Verse of the Day

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity - 237th Birthday of the United States Marine Corps - Veterans Day

Veterans Day
11 November is Veterans Day.  It is TODAY.  The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month.  Is not the first Monday in anything, it is not an occasion to sleep in or barbeque.  It was originally Armistice Day, the day the Great War (World War I) ended.  The armistice was signed on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month ending the War to End all Wars which took the lives of about 20 million people.  We remembered that day until World War II, a war which took the lives of about 70 million people, not including the 25 million killed by the Soviets internally.  In total, almost 100 million people lost their lives during the period of this war.

Our country has chosen this day, Armistice Day, to honor those who have served our country.  This is not the same as Memorial Day, the last weekend in May, during which we honor those who have given their lives for our country.

On this day, we honor those who have and do serve our country: men and women who have stepped forward when their country called; some even before the call.  We honor those who have put their country before themselves and families.

Sometimes we forget the sacrifices made by the families.  It is one thing to be in combat, forward deployed or on TDY at Christmas.  It is another to have your son, daughter, husband or wife gone.

We can tell you from personal experience that it is a lot easier to go to war than to send someone to war.

It is easy to think the country is going to hell, in or out of the proverbial hand basket.  Yet, so far we have young people who step forward and fill the breech in the line.  How long we know not, but still they come forward.  While they come we are safe.  When they stop, we fall.

LTC Hap and Captain Dru Arnold, USAF Retired

   Semper Fly!

A Veteran’s Day Message from Jerry L. Ogles, Presiding Bishop:

Our nation had its birth amidst the Thunder of Battle – Concord Township witnessed  the sowing, into the soil of Freedom, the first blood of patriotism. Little did the Colonies, or the world, know what great sacrifices would be required, in blood, toil, and suffering, over the coming months to purchase that Freedom for which men must sacrifice and for which our Lord, as well, died to grant to all who believe on Him.

Those crosses at Arlington, Flanders’ Field, and military cemeteries around the world represent the cost of freedom hard won. Each Cross, or Star of David, represents, not a lump of clay, but a patriotic soul who gave the last sacrifice that we may be honored to carry on in the tradition of Freedom, and Liberty, and Godly endeavor. Even if our freedoms were lost today, the dying of these valiant souls would not have been in vain. Even a short moment of freedom, once enjoyed, is worth more than centuries of serfdom. How precious is this freedom to the hearts of a Godly people! If we fail to lift the battle flag at the first signs of tyranny, the blood of our beloved soldiers, living and dead will thunder from the dust, and from the beloved mountains - east and west.

The services of such courageous defenders of our Liberties, both men and women, are not cheapened by their unworthy leaders that may have achieved high office.  Though such unworthy leaders may cringe behind the masks of restraint and political intrigue, it is yet the soldier, seaman, and airman that must pay the price for their ineptitude.

As America stands poised on the brink of greater challenges to Liberty than previous generations, it is this danger; this challenge; this uncertainty that makes heroes out of the common farmer and seamstress. The prophet does not stand and proclaim until the moment that God calls, and the hero does not stand as hero until the circumstances warrant. I know that America has not seen the last of her heroic warriors for Liberty. I am personally acquainted with many sterling and precious young souls that will answer the call when the clarion sounds. Are you, too, ready?

As the favorite writer of my childhood, Rudyard Kipling, has prayed:

 “For God and the soldier we adore, In time of danger, not before!
The danger passed, and all things righted, God is forgotten and the soldier slighted."

I trust that this great country will soon come to remember the Almighty God whom they have slighted and repent in tears and weeping.

To all of our veterans, living and dead, I commend to you the words of General George Washington to our valiant ancestors in arms two hundred years ago:

 “And being now to conclude these his last public Orders, to take his ultimate leave, in a short time, of the Military Character, and to bid a final adieu to the Armies he has so long had the honor to Command--he can only again offer in their behalf his recommendations to their grateful Country, and his prayers to the God of Armies. May ample justice be done them here, and may the choicest of Heaven's favors both here and hereafter attend those, who under the divine auspices have secured innumerable blessings for others.”

237th Birthday of the
United States Marine Corps
No better friend, no worse enemy

On 10 November 1775, Captain Samuel Nicholas formed two battalions of Continental Marines at Tun’s Tavern in Philadelphia as naval infantry in accordance with a resolution of the Continental Congress.  They were to "be able to serve to advantage by sea when required" and "that they be distinguished by the names of the first & second battalions of American Marines."

No better friend: someone who will kill to protect you; someone who will give their life for you; someone who will be right there in your times of trouble and, thinking of you and your problems, will sacrifice so that you might get through your problem.

