God Bless America! July 4, 2011
While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free.
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer:
"As we enter another Independence Day weekend, I think it would be good to remind ourselves of who those men were that counted the cost and paid the price to bring this land of liberty into existence." Chuck Baldwin
July 4th marks the day in 1776 when the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after 3 days of spirited debate.
Scripture instructs us to pray for the Nation in which we live.
"And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace." Jeremiah 29:7-8
"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 1 Tim 2:1-4
"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
1. All nations serve God, (but also do bad things).
"For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil." Romans 13:4
a) Roman power kept the peace in Paul's world. People could travel safely. This made it possible for the Christian Gospel to be spread from place to place. While war is bad, it causes people to come into contact with new ideas and new possibilities. God sends times of Revival. History shows this to be true.
b) "You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot lift the wage earner by tearing down the wage payer. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves." Abraham Lincoln - via North Drexel Church of Christ, Oklahoma City
2. Pray for a New Pentecost.
a) "We need a New Pentecost because we need a New Evangelization.” So said Mr. Ralph Martin. "The New Evangelization seeks to reawaken the call to holiness within every person. Living out the love of God and neighbor is the path of holiness that the saints have trod on their way “from baptism to the Vision of the Ages.” Holiness, he insisted, is not reserved for a group of religious elite, but is the vocation of all the baptized and, ultimately, is the only path to heaven. Proclaiming this Gospel message is urgent – not simply a matter of enriching lives but of saving souls. Part of our own mission as the church is to proclaim the Good News of salvation in Christ and to build communities (churches) of prayer and holiness."
b) Holiness is becoming in fact what we already are in Christ.
"When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 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." 2 Chronicles 7:13-14
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Cor 5:17
"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful." Col 3:12-15