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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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Race and Gender

Race and Gender

by Rick Shrader

God made all humans of one race because we are all children of Adam and Eve (“He has made of one blood every nation,” Acts 17:26). In a practical way differences in skin color are the same as differences in hair color or the color of our eyes. These things are different due to where we live and whom our ancesters married. These colors can change in a couple generations. Opposite of one race is the fact of two genders, male and female. (Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female,” Matthew 19:4). We cannot change those two, add to them nor subract from them. Every human being is born male or female to which any father standing in a delivery room can attest. But fallen man tries to multiply races and do away with genders. We try to divide by skin color of which there is really only one, but we will not admit to human genders of which there are only two. Like our attitudes about changing culture and inviolable nature, we find ourselves opposite of our Creator.

 

My Grandfather’s Legacy

My Grandfather’s Legacy

by Rick Shrader

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I was born in 1950 with two grandfathers.  I loved them both.  “Grandpa Doc” Shrader was a dentist in Iowa, my father’s father.  “Grandpa Sam” Condren was a simple man, a butcher in a local grocery store in Springfield, MO, my mother’s father.  Both were WWI veterans, grandpa Doc in the medical core, and grandpa Sam a machine gunner in the trenches of France.  I didn’t know grandpa Doc as well only because I didn’t spend as much time with him as I did with grandpa Sam.  My brother and I spent almost every summer in Missouri with grandpa Sam and grandma Maude.  Though I just wanted to fish with grandpa on the river, grandma was a special lady for many reasons, among them being her biscuits and gravy and blackberry cobbler.  I remember the earlier days when grandpa was still cutting meat at the local market and we spent a lot of time playing games with neighborhood kids on the sidewalks and front porches.  But my best memories are after grandpa was retired and we spent weekdays at the cabin on the Niangua River.  On weekends we came back to their home in Springfield and always attended church on Sunday.  These summers continued during my formative years until other obligations and family schedules changed.

“Drop your line right over that log.  I think there might be a big one right there.”  Grandpa Sam had the paddle to the square-ended river boat and my brother Joe and I sat in the other two seats, simple boards stretched across the middle and ends of the boat.  Daytime fishing was done with cane poles and live minnows on the hook.  At grandpa’s suggestion (never really a command), I lifted my hook and minnow out of the water and lowered it beside the log in the river.  Almost immediately a heavy tug hit my line and the fight began.  “Help me, grandpa,” I pleaded.  I knew this was a good fish but I didn’t think I could get him in the boat myself.  “If you’re gonna fish with me, you have to land your own fish,” grandpa replied.  Moments later a 3lb smallmouth bass came over the side and landed in the boat.  I still have a picture of me (at five years old) holding the fish with my brother Joe crying to one side because it was my fish not his.  I learned a lot about life on that Ozark river and in the one-room cabin where we spent many summers.

“Keep your paddle on one side of the boat and keep the boat pointed into the current.  We need to tie a line on that big tree limb over there.”  Grandpa had lived his whole life, except for military service, in about a 50 mile radius of the cabin on the river.  He grew up on a farm nearby and had brought grain, with a wagon and team, to the old mill that used to be on the river.  He knew every fishing hole by heart.  Grandpa taught us how to look at the river, take into account the water condition, see whether the water level was low or high, and then pick the places to set the limb-lines and trot-lines for the night.  As a boy, the greatest thrill was to catch a big catfish on one of those lines we set overnight.  After we tied on the lines going up the river in the evening, we baited the hooks coming back down the river just before dark.

“Now, Tow-Joe,” grandpa’s name for a mystical giant catfish, “might be on that special line tonight, that one we tied on that big tree limb, and if he is, you boys may have to jump out of the boat and ride him to the shore.”  After returning to the cabin and eating supper, we would sit out in the yard and listen to grandpa tell fish stories.  My brother and I would laugh at the stories but we would also sit with glassy eyes imagining the story just in case it might be true.  “If you listen you might already hear the old fella slap the water with his tail.  Yep, I think he just might already be on that line.”

Grandpa Sam wasn’t just about fish stories and spending all day on the river.  He grew up in a log cabin the size of my living room where his father raised eight boys.  I still have the rocking chair that my great-grandfather had in that cabin.  Grandpa fought in the terrible trenches of France in WWI earning the purple heart.  He and grandma ran a small market and diner during the depression era in Springfield, and later he cut meat for a local market across the street from his Springfield home (until the market closed they used grandpa’s recipe for sausage).  One of my favorite pictures of grandma and grandpa Condren is a picture taken with their Sunday School class at High Street Baptist Church in Springfield.  He loved his pastor and his church.  It was this mixture of a veteran, depression era, plain spoken, Christian man that did so much in shaping my perspective on life.  Take your fishing seriously but have fun and laugh.  Work hard until your feet hurt but do it with pride.  Plant a garden, go bird hunting, spend time on the river, but always be back in time to go to church.

Boys need fathers and they need grandpas too.  A father may raise the boy but a grandpa shapes his vision of what a whole life looks like.  My life still looks a lot like my grandpa Sam.

 

God’s Statue Reminders

God’s Statue Reminders

by Rick Shrader

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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.

