“Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.”

These brief instructions from 1 Peter 2:17 inform us first to highly respect human life because God deemed that it should exist. We are to greatly regard others when we may not love or even like their persons. God has a purpose and a potential for each life, regardless of age or ability.

We have power to respect human life when there is a fear of the Lord residing in our hearts. The consequences are glaringly obvious when there is not.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). God is the Author of life, and we are not held guiltless if we take away a life in pre-meditated, evil intent.

We should expect to surrender ours when we extinguish another’s, and the laws should so require. It stops the nonsense and the consequent expense to society. Governments are required to provide safety and security so that the people under them may work to pursue their own happiness and prosperity. True compassion for society requires the elimination of those who threaten safety and security by evil intent. This does not mean air-conditioned room and board for a lifetime through legal manipulations. It is eye for eye and blood for blood.

The last phrase of 1 Peter 2:17 tells us to “honor the king.” We are to revere the office, even when we find it difficult to respect the person in it. Paul the apostle encouraged: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1). The simple plan is such that when we have come to the proper respect for God, we are then empowered to regard lesser authorities. Pray for our leaders!

Going to a Bible-honoring church is highly important to every person. It is there that we may gain the knowledge, understanding and comprehensions of our great need to receive Jesus Christ as personal Savior. Not only is this discretion the only possible way for us to one day arrive in Heaven, but it lends the great blessings of spiritual fruitfulness in this life before we do go (Galatians 5:22).

One of the nine fruits of the spirit listed in Galatians 5 is “peace.” When we come to make peace with God through saving faith in Jesus Christ, we then can have peace with our own hearts. That new peace within ourselves then gives empowerment to be at peace with others and to forgive life for its seeming unfairness. When old, sinful ways get put under the blood-filled fountain of eternal forgiveness, then “behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

These reasons make it greatly worthwhile that we should arise from the indolence of Saturday night aversions so that we can arise on Sunday morning and get to church. Dress up and go to Sunday school! Learn the songs and verses that lead our hearts to Christ. Hear the preaching of conviction that convinces us of our sin and our need to confess and make right with God and man. Give what the Lord tells us in thankful appreciation for giving us His only Son to die in the place you and I should have had to die. Salvation from the penalty of sin is a whole new ballgame! Instead of a woeful duty, church becomes a wonderful delight that is looked forward to each week – Sunday and Wednesday nights included.

In our American lives, if enough people would read and heed the old King James Bible, they would want to actually go to a Christ-honoring church and hear more about the one Savior Who makes residency in Heaven a possibility. Second Corinthians 5:18 states: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ.” In spite of our natural desire for “all things to be of me,” all things are still “of God.”

Not only has God “reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ,” but additionally “hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” Because of the Christ-centered worldview that finally brought peace to our hearts, we have the strength to overcome peace-breaking by means of peace-making.

When Christ is preached in the pulpits and the Word of God gets carried out into the traffic lanes of daily life in the free exchange of truth, then our America will begin again to see that “Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). We will then hear more of the sacred scriptures instead of slayings in the schools. There will not be “free speech zones” on college campuses or pro-life restrictions around buildings where pre-born hearts are silenced. Maybe then the 14 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty during the first 42 days of 2018 would still be alive and having supper with their families this evening.

Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 10:20 that we “curse not the king.” The one that has the God-given character to honor the Lord will honor our leaders’ offices and the authority figures in each of our lives. God has ordained them to be over us, and whatever choice He has made is right. It would be rebellion against authority above to dishonor the authority below – from parent to the president. Pray for our president!

Paul wrote Romans during the reign of Nero the neurotic madman, and yet he penned in Romans 13:7, “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.”

King David was anointed to be the next king of Israel, and King Saul was trying to kill him so it would not happen. More than once, David could have ended Saul’s life and taken the throne. His respect for God was greater than his worldly ambitions, and he was willing to wait. David told his men: “The Lord forbid that I should … stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord” (1 Samuel 24:6).

Instead of placing vengeance, how about we pray with vigor? George Washington prayed often, and his enemies in battle seemingly could not get a shot into him to stop the man. Prayer makes a difference – usually in us. It changes people and events. God desires our prayers and responds to the prayers of His children.

Judgment on America has perhaps been stayed through prayer. It seems we have been given a “space of grace” in our land to return to God. Once your prayer has been “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13) and you are born again, then your prayers take effect.

Jesus prayed on the mountain in Luke 6:12 “and continued all night in prayer to God.” The child of God, alive and reading today, is the result of Christ’s ministry and all the following ministries through the ages. Maybe someone is praying today that you will be saved and forgiven of your sin. Will you be? Prayer is not meant to only teach us something, but to make us into something!

R.D. “Bob” Hottle is a retired schoolteacher, farmer and pastor of the Anchor Baptist Church.