Happy 4th of July from the Founding Fathers

On this 4th of July celebration, I pass on to you a few quotes from some of our most famous founding fathers. As evidenced by their words and actions, what they believed as evidenced below, helped them make America one of the greatest nations the world has ever seen.

Even Benjamin Franklin, who struggled mightily with his personal faith and Christian character chimed in to make a worthy contribution.

“I’ve lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more I am convinced that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without the Lord’s notice, how is it possible that a nation can rise without His aid? For without the Lord building the house, all who labor, do so in vain.” 1 Ben Franklin

“O blessed Father, let thy Son’s blood wash me from all impurities, and cleanse me from the stains of sin that are upon me. Give me grace to lay hold of Your merits; that they may be my conciliation and atonement. May I know my sins are forgiven, by Your Son’s death and resurrection?” 2 President George Washington 

“The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity, for I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world.” 3 President John Adams

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended powers, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.” 4 President Abraham Lincoln

“Let the children who are sent to those schools be taught to read, write, and above all let both sexes be carefully instructed in the principles and obligations of the Christian religion. This is the most essential part of education.” 5 Benjamin Rush (Signer of Declaration of Independence)

 “Education is useless without the Bible.” 6 Daniel Webster

“Cursed be all learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.” 7 President James Madison

Footnotes

  1. Thomas George [editor], God governs the Affairs of Men, Benjamin Franklin, (The Greatest Message of All time, Great-messages.com) (rbk)
  2. William J. Johnson, George Washington the Christian (New York, Forgotten Books/ Abingdon Press, 1919), pages 28-31.
  3. Natalie Nichols, Is America a Christian Nation? More Quotes From Our Founders: John Adams, (Internet, Americana, May 10, 2010) * Note- Two quotes combined together into one.
  4. Franklin Graham, Quote by Abraham Lincoln (Washington D.C., Inaugural Invocation of President George W. Bush, January 20th, 2001).
  5. L.H. Butterfield, editor, Letters of Benjamin Rush, (Princeton: The American Philosophical Society, 1951), Vol. I page 414.
  6. Why-the-bible.com, Daniel Webster, (Internet, The Bible-Quotes from Famous Men).
  7. Christian Quotes, James Madison Christian Quote about Learning, (Published in Christian Education Quotes, (February, 12th, 2012).

 

 

Article 19 Made Up Rules and Obligatory Acceptance

 

What would you think of a baseball game where everyone made up their own rules? One player decides it will take five strikes to strike him out at the plate rather than three.  Another determines the game will be over in five innings instead of nine. And still another announces that all hits to the outfield are homeruns, even if caught by opposing players. Meanwhile in the midst of this chaotic and pointless game, everyone is expected to accept another’s alternatives or rules without reservation.

In many ways this is what the world is leaning toward in respect to absolute truth by which all of us must live. What is right for you may be right for you, but not necessarily right for me!

As a result, when it comes to a source like the Bible that teaches nothing but absolute truth on just about every issue of this life, it is ignored, discredited, rejected, and even ridiculed. Most who stand against the Bible and what it teaches believe there is only one overarching absolute truth, and that is there are no absolute truths! Everyone does what is right in his own eyes.  However, a world without any absolute truths is as pointless and meaningless as a baseball game without any set rules by which to play. In fact, why even play the game at all, for someone may determine at the end of the game that the team with the most runs loses.

In the midst of this life without any absolutes, we as Christians are somehow supposed to accept everyone’s game without condition, even if what they do or say violates every principle, standard, and caution God has taught us through His word, the Bible.

My point is simple: don’t follow the world’s lead by rejecting the hundreds of absolute truths beautifully set forth throughout the Bible. God wrote and gave them to us so that we could live this life with complete meaning and without chaos.

Don’t adopt the world’s view of obligatory acceptance of everything it does, for this is not love according to the Scriptures. God’s love is not only full of acceptance, much more than the world could ever give, but also jam-packed with offers of forgiveness, guiding discipline, and purpose. For without God’s absolute truth in play for all of us, the game of life can become as chaotic and pointless as a baseball game without set rules or standards.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. II Timothy 3:16

Article 19 Climate Change?

 

 

The second angel poured out his bowl of God’s judgment into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died. Revelation 16:3

There is a big controversy raging right now about climate change. I will not get into who is right or wrong in this, because there is a climate change coming that will render all opinions irrelevant on the matter. It is what the Bible teaches will happen in the last generation before Christ returns, the beginning of which started when Israel returned to its homeland and reformed itself once again as a nation.

