Politics and Religion

Politics and ReligionIt has often been said that when people engage in polite conversation, two topics they are to avoid are politics and religion. Why would these topics be off limits? I can personally attest to the fact that in the past, if I held a minority opinion that went against the majority’s views, I avoided saying anything for fear of getting into an argument. But this shouldn’t be the case. In a civilized society in which our First Amendment rights of religious freedom are guaranteed by the Constitution, we should be able to freely discuss such matters. (See “Liberty Notes on the Bill of Rights” by Jim Jess). In addition to religious liberty, the First Amendment also protects our freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Unlike other countries where opposing views may lead to imprisonment, or worse beheading, the United States still stands as a beacon of light to people seeking political, social, and religious freedom to pursue and achieve their dreams.

What is Permissible?

In an article entitled “Pastors, Churches and Politics What May Pastors and Churches Do?” (Click here to view article.) Mathew D. Staver, Esq. states that when our country was founded until 1954, churches and nonprofit organizations could endorse or oppose candidates for political office. However, when Lyndon Baines Johnson ran for United States Senate and was opposed by a nonprofit organization, he proposed legislation to change the Internal Revenue Code to prevent nonprofit organizations, including churches, from endorsing or opposing political candidates.

The Founding of a Nation

There is a direct relationship between the founding of our nation and the moral and religious views that our Founding Fathers held. George Washington, our first President, said “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” Our second President, John Adams believed that “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” He further stated, “Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.”

“Where there is no vision, the people perish” Proverbs 29:18 states. What is the vision of our country? As a Judeo-Christian nation, the concluding statement in the Pledge of Allegiance says it eloquently: “One nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” As a young nation, a little over two hundred years old, have we achieved this ideal? No, not at the present time.  And yet, there is no other country in the world today that attributes God as the sovereign authority over a nation that seeks liberty and justice for all of its people. The decisions we make today will either further the achievement of that ideal or forces within and without will seek to divide and destroy the biblical principles that our republic was founded on.

Civil Discourse

So how do we engage in a civil discussion involving politics and religion? In addition to the do’s and don’ts that Staver lists in his article mentioned earlier, what can the individual do to engage in a civil discussion about these two topics?

Be Informed

Second Timothy 3:13 states that “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” Deception occurs when individuals are unaware of what their rights are as citizens of our country. Studying the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights are fundamental to understanding the biblical principles that our country was founded on.

Because we are a nation comprised of diverse cultures from all over the world, it is important that we understand the religious backgrounds that individuals come from. The five major world religions are Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Learning about other religions provides a window to compare and contrast how the major religions differ from each other. It also provides us with an opportunity to compare these perspectives and see how they line up with (or not) the principles of our Constitution and our Bill of Rights. In the words of John Adams, “liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people.”

For example, in Christianity we are saved by grace and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). When we believe Romans 10:9-10, and accept Jesus Christ as Lord in our lives and believe that God raised him from the dead, we are born again and receive the gift of holy spirit. As sons of God, we have sonship rights such as redemption, justification, righteousness, sanctification, and the ministry of reconciliation (see chapter 23, “Knowing One’s Sonship Rights” in Victor Paul Wierwille, Power for Abundant Living). Our liberty and ultimate freedom comes from Christ Jesus and his accomplished works when he died for us on the cross and was raised from the dead (Galatians 2:4).

Second Timothy 2:15 exhorts us to “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Studying the Bible and learning how to apply biblical principles in my life continues to be the central core of my being.

Get Involved

Getting involved in the political process at the local, county, state, and national level is important if we are to guard the freedoms that we have. We are at a critical time in our nation’s history that requires vigilance and active participation by every citizen in the political process. Whether it involves working for a local, congressional or presidential candidate, registering people to vote, or volunteering to serve on a campaign, we have an obligation and a responsibility to exercise our rights as citizens.

Speak the Truth in Love

As citizens from diverse backgrounds, we may not always agree with each other, but at least we can learn to disagree agreeably. In a country such as the United States, rational people (and I emphasize rational) are not about to murder someone if their religious beliefs differ from our own. Through verbal discourse and debate, we can avoid name calling, vicious attacks, and ridicule. As Christians, our ultimate standard is God’s Word, the Bible. The following passage describes six things that God hates, and seven are an abomination to Him: “A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief [evil], A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:16-19).

