Happy Independence Day

Over 200 years ago the founding fathers of our country had a dilemma. How could they give us freedom to do what we    believed was right and balance it with the restraint necessary to prevent chaos and mayhem? Their solution was our Constitution. The Constitution gives us freedom to do what is right; not the license to do as we please. License to do as we please leads to chaos and destruction. So the obvious question becomes, “What is our responsibility?”

Our founding fathers put forth a set of rights & responsibilities in our Constitution. Among the chief of them was the right for the populace to govern themselves. The right of self-government however demands the holder of that right  to take responsibility. Taking responsibility requires a standard of   accountability. The basis of that accountability is described well  in the Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration of Independence declares, we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. Where do those rights and responsibilities come from? Our Creator!

Do you know Him?

 

When I was in High School I had an interesting experience with one of my teachers. She had a reputation of being difficult. She was mean and strict. She had more rules than any other    teacher and very few people seemed to like her. It was with these thoughts that I entered her class and at first I thought the others were right. She got mad at me for talking to another student when I should have been listening; she gave me a poor grade because I turned a paper in late and she actually yelled at me in front of the class when she caught me cheating off another students test. Yet, when I got to know her I found her to really care for me. She wanted me to succeed and to be the best that I could be. She was willing to hold me     accountable for my actions, at the risk of me not liking her,  because she wanted what was best for me. As I reflect back, she was one of the few teachers who really loved me. She was an earthly example to me of what God is really like. He only does what is good for us. He wants us to know Him that way.

If you know God as a mean, strict and condemning God who is only out to punish people who mess up then you do not know Him. God seeks to reward and bless those that desire to have a relationship with Him. Any punishment comes by our choice, because we do not receive His love and care for us.

 

Just like my teacher who held me accountable to her standard because she really wanted me to succeed, God too wants us to succeed,. His standard is His law. Thou shalt not lie, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not commit adultery to name a few. His law is not meant to condemn us but to show us our need for Him. The law is our teacher to bring us to Jesus Christ (Ga 3:24). When we see our need for Him and come  to Him, we will find Him to be gentle and patient, willing to take us as we are and make us into what He wants us to be (Rom 8:29). No matter what your experience is, the Bible tells us the truth about God.

The Bible says that He loves you with an everlasting love (Jer31:3). It further states that the thoughts He has towards you are not thoughts of evil but thoughts of peace to bring you to a place of rest (Jer 29:11). His desire for us to have a relationship with Him is so strong that He did something unthinkable. He gave His Son.  God is a Holy God. The word Holy means that He is so pure and clean that He cannot have anything unclean or impure in His presence. Sin, which is the breaking of Gods law, makes us unclean and impure and separates us from God. The Bible says that all have sinned and come short of God’s  standard (Rom 3:23).

 

If we can be cleaned and purified it is then possible to have a relationship with Him. He asked His Son to come and make us clean and pure. God loved you and gave His Son, if you accept Him your impurity and uncleanness will be washed away. Then you  will be free to enjoy Him forever (John 3:16). He leaves the choice with you. It starts with a simple acknowledgement of your need for help and then believing that God is that helper. He says if you seek for Him you will find Him (De 4:29, Ac 17:27,Heb 11:6)

In sending His Son Jesus Christ, God has done all we need to be clean. Our responsibility is to believe God and receive what He has done for us through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. This is sufficient to make us clean. (John 1:12)

Imagine loving someone so much that you were willing to do all you could to have a relationship with them, only to have them reject you. God says that He does not want any to go to hell and to perish (2Pe 3:9), yet He does not force Himself on us. Just like our founding fathers did everything possible for us to be free to govern ourselves, they left the responsibility with us. God too has done everything to make it possible for us to have an eternal relationship with Him. The choice is yours. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, call out to God for help and He will save you.

 

Published in: on July 8, 2014 at 3:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Founding Fathers Foundation – Part 1

In the year 1776 a group of men made some very important decisions that drastically changed the course of History and greatly impacted your life. Because of these men, their decisions and their commitment to their cause, today we enjoy the privilege of a form of government that, although not perfect, has allowed the governed to experience a level of safety, prosperity and hope never before witnessed in History. As Americans we have been given the responsibility of choice. We can choose our leaders and therefore choose the laws and policies that govern us. Study History and you will find the idea of the governed determining how they are governed almost non existent in any culture before the United States of America.

