We carry two passports. With one we submit to our government. With the other we submit to the King. Jesus made that clear when religious leaders tried to trap him: “Render to Caesar… and to God.. ”(Mark 12:17). The 2nd has priority: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29), a statement from the disciples to religious authorities. Paul and Peter were good citizens. Paul used his citizenship to his advantage. He carried a Roman passport, gained from birth, that meant protection by the state. Honor was given even to a godless emperor.

A 2nd passport allows Christians  to live without fear. We are not subject to the worries of those who only carry one passport and panic with things like a life-threatening virus. As Jesus said to Pilate, struggling to release him but afraid of the mob, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). 

People with only one passport do not know that our enemy is not the virus. So when Cameron told me he was 80% sure that he had it, I asked if he was afraid. He answered, “I am quite calm.” He could think of far greater fears, like coming against the King to whom he would give account for the way he lived. It isn’t easy for him and Shelby, 70% sure that she also has coronavirus, to think about leaving three children, but they know they are in the hands of a loving Father. 

When the government tells us to stop meeting in groups of five or more, we can do that. Two or three qualifies for church. It’s the body, not the building! The government according to Paul is the appointed protector: “For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:1-7). So if they bring in the National Guard to keep people from looting, we are grateful, not angry.

High-stress times. Trips planned for a year have been cancelled, and people are losing jobs. Decisions are made from the top down that are changing the way we live–every day. What are we to do? What Jesus did under threat of death–we stay calm. This, like 9-11, could change our lives radically. 

The end-times that Jesus and Paul spoke about will be far more stressful. This can get us ready for then. Let the Church rise up in the face of the unknown and let the known control our behavior–the love of a kind and all-powerful Father. When “then” happens, the government will flip out. A pagan world will be totally on board, and a beast will attempt to overtake the Lamb. Then the government will not be our friend.

I am 75, in the high-risk department. I would play it a little more risky, but my children want Karen and me around for a while, with number 15 grandchild due soon and no sign of slowing down. They have quarantined us in our home except for walks. Thank God for face-time! Read the sign on the front door and call us. We are inside praying for you to be strong and full of confidence, asking neighbors to say “yes” to Jesus and God to heal Cameron and Shelby. “Father, let revival come out of this and sweep a billion into the family–to give them a second passport!


It’s all about who is ruling. I just returned from Africa. The nation of Zimbabwe is in the critical care ward–again. It may not survive. Super-inflation happened overnight. Gas lines have been blocks long for weeks. People pay crazy prices for daily needs. Food is scarce.  Blame it on the president. He doesn’t care as long as he can get richer. The story is repeated a hundred times in developing countries. Elections are often rigged. The person who gets into power often doesn’t budge–even when voted out, if the army is behind him. He uses his power to serve his ends, not those of the country.

“Of the people, by the people, for the people.” Not in many places\]\. It is “for the ruler, by the ruler, of the ruler.” Mr. and Mrs. Citizen don’t matter. Their vote doesn’t count, and their concerns are not heard. Next step: riots. People are so mad because they can’t feed their children that they take it to the streets. Precious lives are lost, but the president still presides most of the time, if the army is behind him. If not, it’s up for grabs. A military coup could put the general into power, but is he any better? Chances are his lust for riches repeats the criminal government and the people suffer.

No wonder the prophecy of Isaiah came as such unbelievably good news. Israel had experienced the same mockery of authority. Hezekiah was a good king. He restored the yearly passover. He cared about bringing prosperity to the people. Peace reigned under his rule. But he was a better president than a parent. He named his oldest child Manasseh, and he is remembered for his godless leadership, even sacrificing his own children to the god Moloch in the fire. People remembered the peaceful and righteous reign of King David and hoped for a descendant who would rule in a godly manner, overthrow corruption, and give rather than take.

So the words of the prophet rang with fresh hope: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this” (Isaiah 9:6,7).

The birth of a special child would signal new hope for the nation of Israel. This child would not be like any other child. He would have the wisdom of a wonderful counselor, unlike foolish kings who only looked after their personal affairs. Peace will reside during his reign. He will be famous for it, in fact, called the Prince of Peace. He will have God backing him to the point that he himself will be called Mighty God. And his power will not be abusive. He will truly care for his people, as a father of a family rather than as a tyrant.

Could it be true? Will this government be endless? What would it be like to have peace extended for multiple generations, forever. Could it happen? Would it? The prophet declared how it would come to pass: “The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” The One who presides over the army of heaven will make it happen. “Even so, come Lord Jesus!”



