VIDEO Is America a Christian nation? Dave Barton speaks at Charles Stanley’s Church

 

Was America founded on Christian principles? What happened? Is there any hope for the downward spiral of American culture? David Barton, noted historian and founder of Wallbuilders, provides commentary and evidence that America’s beginnings are based on Christian principles. Our continued success and prosperity as a Nation are dependent upon our collective return to Jesus Christ and a renewed focus on the spiritual regeneration of us as a nation.

Christians And Public Life: Politics, Culture, And Bearing The Light Of The Gospel

ChristianMostPersecuted

Christians, since our first parents fell from a pristine garden head-long into the morass of sin so long ago, the inability of their heirs to extricate themselves from the moral swamp that is our nature has been the salient characteristic of human history.

Yet redeemed in Christ, His followers are called by Him to live in a manner worthy of His Name, of His character and His commission. Among the ways we’re called to do so:

  • Demonstrating in our own lives that His way is good, and that those who know and follow Jesus have found grace and truth;
  • Defending the weak, healing the broken, welcoming those fractured by the dissolution of their families, and upholding our God-given right and mandate to live-out, without repression, the implications of our faith in His Son;
  • Proclaiming that His standards are here for both individual and social well-being, and that when followed, we gain “a culture in which human life is valued, families flourish, and religious liberty thrives.”
  • Affirming that His self-revelation in creation, our consciences, and our reason is sufficiently clear for us all, Christians and non-, to understand what’s morally right and wrong for us personally, in families, in civic life, and in the professions;
  • Creating and celebrating “the good, the true, and the beautiful” such that all aspects of our lives reflect the loveliness of our Creator; and
  • Sharing the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins, rose from the grave, and is Lord of all, and that He offers new and eternal life to all who will trust in Him alone for forgiveness.

To the second bullet, no one is weaker than an unborn child, and no one more vulnerable to predation than her mother at a time of crisis. No one is broken like the person who has departed from God’s plan for human sexuality. No one is needier than a child needing a father or a woman deserted by her husband. And no one can fully realize the nature of his humanity, that of being an image-bearer of God, without the freedom not only to worship Him privately but also to obey Him publically.

Yet we know that complete victory is impossible: As long as sin remains man’s inherent lot, God’s Kingdom, something Jesus warned us is “not of this world” (John 18:36), can never be built on earth. If we say we can usher-in Revelation’s promised “new earth” (Revelation 21:1) without Jesus, we would do well to reflect on a place called Babel.

On the other hand, if all we want is a place of political ease, one in which cultural comfort is the norm, we follow a false god. While the broad affirmation of Judeo-Christian values is, in any culture, welcome, it is insufficient. Social serenity in a world whose prince is darkness itself should never be the disciple’s chief end. We deceive ourselves if we think that those who disagree with us will just slink away if Christian values become more well-received in our culture and reflected more closely in our laws.

What, then, do Christians want? We cannot achieve comprehensive transformation. We are obligated to do justice and stand for righteousness. We will never be without opposition, at least if we’re living as God wants. And as the foundations of American cultural and political life crumble, that opposition will become increasingly savage and uncompromising.

We need to seek to do good to all men, in matters private and public. We need to take into our homes the abused and discarded. We need to advance legislation that affirms human dignity, opportunity, and hope. Private acts, public law. Both.

We need to be obedient to God. This means being winsome and gracious, bold and truthful. These qualities are not mutually exclusive, especially since Jesus embodied them (Matthew 21:12, Mark 10:13-16, John 1:14).

Toward some, we must be respectfully but firmly confrontational (Proverbs 28:1). Toward others, we must be gentle and aim to persuade (Proverbs 15:1). In doing both, depending on the people involved and the needs of the moment, we uphold the truth and proclaim grace.

Truth without grace is only severity. Grace without truth is mere sentiment.

Some argue that if only Evangelical believers were “nicer,” society would be less disposed to stereotype and dislike us. There is never any justification for being obnoxious or dehumanizing others. Yet however warm we are in the presentation of truth, there will be those who hate us; Jesus promised this (John 15:8). Christians are to be patient and persuasive, but we do well to remember that the most gracious Man Who ever lived was nailed to a cross. It’s not all about grace or all about truth. Both/and, now and forever.

