September 27 Evening Service @ Stan & Debbie’s Barn: Festivities begin at 5 pm with a wiener roast. Service will follow. Bring your own hot dogs, buns and a dish to pass. Drinks, condiments, chairs, table service and hot dog sticks provided. SEE MAP BELOW and Stan will post signs on Sunday. We will accompany the songs with guitars, banjos, harmonicas. Song sheets will be provided.
An example: The expanse of the farmland of Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. I still remember my professor in a college geography class telling us that there is no area in the world for agriculture that matches the combined area of Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. The size, the climate, the productivity. Nothing like it.
Romans 13:1-7, Titus 3:1-3 and 1 Peter 2:13-17. Nothing like them. No more fertile ground in all of Scripture that matches the clarity and relevance of these texts in speaking to our relationship to government. Nothing comes close.
(Romans 13:1) Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God.
(Titus 3:1) Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good.
(1 Peter 2:13) Place yourselves under the authority of human governments to please the Lord. Obey the emperor [or president]. He holds the highest position of authority.
But even a corrupt government? An immoral government? An unfair government? A pagan government?
Yes. And yes again. And we have examples. Case studies so to speak.
Daniel was faithful to God and country for over 65 years. Sounds good but the thing is that the country he served faithfully for almost seven decades was a cruel, pagan nation that had ruthlessly conquered his homeland and carried him nine hundred miles away as a prisoner of war when he was a teenager.
So how did he do it? Here are two things that Daniel knew that not only got him through but allowed him to prosper. 1) He knew that his God was God Most High who rules the kingdom of men. And, 2) He knew that his God would honor his word.
It did not matter the historical setting, the geographical location, the country, the government, the morals, the economy, the political party or the social structure.
What mattered was the God! Daniel knew this. And Daniel’s God was God Most High, who rules over the kingdom of men.
Daniel: Faithful to God & Country for over 65 Years!
(Disclaimer: The country he was faithful to was a cruel, pagan nation that had conquered his homeland and hauled him 900 miles as a prisoner of war.)
God had great plans for Daniel, and we see that plan unfolding in Daniel 1 as Daniel is brought to Babylon as a prisoner of war.
(Jeremiah 29:11 ESV) For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Not a lucky charm. It seems that we quote that verse like a lucky charm, sometimes to ourselves, sometimes to a brother or sister who is going through a tough patch. And in doing so, we show how alike we are to the ancient Israelites with whom Jeremiah fought tooth and nail over the will of God for their lives.
Not their plan. They couldn’t let go of their plan to flee to Egypt from the invading Chaldeans and embrace God’s plan to surrender to Nebuchadnezzar and be shipped off to Babylon.
Sound familiar? The part about not being able to let go of our plans?
But we prayed about it? They did pray. Ask Jeremiah. They wanted him to pray for God’s will for them. But they didn’t want God’s will, as we will see. No, what they wanted was God to bless their plan to go to Egypt.
Their request sounds so spiritual.
(Jeremiah 42:1–6 ESV) 1Then all the commanders of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest, came near 2and said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Let our plea for mercy come before you, and pray to the Lord your God for us, for all this remnant—because we are left with but a few, as your eyes see us— 3that the Lord your God may show us the way we should go, and the thing that we should do.” 4Jeremiah the prophet said to them, “I have heard you. Behold, I will pray to the Lord your God according to your request, and whatever the Lord answers you I will tell you. I will keep nothing back from you.” 5Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act according to all the word with which the Lord your God sends you to us. 6Whether it is good or bad, we will obey the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the Lord our God.”
Liar, liar, pants on fire. So. How did they respond when they didn’t get the answer they wanted? They said Jeremiah was lying and that God did not say that at all.
(Jeremiah 43:1–2 ESV) 1When Jeremiah finished speaking to all the people all these words of the Lord their God, with which the Lord their God had sent him to them, 2Azariah the son of Hoshaiah and Johanan the son of Kareah and all the insolent men said to Jeremiah, “You are telling a lie. The Lord our God did not send you to say, ‘Do not go to Egypt to live there.’
They could not let go of “God’s got a wonderful plan for my life” and this is it.
But not Daniel. Daniel learned this lesson well and faithfully served God for close to seven decades in a foreign, cruel, pagan culture.
Great plans indeed. God had great plans for Daniel. And as Daniel submitted to God’s plans for his life, God fulfilled his plan, not Daniel’s plan. And Daniel and the people around him reaped the blessing of God’s plan for seven decades.
(2 Chronicles 16:9 ESV)For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.
His intent was to avoid war, and he got just the opposite.
This oft-quoted verse was a rebuke to King Asa and is a cautionary tale to the rest of us. King Asa began well but had pulled back in his commitment to the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. In doing so his faith wavered, his leadership crumbled and his character weakened.
He was not the same man who faced the million-man army from Ethiopia and relied on God for the victory. In chapter sixteen when Baasha threatened him on the border of his country, he saw an opportunity to resolve the conflict politically. He made a treaty, or more accurately bought an allegiance with silver and gold. Because of his lack of faith he did not aim high enough.
Just as we do.
Too often we think “We can do that” instead of seeking God and lifting our eyes a little higher for the plans that he would have for us. We may even succeed in our efforts as Asa did, and, as Asa did, leave ourselves open for God’s rebuke because of our lack of trust.
David. The right man in the right place at the right time.
God had prepared David for this grand moment in history by teaching David to be faithful to him in the obscurity of everyday life. David knew the greatness of God because he was faithful to God in the little things of life.
“David, go feed the sheep.” “Okay.” // “David, stay behind while Samuel chooses one of your brothers to be the next king of Israel.” “Okay.” // “David, stay behind and watch the sheep while your brothers go off to war.” “Okay.” // “David, run this errand.” “Okay.” // “David, run that errand.” “Okay.” // “David, go kill the giant who is defying the armies of the living God.” “Okay.”
David didn’t learn about the greatness and power of God that day in the valley facing the giant. He had learned these things in obscurity, on the grassy hills outside of Bethlehem, watching his father’s sheep. David knew. God is God. That is how he faced the giant.
David had already learned for instance that the battle is the LORD’s, that the victory is the LORD’s, that the only plans that matter, the only plans that stand are the LORD’s.
His greatest weapon was his full and complete trust in the LORD. David knew God is God. And that has not changed. Thirty centuries later … still true. God is God. Our greatest weapon against the darkness, our greatest weapon against the schemes of the enemy is our complete trust in God to be God. That is our reality.
The giant spewed his terrifying threats, and then David spoke (rather matter-of-factly it seems):
Today the LORD will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel (1 Samuel 17:46 NLT)!
And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands (1 Samuel 17:47 KJV).
Today I am asking: Do we know that the battle is the LORD’s?
Here is the information on the OFOP fundraiser to be held on September 19.
I did speak with Ryan Johnson (Co-founder/Executive Director), and he informed me that all the money raised at this fundraiser goes for the homes in Fairdale AND Cameron. The flier only mentions Fairdale but I called and checked again today and the proceeds go into one fund for both homes.