Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake...

Monday evening, Shelly and I headed to campus for CSF (Christian Student Fellowship). Due to Sacred Harp, Thanksgiving break, and various other reasons, it had been nearly a month since I had joined the CSF group for bible study. I was looking forward to seeing everyone, yet feeling reserved about the topic we were to discuss: politics & religion. To be quite honest with you, I was dreading it. I'm not very interested in politics and I don't care to listen to people have heated debates about political issues. This is what I was envisioning the bible study to be. Shortly after arriving and getting the discussion started, the Lord quickly rebuked me and my feelings changed. The study and discussion was one of the most insightful experiences at CSF for me. I experienced an "Aha! Moment"... a "God Moment" ... the light bulb was turned on, my heart was stirred, and I left with a greater understanding of the Scripture than I entered with.

Last week, Michelle posted an entry entitled "Relationship Between Submission & Protection." You can read that entry HERE. In the entry, she focused on the need for those in authority to provide protection to those who are to submit. While this is a difficult topic for most, especially when talking about a wife submitting to her husband, I have often struggled with my duty to submit to the governmental authority over me. Just what exactly does this word "submit" mean? What is considered "submitting?" Do I have to give up my rights and beliefs to "submit" to the government? These are all questions that I have entertained in the numerous attempts to grasp this concept.

Thankfully, the Lord blessed me to be able to answer some of these questions and better understand what the scripture calls us to do in reference to the government. As Michelle identified in her blog, when under authority (whether it be government, church, parent, husband, etc.) we have to submit.

In I Peter 2:13-14, Peter instructs us to be submissive to the government: "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well."

Throughout the last twelve verses of the I Peter chapter 2, Peter gives us 5 reasons to be submissive to the government.

1. (verse 13) "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake"

  • We are to submit to the government because it is pleasing and honoring to the Lord.

2. (verse 15) "For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men"

  • By submitting to the government, we put to silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. In I Peter 2:11-12, Peter makes reference to this: "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."

3. (verse 20) "...but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God."

  • In the world, we may act in a way that seems good to us, because we fear God, but to others it may not appear good. When we are faulted for this, we are commanded to take it patiently. When we do so, it is acceptable with God. If you are faulted for wearing a shirt or reading a book that proclaims the name of Christ, our responsibility is not to fight back with the thought that it is our right. Instead, our responsibility is to be patiently silent, for this is acceptable with God.

4. (verse 21) "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps"

  • Christ suffered for our sakes, and we are commanded to follow after the steps of Christ, which means that we too are going to have to suffer persecution in life. We are promised this numerous times in scripture. Romans 8:17 says, "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." Likewise, Philippians 1:29 promises, "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;"

5. (verse 23) "Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously."

  • When we are put under the subjection of opposing authority, we can be comforted in knowing that we are committed to the ultimate Judge. Praise be to our God who judges righteously and eternally reigns on the throne!

When my eyes were opened to the depth and meaning of these passages, the Lord blessed me to better understand how God calls us to respond to the government. Our duty is not to actively stand against political injustice, propose laws that promote Christian behavior, or peacefully practice civil disobedience to laws that infringe our rights to practice our faith publicly. Our pursuit as Christians should NOT be to establish a Christian government.

For me, this was hard to completely understand and grasp. Honestly, I'm not even sure that I still do. I know I've read these verses several times before, but they never quite had the same impact on me. In society and in Christian circles today, we are often told to "stand up for what we believe in." (Thanks in part to the VeggieTales.) I would say that I now have to disagree with this catchy phrase.

I realize that some of you may be reading this thinking that I am a little behind in the times, considering that I am just coming to this realization. I suppose I might be a little behind. I also suppose that, had I understood this earlier, I might not have had so much trouble submitting to those in authority over me. I am just thankful to God for making this clear to me now. Just because I have a better understanding of my duties doesn't mean that it will be a breeze for me to fulfill this role. However, I will proceed in prayerful diligence as I strive to honor God and submit to every authority, "for the Lord's sake."

Romans 13:7 "Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour."

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Psalm 100
(1) Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. (2) Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. (3) Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. (4) Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. (5) For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Thanksgiving is....

Thanksgiving is a
time of gratitude to God,
our Creator and Provider,
whose guidance and care
go before us...and whose love
is with us forever.

Thanksgiving is a time
to reflect on the changes,
to remember that we, too,
grow and change
from one season of life to another.

Thanksgiving is a time
of changing seasons,
when leaves turn golden
in Autumn's wake
and apples are crisp
in the first chill breezes of fall.

Let us remember the true meaning
of Thanksgiving.
As we see the beauty
of Autumn, let us acknowledge
the many blessings
which are ours...
let us think of our families
and friends..
and let us give thanks in our hearts.

