Daily Devotional for Monday January 21, 2013
The Inauguration and Race
***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, I have recently read a daily devotional that really has disturbed me as it said it is an insult to God for Christians to ask for forgiveness. Because He died for all our sins (previous and future). So if this is true, how can Christians truly repent?
ANSWER: First, you NEVER read that here. Sadly, in the internet age, there is a plethora of people writing online with ZERO theological training. That is why it is critical to know WHO you are reading. What you read is 100% INCORRECT. In 1 John 1,written to Believers, that we ALL sin. Just because we have confessed our sins, asked forgiveness, repented (turned from our sin), we still need to confess our sins and ask for forgiveness daily...since we ALL sin and fall short of the glory of God. The wonderful thing is we have the assurance from God's Word we will be forgiven.
***THE INAUGURATION OF PRESIDENT OBAMA:
"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." 1 Timothy 2:1-5
In accordance with Scripture, I will be praying each morning for our new President. I will pray that he will turn his heart to God and surrender his life to Jesus Christ and become born-again. I will pray for him and his family's safety and that God will watch over them. I will pray that the Lord will move on his heart and that he will live his life to honor Christ and the Word of God which represents the only Truth there is. I encourage and ask everyone in the Liveprayer family to join me each morning in lifting up President Barack Hussein Obama in prayer AND FOR HIS SALVATION!
As the nation observes Martin Luther King Day, please understand that racism is not something unique to the black/white issues we have here in the United States. Those who live in other countries or who have spent time in other nations around the world, know all too well that racism is not exclusive to the United States and is sadly alive and well in most places today. Dividing people, due to whatever differences there may be, has been around from the very beginning of time and is one of satan's most powerful weapons.
Now, more than ever the Church must rise above these divisive tactics. Unfortunately one of the most glaring examples of racism occurs each Sunday morning at 11 a.m. in churches all across our nation. I applaud the many fine churches that have worked hard to tear down these barriers and are a snapshot of Heaven with people who are black, white, brown, red, and yellow all coming together to praise, worship, and glorify their God and His Son Jesus Christ.
I pray that as you read these words, you will ask God what role you can play in helping to tear down the walls of division. I am so thankful that Liveprayer brings together over 2.4 million people worldwide every day, bound only by the love of Jesus Christ. People of every color, from most every nation, from ages 12 to 96, from every walk of life, rich and poor, and FROM EVERY CHRISTIAN DENOMINATION AND CHURCH GROUP. They are all simply looking for the hope we all need in this life, the hope that can only come from knowing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
I guess I was very blessed growing up. My parents and church taught me at a young age that all men, that is ALL men, are created equal and in the image of God. Going to high school in the early '70s, I was part of the new forced busing initiatives at that time in our country and ended up attending a school that was 90% African-American. I played sports, had a great time in high school and never even thought much about the skin color of the people who were part of my daily life.
After graduation, I went to college at Ohio State University which has a tremendous population of foreign students which made it possible to interact with people from many different cultures and backgrounds. I worked in high school and college in a Chinese restaurant and my best friend was Chinese.
Currently 40% of the Board of Directors of my ministry are African-American. During the first years of my ministry when I was on the road holding evangelistic services all over the country, I preached in many Korean, Spanish, Romanian, African-American churches, as well as those of other ethnic backgrounds.
I have been blessed to have been exposed to many people of different races and cultural backgrounds in my life. That is why I have always been so disgusted when I see the racial divides in this country. You don't have to be much of an historian to realize that the racial tensions in this country are no different, actually pretty tame, compared to the racial tensions in other countries in the world today and throughout time.
The Bible is full of stories of racial tensions. Unfortunately, one of the enemy's strongest weapons is that of division. The ability to divide people by race, speech, skin color, finances, location, or anything else we can think of has been one of Satan's most effective tools of destruction. In our weakness, we fall into this trap so often.
Let me tell you right now, there is only one distinction that is going to matter for eternity. That is whether or not you know Jesus Christ as your personal savior. There are not going to be lines for Japanese, whites, wealthy, those with blue eyes, or for Baptists, Pentecostals, or Catholics. My friend, there are only going to be two lines when this life is over. The line for those who know Jesus Christ and the line for those who have rejected Jesus Christ!!!
My Bible says that God made man in His own image. Not white men in His own image, or black men in His own image, or Asian men in His own image....MAN. We are ALL created equal. GOD IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSON! I want to challenge you today to quit looking at why the person next to you may be different, and start looking at the person next to you as to whether or not they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Their skin color is not important, but the condition of their heart is!!!
I love you and care about you so much. God sent His Son to die for the sins of this world, so that WHOEVER believes in Him may not perish but have everlasting life. Quit worrying about the nationality of your neighbor and worry about his eternal destination. Let me encourage you today to start looking at the people God places in your life in a different way. Don't dwell on how they may be different, but see how God may use you to open their heart to knowing Christ as their Savior.
Racism is a tool that satan used to divide people. My prayer today is that you will open your heart and look at your fellow man as God does....as a human soul made in God's image that has the same problem we all are born with, sin. Let God use you to reach people regardless of the differences there may be, because in the end all men will live for eternity. How they respond to this man called Jesus will determine where that eternity is spent.
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ,