Friday, November 07, 2008

The real Obama?

Honestly, I am not really political at all. However, the lies and deception that were so much a part of this entire political season have drawn me in. I will pray for our new president, but at this point I am not sure I can trust him. We will see....

From the Associated Press

CHICAGO – Barack Obama is signaling a shift in tactics and temperament as he moves from candidate to president-elect, picking sharp-elbowed Washington insiders for top posts. His choice Thursday for White House chief of staff — Rahm Emanuel, a fiery partisan who doesn't mind breaking glass and hurting feelings — is a significant departure from the soft-spoken, low-key aides that "No-Drama Obama" has surrounded himself with during his campaign.
And transition chief John Podesta, like Emanuel, is a former top aide to Bill Clinton and a tough partisan infighter, though less bombastic than the new chief of staff.

The selections are telling for Obama, who campaigned as a nontraditional, almost "post-partisan" newcomer. People close to him say the selections show that Obama is aware of his weaknesses as well as his strengths and knows what he needs to be successful as he shifts from campaigning to governing.

"No one I know is better at getting things done than Rahm Emanuel," Obama said in a statement announcing the selection."

Hmmm... the gentle leader's first selection for his staff is a pit bull.

I may soon find myself fighting the temptation to say, "I told you so...."

But I won't. I won't have to. We all know that this is how socialism works. Utopia by force. The kingdom at gunpoint. Selfishness is the defining principle in a fallen world. Love is the work of the Spirit in our hearts, not the government forcing us to share our toys whether we want to or not. The ideals of socialism are beautiful. But it will never work until Jesus returns to rule on the earth. Then, I believe we will see the Book of Acts on a grand scale. This is what our new president doesn't seem to understand.

And this acknowledgment of a "shift in tactics and temperment" didn't come from some right wing blog. Its the AP. These are folks who worked very hard to get him elected.

The Lord is King, and that's all that really matters. But, it will be very interesting to watch this whole thing play out.

And Jesus will be working every step of the way to win the hearts of people into His magnificent kingdom.

Ezekial 34

For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. ... I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.

Psalm 46

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"

But Jesus hung out with sinners...

Luke 5

And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" And Jesus answered them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."

I was reading this morning, and came to this passage. It is often abused by the perversions of grace so commonly found in western "Christianity". People love to point out that Jesus hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes. That idea, pulled out of context, is used to justify a lifestyle of worldliness and carnality. We generally try to clean things up a bit, but we don't live all that much differently than "the world". We spend our time and money just like the kingdom of darkness. We watch the same movies and television that glorify sin without even a twinge of conviction. We pursue personal affluence in the name of God's blessing. We party with the best of them. And we ignore the last half of the passage. He hung out with "sinners" in order to show them the truth of His love, and call them to repentance. He was consumed with a purpose, "to seek and save that which was lost." He wasn't just "hangin' with his boys", having a beer and talking about the local football team. He was calling people out of the kingdom of this world and into the kingdom of God.

Let me be clear. There is a legitimate time for rest and relaxation, but we don't step out of the kingdom and back into the world to get "refreshed". What a deception! The gospels seem to indicate that when Jesus needed to re-charge his batteries, He would go off to spend time alone with His Father. How much better off would we be if our tiredness or "burnout" moved us to seek the Lord rather than plopping down in front of the television? We are in a war every moment of every day. Why do we feed ourselves at the table of our enemy when we are weary and hungry? Doesn't make much sense.

Jesus told his disciples, "I have food to eat that you do not know about." We know about it. Sometimes, though, our flesh hungers for the food of this world. What are we going to feed ourselves on? You are what you eat.

A couple of more passages...

James 4

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (If this is true, we seriously need to find out what it means!) Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us"? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

1Peter 1

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

2Peter 1

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Speaking of the heroes of faith, the writer of Hebrews tells us,

Hebrews 11

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

Lord, give us a heart that longs for "a better country". Give us that deep revelation of your amazing love that will enable us to discern the defilement of this present age. Deliver us from the christian religion that promises heaven but leaves us unchanged. Give us a heart that longs for your appearing, and for the fulfillment of the prayer for your kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.

Help, Lord.