Proverbs 14:34—Righteousness exalts a nation,

But sin is a disgrace to any people.

 

On its own merit this Proverb speaks volumes, especially to a Christian nation that has turned her back on the Lord. While America is a Christian nation, she no longer looks to the Lord for her guidance. Today we celebrate the birth of our great nation, birthed by some of the greatest and godliest men in the history.

When you read Pr. 14:34 in context you begin to see the difference between America our Founding Fathers envisioned and the one we live in today.

33 Wisdom rests in the heart of one who has understanding,

But in the hearts of fools it is made known.

34 Righteousness exalts a nation,

But sin is a disgrace to any people.

35 The [leaders] favor is toward a servant who acts wisely,

But his anger is toward him who acts shamefully.[1]

 33Lady Wisdom is at home in an understanding heart—fools never even get to say hello.34 God-devotion makes a country strong;

God-avoidance leaves people weak.

35 Diligent work gets a warm commendation;

shiftless work earns an angry rebuke.[2]

So let’s take it one verse at a time. Wisdom finds itself “at home” in the heart of someone who understands. Godly wisdom is accepted by choice, not forced upon anyone. God meets the needs of others; sometimes they believe in Him, sometimes they don’t. Either way when God sees a need He makes every effort to make sure it is met. The heart of someone who chooses to let it in can only accept God’s wisdom. This is a heart just like God’s, open to do what is right and just without regard to person. The fool on the other hand closes his or her heart, depending on themselves or others to provide for their need. For this reason the fool has no idea that wisdom is even knocking at the door.

Up until 1962 America routinely taught God’s wisdom to our young minds. Now after 49 years without God in the classroom, we have leaders claiming to be godly in their decision making, and a future looking even bleaker. Our national righteousness began to erode at light-speed in the 1980’s and has never looked back. The result, exactly what v34b states—we have become weak, and a disgrace to what America has stood for longer than any other nation. At one time American exceptionalism was the driving force behind industry, ingenuity, and growth. We were so exceptional; people came in droves to become Americans.

Towns and cities were built around churches and everyone worked hard at their trade, “One nation under God, Indivisible.” Today we have become a nation of groups, divided, and unwilling to work to get ahead. The apostle Paul warned that sin abounds when hands are left idle. Jesus taught money is at the root of all evil, not that it is evil, which is why when asked what needed to be done to follow him he told the young prince to sell everything, and give the money to the poor. He was demonstrating what hard work could do for society. It will not only provide for you and your family, but also after that provision it can help those who can’t work themselves—the widows and orphans. In other words we are to take care of our fellow men, women, and children; not the government.

The Founders envisioned a nation of people independent from the government, leading a government dependent upon the people. That is precisely what America has been, rising up against the oppressive dictatorial leadership of nations like Iraq, Germany (twice), Russia, Korea, Vietnam, and Mexico. We have forgotten what happens when the economic policies designed to bring equality to the people are allowed to exist. These policies work to suppress the Word of God, and eventually in every circumstance lead to a controlling class, who believe they are better than anyone else (Israel, Rome, The British Empire, Germany under the Kaisers and Hitler, Soviet Russia, Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, Iraq…). The freedom the Founders wanted for America is found rooted in the Word of God, and when we turn our backs on God’s Word, we turn our backs on freedom.


[1] The Lockman Foundation, New American Standard Bible, iPad, prod. Olive Tree (Olive Tree, 2011).

[2] H Eugene Peterson, The Message Bible, 2002, http://www.biblegateway.com. (Accessed July 3, 2012).

Introduction

Though out history, God has promised to keep His children safe and secure, and to provide them a way to return to the intimate relationship mankind once shared with Him. Repeatedly, He provided Israel with the opportunity to place their faith and devotion in Him, for which He would freely provide them with the gift of His grace and presence. God’s plan culminates with Jesus Christ, whom He sent to provide the means for us to come to Him directly, unencumbered by the Law, and man’s selfish desires.

Noah's_Flood

The Ark of Safety – Genesis 7:1-7

God created mankind to be a reflection of Him in all His glory and righteousness. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve failed to understand what God had done, and through an act of disobedience brought sin into this world. Left alone that sin grew to the point where God could no longer stand the evil that mankind hand become. Although, there was one man who stood out among the sinners, his name was Noah.

 

Noah, made the decision early, he was not going to follow the sinful nature of the world around him. Rather he would do everything he could to have a relationship with God. More than that, he taught this behavior to his family. Noah’s choice led to his family being the only humans saved when God decided to rid the world of a disobedient mankind. Looking at today’s world, I have to wonder how bad things were back then for God to make the decision He did.

