Drippings from the Honeycomb
More to be desired are [the rules of the Lord] than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. (Psalm 19:10)
Election 2019, pt. I
In an army mess there are two subjects that you are to avoid: politics and religion. When I served as a military chaplain I certainly couldn’t avoid the latter! As contemporary Christians, while we ought to be respectful of the personal political decisions of fellow believers, politics is not a realm to which the Bible is silent, nor is it one we shouldn’t come openly to Scripture as a Church. In this mini-series for the Canadian election of 2019 I hope, not to instruct you how to vote, but to reflect on Biblical principles that might inform your civic awareness. In case you’re still not at ease as to my being neutral and therefore able to objectively write on the topic I’ll declare that I’m a-political, my kingdom is not of this world, it is spiritual and its benevolent King is Lord Jesus.
Many seek the face of a ruler, but justice comes from the LORD. (Prov 29:29)
Many Christians in the West still look to politics to solve or sort out society. They think politics can “save us.” They place a lot of hope in the political process or their party (is it any wonder they are never satisfied! C.f. Ps 121). Promises are broken, politicking trumps principles and at the end of the day little has changed. Indeed, the failure of mainstream politics in the West to deliver is why many groups on the extreme left and right are flourishing.
In ancient days a monarch, usually a king, was both the law maker and the judge. Many people, from the nobles to the commoner, would seek his face, or audience, in the hopes that their financial gift or earnest plea might bring them into favour with the ruler so that what they hoped for would be secured. Just like today, in ancient days many sought a ruler to find salvation.
The beauty of this verse is that is reminds us that salvation (“justice”), the thing we look for from politicians, can only be found in the Lord. Whether it be a moral, economic, social or justice matter, if we put out ultimate hope in politics we will be a hopeless person. Whilst we should seek to influence the government as Christians for good, to put our ultimate hope there is misguided. As Canada has entered into the era of “post-Christianity” many Christians have come to wake up and smell the coffee and notice that we are not in Kansas anymore. No political party represents a Christian worldview any longer. People no longer believe the very preface of our Charter- “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.” It is any wonder then that conservatism, liberalism, socialism, etc, do not wholly stand for truth, but only aspects of the values of Biblical Christianity. Conservatives seek to be sound fiscal stewards but no longer stand for moral issues nor care for the poor. Liberals may give invest in often misguided social projects but have godless ideological moral principles and are not prudent financially. The NDP are very much like the liberals, just more radical on some points. The Greens want to care for Creation (though they don’t use those words), which is good (Gen 2:15), but are like the Liberals and NDP on many other matters.
A recognition that all of the “isms” of politics won’t save us, prepares us to do at least two things that can make real change: prayer and evangelism. Seeking justice for our country from the Lord through prayer can be used by Him to make real change in society (1 Chr 7:14). Sharing the Gospel and transforming hearts, rather than a top down political approach, will be a bottom up grassroots transformation that will attune people with the Lord’s will, one heart at a time.
William Wilberforce came to this conclusion. He was frustrated as to why the British wouldn’t end slavery when everyone was “Christian.” It was because most were only nominally Christian. As an evangelical Anglican he became more and more involved in Christian affairs, even publishing the best-selling book Real Christianity (1797), which was such a challenge to nominal Christianity that the Lord saw fit to use it in the 18th Century revival, which saw the hearts of the masses changed for Christ. Then, and only then, was Wilberforce able to lead the British to end slavery in 1833. It took time and it took place from the bottom up. If we want to see real transformation in Canadian society it needs Jesus.
Want to really make a difference this election: prayer and share the Gospel.
The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,
 You may enthusiastically support a mainstream political party, believing it holds the best solution to bettering the nation, but I hope this article may temper your enthusiasm; you may choose to vote for the lesser of the “evils”; you may vote on a single issue or for a local candidate and not a national party; or you may choose to register a vote of discontent (my default in post-Christian Canada). Because we live in a democracy, and because of passages such as Ro 13, 1 Ti 2:2, 1 Pe 2:13–14, I believe it is a Christians' civic duty to the Lord to vote and so I don’t see not voting as an option.
 That said, if I had to state my political leanings I would describe myself as a “red Tory”; someone who is morally and judicially conservative, fiscally sound and socially responsible. Such was William Wilberforce, but he had the luxury to sit as an independent and so vote with his conscience.
