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Seven Daily Prayers for Our Country

Seven Daily Prayers for Our Country

by Admin

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7 Daily Prayers for our Country

             We know and believe that God is sovereign and providential in all of His creation. We do not fear the future because we know He is working out His plan for His glory. We also believe our prayers matter and that the omniscient God hears and answers according to His will.

1. For BelieversActs 12:5  Peter was therefore kept in prison but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.  Pray for Christians who are in places of danger, authority; in school, and in the service.

2. For Leaders1 Tim. 2:2 For kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.  Pray for leaders in government, in law enforcement, on judicial benches.

3. For Gospel MinistryCol 4:3  Meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ.  Pray for open doors, evangelism and missions, and for church services.

4. For Judgment2 Thes. 1:6  Seeing it is a righteous thing for God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you.  Pray for God to deal decisively with immorality, unbelief, persecutors, and violent people.

5. For God’s WillJames 4:15  Instead you ought to say, if the Lord wills we shall live and do this or that.  Pray for God’s providence to lead His people, His churches, His gospel ministries, and for blessing in the coming days.

6. For LibertyActs 24:23  He commanded the centurion to keep Paul and to let him have liberty.  Pray that God would allow His people to worship, to speak the gospel, to assemble peaceably, and to live out their faith by their conscience.

7. For AmericaPsa. 33.12  Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.  Pray that God would keep America a godly and righteous nation; that America would uphold its Constitution, would extend religious freedom, would support Israel, and would remain the greatest force for good in the world.

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American Individualism

American Individualism

by Rick Shrader

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This is a 1923 book by the 31st President of the United States. Hoover was a champion of individualism as an American ideal. This was written in ’23, six years before he became President and before the Great Depression that plagued his administration and made him a very unpopular President. He writes concerning individualism, “Our individualism differs from all others because it embraces these great ideals: that while we build our society upon the attainment of the individual, we shall safeguard to every individual an equality of opportunity to take that position in the community to which his intelligence, character, ability, and ambition entitle him; that we keep the social solution free from frozen strata of classes; that we shall stimulate effort of each individual to achievement; that through an enlarging sense of responsibility and understanding we shall assist him to this attainment; while he in turn must stand up to the emery wheel of competition.” This is not a bad point of view.

 

America’s Expiration Date

America’s Expiration Date

by Rick Shrader

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This is a 2020 book by Cal Thomas, a well-known evangelical syndicated columnist. The title expects more than it delivers. Thomas is not setting a date but is interacting with historian Sir John Glubb, a WWI British veteran. In 1976 he wrote, The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival.  “Sir John asserted we refuse to learn much from history ‘because our studies are brief and prejudiced.’ He was suprised to learn that the average age of a nation or empire’s greatness is 250 years.  ‘The average,’ he writes, ‘has not varied for 3,000 years.’ Let that sink in. Over the past 3,000 years, every great nation or empire lost its way in an average of a mere 250 years. I will do the math for you. On July 4, 2026, the United States of America will be 250 years old. What makes us think we will be protected from the fate of other great nations which have collapsed under the weight of financial debt, moral rot, and military overextension? . . . In most cases, the entity in question does not simply disappear after 250 years but staggers on in a much less dynamic and influential state. The important point to understand is taht they never return to their greatness, and I believe that is our fate unless we take the necessary steps to reverse an almost inevitable decline.”

Thomas compares the United States to the Persian empire, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Spanish, Ottoman, British, and Russian empires. The most dangerous comparison to the British empire’s decline he maintains is open borders and lack of assimulation. In the end Thomas challenges the United States to return to its founding principles.

 

God’s Statue Reminders

God’s Statue Reminders

by Rick Shrader

I am glad that God didn’t remove the reminders of our sin from the Bible. Those reminders are like statues that stand in public places to remind us of things that should not be done again. Only if we think that humans are perfect and without sin would we think to destroy these because, as some think, sin must be society’s fault, not ours. But if, as we know, men are sinners, we would be careful to make the statues of our past sins prominent as reminders of what can happen if we again neglect the truth of inborn sin. Adam’s fall and sin in the garden; Noah’s drunkenness; David’s adultery and murder; Solomon’s serial fornication at the end of his life; Elijah’s fleeing from Jezebel in abject fear; all of these and more stand as unfailing statuaries of potential sin. The monuments of Israel’s sins in the hallway of 1 Corinthians chapter 10 are prominent reminders of a nation’s failures: the golden calf at Mt. Sinai; Balaam’s sin when 23,000 died; the fiery serpents that came as a plague because of murmuring; the utter failure at Kadesh Barnea when all over 20 years old eventually died in the wilderness. Paul at the foot of these statues wrote, “Now these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition.” These are the kinds of things that unbelief would tear from the Bible if God would permit. But God pronounced woe on anyone who would take these reminders from His Word. Woe to any nation that removes the reminders of their negative history. They are doomed to repeat them.

