Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Just To Tell Me

As it was Valentine's day yesterday and also my 2nd spiritual birthday, I couldn't help but reflect on the greatest love story ever told: God's unfathomable, unfailing love manifested in Christ Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. As I was listening to Jamie Grace's 14 Love Songs, I felt an overwhelming desire to write one about the One I love and by whose love I am who I am today.
Therefore, 'Just To Tell Me' portrays our search for the perfect love and the fact that, no matter what, we can only ever find it in Jesus - The One who gave Himself up for our sake, just because He loved us.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Should the Church influence politics and the government?

My views have changed since I posted this. Of course I believe God and His Word are important in government and the laws that we make. However I do not believe that a 'Christian state' is possible - 'Christian' is a word that is largely misused, and strikes the church in that state with apathy. The early church thrived under a secular government, they never sought to create a Christian country, however they sought to create a society with such values not by force, but the transforming power of the cross. That is what we should be aiming for.



During a very interesting conversation on the bus with my friend, the issue about the state and the Church working together was raised. As its a very interesting topic and one I feel strongly about, I have decided to share what I believe here...

Should the state be secular? No!
Should the Church influence politics and the government? Definitely! I am not trying to advocate a denominational superiority or bias in the values and laws enforced by the government, however I believe in the greater Church body's absolute influence - values derived from the word of God directly and not mere doctrines preached only by a particular denomination that is contrary to the word and will of God. Values that Christianity is built upon and not what a particular type of Church is built upon or advocates, and certainly not the compromises made by some denominations sadly on some of the key, basic, clear principles God wants us to exercise.
Why?

1. 'In God we trust.' You might wonder what difference this would make! It makes A LOT of difference! 
Lets look at Israel - their battles with Palestine ended victoriously, when their trust was placed fully on God. David, a young lad, beat Goliath, a giant more than double his size, purely by relying on God as his strength and trusting that he will be delivered.
The Six Day War:
When Israel faced opposition from all its neighboring countries and aloofness from the world, it beat the well armed, thousands or millions with its humble insufficient troops and man power in six days - can you believe it? Just six days! As our jaw drops in wonder, and before we give all the credit to Israel, let us remember that this is a miracle. Any rational mind will understand that Israel would've been extinct if it weren't for some divine, supernatural intervention. How did they succeed? Well, while the neighboring countries trusted their heavily armed troops, while the world waited to hear about Israel's swift downfall, Israel hoped and placed its trust in one person, God! They took courage in and exercised Moses' words in Deuteronomy 31:6
'Be strong. Take courage. Don't be intimidated. Don't give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down; He won't leave you.'
How awesome are these words! Every single one of them true! God won Israel's battle miraculously, He was with them. There have been records of Arab troops, thousands, advancing up a hill, towards six (just six) Israelites with minimal supplies of bullets that were running out; the Arab troops fled back, withdrawing and yelling "Ibrahim" out of fear. They report seeing a giant, magnificent, holy figure standing behind these men. My guess is, it was not Abraham, but the almighty God. The One who promised to be with His people when they trust in Him. This is a real incident, actually reported! Thus, a country that trusts in the One True God, will never be put to shame, will be a victor, as long as they pursue the Lord's will and  abide in His ways.