No matter what progress we have made or will make in global warning, the generation we are in right now will see the incredible destruction of this world, including its climate. As described in the book of Revelation, our fresh water streams, lakes, and reservoirs will become polluted and poisoned beyond any measure of clean up. Our oceans will lose at least 1/3 of their sea life, and then eventually 100% of what’s left. Just think of the stench of millions upon millions of dead sea-life washing up on our shores. A house on Malibu Beach will be a nightmare to live in not a luxury.

What will cause most of this tragedy according to the Scriptures? It will come about for the most part because of the many wars that will occur between nations throughout the world. The nuclear exchanges alone will render the oceans, rivers, and lakes foul-smelling and unusable. Without sea life to draw from for food or clean water to drink it will be impossible to survive long. Fortunately before we all perish, Jesus returns to stop all of this and save those who have put their trust in God. The rest will be judged accordingly.

The point is, these catastrophes are coming and will happen within our generation according to Scriptures. We just don’t know how long this generation is.

In view of this, perhaps we should work more on changing the spiritual climate of our hearts and minds toward God and others, rather than changing a world climate that will have no relevance in the last days.

Biblical references

Matthew 24, Amos 9                                      Last generation

Revelation 16:4-7                                            Fresh waters destroyed

Revelation 8                                                    1/3 of oceans destroyed

Revelation 16:3                                               100% of oceans left destroyed

Romans 10: 9-11 or Philippians 4:6-7             Changing your spiritual climate

 

 

The character of a young child

 

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another

I Thessalonian 5:11

The world long remembers those who have great character, especially when it is demonstrated in the life of a young child.

There is a story of a mother who brought into her home as a companion to her son, a little boy who was a hunchback. She did because she wanted her son to learn how to love and encourage someone who was different.

In doing this the mother did not want her son to do anything that would hurt the feelings of this new companion, so before-hand she encouraged her son to be careful and not take any unusual notice of the boy’s back.

“Just play with him as if he was normal.”

As the boys began to play, she looked in from time to time to see how they were doing. All looked very good; they were both having a lot of fun.  Then when everything seemed fine, her son started to say something that caused her to gasp. But she did not interfere and decided to just let it play out.

“Do you know what you have got on your back?”

The little hunchbacked boy looked down as if embarrassed, and hesitated to say anything.

“It is the box God has given you to hold your wings and someday

He is going to cut it open, and then you will fly away and be an angel.”

There was a little silent pause at first, but then the little hunched back boy looked up with a big smile on his face. The boys continued to play on that afternoon, and did so for many years after.

Great character, as this little boy teaches us, is not just doing what is right or good, but often it is also what we say to encourage and bring hope to others.

Reference:

The core of this devotion was taken from Cowan’s Streams in the Desert (December 2nd)

When God created mothers

 

When the Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of overtime when one of His angels stopped by and said, “You’re doing a lot of extra work with this one. “

The Lord answered back, “Have you seen the specs I put together for this model?

She has to have 180 movable parts that will last for years to come. Run on black coffee and leftovers.

Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. Has a kiss that can cure anything from a child’s broken heart to a husband’s broken spirit. And six pairs of hands to fix everything.”

The astonished angel shook his head and said in disbelief, “Six pairs of hands?”

“It’s not the hands that are taking so long,” said the Lord, “It’s the three pairs of eyes that a mother needs, two in the front and a set in the back.”

The angel asked, “And is that with every model?”

The Lord nodded, “One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks her kids, ‘What are you doing,’ even though she already knows. And of course eyes in front that can look into a child’s eyes who has goofed up, and say, ‘I love and forgive you,’ without ever uttering a word.”

“Lord,” said the angel, touching His sleeve gently, “Maybe you should take a break for a while, this is going to take a long time.”

“I can’t, I’m too close now to creating something near to Myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick, feeds an entire family on a pound of hamburger, and can get a nine year old to stand under the shower.”

The angel circled around the mother and said, “She’s very pretty, but too soft!”

“But tough and resilient!” said the Lord. “Just wait and see what this mother will be able to do and endure.”

“Can she think?”

“Not only think beyond measure, but reason, reflect, and referee the most difficult family battles.”