 

My Grandfather’s Son

My Grandfather’s Son

by Rick Shrader

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This is an autobiography of Justice Clarence Thomas.  It takes his life from birth (1948) to confirmation as Associate Supreme Court Judge.  Thomas grew up poor on the back side of the tracks in the little town of Pinpoint, GA, not far from Savannah.  It was a time of racism and difficulty for black families in the south.  Clarence Thomas hardly knew his father and was raised (and his brother Myers) by his mother.  However, when he was about 7 he and Myers were sent to live with his grandfather and grandmother.  He called his grandfather “Daddy” and his grandmother “Aunt Tina.”  The whole book is dedicated to how his “Daddy” raised him by discipline and hard work.  A few things that might not be known about Judge Thomas is that he originally wanted to be a Catholic Priest but ended up going to Yale law school.  He became personal and life-time friends with MO senator John Danforth when he was Attorney General of Missouri and gave Clarence his first law job in Jefferson City.  Senator Danforth would later guide Clarence Thomas through confirmation to the Supreme Court in the wake of the Anita Hill accusations.  The last few chapters of the book detail that confirmation.  The  book is politically interesting because you read about a poor black boy rising above his circumstances, fighting racism in the government at various levels, becoming a conservative and Republican when he was expected to follow the PC route for rising blacks.  Two interests that Thomas had that I liked were his love for Corvettes and his love of reading Louis L’Armour.  I can identify at least with the second.

 

John Adams on False Accusers

John Adams on False Accusers

by Rick Shrader

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“We find in the rules laid down by the greatest English judges, who have been the brightest of mankind:   We are to look upon it as more beneficial that many guilty persons should escape unpunished than one innocent should suffer.  The reason is, because it is of more importance to the community that innocence should be protected than it is that guilt should be punished; for guilt and crimes are so frequent in the world that all of them cannot be punished; and many times they happen in such a manner that it is not of much consequence to the public whether they are punished or not.  But when innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, especially to die, the subject will exclaim,’It is immaterial to me whether I behave well or ill, for virtue itself is no security.’  And if such sentiment as this should take place in the mind of the subject, there would be an end to all security whatsoever. . . . And I shall take it for granted, as a first principle, that the eight prisoners at the bar had better be all acquitted, though we should admit them all to be guilty, than that any one of them should, by your verdict, be found guilty, being innocent.”

John Adams, “The Boston Massacre”  Orations from Homer to William McKinley.  Mayo W. Hazeltine, A.M., editor (New York:  P.F. Collier and Son, MCMII) p. 2569.

“First day’s speech in defence in the British soldiers accused of murdering Attucks, Gray and others, in the Boston riot of 1770.”

 

Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville

by Rick Shrader

“It must never be forgotten that religion gave birth to Anglo-American society.  In the United States, religion is therefore mingled with all the habits of the nation and all the feelings of patriotism, whence it derives a peculiar force.”

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, vol. 2, p. 6.

 

Thankful? Yes!

Thankful? Yes!

by Rick Shrader

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It is a strange time in which to be living—in these last days.  The Christian has known that such a time would come, but talking about it or predicting it and living it are different things.  I know the coming of the Lord may be years away (or it may be momentary) but the Scripture teaches that the world will get worse and not better as we get closer to His coming.  2 Timothy 3:1-2 is enough as it describes “perilous times” and the fact that men will be “lovers of themselves” and therefore are “unthankful” and “unholy.”  And there are many more passages that describe the days in which we live in such terms.

