Thursday, May 31, 2007

You shall not bear false witness: Dt 5:20

"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." (Deuteronomy 5:20)
This scripture reveals two things that are critical to a nation's judicial system.
  1. The role of truth. The goal of a nation's judicial system should be the ascertainment of the truth. Suspects should be condemned or acquitted based on the facts. However, in my country, often times the truth is excluded due to procedural irregularities. Guilty suspects are set free on "technicalities" with little or no regard to the truth of their guilt or innocence. While the rights of the accused must be protected, the process of justice must never override the truth of justice.
  2. A nation has the right to expect its citizens to testify truthfully during a trial and/or a judicial proceeding. This scripture does not distinguish between testifying "under oath" or not, it commands that the truth be told, irregardless of any "oath". It is the right of a nation to hold its citizens to their judicial duty and to punish those who commit perjury.

David Robison

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Please pray for my son: Lessons learned

Praise the Lord! After just shy of one week, we were able to bring our son home from the hospital. Presently, his prognosis looks good. He is on a daily regiment of Gleevec and has to drink lots of water, but other than that, his life, and ours, is returning to normal. In this post, I wanted to share four lessons that I learned and observed this past week. I'm sure that these lessons are not new to anyone, but they were key in getting us through the difficult times in coming to grips with my son's leukemia.

That first night, right after being told that my son had leukemia, there was a constant struggle to resist fear and panic. As I sat in the ER room with my son, I remembered what Paul did when he was locked away in jail. "But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them." (Acts 16:25) I began to consider that, perhaps, they were singing, in part, as a defense against the harsh reality that faced them. I wish I could say that I had the courage to sing out loud, but not being sure how my son would respond, I sang to God in my heart. As I worshiped God, the fear, panic, and despair that surrounded me was pushed back and I was able to sense a measure of peace. From my own prison I, like Paul and Silas, found peace and comfort.

After the initial shock, I was tempted to start searching the Internet for everything on leukemia, CML, and its treatment. However, I was reminded of when Peter walked on water. "But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out,"Lord, save me!" (Matthew 14:30) While I wanted to learn more about my son's cancer, I also knew that what was immediately important was my faith. I needed to keep my faith strong and my focus on the Lord. I couldn't afford to look at the wind and the waves, I had to keep my focus on the Lord. There will be a time for study and research, but there, in the hospital, I couldn't afford to be swayed by what I might read. Like Peter, wind and waves could shake my faith, that was something I had to protect myself against.

While we were waiting for a positive diagnosis of CML, I found myself getting anxious. What would the results of the biopsy be? What if it wasn't CML? What if the diagnosis was worse than we anticipated? When faced with these uncertainties, the Lord reminded me that my hope was not in a good diagnosis but rather our hope was in the Lord. It reminded me of when Jesus was on the way to heal a man's daughter. On the way, the news came that she has already died. However, Jesus encouraged the man, "Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well." (Luke 8:50) I was encouraged that the report of the doctors was less important than the report of the Lord; that the world's report must come into subjection to the Lord's report.

Finally, through it all I have had a sense that there is a deeper purpose of God in all this; that there is more that God is doing than simply healing my son. I believe that there is something greater that God is doing in my life, my son's life, and in my family. I cannot say what that is, however I do sense God at work. My prayer is that, in the days to come, God's will and plan for our lives will continue to become clearer and more apparent with each passing day. God is at work and, in that, I take great comfort.

David Robison

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Please pray for my son: Good news

First, I would like to thank all of you for your prayers and kind notes of encouragement, they have really meant a lot over the past few days. We just heard from the Hematologist that the bone marrow biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of CML, a rare form of Leukemia. Fortunately, over the past seven years, a new drug named Gleevec has proven extremely effective at controlling CML. Prior to seven years ago, the only option for my son would be a bone marrow transplant. Stephen's current treatment plan is to start a daily regiment (by mouth) of the drug. This drug is typically well tolerated with few side effects, predominantly an upset stomach which should go away after a few weeks on the drug. It should take about 3 months for the CML to go into complete remission, although he may need to stay on the medication indefinitely to prevent a relapse. He should be released from the hospital this weekend and should be able to return to work the week following. We are very happy and thankful to God for this good prognosis. Again, thank you for your prayers, thoughts, and kind notes over the past few days, we appreciate each and every one of them.

