Everyone knows that Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death”. But did you know he also said, “It cannot be emphasized too clearly and too often that this nation was not founded, by religionists, but by Christians. Not on religion, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.” These words bear witness to the fact that our Founding Fathers knew this nation could survive only if she stood on the solid rock that is Christ Jesus.
Notice he said this nation was not founded by religionists. A religionist is a person whose faith is placed in the rules, regulations and other trappings of a religion. The establishment of this nation came about, not because of religious people, but because of Christians who followed Christ. These Followers of Christ knew that we are endowed with unalienable rights by our Creator. The government of the United States was instituted for the purpose of securing these rights and must never be allowed to become destructive of these rights.
In the early 1700s from the pulpits of Protestant churches, people were taught they were to be bond slaves to Christ and Christ alone. The sermons of many humble preachers stirred the souls of men to receive a Great Spiritual awakening. It was this Great Awakening that unified the thirteen colonies into one nation under God. From the pulpits were heard great patriotic sermons teaching that freedom was a God given right. These pastors were determined that no one should infringe on their congregation’s rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. The men who heard these sermons became the Minutemen who marched into battle with Great Britain determined to have Liberty or Death.
The right to worship freely is the foundational right of all the unalienable rights given to us by the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God. When the Freedom of Religion is abolished all other rights will soon be gone. We must never relinquish our right to worship and the focus of our worship must always be Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only One who can give Life, Liberty and Happiness.
In The Declaration of Independence we are told that the government will govern at the consent of the governed. With that thought in mind understand this. As far as politics go, it really makes no difference who we elect if Christians continue to act as they have in the last few decades.
You see the ones who govern our nation will govern the way the culture of this nation demands. Regardless of who is in charge, Republican or Democrat it really makes no difference.Because the laws that are passed will reflect the morals of the people.
If it is true that righteousness exalts a nation, it also must be true that unrighteousness will bring destruction to a nation. We are living in unrighteous times. And we see daily the detriment that unrighteousness is having on our land. While many blame the president or the supreme court for the evil that seems to prevail today. I tell you they are not to blame. They are simply governing with the consent of the governed.
“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
I recently acquired some chickens. Seven fat hens. I am responsible for their safety, so I built a secure pen for them. It has a top to keep out hawks and is reinforced around the bottom to keep out varmints. Daily I make sure they have fresh water and plenty of food. They are safe, well fed and have a warm dry coop to sleep in. Everything a chicken could want.
Everything a chicken could want, except they want out. Whenever I go to feed them, they are standing at the gate hoping I will let them out. They are glad to exchange the free food for food they can find for themselves. They are also happy to swap the safety of the enclosed pen for the wide open freedom of the yard. When a hawk flies over they hide under a bush and when a varmint comes around they fly into a tree. They don’t need me to take care of them. They are willing to take care of themselves.
It occurs to me that my chickens are exhibiting the true American spirit. True Americans don’t sit around waiting to be fed, they take care of themselves. True Americans will not trade freedom for safety. True Americans will not be told when, where and how to worship. They will worship how, where and when the God of all creation calls them. True Americans don’t depend on the government but will lift their eyes unto God in whom they have placed their trust.
The Declaration of Independence declares that it is evident that we are endowed by the Creator with the rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. It appears that many people are willing to trade these rights for the dubious promises of corrupt politicians. I am not! I know that Jesus Christ died on the cross to free me from my sin. And brave soldiers died on the battlefield so I can live in freedom. Satan cannot steal my salvation and I will not sell my liberty. I will stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has made me free, and will not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. I was set free to live in freedom and I will be free.
What kind of people do you think Jesus likes to have around Him. You may have gotten the idea from some church people that Jesus prefers to be around preachers and Sunday School teachers and other good people. After all Jesus said be perfect because I am perfect and these people are perfect Right? Righttt!
I guess there are some people who think that Jesus would never choose to be anywhere near a drug addict or alcoholic or anyone who does bad things. And Jesus would never chose to be around anyone who does not go to church, would He?
I know that a lot of you have serious problems in your life. Maybe you are an addict of some kind. Most of us are. Maybe your marriage is closer to hell than heaven on earth. Some of you may have a child who has broken your heart or a parent who has broken your heart. Do you have scars and pains from past mistakes? Do you have wounds on your heart that still festers years after someone hurt you? If so I have some good news for you.
You are the kind of person Jesus likes to hang around with. Jesus loves broken people. The Bible tells us that “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart.” So if you have a broken heart or a broken marriage, if you are the victim of broken promises or broken dreams you can know that God has a special love for you.
All people have an element of brokenness within them but few find the blessing that God has for them in there brokenness. Jesus said “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Many of you have a darkness in your hearts that comes from brokenness. But Jesus says you do not have to walk in this darkness because His Light can overcome your brokenness.
There is blessedness in brokenness and it is this, God will draw near to you in your brokenness. He says to you come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.
Jesus personally called the men He wanted to be His disciples. These men were Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the Son of Alphaeus, Thaddeus, Simon the Cananite and Judas Iscariot. Now we know that Jesus walked this earth as a man, but He was The Great I Am. Therefore, He knew all there was to know about these men He wanted to be His disciples.
Judas was a thief who would sell his soul for thirty pieces of silver. Thomas doubted that Jesus could rise from the dead. James and John were called the Sons of Thunder, probably because they had violent tempers. Peter well, we all know that Peter denied he even knew Jesus. When Jesus called these men, He knew about their past. He knew about their current actions and He knew what they would do in the future. Yet He called them anyway, because these were the ones, He Himself wanted.
The disciples were all chosen by Jesus in spite of their sins and failures. The Bible teaches that there is a way that seems right to men, but the ways of men always end with death. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. When Jesus called the disciples, they all repented and followed Him for eternal life. All except for Judas, who chose the way that seemed right to men and lost his soul.