No worst enemy: someone who will not hesitate to destroy you even if that means destroying himself in the process; someone who will chase you down to the ends of the earth to extract revenge; someone who will cause you blood and tears and smile when it happens.

With a Marine as your friend, you have a person who will kill to protect you. With a Marine as your enemy, you have a person who will kill you. Pretty simple, huh?

The concept comes from the epitaph of Lucius Cornelius Sulla, famous general and legendary dictator of ancient Rome:

"No friend ever served me, and no enemy ever wronged me, whom I have not repaid in full."

Happy 237th Birthday, USMC!

The propers for the Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity can be found on Page 222-223:

The Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity
The Collect.

 GOD, our refuge and strength, who art the author of all godliness; Be ready, we beseech thee, to hear the devout prayers of thy Church; and grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain effectually; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Dru Arnold read the Epistle for today, which came from Saint Paul’s letter to the Philippians beginning at the Seventeenth Verse of the Third Chapter.  Writing to the church in Philippia, Paul asks them to watch whom they follow, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, … that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.”  He reminds us of our ultimate goal, of that which for us should have the principal place in our minds, “For our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed unto the body of his glory, according to the working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto himself.”

rethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed unto the body of his glory, according to the working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto himself.

Hap Arnold read the Holy Gospel which came from the Twenty-Second Chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew beginning at the Fifteenth Verse.  Like many people today, the Pharisees took much comfort in the fact that they followed The Law to The Letter.  Not looking to what the law was trying to get them to do and to think, but rather following The Law to The Letter.  Jesus presented a threat to their very existence, because he asked the people to do what God willed, not to simply cook their food a certain way, or turn down an invitation to a luau because they served roast pig and drank Bud.  Being good followers of The Law to The Letter, they sought to trip Him up.  “…they sent out unto Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, ‘Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?”  Having for so long lived The Law to The Letter, believing The Kingdom of God would be of this world, they could not see the obvious response.  They were absolutely floored when Jesus said, “Shew me the tribute money.”  With no thought of the answer, “they brought unto him a penny.”  Jesus asked them, “Whose is this image and superscription?”  Again playing the straight man, walking into the trap they had set for themselves, they answered, “Caesar’s.”  Driving his point straight into their hearts, he told them, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

This ended the encounter, “they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.”

hen went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cæsar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Cæsar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

Sermon – Rev Deacon Jack Arnold – Time and Action

The Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity
The Collect.

 God, our refuge and strength, who art the author of all godliness; Be ready we beseech thee to hear the devout prayers of they Church; and grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain; through Jesus Christ our LordAmen.

The Collect says Our God is the author of all perfection; we ask him to be ready, to hear our sincere prayers: He may answer those things which are good for the Church and the world that we ask and that from His Grace we may receive those things which are good for us.

On this Veteran’s Day, I realized God has used godly men to our prayers for our freedom to be kept, by laying down their lives for ours. No greater love could be found in the world, then those men who died in the Pacific and the European theatres of World War II, in Vietnam, in the Gulf War, 1 and 2, and Afghanistan, in World War I, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, the Mexican-American War, the War of 1812 and finally the American Revolution.

Through a sense of godliness, these men went to battle on our behalf, as Christ battled Satan on our behalf.  These men did not just go into battle with the godliness, they prayed hard for them, they prayed for each minute just to stay alive, especially in the hellholes of the Pacific.  The danger they faced were far more perilous than the ones we face today.  We overcame the enemy, not only because of our superior tactics, but we had men ready and willing to take the enemy on and do our best to prevail, and that followed God.

A lot of the men knew the truth of St. Paul’s epistle, about following God and not being dependent on man for their spiritual help.  The courage they had is a clear showing of God shining through their examples; examples we as a people should endeavor to follow.  We should pray to follow these men’s good example and become in a way, through God, should we be so lucky to be in the end as quality of men as they were.

In the Epistle, St. Paul tells the Philippians to follow God and not be dependent on man, as so many in this country are now. The problem he explains with many, who claim they are followers of Christ, but don’t walk the walk, is they are selfish and only think of themselves. Unlike our veterans, who not only talked the talk, but walked the walk, often with the price of their lives.  This he warns them will lead them onto a path of doom and destruction.  And also, he talks about how the enemies of Christ glory in our shame, but this will be their undoing in the end also.  We are not to worry, but rather lean on Our Lord, even in these times of trials and tribulations, some of which we have yet to face. We realize that our citizenship is in heaven, from which we look to Our Saviour. If we are on the side of righteousness, of the Lord, of godliness, then who are we to fear?