 

However, He will be making another decision soon as well – when to send Jesus Christ back for the Church. The difference, this time there will be no warning. When Christ returns to physically walk this earth, he will come as a warrior prepared to wipe out all who have not accepted him as the Messiah/Savior. In one swipe with his sword, Jesus will destroy the non-believing world. God provided the people of Noah’s time a warning, through Noah, as he began building the ark. I would be willing to bet Noah gave his neighbors and visitors a frank statement about the condition of the world, and what needed to be done for them to not suffer destruction. Lessons he’d been teaching his sons and their wives for over 600 years. Because he lived righteously in and unrighteous world, God rewarded Noah and his family.

 

Parents, dads in particular; are you a living example of Noah? Are you living a life right in the eyes of God, and teaching your family to do the same? If you aren’t, I have to ask why? God has provided us with one task in response to the gift of life He so graciously gave us. That is we are to love, and pass that love on from one generation to the next. The easiest way for us to do accomplish this starts where God did with Noah – providing a ark of safety. Our “Ark” isn’t a boat, though some are, its our home. It does not matter if it’s a trailer, a one room shack, or a million dollar mansion, if our children and spouse don’t believe it to be a refuge against the enemy(ies), we have not done our job. Husbands, you have a responsibility to “love your wife, as Christ loved the church” (Eph. 5:25). Marriage is not about who serves whom, rather it is a mutual system of giving. Does she know that no matter what is going on, she can depend on you to provide her with a safe and secure place to cry, laugh and love? Wives, being subject to your husband (Eph. 5:22) does not mean you are his personal slave. However, it does mean you should ready and willing to help him secure the family. Paul asks in this passage, “Is someone going to intentionally hurt themselves” (paraphrase) (v. 29)? Of course the answer is “No.” When we wed our spouse, we become one flesh, one family, committed to the welfare of each other, starting with supplying an “Ark of Safety.”

 

Father God,

Thank you for the family you have provided me. Help me to make for them an “Ark of Safety” where they can rest assured, knowing they are safe from the attacks of the enemy. Help me to be there for each member of my family. Grant me the wisdom to offer them the answers they need. Empower me through Your Spirit to be the best father/mother and husband/wife I can be.

In My Savior, Jesus’, Name

Amen

 

Abraham found himself in between a rock and a hard spot. On one hand, he must obey God, in order to display his full trust and worship. Yet, on the other hand, the sacrifice is his one and only son. The same son through whom God had promised He would build a great nation. Not a position any of us would want to find ourselves. Abraham had waited many years for the birth of Isaac, and yet his experience told him not to waver from his instructions. Ultimately, God rewarded his faith, and spared Isaac’s life.

 

As our Father, God makes sure we have exactly what we need, at the exact moment we will benefit most from receiving it. How is it He knows what and when “it” is? Besides being all knowing, He makes sure He is there when we need him most. God is not a “Here you go, now run along,” kind of God. He is intimately involved with every aspect of our lives. Men this should be how we act toward our children. Unlike God, we cannot be everywhere our sons and daughters go to make sure they make good decisions. However, we can be involved in their lives, so that when it comes to decision time they question the “rightness” of what they are doing. Our sons and daughters don’t need “things,” they need us. Taking your son to ballet, or your daughter to hockey practice means more to them than the newest version of Call of Duty, or that new pair of jeans. God’s provision goes much deeper than our material needs. So should ours.

 

God was present when Abraham needed Him most, and provided the love and reassurance Abraham needed. More than that, He expected nothing in return. That’s the kind of love our children desire from us. They want to know you are ready to help them; that you are willing to drop everything to make sure they have what he or she needs. Mostly, all they need is your time. So, I challenge you tonight, and every night, as you travel home from work pray for God to bring you peace, so that you are unwound by the time you get home. Then, sit down with your children to dinner and have an open conversation. No teaching, or lecturing, just talking letting each other know what is on your minds. At our table we like to play a game of 3-4 questions identifying the best part of your day, the worst part of your day, and something no one else may know. We just go around the table giving everyone a chance to participate. We usually have a pretty good laugh, and sometimes a serious conversation starts up. Be there for them in a manner that is obvious to anyone who sees you, especially them.

 

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for setting the example for us as parents. Help me to better provide my son’s and daughter’s needs today and everyday. Show me how I can spend more time with the, displaying my unbridled love for them.