 

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 Legacy

My Grandfather’s Legacy

by Rick Shrader

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I was born in 1950 with two grandfathers.  I loved them both.  “Grandpa Doc” Shrader was a dentist in Iowa, my father’s father.  “Grandpa Sam” Condren was a simple man, a butcher in a local grocery store in Springfield, MO, my mother’s father.  Both were WWI veterans, grandpa Doc in the medical core, and grandpa Sam a machine gunner in the trenches of France.  I didn’t know grandpa Doc as well only because I didn’t spend as much time with him as I did with grandpa Sam.  My brother and I spent almost every summer in Missouri with grandpa Sam and grandma Maude.  Though I just wanted to fish with grandpa on the river, grandma was a special lady for many reasons, among them being her biscuits and gravy and blackberry cobbler.  I remember the earlier days when grandpa was still cutting meat at the local market and we spent a lot of time playing games with neighborhood kids on the sidewalks and front porches.  But my best memories are after grandpa was retired and we spent weekdays at the cabin on the Niangua River.  On weekends we came back to their home in Springfield and always attended church on Sunday.  These summers continued during my formative years until other obligations and family schedules changed.

“Drop your line right over that log.  I think there might be a big one right there.”  Grandpa Sam had the paddle to the square-ended river boat and my brother Joe and I sat in the other two seats, simple boards stretched across the middle and ends of the boat.  Daytime fishing was done with cane poles and live minnows on the hook.  At grandpa’s suggestion (never really a command), I lifted my hook and minnow out of the water and lowered it beside the log in the river.  Almost immediately a heavy tug hit my line and the fight began.  “Help me, grandpa,” I pleaded.  I knew this was a good fish but I didn’t think I could get him in the boat myself.  “If you’re gonna fish with me, you have to land your own fish,” grandpa replied.  Moments later a 3lb smallmouth bass came over the side and landed in the boat.  I still have a picture of me (at five years old) holding the fish with my brother Joe crying to one side because it was my fish not his.  I learned a lot about life on that Ozark river and in the one-room cabin where we spent many summers.

“Keep your paddle on one side of the boat and keep the boat pointed into the current.  We need to tie a line on that big tree limb over there.”  Grandpa had lived his whole life, except for military service, in about a 50 mile radius of the cabin on the river.  He grew up on a farm nearby and had brought grain, with a wagon and team, to the old mill that used to be on the river.  He knew every fishing hole by heart.  Grandpa taught us how to look at the river, take into account the water condition, see whether the water level was low or high, and then pick the places to set the limb-lines and trot-lines for the night.  As a boy, the greatest thrill was to catch a big catfish on one of those lines we set overnight.  After we tied on the lines going up the river in the evening, we baited the hooks coming back down the river just before dark.

“Now, Tow-Joe,” grandpa’s name for a mystical giant catfish, “might be on that special line tonight, that one we tied on that big tree limb, and if he is, you boys may have to jump out of the boat and ride him to the shore.”  After returning to the cabin and eating supper, we would sit out in the yard and listen to grandpa tell fish stories.  My brother and I would laugh at the stories but we would also sit with glassy eyes imagining the story just in case it might be true.  “If you listen you might already hear the old fella slap the water with his tail.  Yep, I think he just might already be on that line.”

Grandpa Sam wasn’t just about fish stories and spending all day on the river.  He grew up in a log cabin the size of my living room where his father raised eight boys.  I still have the rocking chair that my great-grandfather had in that cabin.  Grandpa fought in the terrible trenches of France in WWI earning the purple heart.  He and grandma ran a small market and diner during the depression era in Springfield, and later he cut meat for a local market across the street from his Springfield home (until the market closed they used grandpa’s recipe for sausage).  One of my favorite pictures of grandma and grandpa Condren is a picture taken with their Sunday School class at High Street Baptist Church in Springfield.  He loved his pastor and his church.  It was this mixture of a veteran, depression era, plain spoken, Christian man that did so much in shaping my perspective on life.  Take your fishing seriously but have fun and laugh.  Work hard until your feet hurt but do it with pride.  Plant a garden, go bird hunting, spend time on the river, but always be back in time to go to church.

Boys need fathers and they need grandpas too.  A father may raise the boy but a grandpa shapes his vision of what a whole life looks like.  My life still looks a lot like my grandpa Sam.

 

 

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.”

 

A Big Wall with a Beautiful Gate

A Big Wall with a Beautiful Gate

by Rick Shrader

(On the final day of the month.  Reading the last chapters of Revelation.)  In the last two chapters of the Bible, Revelation 21 and 22, God describes the final country (or city if you will) that is to be built.  A city “foursquare.”  A city that would be about half the size of the continental United States where the saints of God will live throughout eternity.  A country really.   “For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country” (Heb. 11:14).  This country of God’s will have a wall around it.  “A great wall and high, and had twelve gates” (21:12).  The city is for the saints, i.e., believers in the Lord Jesus Christ who now are alive eternally in the presence of God.  “The nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it” (21:24).  Interestingly, “The gates of it shall not be shut at all by day” (21:25).  And yet, “There shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they that are witten in the Lamb’s book of life” (21:27).  His final country has a permanent wall; though it has welcoming gates, only those who have previously applied for citizenship are allowed to enter and all others are forbidden.  We know that God is righteous and holy in all His doings.  Therefore it is obviously a righteous thing for Him to have a city (country) that has a wall and gates, but also to have a definite requirement for becoming a citizen.  You must come the correct way or the righteous and holy God will not allow you to enter.  That requirement is faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior from your sins.  Come to Him today.  He refuses no one who comes the proper way.

