A prayer for good government (and good Christians)

Re: Verse reading–Romans 13:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (day seven)

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, SO THAT WE MAY LEAD A QUIET AND PEACEABLE LIFE IN ALL GODLINESS AND DIGNITY.”–1 Timothy 2:1-2.  “In this world nothing is certain, except death and taxes”–Benjamin Franklin.  No avoiding it. Government is a given!  So, the Bible tells us to pray for those who govern with an eye to the way God uses them to provide things we need to get on with the business of living godly lives.  To the believer, government is incidental, the larger goal is holiness! Will you, today, thank God for the roads, the armed forces, the economic opportunities that we enjoy in this nation?  Will you pray for those who work hard to provides these privileges?  Will you, then, pray for yourself the grace to get forward in a life of holiness?

Collision Course

Re: Verse reading–Romans 13:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (day five)

Romans 13 begins to address the other side of the great collision between the Christian and Culture.  In Romans 12, Paul writes the words that are SO familiar to many Christians.  “Do not be conformed to this world”.  So the tension and collision are created.  The natural question the believers in Rome would ask is, “What do we do with Caesar?”  “Do we support him?”  So in chapter 13 Paul anticipates and answers.  (By the way, Jesus had the same tension and same questions asked of Him.)

2 insights from this passage help navigate the tension.  1- We must remember that where we live and where we belong are different (Philippians 3:20).  Paul uses the concept of “authority” to point this out.  2- Humility and Submission are often the ways that people see and sense our faith and love for God. (1 Peter 2:13-15)

John Piper comments. “Paul risked being misunderstood on the side of submission because he saw pride as a greater danger to Christians than government injustice.“

How Do We Respond?

Re: Verse reading–Romans 13:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (day four) 

Is civil government autonomous from God?  Can they do what they want and we are commanded to obey?  Government is not equal to God, it is in subjection to Him.  If government commands against God’s commands, it has abdicated its authority.  The blood of the martyrs, who stood for truth against the tyranny of their nations, speaks in testimony.  If the government is autonomous from God, they are exalted to a position equal to or greater than Him…that’s called idolatry.  No prayer in school, abortion on demand, redefinition of marriage and the family, or parental rights given over to the state…do we obey God or man?  How do we respond?  Paul writes to Timothy that first it is a call to prayer.  “Prayers are to be made on behalf of all men, for kings and for all in authority…”  Have we made and are we continuing to make the first step?


Re: Verse reading–Romans 13:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (day three)

“The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Here’s a question: Do you listen to the voices of MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, the New Republic, National Review, etc., with a mind shaped by the Bible—or do you listen to the Bible through a mind shaped by one of those voices?  Which is it?  When our nation is wounded by flaws in our governing entities, let’s let the Bible be the first responder to our souls.  That way, we become people who remain concerned with how we can steward together the system of authority God has placed over us.

We the People…

Re: Verse reading–Romans 13:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (day two)

Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. Isaiah 9:7

Can you tell that I’ve been listening to Christmas music lately? This Messianic prophecy from Isaiah tells us that there will be an incorruptible everlasting form of government, but not one ruled or established by men. Our best thoughts, our greatest minds have tried to construct ways to fairly govern people since the beginning of civilization. Most educators would agree that students need some sort of structure to succeed. What is acceptable and what is not. How to behave and the consequence for disobedience. In exchange students should feel reasonably safe, they should expect a quality education. This is what we should expect from our government. A system to follow with the expectation of safety. However, even in the most enlightened societies, they are run by fallen people. Even fallen people with the best ideals are still fallen. God’s system is flawless. His promise to be just and righteous is made to all. We must model our lives, our actions, and our obedience to await that perfect government.

Who governs the government?

Re: Verse reading–Romans 13:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (day one)  

Christians are a paradox where government is concerned.  Sometimes we are patriots.  Sometimes we are rebels.  The Bible teaches us to be” subject to the governing authorities”. (Romans 13:1)  We are to pay taxes.  We are to show respect, give honor.  (13:6)  But, to whom is government subject? God! The mandate that government holds comes from Him, not from any popular vote.  It is for this reason that Christians, over the course of history, have had no ache of conscience in disobeying government when to do so constituted disobedience to God.  “We must obey God, rather then men” said Peter and John in Acts 4:19. When government oversteps its authority, it loses its authority–that’s what we believe.  “The government is merely a servant.  It cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what it wrong, who the patriot is and who isn’t.  Its function is to obey orders, not to give them.”–Mark Twain.

Good Work

Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-11 (day six)

“…so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.” Titus 2:10

The Gospel changes both how we think about work and how we do work. Certainly God provides us good work as a means to meet our basic needs, but work also transcends a paycheck. The reality is that God uses our work to both sustain his creation and restore it. That is the work itself is more than a platform or place for ministry, but is a means through which God holds all things together and brings creation back in order. So, truthfully the Gospel restores work into its proper place, as a manifestation of being made in the image of God.

This reclaimed reality changes how we work. We begin to realize that work, either glamorous or mundane, serves God’s purposes; both farmers and lawyers are apart of God’s sustaining work in society. So work hard and with excellence, because you are indeed serving unto the Lord.

Worship in the Workplace

Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-11 (day five)  Let me start by asking a couple of questions.  Where to do you go to worship?  Are there several answers you could give that are honest and truthful?  I have friends say, “I can worship God anywhere”.  But, do they?  There is significant and meaningful value in gathering with believers for Worship and Bible Study. (Hebrews 10)  Can we worship at other times and places apart from Sundays in a sanctuary or church meeting space?  Can we worship in the workplace?  Can worship really happen there?  Paul seems to think the answer is “Yes”(Colossians 3:23).  Worship is likely to happen when we labor with passion and faithfulness as employees (“servants be obedient”).  Worship also can occur as we manage and lead others (“masters do the same thing”) with compassion, integrity, conviction, and honesty.  Jesus has given us examples that glorify God both as servants and masters.



Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-11 (day four)  In each of these letters, Paul drives home the same point…our lives relate directly to God rather than man.  In a slave relationship…or, in today’s world, an employer relationship…we are not to resent or argue or deceive our authority.  We are reminded that our work is unto the Lord, not to man.  We can escape the notice or knowledge of our employer, but God sees our every action and knows our heart and intentions.  We get away with nothing.  Paul tells us in the Titus passage that when we respond properly to our employers (masters), we adorn the doctrine of God.  ‘Adorn’ means to make more pleasing; beautify, embellish, enhance, enrich, and grace.  We add glory to God when we serve Him over our petty, worldly desires and passions.  Our goals need to change…we should not be seeking what is best for ourselves, we should be seeking to adorn the doctrine of God.  Give glory to God by rightly serving your authority!


Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-11 (day three)

“Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.” 

Those in positions of power must wield it justly, and those in stations of weakness must leave room for God’s retribution.  In Paul’s thinking this balance is necessary to preserve in this fallen world a social order that allows people to flourish.  But in our fallenness we are unbalanced.  So people in power begin to practice oppression, and people in weakness get exploited by those who would throw off all traces of authority.  The powerful attempt to become God, and the weak forget God’s vengeance.  In the resulting chaos, only the church can teach this world to live together in a social order that brings peace and plenty.  Let’s get to work.