In Jesus, name

Amen

Ps62-6

God is in control, and always has been. He wants to see each of us enter into a relationship with Him, therefore came up with His plan for our salvation. God knew that left to our own devices eventually sin would be introduced into the world. Because of His insight and foresightedness (aka omniscience), God formulated a plan to save us long before He created us.

Ask any builder, “What’s the key to a strong structure?” and they are sure to tell you a solid foundation. Preferably, one on rock, which is why some buildings require big holes filled with concrete at strategic points. These footings, as they are called, serve to support the weight and forces of the building when no solid rock is available on which to build.

When building a life of righteousness, however, there are no substitutes for solid rock. The only foundation one can use to successfully build in the eternal Kingdom is God! He alone is our rock and our salvation (Ps. 62:6a). Anything else is shifting sand, blown away by the winds of deceit and treachery. However, God is true and right, and unchanging; nothing can take away from Him and His rule over the heavens and the earth. Throughout history, both Israel and the Church have misunderstood how God operates, leading both to wander away from His sovereign plan for the world. While He has never really left us or forsaken us; in times when we have turned to the world for guidance, He has left us to wallow in our misery for a time. Yet, when believers have realized their mistakes and returned to the foundation, He is always there ready and willing to bless us with all that we need.

Currently, America is wallowing, and God waits for us to start building on Him as a foundation for proper living. I have heard may pastors and church refuse to allow certain groups rent their facilities out of fear of retribution from the government. If the early Church had run and hid every time it was threatened, the Good News would not have spread the way it did. Peter and John looked at the Sanhedrin, the same men who condemned Christ to death, and told them, they could not and would not stop working in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. It is time once again for the Church to stand firm in their faith, just as Peter and John. Stop worrying about tax exempt or not-for-profit status! Start worrying about what really matters – the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Stand firm in faith that God will protect you, and lift your voice above the noise of this world.

 

Heavenly Father,

Please give me the strength, perseverance, and fortitude John and Peter showed when they defied the Sanhedrin. I pray the leadership of the Church would take the lead and stand for God, not the world. My faith, hope, and strength are in You Lord; You are my Rock and my Salvation.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

 

Separation of State_Church Not

Two hundred thirty-eight years ago a small group of men and women birthed a nation by throwing off the shackles of oppression laid up on them by a government that though its purpose was to “control” the people. What made this Revolution so unique were the ideas these people had about the purpose of government; their idea was in complete opposition to what was standard. Rather than government controlling the people, the people were responsible for controlling the government. Them men and women who designed this new form of government believed that if we let God, the Almighty Creator, lead our lives, there would be little need of a government to force control, and power would not fall into the hands of the unrighteous, who will always oppress those who do not agree with their way of doing things.

 

This Republican form of government created one of the most powerful nations of all time, in might and economy. Until the mid 20th Century, America held close to its Christian foundation, and became the nation everyone wanted to live in. This was because her citizens lived to please God in the manner Paul talks about in this letter to Thessalonica. When the Bible was at the center of American life, It’s standards were held in high regard. No, we have not been perfect, but because God held the central spot in our lives the nation was cared for by the people. We took care of each other, providing a hand up to our neighbor when needed, because we knew we could depend on our neighbor when we struggled. People were out to better themselves, not by destroying others, but by working hard to be the best they could be in the eyes of God. Everyone had the opportunity to succeed and have what they needed, a home, clothes on their back, and food in the their stomach. America’s reverent fear of God led people to live out the Law, doing what was right before God, and for each other.

 

Unfortunately, in the mid 1960’s, the Supreme Court reversed 200 years of precedence, banning the Bible from the public square. From that point forward America has fallen quickly from her perch atop the world as the nation everyone looked upon, and desired to emulate. We have forgotten what Alexis de Tocqueville said about America in his treatises Democracy in a America, the American people were led by their wisdom, virtues, and the love of God (de Tocqueville, p. 28). Even in its infancy, America was recognized because of her people’s love and respect for God. The blessing of God for the sweat and tears of hard, working men and women built this nation. Blessings bestowed upon their shoulders because they showed Him their praise by desiring to live according to His guidance.

