Godliness – When it Counts

The people who were involved in the Christmas story are interesting figures. I’m not talking about Santa and his elves or Frosty the Snowman. I’m talking about the real characters of Christmas, Joseph, Mary, the Shepherds, the Wise men.

Take Joseph for instances. After the Christmas story he’s only mentioned briefly in the gospels when Jesus was twelve years of age (Luke 2:41f) and again at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry (Luke 4:22). We actually know very little about Joseph or his life. But we do learn one essential thing about Joseph and that is he was a just man (Matthew 1:19). Joseph was a man who was more concerned with doing the godly thing than he was with doing the popular thing (think of the stigma he faced if he married an adulteress!). Do you think for a minute that the people in Nazareth ever believed Mary’s story? The stigma was always there. The covert glances and the quiet whispers never stopped. But Joseph was more concerned with what God thought than with what people thought. That’s what it means to be a just man (or woman).

The challenge for us today is to imitate Joseph; to stand up for righteousness; to be godly when it counts. I received the following story in an email from one of the ladies in our church. It’s a true story (you can verify it on www.snopes.com). In fact this statement was read into the Congressional Record by U. S. Representative Zach Wamp of Tennessee on September 20, 2000. It was originally read over the public address system at a football game at Roane County High School in Kingston, Tennessee by the school principal, Jody McLeod.

It has always been the custom at Roane County High School football games, to say a prayer and play the National Anthem, to honor God and Country. Due to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, I am told that saying a prayer is a violation of Federal Case Law. As I understand the law at this time, I can use this public facility to approve of sexual perversion and call it an alternate life style, and if someone is offended, that’s OK. 

I can use it to condone sexual promiscuity, by dispensing condoms and calling it, safe sex. If someone is offended, that’s OK. 

I can even use this public facility to present the merits of killing an unborn 
baby as a viable means of birth control. If someone is offended, no problem.

I can designate a school day as Earth Day and involve students in activities to worship religiously and praise the goddess Mother Earth and call it ecology.

I can use literature, videos and presentations in the classroom that depicts 
people with strong, traditional Christian convictions as simple-minded and ignorant and call it enlightenment.

However, if anyone uses this facility to honor GOD and to ask HIM to bless 
this event with safety and good sportsmanship, then Federal Case Law is violated. This appears to be inconsistent at best, and at worst, diabolical. 

Apparently, we are to be tolerant of everything and anyone, except GOD and HIS Commandments. Nevertheless, as a school principal, I frequently ask staff and students to abide by rules with which they do not necessarily agree. For me to do otherwise would be inconsistent at best, and at worst, hypocritical. I suffer from that affliction enough unintentionally. I certainly do not need to add an intentional transgression. 

For this reason, I shall render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and refrain from praying at this time. However, if you feel inspired to honor, praise and thank GOD and ask HIM, in the name of JESUS, to bless this event, please feel free to do so. As far as I know, that’s not against the law—-yet

One by one, the people in the stands bowed their heads, held hands with one another and began to pray. They prayed in the stands. They prayed in the team huddles. They prayed at the concession stand and they prayed in the Announcer’s Box! The only place they didn’t pray was in the Supreme Court of the United States of America – the Seat of Justice in the one nation, under GOD.

You may never have the opportunity to stand for righteousness in such a public arena, but you can stand for righteousness in the places God has put you. The world needs to see Christians who care about godliness and what God thinks. People need to see Christians who, like Joseph, are in the sight of God, just and righteous. 

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34).Stay in the Word

Pastor Steve

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