The significance of this has not been lost on the rest of the world. Since our independence from tyranny over 200 years ago we have been studied and emulated by many countries throughout the world. They were trying to figure out what made the US work.

The decisions made by our founding fathers were so firmly rooted and grounded in a common foundation that we still benefit from them today, over 200 years later. The stability of America has been incredible even amidst difficulties such as the Civil War, the Great Depression and more recently Bush vs. Gore and 9-11. In Bush vs. Gore we saw a country sharply divided over who was to be president. Yet, as soon as the law of the land was upheld and the decision made, the majority of Americans accepted that our government had operated the way it was designed and put it behind them. They accepted the rule of the laws of our country even if they did not agree with the outcome. This amazed many in the rest of the world who may have experienced a different outcome in their countries.

Consider also that our form of government, a constitutional Republic (not a democracy) has lasted over 200 years. This is a major accomplishment. However, join this together with the continuation of the ideal that all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and we have a miracle. Yes there have been failures and mistakes yet today even amidst the problems, the ideal still stands as stated in our Declaration of Independence that all are “endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”.

Sadly though, the incredible magnitude of success experienced by the United States is being taken for granted by those who benefit from it the most. We Americans live our lives focused on the next paycheck, the weekend, our next promotion, the new media room and so on, that we have no clue of the incredible gift we have been given. We live in America, the land of the free. We must remember, we must not forget where we have come from, what we have been through and the dynamic future we can still have.

Forget? Unfortunately we have. We have forgotten what compelled our Founding Fathers to make the decisions they made over 200 years ago, decisions which cost them their lives, their fortunes and tested their sacred honor to the breaking point. What motivated these successful and prosperous men of the 1700’s to risk all that they had against incredible odds so that we could live free. If we understood this, America would soar again, children would feel safe, crime would disappear, terrorism would be stopped, poverty would decrease and psychologists would be looking for new careers.

Published in: on July 4, 2013 at 6:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Founding Fathers Foundation – Part 1

What did our Founding Fathers know? They understood the real answer to one of the most basic questions of any culture or society that has ever existed. The question has been greatly ignored in our culture today. It stands as the elephant in the room that no one is talking about. The answer to this basic question has determined the direction of every group of people since the beginning of time. Hitler and Stalin killed millions based on their answers to this question. Others have given their lives to help millions because of the way they answered this question. Most ignore it and let others answer it for them. The question, what makes something right or wrong? The answer to this question under girds everyone’s decision process. It makes us who we are and it determines where we are going in the near future all the way through eternity.

Ask yourself.

When I get ready to make a decision about whether something is right or wrong, what principles do I use to make that decision?

How do you decide if something is right or wrong?

If you are like 60% of the people your answer will be something like this, I decide what is right or wrong based on how I was brought up. Your foundation will be the values of your parents, teachers, and others that influenced your life. The decisions you make will reflect the standards and values of those that influenced you. While on the surface this seems satisfactory, how do you know if the people who influenced you were right or wrong?

Consider a New Guinea pygmy who was influenced by his parents and teachers to kill and eat other human beings. His guiding principles come from the way he was brought up. The results of his upbringing however seem greatly flawed by our standards. How do we decide if he is right or wrong?

We see that the way we were brought up, if used as the sole determining factor, fails as a consistent standard for what is right and wrong. There must be something else.

The next 20% answer the question with the idea that they have some innate sixth sense that guides them. They say I just have a strong sense or felling of what is right and I do it. A little consideration of this principle and we quickly see the problem. Feelings are not reliable. I sometimes feel like staying in bed instead of getting up and going to work. If I trusted in my feelings as the standard of what is right and wrong I would stay in bed and loose my job.

Feelings are not trustworthy as a consistent standard of what is right or wrong.

The last answer that I am usually given is that I determine what is right or wrong based on what the law says. The law becomes the guiding principle. While the law is important to follow, how do those making the laws decide whether a law should be a law or not? For example if I bought an island in the South Pacific, moved there with 500 others, we formed our own little country and passed a law that made murder legal, would that make murder right? No we all know murder is wrong, don’t we? Or do we? We have forgotten what makes something right or wrong.

Our Founding Fathers had not forgotten. They staked their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honors on what they knew were right.

