It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.


—Patrick Henry

May 20, 2009

Can Our America Become “The Come Back Kid”?

Posted by Judi Lynn Lake at 10:43
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In reading the news I, among many others, wonder if America can ever become the “come back kid.”

Where is America’s future? Where is America’s greatness? Where is our America?

Is it too late for America? I don’t think so. America’s only hope, as I’ve repeatedly written, is in her humble repentance.

[If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. (Jeremiah 18:7, 8)]

In the book of Jonah, the people repented and God did not destroy Ninevah. However…

God did destroy Jerusalem because they refused to repent. (Jeremiah 25:2-11)

We cannot dispute that our God is loving, righteous and slow to anger but He does get angry. For years people have been saying that America needs to repent, but just like Israel she continues to turn her back on God. No doubt some will think, "But that was in the Old Testament and it's not relevant for us today," but they are wrong. It is important to note that our God is the same God of yesterday, today and tomorrow and what happened to Israel is the same way God will deal with us under the New Testament:

For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry." We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. (1 Corinithians 10:1-11)

***

America’s Call To Repentance: What It Means?
From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 4:17)

When we think of repentance, we usually think of forsaking sin. If there is serious sin in our life, we hear the call to repent as a call to commit that sin no longer. While repentance certainly involves a change of behavior, it involves something much more fundamental as well.

Repentance is a translation of a Greek word used in Scripture, metanoia, which means a change of mind and of heart. Thus, it means something deeper than changes within external actions; it means a change within ourselves, a change in the underlying source of our behavior (ei.: our way of thinking, our values and priorities.) Basically, it means adopting a new goal for our lives – a goal that determines how we act.

Jesus is very clear about the radical call to repentance: “He called the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?” (Matthew 8:34-36)

Jesus demands a reversal of our normal way of thinking and our instinctive values. Humanly speaking, we are all inclined to want the best for ourselves, to place our good before that of others, to weigh every decision in terms of the benefits for us. The repentance Jesus calls for is a reorientation of this instinctive urge to put ourselves first. Jesus calls for a conversion from relying on our own talents and resources to relying on His care for us. Repentance means making Him the Lord of our lives instead of ourselves.

If we truly understand Jesus’ call to repentance in this way, some of His other teachings take on added significance. The drive to accumulate wealth can be seen as an expression of self-sufficiency, a desire to make one’s future secure against all dangers. But this is as impossible as trying to march a camel through the eye of a needle. Think of the parable of the rich fool, who decided to build larger barns to store his goods for his own future security, only to have his life taken from him that very night. (Luke 12:16-21) True security lies not in what we possess but in what we give up; true security lies not in reliance on our own resources but in reliance on Jesus Christ.

Repentance is a reorientation of our personal lives. Repentance is grasping hold of the paradoxical truth that the one who would save her or his life must embrace the loss of it.

If America is to become “the come back kid,” she must reverse her instinctive set of priorities and living according to the values that Jesus Christ taught.

In my opinion, this is America’s only hope and it can happen right now if we would only allow Him to lead. How sad that so many don’t understand this…

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The following video, Forgive Us Lord, courtesy of You Tube.

May 4, 2009

America: Divided We Fall

Posted by Judi Lynn Lake at 10:10
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Ahh… again, it happened.

I was tired when a well-meaning friend called to ask, “why are you wasting so much time blogging on the issues that you do?” Apparently my [Christian] friend is “offended” that I am against the Obama administration… after all, he “can’t do any worse than Bush did….”

[What I hear:]
“Judi, it doesn’t matter whether you speak against abortion – people are going to get one whether Obama is President or not! Give him a chance…”
Oh me oh my, this administration has certainly created tension with many of my [Christian] friends….

***

If we, as Christians, are who we profess to be then why is there so much strife and division amongst us?

For those of us who have chosen to become a “voice” for righteousness, we must be certain our cause is for the Lord and not ourselves. As humans, it is easy to become consumed with “who is right” but, as Christians, we must remember the glory must go to Him and not us.

And…

we must remember that God is the same God of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

I have personally chosen to remove myself from the country’s upheaval because I do not want to be angry. Is there reason for anger? You bet, but I have to remember who is in control and nothing will change until hearts change.

Am I naïve? I don’t think so. As I have written, I am convinced that America’s healing will only occur with repentance. America’s danger far exceeds a turbulent economy and liberalism – America is rapidly selling her soul to the devil at the cost of our children, and many are “buying into” the charismatic charms of our leader.

