Sunday, October 13, 2013

God Bless America Again

All over America we can see people posting signs, or filling their social networks with "God Bless America." That's a good thing, right?  I would say that it is a good thing.  But the question it raises is, "Can God really bless America right now?"  I mean, how can a Holy and Righteous God bless a nation that has politically turned its back on Him?  How can He bless us when we, as a people and as individuals, have allowed the political agendas to continue unchecked in this country?  If we talk about the churches in America, what can we say?  Where do they stand?  Do they preach and teach about a Holy and Righteous God who will have to judge the world based on His Holiness and Righteousness?  Do they still teach that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth to be our payment for our debt of sin?  Or has the Gospel of Jesus Christ become so watered down and changed into a new socially acceptable gospel (small g) so as to please the most people? 

This is what I want to talk about today on this first writing of this blog.  What does it take to be a nation that God can bless? Psalm 33:12 in the KJV says "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance."  So, according to this passage, America needs to be a nation who has God as our Lord.  At one time the people of America chose God to be our Lord.  At one time we were a nation of people who wanted liberty and freedom and the rights given to us by the Lord.  We wanted to love God and worship Him as we saw fit and not be ruled and regulated to death by any government.  We wanted our nation to understand this and that is why this country was formed as it was.  That is why our Constitution was written as it was, along with the Bill of Rights.

But today, America has turned from all those original viewpoints.  As each generation ages and passes, and as each new generation takes its place, the old values and standards by which this country was created seem to pass away also.  The further we get away from the things that made this country great in the beginning, the further we get from the dream of living in that true freedom and liberty.  Each generation brings with it new ideas, new dreams, new goals.  They still want all the freedoms they inherited when they were born into this great land, or moved here from some other country where those freedoms were only a dream.  But they do not understand the sacrifices made that made this country what it once was.  They want all those things that God gave to America but without the holiness and righteousness part.  They want to be so free that they can do as they please without concern that a Holy and Righteous God is still here watching them.

The older generations who still know what true patriotism means and who really know what it means to have the freedom to worship God anyway we choose, and what our forefathers paid to insure that freedom are appalled at what is happening in America right now.  The younger generations do not understand what all the fuss is about.  They just want to live the way they choose and not be bothered with religion or God.  They don't want to deal with guilt and sin.  If they can somehow get rid of God, then the guilt and sin will go away, too.  At least they hope so.  For generations our people passed along the history of our country.  For generations we taught our young to know how this country was built and what it stood for.  Somewhere along the line we dropped the ball.  Somewhere along the line we stopped teaching them and let all the historical teachings come from the schools.  Somewhere along the line we forgot that the Bible teaches that parents are supposed to be teaching their children the stories of their fathers, and that includes both the history of the Bible and of our country.  When we stopped teaching and started putting the responsibility on the schools, and thereby the government, we gave up our rights.  Little by little, more and more ground was lost and more and more of our rights have been slowly taken away, all while we watched.  But what did we do about it?

Americans of all ages have come to love the luxuries that we can afford here.  In America, even the poorest of us (aside from the homeless) still has more than the average person has in other countries.  The thought of losing anything we have frightens us.  The idea that, if we really turn back to God, we might have to give something up that we love, prevents many of us from doing what we know we should. In addition to this, Americans have been taught by our government via the IRS, that Christians should not get involved in politics.  Churches have been threatened that they will lose their tax free status if they start teaching politics from the pulpit.  American churches have become such a big business enterprise that to lose their tax free status could end up bankrupting them.  The socialized gospel has become a mission of programs.  Pastors are afraid of offending anyone so they tone back their sermons to accommodate everyone.  Jesus Christ was offensive.  His words offended the government of His time.  He was not afraid to tell the truth.  But the average church in America has allowed its hands to be tied by the IRS, as well as by the general population.  

I believe that it will take a huge turn around, first in the church in America, and also in the individual Christians in America, before we can ever become a nation that God can bless again.  We need revival in America.  All across the nation people are starting to wake up and protest what the government is doing and has been doing to us as a people.  But not all of them believe in God.  However, I believe that there is still a huge majority of people in America who do believe in God and know that we have to let God back into our lives, our schools, and our country.  We need a revival.  

First, we need a revival of our Christian hearts and spirits.  Those of us who believe the Bible have been called by God to turn back to Him.  You can see this from time to time on your social networks like Facebook in status posts. II Chronicles 7:14 says, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." This means that all of us who call ourselves by His name have something we have to do before we can ask Him to heal our land.  How can we expect God to bless us if we are no longer willing to let go of those things in our lives that we know are against His will for us?  How can we, as the people who actually believe in God, expect those who don't believe to do anything to turn back to Him?  No, it is totally on our shoulders to do this.  We have to stop saying that it is the government's fault and put the blame where it should be, on us.  We are the ones who stopped voting.  We are the ones who stopped getting involved in politics.  We are the ones who stood by and watched while our nation began accepting things that we knew were wrong in God's eyes. We are the ones who stopped living the way we knew God wanted us to live.  We are the ones who have allowed temptation to draw us away from His love and mercy.

Is it too late for America?  I don't think so.  I honestly believe that when we do our part and follow the Word of God, as spoken in II Chronicles 7:14, God will hear us and heal our land.  How long will that last?  For those of us who believe we are living in that time the Bible calls the last days, we know that we cannot stay a blessed nation forever.  Somehow along the line, our country will fall to the antichrist.  Or will it?  America is not mentioned at all in the Bible. Could it be possible that America can make it through the Tribulation as a safe haven?  I doubt that.  Doctrinal, denominational differences aside, there will be a one world government where the antichrist will force everyone to take his mark so that no one can buy or sell apart from that mark.  But until that time, could it be possible for America to still remain blessed by God?  I don't know.  Nobody can know that.  What I do believe is that there is still some time left for a full-fledged revival in America.  There is still time for people to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross for each of us in payment of our sin debt.  Everyone has freedom of choice, of course.  But there are so many who do not even know what Jesus did for them.  Yes, we need a revival.  And a revival starts with us.

I am willing to make the changes necessary to remove the idols from my life and turn completely back to God.  Over my lifetime I have found I had to stop in my tracks and turn around.  Everyday we walk around in this filthy world and get our feet dirty.  Everyday we need to wash our feet just as Jesus did by example at the Last Supper when He washed the feet of the disciples. In John 13:10, Jesus explained to Peter and the other disciples that those who are already clean do not need to be cleaned again, but that their feet still need washed because they walk in the world.  That is an explanation that we are saved and washed clean by the Blood of Christ Jesus.  But because we are still in this world and we still face daily temptations, we still need to wash our feet everyday.  Jesus understood that we face these daily temptations.  Jesus understood because He lived among us.  So each and everyday we need to put away the temptations of the day, clean ourselves up, and start all over again.  We need to look at what we have done throughout the day, search out those things that do not please our Lord and remove them, and ask His forgiveness, knowing that He forgives us when we are sincere and ask with our whole hearts.  Only then can we ask Him to heal our land and bring revival.

I also believe that as we, as Christians, clean up our own lives before God, others will start to see the changes we make in our lives and will be drawn once again to what the real Gospel of Jesus Christ is.  As we lead by example, others will follow.  There is an excellent old book you can get free on Kindle called IN HIS STEPS by Charles M. Sheldon.  The original version was written in the late 1800's and is reflective of those times.  But the message is clear.  There is a newer, more modern version as well.  This book is where the well-known phrase "What would Jesus do?" came from.  WWJD was not something created out of the blue sometime in the 1970's and 1980's.  It came from that book written 100 years before. I read this book back when I was in my teens after I had become a born-again Christian.  It isn't always easy to live that kind of life, but it is possible.  In America today, we have gone so far away from following God that it could be very difficult for many of us to give up things we know do not please Him.  But God blesses our efforts and strengthens us when we are ready and willing to obey Him.

Father, in Jesus' Name we come to you humbly, admitting our sins and how far we have turned from Your will.  We know we are the ones to blame for allowing this great country that You gave to us fall away from You.  Please forgive us for not doing more to stop them from taking You out of our schools.  Please forgive us for not doing more to stop the murder of so many unborn babies.  Please forgive us for turning our backs on those, our brothers and sisters in need.  Forgive us for letting other interests overshadow our love for You and Your Word.  Help us now to have the strength to turn away from all the various temptations that are rampant in the country today.  Help us to turn back to You and to seek Your face only.  Father help us to get rid of anything that takes the place of You in our hearts or that we allow to become more important than You are to us.  Help us to learn again how to treat each other in the brotherly love that You showed us when You sent Your only Son Jesus to die for us on the cross.  Help us and guide us so that we can once again be the children You created us to be.  We love You.  We need You. We need You to come back and bless our country again.  We need You to cover us with Your precious mercy.  Please show us what we need to do to get to that place again.  Amen. 

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