Finally, the angel bent over and ran his finger across the mother’s cheek. “Wait a second, there’s a leak. I think, Lord, You may have put too much into this creation.”

“It’s not a leak; it’s tears, the same kind I have when I see those I love so much fall away from Me.”

The angel leaned back, understood, and smiled.

 

Reference

(K with anonymous point of reference)

Article 17 Russia eats in Israel

 

When Russia invades Israel one day according to the Scriptures, its army will be completely destroyed during this quest and battle. Not because the Jewish people are so good or resilient in battle, for they would be hopelessly outnumbered, but because God steps in and causes one of the most massive earthquakes the world has ever seen.  20 on the Richter scale would not be out of range. Where the Russian soldiers are camped during their brief occupation of Jerusalem, is exactly where God causes this quake.  As a result of the quake there will be uncontrollable fires, body decay, and an ensuing epidemic. Very few Russians will survive according to prophesy.   After that the Russian army will cease to exist; they will be no more.  In fact, according to the book of Numbers in the Old Testament it will take about seven months to bury all of them.   An entire valley east of the Mediterranean coast will be their designated burial ground, and will be filled from bottom to top.

During this time, which is about the mid-point of the Tribulation (3 ½ years before Christ returns), many Jews in Israel will turn to Christ as Savior.

Finally, due to Russia’s double cross with its southern alliance during this invasion, many, if not most of the Muslims living in that region of the world would also perish. If this were to happen today, it would mean that about 20% of the Muslim world wide population would die, which is about 320 million.

References

Daniel 11

Ezekiel 38 & 39

Zechariah 12

Numbers 19

II Chronicles 20

Lindsey, [LGPE] pages 60-62, 158-160, 231-232

 

 

 

Article 18 Uncontainable Fires

 

My wife, Myrna, and I just got back from Yosemite; it is one of our favorite places. I camped there in college, took Myrna when we were first married, explored the trails with our kids, and are now hiking with their children. I don’t think this time around we’ve ever seen the falls at Yosemite so beautiful and full of thunderous water. Aside from the traditional falls, there were newly formed falls throughout the valley.

However, we could not believe all of the dead trees, so many that we thought there had been a recent forest fire. The ranger told us that over half of the trees had been destroyed, not by a fire but rather the five year California drought and the resulting infestation of the bark beetle. He went on to say that the rest of California was even worse, losing over 66 million trees. He feared greatly if a significant fire ever got going, it would be uncontainable due to all of the dead trees and timber.

In the book of Revelation, there will also be uncontrollable and uncontainable fires; ones that will totally destroy everything and everyone in their path. Some of these fires will come via lightning strikes, others will be intentionally set, but most of them sad to say, will come by means of war, bombings, and nuclear blasts.

When these fires begin, along with many other natural disasters at the same time, life on earth will become incredibly miserable and the earth almost uninhabitable. Just think of this world without any trees, no shade from the sun, no absorber of carbon dioxide, no fruit to pick, no shelter for birds and animals, and no beauty to appreciate or behold.

Yet this is what is ahead if we are truly in the last generation Jesus spoke of before He returns. Therefore it might be good to get your relationship settled with Him if you haven’t already. Because the way things are going in the world today, this calamity, along with so many others, may not be all that far off.

Matthew 24

Revelation 6-9

Hal Lindsey, There’s A New World Coming, page 86, 206-207

 

Breakfast with Jesus (An Easter message)

Categories: Articles By Date, Easter

A little over a year ago my wife, Myrna, and I sat on the shore of the Sea of Galilee not far from Capernaum. This was a little sea town where Jesus had asked Peter to be one of His disciples at the very beginning of His ministry. As Myrna and I had our devotions, we could feel the presence of the Lord when the sun came up. We also knew that we were not far from where Jesus had a special breakfast with Peter not long before He ascended to heaven. Perhaps, Myrna and I were right on the spot where they had breakfast together, who knows?

The breakfast took place about 33 days after Jesus’ resurrection. It was a special breakfast because Jesus was going to tell Peter and the others something they needed to know that would help them the rest of their lives.

After the resurrection, Peter had only met with Jesus three times, and all within the first eight days of this incredible miracle. During the following days Jesus would spend most of His time with others who had been faithful to Him, possibly up to 500, as I Corinthians 15 indicates. Who were they? Not completely sure, but very well could have been those who Jesus helped, healed, or just ministered to with His words.

