Tag Archives: president

You Get What You Ask For

Be careful what you pray for. You might just get it. 

When we pray, we are encouraged to pray for what we want and to be willing to follow the will of God whatever the outcome. But what if the will of God isn’t what He gives us? What if He gives us what we wanted even if that means he has to work a different outcome?

God had a plan for Israel, but they wanted a king, so he gave them one. It wasn’t exactly pleasant for the Israelites, but they got what they wanted, and eventually God worked out His will for them anyway. 

We just voted in a new president. Many churches prayed for the outcome of his election. Many Christians prayed specifically for Trump to win, but is that what the church needed? 

The American church is weak. The American church largely functions like a 40 year old bible nerd that still lives in his mom’s basement. 

Where is evangelism? Where are wonderful works of the Holy Spirit? Where are those strong in the faith who are able to speak truth without fear of their fellow man? Where are the “greater things than these” that Jesus promised we’d do?

Yes, there are preachers and some Christians who function this way, but this is not the norm. 

If the American church functions largely to put on Sunday morning bible classes and worship assemblies, then she has missed the call of the New Testament. 

The American church is full of people who claim to be Christians but don’t even know what Christ said about how to live. They look just like the world and cower at the concept of being blunt enough to tell others about the dangers of sin and the need for a savior. They don’t want to be seen as religious “nuts” and work hard to be cool according to the world’s standards. 

When has the church been strong? The church was strong under the persecution of the Jews, Pagans, and Romans in the first three centuries. The church is still strong in places where persecution is more than just a hateful glance or derogatory comment. The church is strong where there are threats of prison and death. 

Why? Because if you’re still going to choose the way of Christ in such circumstances, you’re going to have to be truly filled with faith and the Holy Spirit. There are no partial Christians in places like that. There are no “Sunday morning only” Christians in that culture. 

Perhaps what the American church needs is some persecution. Maybe she needs to lose some of her rights in this nation. Maybe her members need to be threatened in order to separate the wheat from the chaff. God has done it before. One day, He will do it again. 

I pray for President-Elect Trump and his staff. I pray for our nation. I pray especially for the church – that she begins to pray prayers more like Acts 4 – prayers of boldness and not protection; prayers of courage in the Spirit of Christ.

It’s well past time for Christians in this nation to come back to the Christ they claim with their lips but deny with their lifestyle. It’s time for the church to be a bastion of love in a world gone mad with fear and hatred. It’s time for the church to stop being “of convenience” and start being actually “of Christ”. 

What are you going to do to help the church be what Jesus calls her to be? Change starts with me, and it starts with you. 

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Flowery Words and Censored Hearts

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If I were to write a letter to the president there is a certain amount of pomp and elegance I would provide to the letter out of respect for the office and the intelligence that is supposed to be represented there. I would also speak to someone like the president or the governor with a certain elegance and dignity. I don’t want them thinking I’m some ignorant fool, nor do I want to offend them with my relaxed style of speaking.

When we write for school there is a certain amount of style that we are required to include in our poetry and prose so that people can follow along with what we’ve written. Even now, as I write this, there are rules I follow in order to make my writing readable.

However, I don’t expect my children to talk to me like that. I want respect from them. I like them to use the “magic words” of “please” and “thank you”. I want them to acknowledge my questions or directions with “yes sir” or “no sir”. But when they want to talk to me – just talk – I want to hear their heart. I don’t care if they speak with eloquence. I don’t want formalities. I just want to know what is on their mind. I want to hear them with love accepting them no matter how they speak about what is on their heart. I even want to hear when they are angry with me. I want to know why. And I love when they call me “daddy”.

Often I hear people talk about prayer and they say “I just don’t know how to pray. What if I don’t use the right words?”

There are no right words.
You don’t have to start with “Dear God” as if you were writing a letter to Him. He has never left you, and He knows when you are speaking to Him. You don’t have to close it out with “in Jesus name I pray, amen”. Praying “in Jesus name” is an attitude of the heart and not a colloquial phrase required for proper prayer.

You don’t have to use formal addresses like “Thee” and “Thou”. You don’t have to pray all the Christian catch-phrases you hear each Sunday. The only right words are the ones that come from your heart.

There is no required posture.
Often when we pray someone will invite people to bow their heads. This is done in reverence to the Almighty, and there is nothing wrong with that, but it is not the only posture of prayer. Sometimes I pray while looking around at the creation I’m standing in. I feel connected to God when I’m in awe of his mountains and trees and streams and wildlife. Sometimes I kneel when I pray. I’ve even prayed laying face down on the floor in desperation. Sometimes I look around the room and pray for those I see around me.

