Reasons Why I Am Praising God Today

Dr. Chas RowlandI woke up this morning from a dream. It was a very odd dream. I was sitting in my study, reading my Bible. I can't remember all of the verses that I was reading in my dream, but, many of them I do remember. Some I have posted on Facebook today. One verse in particular I remember because it bothered me in my dream when I read it. It bothered me so much that I have not been able to shake it all morning. The verses are, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." When do we rejoice? ALWAYS! When do we pray? ALWAYS! When do we give thanks? ALWAYS!

These verses are not vague. They require no interpretive skill. There are no hermeneutical challenges. It says what it says and it means what it means. So, now I am confronted with obeying this and obeying it with gladness.

As opened my Bible to read about what was in my dream, I meditated on Ephesians 5:15-21, "Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." What?! Paul says the days are evil and our response to that is to give thanks to God, always and for everything?! I guess we really are supposed to rejoice, pray and thank God, ALWAYS.

Let me be clear: I voted for Romney. I wanted Romney to win. I prayed fervently that Romney would win. With that being said, I am now faced with an Obama victory. I believe this will have devastating consequences for the nation that I love. I am more convinced than ever that the days are evil. But, I am thanking God and rejoicing in his providence. The question is "HOW?!" So, I thought that I would list 5 reasons that I am praising and thanking God this morning.

1. I was very nervous about Romney being President because of the damage it would subtly do to the gospel. My worst fears were realized when Billy Graham compromised the gospel (very publicly) and changed his position on Mormonism being a cult. He did this simply because Romney was running for President. I am convinced that had Romney been elected, it would have allowed the Mormon false gospel (which Galatians specifically calls an anathema) to gain a spiritual foothold in the spiritual fabric of our nation. I am thankful that God values the gospel more than our economy and that he would protect us from further spiritual erosion that would inevitably occur from a Romney administration. We have maintained the opportunity to have a clear distinction between orthodoxy and heterodoxy. This can only aid our evangelism.

2. This result reminds me that our nation's hope is not in politics or laws, but in Christ. Our success as a nation depends upon Him regardless of political forces. If my hope is in the outcome of an election to "right the ship", my hope is severely misplaced.

3. This result is bad for religious freedom. And for that I am thankful. WHAT?! The church has historically ALWAYS excelled during times of persecution and government oppression. Tertullian, the early church father, was accurate when he said, "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church." Tertullian observed what God has always done; namely, use a persecuted church to testify of the power and truth of the gospel. Living in a society surrounded by open hostility will not be easy or pleasant, but when Paul thought about the prospect of being killed for his faith, he said, in Philippians 2:17-18, "Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me."

4. I am reminded that we are one day closer to the return of our King! Jesus is coming and he is coming quickly! This was the great hope of the church and it should be our hope as well. We may typically claim that we are looking forward to his return, but if everything is going good, we usually are pretty content to hang around here longer. Have you ever said, "Yes I want Jesus to come, just not yet. There are things I still want to see or do. I have kids/grand kids to raise. I want to see them graduate and marry and have kids..." An evil world makes us long for and find hope in his glorious appearing that we may cry out in desperation, "Even so, come Lord Jesus!"

5. Finally, (and please do not read into what I am saying here and imply that I am saying something that I am not saying) I am reminded that I love and care about my country more than God does. My patriotism is often idolatry that needs to be repented of. Jesus is not an American. Jesus has a kingdom and it is not America. He loves Americans, he does not love America. I am thankful that God loves me and my fellow citizens more than "the nation" because that means: just because God ordains a nation's destruction, it does not mean he has ordained my destruction. My salvation is secure. My King is on his throne. My citizenship is in heaven.

So today, I am rejoicing. I am praying for my President. I am praying for my fellow Americans. I am praying for the church. But, more than all the things, I am praying, "Even so, COME LORD JESUS!"