America is in crisis. Never been an election like this one. I’m voting for Donald Trump. Couldn’t imagine myself doing so a year ago. Why now? Because…

I oppose Hillary. I can’t imagine a woman favoring partial birth abortion. I see the damage that President Obama has done. He has destroyed the health care system. He has supported those that America opposes. He has not protected our borders. His leadership has helped to create gender confusion and anti-religious liberty. Expect Hillary to push it further. Trump is reckless. She is sinister, and hard to pin down.

I oppose the people Hillary runs with and like the people Trump is running with. I do not excuse cheap talk or foolish actions. I trust that the good people he has on his team will continue to influence him. I am voting for the values that Trump supports, not the values he sometimes lives. I am also voting for the values of the Republican platform. A church leader said that one needs to vote character, and neither candidate has character. So he is not able with a clear conscience to vote for either. I am voting for the one I believe will protect the values I affirm rather than opposing them. I can do this with a clear conscience.

Had Samson run for office, I doubt if I would have voted for him. His birth and assignment were foretold by an angel. He was called to be a Nazarite, separated to the Lord, but he did not live a separated life. He was a womanizer and a reckless man. He treated his parents as his servants and made ungodly demands of them. Yet God used him to initiate deliverance from the Philistines as a judge in Israel. He even made it into the “Faith Hall of Fame.” Samson lacked the character to rule a backslidden people, yet God appointed and anointed him for the task. I view Trump as a potential rescuer, even though like Samson he has questionable values. What if God is planning to use him?

Lincoln preferred non-professional office-holders to professional politicians. Trump is a businessman who wants to do something about big spending, big debt, big government. I wish he had the big character of Abe, but he is not a professional politician, and I like that example. I strongly oppose government intervention in state and local affairs like the school system. Good teachers are quitting because they can no longer teach.

I did not vote for President Obama, but I was proud that America could put a black man in office. Sadly, he did not understand the problem of blacks. Race relations deteriorated under a black president. I do believe that black lives matter. His consistent support of protesters has inflamed the problem rather than solving it. It is a problem of the family and the father. I know Trump has said damaging things about Blacks and Mexicans. The irony of this is that a vote for Trump will serve the blacks better than a vote for Hillary.

So there you have it. And I am voting because I believe that Christians have a moral responsibility to submit to its government (Romans 13) and to honor its leaders (I Peter 2:17). One of the ways to show submission and honor is to vote for the people that we want to lead us. Trump is sometimes crazy, sometimes shooting from the hip, which is damaging and dangerous.At other times he speaks with great clarity and wisdom. Extraordinary need calls for extraordinary prayer. Let it be, God.



Christians are called to extraordinary love, including those who hate us: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them” (Rom. 12:14). Then Paul says, “Never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God” (19). The next paragraph says that government, not individual Christians, does execute God’s wrath on evildoers (13:4). That would include dangerous Muslims.


While Christians love their enemies, government is instituted to protect us from our enemies. Government is concerned for the proper ordering of its society. That is not the church’s function. It is called to proclaim the gospel. Good government enhances that possibility. We are to pray for government leaders “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life” (I Tim. 2:2).


Government bears the sword against those who threaten such security. “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct but to bad” (Rom. 13:3; I Peter 2:14). Government is responsible for terrorizing terrorists. The government that does not guard its citizens is not fulfilling its God-appointed assignment to hold evil in check. “He who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (Rom. 13:2). Individual Christians must be careful not to call down God’s judgment in a knee-jerk reaction against evil, but government is expected to—by the Judge Himself!


If terrorists surrounded my house, I would pray. But I would also call the police and hope they arrived in time to do their God-honoring duty by protecting its citizens from evil and carrying out God’s wrath on evil people (13:4). Muslim terrorists are servants of the devil. Their book tells them, not once but a multitude of times, to “kill the infidel”, which means all non-Muslims. (I have the Koran on my shelf). Mohammed was a killer. Jesus, prophetically called the Prince of Peace, never killed.


Jesus exposed the strategy of Satan (and of radical Muslims under his authority), “to kill, steal and destroy.” ISIS does this proudly in the name of Allah. They are the most obedient Muslims. If all Muslims obeyed the Koran, they would do what ISIS is doing, and some of them no doubt silently favor ISIS. A precious few are raising strong objection—most are perhaps afraid to. Those who do not favor ISIS are likely most open to the gospel, because they are ashamed that some people are actually doing what the Koran is telling them to do. And some former ISIS killers have come to faith in Jesus!


Government does not preach the gospel—Christians do. So we love Muslims and pray that they do not obey their Koran but instead come to obey the Word of God, which tells God’s people to love enemies.