Nobody; save a respectful fear of Our God.

We will not bow before the forces of darkness, but rather stand tall, equipped with the armor of light, the shield of truth, and the helmet of faith. We will give those in authority the respect that they are due as tradition, but we will not be dependent upon them for our every need and whim. We are to turn to God, if we are to be dependant on anything, it must be God upon whom we are dependant

Which brings us to the point of the Gospel, in which Christ tells the Pharisees of how they are to deal with the problem of tribute to Caesar. They have no love for the Roman Government, as we have very little love for ours, I might confess at this moment in time. However, Christ reminds them to separate their hatred of the government, and due the right thing. As we must give God his due (our prayers), we must give the government their due (taxes, etc.), but this does not mean that we treat the government as demi-gods, to put it one way, like politicians often think of themselves.  But rather that, we give them what they are owed, no more and no less.  The Pharisees were trying to trick Christ to say that you must honor one or the other, when you can do both.  We should be serving God and not man, however, that does not mean that we do not have to pay our dues to the government that rules us. It is only through God’s grace that he allows government to rule over man. The government we have was established with recognition that it serves at His pleasure. Its constitution establishes that people have rights endued them by their Creator, not the government. It is with the authority of the people that the government serves. It must exist to serve the people and God. It is not to be a self-licking ice cream cone.

The Collect, Epistle and Gospel tie together, laying out, detailing and reinforcing the same message, ultimately.  We have to respect the authorities that govern us, no matter how we disagree or dislike them, and conduct ourselves like Christians. However, that does not mean that we replace the rule of God with the rule of Man. Man’s laws should merely be a restatement of God’s laws, not to replace God’s laws.

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

Bishop Dennis Campbell’s Sermon
Bishop Dennis is a brilliant speaker.  He is able to take biblical precepts and make them perfectly understandable, even to me.  Oft he provides the text of his sermons and I take the utmost pleasure in passing them on:

God Our Home
Psalm 33, Philppians 3:17-21, Matthew 22:15-22

Twenty-third Sunday after Trinity

November 11, 2012

I cannot think of a more timely and appropriate passage of Scripture than those specified for today in our Prayer Book. America has just come through another exhausting election. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel have been burned. Thousands of ink cartridges have been emptied and sent to "landfills," and countless kilowatts of electricity have been consumed, all in the attempt to convince us which candidates are most qualified to save us money. And, of course, countless tons of mud were thrown. Now that it is over, a sense of exasperation has settled over our country as we have come to the realization that we are deeply divided, and, no matter who is elected president, half of us don't want him. It is a good time to be reminded that our home is in God, and no matter what direction America takes, we will be all right.

I think the very first thing we can gather from our Bible readings is that it is lawful to "render unto Caesar." The Bible makes it clear that civil government is one of the ways God blesses humanity. Romans 13:1 tells us government is ordained of God. The book of Judges, after recounting the disintegration of the Hebrew nation, and the vice and civil and moral relativism into which it had fallen, says in 17:6, "In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did what was right in his own eyes." There was no ruler to protect the rights of the people. So the strong preyed on the weak, and the rich oppressed the poor. Each person made up his own rules, and they often allowed him to do evil things to others. Returning to Romans 13:1 we read, "Let every soul be subject to the higher powers," meaning, the civil rulers. According to Romans 13:4, government is a minister of God, even Caesar. Corrupt as the Roman system was at that time, our Lord said, "render unto Caesar."

This brings us to the very point of government, its job, its reason for existing; it exists to defend the rights of the people. Romans 13:3 says it exists to be a terror to evil. It exists to give us a way to address crimes and grievances against us, without having to resort to vigilantism and personal vengeance. It allows the people to band together for common defense which prevents the strong from taking advantage of the weak, or enriching themselves by oppressing others. Revelation chapters 5-11 chronicle the breakdown of government in Jerusalem during its siege and destruction by the Romans in 70 A.D. As the rule of law disintegrated, criminal gangs took over, robbing and killing at will. It appears that people had a choice of three ways to die in those days. If they had food, they could die by murder because one of the criminal gangs would kill them for it. If they didn't have food, they could starve. Or they could try to escape from the city, which meant certain capture and crucifixion by the Romans. Government exists to prevent such horrors.

But not all government is good government. Even government that is chosen by the people is not always good. Wasn't Hitler was elected? In 1 Samuel 8 we read some of the evil things a government can inflict upon people. Referring to the king Israel asked for, Samuel warned, he will take your sons and daughters to be his servants. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and oliveyards. He will take your best livestock and the best of your land and claim it for his own, "and ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye have chosen" (1 Samuel 8:10-22). Many people today live under oppressive governments which prove the truth of Samuel's words.

