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YOU HAVE TO STAND UP

Why is it, whenever I have a song stuck in my head, it is always something weird? This week it’s a VeggieTales song. Now, if you know anything at all about VeggieTales you know that they are almost always weird—but I mean that in the nicest way! The tunes are catchy and diverse in styles. The lyrics are silly and so very clever at the same time that kids and grown-ups alike can appreciate them and sing along. I mean, who could ever forget “God is Bigger than the Boogie Man” or “Oh, Where Is My Hairbrush?”; “I Love My Lips” or “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything”? If you’ve ever watched a VeggieTales video, movie or TV show, you know how entertaining and colorful these characters are—and how they always have a lesson to teach about a Biblical principle or moral dilemma. The mission statement of Big Idea, the company that produces VeggieTales, in fact, is: “To enhance the spiritual and moral fabric of society through creative media.” VeggieTales has progressively made its mark and gained in popularity, not only in church circles, but in the secular world, as well.
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Robbie has quite a few of the VeggieTales music DVDs and we’ve been listening to them this week. One of the songs in particular has been running through my mind the last few days, and I’ve caught myself countless times humming, singing and whistling it to the point of distraction! It’s called “Stand Up.” It’s a nice song, but it’s not really one of my favorites, so I was puzzled for a while as to why I had fixated on it so. The chorus goes:
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Oh, you have to stand! (Stand up, stand up)
For what you believe in, believe in, believe in!
God (He’s the one to back you up)
Will stand with you!
He’ll stand with you!
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I finally realized why that song had stuck, and that reason is what I am writing about this week. I really struggled with it, because I don’t want to write on this topic. I don’t like controversy and I hate being stuck in confrontations, especially among the people that I love. Past experience tells me that nothing stirs more heated debate than talking politics, and I prefer peace and avoiding the anger and hurt feelings that some political conversations bring about when two sides of a hot topic are being argued.
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Don’t get me wrong. I am a woman of strong convictions. I do not hesitate to stand for my convictions and principles when it comes to spiritual matters and I would never back down from an opportunity to speak out for the Lord or share the truth of God’s Word, no matter what the consequences might be. As believers, it is our responsibility and duty to do so. Our faith, our love for Him and our desire to be obedient to Him ought to make this easy for us and a natural thing to do.
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I have equally strong convictions when it comes to political matters, but I have not been quite so vocal in some of those areas. Oh, there are some issues, such as abortion and homosexuality, that I believe are so morally wrong and such an abomination to God and against His Word, that as a Christian I cannot sit back and be silent. But when it comes to getting embroiled in political debates, becoming involved in political activism or even voicing an opinion on the family website, I’ve kind of taken a back seat. Oh, I do my duty and vote, and I’ve made a vow that I would never knowingly vote for someone who is pro-abortion, no matter where they stood on any other issue. Bob and I talk politics all the time, or I’ll join in when it is with others who I know are of like-mind, but when it comes to really being involved in politics, well I’m afraid I’ve been a part of the “silent majority.”
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The events of the last few weeks and months, though, have convinced me that it is time for the “silent majority,” including myself, to be silent no more. It is time to take a stand, to voice our concerns and to move to protect our nation from the efforts that are being made from the inside to strip away our freedoms, corrupt our democracy and take us down a path to socialism, huge government, financial bankruptcy, and even atheism.
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It has upset me greatly that those ordinary people like ourselves who have made the effort already to speak out against the liberal policies that are being forced down our throats have been called “the angry mob,” and “Nazis,” and “racists,” and “unpatriotic, ignorant, nuts.” Whatever happened to free speech, when it was the right of every American to voice his concerns or opinions—or is that a right that is only reserved for liberals? Goodness knows, they have certainly exercised that right over the years time and time again and though we may not have liked what they said, we have defended their right to free speech. Now, though, when the silent majority has finally found its voice, we are being told to sit down and shut up. Hundreds are being locked out of town hall meetings, as just happened a few days ago in our own congressman’s district. The administration has asked that the names of those who are speaking “fishy” about the President’s health plan to be turned in to the White House. What??? Since when has the White House been turned into KGB headquarters?
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Efforts are being made to write into law measures that would strip us of our religious freedoms; that would try to stifle the more conservative media; that would tear down our rights to life itself. The unborn, the old, the disabled are of no benefit to society, in fact are a drain on society, we are told, so why keep them around? It is frightening to see how quickly we are racing toward something we only imagined could happen in works of fiction or in totalitarian states. It almost seems that our country is deliberately and methodically being destroyed from the inside out, and that if something doesn’t change, if true patriots do not take a stand and fight back, we will not even recognize the United States of America in a few years.
