May 31, 2012
Christian music video from singer Carman
Bring back God in America again
May 31, 2012
Christian music video from singer Carman
Bring back God in America again
In 1879, archaeologists discovered a remarkable little item in an area now known as Iraq (biblical Babylon). Just 9 inches long, the Cyrus Cylinder records something that King Cyrus of Persia did 2,500 years ago. It says that Cyrus allowed a group of people to return to their homeland and rebuild their “holy cities.”
It’s the same story told in Ezra 1. There we read that “the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia” to make a proclamation (v. 1). And in that proclamation, Cyrus said he was releasing the captives in Babylon to go home to Jerusalem, re-establish their homes, and rebuild their temple (vv. 2-5).
But there’s more to the story. Daniel confessed his sins and his people’s sins and pleaded with God to end the Babylonian captivity (Dan. 9). In response to Daniel’s prayer, God sent an angel to speak to Daniel (v. 21). Later He moved Cyrus to release the Hebrews. (See also Jer. 25:11-12; 39:10.)
Together, the Cyrus Cylinder and God’s Word combine to show us that the king’s heart was changed and he allowed the exiled Hebrews to go home and worship.
This story has great implications for us today. In a world that seems out of control, we can rest assured that God can move the hearts of leaders. We read in Proverbs 21:1 that “the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord.” And Romans 13:1 says that “there is no authority except from God.”
The Lord, who is able to change our own hearts as well as the hearts of our leaders, can be trusted for He is in control. Let’s ask Him to work.
Dear Father, the world so often seems out of control. We know You are sovereign over everything. We pray that Your will be done in our homeland and in the hearts of our leaders.
Rather than complain, pray.
By Dave Branon
Throughout this day, Americans everywhere will celebrate freedom, as well they should. It’s one of the defining principles of their nation. Yet one might ask, Of those celebrating freedom, how many are truly experiencing it?
Certainly, many men and women are living what has been called the “American dream”: They enjoy well-paying careers, wonderful homes, and interesting hobbies. But meanwhile, their “pursuit of happiness” has yet to be satisfied. The reason is that lots of people remain prisoners internally, despite their apparent success. They are bound to anxiety and depression, or a fear of losing what they’ve worked hard to possess. However liberating circumstances may seem externally, we eventually learn that freedom must be realized within. But how?
The answer is Jesus Christ. Isaiah 61:1 prophesied a key aspect of Jesus’ ministry, which continues to this day: He has come to heal the brokenhearted and set captives free. When we trust Him as Savior, the chains holding us back from joy are broken. We are liberated from lies that have been programmed in our minds from an early age, and we begin to see things from God’s point of view. Then we discover that our needs, desires, and overall well-being rest securely in the arms of a loving heavenly Father.
Are you feeling the weight of anxiety or anger? Look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith (Hebrews 12:2). And remember the promise of 2 Corinthians 6:2: “Now is the day of salvation” (NIV). The day you trust in Christ is the day He delivers you from fear and bondage.
“So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” (James 2:12)
On Independence Day, Americans should give thanks to the Author of liberty that we have been privileged to live in this “sweet land of liberty,” where we can worship God freely, in accord with His Word. Liberty is not license, however, and the essence of the American system is liberty under law. Fundamentally, that law is “the law of nature and of nature’s God”—the natural laws of God’s world and the revealed laws of God’s Word. Within that framework we do have liberty—but not liberty to defy either the physical law of gravity or the spiritual “law of liberty.” The latter is formulated in Scripture and has been applied over the centuries, in the English common law and later in our system of constitutional law, both of which are based on Scripture.
Some today, seeking license rather than liberty, might recoil at the very idea of “the law of liberty,” calling it an oxymoron, or contradiction in terms. But Jesus said that only “the truth shall make you free!” (John 8:32). “Sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4), and “sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15), not freedom!
No one can be saved by the law, but those who are saved—by grace through faith in Christ—will love God’s law, for it is “holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12). We should say with the psalmist: “So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever. And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts” (Psalm 119:44-45).
There is, indeed, a law of liberty, and whoever will walk in real liberty will find it only in God’s law of life, through His revealed Word. For “whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:25). HMM
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. —Colossians 3:16
Times are bad in the kingdom and getting worse. The tendency is to settle into a rut, and we must get out of it….
When God sends some preacher to say this to a congregation and the congregation is even half ready to listen to him, they say to themselves, “I think the pastor is right about this. We are in a rut, aren’t we? No use fighting it. I think we ought to do something about this.” Then 99.99 percent of the time the remedy prescribed will be, “Let’s come together and eat something. I know we are in a rut. We don’t see each other often enough. We ought to get to know each other better, so let’s come together and eat something.” I have no objection to fellowship, but it is not the answer to what is wrong with us….
I am quite sure that when the man of God thundered, “You have stayed long enough in this place. You are going around in circles. Get you out and take what is given to you by the hand of your God,” nobody got up and said, “Mr. Chairman, let’s eat something.” Eating probably would not have helped. RRR013-015
Thank You for the privilege of Christian fellowship—and of eating together to foster relationships in the Body of Christ. But help us, Lord, to go much deeper. Take us out of the rut through following hard after You, not through surface attempts. Amen.
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 2:1
There is always danger that a free nation may imperil its freedom by a series of small choices destructive of that freedom.
In the realm of religion right choices are even more critically important! The casual indifference with which millions of Protestants view their Godblessed religious liberty is ominous. Being let go, they go on weekends to the lakes and mountains and beaches to play shuffleboard, fish and sunbathe. They go where their heart is and come back to the praying company only when the bad weather drives them in. Let this continue long enough and evangelical Protestantism will be ripe for a takeover by Rome!
The Christian gospel is a message of freedom through grace and we must stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. But what shall we do with our freedom?
I think it might be well for us to check our spiritual condition occasionally by the simple test of compatibility. When we are free to go, where do we go? In what company do we feel most at home? Where do our thoughts turn when they are free to turn where they will? When the pressure of work or business or school has temporarily lifted and we are able to think of what we will instead of what we must, what do we think of then?
Are we willing to face up to the answers to these questions, which may tell us more than we can comfortably accept?
Standfast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. GALATIANS 5:1
To any human who bothers to think a bit, it should be evident that there is in our society no such thing as absolute freedom—for only God is free!
It is inherent in creaturehood that its freedom must be limited by the will of the Creator and the nature of the thing created. Freedom is liberty within bounds, liberty to obey holy laws, liberty to keep the commandments of Christ, to serve mankind, to develop to the full all the latent possibilities within our redeemed natures. True Christian liberty never sets us free to indulge our lusts or to follow our fallen impulses.
On earth, a healthy society requires that its members accept a limited freedom. Each must curtail his own liberty that all may be free, and this law runs throughout all of the created universe, including the kingdom of God.
The glory of heaven itself lies in the character of the freedom enjoyed by those who dwell therein!
Lord, today I pray for the members of the churches in my community. Empower them (and myself) to curb their “fallen impulses” and to be a bright beacon in the midst of a dark society.