It seems to me that I see two primary ways by which governments are established. The first, I would call government from above. By this method government is imposed upon people by those stronger than they. Any who opposed them were either killed or escaped to another area. The second I would call government from below. In this method the people band together for mutual defense and benefit. The rulers are subject to the will of the people, who, in theory, retain the power and authority of government.

The United States was formed as a government from below, but so was that of the former Soviet Union. Thus we see that even the best intentions can result in bad government. Many of the governments from below were established on a form of utopianism, which attempted to establish a perfect world, or, at least, a perfect society. Some of them have been good, others, not so good, but none have created utopia. 

This brings up an important point; even the best governments devised by man are run by people who share all the human frailties and limitations. Even the best governments have their problems, and prove the truth of the view that government is a necessary evil. Therefore it is important to see that our hope can never ultimately reside in government because our hope cannot ultimately reside in man.

Our hope resides in Christ. His is the one perfect government because He is the one perfect Governor. As a Ruler, He has no sin, nor is He susceptible to temptation. As the owner of all things, He has no need to manipulate His government for personal gain. He rules for the good of His people, and His Kingdom is the Kingdom of Peace.

His government does exist here on earth now. It exists in the hearts of people of many nations and races and backgrounds. It is not characterized by capital cities, geographical boundaries, or any of the structures that characterize governments devised by people. His government is the government of Heaven. Those who are citizens of His Kingdom actually have their citizenship in Heaven, in a place where corruption, crime, discord, and oppression are unknown. There are no frantic elections there, no concerns about the next ruler, no coups, no rebellions, no recessions, no wars, poverty, hunger, or bailouts. All is peace and goodness forever.

We actually have a glimpse of this in the fourth and fifth chapters of the book of Revelation. There we see God seated on His throne in perfect peace. On earth the tempests rage, wars and famines consume their victims, and the kings of earth make war on God's people. But their cursings and fightings cannot touch God. Nor can they harm those who have been gathered into Heaven. Chapter 6 shows the martyrs who died for the testimony, the faith, which they held. Where are they? Secure and safe under the throne of God. No more harm can reach them. They rest from their labours and enjoy the wonders of Heaven forever.

Your destiny, if you are in Christ, is with them. Your citizenship transcends that of any nation you may be a part of here on earth. You are united with countless others whose home is in God Himself, and will one day take you to be with Him in glory forever. Meanwhile you can be a good citizen of your earthly nation. You can and should give all due honour to its laws and rulers. You should pray and work for its peace and prosperity. You should do all for it that can be done that is in agreement with the teachings of Scripture. And you can hope and pray that its government will be good government that will allow you to live in freedom and peace. And, by God's grace, good government is not dead in America. By God's grace America can be better and do better, and will survive in some form in spite of our imperfections and problems. But we who are Christ's need to remember always that our hope is not in government, or even in America. Our hope, like our home, is in God.

+Dennis Campbell, Bishop
Anglican Orthodox Church Diocese of Virginia
Rector, Holy Trinity Anglican Orthodox Church
Powhatan, Virginia

Rev Bryan Dabney of Saint John’s Sunday Sermon
We are fortunate to have Bryan’s Sunday Sermon.  If you want people to come to The Truth, you have to speak the truth, expouse the truth and live the truth.    This is really a good piece and I commend it to your careful reading.

In St. Matthew's gospel account (22:15-22), our Lord was tempted by the Pharisees and the Herodians to speak against paying taxes to Rome. They attempted to bait him into making a seditious comment in the hope that the imperial governor, Pontius Pilate, would order his arrest. Nevertheless, as he had done on other occasions, our Lord perceived their thoughts saying, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?, and afterward said, Shew me the tribute money. Now the coin that the Pharisees and Herodians presented to him bore the image of Tiberius Caesar. When our Lord asked them whose image was upon the coin, they almost gleefully replied, Caesar's, to which he gave them the now famous response of, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. 

There can be no question that we are to render unto God that which is his due: more particularly to love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are also expected to pay our taxes and to do all that is lawful under the rubrics of our order of governance. Our Lord did not say render unto Caesar on certain occasions, or if we feel like it. We are expected to, as St. Paul stated in our epistle lesson (Romans 13:7), render... tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour... is due; for in so doing, we will seek to live peaceably within our communities— avoiding any action which will bring opprobrium upon the gospel. Thus, paying our taxes, and doing our duty to the state is something that our Lord would have us do, particularly if that government has been of good character and has operated per its founding principles.

