So Is the Will of God

I Peter 2:11-17 “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evil-doers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.”

Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

II Corinthians 5:20 “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

I Timothy 2:1-2 “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men. For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”

In the last two weeks, we began our journey into 2023. Also, our nation began its journey under the legislative leadership of the 118th Congress. Thus, it is a perfect week to reflect upon our relation to the Lord, to one another, and to our leaders. I Peter 2 gives a wonderful dose of advice in doing so.

Christians have a critical role in our society and must soberly live up to our responsibilities. We are to live with honesty and righteousness. And regardless of the circumstances, we are to honor all men and pray for them, love one another, and fear God. In relation to our leaders, we are to submit to them, pray for them, and honor them.

Doing so requires a Godly spirit and a yielded heart, especially when we are belittled for our beliefs, criticized for our convictions, and concerned about our country’s course. Yet, doing so silences those who are ignorant. It also gives the world and our leaders an opportunity to see our good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven. After all, we are directed to be ambassadors for Christ.

Prayer is an essential component to the fulfillment of the elements listed above. That includes individual prayer for our country and our leaders, and collective prayer for the same. A few weeks ago, I challenged American Christians to use the model of Supreme Prayer to replicate and multiply ( I’m now asking for a favor that naturally flows from that challenge. Please let me know how you are implementing that challenge in your life, and if able send pictures of you doing so ( I will use these to further encourage others as we collectively strive for the substantial impact amplified by I Peter 2 and the other verses listed above.


Thenceforward and Forever Free

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

John 6:37 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

Ephesians 1:13 “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise”

On January 1, 1863, a powerful, revolutionary, and righteous proclamation went into effect in the United States of America, signed by President Abraham Lincoln. The Emancipation Proclamation, in part, stated the following:

“That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.”

In that instant, 3.5 million human beings who had been made in God’s image, though they were being inhumanely enslaved, were declared permanently and forever free and reconciled to a transforming society. While the majority of those slaves could not be immediately freed because of their position behind enemy Confederate lines, the proclamation provided a promise of future freedom. And once they found freedom, that freedom would be recognized and maintained by the full power of the federal government.

God provides an even more powerful, revolutionary and righteous proclamation in His Word and through His Son. At the moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour, we are permanently and forever free of our sin and reconciled to the Lord. The promise of future freedom happens immediately at the moment of spiritual transformation. And, once we find freedom, that freedom is recognized and maintained by the full power of an amazing Lord.


And now, 160 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Americans must never cease striving together to form a more perfect union. While we do, we must remain stunningly mindful and deeply appreciative of the Bible’s proclamation of an emancipation available to all.

Blind Dates

Acts 8:26-31 “And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candance queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.”

Acts 9:10-17 “And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth. And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightiest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.”

As American men were being sent to all corners of the world to serve their country in the midst of the global conflict of World War II, Chaplain Stewart Robinson wrote the following (from “Strength for Service”):

“There is more reason in our unanticipated movements and more preparation than we realize. Philip was sent on a ‘blind date.’ But the all-seeing eye of God was looking into the desert, and the man to meet Philip came. He was reading God’s word about the Saviour. The ground was prepared … So God uses us in many places.”

Maybe your 2022 didn’t turn out like you expected. Maybe God’s plans didn’t align with your plans, and you found yourself in an unexpected and seemingly undesirable desert. While there, maybe you were able to make an impact that was obvious at the time, or maybe you are still wondering about the purpose and meaning of it all as the calendar flips to 2023.

In the following chapter in Acts, Ananias is sent on a mission that also made no sense to him at the time. Just to make sure he was hearing the Lord’s calling properly, he asked again. But, like Philip, once he had his orders, he quickly and directly obeyed. And as with the eunuch, God had perfectly prepared Saul for the engagement.

We must remind ourselves that there is more reason in our unanticipated movements and more preparation than we realize. The all-seeing eye of God is always looking into the desert and perfectly preparing the way. The same happened in 2022 and the same will happen in 2023.

PLEASE PRAY FOR FAITHFUL OBEDIENCE IN ALL THE SITUATIONS THE LORD SENDS US IN THE NEW YEAR. We must be faithful for the blind-dates that God has prepared for us.

Happy Christmas

John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

Matthew 2:11 “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”

Luke 2:10-14 “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Please consider the following words from Queen Elizabeth II that closed out her final Christmas message last year:

“I am sure someone somewhere today will remark that Christmas is a time for children. It’s an engaging truth, but only half the story. Perhaps it’s truer to say that Christmas can speak to the child within us all. Adults, when weighed down with worries, sometimes fail to see the joy in simple things, where children do not.

And for me and my family, even with one familiar laugh missing this year, there will be joy in Christmas, as we have the chance to reminisce, and see anew the wonder of the festive season through the eyes of our young children, of whom we were delighted to welcome four more this year.

They teach us all a lesson, just as the Christmas story does, that in the birth of a child there is a new dawn with endless potential.

It is this simplicity of the Christmas story that makes it so universally appealing: simple happenings that formed the starting point of the life of Jesus — a man whose teachings have been handed down from generation to generation, and have been the bedrock of my faith. His birth marked a new beginning. As the carol says, ‘The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.’

I wish you all a very happy Christmas.”

This Christmas, may your hearts be renewed with a joy of the simple things. May we have the chance to reminisce and see anew the wonder of this festive season through the eyes of a child. May we consider the new dawn and endless potential that comes through the birth of our Lord and Saviour.

His birth offers us all a new beginning. And as we consider the miraculous happenings in that little town of Bethlehem so many years ago, may we be reminded that the hopes and fears of all the years were met in Him that night.


God With A Face

Luke 2:8-14 “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

Pastor Frank Fagerburg recounted the following story in a devotion he wrote to soldiers fighting in the midst of World War II (from “Strength for Service”):

“A mother put her little daughter to bed, and turned out the light. The child anxiously asked, ‘But Mother, am I to be left alone, and in the dark too?’ ‘Yes, my dear,’ answered the mother, ‘but you know you have God with you all the time.’ The little girl replied, ‘Yes, I know that God is here, but I want someone who has a face.’”

Today, in the midst of the substantial challenges we face in our society and in our lives, we are looking for a hero who has a face. Humanity has been grasping throughout history for a personified answer to their problems. The fearful shepherds in Luke 2 were looking for the same. And, the angel brought them good tidings of great joy that was meant for them and for all people. It was Christ the Lord; God with a face!

Twentieth century Christian author John Phillips wrote the following: “The great mystery of the manger is that God was able to translate deity into humanity without discarding the deity or distorting the humanity.”

Thus, Christ was sent to us as God with a face – deity translated into humanity without discarding the former nor distorting the latter. In doing so, the Lord has shown us His good will, full of grace and truth.

And like the shepherds, the angels, and the heavenly hosts, we must recognize, share and celebrate the good news meant to bring all of humanity great joy. Like that little girl, we needed someone with a face – God delivered on Christmas Day!


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