The Big Appointment
Even in our day and age when people don’t keep their commitments as much as they used to (or ought to); when we have a big appointment—a really big appointment—all other appointments become second place to that big appointment. Time centres around it.
As a Christian my entire week’s structure revolves around the worship of our Triune God each Lord’s Day (Sunday). Each week is spent in expectation of this big appointment as I prepare to worship my Lord, and each new week is grounded in the rest it affords. Failing ill health or a grave emergency, I never miss this appointment with my God and my brothers and sisters in Christ; vacation, family, work, nothing. It is my number one weekly priority which governs all others.
Hebrews 10:25 says as much,
Do not neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
The Lord’s Day is our big appointment, the Divinely appointed day for rest and worship and family. It is a passion of mine to encourage others to order their lives accordingly and receives its blessings.
Church tradition tells of John, the apostle, being bed ridden in his old age (he live until his late 80s or early 90s) and yet his desire to worship His Lord and be with his people was such that he requested to be brought to worship on a stretcher! I’ve know many dear saints who’ve done likewise, whose great desire it was to make this big appointment.
Our statement of faith expresses this sentiment: We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day, and that, in a special sense, it is divinely appointed day for worship and spiritual exercise.
The evangelical Anglican and abolitionist, William Wilberforce, summarized what my own experience has testified to be true: I can truly declare that to me the Sabbath has been invaluable.
The Lord’s Day is my big appointment, is it yours?
The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,
"The LORD will provide" (Gen 22), that is the meaning of Jehovah Jireh. Scripture is full of instances that testify that this is true, the experience of many Christians likewise confirms this.
This past Lord's Day we touched on poverty, looking at what Jesus had to say to the poor in Christ in the Sermon on the Plain. For many poor brothers and sisters, and even wealthy brothers and sisters in their times of need, it is a great consolation that He gives us our daily bread, not only spiritually but also physically. He gives us what is needful (Prov 30:8b).
It is true that in God's providence there are times when He wills our time is ended and so he doesn't "protect us," or even when the poor in Christ might starve to death, all the while He keeps our spirits; yet countless promises of God point to the fact that the norm is that He provides for us in our times of want, often in His grace when we don't directly deserve it, but especially when we have faith and wait on Him as provider.
Psalm 34 is a wonderful chapter of the Bible. A number of verses within it touch on this theme. Consider just two:
Sometimes the provision we need will be of an immaterial kind, sometimes it will be a real physical need, either way, fear the LORD you His saints, for those who fear Him have no lack! He is Jehovah Jireh, our God who provides.
The Lord's Sweetest Blessings,
The Right Spirit
Always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15b)
I have a lot of “favourite” Bible verses. As far as a life motto for the Christian life, and also for evangelism (sharing the faith) and apologetics (defending the faith), this is probably chief among them. This verse speaks to the Gospel (“the reason for the hope that is in you”) but also to how Christians ought to live their lives in light of this glorious salvation, if indeed we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good (1 Pet 2:3). We are called to approach those outside of the Church (non-Christians) and those within the Church (our brothers and sisters) in a spirit of “gentleness and respect.” Not heavy handedly nor confrontationally, but “in gentleness and respect.”
I remember I was once standing at the four corners of my town, having just exited the bank machine on a dark and rainy evening. Suddenly, out of the shadows a hand fell on my shoulder and said, “Have you been saved!” I replied, “Yes!” but I was really thinking I needed saving from his creepy form of evangelism! When we share our faith winsomely and in the spirit of 1 Peter 3:15b the Lord sees fit to bless our testimony.
This verse not only applies to sharing our faith but even sharing what we believe to be true or think to be the best course of action amongst Christians. Certainly we need to stand up for what we believe to be the true and right, but even with brothers and sisters (or those who claim this) we need to have this right spirit. Too often Christians can be combative, defensive or divisive toward one another. While we need to care for truth, we need to engage in all matters in this right spirit. Why? The fruit of faith will always testify as to whether our faith is genuine (or healthy). Beyond Galatians 5 there are many tests of faith or lists of assurance—fruits of the Spirit. James 3:17 is one such place and there we read of the Christian being “peaceable…open to reason” (you might also translate that “open to reasoning”). Such an openness to display “gentleness and respect” in all of our engagements is the hallmark of a maturing Christian, whether dealing with those within or without of the Church.
Is your life displaying this right spirit that comes from having the hope of Christ in your life as a result of trusting in the Gospel?
The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,
 Literally: give a defence.
 Or the old KJV said, with meekness and fear.
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