Thanks again, David

Monday, May 21, 2007

Please pray for my son

Last night (late Sunday evening) I took my 18 year old son to the emergency room. He was having bruising and he could not remember how he got them. After many tests, and several hours later, we were told that he has a form of leukemia. This was the last thing we expected to hear and it left us all in shock. Fortunately, they believe that his form of leukemia is very treatable and his outcome looks good. However, we are believing God for a full and complete healing. I would very much appreciate your prayers on behalf of my son that God might work a miracle and heal him completely of his leukemia. Also, please pray for my wife, our family, and myself. This has been a very long and difficult day, but our hope and expectation is in our Lord. Thanks for your prayers and concerns.

David Robison

Thursday, May 17, 2007

You shall not steal: Dt 5:19

"You shall not steal." (Deuteronomy 5:19)
In commanding mankind that they should not steal, God is declaring and demonstrating man's fundamental right to own and posses personal property. To take someone's personal property without their explicit consent is stealing. Governments must remember that people's personal property and assets belong to them and not to the government. While all governments need capital to operate, it is wrong for governments to seize and acquire personal property without the consent of the governed. It is easy for governments to forget that their right to tax is a right granted by consent of the people. Personal property is just that, personal, and government should not presume that it has an unconditional right to take it for their own use.

In my state of Virginia we are facing a situation that directly applies to this principal. In an attempt to provide funding for many needed transportation projects, our state government has authorized the creation of regional taxing authorities that would have the power to raise taxes to be spent on transportation. If the majority of the municipalities in a region approve the plan, then the regional taxing authority would be created and its members appointed by the local governments. The question that this law begs is, should a group of unelected representatives be empowered to tax? Since it only requires a simple majority of the local government to approve the plan, and since the members of the authority would be appointed by the local governments and not elected by the people, then does this law violate the principal of consent to tax?

If governments view people's property and possessions as existing for their own use and exploitation, then the answer is simple: government can take whatever it needs, whenever it needs it. If, however, a government understands a person's right to own possessions and property, then it must be careful how it raises, acquires, and collects the revenue by which it operates. Governments must respect this right of its citizens.

David Robison

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Monday, May 07, 2007

You shall not commit adultery: Dt 5:18

"You shall not commit adultery." (Deuteronomy 5:18)
God is concerned with marriages. God is the author of marriage, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." (Genesis 2:24) and He commands that it be held in honor by all, "Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge." (Hebrews 13:4) Because God is the author of marriage, He alone has the right to define marriage. Marriage is not to be defined by our culture, not is it up to the government to define it, rather God has defined it and it is His definition that we should adopt.

The scriptures is clear that God had defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. God's laws clearly state:
"You shall not have intercourse with your neighbor's wife, to be defiled with her. You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion." (Leviticus 18:20, 22-23)
It is incumbent upon governments not to over reach their bounds and attempt to redefine marriage and family. In my country, governments at all levels are feeling the pressure to redefine marriage to include marriage between two men or two women, something that is clearly against God's laws. In facing such pressures, governments must resist the pressure to accommodate and must continue to support and encourage marriage and family as defined by God.

David Robison

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Friday, May 04, 2007

You shall not murder: Dt 5:17

"You shall not murder." (Deuteronomy 5:17)
Every human being has a fundamental right to life. Life is a free gift from God, given by God for a duration that He alone chooses. All life is precious and no man has the right to take the life of another. So serious was the offense of murder that God declared that the judgment against such a crime should be capital punishment. "If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death at the evidence of witnesses, but no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness." (Numbers 35:30)

It is a fundamental role and responsibility of government to protect life and to secure the right to life for each of its citizens. Government is called to bring to bear all its authority and power for the defense of life. This defense is not only in the prosecution of those who commit murders but also in the establishment of laws aimed at protecting innocent life. This is why the issue of abortion is such a critical issue in my country. in 1973 the Supreme Court of the United Stated ruled that women had a constitutional right to have an abortion. In making such a ruling, our government advocated its divine call to defend life, even unborn life. Since 1973, millions of preborn babies have been murdered in their mother's womb and our government's only response has been to celebrate a woman's right to do so. Our disregard for preborn life has grieved deeply the heart of God and, unless our country changes, God will not leave us unpunished. Our government must reclaim its divine right to defend life and must exert its full weight of authority to protect preborn life. This is an issue God cares greatly about and one our government can no longer choose to ignore.

David Robison

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Institutional Participation of the Individual

In order to properly develop a solid foundation for governance, and especially state governance, it is important to first consider the institutional organizations though which individuals participate. It is through these institutional organizations that the individual joins in corporate relationships with others. While we always maintain our identity as an individual, most of what we do in life in some way involves our corporate relationships with others.

God has established certain fundamental institutions common to all. It is through these institutions that God deals with us as a collection of individual. Not to say that God does not desire a one-on-one relationship with us, but it is to say that, along with our individual relationship with God, we also share a corporate relationship with God through the institutional organizations that He has created.