We also need to focus on the things that matter most to God in the moment in which we live. Here in the United States, what are those things? I submit that the most salient issues are the destruction of 2,700 unborn children daily and the victimization of their mothers; the hydra of radical sexual autonomy as the highest good; the pending abolition of the family as grounded in one man and one woman in covenantal union, for life; and the pre-governmental duty of man to God and the consequent necessity of the state to safeguard our ability to live-out this duty as individuals conceive it (as long as such a conception does no violence to others).

This is not to suggest that a number of other issues, whether related to race, economic injustice, crime, and so forth are not important.

Yet nothing is more final than death, and death’s most cherished handmaiden in our time is unrestricted access to abortion on demand.

Nothing is more beautiful than sexual expression as intended by the One Who designed it, and nothing more debasing than sexual expression that deviates from that design.

Nothing is more foundational to human well-being and societal flourishing than the family, and as the family as we have known it starts fading like Alice’s Cheshire cat, children suffer and adults are wounded.

Nothing is more fundamental to our very beings than the fact that we bear the image and likeness of God. Thus, when Christians’ capacity to relate to Him as we believe He desires is curtailed by the state, the fullness of what it means to bear that image is diminished.

Prudence in judgment and persuasion in appeal must be the guardians of our witness. Principled compromise is sometimes achievable. As we exercise sound political and cultural judgment and seek to convince our fellow citizens of the goodness of our agenda, we can do much good and dissuade at least some of our countrymen from courses that will only hurt them and all of us.

However, some compromises are inherently unprincipled and must never be made. Whether that relegates believers to minority status or not is immaterial. We serve an eternal King, not temporal cultural approval.

Whatever the outcome of our endeavors, American Christians engaged in the public life of our nation (and to one degree or another, that should be all of us) must imitate their Savior in character and wisdom, courage and faithfulness, now and until He returns, regardless of political outcomes.

This is why we serve and contend as we do, for by so doing we herald the Gospel to a sin-besotted world, whether overtly or more subtly. Jesus is Lord, is real, and is the one true Light Who offers forgiveness and everlasting hope to all men.

 

by Rob Schwarzwalder

http://barbwire.com/2017/06/29/christians-public-life-politics-culture-bearing-light-gospel-2/

Confidence in Times of Distress

Psalm 46:1-11

“I’m out of here!” Most of us will feel like crying out this way at some point in life. When a demanding circumstance feels overwhelming, or when the pressure of the daily routine seems unbearable, a common reaction is the desire to escape. Whether the stress is related to a job, relationship, or other situation that seems too hard to handle, we want relief. So we decide we are walking out. Moving on. Heading for anywhere but where we are now.

The Father has a powerful truth for us: The way to handle stressful situations is to cease fighting against them and instead be at rest. To the psalmist, this meant being still and knowing God is truly God (Psalm 46:10 NIV). Jesus promises peace in the midst of trials when we let go of troubles and entrust them to His care. (See Matt. 11:28-30; John 16:33.) So, while human instinct clamors for escape, God calls us to draw near to Him. Then we can discover calmness of spirit as we absorb the truth of His Word.

Most of all, the Lord wants us to know who He is. As we believe the truth of His sovereignty (1 Chronicles 29:11) and accept both the absolute goodness of His plans (Jer. 29:11) and His deep, abiding love for us (Eph. 3:17-19), we will grow in our trust of Him. Then we will find it easier to be still and truly know He is God.

Our stress need not become distress. The better we understand our heavenly Father, the more we’ll be able to walk through circumstances with calmness (Phil. 4:7) and confidence (Jer. 17:7 NIV). This is our privilege as God’s children.

Worshiping God

“And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” (Genesis 22:5)

We tend to think of “worship” as singing, or testimonies, or hearing a message. This could hardly be the meaning in our text, however, for Abraham was intending to offer Isaac on a sacrificial altar in accordance with God’s command. Furthermore, Isaac was willing to be offered. “They went both of them together” (vv. 6, 8). Isaac, in fact, was not just a little boy at this time. The word “lad” in our text is the same word as “young men” in the same verse.

The first time the Hebrew word for “worship” is used is in Genesis 18:2. When Abraham saw three men approaching (later revealed as the Lord and two angels), he “bowed himself toward the ground.” Thus, “worship” means, essentially, “bow down” in obedience to the will of the one deserving “worship.”

Abraham’s supreme act of worship, however, was his willingness even to sacrifice his beloved son, if God’s will so required. He trusted so fully in God that he knew “God was able to raise him up, even from the dead” (Hebrews 11:19), and so he could tell his two servants that he and Isaac would “come again to you.” No wonder Abraham is called “the father of all them that believe” (Romans 4:11). He was, indeed, “strong in faith” (v. 20).