Nevertheless, the disciples were to meet Jesus at the end of this time on a mountain in Galilee, probably Mt. Carmel. From there they would take a four day walk to Jerusalem where He would ascend to heaven in their presence.

Before they got to the mountain to make their last long trek with Him, Peter and six other disciples ran into Him on the Sea of Galilee. Evidently Peter had decided during this absence from the Lord to go back home and start fishing again. Six other disciples joined him; most of them were fisherman like himself. When Peter and the others cast out their nets early one morning, they heard Jesus’ voice on shore. He was beckoning them to come ashore and join Him. They knew it was His voice, for they had heard it many times before. As they made their way to shore where Jesus had built a fire, Peter couldn’t wait and jumped into the water, clothes and all, to get there as soon as he could.

As they were all eating breakfast together, Jesus asked Peter some very probing, yet some very healing questions. In respect to Peter, you have to wonder what he was thinking about himself in regards to his spiritual life and the Lord. On the one hand he could bring up to himself some great memories and experiences He had with Lord. After all he had given up his fishing profession to follow Jesus and walked on water with Him, that is until he panicked and began to drown. He was even the first to identify Jesus as the Messiah when others stayed silent. And when they came to take Jesus, he took out his sword and began to fight. Peter also knew that he had denied Jesus three times during His greatest time of need, and had run and hid with the other disciples when Jesus was being tortured and crucified.

Perhaps during this fishing trip, which turned out to be the last for him, Peter was thinking about all of these things, particularly the failures. Maybe that is why he was out fishing again, saying to himself, “Well, back to fishing, at least I can do this, for I am definitely not qualified to be the kind of disciple Jesus wanted me to be.”

So, as they all gathered on shore and began to cook and eat their fish and bread, Jesus asked Peter in front of all, “Do you love Me?” Now there are a few words used in the New Testament for love, one is agape and the other is phileo.  This latter love speaks only of friendship, the kind you could have with many who shared your common interests. Agape, on the other hand, was a much deeper love, the kind that would cause you to do everything possible for another, even at the cost of your own life. This is the love Jesus had for the disciples and the rest of mankind when He gave up His life on the cross.

When Jesus said to Peter, “Do you love me?” He used agape love when asking His question. In response, Peter must have thought for a minute or two before answering, because he responded with phileo love. In other words, “Yes, Lord, I love you like a friend.” This might have surprised some of the disciples listening, because Peter seemed to always be the one who answered confidently and boldly, sometimes for the good, and sometimes not.  Jesus did not rebuke him for his answer, but simply said, “Tend my lambs.”

Then a few minutes passed and after eating a few more bites of fish and bread, Jesus asks him for a second time, “Simon, son of John, “Do you love me?” Again Jesus uses agape love in His question.  Peter begins to struggle within, and answers back, “I love you like a friend.”  Jesus once again does not rebuke him, but simply says, “Shepherd my sheep.”

Finally for a third time, Jesus says, “Do you love me like a friend, using phileo this time around. Peter really struggles now and begins to grieve, but in his struggle says, “You know I love you.” Jesus says one last time, “Then tend my sheep.”

Jesus knew Peter was troubled within, so what was Jesus doing with him during this time, and what was His message to him? I believe Jesus was restoring Peter, because in each of Jesus’ answers, “Tend my lambs, shepherd my sheep, and tend my sheep,” none of his responsibilities were removed.  In my interpretation, Jesus was saying to Peter, you are still the rock, and upon what you teach about me and the kingdom, I will build my church. I told you I would make you a fisher of men at the beginning, and a fisher of men you will be. In respect to your past failures, and even your inability today to love me as I love you, you are forgiven.  In time you will love Me and others as I have loved you. Count on it!

As breakfast ended, the other disciples knew that Jesus was not just talking to Peter that morning, but to them as well, because each went on to do great things for the kingdom before their lives were taken from them. And when they gave their lives up, they did so without any fear or panic.

Maybe you need a breakfast time with the Lord during this Easter celebration. If so He is waiting on shore with the campfire lit.

Scriptural References

(Read all of them this Easter)

Matthew 28, Mark 16 , Luke 24, John 20, John 21, Acts 1:1-11 , I Corinthians 15:5-7, Matthew 16

 

The Third Woman

 

The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. Zephaniah 3:17

It may be that while reading this there is a crushing sorrow, bitter disappointment, or heart-breaking blow going on in your life right now, something you did not expect. In the midst of it you are seeking the Lord’s loving hand, help, and wisdom as you have done in the past. Yet there seems to be silence from Him this time around, and you wonder why? As your situation develops, for it seems to have gotten worse, the Lord’s silence almost becomes deafening. You ponder, over and over again, “What have I done and why is the Lord so silent?