 

Sure other nations have raised and become great, but because they did not, or do not have God at their center, they will fail and their people will suffer greatly because of it. Without God, man cannot care for himself it simply is not possible. God designed us to be with Him, a life without Him does not live; it merely exists and exists only for itself. God built mankind to be a social being, not only with him but with each other as well. To be a social being we must take care of each other, making sure our neighbor’s needs get met – loving as God loved us. A love of sacrifice, just as Christ sacrificed for us. Our obedience to God’s directions made America great. Turn back to God, through our Savior Jesus Christ, so that not only America be restored, but so that the world can find real peace and freedom.

 

Father, God,

Thank you for providing all that You do for us, especially Your Son, my Savior, so that I can have an intimate relationship with You. I pray for all Americans to take you into their hearts, so that all will be saved in truth and in love. Help all of us to remain true to you and abstain from lustful passions, which only seek to destroy and hurt.

In the Name of Jesus Christ,

Amen

memorialday2

Knowing how the time will end makes for one of the greatest things about being Christian. Following the Rapture will come a time when today looks like heaven, and during that time people will accept the second chance to enter into the Kingdom. This is the time when “the mountain of the house of the Lord,” will be recognized as the highest and strongest. In an effort to escape the evil that has infected the world during the last days, people will seek God’s Word and way. Fortunately, there is a way to avoid this time of tribulation; it is the Law of God. The Law fulfilled in Christ, that Israel was unable to follow throughout her history. Because the Church as allowed itself to be pushed to the back-burner of American society, we have also failed to make sure the Law is lived out today.

 

Today we must learn the lesson our Founding Fathers learned 238 years ago. No, I am not calling for a war, at least not that kind of war, although, I am calling for a revolution, of sorts. As Paul wrote, we are not fighting against people and nations of this world; we are fighting a war at the spiritual level (Eph. 6:12). Therefore, I look to the words of George Washington, “The time is near at hand, which must determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves.” God, the Almighty Creator, gave us this land upon which to build a nation founded on His word, where we could be free to worship [Him] the way we desired. Now is the time to stand together and fight for it.

 

The American Christian Church, Catholic and Protestant, must stand arm in arm proclaiming the truth of God’s Holy Word. However, we cannot simply speak what the Word says if we want others to discover the peace and freedom found within God’s Laws. Primarily, we must strive to live out each of the Ten Commandments in every aspect of life – home, work/school, and recreation. Order of this list is important if we want to see the Church stand strong, it must start in our homes were parents discipline and instruct their children without provocation (Eph. 6:4), and children respect their parents (6:1). When these two work in concert loving relationships can be the only thing, which comes from this household. This love will follow each member of the family into their world outside the home, creating loving, respectful environments wherever they may go.

 

Love and grace are the main message of the Word of God. It is that simple. Now all we have to do is convince the rest of the world that is what it means to be a Christian. We do that by avoiding those moments of hypocrisy – living out the Law to the best of our abilities. Jesus gave no one any reason to think badly of him. He simply did what the Father asked of him, love the people, and teach them the truth of His Words. Before Jesus left he asked us to do the same thing.

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:18b-20, NASB)

Real, and full peace will not happen until after Jesus Returns, but following the guidelines of the Law while we are here will bring some peace to this world. At least to those who believe in their hearts that Christ Jesus is their personal Savior, and that God’s Word is true.

Heavenly Father,

I pray for all people today. May they hear and believe Your Word. That the Church will step out in faith and power, and proclaim in unity and love the truth of Your Word. Empower us all Lord to serve You rightly.

In the Name of Jesus Christ,

Amen

Promise of the Law – Psalm 19:7-11

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If Jesus came to fulfill the Law, as he claimed, why should we continue to follow it? What is so special about the Law, that it still needs to be recognized by Christians? For one reason, the Law was given by God, and according to Scripture all of God’s Word shall not be changed, or even rendered obsolete until Jesus comes again in glory to take us all home (Mt. 5:18; Lk. 16:17). Secondly, and maybe more important, the Law provides for us an outline for how we are to interact with God, and with our neighbors. Regardless of these two reasons, anyone who reads Scriptures can rest assured what it says carries absolute truth, and that they will be able to understand and apply the Word to their daily lives.

 

No matter what happens to be going on in one’s life, he or she can take solace in the fact that help can be found in the Bible. Love should be the first lesson everyone should take from God’s word. First His love for His creation, man in particular. After understanding how much He loves us, one should see the love Christ taught his disciples to proclaim to all those then encountered.

