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).

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

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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

IMG_6872

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

Ben Franklin-Entitlements

When this crippled man called out to Peter and John, he expected to be given something because he was taught he couldn’t do for himself, that he needed others to provide for him. Little did he know, Peter would give him freedom he never expected. All Peter gave was the opportunity to do something with the abilities God had given the man, but because of a lack of faith never knew he had. Remember, several of the healings Jesus performed happened because of the faith of a parent, or the individual. Even those who were Gentiles, whom Jesus noted had greater faith than all of Jerusalem. Through Jesus Christ, Peter delivered the lame man into a life he never thought he could have, a life in which he was free to become anything he wanted.

For more than two centuries America was known as the Land of Opportunity. Everyone who came here knew there was the chance they could become a millionaire. All they had to do was believe in the abilities they were given by their Creator. Faith helped to make America the greatest nation in history. Somehow, along the way that belief in America as the land of opportunity has been changed. Instead of providing the opportunity, the expectation to be “given” everything, not exactly what the Founding Fathers designed. As I recall it was Benjamin Franklin, who said, “the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer (brainyquotes.com). When we give people a hand up, we inspire them to industriousness; but when we give them a hand out, we do just the opposite. Richard Nixon agreed, “If we take the route of the permanent handout, the American character will itself be impoverished” (brainyquotes.com). Industriousness and faith made America strong, entitlements and lack of faith have weakened America. I blame not the president, nor congress, but the people who put them in office. For the last half-century we have place people in the position that will only drive the poor further into poverty.

There is only one way to extract ourselves from this vicious cycle, return to the principles that made America the strongest and richest nation in the world. For this to happen though, the Church must step up and step out with boldness proclaiming the grace and love God freely provides. Through God, true deliverance from poverty into a life of freedom filled with divine provision. God want to see no child of His suffer, but in order to receive the freeing gift of His provision people must first place their undivided hearts and faith in His hands. Sure being a Christian requires obedience, but this minor sacrifice frees one beyond any law or edict from man’s government. True love leads to real deliverance and freedom of life. The early church made sure no one in their communities went without and they grew in number and power. The same can happen today, if we simply live according to the precepts of God Almighty, and love our neighbors, as we ourselves would like to be loved (Gal. 5:14).

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,

The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.

~Psalm 33:12

 

Abba Father,

Help me to help others. Show me ways that I can be like Peter, delivering the “lame” to freedom found only in You, O Lord.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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Just as it is today, many ancient people failed to understand Israel’s God, “being with them” at all times. For some its difficult to accept that the Creator would want to be with his children, let alone help and guide them to fulfill their purpose as He designed. This is particularly true for those who cannot justify forgiveness of evil enacted upon one’s neighbor. But God wants to be with us, even willing to forgive us for the evil we do. After all, that’s why He sent Jesus (Jn. 3:16), and why Isaiah declares Him as his salvation in this song of thanksgiving. Like Moses, Isaiah recognized the greatness of God’s grace and mercy toward His chosen people and despite the evidence to the contrary was willing to “go all in” for his God.
God loves Israel, even today, which is why He never left them to stand on their own, a promise He made them many times. However, His presence among them depends upon their faith and obedience to His statutes. Isaiah recognized that Israel does not deserve the protection, guidance, or mercy God has so graciously provided them. Jesus and the Apostles reiterate this fact throughout the New Testament. Mankind does not deserve the grace God so freely gives us, yet He still provides us with opportunity after opportunity to gain deliverance, and therefore freedom.
If we want to see a return of America to the greatness she once, and not so long ago enjoyed, we must take heed of Isaiah’s instructions. We must step out with courage and boldness and declare the greatness of our God, making sure that everyone we meet knows His deeds, mercy, and justice. We do that by living the free life He has provided for us through His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. The world must see that living a life of love is not boring, but filled with joy and blessing. A life of love for God first, and then our neighbor will provide any one who confesses their faith in Christ with the richest life possible. This life starts with how we lead our families – how we treat our spouses, the way we raise our children. If we exemplify a Christian life at home, it will spill over into our places of work, recreation, and schools. Raise God-fearing children, who experience the blessings of an intimate relationship with the Lord, we will one day have God-fearing leaders in our courts, town halls, and state houses. History shows, that where the leadership is, that is where the country will go. So state houses filled with godly leaders, who seek the Lord for guidance and instruction, will provide us with the stepping stones to reestablishing our roots as a Christian Nation.

America Bless God, So that God Will Bless America!

Heavenly Father,
I come before You with praise and thanksgiving that You don’t turn Your back on Your children. Thank you for being here with us in everything we do. I pray for our families and leaders that both would turn to You for their guidance and wisdom. Fill our homes and states houses with Your presence, so that all will feel You, and know that You are here with us. We cannot do this without You.
In the Name of our Savior, Your Son, Jesus Christ,
Amen