Digging in Deeper: Romans 13:1-4

“Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God. So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the one in authority? Do what is good, and you will have its approval. For it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For it is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

If there was ever a passage of Scripture that was misused and misunderstood, it is this one. Especially today. And it’s not hard to see why. Given the state of our political culture, it’s hard to imagine a block of teaching better suited to tick off everybody. And the thing is, who exactly gets riled up about this passage changes from one political administration to another. There are churches who, during the George W. Bush administration, argued that this passage meant Christians absolutely needed to support the war effort in Iraq. Today, those same churches probably aren’t using the same passage to explain why their members need to be more supportive of the various legislative and policy efforts of the Biden administration. There are other churches, though, who have used the same passage in the exact opposite direction. This morning, I don’t want to talk about any of that. Instead, I want to focus our attention on the end of the passage and talk about a group of individuals who tend to be as overlooked as they are underappreciated by our culture. This morning I want to talk about Romans 13 and correctional officers.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 6:9-10

“Even though we are speaking this way, dearly loved friends, in your case we are confident of things that are better and that pertain to salvation. For God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you demonstrated for his name by serving the saints — and by continuing to serve them.”
— ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭6:9-10‬‬

Forgetting is hard. Now, maybe your memory works like mine, and you’re a little skeptical of that statement. After all, I forget things all the time…just ask my wife. I am getting better, though. But that’s not what I mean. It’s hard to forget things that are done to and for you. On the “to” side this can be a challenge since we are better off forgetting some of the things that are done to us. But remembering things done for us can be a great benefit because of the gratitude it develops in our hearts. As much as we struggle with forgetting, God doesn’t forget either. Let’s talk this morning about why that can be a very good thing.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 6:9-10

“Even though we are speaking this way, dearly loved friends, in your case we are confident of things that are better and that pertain to salvation. For God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you demonstrated for his name by serving the saints — and by continuing to serve them.”
— ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭6:9-10‬‬

Forgetting is hard. Now, maybe your memory works like mine, and you’re a little skeptical of that statement. After all, I forget things all the time…just ask my wife. I am getting better, though. But that’s not what I mean. It’s hard to forget things that are done too and for you. On the “to” side this can be a challenge since we are better off forgetting some of the things that are done to us. But remember things done for us can be a great benefit because of the gratitude it develops in our hearts. As much as we struggle with forgetting, God doesn’t forget either. Let’s talk this morning about why that can be a very good thing.

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Digging in Deeper: Zechariah 9:8

“I will encamp at my house as a guard, against those who march back and forth, and no oppressor will march against them again, for now I have seen with my own eyes.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

It’s hard to imagine the mindset of someone who has been persecuted unless you too have known persecution. Facing severe or sustained (or both!) persecution does something to the human mind such that a person in such a situation thinks and sees the world differently than those who do not share a set of similar experiences. Its a kind of club that no one wants to be a part of, but once you are you share a bond that transcends much of what might otherwise divide you. Israel was a people who had known persecution. Lots of it. If you want to understand why passages like this one are in the Scriptures, you’ve got to understand that.

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Morning Musing: Zechariah 5:1-2

“I looked up again and saw a flying scroll. ‘What do you see?’ he asked me. ‘I see a flying scroll,’ I replied, ‘thirty feet long and fifteen feet wide.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There’s an old legal maxim which says that “justice delayed is justice denied.” Martin Luther King, Jr. adapted this in his Civil Rights work and made it “rights delayed are rights denied.” The idea is that there is a point at which delaying something good or right becomes little different from denying it entirely. When it comes to God’s justice, sometimes it feels like this idea applies to Him. Passages like this next vision of Zechariah’s reminds us this is not the case.

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