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That simple little kids’ song reminded me this week that we have to stand up for what we believe in! I was annoyed that I couldn’t get it out of my head. I don’t want to be stirred from my comfort zone, to face confrontations and take a public stand. I cannot back down from what I know is right, though. God has graciously put us in a country that was founded on Biblical principles and given us the freedoms to hear and share His Word, to live freely as believers and to spread the Gospel throughout the world. It is our responsibility to protect those freedoms as much as we are able so that His work might not be hindered. We, as Christians, are the light and salt in a dark, sinful world. (Matthew 5:13-16) We must be a testimony to the world for Him. We have the same duty as believing Americans to stand for truth and justice and freedom if we want to continue to worship and live freely as we have for the last 233 years.
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The Bible tells us that all governments and rulers are ordained and established by God for His purposes, whether they follow Him or not. Often nations and their rulers have been used by Him to bring judgment, or to move events according to His will. Colossians 1:16, 17 tells us, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”
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The Bible also tells us in Romans 13:1-7, “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.” (NLT) We are to obey the law and those in authority over us and pay our taxes for, according to this passage, when we do not we are rebelling against God.
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How then do we reconcile this submission to authority and the call to stand up for our freedoms when our government seems to be slip-sliding away out of the control of the people and into a future that does not bode well for our nation as the land of the free and the home of the brave? The first thing to remember is that we are to obey the law. We have every right to speak out, to gather together peacefully, to do everything in our power try to prevent laws from being made that we believe are harmful to our nation, as long as we do not break the law while we are doing so. Romans 12:18, 19 says, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” We should make our voices heard, but peacefully and respectfully.
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There may come a time when man’s law conflicts with God’s law, as in Daniel 3 when three young men named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were forced to choose which they would obey. Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of himself of gold and decreed that all fall down and worship it. To disobey meant death in a fiery furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to break God’s commandment and would not worship the idol. You know the rest of the story—they were thrown into the furnace, but the Lord walked with them and they were brought forth alive and unhurt. The Lord honored their obedience to Him and glory was given to God throughout the land.
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Acts 5 gives the account of Peter and the other apostles who preached Jesus in the temple, after being warned by the high priest and Sadducees not to. They were thrown into prison, but when the angel of the Lord freed them from prison, they went right back to proclaiming the Gospel in the temple. Once more they were brought before the authorities. “And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men…and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (vs 27-29, 40-42)
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These incidents reveal that there are times we may disregard man’s law when it is in direct disobedience to God’s clear commandments. We are not to worship anyone or anything but God. We are commanded to preach the gospel throughout the world. But the Bible is very clear that we are to exercise civil obedience in most areas, and I would argue that, taking it a step further, as Christians we should maintain a good testimony and be peaceable and respectful in our speech and actions.
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This is certainly not the administration I would have chosen, but we know from God’s Word it is the one He chose for our nation at this time. Whether it is to be the beginning of judgment upon America for the way she has strayed from her early foundations, or the beginning perhaps of a great revival as we hit bottom and have nowhere else to look for help but to Him, remains to be seen. God has His purposes in allowing this and they are right. I do believe, though, that He expects us to stand for righteousness and to speak out. Many times the prophets in the Old Testament stood before the king and spoke the truth and against their rulers sinful actions regardless of the consequences to themselves.
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It is time for us to stand up and be counted, to speak out, to be silent no more if we value this nation with which we have been blessed. My first order of business this week is to write both my senators and the congressman from my district and make my voice heard. If we continue to be the silent majority, we are surely going to lose much of what we hold dear. I owe it to my children and grandchildren to at least make some effort to preserve the freedoms that we have. If our military men and women are willing to put their lives on the line for those freedoms, the very least I can do is pick up a pen or a telephone and take a stand.
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If you, too, want to stand up for what you believe in, whether your views agree with mine or not, you can find the correct contact information for your US senator at www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW_by_State.shtml#fl or for your congressman at www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm You may also contact the White House itself at www.whitehouse.gov/CONTACT/ or by writing to The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500; Phone Numbers: Comments: 202-456-1111, Switchboard: 202-456-1414, FAX: 202-456-2461
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Oh, you have to stand! (Stand up, stand up)
For what you believe in, believe in, believe in!
God (He’s the one to back you up)
Will stand with you!
He’ll stand with you!