2. A country built on Biblical values and principles pleases and wins the favor of God.
If we take time to analyze the evolution of the law, we can see that the once Bible-based, God centered law has been compromised to please various groups of people and also to give ourselves more freedom to quench the thirst of our sinful, evil desires.
For example:
a) Abortion - Once when life was valued was totally wrong and considered murder. Now, although life begins at conception, we call the baby inside the womb, 'a ball of cells' or a 'developing piece of tissue' - Just to be permissive towards the idea of abortion. Yes, it does make it easier to say 'I'm removing a ball of cells or a piece of tissue' than to say, 'I am murdering a God-given child' or 'I'm killing a baby'. Sometimes, abortion becomes essential, for example to save the life of the mother .etc - however, the fact is, once permitted, without strict conditions, it has become a part of life, not a serious decision that requires a lot of prayer and must be avoided at all costs - Do you see the difference? Do you see the evolution?
b) Homosexuality - The Bible is CLEAR about homosexuality being a sin. A homosexual is on the same level as a liar, thief, blasphemer or a murderer .etc. i.e. a sinner. There are two popular views different denominations take on this issue - 'Its natural, you can't help it, God loves homosexuals, thus you can be one.' or 'Its a sin, really bad, we hate all homosexuals.' Both views are ridiculously polarized, partly Biblical but primarily a twist of words to please a certain group of people and to appeal to the 21st century.
Yes, homosexuality is a sin. A homosexual is as bad as us, not worse, he/she is a sinner and so are we, all of us indulge in different sins but are ultimately, in God's eyes, branded as one - 'A sinner' (that's why liars and homosexuals are spoken about together, both have the same fate!). Once again, we can see the evolution of the law on this topic too, the law was once really strict but now, it is highly liberal, enabling people to indulge in this sin deeper freely, instead of warning them about the eternal consequences of it; it does not understand and dismisses the Bible's core message.
Returning from the digression, why is it important to build a country that is centered on godly values and principles? From the Old Testament, we see that Israel's kings who rejected God and led the country into sin were not only harshly punished by God but also, were responsible for the downfall of the country. However, kings who made God and obedience to Him, the priority of the country, found favor in the eyes of God and were delivered from distress. Remember, all of God's promises to the Israelites and to us, had and have a condition, that we follow His commandments and obey Him. Thus the law needs to support a person's relationship with God and make it easier for them to focus and please God, by doing so they win the favor of God - that is worth it!

3. A praying country succeeds
I was saddened to recently read that a much loved tradition, of saying a Christian prayer before a council meeting, was stopped in a council in Britain due to opposition on equality grounds. Ridiculous! Isn't this depriving Christians of equality? Yes, in deed! What is so unequal about seeking God's guidance and saying a prayer before a meeting, even as a tradition, in a supposedly Christian country?
This would certainly sadden William Wilberforce (1759-1833), a member of the then British Parliament who said that Britain's hope rested "not so much on her navies and armies, nor on the wisdom of her rulers, as on the persuasion that she still contains many who love and obey the gospel of Christ, that their prayers may prevail." My favorite part is "...that their prayers may prevail." I love it as it is so true, once, when Britain honored God and trusted and called on Him through prayer, she was victorious and full of splendor, but as she rejects God, fails to seek His guidance through prayer and watches her communication with her Maker and Keeper deteriorate, she herself slips lower and lower, from the position God intended and wants for her. That is truly something to be sad about!

There we go, this is not all there is, I could go on reasoning my point, which is very valid, however it would result in a lengthier post; I have picked my top three points as to why the Church needs to influence politics. (Let me re-phrase it to avoid confusion: '...as to why God should be the center of politics.')Yes, the present situation does seem bleak but there is hope. We see in the Bible that Israel also turned away from God, we all do! But they had people in authority who feared God and spoke His word to them. They had people like Wilberforce who made Israel understand the root of her success and helped diminish the pride that blinded their eyes from seeing God. Pride and self-righteousness result in godless laws, values and societies. People depend on their intellect and selfish desires and practice hatred towards godly things - once we see a revival, we will be able to see a change and God at work in our countries more, lifting us up and supporting us. He needs to be the foundation our country rests upon.

What can we do now?
We can stand up for Biblical values and principles! We can also pray! Pray for people like Wilberforce to rise up and speak out. Let us pray that God touches and softens the hearts of those around us, so that our country seeks and trusts Him, and thus be able to serve and glorify His holy name. Remember, when God did miracles and delivered Israel, the countries around feared the Lord, the God of Israel, the one true God.