Questions And Comments

OUR CITIZENSHIP: Paul declared: "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. . ." (Phil. 3:20). What did he mean when he declared that "our citizenship is in heaven?" Are Christians to be citizens of two governments or kingdoms? If true, then the question comes, "What about citizenship in one of the kingdoms or governments of this world?" Should Christians be active citizens in Russia, United States, South Africa, Poland, China, etc.? No question that Christians are to "be in subjection to the governing authorities", regardless of the kind of government under which they live. What is the extent of a Christians participation, if any, in a government of this world?

At this point let me make a point: I believe that Christians disobey God , as well as the government, when they engage in what is now called "Civil Disobedience"; when they engage in marches and demonstrations that attempt to block the "civil rights" of others to utilize the services of an abortion clinic, for example. To violate or seek to block the "civil rights" of others is to disobey God, regardless of the fact that you believe the abortion is sinful; that it is even "murder" in your view. The government says that abortion is "legal"; and it does not matter how strongly we feel about it being "murder" and sinful, Christians have no right, in Gods sight or in the sight of the government, to forcefully block others from utilizing a "right" that the government has granted to its citizens. All of these marches, demonstrations, blocking the rights of others, destruction of property, "running over" other people, is NOT where disciples of the lowly Jesus belong. However, that is just one mans view and it is not binding on anyone, obviously.

QUESTIONS ABOUT PRAYING: Is there anything taught in Scripture requiring us to "bow our heads and close our eyes" when we pray? Is there an example of such to be found?

Can you find any instruction or command for someone "to lead us" (perhaps a congregation of saints) in a public prayer? Is there any teaching for such a practice? Or, an example of it?

Prayer seems to be more individual and personal than it is in group prayers where someone attempts "to lead us while we pray." And this forming a circle around a campfire and each one praying his own prayer aloud is very strange.

It seems that prayer is more an individual privilege, a good family practice, but not a "public" affair. Praying over the radio or on a TV program seems to be totally out of place; even something like the prayer of the Pharisee, who prayed aloud to be heard and seen by others, to demonstrate to all how "righteous" he was.

I have misgivings about a prayer in a public eating place. Also, prayers at a football game and in public schools (which are being legally forced out by certain people opposed to God as well as prayer), at a civic club meeting, "to open a meeting of Congress", and especially as one of the so-called required "five acts of public worship" in the church "Worship Services". Where does the idea originate that a public prayer is one of the required "five acts of worship"? This vital and important subject needs some renewed objective study.

No question about it, God's people should be dedicated, praying people. Prayer is not a ritual nor a rite; it is the "right" of a child of God to talk with her/his Father in heaven and "take it to the Lord God in prayer". I know of no passage that indicates that saints have the right to pray to the Lord Jesus. Jesus Himself taught his disciples how to pray: "Pray then, in this way: 'Our Father who art in heaven...'" It is the Father to whom we go when we pray. There is no one who stands between the child of God and her Father in heaven! Frankly, I have never found any teaching in Scripture that indicates that God's children are to pray by "having a little talk with Jesus"! There is a song that I have not heard in years called "Pray All The Time." Weigh well these words: "The world has lost the right of prayer, And saints have failed to pray; What loss sustained beyond repair! How blind of heart are they!" Second stanza: "The Father speaketh in His word -- He talks no other way! And to converse with Him, our Lord, We must take time to pray." Third stanza: "There is no trial, grief or pain, No moment of the day, But that we may in Jesus' name Incline our souls and pray!" Chorus: "Pray in the morning, Pray at the noontime. Pray in the evening, Pray anytime; Pray when youre happy, Pray when in sorrow, Pray when you're tempted, Pray all the time."

Let us use our right to pray, to talk to our Father in Heaven. Lets not misuse or abuse this glorious source of power and help.

A COMMAND THAT IS IGNORED: "For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat" (2 Thess. 3:10). Christians must accept this instruction and obey it. In this country there are thousands and thousands out there who are deadbeats and bums; who will not work to "earn a living by the sweat of the brow", yet they expect and demand that others feed them and otherwise provide for their necessities. The government is the very worst offender in this regard. It has set up policies and practices that cause thousands of able-bodied people to live off of the dole of the government and they dont do anything to earn or merit this "keep".

