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“God Bless The U.S.A.” Isaiah 40:21-31

19 Jul

god bless the usaIsaiah 40:21-31 (NIV)
21  Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22  He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23  He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
24  No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.
25  “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
26  Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
27  Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28  Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
29  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
30  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
31  but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Index of Leading Cultural Indicators, a statistical portrait of American behavioral trends of the past three decades.

Among the findings: Since 1960, while the gross domestic product has nearly tripled, violent crime has increased at least 560%. Divorces have more than doubled. The percentage of children in single-parent homes had tripled. And by the end of the decade 40% of all American births and 80% of minority births will occur out of wedlock. These are not good things to get used to.

In 1940 teachers identified the top problems in America’s schools as: talking out of turn, chewing gum, making noise and running in the hall. In 1990, teachers listed drugs, alcohol, pregnancy, suicide, rape and assault. These are not good things to get used to, either.

There is a coarseness, a callousness and a cynicism to our era. The worst of it has to do with our children. Our culture seems almost dedicated to the corruption of the young. People are losing their capacity for shock, disgust and outrage…

The ancients called our problem acedia, an aversion to spiritual things and an undue concern for the external and the worldly. Acedia also is the seventh capital sin—sloth—but it does not mean mere laziness. The slothful heart is steeped in the worldly and carnal, hates the spiritual and wants to be free of its demands.

When the novelist Walker Percy was asked what concerned him most about America’s future, he answered, “Probably the fear of seeing America, with all its great strength and beauty and freedom…gradually subside into decay through default and be defeated, not by the communist movement, but from within, from weariness, boredom, cynicism, greed and in the end helplessness before its great problems.”

I realize this is a tough indictment. If my diagnosis is wrong, then why, amid our economic prosperity and military security, do almost 70% of the public say we are off track? I submit that only when we turn to the right things—enduring, noble, spiritual things—will life get better.

Most important, we must return religion to its proper place. Religion provides us with moral bearings, and the solution to our chief problem of spiritual impoverishment depends on spiritual renewal. The surrendering of strong beliefs, in our private and public lives, has demoralized society.

Today, much of society ridicules and mocks those who are serious about their faith. America’s only respectable form of bigotry is bigotry against religious people. And the only reason for hatred of religion is that it forces us to confront matters many would prefer to ignore.

Today we must carry on a new struggle for the country we love. We must push hard against an age that is pushing hard against us. If we have full employment and greater economic growth—if we have cities of gold and alabaster—but our children have not learned how to walk in goodness, justice and mercy, then the American experiment, no matter how gilded, will have failed.

Do not surrender. Get mad. Get in the fight.

——————————————-

For hundreds of years, the eagle has been admired for its grandeur, its grace in flight, and its size and awesome power.

The soaring eagle is used by Isaiah the prophet to stir within us an understanding of God’s power….it’s also a picture of the true meaning of liberty…and a good beginning for our lesson today.

Every coin minted in the U.S. bears these words: “LIBERTY: In God we trust.” Our forefathers chose these words to describe the tremendous cost and sacrifice that has been paid to secure our freedom…and to acknowledge God’s hand in making and preserving this nation.

They were confident God was blessing us as a nation…and they warned future generations that the day God was not revered in America, it would cease to be a great nation.

If America has lost its way in our day, it’s because it doesn’t know its own Christian heritage. We need this knowledge to understand why “God shed His grace on Thee.”

I am personally thankful for the religious revival taking place in our land! I find weekly that people are looking for direction….for a sense of meaning…for a value system which has not been part of their family.

I believe (and you do, too) that the answers are found in Jesus Christ and in God’s Word! In Christ lies all the secrets of the universe, the origin of life, the meaning or purpose for life, the direction of history, and of life beyond.

Psalms 33:12: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.”

Proverbs 14:34: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”

On July 4, 1776, 56 courageous men signed a Declaration of Independence, which marked the birth of this nation which, under God, was destined for world leadership. Did you realize these facts: of the 56 men:

  • Five were captured and killed by the British
  • 12 had their homes sacked, looted, occupied by the enemy, or burned
  • two lost their sons in the army; one had two sons captured
  • 9 died in the war from bullets or its hardships

The idea is that we are “a nation under God.” Our very political superstructures stand upon Biblical principles.

The forefathers understood the need of a separation of church and state but NOT a divorcement of God from government! The American system is the political expression of Christian ideas…a nation founded upon the rock of religion and rooted in the love of man.

Daniel Webster (in 1851): “Let the religious element in man’s nature be neglected, let him be influenced by no higher motives than low self-interest, and subjected to no stronger restraint than the limits of civil authority, and he becomes the creature of selfish passion or blind fanaticism. On the other hand, the cultivation of the religious sentiment represses licentiousness…inspires respect for law and order, and gives strength to the whole social fabric, at the same time that it conducts the human soul upward to the Author of its being.”

Charles Malik (in 1951..one time ambassador of the U.S.—”The good in the United States would never have come into being without the blessing and the power of Jesus Christ…I know how embarrassing this matter is to politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen and cynics; but, whatever these honored men think, the irrefutable truth is that the soul of America is at its best and highest—Christian.”

What makes America great? The land and the people have made it great for these 229-plus years. We have a generous and sharing system; we struggle for each person’s freedoms.

Thomas Jefferson: “Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed the conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?”

We must also not forget: when great reform swept across Europe, it put the Bible in the hands of the people…and the Restoration Movement, of which we’re part, went further to encourage all people to go “all the way back to the Bible” to restore the New Testament pattern.

Calvin Coolidge: “The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.”

Romans 13:1-7:”Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. {2} Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. {3} For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. {4} For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. {5} Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. {6} This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. {7} Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

I know we’re trying desperately to be “politically correct” in our day but we’ve gone too far when we seek to change the meaning of some “tried and tested” Biblical words:

  • drunkenness is called “a social disease”
  • homosexuality is “gay rights and an alternate lifestyle”
  • perversion is now called “pornography, adult entertainment”
  • immorality is called “the new morality”
  • cheating is now “abnormal social development”

This change of words “mentality” has brought a great deal of shame to our homes and to our country:

  • 500,000 heroin addicts and 43 million Americans have experimented with marijuana
  • Crime costs us $2 billion annually; a serious crime is committed every 3.5 seconds; one robbery every 83 seconds; one murder every 27 minutes
  • 9 million alcoholics; suicide is 2nd largest killer of teens

There was a time when we legislated against those things God said were wrong. But gradually we began to tolerate, then accept, then condone openly, and even promote what was once unthinkable.

Think of some myths which are alive and well in our society:

  1. The battle isn’t real. Two greatest problems we face? “I don’t know” and “I don’t care.” The devil is described as a “roaring lion, seeking who he can devour.”
  2. Life began with blind chance. Genesis 1:1: ““In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
  3. We can have morality without religion. (Romans 1:18-22) “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, {19} since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. {20} For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. {21} For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. {22} Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools”
  4. Whatever is legal is moral. (Jesus taught in Matthew 22:21: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”).
  5. The role of men and women is interchangeable.
  6. A fetus is not human.
  7. Pornography is a harmless adult pleasure.
  8. The church should have no voice in government. The ballot box is the best place.

I have said it before and believe it still today: we get what we deserve if we are going to elect ungodly men and women to led our country! I have little or no sympathy for any of us today if we don’t vote according to our conscience instead of a political party or according to political dogma.

1 Timothy 2: 1-6: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– {2} for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. {3} This is good, and pleases God our Savior, {4} who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. {5} For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, {6} who gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time.”

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2017 in Encouragement

 

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