There is a right and there is a wrong. However you and I cannot be trusted to decide right and wrong based on our upbringings, our feelings or even on our laws. There must be something greater than us that establishes the standard of right or wrong. Something, that is always consistent and in control. That something greater is actually a person. His name is Jesus Christ. He is the creator of all things and therefore the only one capable of setting the absolute standard by which we, his creation, must live. Not only is He capable, He has done it. It is called the Bible, a book that He inspired and that He has preserved for us to know Him by. Many will say, without ever reading it, that they do not believe it is true.

I was one of those once until I read it. It is true, it is relative and it is absolutely imperative for you to know what it says if you truly want to have Life, Liberty and the freedom to Pursue Happiness.

Our Founding Fathers knew this and gave their lives, fortunes and sacred honor for it. It is never to late to turn back to the truth.

Published in: on July 4, 2013 at 6:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Going to Heaven? Part 2 Are you one of His?

Jesus will save His people from their sins. This is a great promise. God will keep it. Yet is it possible to know for sure you are one of His?

Part 2 –Can you know for sure you are one of His?

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

There are three conditions that must be true in order for someone to be His. First He tells us that His people will hear His voice then He states that He knows them and finally they follow Him. In Matthew 7 Jesus tells a group of people who have believed on Him and done wonderful works to depart from because He knew them not. You must be known by Him and if you are, then you will hear His voice and follow Him. Therefore there are two sure ways we can know if we are His! By hearing His voice and following Him. He knows those that are His and He has never lost one of them.

How will we know that we have heard His voice and become followers of Him? Stay tune for part 3.

Part 3 Have you heard His voice?

Published in: on July 4, 2013 at 6:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Part 4 We must Agree with God

1-Jesus will save His people from their sins.

2-His sheep hear His voice and follow Him.

3-We must agree with His Word to be one of His.

4-What does the Word say that we must agree with in order to prove we are His children and therefore aware of His work in our lives?

We must agree with God that……..

First, that we are sinners.

-Sinners because of the first Adams sin

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

-Sinners because of our own sin

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Second, that because of that sin we are dead spiritually and will die physically.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death;

James 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Third, that the only hope to escape death is through Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

Fourth, that those who hear His voice will see their need, want to be saved and call out to Him for salvation.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

So you have heard the voice of God through the Word of God and agreed with Him that you are a sinner You also know you will not find relief even in death unless you give your life to Jesus Christ. In awareness of your desperate need you have called out to Him to be saved and He has saved you. What is next? Does your life become free of trials and struggles with everything going perfectly? No, for now the real battle begins.

As one of His sheep you have heard His voice and been given spiritual life. You are a part of His family so your loving Heavenly father begins the process of teaching you to live the new life He has given you. He will teach you to live who you really are……

How does this happen? Stay tune for part 5….!!!!

Published in: on July 4, 2013 at 6:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Call to Stand

Throughout scripture we see examples of men and women who were called to stand and because of it the course of history was altered and God glorified. David at Ziklag had every reason to be discouraged and cast down, his King and father in law wanted to kill him, his family and possessions had been taken by an enemy, and his men frustrated by all that was going wrong wanted to stone him.

The Bible tells us in 1 Samuel 30 verse 6 how David responded it says “…..but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” David made a conscious choice to trust in the absolute trustworthiness of God and thereby led his despondent men to a great victory. This is the God we serve. When we say, God I trust you and I submit to you, I believe your word is true and that you are faithful, I will walk whatever path you have set before me, I will take you at your word and hold onto your promises regardless of my feelings or situations. Then we show that our salvation is real and God’s light shines through us to give hope in a world of darkness.

Psalms 42:11 asks a question and then gives the only answer Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

In the book of Romans Paul finds himself asking much the same question when faced with the overwhelming awareness of his sinfulness coupled with his desire to change yet finding it difficult, he says ….. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Romans 7:24 He does not ask what or how but who shall remove him from this body of corruption that continually desires to sin….who will? Paul encourages himself with the only answer in verse 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul, David and many others have come to the end of themselves and found no hope anywhere except in the reality of who God is and that He has met their desperate need. He has done it. David and Paul saw no hope in their situations or circumstances but they choose to trust that God was in control and that He was trustworthy. This brought them great hope.