Still, it has been our great privilege as believers to live in this blessed country.  Since Thanksgiving is an American tradition, as a believer I can join with all its citizens and be thankful for God’s blessings.  I only wish that all citizens truly were thankful to their Creator for what He has done in this land of ours.  King David, centuries ago, left us a universal principle that has been applied many times in various circumstances,

Why  do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.  He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.  (Psalm 2:1-4)  This principle, that has been repeated through the ages, will ultimately be fulfilled when the Lord returns and sets up His millennial reign, as the following verses reveal,  Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.  Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion.  I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou are my Son; this day have I begotten thee.  Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost part of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.  (Psalm 2:5-9)

The kings of the earth are working hard at casting away God’s hold on them.  Yet in the midst of such anarchy toward the Creator, believers in the Lord have both reason to be saddened and to rejoice.  The throwing away of our heritage is sad, but the blessings of God in the past, in the present, and certainly in the future, all cause us to enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise. (Psalm 100:4)

Thankful for a safe country

I was born in 1950.  I doubt there has ever been 67 years  with more change than this generation has seen.  Though I grew up in the country in Ohio, I visited my grandparents in Springfield, MO every summer along with my brothers and sister.  Can you imagine today doing what we as kids did all alone in those days?  My older brother rode the bus from Ohio to Springfield all by himself when he was about 12 years old.  In the city we would take the bus downtown, walk around, and then come home on the same bus.  We weren’t delinquent; our parents knew where we were going and what we were doing.  Sometimes we were with neighborhood kids yet there was no smoking, drinking, drugs, or even foul language.  We were just having fun.  Policemen were our friends and we would stop and talk to them every chance we got.  I really don’t think anyone I knew ever considered vandalizing someone’s property or even being disrespectful.

I’m not just walking down memory lane, I’m describing a country with security.  We went to church on Sunday and Christian camp every summer.  We would go to the county fair grounds for the summer tent revival and sit on wooden chairs set up over sawdust on the ground.  Some of the older kids would sing in the volunteer choir.  Because there wasn’t a lot else for kids to do, these things were our activities, along with kick-the-can, hide-and-seek, and various other evening neighborhood games.

Our country today is less safe.  I have traveled to a number of unsafe countries around the world mostly while working with missionaries.  Coming and going in those countries was a struggle for an American who is so used to common, everyday freedoms.  I remember being stuck in the Moscow airport in 1992 and having to wait hours and hours for a flight out.  Finally, as the plane was going down the runway and the tires lifted off the tarmac, the entire plane broke out into cheering!  America has to guard its borders because of those who would come in; most other countries guard their borders because of those who would go out.

Thankful for a Christian country

Some would think me an alarmist if I said that we are seeing the Christian part of our country disappearing, but I am sure I am right.  I can’t understand how anyone can read just a few books of America’s beginning, or read speeches by the first American presidents, or walk the halls and monuments of Washington, and not understand our Christian founding.  I am not saying that all of those early patriots and politicians were born again, but only that they realized that our country has a uniquely Christian foundation.  Sure, there has been freedom for anyone of another religion who can abide by our laws and love our religious freedom, but America was born a Christian nation.

Religious freedom has its price.  The first is the price of those who suffered to give us true religious freedom and not some nationalistic religion.  The government cannot intrude upon my or your freedom to worship by our own conscience.  The second price has been paid by sons and daughters of our citizens who have defended this country both home and abroad, from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.  I mean both military personnel and law enforcement agents.  As I write, a terrorist has just driven a truck over innocent citizens in New York City.  Though the mayor and governor of that state have often criticized their own law enforcement officers, I now see them surrounded by those very officers in such a time of danger and alarm.

A third price is paid by Christian Americans who have faithfully spread the gospel of Jesus Christ here and around the world.  There is no better citizen of any country than a born again citizen.  You’ll never see them driving trucks over people, or shooting them from a hotel window, or disrespecting the “higher powers” that God has ordained.  America has spent her money, sent her children, and offered her prayers to send the gospel around the world.  This has to be the biggest reason God is still patient with us.

However, we will all pay a price if we lose our Christian basis for being a country.  Freedom for true religion also means freedom for false religion.  Freedom for law-abiding citizens also means freedom for would-be  terrorists.  Freedom for good also means freedom for bad.  Christianity understands and teaches the fallen nature of mankind and therefore the need for rule of law, for moral education, for religious instruction.  We cannot continue to outlaw the very thing that gave us our freedom, while allowing false religions and anti-religious types to have carte blanche in our schools, governments, and entertainments.  Our uncivil society is witness to its results.