 

A Comment About “I Can Only Imagine”

A Comment About “I Can Only Imagine”

by Rick Shrader

If you know me you know I’m not a fan of Christian Rock or Contemporary Christian Music.  I see the advertisements for the music on the News or online.  The Rock band MercyMe was featured on Fox News one morning with vocalist Bart Millard.  That caused me to read a little and watch the trailer for the movie, read the lyrics and listen to the song.  I won’t go to the movie and I have no need to buy the album.  I don’t have a criticism of Millard’s motive for writing the song.  His father died in 1991 when he was 18 and he was searching for answers.  This is the way contemporary believers find relief.  Of course, Millard has won Dove awards and enjoys much popularity for his song and band.  I only have a basic criticism of the song.

The song “I Can Only Imagine” is asking the question what it will be like when we stand before God.  The lyrics of the second and fourth stanzas read, “Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel, will I dance for you Jesus, or in awe of you be still, will I stand in your presence, or to my knees will I fall?”  I want to offer two thoughts.  First, our authority for what heaven will be like or any other Christian belief must come from what is Written, not from our own imagination.  What comes from our own mind is simple humanism.  One can imagine or dream or think about these things all day but you still won’t know anything for sure.  Secondly, I searched the Scriptures for anyone who stood before God the Father or Jesus Christ in glory where any bodily action is described.  I find only one action:  falling on one’s face in reverence and godly fear.  Isaiah cried, “Woe is me! For I am undone” (Isa. 6:5); Ezekiel  said, “And when I saw it [the throne of God] I fell upon my face” (Ezek. 1:28); Peter, James, and John saw the Lord transfigured and it is recorded, “When the disciples heard it, they fell on their face” (Matt. 17:6); when Saul of Tarsus (the apostle Paul) saw Jesus on the road to Damascus it says, “And he fell to the earth” and only later “Saul arose from the earth” (Acts 9:4, 8); and when John saw Jesus in His resurrected glory on the Isle of Patmos he says, “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead” (Rev. 1:17).  Now I appreciate Bart Millard’s attempt to think about when he gets to heaven and sees Jesus, but if revelation, not imagination, is any authority, our feet will not want to proudly stand or dance.  They will fall at His lovely feet and praise Him for His grace that we are there at all!

 

 

Billy Graham’s Passing

Billy Graham’s Passing

by Rick Shrader

Billy Graham was an evangelical evangelist who preached the gospel and saw many thousands of people come to Christ through his ministry.  Though I have not been a supporter of his new-evangelical ecumenicalism, I have always been thankful for many things about his life and ministry.  It will be interesting to see how America today handles the memory of Billy Graham and his preaching.  It is easy to praise a man after he is incapacitated or has passed away.  In many ways today America would not tolerate the evangelical message of salvation only in Jesus Christ, i.e., the Christian message being the ONLY way to God and that through a personal faith in Jesus Christ.  But I think we will see them paying lip service to it over the next few days.

Most evangelicals today would not be able to handle the “old fashioned” style of the Billy Graham Crusade, with its hymn singing and choirs, with George Beverly Shea singing How Great Thou Art, and especially with its public invitation to accept Christ right now, and perhaps even with Graham’s condemnation of sexual and moral sins.  It should be known or remembered that Graham was not the inventor of the crusade method that he used.  Many of us grew up hearing many evangelists preach in tents and large venues and give public invitations.  My own pastor, John Rawlings, who also died a few years ago at 99, preached this way all of his life.  As a fundamentalist, I am also reminded that in those days there was a stronger ability to stand against the ecumenicalism of the Graham Crusades and even that was more tolerated among evangelicals and fundamentalists than it would be today.  Sadly, we are also seeing that methodology (calling evil good and good evil) bear fruit in the evangelical world.

But I am also quick to compliment Billy Graham for a number of things for which I am thankful.  First, that there are, and will be, thousands of people in heaven because of his message of salvation in Jesus Christ alone.  I know many of them personally.  I am thankful that he kept himself clean from moral, financial, and other public failures that seems to have plagued many public religious figures of his day.  I am thankful that he made the public invitation acceptable, something which helped all of us who give invitations.  Many today who will praise his ministry will never themselves give a public invitation.  And I am thankful that even today, the day of his death, many television watchers will hear in his preaching again, maybe in old black and white scenes, the message that salvation is only in Jesus Christ.  He being dead yet speaketh, at least for the next few days.

In my life and ministry over the last fifty years, I could not support the ecumenicalism of Billy Graham.  But I can rejoice in a message of Jesus Christ and I am thankful for that.