The only way I would take in Muslim Syrian refugees would be to put them alone in a separated area, where they could not pose a security threat. Government must protect its people and its borders, which are divinely assigned (Acts 17:26). Allowing such refugees to mingle in our society is naïve and criminal. I do not understand why the United States does not declare war on ISIS for its multiple acts of war and do whatever is necessary to eliminate it. ISIS has threatened to do in America what it is brutally doing in the Middle East. Christians would have more favor with Muslims if our government rose up and stopped ISIS cold (like France began to do). That is what government does. Read the Book! (Romans 13:1-7).



Much discouragement exists over the Supreme Court decision. We are experiencing a major shift in our cultural outlook. Our grandchildren will grow up in a different world, worse than ours. Without vigilance, we will lose them.

This will take the Church in two directions, the nominal church caving in to society and the remnant church standing off against the culture, enabling the world to see the church for who it really is. The sorrow that people feel, if not balanced with an aggressive faith, will not serve them. We looked to government in the hope that it would support us. It let us down, and this has led to discouragement and fear.

Some are called to influence government, like a Daniel. He did it without any expectation of return. He addressed Belshazzar boldly and was willing to suffer for it. He had influence with two world empires, unlike any man in history. We do not look to government to get our job done. We are thankful when it cooperates, not surprised when it does not.

I am grateful for those who connect with government. That is not a responsibility that I feel strongly, nor do I see Scripture directing me to it. I am called to submit, honor, and pray. Christians in government need to make sure they are doing this, or their influence will be skewed.

We don’t compare America to Old Testament Israel. They were a theocracy, America is not. Our founding does suggest that government may be our friend, but that is not our hope. Our confidence is in the government of God.

When the church down through the ages is counter-cultural, it is strong. When it is embraced by government, the church weakens. The government imposes itself, and separation of church and state is not respected. The early church was stronger than when it was melted into the Holy Roman Empire and lost its prophetic voice.

This will be the church’s great hour, more counter-cultural than at any time in our history. The world does not know our message, nor does it respect us. What we do in the next decades will cause it to take notice, such as happened in the early church.

Peter and Paul encouraged submission, honor, and prayer toward governing authorities, including payment of taxes. They did not attempt to influence government overtly or covertly. They were ultimately under another government and another king. Where the two clashed, King Jesus took priority. Otherwise, civil disobedience was not an option. The thought of petitioning a pagan government or writing the emperor was never considered. Nor was the idea that a godless emperor would show them preferential treatment. Paul and Peter bore witness to the kingdom of heaven, knowing that a pagan government would not encourage Christian values. They were not like our American government, with at least a form of godliness and including government servants who were Christians. They expected hostility rather than favor. Paul named the government that condemned him to death the servant of God.

Peter called Christians aliens and exiles, not surprised when suffering under unjust leaders, and they did not appeal to government. Paul took advantage of his Roman citizenship and expected the same kind of freedoms afforded other citizens of the state, but he did not have unrealistic hopes. He did not expect to be released from prison when he wrote to Timothy, and he did not call on friends to pray for his release.

Our great hope comes from Isaiah: “The government will be upon his shoulder… Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end.”



“Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25). “He comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with the truth” (Ps. 96:13).


What about government?

Paul and Peter never addressed the evils of the state. They did not expect the government to live like them or to agree with them. Peter anticipated suffering from a hostile culture. He called Christians exiles and aliens, and Paul called us citizens of heaven. We don’t belong to this world, which is why we have trouble.

That we would try to change our government may suggest that we are too much in the world. A better strategy includes doing good deeds (I Peter 2:12, 3:16) and sharing the gospel, which Paul did with Agrippa. A Christian’s primary responsibility toward government is submission (Romans 13, I Peter 2). Paul and Peter suffered at the hands of the Roman government. Still they were surprisingly positive. Christians in America are more negative with a much less oppressive government. A republic brings more rights and responsibilities than a monarchy (England) or dictatorship (Rome), but the scripture still stands, “Honor the emperor.”

Jesus said to Pilate, the governor who would illegally release Him to His death, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight” (John 19:36). Jesus had political activists on His team. He disappointed them when He didn’t make His move against Rome. It wasn’t that they were thinking too big; they were thinking too small. He was not overthrowing Rome; He was overthrowing every government. Our battle includes principalities and powers. Jesus came to die for the sins of the world, not to make Rome more tolerable. That agenda is insufficient for world-changers. “Put not your trust in princes or in the son of man in whom there is no help” (Ps. 146:3). This psalm shows the vanity of any trust less than the Creator, and certainly not government. Our message is subversive, undermining every earthly and demonic power. Making a government more Christian-friendly is not our assignment.


What about counter-culture?