Thankful for a free country

A free country is a place where families can live.  I married a girl, Ann, whose father grew up in Ukraine under the Soviet Union.  He was not free to do these things I took for granted as a boy.  In fact, his family had to flee to S. America as WWII began.  When they all finally arrived in the U.S., they loved this country and never criticized its founding, its freedoms, or its flag.  I remember “dad” one time stopping at a rest area along the interstate highway and as he returned to the car saying, “what a great country!”  We are so guilty of taking our freedoms for granted that we don’t even think of such things.

At 67 years old, I’m not so worried about my own freedom in the years to come.  I’m worried for my kids and grandkids, and their children.  What a shame it would be if my own grandkids never knew an America like I knew growing up.  Already they cannot do many of the things I took for granted as a boy.  They cannot walk alone in the city, they cannot wait for their grandfather at the flight gate at the airport, they cannot attend public school without warning of multiple dangers.  Now, they cannot use amazing electronic devices without warnings that no child should have to be exposed to.

America has been sheltered from world wars and most terrorism by God and the ocean borders He gave us.  But now we see terrorism coming to our own shores.  The event of 9-11-01 changed our country.  We don’t have the freedom or the security we once had.  Now individual terrorist attacks, the great majority of which come from a political movement claiming to be a religion, have made us all live with a fear our forefathers did not need to know.  And in the midst of it, a free country must allow ungrateful citizens to protest against the very things that brought about their freedom to protest.

We have a Korean Marine veteran in our church who has a purple heart and who led over 40 combat missions during that war.  When the “conflict” ended, he stood with other fellow marines and soldiers, watching the trucks go by loaded with the bodies of dead Americans.  The man next to him turned and said, “Freedom isn’t free, is it?”  No, and we must always be thankful for those who paid such a price.

Thankful for a failing country

How can I be thankful for a country that is faltering and failing in such ways?  I can for the best of reasons.  True, I am not thankful for ungrateful people who disdain our country and who work tirelessly to fundamentally change it.  I am not thankful for those who exploit freedom with pornography, drug addiction, nakedness, and atheism.  But I know why they do it.  The reason is called sin.  And when I think of a country that is failing because of sin, I rejoice that there is a cure called the righteousness of Christ in salvation.

Individual freedom.  I do not know if God will grant America a revival of its lost faith.  But I know that any individual can find peace and rest in this life through Jesus Christ, and then eternally as well.  Christians have lived in every situation imaginable for the last 2000 years.  The reason is that faith in Christ is offered to you individually, not to a country wholesale.  Those believers could endure anything because of their faith. Jesus Christ came first to His own people the Jews.  John records, He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:10-12).

National freedom.  A country can enjoy God’s blessings if it will honor Him.  It may not be the millennial kingdom or the new Jerusalem, but America once knew the blessing of giving such honor and reverence to God.  Daniel the prophet prepared his heart to speak before king Nebuchadnezzar in behalf of his captive people.  He said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: and he changeth the times and seasons: he removeth kings and he setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom to the wise and knowledge to them that hath understanding: he revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him (Daniel 2:20-22).  America is not a chosen people as Israel was and is, but king Solomon said, righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people (Prov. 14:34).

God has worked out His will in every nation, sometimes to blessing and sometimes to judgment.  God used the ungodly nations of Assyria and Babylon to punish Israel that they might turn back to Him.  He even called Babylon the “sword of the Lord” (Isa. 34:6, Jer. 12:12) because He can use a nation in any way He wishes.  Yet He eventually blessed Israel and punished Babylon for their sins.  In the last days, in which we seem to be living, God will also use unbelieving nations to punish other sinful nations.  The nations aligned with Antichrist will be used of God to bring judgment on end-time Babyon, For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled (Rev. 17:17).

Eternal freedom.  I can be thankful for whatever comes my way in this life because I know that eternal life with Jesus Christ in the presence of God the Father will last for eternity.  Christianity is only partly for this life, though it makes our joy full.  Christianity is for eternity because there is a heaven and a hell just as sure as there is a devil and a true God.  Heaven is the home of the saint.  His life may be one of toil and persecution, but his reward awaits in heaven.  Paul confessed, If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable (1 Cor. 15:19).  Though he was the greatest missionary and Christian in history, his was a life of trouble, yet he looked for a different country.