~~Author Unknown.~~

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Psalm 119

Psalm 119:65-80
(65) Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word. (66) Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments. (67) Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. (68) Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. (69) The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart. (70) Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law. (71) It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. (72) The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.
(73) Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments. (74) They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word. (75) I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. (76) Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. (77) Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight. (78) Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts. (79) Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies. (80) Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.
The Lord has really placed this passage on my heart in the past few days. I keep reading it over and over, and each time I feel the Lord speaking to me. I feel David's words becoming my very own prayer to God. Verse 66 has especially been popping off the page at me: "Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments." How I long for 'good judgment and knowledge!"
I've also been encouraged by verse 75: "I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me." Thankfully, our God is perfect and all-knowing in His actions. We can receive comfort in knowing that the trials and afflictions we go through "worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
Praise God for his tender mercies and abiding compassion!

Pictures of Folklore Village

Michelle recently posted a blog about our weekend in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, where we attended a Sacred Harp Singing at the Folklore Village. I agree with what Michelle had to say about the weekend...the singing, the people, and Folklore Village. It is such a beautiful and peaceful place with wonderful scenery.

I don't have any pictures from the actual singing, but I have these of Plum Grove Church, Farwell Hall, and the snow-covered trees. The pictures don't do justice to how beautiful that part of Wisconsin is.

The front of Plum Grove Church

The church was built in 1882, and moved to its current location in 1993.

This is a view of Farwell Hall as we're climbing up the hill.

A view of the scenery - - there were numerous pine trees covered with snow - - very picturesque.

One last picture looking over the rolling hills. You can see Farwell Hall to the right and an old silo to the left.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bible Game

This is a little game we played at bible study last night. Just match the bible characters to the most appropriate song according to their stories.


A.) Noah
B.) Esau
C.) Daniel
D.) Peter
E.) Adam & Eve
F.) Lazarus
G.) Esther
H.) Job
I.) Moses
J.) Samson
K.) Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego
L.) Jonah
M.) Elijah
N.) Methuselah


  1. Great Balls of Fire
  2. I Feel Pretty
  3. Stayin' Alive
  4. Hair
  5. Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head
  6. Got a Whale of a Tale
  7. Born to be Wild
  8. Up, Up, and Away
  9. The Lion Sleeps Tonight
  10. I'm Sorry
  11. The Happy Wanderer
  12. Strangers in Paradise
  13. The Second Time Around
  14. I've Got a Right to Sing the Blues

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

In a Poetry Mood

This is the result of several hours of boring lecture today...

A Season of Change

Falling, falling down,
Cast upon the ground’
Orange, red, yellow, brown
Strewn out all around.

A leaf, an acorn
Crunch beneath my feet’
The path is well worn,
Steps without a beat

An end, a transition,
a beginning, new birth;
Life ends and life begins.
A time of change has come.

A spiritual change,
A new man put on;
Fall down at His feet,
Follow His teaching.

His path I trod daily,
Diligently striving.
May His will by my own,
And never more wander.


Light to Guide

Waves of doubt,
Covering, blinding, misleading.
Don’t know where to go,
Can’t see the road ahead.

My heart is weak,
As a fatigued child;
Worn from the world,
Tugging and tearing.

A glimmer of hope,
A ray of light;
Light to guide my way,
A way of hope and trust.

His hand brushes mine,
I clasp on tightly;
He leads the way,
Down the road unseen.


Holy One

Rejoice, rejoice;
Praises aloud;
Lift up your voice,
Join with the crowd.

He is worthy
Perfect, complete
High above all,
None cam compare.

I worship you,
I praise your name.
Refreshed anew,
Never the same.

Come Holy Rain,
Pour out your love,
Down upon me,
My soul washed clean.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My Thoughts on Justification by Faith

Thank you to those who have joined in the discussion concerning my previous post. I have been reading My Utmost for His Highest as my nightly devotional for about two months now. This piece, "Justification by Faith," was the devotional for October 28, and it has been on my mind since I read it that night.

When reading it the first time, it took me a while to fully comprehend all that Chambers is trying to convey. It is one of the deeper subjects that I have read thus far of his devotionals. Overall, I am very pleased with what he had to say, and I do believe it is a great devotional. As it has been stated in the comments to the other post, I would like if Chambers would make further comments on the actual subject of justification by faith. Bro. Joseph made this comment: " I would prefer greater clarification on the actual subject of justification by faith to make it clear that our "right relationship" with God as children is prior to our belief. Belief or assent effects my "relationship" with God only from the standpoint of my obedience and ability to manifest what He has already worked in me. " I agree with his statement, and also wish Chambers would have made more clarification about that.

The following sentence is another that I found to be interesting: "The Spirit of God brings justification with a shattering, radiant light, and I know I am saved, even though I don't know how it is accomplished." We know how we are saved and justified...through Christ's death on the cross. I think a better way to say this would have been..."I know I am saved, even though I don't know why it was accomplished."

My main reason for posting about this devotional was that I was very pleased with what Chambers had to say. In previous devotionals, and ones I have read since October 28, Chambers makes statements that seem very contradictory to what he said in this particular one. In"Justification by Faith," Chambers seemed to make it clear that our salvation and justification are already accomplished...completely finished...and there is nothing we can, or have, to do ourselves. He does not seem consistent with this belief in all of his devotionals.

While the piece was somewhat difficult to understand, I think it is a good explanation of doctrinal truths that are often difficult for me to put into words.

Feel free to make more comments and add your thoughts into the discussion!