There is good news for you and I. Jesus is still the Great I Am. He knows about your past, your future and what you are doing now. And yet He still chose you. Jesus has called out to us because we are the ones that He Himself wants. You and I are chosen in spite of our sins and failures. He does not call us because we are good or holy. He doesn’t call us because we are righteous and just. He calls us because we are sinners in need of a Savior and He is that Savior. So now you have a choice to make. Will you choose the way that seems right to men or will you choose to follow Him.
Most mornings I spend a half hour or so listening to my friend. As I sit, mostly with my eyes closed, I try to take in all that He has to say. Sometimes He tells me secrets about Himself that I never knew. Occasionally He reveals His reasons for things that seem to have no reason. Other times He just lets me know how glad He is that I am His friend.
My friend is Jehovah Shalom, the God of the universe, the Creator of all things, the Lover of my soul and my Prince of Peace. Some people would call what I am doing, “Prayer” but I call it listening to my Friend. Sometimes when I sit listening to Him I drift off to sleep. However, He does not mind that I go to sleep, no more than I mind when my grand-baby goes to sleep in my arms. You see it’s easy to fall asleep when you know the Peace that is beyond your understanding.
You might ask, since you are spending time with God shouldn’t you be praying for your friends and loved ones? Shouldn’t you be telling Him your trouble and asking for help. Aren’t you just wasting your time sitting there with your eyes closed? Don’t you have more important things to do? The answer is no, there is nothing more important than listening to my Friend
All day long God walks with me. He has told me to pray without ceasing, so we have a running conversation. We talk about my friends and their needs. He knows about the ones who are sick and hurting and He knows that you need encouragement. We talk about my family and I ask Him to watch over them. For the most part my days are filled with me talking and God listening.
That is why most mornings I spend time listening to my Friend. I enjoy the feel of His hand on my shoulder and the sound of His voice whispering in my ear. When He whispers in my ear I feel the warmth of His breath on my neck and His Spirit enlarging my soul. As I drift in and out of sleep, I dream the dreams of eternity. I have peace that is beyond my understanding because my Friend is God, the glorious One, the Lover of My Soul. He is Jehovah Shalom. He is my Prince of Peace.
My favorite place for a morning quite time is the back porch. Here I can see the sun rise, feel the morning breeze, and listen as the birds start their business for the day. Knowing that days have started like this for thousands of years helps me to draw close to the God of hope and glory.
As I sit and try to commune with God, my dog will pester me for attention. She stands on my left nudging my hand begging me to pet her. When I ignore her she goes around to the other side and nudges my right hand. If I continue to ignore her she comes around in front of me and plops her big ol head down on top of my Bible. When I push her back and continue to read she will lay down at my feet and wait until I decide to pay attention to her.
Why does she so persistently seek my attention? Is it because I feed her and take care of her? No. She would be loyal to me even if I did not feed her. She is persistent because she longs for my touch. Because I am her master, Her greatest joy is in the touch of my hand.
Like this dog I long for my Masters touch. While I sit on the porch and watch the sunrise I look expectantly to God. With the morning breeze He fulfills His promise as He opens His hand and satisfies my great desire with an amazing caress. The birds pay no attention to worldly affairs, as they have for thousands of years they just go about their daily business of singing to the Glory of God. So through it all I am remember this; God is righteous in all His ways and gracious in all His works. And He has promised To be near to all who call upon Him. If we seek first His Kingdom He will fulfill our greatest desires with the touch of His Hand.
In the first chapter of the Bible we read the glorious story of how all things came to be. It is a marvelously simple record of our God who came from nowhere, stood on nothing and by the power of His Word, spoke everything into existence. After the creation of all things, He created one more thing. He created rest. In the day of rest, He looked around at all things and said “This is good”.
Recently Deborah and I spent a weekend on top of Lookout Mountain. Now this mountain is well named because from its peak you can look out and see a beautiful and majestic world. The grandeur of the river and woods remind you of God’s opinion the world is good.
Also, from the top of Lookout Mountain, you could smell the smoke of a distant fire and hear the lonesome whistle of a far away train. As I looked at the cities and towns, with their busy factories and highways, I knew this too was God’s plan. Because after He created all things, He turned to man and said “This is yours to have dominion over.” I believe that when God looks on the works of man He smiles and says “ This is good.”
It is good to go up on a mountain sometimes. Because down here the world looks pretty messed up. Wars and rumors of wars and the wickedness of man make this world look hopelessly bad. But on the mountain, you can see the world as God sees it. He is The Great I AM. He has said, I am God and I change not. Because He does not change, His creation is still good. Jesus Christ is the Light of the world and God the Father still says, “It is good.”
It is a mysterious achievement that can only be explained by God. I am talking about the mysterious appearance of an oak tree. It starts when an amnesiatic squirrel hides an acorn in the ground. In the spring the acorn reacts to the sunlight that has traveled over ninety three million miles to warm the nutrient reach moisture in the soil that surrounds it. A tiny green sprout emerges from the shell of the acorn and reaches toward the sky. This small sliver of an oak tree then does something that we could all learn from; it constantly reaches up to its Maker.
The life of this young oak tree is full of danger. The teeth of a hungry animal might nip it off while it is young and tender. Heavy feet may crush it or a drought may cause it to perish. It is always a battle to survive in this world but that is the thing that makes life a worthwhile mystery.
Regardless of the danger, with perseverance and the will of God, a young oak survives. The first year it is just a sprout the next year that sprout becomes a sapling. As the years pass the sapling become a full grown tree. And one day the mighty oak drops an acorn that an amnesiatic squirrel takes and hides in the ground. Then the mysterious achievement that can only be explained by God begins again.
“And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:12, NKJV)