But from God’s end He is fully aware of your heart breaking circumstance, and even though He is not doing with you as He has done before, that does not mean He doesn’t love or care for you any less.

In respect to this there is an old and beautiful story I ran across several years ago of a Christian woman who had a dream one night. In it she saw three other women kneeling in prayer, and as they prayed the Lord drew near.

As He approached the first of the three, He bent over her in tenderness and grace, smiled, put His hand on her shoulder, and then spoke words of encouragement and comfort.

Leaving her, He came to the next, but only placed His hand upon her bowed head, and gave her one look of loving approval.

With the third woman He passed almost abruptly by without stopping for a glance or a word.

While still dreaming, the woman thought to herself, “How greatly the Lord must have loved the first, and even the second to whom he gave strong approval. Yet to the third, there was almost nothing given to her at all, no outward demonstration of love, or a word.

The woman sought the Lord out and voiced her concern as to why there was a different response to each of the three women, especially to the last one. “What has she done to deserve Your silence,” she asked?

The Lord responded, “O woman! How wrongly have you interpreted Me. The first kneeling woman needs all the weight of My tenderness and care to keep her strong in the faith. She needs My love, thought and help every moment of the day. Without it she would fail and fall.

“The second had a stronger faith and a deeper love, and I can trust her to trust Me however things may go and whatever people may do to her.”

“The third, whom I seemed not to notice, and even to neglect, has faith and love of the finest quality, and she I am training, by quick and drastic processes for higher service. She knows Me so intimately, and trusts Me so utterly, that she is independent of words or looks or any outward intimation of My approval. She is not dismayed nor discouraged by any circumstances through which I arrange that she shall pass; she trusts Me when sense and reason and every finer instinct of the natural heart would rebel; she knows that I am working in her for eternity, and that what I do, though she knows not the explanation now, she will understand hereafter.”

The woman woke up from her dream, and realized that she was that third woman. She was greatly encouraged and rarely fretted again about God’s silence in her life.

Reference

This devotional was inspired by Streams in the Desert, Cowan, February ninth.

Rebellious Butterflies

Last summer my wife and I took our two youngest grandchildren to the zoo to see the butterfly exhibit.   Connor was about 3, and Elizabeth was eighteen months.  In order to get into the exhibit we had to be very careful not to let the butterflies escape.  So there were two sets of doors and a waiting area to go through to make sure none escaped.  When we finally got in with all the butterflies, they were everywhere, flying from one part of the enclosure to the next.  They were all very beautiful and seemed content with each other and us as well.  Aside from this there were plenty of leaves and foliage from which to feed, and the temperature inside was just right for them being not too cold or too warm.  The conditions were just perfect for these butterflies to thrive in, how could they want anything more?

Yet, at every instance there were a few who were always trying to escape, especially when the exit doors were opened.   I remember when we tried to leave some even clung to our clothing and we had to shew them off.   Had they been successful in fleeing in this way, they would have died soon after escaping according to the staff.  The conditions outside the enclosure would have been just too perilous for them.

In a way these butterflies reminded me of times when I tried in the past to escape the set of circumstances God had provided for me to thrive in with my faith. For whatever reasons, though, I grew tired of where I was in some of those circumstances and wanted to venture out. Had the Lord let me out as I look back, I would have been greatly harmed in my faith. But He didn’t, and because of that I grew in my walk with Him as planned.   Therefore my caution to you is to stay where you are until the Lord, Himself, has made it clear for you to leave.  And He will, but according to His own timing, when conditions are right, and when you are ready.  How do you know when this time comes?  The Lord will push you out when the time arrives as He did with the disciples who were sent to all parts of the world to preach the Gospel after the Lord made His exit.

Eventually the butterfly enclosure we visited last summer was closed and shut down. The season of life for those butterflies came to an end, but not before their time was up.  Eventually the Lord will move you on to other things and places, but not before your time in what you are doing and experiencing is up.  Enjoy what you have while you have it, don’t be so quick to rush out of what God has provided for you to thrive in.

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. Philippian’s 4:11

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1