Today the significance of their decisions encourages us, who find ourselves in the same battles and struggles, to keep pressing on believing that the God who gave His own Son for us will also keep all His promises to us. Psalm 27 verse 13puts it this way ….. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Scripture teaches us that God is faithful. Because of this faithfulness God calls us to trust Him, which brings me to a poignant example of this kind of trust and the resulting light it brings.

Sometime in the spring Mark Christopher and I planted with much excitement and anticipation 40 sunflowers. The package described them as giants growing to over 12 feet tall. We planted and began the process of waiting. After about 7 days we checked to see if any had sprouted. We found none. Days turned into weeks and the busyness of life kept us from focusing on our sunflowers. Then one warm July day we took the time to look and much to our dismay Johnson grass had invaded our sunflower patch. Johnson grass grows very tall, thick and quickly. With all three of these characteristics present our sunflowers were nowhere to be seen. The weeds of life had overwhelmed and overtaken them. They had died in the fertile soil they were planted because they could not see the “Son”. Their roots were entangled and choked by the roots of their enemies and the “Water of life” they so desperately needed never found its way to their hearts and they died. Forty seeds all dead except ….one.

Published in: on July 4, 2013 at 6:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Our Responsibility in 2013 and beyond

One of my children has developed an interest in genealogy. It is fascinating to see how the choices made by my parents, my grandparents, and even my great grandparents have had an effect on me and my family. Our choices have consequences for good or for evil. I saw this again when as a family we studied the history of Jamestown, VA and Plymouth, MA. The impact the forefathers of our country have had on us all really struck me. Four hundred years ago, a bunch of imperfect men and women endured incredible hardship and obstacles to lay a foundation for our nation’s stability and prosperity that still last today. Yes, they had problems but it is who undergirded them that allowed them to be successful. The problems we have faced as a Nation the last few years although seriously weakening us have not left us utterly destroyed. The impact of those who have gone before us is still at work, but if we neglect to maintain what they gave us and allow the foundations to crumble we also will crumble. To whom much is given much is required. We must not forget that generations from now they will look back to what we did as we look to those that have gone before us.

WE ARE THE PAST TO THE FUTURE

Living in America is an incredible blessing. People from all over the world desire to come and stay here. We can easily forget how good we have it if we focus on the problems and the failures instead of on the blessings. There is an old song that I taught my children when they were younger that went like this:

Count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your blessings, see what God hath done!

Count your blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

When was the last time we went hungry? When was the last time we were without a roof over our heads or heat, air conditioning, vacations, jobs, running water, friends, safety on most streets, a car or two in the driveway and I could go on and on. Yes there have been times that some have struggled and experienced lack but in America most of us still have the freedom to take responsibility for our lives. We do not have to be victims of our situations and circumstances. Embarking on a study of our nation’s history, our family discovered that what we have here is quite amazing and rare. One reason for this is that since our humble beginnings 400 years ago we, as a nation, have acknowledged the God of the Bible as the power that preserves us a nation. Our money, our anthems, and our government buildings have a phrase that shows up everywhere: “In God we trust”. We are a Christian nation, a Christian nation that, for the most part, until recent history has not been ashamed to identify with Jesus Christ.

David, a man in the Bible said it this way, “Lord give me enough that I do not hunger and curse you but don’t give me so much that I forget where it comes from.” We must not forget. When the terrorists on 9/11 attacked our country the churches swelled in attendance, and even our elected officials joined hands and had a prayer meeting on the Capitol steps. Will it always take a crisis to get us to turn to God? God has given us the freedom to choose to follow Him. He does not force us but He does love us enough to get our attention.

In the Bible, there was a man who led his nation for many years into the land that God has promised them. Through many very difficult and trying circumstances he seldom wavered in his trust of God. His name is Joshua. Towards the end of a long and blessed life he gathered all the people of his nation together. Noticing that they seemed to be forgetting Who had given them the Promised Land and where all the blessings of prosperity and safety came from he challenged them with the following:

And if it seems evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve….but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15

Joshua, like the people he was talking to, had a choice to make. His life reflected one that trusted God in almost every way. I daily have the same choice. I wish I was more like Joshua but praise God that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, not to condemn us but to forgive us. His forgiveness is available to all who come admitting their need and asking Him for it. The choices we make have eternal impacts on both ours and others futures.