In Romans 16:17-18, the Apostle Paul warned the believers in Rome of individuals who were causing division in the church: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” As Christians, we speak the truth in love because it is the light of God’s Word that dispels darkness (Ephesians4:15).

One Nation Under God

By “good words and fair speeches” there are forces within and without that seek to divide and destroy our country. Our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles where God is the giver of rights and not man. We are, and will remain, “One nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” The national motto of the United States of America is still “In God We Trust.”

 All scriptures are quoted from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. Explanatory insertions within a scripture are enclosed in brackets.

 Copyright © 2015 Aleta You. All Rights Reserved.

 

One Nation Under God

One Nation Under GodNow that the fireworks have fizzled and the barbecue grill has gone cold, we can reflect on  having celebrated the Fourth of July and what it means to be truly free. Is freedom something we celebrate once a year or is it something that needs to be jealously guarded, protected, and cherished on a daily basis? “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Declaration of Independence is the first civil document that recognizes God, rather than a pope or a monarch, as the giver of rights.

The Pledge of Allegiance, that I remember reciting daily in elementary school, was written by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, in 1892 and officially adopted by Congress as the pledge on June 22, 1942. The phrase “one nation under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance on June 14, 1954 by a joint resolution of Congress. On July 11, 1955, legislation was passed which made “In God We Trust” mandatory on all coins and paper currency in the United States. The national motto of the United States of America, “In God We Trust” was adopted by Congress a year later on July 30, 1956.

A Biblical Foundation

As a fourth generation American of Korean ancestry, I feel privileged to have been born into a country where the Bill of Rights, the amendments to the United States Constitution, guarantees a number of freedoms, such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press (see “Liberty Notes on the Bill of Rights” by Jim Jess).

The birth of our great nation is based on individuals who arrived in our country having fled  religious, political and social persecution. The freedoms we richly enjoy were not given to us by accident, but were framed by godly men who respected the Bible and sought to establish a Republic that was founded on biblical principles from God’s Word. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance”(Psalm 33:12). Conversely, “the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17).

In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.” John Quincy Adams, our Sixth President stated, “The first and almost the only book deserving of universal attention is the Bible. I speak as a man of the world…and I say to you, Search the Scriptures.” Abraham Lincoln had this to say about the Bible: “In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book.”

The Enemy Within and Without

The United States, with all of its problems and challenges, is still the envy of the world.  We would be wise to learn from the teachings of the Bible for it contains “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). Make no mistake about it. Evil is real and seeks to steal, kill, destroy and ultimately annihilate our country and all those who worship the one true God (John 10:10). To ignore the existence of evil is naive and misguided.

Lessons from the Book of Acts

The book of Acts is a great example of action steps that believers took to back down the devil spirit realm. This is not a book of meditations or ruminations, but a book about bold actions. One of the powerful ways to back down the devil spirit realm is for men and women to get born again by confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10). The second step is to learn how to operate the gift of holy spirit with its nine manifestations of speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, word of knowledge, word of wisdom, discerning of spirits, faith (believing), workings of miracles, and gifts of healings. Speaking God’s Word boldly to those who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness is the third step to reconciling men and women back to God.

Get Involved in the Political Process

In the past, other than exercising my civic duty of voting, I was never directly involved in the political process. I always thought that politics was a dirty word, and based on my observations of the behavior of some of the presidential candidates, my opinion about politics hasn’t changed. I believe our country is at a critical crossroads in history. I encourage every U.S. citizen to think about the direction in which our country is going and to become actively involved in the political process at the local, state, and national level.

As believers, we have a responsibility to ask God for wisdom in selecting an individual in 2016 who will assume the highest office in our nation; the president of the United States. We are reminded in 1 Samuel 16:7, when God ultimately selected David to be the next king of Israel, that He instructed Samuel that “the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” Humility, a love for the Bible, God, and the Constitution, and high moral character are just some of the godly qualities that are necessary to lead our country during this dark and critical period. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). In the words of Edmund Burke, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing.”

All scriptures are quoted from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. Explanatory insertions within a scripture are enclosed in brackets.

 Copyright © 2015 Aleta You. All Rights Reserved.

The Faithful Remnant

Photo of In God We Trust - The Faithful RemnantPersecution

Horrific images of twenty-one Egyptian Coptic Christians beheaded in Libya raises the question, has the world gone mad? History has shown that persecution against groups of people due to differences in race, religion, social, or political beliefs have existed in the past, occur today, and will continue to take place in the future.

