Tag Archive | Peter

Law and Order

Chalk outline - personBack a few years ago, a very popular television show saw the end of a successful 20-year run. Law & Order was a drama, often based on actual police and judicial cases, in which a crime was committed, followed by courtroom drama in the prosecution of the accused. The show was so popular, it produced an offshoot series — Law & Order: SVU.

So… if Law & Order was so popular on TV, why is the rule of law and order not popular in today’s culture?

We live in a society based on laws. When people enter into public office, in most cases, they put their hand on a Bible and swear to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States. As Americans, our allegiance is not to a person… it is to a document that embodies the laws of the land. Article 2, Section 1, Clause 8 of the Constitution reads…

“Before he [President] enters the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—’I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.'”

First_amendment_engraving,_Washington_DCIn a nation built on the rule of law, it is unacceptable for those in authority to allow those laws to go unheeded, ignored, and disobeyed. Yet, in recent years, we have seen our laws be ignored time and again, both by criminals on the street, and powerful individuals in the halls of government. Whether it is private citizens breaking the law, or a President of the United States ignoring the law, both will lead to anarchy if left unchecked.

In the midst of so much societal unrest in our nation right now, we hear much talk about the First Amendment. Again, referring back to the Constitution, the First Amendment states…

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

As a Christian, I believe in freedom of religion. As an American, I believe in freedom of speech. I do believe The First Amendment  guarantees the right to protest peacefully.

However…

When protests turn into the lawless chaos that we have seen over the past few years, resulting in looting, damage and loss of property, personal injury, and even death, this is not the definition of peaceful assembly. And when those in authority set the wrong example and precedent by blatantly ignoring laws, it creates an atmosphere of “anything goes” and a vacuum of absolution from personal responsibility. How can one hope to maintain a semblance of law and order when the laws you are tasked with upholding are berated and ignored… by the one tasked with upholding them.

Paul addressed the subject of authority in Romans 13 when he wrote…

 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.

Paul understood that submission to authority is not a burden, but a blessing, because by honoring authority, we honor the One who put that authority into place. There is blessing in obedience (1 Samuel 15:22).

Peter wrote that by honoring and submitting to authority, we silence “the ignorance of foolish men.”

Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. ~ 1 Peter 2:13-17

Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” Sounds like solid advice for a country that suffers from a crisis of leadership.

Keep calmIf we, the Church, can be a model of humility, integrity, and consistency, we can point people, not just to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, but be a shining example of the peace and blessing that come through submissive obedience. Often in the past, the church has abdicated its God-given responsibilities, taking us further down the road to governmental dependence. It is time for the body of Christ to once again be salt and light, and make a difference in a society that is flying blind. It is time for us to be an example of what a return to Godliness, law, and order looks like on a national scale.

I’m in.

How about you?

 

Pastor Ron

The Big #Fail.

It’s the joke you told and no one laughed.

It’s the job you got fired from.

It’s the “great idea” that singed your eyebrows, sent your best friend to the hospital, or turned your dog green for 6 months.

It’s the “Hey… watch THIS!” moment that nearly landed you a Darwin Award.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Tacoma Narrows Bridge

One has only to Google the word fail to find a host of cringe-worthy, heart-wrenching, and oftentimes humorous results that come from that particular search. Fails come in all shapes and sizes… from the personal unfortunate moment captured by your little sister and posted to Instagram, to the architectural mis-design that garnered the attention of the world (the Tacoma Narrows Bridge), to the truly tragic that resulted in untimely death or serious injury. But while losing a job, or failing as an inventor for the 500th time can take the proverbial wind out of your sails, just because you fail doesn’t make you a failure.

When faced with multiple failures trying to create the incandescent light bulb, Thomas Edison made this observation…

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

American founding father, statesman, and inventor Benjamin Franklin said…

Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.

Billionaire and real-estate tycoon Donald Trump expressed it this way…

Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates stated…

It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.

All of these men experienced disappointment. These men all experienced some sort of failure. However, experiencing failure and being a failure are two entirely different things.

Failing does not make you a failure. After Peter famously told Jesus that, even if everyone else turned away from Him, he would not, but then proceeded to deny Jesus three times in His hour of need, most would have written Peter off as an abject failure and loser.

Jesus didn’t.

Upon His resurrection, Peter found redemption in Jesus’ words, “Peter, do you love Me?” No grovelling. No penance. No period of probation or trying to make it up to the Savior. Jesus understood Peter’s heart, understood His weakness, and showed Peter in no uncertain terms that even the most horrific failure is not always final. He gave Peter hope, and by giving Peter that hope at that time, Peter went on to become “The Rock” that Jesus depended on in the infancy of the early church.

So what is your fail? What is your moment from which you need to pick yourself up by your bootstraps, dust off, and re-affix your eyes on the Savior? It’s time to stop seeing yourself through the eyes of your embarrassment, and start seeing yourself through the eyes of the One Who looks at you, and sees nothing but potential.

Today, I leave you with a thought from President Theodore Roosevelt…

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

Screenshot taken from 16MM Kodachrome motion picture film by Barney Elliott.. Via Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TacomaNarrowsBridgeCollapse_in_color.jpg#/media/File:TacomaNarrowsBridgeCollapse_in_color.jpg

“Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse in color” by Barney Elliott; The Camera Shop