Welcome to the Greene Street Letters. It has become my venue for sharing what is going on at Vineyard Recovery Church. Don't let the word Church scare you. The Greene Street Letters is a daily posting to simply say that there is more to life than what you see. More to life than "stuff". My simple take of 60+ years of following Jesus. Some days were good days...some days I managed to get off in the ditch. He is worthy of the pursuit, so that is what I do........I pursue Jesus in everything I do. Not the Jesus of the church. Not the Jesus of the denomination. Nothing wrong with those things, but Jesus is so much more. Thanks for dropping by and I hope you return from time to time to stop and ponder your own relationship with Jesus. God on you....mb

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Be Careful


What has happened to our nation? It seems to this old man that civility has been shoved aside for the exaltation of personal opinion. Social media should actually be renamed "Un-social Media". It has become a platform for people to unload their anger, bitterness, and hatred toward our government. Now before you point a finger at me and accuse me of being a "go-along" kind of guy, you would be wrong.

I love the fact that our nation was founded on giving each of us the right to agree or disagree with our government leaders. Don't forget ,whether we like them or not, they were voted in by the people. We have the right to protest when we disagree. I have lived through the Civil Rights era....as well as the protest that brought the Viet Nam war to an end, so I have seen our democracy in action. It isn't always perfect or pretty....but it works.

But what I have seen over the last 24 years is something I never dreamed would be a part of the fabric of our nation. The way that people rail and defame the office of our president. Here again, I'm not just talking about the outpouring of emotion against our current president. And while we are on the subject, I'm neither Republican or Democrat. I have always tried to vote for who I thought was best qualified to hold the office of President. I do have beliefs and thoughts as to the way government is, and has been, run. But I refuse to get on any form of Social media to spill a stream of hatred toward the ones I think are responsible.

Both President Obama and President Trump have been referred to in ways that, to be honest with you, make me fear for the future of our country. We have lost the moral compass of Scripture that directs us to be in subjection to the governing authorities. Let's take a look at Romans 13, and also a running commentary by David Guzik, pastor of Calvary Chapel, Santa Barbara, California.

A Christian's Obligation to Government

A. The Christian and government.
1. (Rom 13:1-2) Government's legitimate authority and the Christian's response.
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.

a. Subject to the governing authorities: The connection between Romans 12 and Romans 13 is clear. If the Christian is not to seek personal vengeance, it does not take away the government's authority to punish wrongdoers.

b. Every soul certainly includes Christians. Paul simply says that we should be subject to the governing authorities. This was in contrast to groups of zealous Jews in that day who recognized no king but God and paid taxes to no one but God.

c. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God: We subject ourselves to governing authorities because they are appointed by God and serve a purpose in His plan.
i. No authority except from God: God appoints a nation's leaders, but not always to bless the people. Sometimes it is to judge the people or to ripen the nation for judgment.
ii. We remember that Paul wrote this during the reign of the Roman Empire. It was no democracy, and no special friend to Christians - yet he still saw their legitimate authority.
iii. "Remember your Savior suffered under Pontius Pilate, one of the worst Roman governors Judea ever had; and Paul under Nero, the worst Roman Emperor. And neither our Lord nor His Apostle denied or reviled the 'authority!'" (Newell)

d. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God: Since governments have authority from God, we are bound to obey them - unless, of course, they order us to do something in contradiction to God's law. Then, we are commanded to obey God before man (as in Acts 4:19).

e. Those who resist will bring judgment on themselves: God uses governing authorities as a check upon man's sinful desires and tendencies. Government can be an effective tool in resisting the effects of man's fallenness.

If you study I and II Samuel, you'll see where, in David's eyes, he would not rise up against King Saul, even though Saul was out to kill David. David was given ample opportunity to kill Saul, but each time refused because of his understanding that Saul had been picked by God to fill the position. David would not raise his hand against the one God had picked. David understood authority and the way God viewed such. 

Here again, all I'm saying is that we should be careful about our words, and be more concerned with the heart in government matters. We cannot reduce disagreement among the people to the lowest form of heart-language: Name calling, and derogatory remarks. We accomplish nothing more than showing the world the hatred that is seething in our hearts.

Let me ask you this.
If you have disagreed with any of our Presidents......past or current....did you commit yourself to pray for them? I don't mean a cursory throwing of words to the heavens. I am talking about a prayer of intercession on their behalf. Did you? Or did you allow hatred and bitterness to direct your words. Seems to me that if we truly call ourselves "Christian" or "Followers of Jesus" we might should take a closer look at what the Scripture has to say on this matter.

Keep your beliefs, both political and religious....
Exercise your God given right to protest....
Vote.....
But remember the call to respect authority.
Thanks for letting me share today.

God on you...
mbb

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