The only requirement is your heart.
There is a story in the bible that Jesus tells of a Pharisee (read: super religious guy) and a tax collector (read: scum of the earth – seriously, they thought of them like that back in Jesus’ day too). The Pharisee stood in the synagogue and prayed loudly thanking God for his self-perceived righteousness. He boasted in prayer as he used the fitting words to do his duty of prayer. Then the tax collector began to speak and didn’t look up to heaven or speak loudly. He beat his breast and simply said “have mercy on me, a sinner”. Jesus said that the tax collector went away justified that day for he poured out his heart to the Almighty, and the Almighty heard.

That’s what God wants from you. He wants to hear what’s on your heart. There are no right or wrong words. Just talk to Him. It might feel awkward at first, but keep at it. When you realize that God’s presence is always with you, then you will find prayer to be a refreshing connection with your Creator who loves you more than all of creation. You are his child. Talk to him like he is your daddy.


Kingdom Living at Tax and Election Time

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Well, tax day has come and gone once again. Many of you got returns back for the taxes you have been paying all year. Others of you are now trying to figure out how you’re going to pay your taxes. In either case there are a couple of thoughts I’d like to share regarding how we think about our government and taxes and the like.

Praying for the Tax Man

People have always been disgruntled with the idea of having to pay taxes. Even back in the days of Jesus the tax man was considered an unrighteous sinner who was a traitor to the people. It was a pretty bold move when Jesus picked Matthew, a tax collector, as one of his disciples. The story of Zacchaeus flies in the face of popular culture as Jesus chooses to spend time with a tax collector who apparently had been swindling his people.

So paying taxes and dealing with the tax man were topics that were constantly on the mind of the people in the days of Jesus much as they are on our minds today.

One day, Jesus was asked whether or not the people should pay their taxes. Jesus was teaching about a new kingdom not of this world, and the people were looking for a loophole (or a way to trap Jesus in his words). They asked him if it was right to pay taxes to Caesar. Jesus told them that whatever belongs to Caesar needs to be given to Caesar, but what belongs to God needs to be given to God. Unfortunately for them, Jesus was saying that they did indeed need to pay their taxes (and we do too).

Even though Jesus knew of another kingdom that he was establishing by his presence on the earth, he still had a different perspective about the earthly kingdoms than the people had.

Here in America, we elect the officials that govern us. From the mayor and city council all the way to the president, the people who are in office are chosen by the voters. Hence we feel a certain a right about how good or bad they are doing. We have strong opinions about our elected officials.

When we are disgruntled with them it is not uncommon for us to make that a prominent topic of conversation amongst us. Here at tax time and election time there is much discussion over how right or wrong (mostly wrong) we think the government is handling our monies and our lives.

Jesus never dishonored the governing authorities of the day. Even when he was being mistreated directly by them with his trial he spoke no words against them.

Romans 13 reminds us that the elected officials and even those who are hired aren’t put there by us in fact, but by God himself for our good. Sometimes it is hard to believe that fact, but we must then do as it says in 1 Timothy 2 – we must pray for them.

Are you praying for those who are in authority over you? Are you praying for those who may be elected this year? As we fill our minds with prayers for others we often find our own perspective changes.

This World is Not My Home

Jesus wasn’t killed because he was a good man who healed the sick and raised the dead. He was killed because of the religious and political implications of his message. He bucked the typical religious ideals of the day and also created an ideal of a new kingdom that his followers were to be citizens of.

This royally aggravated those who were addicted to their power and manipulation.

We are called to that same kingdom today. We are called to live in this world but not of this world. we need to pay our taxes and respect our authorities, but if our focus is only there then we miss out on the beauty and fruitfulness of being citizens of the kingdom of God.

The kingdom of God is the reign of God in our lives. Some people are still waiting for that kingdom to come at the end of days, but Jesus clearly said that the kingdom was going to begin in his generation and that it would be a kingdom of people, not a kingdom of places. There would be no castle and throne or land to measure out its borders. This kingdom would consist of God being on the throne in our lives. And we, as citizens, would then live accordingly.

As kingdom citizens we are called to act completely different from the world around us. Just this last week I overheard a person using some pretty colorful profanity in a conversation he was having. Then, when I got a chance to meet him he made sure to let me know he was a member of a particular Christian denomination. This is not how the kingdom operates.

Sure, we can have opinions of how things are going. We are called to be involved and help make this world a better place, but we are to have a different way of doing things. We are to detest evil wherever it rears it ugly head – even if it may be in our lives.

The kingdom of God is a way of life in which God reigns in our hearts and the law of the land is love – love God and love others. If we truly live this kingdom life we can change the world beginning with our own lives.

It’s tax season and election season, and in response to all that is going on around us we have an obligation to pay our taxes, respect those in authority over us, and pray for them. We also have an obligation as citizens of a kingdom not of this world to live differently as we love and interact with others in this world around us.

May you be different. May the change begin in your life. May the world be different because of you.

If you’d like to know more about this kingdom of God and how to become a citizen, please feel free to call me at 245-1611 or email me at jddobbs@verizon.net. God bless you and God bless America.


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