Our Lord did not raise the specter of rebellion against the Roman authorities because that was not his purpose. As he told the temple guards who had come to seize him in the Garden of Gethsemane, Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be (St. Matthew 26:53-54)? And to Pilate he said, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence (St. John 18:36). Our Lord came to seek and save the lost. He came to die for our sins and rise again. His revolution, if you choose to call it that, was to gain the promised victory for all his saints over the world, the flesh and the devil. And that he did. He did not come to lead a violent and bloody clash with the armies of Rome. He counseled peace and obedience within the existing governmental framework but only so long as it did not conflict with God's word.

Returning to Romans 13 the apostle supplied the reason for our rendering unto Caesar: Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisted the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil... Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake (vv.1-7). But does this mean that we must be obedient in the face of tyranny? Recently, Robert Hawes attempted to address such concerns in his article entitled Higher Powers wherein he offered the following:

"The first thing I would like to point out to people... who think Christians should obey government officials no matter what because they are the higher powers, is that there is another, yet higher power... the Constitution of the United States. This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land (Article VI, Section 1). It is from the Constitution that our elected officials, both federal and state, derive their office and legitimate powers. Their powers are delegated... they are limited to the specific areas of authority... (see the 9th and 10th Amendments). Further, our elected officials are bound by oath or affirmation to support the Constitution and its provisions, including the limitations placed upon their own powers... Thus, in taking up the powers and responsibilities of political office, our elected officials are also agreeing to place themselves under the law. This is one of the foundational ideas of the American political system: the concept that everyone is under law and equal in its eyes. For this reason, if government officials violate the Constitution, their actions are illegal and void of authority, and they are no better than common criminals. It is absolutely critical that Christians understand this when they contemplate their relationship to the government. Our elected officials are not the source of their own power; rather, they are representatives who have been entrusted with the authority of the American people as set forth in the United States Constitution. If they violate that trust, they are as much criminals as the guy who robs your local 7-11 store... Consider Article IV, Section 6: The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence... The moment that martial law is declared, the federal government will have stepped outside of its sphere of lawful powers. In fact, in a very real way it will have conducted a revolution, as it will have overthrown the legitimate government of the Constitution by force of arms... the Apostle Paul [argued] that Christians should support the higher powers because government is ordained by God to be a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, [St.]Paul tells us, but for evil, after which he admonishes us... Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. So what then of a government which, instead of punishing evil, actually practices evil itself? [Could the apostle] have been suggesting that Christians should view the evil actions of a lawless power as somehow bearing the approval of God? Can a Christian either condone or submit to evil doings for conscience' sake? Is it possible to do good by sanctioning, submitting to, or participating in evil? As [St.] Paul himself was fond of saying, God forbid!"

To Mr. Hawes' comments I can give a hearty AMEN. Our Lord did not condone evil, but rather rebuked such at every turn, and we are to do so as well. God has given us this land of liberty as a gift and we should do all we can to preserve it. If we choose not to act, then we are in essence abdicating our God-given freedoms to the forces of tyranny. We cannot proclaim liberty throughout all the land if we are not willing to stand up for our rights.

I have heard it said that Romans 13 pronounces an absolute prohibition against resistance, even to a tyrannical government. Adolf Hitler thought so for such was his favorite Bible passage. But while tyrants and dictators love this particular biblical doctrine, they conveniently forget (and hope that you will as well) that everything within it speaks to the positive of what government ought to be. Consider the following verses: For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: (v.3) for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil (v.4). These are hardly words in support of evil and tyranny in government. Nevertheless, I have read the works of even the most well-intentioned folk that should our government become tyrannical, we would still be required under the apostle's teaching to be obedient to it for conscience sake (v.5b). Such would be a personal decision, but one to which I do not subscribe principally because it is unbiblical. For if one acquiesces to tyranny, one is therefore in agreement with it and will suffer God's condemnation. For just as approval-by -participation is sin, so approval-without-action is just as much as a sin (see Romans 1:32).

Last week our country held elections for both federal, state and local offices, and these will affect us for many years to come. Nonetheless, we ought always to keep our hearts and minds turned toward God. We should lean on his everlasting arms. We should, as part of our regular prayer life, lay before him our cares and concerns including those regarding our politics. Do not be afraid to petition God because that is what he expects. Therefore, render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.

Let us pray,

ather, you have given us this land of liberty as a haven from tyranny and wickedness; we humbly beseech thee to grant us a spirit of revival that this people might return unto thee, and that you would hear from heaven and heal our land; for this we ask in the name of him who is the author of all liberty, peace and justice, even Jesus Christ. Amen.

Have a blessed week,


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