members than to engage in true discipleship. It is impossible to raise disciples without going through the pain of establishing tested relationships.
I went through churches where I needed to go through a secretary to see the pastor. In critical points in my life, I was in great need to talk to the pastor, but there were no appointments open until the following month. I was surely not missed among so many members. I also had pastors who were more interested in my gift than in me as a person. They always told me what I wanted to hear. I was a part of their personal agendas for the benefit of their ministries. I later became a pastor myself and saw firsthand how many of my colleagues refused to fellowship with their sheep. They presumed to think that fellowshipping with their sheep was a way of asking for trouble and that it was best to keep the distance. I guess we find ourselves afraid that people may know that we are not as perfect as we look like from the beautiful wooden pulpit. What a comical perspective!
As I grow in the Lord and learn from my many mistakes, I also grow in my appreciation for my first and only pastor. I can sincerely say that I love and respect him more today than I did when I was younger. Why? Because this man have seen the good, the bad and the ugly in me and he still loves me. He tells me the truth; he confronts me in love and never leaves me without a word of encouragement. He is literally one phone call away. At the end of the day, in my difficult times, after the Lord, it is my pastor who can effectively speak into my life. It is time for leaders to get a little closer! It may be painful, but it will always be worth it!
“As Iron Sharpens Iron”
Once again, here I am talking about people that help us to draw closer to the Lord and His ways. If a relationship is distancing you from God, then you must cut that relationship off immediately! The Bible is full of examples of people that engaged in ungodly relationships and paid a dreadful price for it. The pursuit of loving God above all things is above any relationship. However, this three part series is about us welcoming real Godly relationships into our lives. As you will see in this series, a relationship is not an option, it’s a mandate.
The word “tested” is defined as, “an often difficult situation or event that will provide information about somebody or something.” A difficult situation, or what I like to call a conflict, will eventually provide us with the knowledge of something about that person we are engaging in a conflict with. Proverbs 27:6 tells us that “Faithful are the wounds of a friend…” The word “wounds” means, “pain or sorrow.” The connotation here is not meant to be negative. A friend, because of his closeness to our hearts, his imperfect human condition and because they are the ones that tells us what we don’t want to hear at times, is in an ideal position to cause us pain. The reality is that if you are serious about developing a Godly relationship with anyone, we must have a prepared attitude to accept the certainty that conflicts will come. The blessing comes after we make up our minds to continue to pursue this relationship. The Bible also gives us a perfect mental picture on how these relationships evolve in Proverbs 27:17
“As iron sharpens iron,
so one man sharpens another.”
The word “sharpens” means, “to keener; to pierce.” The word “keener” means, “delicately tuned and able to sense minor differences, distinctions, or details.” In other words, we become sensitive to even minor differences among us. We now know each other that much. The word “pierce” is the reason we all run away from relationships; it means, “To penetrate through or into something with a sharp pointed object.” Ouch!
Developing relationships is never easy. The picture of iron sharpening iron is not necessarily a pretty one, but at the end; just as iron, we become better and more useful. Are you rough on the edges? Maybe you need a little sharpening in your life!