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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Grace Reigns

Grace Reigns

Before the elections, I heard it, you heard it, we all heard it. Christians all over the U.S. received the emails threatening that Obama is the Anti-Christ. He is evil. Wicked. He will lead our country down a dark and dreary path to a fiery hell. I don't know if these emails were started by Christians or not, but they were certainly promulgated by them. Some of them were so far-fetched it was embarrassing to me that someone calling themselves "Christian" could send it. Do you know, they are still going around?

I chose not to vote for Obama as president, not because of the email threats, but because of his voting record in several issues. I didn't prefer the other candidate—I settled for the other candidate--because his voting record on the issues that most concerned me was more reflective of my conscience.

But now Obama is the new President Elect. He will begin serving the U. S. in a few days. So, what are Christians to do? How are we supposed to react to and think about this new leader of our country? Pray. The Bible is explicit—we are to pray for those in authority over us that we may lead quiet and tranquil lives (1 Timothy 2:2) . That is God's word, not mine, but I certainly agree with and submit to it. We need to pray for the President on down to our local government officials.

I suggest we pray for grace to reign over our leaders and over us as a nation. Paul said, in Romans 5:21, that grace reigns in righteousness. I know some would claim that sloppy grace is the reason we have the mess we have now, but I would argue that point. Grace is not favor as some believe favor to be. We have been told for so many years that grace means "favor". In today's language, favor means one getting preferential treatment. But that is not what the biblical meaning of grace is. The biblical meaning of grace is hundreds of years old as was the definiton of "favor". What grace means is influence to the point of changing the life of the individual grace reigns in. Particularly, God's influence in our heart so our lives are changed, and that change is evident to people who knew us before. That is the biblical grace mentioned more than one hundred times in the Bible.

So, instead of bad-mouthing our leaders, I suggest—no, I plead—we pray for them. I suggest we pray for grace to reign over them and our nation. I will be praying that way. I pray grace affects the hearts of each of our leaders from President Obama, his family and cabinet, to all our Congress and Senate to our local governments from Governor to mayor to police and fire departments. I pray that God come in and influence each heart so that the changes He wants to make in our nation be effected and reflected to the world what God can and will do when people pray. I pray for God to give our leaders His wisdom to lead our nation out of this mess and into the goodness of God for each family. I pray that through this intervention the world will witness the goodness of God and in seeing that will come to repentance and draw near to Him.

We can send out destructive and useless hate mail—condemning a man who has been elected to lead us. Or we can pray for this man and choose to honor him as the one God has allowed to be in this place at this time. That is what Daniel did. Daniel chose to honor God and in honoring God, he honored the King ruling over him. Look what God did for Daniel. Look what God did for the kings Daniel served.

Governments change, but God remains the same yesterday, today and forever. If we will pray—and if we will honor those God has put in the position they are in (John 19:11) because God said to, then we can again enjoy quiet and tranquil lives. Wouldn't that be nice? Wouldn't it be good to not be in a war? Wouldn't it be nice not to see so much destruction in our nation as we do now?

Pray, Church, pray! Pray for grace to reign.