 

In living out the Law, believers proclaim their undying devotion to the One True God, by exemplifying His love to the unbelieving world. God first came to Earth in the form of one man, with the promise to be here in every man (Jer. 31:33) who accepts His Son as their personal Savior. Only one person has ever lived out the Law to its completion and that was Jesus of Nazareth. However, when men and women try to live out the Law as Jesus did, they are living as Jesus lived – loving God, their neighbor, and finally themselves. As David wrote in this Psalm (19), those who fear the Lord and his judgments are the most precious commodity on Earth; to God or any man, woman, or child.

 

Scripture promises a long and prosperous life to anyone who lives by and fulfills the Law. Though we are not bound by the Law today, God still desires that we live it out every day. He wrote it on our hearts, and sent Christ so that He could provide us with grace to pick us up when we stumble. Unlike ancient Israel, we are all consecrated priests separated from the rest of the world (1 Peter 2:9) each of us filled with the Holy Spirit, able to stand before God and confess our sins when we stumble. Where they could only confess through a Levite priest, believers today can stand with Him any time they wish. Grace is not a “get out of jail” pass, it requires a changed life and heart. One changed to understand the purpose of the Law to be deliverance and freedom. In order to hold onto the grace of God and not face His wrath and judgment, one must live as Christ live. He loved his Father more than anything, and he gave the Father’s love to the people he met (his neighbors). The Law does not tie us down or keep us from happiness. In fact, it does just the opposite freeing us to live life to the fullest, knowing that when we place our undivided affection in God’s hands He will make sure our every need is met. Even more time in the day to spend with the one’s we love.

 

Father God,

Thank You for the Law. For the outline that helps me to live as Jesus lived. In the Law I have the freedom to love others as You love me.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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Shortly after their delivery from Egypt by the hand of God, Israel in complete unity agreed to follow the Law sent down by God and be obedient to His directions. However, we discover even Moses struggled with this promise, and all but two of the original adult population would actually get to see the Promised Land. Now we are nearly 40 years later, and Moses tries to remind the new generation of Israel what the promise made by their parents and grandparents means for them, despite what they had witnessed over the last few decades. In Chapter 5 of Deuteronomy, Moses had just gone through the Ten Commandments, closing whit a command for Israel to, “walk in all the way the Lord your God has commanded you,” in order to insure Israel can fulfill her destiny as proclaimed by God to Abraham.

 

Some 3,000 years later, Jesus come along telling Israel all the Law, and everything the prophets have taught can be summed up in one word – L – O – V – E (Mt. 22:36-40; Mk. 12:28-31; Lk 10:25-28). Until that very moment, Israel believed she was follow the Law which call them to remove anyone who wouldn’t change their thinking and worship YHWH, the One True God. When one examines the Ten Commandments in light of his claim, it becomes crystal clear God’s original message to His chosen people, which was to be passed on to the rest of the world was: love everyone despite their differences and in your love they will see God and come to the same personal relationship you now have with Him.

 

The freedom that Israel was supposed to find in the Law never materialized. However, under the Lordship of Jesus that freedom is possible. Anyone can have it, and he freely gives it to us; it costs absolutely nothing. That does not mean we are to ignore the Law. In fact, it is quite the opposite, since the points God made in giving the Law to Moses are the how we are to apply the Law to living a life that is right in the eyes of God.

  1. We are to love Him above and before any other part of our lives, even before our wives and children.
  2. We are to love our neighbor, the same way we expect them to be loved, and we do that by:
    1. Respecting others, starting with our parents
    2. Not killing anyone, despite our dislike of what they do or stand for
    3. Not having sexual encounters outside of the marriage bed
    4. Not taking from others what is not ours
    5. Not lying about anyone
    6. Not be jealous of your neighbor and his or her possessions

This is what it really means to be a Christian. There are those in the world who would like for everyone to believe otherwise, even the leaders of the Church. That is why we must stand united and rewrite their perverted reporting of history. Together, we must stand and shout from the rooftops the Good News of Jesus Christ – that is “JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!” Never stop teaching the Bible exactly as it is. God’s word never changes, occasionally the application may change but the truth of what it says never changes. Sin is sin and the only way to be free from the slavery of sin is through an intimate, loving relationship with Jesus Christ. Therefore, every member of the Church needs to be willing to stand firmly on the rock of their faith, Jesus, knowing the Holy Spirit will be there to help them free all who are willing to listen with an open heart and mind.

 

Father God,

I pray today that I be filled with Your Spirit. Give me the courage and knowledge to bear witness to the freedom everyone can find in a relationship with You alone. I pray that believers everywhere be filled likewise, so that Your Word be preached and taught every day.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen