Seek His Face and Earn His Grace | Eastern North Carolina Now

    "God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever." --- Thomas Jefferson

    What is happening in the US? Are we turning away from God, as many claim, or are we witnessing just the opposite? Are we seeing the error of our ways and turning towards Him?

    Are we, as a nation, witnessing a Christian restoration or an atheist transformation?

    I think the answer is that both forces are engaged in a great struggle. The progressive nature of our courts combined with the misinterpretation of our Bill of Rights, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment, and combined with the enormous power of the liberal media have allowed the atheist movement to have greater force than it deserves. To counter that movement, Christians and Christian organizations must fight against incredible odds, most notably the courts, the "wall of separation," and the liberally-biased media. It comes as no surprise that our government and the "establishment" is harboring an increasing hostility towards faith. Yet the Christian resistance is growing.

    We've taken God out of our schools and out of our seats of government. We've removed crosses and other Christian symbols from public squares and from national cemeteries. We've perverted the meaning of the First Amendment with a phrase that appears nowhere in the Constitution - the "Wall of Separation" - so that we can systematically remove important and traditional human values from society and avoid expensive lawsuits. The First Amendment was not written to protect people and their laws from religious values but rather it was written to protect those values from government and government tyranny. We've watched as a Culture of Immorality has enveloped the country starting with the counter-culture revolution of the 1960s and are suffering from its natural consequences. Yet churches are growing larger. In 1973, the Supreme Court announced that women can kill their unborn under the constitutional protection of "privacy," but 39 years later, the pro-life voice grows louder and stronger.

    We have a huge segment of society benefitting from the hard work, property, and taxation of others. About 50% of Americans are being used to support the other 50% in a lifestyle that the government continues to redefine and upgrade. This is institutionalized sloth and envy -- two of the Christian mortal sins. Some say it is the new form of slavery. Indeed, every person who benefits from the effort and property of another is himself a petty tyrant and a slave master. Yet as the entitlement ranks increase, the outrage against such human decay builds and people are urging a return to the policies of ethics, morality, and personal responsibility. As long as people can embrace these values, there is the hope of earned success and human dignity.

    We have a president who wants ever so strongly to have government compel religious groups to provide birth control and abortion services - services that so fundamentally offend religious principles and offend our constitutionally protected Right of Religious Conscience - to further the agenda of Women's Rights. But instead, our country realized that a line had been crossed and the president was forced to retreat from his policy. The fight of gays and lesbians for the right to marry may cause many, particularly our unprincipled youth, to argue "Why Not?" but it causes countless others to re-connect with their religious values.

    So, is it possible we are witnessing a Christian revival?

    Those who came to America's shores did so under an apparent covenant with God. As Governor John Winthrop pledged in 1630 on board the Arbella, which set out for America's shores:

    "Thus stands the cause between God and us. We are entered into covenant with Him for this work. We have taken out a commission. The Lord hath given us leave to draw our own articles. We have professed to enterprise these and those accounts, upon these and those ends. We have hereupon besought Him of favor and blessing. Now if the Lord shall please to hear us, and bring us in peace to the place we desire, then hath He ratified this covenant and sealed our commission, and will expect a strict performance of the articles contained in it; but if we shall neglect the observation of these articles which are the ends we have propounded, and, dissembling with our God, shall fall to embrace this present world and prosecute our carnal intentions, seeking great things for ourselves and our posterity, the Lord will surely break out in wrath against us, and be revenged of such a people, and make us know the price of the breach of such a covenant.

    Now the only way to avoid this shipwreck, and to provide for our posterity, is to follow the counsel of Micah, to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God. For this end, we must be knit together, in this work, as one man. We must entertain each other in brotherly affection. We must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities, for the supply of others' necessities. We must uphold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality. We must delight in each other; make others' conditions our own; rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, as members of the same body. So shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. The Lord will be our God, and delight to dwell among us, as His own people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of His wisdom, power, goodness and truth, than formerly we have been acquainted with.

    We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies; when He shall make us a praise and glory that men shall say of succeeding plantations, "may the Lord make it like that of New England." For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God, and all professors for God's sake. We shall shame the faces of many of God's worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whither we are going.

    And to shut this discourse with that exhortation of Moses, that faithful servant of the Lord, in his last farewell to Israel, Deuteronomy 30. "Beloved, there is now set before us life and death, good and evil," in that we are commanded this day to love the Lord our God, and to love one another, to walk in his ways and to keep his Commandments and his ordinance and his laws, and the articles of our Covenant with Him, that we may live and be multiplied, and that the Lord our God may bless us in the land whither we go to possess it. But if our hearts shall turn away, so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced, and worship other Gods, our pleasure and profits, and serve them; it is propounded unto us this day, we shall surely perish out of the good land whither we pass over this vast sea to possess it.

    Therefore let us choose life, that we and our seed may live, by obeying His voice and cleaving to Him, for He is our life and our prosperity."

    Puritan and Pilgrim colonies, for example, were established in furtherance of that covenant. They felt the blessings of God and they believed in their mission. If they hadn't believed so strongly, they would have never been able to make the incredible sacrifices they did so that the early colonies could take root and flourish. Sickness, death, hardship, and starvation plagued our early religious settlers. At one point, almost every family lost at least one family member. Yet they understood that to whom much is given, much would be required.

    Likewise, our Founding Fathers could never have embraced the concepts of ordered liberty, natural law, and fundamental freedoms had their hearts and minds not been shaped and affected by religious principles. They wrote many Judeo-Christian principles into our founding documents and into our laws: the equality of men, justice, freedom of worship, freedom of speech, the criminal justice system, and others. Thomas Jefferson, the Founder who gave us individual liberties and articulated the role and boundaries of government, wrote this on the inside of his bible: "I am a Christian, that is to say a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus."

    Patrick Henry, whose fiery speeches rallied the country to independence from Britain, wrote in 1777: "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religious, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For that reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here." Acknowledging our war for independence, the sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams, offered these sentiments on the 4th of July in 1821: "The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."

    During the Constitutional Convention someone raised the question: “When does a nation answer to God?” In the notes he took during the discussions and debates, George Madison recorded the reply that was given by George Mason: “Nations can’t be judged in the hereafter as people, so Providence punishes national sins by national calamities." Even Benjamin Franklin concluded "We need God to be our friend, not our adversary.”

    James Madison, the primary author of the Constitution of the United States, said this: "We have staked the whole future of our new nation, not upon the power of government; far from it. We have staked the future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments." Speaking to the military, John Adams spoke these words: "We have no government armed with the power capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and true religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." And Calvin Coolidge, our thirtieth president, noted this in his writings: "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."

    Americans have supported more missionary and evangelistic efforts than any other people in history. There are churches - many of them - in virtually every community. We have “In God We Trust” on our money (while it still lasts) and we pledge allegiance to our "One Nation Under God." (also while it still lasts).

    The United States is a unique and special country, for many reasons. One reason is it's foundation on God. Like Israel, the US is unique in that it was conceived and dedicated at its foundation for the purposes of serving God. It would be a vessel of redemption, an instrument of God's will, and a light to the world. It would give refuge to the world's poor and needy, and hope to the oppressed. It would stand against tyranny. In return, it would be blessed by God. It would be powerful and prosperous, but most of all, it would be protected. It would be protected by a shield of grace.

    And indeed we were. We enjoyed security and prosperity for many years. Our shores brought friends and new citizens, but not enemies.

    But we turned from that early covenant and now America doesn't seem as blessed as we once were. We've lost our heart and soul. We've lost our direction. We've abandoned our "covenant" to serve God. Our government has incrementally and systematically removed God from the fiber of America. It began in 1947, with the "Wall of Separation" decision (Everson v. Board of Education) but went into high gear in the 60's. Crime is now rampant, the family is disintegrating, teens are promiscuous, homosexuality is on the rise, children are being taught to accept alternative lifestyles, the homosexual agenda is in high gear, parents don't "parent," schools spend more time "managing" student behavior than teach proper communication skills and other valuable content material, we use abortion as birth control and kill our unborn, we assume no personal responsibility because we are all "entitled," personal decay is at its highest, our children are assaulted by immorality from every direction, communities are fractured, national security is a joke, we have no reason to trust our unethical government, we are constrained by our government rather than thrive under it, our workforce is decimated, and we have never felt so deprived of the freedoms guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence." We probably felt a wake-up call (I know I did) on 9/11 when our once "blessed" and impenetrable country was ruthlessly attacked by an evil enemy, just as Israel, also once "blessed" and sheltered by a hedge of protection, was also ruthlessly attacked in 721 B.C. by the Assyrians. The protective hand of Providence had always kept us safe and secure and guided us to moral victories, but on 9/11 (after many years of "immoral" victories in the Supreme Court), His Hand was noticeably absent. 3000 innocent lives perished for the sins of our nation.

    What struck me about the site of the 9/11 attack was that George Washington took the oath as our nation's first president at that very location. In 1789, he took that oath in New York City, near Wall Street in lower Manhattan. President Washington, who urged that the two most important pillars of good government are religion and morality, was just the type of leader to lead a nation conceived by God and worthy of His blessings. But 212 years later, with religion out of our schools and out of public life, and with the government and the courts growing ever hostile to the rights of conscience, no President could put a faithful face to a faithless nation.

    Because government has become a leviathan and the courts its retarded sister (in too many cases), big brother has far too much to say about what goes on in every aspect of American life. And that means that elected officials and other government employees are the ones ruling our lives and running our affairs. At such a time, when the character and integrity of our elected officials should matter most, we find that in fact, it seems to matter least. We saw this mostly clearly with President Clinton, who remained ever so popular even though he cheated on his wife, abused the office of the presidency, lied under oath, and embarrassed the nation. We saw this again with President Obama, who sat in a church for years and listened to the hateful tirades of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the man he considered his "spiritual leader" and worthy enough to perform his wedding and baptize his daughters.

    Our Founding Fathers believed that each citizen was accountable to God, his fellow citizens, and his country to elect only those leaders faithful to religious principles and high moral standards. Our forefathers believed that this was the duty of a true patriot. Noah Webster wrote: "When a citizen gives his suffrage (vote) to a man of known immorality he abuses his civil responsibility; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor, he betrays the interest of his country."

    Unfortunately, today we are under the mindset that what is done in one's private life is a private matter and it shouldn't influence our view of a leader's ability to serve in a public office. Religious principle and moral standards are no longer an integral part of our nation's political process. Immoral leaders fill the halls of Congress, sit in the Oval Office, sit on our court benches, and in general saturate our political landscape, both federal and state. This has resulted in the moral decay of America's political process, her laws and her judiciary.

    As Mitt Romney spoke in his commencement address to Liberty University last week, what defines a nation is the character of her citizens. He spoke these words:

    "You enter a world with civilizations and economies that are far from equal. Harvard historian David Landes devoted his lifelong study to understanding why some civilizations rise, and why others falter. His conclusion: Culture makes all the difference. Not natural resources, not geography, but what people believe and value. Central to America's rise to global leadership is our Judeo-Christian tradition, with its vision of the goodness and possibilities of every life. The American culture promotes personal responsibility, the dignity of work, the value of education, the merit of service, devotion to a purpose greater than self, and, at the foundation, the pre-eminence of the family. The power of these values is evidenced by a Brookings Institution study that Senator Rick Santorum brought to my attention. For those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job, and marry before they have their first child, the probability that they will be poor is 2%. But, if those things are absent, 76% will be poor. Culture matters.

    The protection of religious freedom has also become a matter of debate. It strikes me as odd that the free exercise of religious faith is sometimes treated as a problem, something America is stuck with instead of blessed with. Perhaps religious conscience upsets the designs of those who feel that the highest wisdom and authority comes from government. But from the beginning, this nation trusted in God, not man. Religious liberty is the first freedom in our Constitution. And whether the cause is justice for the persecuted, compassion for the needy and the sick, or mercy for the child waiting to be born, there is no greater force for good in the nation than Christian conscience in action.

    Religious freedom opens a door for Americans that is closed to too many others around the world. But whether we walk through that door, and what we do with our lives after we do, is up to us."

    Unbridled immoral leaders advance immoral laws and defeat moral ones. Consider the following examples of federal and state policy, laws and/or bills, or court decisions: Abortion rights (and the lack of rights of the unborn), Refusal to enforce DOMA (federal Defense of Marriage Act), Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ie, Obamacare), the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (which legislators did not pass), Sodomy is a fundamental right, refusal to acknowledge the National Day of Prayer from the White House, and California law AB1785 (which requires pro-homosexual tolerance education at all public schools and all grade levels, including kindergarten, and provides taxpayer funded grants to take children on field trips to teach them diversity and tolerance of homosexuality; Massachusetts has a similar situation) - among others! [Massachusetts and California articles attached in reference section].

    In 1892, in the case Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, the Supreme Court declared that we are a Christian nation. Justice Brewer, writing the opinion for the Court, stated: "Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of The Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian... This is a Christian nation."

    But quickly, our leaders have bowed to pressure from groups intent on destroying our heritage. In 1962, prayer was removed from public schools [Engel v. Vitale; "Prayer in its public school system breaches the constitutional wall of separation between Church and State"]. In 1963. Bible readings were forbidden in schools [Abington School District v. Schempp; "No state law or school board may require that passages from the Bible be read or that the Lord's Prayer be recited in public schools or a State at the beginning of each school day." The court went on to say, "If portions of the New Testament were read without explanation, they could be and ...had been psychologically harmful to the student." The case was brought by atheist activist, Madeline Murray O'Hare, who founded American Atheists and in 1964 was referred to by Life Magazine as "The Most Hated Woman in America." How proud she must have been to earn that title. In 1980, the Ten Commandments were ordered to be removed so that students could not view them [Stone v. Graham; "If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effects at all, it will be to induce the schoolchildren to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments... and this is not a permissible state objective under the Establishment Clause." But the teaching of alternative lifestyle choices and encouraging the acceptance of homosexuality is a permissible state objective? And beginning in 1985, various benedictions, prayers, and invocations were removed from school ceremonies and activities [Graham v. Central, 1985; Kay v. Douglas, 1986; Jager v. Douglas, 1989; Lee v. Weisman, 1992; "The School district was properly prohibited from including invocation in commencement exercise because religious invocation in high school commencement exercise conveyed the message that the district had given its endorsement to prayer and religion.."] I have even read that public schools have been barred from showing a film about the settlement of Jamestown because the film depicts the erection of a cross at the settlement, even though that detail is historically accurate. What is it about the image of a cross that causes students so much distress? Or perhaps the more pertinent question we need to ask federal judges is this: "What is more important to Americans - to learn actual American history so that they can appreciate the country and the rights and values they have inherited or to be spared some miniscule discomfort at seeing a cross?"

    Likewise, prayer, religious symbols, nativity scenes, etc. have been removed from public life as well. Even the Ten Commandments have been ordered from courthouses and crosses barred from national burial grounds. Most recently, I heard on the news that atheists want the term "So Help Me God" removed from the WWII Memorial in Washington DC. These words were spoken, with heartfelt sincerity, by our leaders at that time. But history now must show no record that they were ever uttered. To the God who inspired and blessed America, our great leaders made promises to defend her, but history can never reflect those truths. History must not record that our leaders once appealed to God for guidance, wisdom, protection, and even an advantage against a ruthless and barbaric enemy. Are we now a nation of hypocrites?
Where was God in World War II? Here is what one "old soldier" wrote, after looking at the walls of the WWII Memorial in DC:

    "As I stood before the wall of the World War II Memorial, I was sure all the other vets were thinking as I was. I saw more than a wall with stars on it. I saw men -- real men -- whom these stars represented.

    Many of them had been raised on a farm, knew what hard work was and knew what it meant to sacrifice. Most of these men had never left the comfort of their homes.

    I saw young men who tried hard to show pride; but in their hearts there were tears. These young men were leaving weeping mothers and proud but heartbroken fathers. Some of them were leaving a young wife and a small girl, not knowing whether he would hold either of them in his arms again.

    These young men were leaving for places they had only heard of in history books. As country boys, they were trading in hunting guns for guns they would use against the enemy. Hard times had not only taught them how to shoot but how to bear the burdens that would be placed upon them. Leaving with tears (though they might not have admitted it), they would board a train to places unknown.

    My mind went beyond the wall to the beaches and the young men floating on the water. They had been slain by an enemy they had never seen.

    I look beyond this wall and see thousands of soldiers loaded, like cattle, aboard ships headed for an island unknown to them. They knew soon that many of them would never return to the ship. Let me ask you. What kind of a night would you have had if you were told, "Tomorrow we hit the beach"?

    Many wrote their last letters home. How do I know this? I know this because I was there, telling each one of them about God. God could make their hearts right before they died.

    Beyond this wall, I see cold, wet men in their foxholes, trying to get a little shut-eye before the battle resumed. I see a young sailor standing on the top deck looking out in the dark night thousands of miles from home, with tears in his eyes. I imagine him thinking of his loved ones back home.

    I turn my mind to the Pacific, and feel the heat bearing down. Standing on the bow of a ship, I have the last word for a mother's son before he is placed in a body bag and cast overboard.

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( October 18th, 2015 @ 5:29 am )
Thanks, Ted --- sometimes comments get more reads and I hope this helps broaden the scope of a good article by a smart gal!
( October 17th, 2015 @ 4:02 pm )
GS: This comment would make a good article.
( October 17th, 2015 @ 8:18 am )
Interesting article bordering on saying who is "of God" and who is "against God." The history of religion is more interesting than this.

Israel was "under God (YHVH) with the Prophets or Priests telling them what God had to say. Then came their desire for a King like all the surrounding nations. God warned Samuel of the danger but went ahead and led him to anoint Saul as King.

That most interesting story is found in I Samuel 7-11 chapters (in the Old Testament). After going through all the steps to crown a King, Saul is "hiding behind the baggage." In other words, he knew he had a godly purpose, but was unwilling to assume the responsibility!

The story of God and nationhood is one of constant change and cycles. At times Israel was seriously seeking God and at others they were conning the people in God's name. The Pharisees were sure they were the spiritual leaders and then Jesus came proclaiming them to be liars and thieves. See Matthew 23 on this one. Jesus called them "whitewashed tombs full of dead men's bones." His main word was "Hypocrite."

That term has its root in the Greek Theater and the symbol of the 2 masks---one smiling and the other frowning. To save money and to cast any play with all the characters, the producers often let 1 actor play 2 different parts---knowing it was an acting job and consciously doing it. That is---PRETENDING when they KNOW they are opposite characters in basic nature.

The problem was not doing the job right. The problem was when the single actor knew it and enjoyed being spiritually schizophrenic. That leads to the real question Jesus was asking---"WHO IS AUTHENTIC IN HIS PRESENTATION OF THE REAL NATURE OF GOD???"

From day 1 America has been somewhat play acting in some basic claims:
*We proclaimed "freedom and justice for all" BUT enjoyed slavery and social class.
*We have fought constantly over "how to do the Democratic Dream."
*No one could quite agree over who is really right.
*The whole concept of 3 Branches of government in constant battle promotes chaos and conflict---of which we have had plenty in recent years.

I know that EVERY colony formed as "theistic" quickly failed. Each time the problem was a few claiming they spoke for God and all should bow down and follow ONLY them. Within the group were some who did not agree with the hypocrites leading the show.

Jesus came and we---through FAITH---proclaim him to be the long-awaited Messiah. The Jews were looking for another David who would make them the military power they were under that particular King. David was an improved version of Saul. David was a human failure to the point he lusted after Bathsheba and plotted for her husband's death in battle. His own son, Absalom, revolted and ultimately was murdered. What goes around comes around for David. The Psalms are composed of many passages where David laments his humanity and confesses his failures of pretense and hypocrisy.

To follow Jesus meant forsaking earthly specialties of gathering fish and being willing to become "fishers of men." Soon after Jesus left this earth his followers engaged in ego battles over "who was the real leader." Peter is said to be the first Pope, but the Roman Catholic Church could never quit the internal fights over how faithful was their representation of Christ. After many years Martin Luther started to read the Bible and founded the Protestant Reformation where blood was shed in buckets. That was based on how the Catholic Church was far from what the Bible clearly said Christ's followers are supposed to be---loving, forgiving, servants one to another. . .

In sum, it appears to me that mankind is always finding ways to disappoint the Creator. He gave the first couple a perfect place to live---yet they were not satisfied to let God be God and follow that lead. INSTEAD, they had to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They found themselves to be naked and ashamed --- and God noted their fig leaves as the show of their failure to trust him to provide.

The final analysis here is that:
* God is in charge
* Man is a self-centered separated entity trying to own all of Creation rather than trust God
* SIN means SEPARATION in the basic Greek word for such
* All the laws in the world that man creates does not replace the need to love, forgive, and serve one another on this earth.


Have we the courage to allow for ALL to enjoy FREEDOM AND JUSTICE???

I don't think we are doing such a hot job these days to lead by example in America. It is still an EXPERIMENT in DEMOCRACY . . . If we fail to be consistent with our dreams and beliefs, all around us note the failure. Disciples fussing and fighting over "who is the best" was the problem that reared its ugly head after Jesus went away from them. . . Jesus would never do it for us.

His final word was: "THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU!"

It appears to me that we need to do more loving and forgiving---and less judging.

Who Got to Dority? Humility of Spirit, Editorials, Body & Soul, For Love of God and Country, Spiritual Wealth, Op-Ed & Politics State Government Price Tag Soaring


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