There are some in this country, and millions in other countries, who deserve and need others to supply them with food, raiment and shelter. They would gladly work for it if they were able and/or if there was work available. We must obey God's instruction: Dont teed or otherwise provide from those who are able but unwilling to work for their provisions.

"NOTHING BETWEEN MY SOUL AND MY SAVIOR" Those words are from an old song I havent heard in years. Perhaps it is no longer heard because it would not be true in todays world, even in the so-called "religious world." There are many things between the soul (person) and the Savior in todays world, even with those who claim to be Christians.

Perhaps the one big thing between most religious people and the Savior is the institutional church, which comes in many brands and "flavors". More time, support, and money is given to the Church = Organization than is given in real service to Jesus Christ. And the Church = Institution and Jesus Christ have no connection whatever. For example, Jesus Christ has absolutely no need for a church = building, costing $5-million or any other amount. Never did He, or any of His apostles, ever indicate that a church = building had any place in His service. It is from the wisdom of men that the necessity for a church = building has come. Generally, most of the church = organizations funds are likely spent for the church = building and its upkeep. It is the place where the "members" of the are to "huddle" on occasions to engage in the Church = Organization rituals and especially to "pay their dues" -- contribute "as prospered" into the coffer of the Church = Corporation. The money collected is controlled and used by the Board of Elders = Directors to pay for the building = church; the salaries of the hired employees -- the Pulpit Minister and other Ministers, secretaries, and other hired professionals. None of this has anything to do with serving the Lord; and the whole system/practice does come between the lowly "members" and the Lord Jesus.

The Rulers/Lords, commonly called "The Eldership," are a classic example of what stands between the laity/members and the Lord Jesus. They manage the corporation and determine what the organization will do, when, and how. The lowly members are to do as they are told; and follow the schedule and ritual laid out for them, with "no questions asked". The pew-people have neither voice nor vote in any activity. Everything is prescribed for them.  You must understand: they have been institutionalized; they are to report in (attend) for the required "therapy sessions" called "Worship Services". There, they go through the rituals and rites, which start on time and end on time. It is all well-regulated and controlled; one hour gets it all done till the next scheduled time.

The Board of Directors, the so-called Eldership, claims to have been granted what amounts to "divine authority" from God to rule and manage this Church = Institution and all the members thereof. They are to be obeyed, which implies that they are empowered to speak for God here earth, somewhat like the Pope of Rome claims that he does as the Head of the Roman Catholic Church. The hired professional Ministers some years ago begin to proclaim this doctrinaire:

"To obey the Elders is the same as obeying Jesus Christ; and to disobey the Elders is the same as disobeying Jesus Christ."

Over a period of time, most of the Elders got to believing this and more and more they began to assert and enforce this "divine authority" belief and now this Board of Directors is the equivalent to the Roman Pontiff in the power and control they exercise over the Church = Institution and the passive, submissive members of the local Church = Organization.

None of this has anything to do with being a Christian or in serving the Lord Jesus. Furthermore, this Church = Institution stands squarely between the Lord Jesus His saints! In obeying the Eldership/Board of Directors, the deceived disciples are obeying men and supporting the institutions and systems of men! Compliance with the Church = Corporation orders and schedule takes precedence over any "service" the people may render to Christ.

As far as religion is concerned, we live in a Church = Institution world. It is the primary concern of the majority of religious people. They somehow think that they are to "reach Jesus Christ" through the Church Institutions of men. They "attend Church" . . . they are "members" of the Church = Institution . . . they financially underwrite and support this Church = Organization . . . they are proud of their Church . . . some invite people to go to their Church . . . some are Church Workers . . . some are employees of the Church = Corporation . . . and on and on we could go, describing what has happened that places the Church = Institution between the disciple and his one and only true Master and Lord.

The Church = Institution is an amazing invention of men that has been palmed off on unsuspecting/unthinking people as a substitute for serving God and following the Lord Jesus Christ. May God have mercy on the unwary Church = Corporation members and supporters.

Yes, definitely there is some THING between millions of people and the ONE God and the ONE Lord they love and think they serving. Oh, dear God, open the eyes and understanding of their hearts that they may see that the Church = Institution is not the place or field of service you have ordained for them. The harvest that needs reaping will not be found at the Church = Organization "Worship Services" - CAH