Barack Obama: Our president

Published 8:40 pm Friday, January 9, 2009

Barack Obama is our President, and I am glad he is. It so happens that I voted for the war hero and experienced senator, but I believe God’s will was done in the election. Why? My church began each morning worship for about three months before the election with a public prayer focus on our nation and the election. My wife and I prayed for God’s will to be done. God is on the throne. God is sovereign. He removes one and exalts another.

I reserve the right to do my own thinking, filtered by the truth of scripture and not controlled by a political party, prejudice, race, half-truths, polls or majority or popular thinking. I choose not to allow myself to be blind to the positive qualities in a person because I discern some negatives with which I strongly disagree. I also choose not to allow myself to be blind to the negative qualities in a person when I see so much that is overwhelmingly positive.

In less than two weeks President-elect Obama will be inaugurated as President of the U.S.A. No new president in our nation’s history has ever faced such a long list of weighty and serious challenges. Some of these are: the worst economic depression in more than 70 years; an increasing and alarming jobless rate; health care out of reach for millions; our own wars relating to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan; Israel’s war with Hamas and all Islamic nations; the task of rebuilding cooperation and trust with our allies; relating to the results of civil wars in African nations; continuing a defense and an offense against the radical Islamic terrorist enemies of our country; relating to China and Russia; the nation’s immigration problems; our nation’s deteriorating infrastructure; and the deterioration of a society with an addiction to all kinds of drugs and sexual immorality. You can easily add to this list of overwhelming challenges.

I have lived long enough to experience the “new beginning” of 13 different new U.S. Presidents. Each one was welcomed with high hopes. But each administration ended with the opposition calling for a new leader “to turn this country around” and “to get this nation moving forward again.”

On Tuesday, Jan. 20, we begin again with hope and desires that this President will be wise, able and successful for the benefit of all the citizens. How can we support and encourage our new President and be true to our nation and to God? I submit five simple and brief suggestions.

First, let us be thankful for positive things about our new President: his brilliant mind; his beautiful family; his Christian profession; his choice of experienced leaders for his cabinet and staff; his calm and thoughtful demeanor; his efforts for unity in diversity; his goal-oriented plans; his self confidence; and his solicitation of differing views. The Bible says, “In every thing give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Second, be serious and consistent about your biblical responsibility to pray for our President. The Bible says “first of all that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone: for kings and all those in authority, that we may that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior” (See 1 Timothy 2:1-3). Add him to your existing prayer list. If you do not have a prayer list, then begin one today and list our President at the top.

Third, remember that the most patriotic support you can give your nation is to live a righteous life. Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.” God promised to spare the wicked area of Sodom and Gomorrah if He could find only 10 righteous persons (Genesis 18:32).

Fourth, use your priceless freedom to worship and to witness as a means to improve your relationship with God and to enlarge the Kingdom of God in our democratic society. “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves with God’s people” (Hebrews 10:25). Jesus said, “You shall be my witnesses in your neighborhood and to your acquaintances and to enlarging circles of opportunity” (Acts 1:8 my paraphrase).

Fifth, understand that it is not the responsibility of the President or the government but of the Church and saved church members to be “the light of the world” and “the salt of the earth.” We dare not blame national nor state leadership for the predicament of our society when God has provided for us freedom for worship, witness and Christian education. Let us believe God for the church’s greatest spiritual awakening as a part of the “change” and “hope.” The church must believe that with God’s help, “Yes, we can and we will!” (See 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Philippians 4:13).

– Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Saturday.