Daily Devotionals

Flags, rights and firecrackers

We celebrated our country this week and rightly so. What exactly did we celebrate? It’s so much more
than fireworks and hot dogs. Shout them out to me: Bill of Rights, Democracy, freedoms won and
earned, a legacy of equality, a history of truth…we celebrate these things and more not just because
they are our rights but because they represent our freedom. But rights come with responsibilities. We
celebrate the right to bear arms, but it comes with the responsibility to defend and protect those
around us. We celebrate freedom of speech, but it comes with the responsibility to speak the truth. We
celebrate freedom of religion, but it comes with the responsibility of worship. We celebrate the right to
vote, but it comes with the responsibility to elect trustworthy leaders. We must not let the idea of our
rights get ahead of our responsible duty.

God is looking for us to glorify Him. If you are passionate about this kingdom here, if you get teary-eyed
when the national anthem is played and when you see the flag waving, I must ask you, do you get as
emotional in worship and in prayer? If you are passionate about defending your inalienable rights here,
are you just as passionate about defending your God-given rights and responsibilities as believers? I
suggest the piece we are lacking is the voice of the prophet.

The prophetic voice is the most respected, authoritative voice in the life of the nation. It is also one of
the most abused. The task of the leaders God establishes is not to simply read and report on the Word.
It is not to prepare scholarly advice or helpful hints as we pass through life. Our task is to speak for God;
to be His voice so that the Church can effectively be His hands and feet. It is not a task that one man can
bear. If he tries, he will be overrun. Many can and will shoot down one prophet. The task of the prophet
is one many in the Body must carry. Sometimes I will be that voice. I labor to that end weekly. But I am
not enough. We must all be seeking the Lord diligently enough that when He speaks through me (and
others) multiple people recognize His voice and agree. And it must be the same in every other area of
ministry and leadership in the Church. Every time another speaks a word of wisdom or truth, we all have
the responsibility of recognizing it as such or decrying it as false. Prophecy is not something we take
lightly. We can’t go around haphazardly tossing out plans of the Lord. His will for us is something that we
will discover only as we submit to the leaders, move under the authority of the Spirit and recognize the
prophetic word.

I’m convinced one of the reasons our country is struggling today is the Church is foundering for lack of
real identifiable prophecy. Nobody really knows what the Lord has to say or wants to do. We are
guessing most of the time; taking Scriptures and applying them with whatever means necessary to
accomplish our will, not God’s. We hear one thing in one Church and something completely different in
another. This is why men like Billy Graham, Warren Wiersbe and Martin Lloyd Jones were so respected
by their generation. They spoke the Word of the Lord without apology or hesitation. They led
courageously and boldly. They spoke like Samuel did to Saul, “Today the Kingdom has been torn out of
your hand!” They acted like Nathan did with David, “You are that man!” They moved through society
like Jeremiah and Daniel did during the exile. Their actions were not primarily patriotic. They celebrated
the works of God in their country and grieved its collapse, but their actions were motivated by a higher
Kingdom. The rights they enjoyed (and ultimately surrendered) were present because a faithful few
chose to carry them responsibly.

I have so much respect for our flag. But my respect for this flag and our nation pale in comparison with
my respect and allegiance to the Christian flag. And just in case that is ambiguous, I have so much more
respect for the Bible and the ideals, rights and freedom it puts forth. As believers we are citizens first of
the imperishable Kingdom of Heaven and second of the kingdom of the United States that most
certainly will pass away. If that is confusing for you, hear the word of the Lord: no man can serve two
masters, He will either hate one and serve the other or love one and despise the other. Every time they
tried to label Jesus as their King, He rejected it. He anticipated another Kingdom not made with human
hands.

This nation is not the end all, be all. I hear people say this is the greatest nation the world has
ever seen and I cringe. A statement like that is very shortsighted. So many great nations have populated
this earth! I’m thankful that we are one, but we have to remember in our patriotism that almost every
inhabitant on earth feels the same way about their own country. People love their roots.
In the end, the believer’s heart is joined to Jesus. We can disagree with each other about any of the
deep-seated issues that are holding our country hostage today. We are linked up on a bigger issue:
Heaven and the fact that everyone who confesses Jesus as Lord and believes in their heart God raised
Him from the dead is going there. If Heaven is your destination, join me in praying for our temporary
home and longing for our real one.

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