The kingdoms of this world will continue to fail until Jesus returns and sets up His own kingdom for a thousand years on the earth, ruling from Jerusalem with Israel restored around Him in their own land.  This thousand year reign (Rev. 20:1-7) of Christ will be partly populated by the ransomed church of God, the Lamb’s wife, resurrected, married, and ascended to the earth with Him.  As John says, and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful (Rev. 17:14).  Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready (Rev. 19:7).  And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean (Rev. 19:14).  And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years (Rev. 20:4).

I can be thankful for that!  I would also like to see my own beloved U.S.A. turn again to God and be ready for His coming, and I pray that it will.  But until then I will be thankful, even in a failing country, because I know a sovereign God is in control of the past, the present, and the future.

And so . . .

Thankful?  Yes!  Paul said, In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thes. 5:18).  I have often said that Christmas and Easter are the church’s holidays though the world has left them alone or changed them into something they never were.  But I think that Thanksgiving should be the church’s holiday as well.  It is right of us to thank God for the free and safe country in which we live.  It is right to remember the price that was paid for us to have these blessings.  But in the end it is God Who has given us all things and Jesus Christ Who upholds all things by the Word of His power.

My children and grandchildren are scattered all over the country, but they are all serving God.  There is no safer and freer place to be than in God’s will.  That transcends terrorist attacks, immoral leaders, apostate religions, and pain and suffering.

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself (Phil. 4:20-21).

 

 

The Light and the Glory

The Light and the Glory

by Debra Conley

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One of my fondest colleagues and a superb teacher of American History, Carol Sweigert, always assigned this book as required reading for her classes. For parents with middle to high school aged students of history, it is an easy reading chronological account of the founding fathers, the founding communities, and the solid faith that came with these early Pilgrims. One can read hundreds of so called “facts” about the founding fathers not being Christians, mostly being painted as Deists. Deists did not accept the Scriptures as revelation from God or as His Word, nor the depravity of man, nor Divine providential intervention, as the authors point out.1 Marshall takes Washington’s own letters with quotes that reveal his firm Biblical foundation which was far from the Deistic philosophy modern writers claim for Washington. Washington Kneeling at Valley Forge, a picture commissioned to artist Arnold Friberg during the 20th Century, has fallen into the modernist’s disdain for all things sacred. Yet there are numerous quotes from contemporaries of the great general who wrote of seeing Washington on his knees in private prayer. This text gives readers the reasons for the suffering our early founders endured.  That is, they fought to gain a freedom no other country could give them.  I remember admonishing a parent once when he complained that I was brainwashing the students with “Christian anecdotes” like the one above. I readily agreed with him that I was brainwashing.  “Every parent brainwashes his child with his closely-held philosophies,” I said; “It is just a matter of what you want your child’s brain washed with.” The parent agreed with me on that point.  The authors give the source for each statement about the Christian founders while telling the intriguing story of the separation from England and the struggle to establish our new country.

 

 

Democracy in America (vol 2)

Democracy in America (vol 2)

by Rick Shrader

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Tocqueville (1805-1859) was a French diplomat, historian, and scientist.  In the 1830s he came to America to examine our prison system but traveled extensively to study America as a whole.  His conclusions were printed in 1835 in two volumes called Democracy in America.  I have had both volumes in paperback for a while and decided to read volume 2 first because it covers a more general list of topics from morals to manners.

The reading is fairly difficult and requires attention to the author’s train of thought.  After all, he was a French diplomat and an educated man of the aristocratic nineteenth century.  Tocqueville’s assessment of early America has been one of the standard reviews since it was written.  He calls the young American democracy a democratic revolution and says in his preface, “I wish to speak of it with all sincerity.  Men will not receive the truth from their enemies, and it is very seldom offered to them by their friends; on this account I have very frankly uttered it.”  Much of his critique is a comparison of the aristocratic countries of Europe, especially France and Great Britain, and the democracy of America.  In the former, the greater part of the citizens were poor and not free to express themselves and the higher class had no challenge to their position.  This leads to traditional ways of thinking and doing.  In America Tocqueville saw equality in citizens and government officials.  He also saw a more humble people who treated one another with equal respect and were thankful for equal opportunity.  He writes, “Thus, to comprise all my meaning in a single proposition, the dissimilarities and inequalities of men gave rise to the notion of honor; that notion is weakened in proportion as these differences are obliterated, and with them it would disappear” (p. 242).  Also, “If, then, a state of society can ever be founded in which every man shall have something to keep and little to take from others, much will have been done for the peace of the world” (p. 252).