Reflections on the Word: ‘We (are) the people’ or ‘We the people’
November 13, 2016
So where do we go from here? Do we "make America great again?" Do we change our neighborhood and our livelihood by electing a president, or changing ourselves?
There's an old saying, "Prayer changes things." Some things do need to change. And, I believe prayer will change things. "Things" like me? I love the old song, "Let there be peace on earth (God), and let it begin with me …" If we want things to be better in our world, let's start with our neighborhood and start by becoming better neighbors. The president doesn't change our country unless the people change.
The Apostle Paul said we are to be "new creations." A great question to ask myself – ask yourself is, "What's new?" In that Scripture, Paul not only calls us to becoming new and better but even to be "ambassadors" with the "ministry of reconciliation." I like that! "Ambassador Billy – prime minister of reconciliation" – until I look in the mirror. Then I have to pray and ask for help. I need to pray the familiar song, "Change my heart, Oh God, make it ever true … May I be like You."
The concept of praying for our leaders did not begin with the United States' National Day of Prayer. The Bible contains many commands to pray for our leaders—national and local, secular and religious. Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2, "Pray for kings and all those in authority. Live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness." Those in authority include government officials, pastors, church elders, school boards, school principals, employers, law enforcement and the like. The prophet, Jeremiah wrote, "Pray for your city, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." (Jer. 29:7) Those words are amazing, especially when we study the context in which they were delivered. They were given to the Jewish people who were in exile, to another, terrible land. The Romans were reminded by Paul to be subject to governing authorities, for there is no authority except that with God has established." (Rom. 13:1)
Whether or not our leaders are Christians, we should pray that God will guide them as they guide us. The sticker I received for voting said, "We The People." I mused as I went to my car thinking, "We're the people." I love the great Jimmy Owens song based on 2Chron. 7:14, "If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves, seek my face, and turn from their wrong ways, then will I hear from heaven and heal their land." Why not look up some of these songs on the net and listen to them – especially in your quiet time?
I like the words Hillary Clinton used in her concession speech, "Our campaign was never about one person or even one election. It was about the country we love and about building an America that's hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted." Here's a special call for believers. Every day we vote with our life choices. My wife and I took our voter stickers and placed them on our 2 coffee pots to remind us daily. When we want to say "God bless America," let's choose to remember Jesus' teaching us to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Mt. 6:10) Now, that's what I call an election.
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Pastor Bill Baltz is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers' Association.