Persecution against a group of people can take the form of beheadings, beatings, physical torture, murder, isolation, rape, imprisonment, or slavery. History is filled with examples of man’s inhumanity against man; the Holocaust, genocide in Rwanda, the “ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia, and September 11, to name just a few.

Two Gods

How can we make sense of inhumane and barbaric acts that occur against humanity? The Bible is very clear that there are two gods. God, the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the Devil, the god of this world. 2 Corinthians 4:4 states: “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” The Bible says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

The Fall

The prophet Isaiah describes the fall of Lucifer. Ironically, the meaning of the Latin word, “Lucifer” means “light-bearer.” Lucifer was once the angel of light, second in command to God. As a result of pride and egotism, Lucifer wasn’t satisfied with being second in command. He wanted to be God. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14).

Revelation 12:7-12 describes the war that took place in heaven where Michael and his angels fought against the Devil and his angels. Eventually, the Devil and one third of the angels were cast out from heaven. “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12).

The Devil and his devil spirit kingdom work in the lives of people, culture, religion, and the environment to steal, kill, and destroy. John 10:10 states, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Who is the thief? He is the Devil, the god of this world who steals, kills, and destroys. “I am come” refers to Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, who came to give us the more than abundant life.

By Their Fruit

How do we distinguish between the one true God and the Devil and his cohort of devil spirits? We distinguish between the genuine and the counterfeit by the fruit that is produced. Whenever we see killing, stealing, or destructive evil, we know that it is the Devil and his devil spirits who are behind the scenes using people as conduits to implement his evil acts throughout the world. In contrast, individuals who are born again and have accepted Jesus as Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10) can walk by the spirit of the one true God, manifesting the fruit of the spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering [patience], gentleness, goodness, faith [believing], meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Benefits of Speaking God’s Word

Deliverance

The first century Christians in the book of Acts demonstrated courage, determination, and boldness in standing for the one true God in the midst of intense pressure. Prior to the day of Pentecost, the apostles were hiding behind closed doors. They were afraid of the religious leaders who persecuted those who were followers of Jesus Christ.

However, when the day of Pentecost arrived, the twelve apostles received power from on high and the gift of holy spirit (Acts 2:1-4). It was the power of the holy spirit that energized Peter to boldly testify that Jesus, whom they crucified, God raised from the dead and made both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:14-24). When Peter and John were called before the religious leaders and were commanded to not speak or teach in the name of Jesus, what was Peter and John’s response to these threats? Their response was, “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). This is what our response should be. God has blessed and delivered me from so many challenges in life that I cannot but speak and share my stories of deliverance with others.

Spiritual Growth

Another benefit of boldly speaking God’s Word is that when you speak, you grow spiritually.

Isaiah 55:11
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not
return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and
it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

The word “void” means empty and “prosper” means accomplish successfully. When we speak God’s Word with believing, God will bring to pass the miracles, signs, and wonders according to His written Word.

God’s Word says that when we are in Christ, we are “a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

2 Corinthians 5:18-19
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus
Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself,
not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us
the word of reconciliation.

God has called us to reconcile men and women back to God by speaking His Word. God has also given us the word of reconciliation to minister His Word to others.

Back Down the Devil Spirit Realm

A third benefit of speaking God’s Word, is that when we speak, we are backing down the devil spirit realm and its influence over people’s lives.

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged
sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the
joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

As Jesus Christ responded to the devil’s temptations with “it is written” in Mathew 4:1-10, we too can respond to the fiery darts of the wicked one with “it is written” with God’s Word. First John 4:4 declares, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” Throughout the Bible, God tells us to “fear not!” We are reminded that “one man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you. Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God” (Joshua 23:10-11).

Faithful Remnant

Who are the faithful remnant? We are!  We are the faithful remnant who have the audacity to believe God’s Word, confess God’s Word, and share God’s Word with others. With the love of God burning in your heart, let’s get busy speaking God’s Word and reconciling men and women back to God!

Note: Parts of this article were taken from the author’s book, Biblical Solutions for Daily Living – Developing a Vital and Personal Relationship with God, See Chapter 4, on “The Spiritual Competition.”

All scriptures are quoted from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. Explanatory insertions within a scripture are enclosed in brackets.

Copyright © 2015 Aleta You. All Rights Reserved.

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