What Classifies an Institutional Organization?

In order to identify, from the scriptures, the fundamental institutions established by God, we first need to know what we are looking for. Institutions share three things in common.

Order: All in institutions contain order. Order is often represented by a hierarchy of authority. There is a clear delineation of position, responsibility, and the chain of command. The structure is not based upon the worth of a person, but simply the relationship to those with responsibility over them and to those whom they have responsibility over. The value of each person is the same, but their authority and responsibility may differ. In the scriptures, order is often expressed by the individual as subjugation; subjecting ones self under the authority of another.

Duty: Members of an institution share a common duty. Duty deals with the behavior of a person towards other members of the institution, and to the institution itself. This duty may be to a person or to an ideal or common purpose or goal. An individual's duty is often expressed through a written contract, or covenant, and may also be expressed as a set of rules that each member must follow. In the scriptures, duty is expressed by the individual as obedience; obedience to a person, and ideal, a cause, or a set of laws and rules.

Relationships: Institutions function best when individuals recognize and respect the specific roles played by each member of the institution. No one person represents the whole of the organization; all are but parts of a greater whole. In functioning as a whole, the individuals must work together, each performing their own specific role or function, for the benefit of the whole. Renegades and self-seekers can ruin an organization. In the scriptures, relationships among individuals are often express through honor; the preferring and valuing of others.

The three things common to all institutional organizations are order, duty, and relationships. In scriptural terms, these are subjugation, obedience, and honor. These three things may be used as markers to identify the fundamental institutions created by God and established in the scriptures.

The Family as an Institution

The first institution established by God was the family. The family dates back to the garden of Eden where God created man and woman and ordained that they should be “one flesh”. Though the covenant of marriage, God established and perpetuates the family as an institution.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
In marriage, two individuals leave the respective families, and are joined together, thus creating a new family. These families, in turn, form the basic building blocks of our societies.

Order: The scriptures layout a clear order of authority within the family. The order is husband, wife, then children. Again, this order does not reflect on the intrinsic value of the individuals, simply their place in the order of authority as established by God.
And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart. (Luke 2:51)
Jesus, though He was the Son of God, in His family, he was in subjection to his parents.
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. (Colossians 3:18)
Duty: Members of the family have a duty to each other.
Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. (Colossians 3:20-21)
Here we see that the duty of children is to obey their parents, and the duty of fathers is to discipline their children in a way that does not break their heart or spirit.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them. (Colossians 3:19)
Relationship: Honor is expressed by all members of the family towards each other.
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.” (Exodus 20:12)

You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)
Honor is incumbent upon all members of an institution. Even, as in the case of the family, though the scriptures state that the husband is the “head” of the family, he still had honor owed to the other members of the family.

The Church as an Institution

The term “church”, as used in the New Testament, comes from the Greek word “ekkleesia”, which means “a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place; an assembly” (Thayer). In the Old Testament, the church was represented by the people of Israel, as they were unified under the priests and the prophets. In the New Testament, Jesus established His church, built “upon the foundation of the Apostles and the Prophets” (Ephesians 2:20).

Order: An order is established for the New Testament church though which spiritual authority flows.
He [Jesus] is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. (Colossians 1:18)
And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:28)
Duty: Members of the church not only share a common duty to God, but also to each other and to those who have spiritual oversight of their lives.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. (Hebrews 13:17)

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)
Relationship: Honor is central to the relationships between members of a church.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; (Romans 12:10)

The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. (1 Timothy 5:17)

The State as an Institution

Originally, the organization of people into states was tribal in nature. States were originally formed based of family ancestral lines. A “state” was the collection of the extended relationships between related families. These “family states” were ruled by the family elders. Today, state governance is more geographical than tribal. State institutions have jurisdiction and authority over a geographical area. Either way, the state, as an institution, was established by God and shares the common markers with the family and the church.

Order: While the authority structure of states may vary, they all express order.
Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. (1 Peter 2:13-14)

which He will bring about at the proper time -- He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, (1 Timothy 6:15)
While God has established rulership on the earth, He himself is the King of kings and Lord of lords. His rulership governs over all earthly rule.

Duty: Duty to the state is often defined by the laws of the state. All members of the state are required to follow and keep these lays.
Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, (Titus 3:1)

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. (Romans 13:1-2)
In this scripture, subjection is linked to the obedience of the individual. To “resist authority” is to disobey the statutes and commands of that authority.

Relationships: It is not enough to simply have a clearly defined order of authority (structure), but the members of the state must also relate to those who have the authority in a way that recognizes and respects the authority they have.
Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. (1 Peter 2:17)

Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. (Romans 13:7)
David Robison