We are the past to the future. May 2013 be your best year ever.

Published in: on July 4, 2013 at 6:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Going to Heaven? Part 1

Can you know for sure you are going to Heaven?

Part 1- Does God keep His promises?

The promises of God are always fulfilled by Him. He has never failed to keep them. In the Old Testament, God gave many promises about the coming of Jesus Christ. One of those promises is found in Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

This passage, talking about Jesus, was written by the prophet Isaiah hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. He said that she “shall call his name Immanuel”, Immanuel means God with us. So God stated hundreds of years before Christ’s birth that He would send Immanuel or God to be with us. How? As a baby born to a virgin. Jesus Christ came to earth as a baby born to a virgin. God keeps His promises.

In the Bible in the book of Matthew it tells how Joseph, the fiancé of Mary, the mother of Jesus, dealt with the promises of God.

Matthew 1: 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Joseph believed God and responded by doing what he was told to do. The promise in the Old Testament having been fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ set the stage for a fuller understanding of all the promises of God. In passage above the angel tells Joseph …… thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Jesus will save His people from their sins. This is a great promise. God will keep it. The question is not, Will God keep His promise? but How do you know if you are one of His? Stay tuned for part 2.

Part 2 – Are you one of His?

Published in: on July 4, 2013 at 6:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Independence Day & the Family

In the year 1776 when the Signers of the Declaration of independence gathered to put their names to that famous document, they were not putting there names to a document created from a flashing moment of genius or spontaneous cleverness. On the contrary, that sagacious group was building upon what others had theorized and contemplatively cogitated. During the previous millenniums, through times of reformation, revolution, war, and peace, men had discovered the biblical principles from which to build society upon. They thoughtfully recorded the principles and gave possible applications to them. As history progressed, opportunities arose to apply those principles, but never had there been such an opportune circumstance coming in the form of the American Experiment. In complete and sublime form, The United States of America would be created, consisting of 13 separate colonies uniting into one, clearly based on Biblical principles.

What America’s Founders understood has been largely forgotten in the America of today. Applying Biblical principles to society, to government, and to law, was a type of wisdom so fundamental to that period. Unfortunately, through humanism, Marxism, and social Darwinism, this wisdom has been lost and the idea of referring back to it is considered immature and weak. Yet the father of Conservatism, Edmund Burke put it well, “People will not look forward to posterity who never look back to their ancestors.”

We must remember what those before us have done. This is what Fourth of July is all about; remembering our forefathers and their willingness to lay down their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor so you and I could enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today. As America continues its charted course through history there is an important way to hold onto those values and remember those principles, given to us by our country’s founders. It is through the family. Furthermore, a family built on the name of Jesus Christ, and the teachings He put forth.

We need families who have parents that will pass down to their children Christian virtues, biblical truths, and lasting principles. We need Fathers who will courageously lead their families. Wives who will support their Husbands and love their children. We need children submitting to their parents and learning from them. As strong families are built and established across the United States, America then has a grand opportunity to continue in what our Founding Father promulgated. May we do so and pray that God would “raise up the foundations of many generation” so that this wonderful Country, our own America, can be a beacon of light, a testimony of hope, and a refuge of safety, for the world, and future generations.

Published in: on July 4, 2012 at 5:48 pm  Comments (1)  

2012 Family Encouragement Weekend – FEW Conference

2012 Family Encouragement Weekend
“Continuing Steadfast in the Faith”

I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge (Ps. 71:8). As a family, you have probably felt this way at times. But though a wonder unto many, how wonderful that the Psalmist had made the Lord His strong refuge. The times we feel alone are the times to recognize that the Lord is all we need. Praise the Lord though that, as the Prophet Elijah came to realize, God has and continues to preserve a remnant.

A goal of the Family Encouragement Weekends is to bring imperfect families together who recognize their need for Christ and are seeking to glorify Him in all they do. Christ is sufficient and as families embrace this truth, the results will be powerful as the foundations of many generations are raised up and the world around us impacted for Christ.

The Lord is bringing together another blessed season of Family Encouragement Weekends. We would love to have your family attend.

If you are interested, please visit: www.FEWConference.com or contact  for more information on this year’s conferences.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord (1Cor. 15:58).

Published in: on February 18, 2012 at 4:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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