The church is engaged in a conspiracy of love, bringing a message that cannot be received apart from the Holy Spirit. Being counter-cultural means suffering. The reason we don’t understand I Peter is that we have not suffered for our faith like Christians in other countries. Suffering causes the gospel to explode with power. We never were a Christian culture in America, but we had the underpinnings. Those have gradually been stripped away, and persecution is now possible. If the people of God respond with love as Jesus and the apostles mandated, the world will better understand the gospel of grace.

Christians and non-Christians are worlds apart. They are dead in their sins, while Christians are dead to sin. To speak to the world in a moralizing way as if they should conduct themselves in a spiritually acceptable manner subverts our message. The world thinks it is, “Be good and go to church.” It is centered in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are not trying to make people better. We are called to make them new. We are not surprised when pagans live like pagans. They have no other way until encountered by the living God.

Our message is counter-cultural. It speaks about an alien government, an absent King, and an other-worldly kingdom. The early church expected persecution, not agreement, and they were not surprised. And Peter told us not to be surprised.

What does “post-Christian” mean? That we’re the bad guy rather than the good guy, that morals are up for grabs, that the Christian underpinnings are no longer visible, that we are at a disadvantage rather than an advantage…

…which actually puts us at the advantage. It’s not a fair fight; darkness never wins. The church in America has offered society Christianity Lite. Now they may see what we are about. Think apostolic Christianity, when the world looked on with fear: “None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high honor. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord…” (Acts 5:13,14). The greater the distance, the greater the respect. They have watched with low-level tolerance. That is changing!

What about judgment?

If we call it to fall on a post-Christian America, are we asking it also for a sleeping church living far below the New Testament standard? Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27, 28). This will prove more effective than judging. Kindness reveals our identity: “You will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish” (35).

We’ve been quick to judge, slow to love. Peter reminds us that judgment begins in the household of faith (I Peter 4:17). Do we have a double standard? I was sad as a pastor that so many young people dishonored the marriage covenant by having sex before marriage. We should not expect pagans to live like Christians, but Christians should. Are we surprised that non-Christians of the same sex are sleeping together or that a largely non-Christian court favored humanism over Christianity?

Don’t worry. Our King wins! Isaiah said, “The government will be upon his shoulders.” And John powerfully wrote, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever!”


They haven’t kidnapped one of my daughters yet. If they did, what would I do?

Cry out to God, ask others to join me, pray for their persecutors, bless them (Luke 6:28), and hope to God she is released. So I (and you) need to be interceding for the persecuted around the world, remembering those who are ill-treated (Heb. 13:3).

Jesus said, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust” (Matt. 6:44,45). ISIS murderers get water from heaven on their gardens and sun on their patios. Call it the kindness and mercy of God.

What about those with loved ones who are beheaded? Should they forgive them? Yes, but don’t be naïve about it. Hezekiah was foolishly vulnerable with the envoys from Babylon (2 Kings 20), not an historical friend of Israel, and his descendants were disciplined. Our national leaders remain naïve about the Muslim threat.

Muslims were rejoicing when the Twin Towers went down, and some of them lived in the States. Do we still treat them as allies? Do we say their religion is peaceful? Read their book. I’ve got it on my shelf. It encourages killing infidels—more than once. And if you’re not worshiping Allah, you’re the infidel.

Of course, we know peaceful Muslims who are scandalized by ISIS. Wish they would speak out. Their quietness leaves more room for the rowdies.

Jesus was brutalized and murdered by people who had it wrong. His first order of business from the cross was to forgive them. It deeply impacted a centurion. Luke tells us later than “a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7).   Quite a revival! It was likely not unrelated to the way Jesus and His disciples accepted suffering and death, which I am sure my daughters would.

At the same time, Jesus boldly stood up to the religious leaders when it was time to talk. He called them names that were not close to endearing, like hypocrites, blind guides, and white-washed sepulchers. They were the walking dead. He chided them for feeding off the people rather than feeding them. Truth was told.

The silence of peaceful Muslims is puzzling, if not telling. Other cultures would call out their own who cross the lines. Their fear of their brothers tells us much about their faith, which I discovered from personal conversation with them is not faith but fate. “Insh Allah”, the will of Allah, overrules everything, like predestination taken to an insane conclusion, leaving no room for faith under the ironclad will of a distant deity. Should we trust the peaceful ones? Not if they remain silent. They vote with closed lips.

At the government level, the strategy is quite different from a gospel response. I don’t bear the sword, but government does. “Would you have no fear of him who is in authority…If you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer” (Rom. 13:3,4). God is forgiving, but He is also angry. Government leaders are terrorists of a sort: “For rulers are not a terror to good conduct but to bad” (3). Go ahead, government; you have permission from God to terrorize them.

We are required to protect our own, using every means conceivable to guard our borders and our people overseas, and we make no senseless overtures with the enemy, especially when he is walking our streets.