Stop Sleeping!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016, 3:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 13 (ESV).

Subject to Authority (vv. 1-7)

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore, one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

God does not always put godly people in positions of authority over us. Some of Israel’s kings were very wicked, and gave no regard for God whatsoever. They did whatever was evil in the sight of the Lord. Yet, God still put them in positions as kings over the people, and the people were still to obey them, with one exception. They did not have to obey them if what they required was contrary to the commands of God (of scripture). Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were prime examples of men of God who stood up to kings, and who refused to obey them when they were commanding that God’s servants disobey their Lord God. And, we also have Peter and John who stood up to the rulers and religious leaders of the people, and they told them that they must obey God rather than man.

In other words, we are to follow the laws of the land unless those laws tell us we must deny our Lord, reject the gospel of our salvation, and stop speaking in Jesus’ name, etc. If they tell us we must compromise our faith and convictions to obey them, then the answer is “No!” If they ask us to accept other religions or all walks of life as viable and acceptable to God, then the answer is “No.” If they abuse their authority, and they try to get us to do things out of the realm of their authority, then I believe the answer is also “No.” They have to follow the laws, too. And, we are free to report them, too, i.e. we should expose the wicked deeds of darkness.

For, not everyone in authority approves of what is good and rejects what is bad (evil). Not everyone in authority holds no terror for those who do good, too, otherwise we would not have the persecution of Christians we have today by those in positions of rule and authority over nations. Yet, I don’t believe we should physically resist them. Jesus didn’t. The apostles didn’t.

Love Each Other (vv. 8-10)

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

What is love? (From yesterday’s devotion) So, what is genuine love? To be genuine means to be honest, sincere, unpretentious and not hypocritical. And, what is love? In the original Greek language, the word was agape, which means: “properly, love which centers in moral preference… In the NT, 26 (agápē) typically refers to divine love (= what God prefers)” – http://biblehub.com/greek/26.htm. So, genuine love is honest and not hypocritical, and it is moral, as opposed to immoral, and it prefers what God prefers. As well, it abhors (hates, detests) evil, and it clings (or holds fast) to what is good (moral, righteous, and decent).

So, we need to love one another with this kind of love. If we do, we won’t do any harm to our neighbor, because our love will be such that it prefers what God prefers, which is what is moral, righteous, and decent, etc.

For example, we won’t look at pornography and then lie about it to our spouses. We also won’t have private, intimate conversations with people of the opposite sex or of same-sex attraction, in person, on social media, via text messaging, or in phone conversations or in private chats. Our spouses should have complete access to all of our communications. There is far too much privacy which goes on between married couples, and as a result we have many people addicted to pornography or involved in extra-marital affairs. As married people, we should be completely open, honest and accountable with each other, and not have secrets from each other, which lead to secret sin, which then destroys marriages and families.

One of the biggest culprits in all of this has been the invention of laptop computers, I Pads (tablets) and Smart Phones, for people end up with private internet access 24/7 with no accountability for what they are viewing. And, people are handing these devices to children, too! 😦

Wake up! (vv. 11-14)

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

You know, there isn’t time to play around. This world of ours is really crazy right now. Time is running out. The beast (of Revelation) is rising, and it is conquering nations, peoples and Christians, including inside the USA. The gospel of our salvation is diluted in the vast majority of institutional churches, at least here in America, and many religious and political leaders are now pushing for a one-world government and one-world religion. They want us, as followers of Christ, to reject the teachings of Christ and of his NT apostles so that we can join hands, hearts and voices with the people of this world regardless of religion or chosen lifestyle. So, don’t be fooled!

Lies and deception abound. The real “fake news” is what we might call the “real news.” We can’t trust most anything we hear these days. And, what is being called “fake news” just may be news coming from those who are actually telling the truth, although I believe there is fake news, too, which is being perpetrated by the same people who are the ones calling out the “fake news.” In other words, the real fake news people, i.e. Main Stream Media are making an issue now of “fake news” largely because they want to suppress truth. It is all a game they play in order to deceive naïve minds.

So, be informed. Don’t believe everything you see or hear, even if it looks or sounds real. Test everything against the Word and character of God. Pray, and ask the Lord for spiritual discernment in these matters so that you are not caught in the devil’s trap. And, stop sinning! Stop lying! Stop cheating, stealing, gossiping, committing adultery and the like, and obey God! Make no provision (no private internet access, for example) for the flesh, if that is your area of weakness, so that you don’t gratify your sinful cravings.

You don’t know if you have tomorrow. And, don’t count on some prayer you prayed at an altar when you were a kid. The Bible says if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk in darkness, we are liars! It says if we walk according to our flesh, to fulfill what our flesh desires, we will die in our sins. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and we are walking according to the Spirit, in Christ’s righteousness, then we will live with Christ forever. Jesus said that if we want to come after him we must deny self, take up our cross daily and follow him. He said if we hold on to our lives (to live them how we want, and in sinful lifestyles), we will lose them for eternity. But, he said, if we lose our lives (die daily to sin and self), we will gain eternal life (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14; 1 Jn. 1:6).

Have Thine Own Way, Lord / Adelaide A. Pollard, 1862-1934
George C. Stebbins, 1846-1945 / Tune: ADELAIDE, Meter: 54.54 D

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

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