The polls were in once Obama was elected. Sadly, many Christians compromised their beliefs for “short-term” solutions. [For me] the writing was on the wall beginning with Obama’s stand on abortion. Right is right and wrong is wrong and it is naïve to think that this administration’s beliefs would change after the election. Our leaders are “power-seekers” and it is my belief that America is in the fight of her life against the principalities of darkness:
12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. —Ephesians 6:12 (KJV)
I especially am convinced that now is the time for all Christians to unite regardless of differences and be reconciled with each other. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it ain’t but let’s look at Matthew 5:22-24:
“But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.”
***

The gospels were written to preserve a record of the lived faith of the apostolic church. Not every saying or deed of Jesus was set down in writing (John 20:30; 21:25). Rather, the gospel evangelists selected those teachings of Jesus that provided guidance for the ongoing life of the church. The teachings of Jesus that deal with relationships should be understood as instructions for how Christians should relate to one another within the Church.

The teachings of Jesus place a great stress upon unity among His followers. At the Last Supper, Jesus prayed for his disciples, “that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent Me” (John 17:21). Their unity was to be so profound that it would be a sign authenticating Jesus’ mission from the Father.

Jesus not only prayed for unity among His disciples, but He instructed them about how their unity was to be preserved. He told them -- and He tells – that there must be no limit to forgiveness: “not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times” we must forgive a brother or sister who wrongs us (Matthew 18:22). We are to slow in judging others, paying more attention to the log in our own eye than to the speck in another’s eye (7:1-5).

It’s all too easy to let seeds of division grow in our midst. We can notice that others do not live out their faith in exactly the same way we do and feel that they are somehow less committed than we are. We can mistrust those we are not in steady contact with, simply because we don’t understand the reasons for their actions. But Jesus’ words to us are as plain as they were to John: “John answered, ‘Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you” (Luke 9:49-50).

If we are aware of a conflict with another, we must interrupt even the important duty of worship to bring about unity again. Jesus seems to make others the judges of our actions: if someone has something against us, it is up to us to take the first step to be reconciled.

The unity of the Church is something we should be striving for and, actually, are responsible for. If the words of Jesus are to make a difference in our lives, they must guide us in our relationships with each other, warning us of the perils of disunity, commanding us to repair disunity whenever it occurs.

If we are to be true “Ambassadors for Christ” let us be conscious of our relationships and begin to ‘let go and let God.’ Let’s face it, America, ‘divided we fall’ and we have a mighty God that America surely needs right now.

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The following video, Let Go and Let God, courtesy of You Tube.

May 1, 2009

America’s Hope For Recovery: Jesus Christ

Posted by Judi Lynn Lake at 10:55
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7 comments

I can no longer be consumed with the news; it’s fruitless and I firmly believe that America’s only hope for recovery is Jesus.

Does this put me further on Janet Napolitano’s “watch-list”?

Probably, but I don’t really care; I refuse to be “a closet Christian.”

I am not armed with anger or revenge toward any of our leaders – I am armed with the Truth of Jesus Christ which is mightier than anything in this world.

His Truth is mightier that the threats of DHS, the pandemic alarm of H1N1 and certainly mightier than our failing economy.

I have come to realize that America is not experiencing the consequences of an election but, rather, the consequences of living in a God-less, society. Until we humbly fall to our knees and repent, it ain’t gonna get any better.

Burned out from the happenings on Capital Hill, I willingly divert from the Drudge Report to today’s readings (Acts 9:1-29):
Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord,

went to the high priest and asked him

for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that,

if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,

he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains. 

On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus,

a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. 

He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him,

"Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"

He said, "Who are you, sir?" 

The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 

Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do." 

The men who were traveling with him stood speechless,

for they heard the voice but could see no one.

Saul got up from the ground,

but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing;

so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus.

For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias,

and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." 

He answered, "Here I am, Lord." 

The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight

and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul.

He is there praying,

and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias

come in and lay his hands on him,

that he may regain his sight."

But Ananias replied,

"Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man,

what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.

And here he has authority from the chief priests

to imprison all who call upon your name." 

But the Lord said to him,

"Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine

to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel,

and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name." 

So Ananias went and entered the house;

laying his hands on him, he said,

"Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, 

Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,

that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 

Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes

and he regained his sight. 

He got up and was baptized,
 and when he had eaten,
he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,

and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,

that he is the Son of God.

***

Talk about a life-changing experience! In a flash of an eye, Paul was changed from a relentless persecutor of Christians to a relentless preacher of the gospel. Wow! While the story of Paul’s conversion is both dramatic and inspiring, the truth is that every conversion is a miracle and that there is hope for everyone.

Jesus told Nicodemus “that everyone needs to be born again.” Simply put, there must come a time when we can say:
“I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I accept His forgiveness of my sins, and I want to live my life for Him.”
Although our Lord never forces Himself on anyone, He loves us deeply and wants all of His children to come to a close, personal relationship with Him and with his Son – yes, even those who are turning our America “upside down.”

America, don’t waste another moment; turn to Him who can create the true change in our lives.

***

Thank you, Jesus, for being my Lord and Savior. I humbly beseech you to lay Your hand upon our nation’s leaders and our America now so that any scales of darkness and sin may fall from her eyes. Fill us with the light of Your Truth, for the sake of our children and those not yet born.

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The following video, Mighty To Save, courtesy of You Tube.

 

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