The New Testament Greek word for “worship” also means essentially to bow down to God’s will. It occurs first when the wise men came to King Herod seeking the infant Savior, saying: “We . . . are come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2). As long ago a great man on Earth bowed down to the three from heaven, so now these great men on Earth with their three precious gifts bow down to One from heaven, the One who alone is worthy of true worship. HMM

“Lead thy captivity captive.”

Judges 5:1-18

We shall now hear Deborah sing her right noble poem of victory. She was both prophetess and poetess. All powers of poetry should be consecrated to the honour of God who bestows them.

Judges 5:1, 2

Unto God all the praise is given. The people were willing, but God made their zealous valour to be successful.

Judges 5:3

To such a woman, upon such a theme, the loftiest monarchs might wisely listen.

Judges 5:4, 5

All the kings around are bidden to remember the glorious marching of Jehovah, when he led his people from Egypt to Canaan; even on the road to battle the Lord displayed the glory of his majesty.

Judges 5:6, 7

Trade and travelling were at an end, for the country was unsafe.

Husbandry could not be carried on, the people fled to the walled towns for fear.

Judges 5:8

On account of Israel’s idolatry, they had become so reduced, and their oppressors had so completely disarmed them, that they had no fit weapons for war.

Judges 5:9

It is indeed a blessing when the governors lead the way in good things.

Judges 5:10

Justice could not be dispensed, civil affairs were all unkinged, no one was safe, but Deborah and Barak changed the scene.

Judges 5:11

In times of peace, when no robber was to be feared at the well, this song of gratitude would be sung, and the Lord would be praised.

Judges 5:12

Mark how the poet glows and burns.

Judges 5:13

God put Deborah first as ruler, but she did not fail to make honourable mention of all who shared in the fight, nor afterwards to rebuke those who shunned it.

Judges 5:16

Divided in council and indolent in spirit, Reuben lent no assistance. This was a sad business.

Judges 5:17

Some with no excuse, and others with a bad excuse, refrained from the patriotic war, and missed its glories. How disgraceful not to do their utmost in such a cause. Lord, save us from cowardice and slothfulness, and let us rather be such bold, self-sacrificing spirits as those the poet sings of in the next verse.

Judges 5:18

Here we are compelled to make a break, until our next reading.

 

Is the Holy Spirit ‘Tugging’ at Your Heart Today?

Romans 8:14

When your journey of faith begins, you may not have all the answers you would like to have before you take your first steps of faith. For instance, when my family moved to the other side of the world so many years ago, we sincerely thought it would be a one-year investment in the USSR. But when we took the first step and arrived at that land, God gave us the next step. When we obeyed that step, He then gave us the next, and the next, and the next.

That’s the way it is for all of us when we walk with the Lord. As wonderful as it would be to see the whole picture before we get started, He usually leads us one step at a time after we get started. This has certainly been true in my life. God had given me a vision for my life, but His instructions for moving toward that goal came one step at a time.

Romans 8:14 says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” The word “led” is the Greek word ago, which described the act of leading about an animal, such as a cow or a goat, at the end of a rope. The owner would wrap a rope around the animal’s neck and then “tug” and “pull” until the animal started to follow him. When the animal decided to cooperate and follow that gentle tug, it could then be gently “led” to where its owner wanted it to go.

Today I want to encourage you to pay careful attention to the “tugging” and “pulling” of the Holy Spirit in your heart. He is a Gentleman and does not force you to obey Him. He prompts you, tugs on your heart, and pulls on your spirit to get your attention. Sometimes His “tugs” may be so gentle that you almost miss them. But if you’ll develop your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, He will gently “lead” you exactly where He wants you to go with your life.

Also, don’t demand that the Holy Spirit tell you the whole story first! Trust Him! Remember that Jesus called Him the “Spirit of Truth” (John 16:13) to help you understand that the Holy Spirit and His leading can be trusted! He is the “Spirit of Truth,” so if He is leading you to do something, you can know He has a good reason for it. He sees and knows what you cannot see. If you will follow Him, the Holy Spirit will take you exactly where you need to go and help you reach your maximum potential in life.

As I reflect on all that has happened throughout our years of ministry, I realize that our testimony is one of being “led” by the Holy Spirit. We give Him all the glory for leading us. We weren’t smart enough to accomplish everything that has been done, but the Leader we were following knew exactly how to lead us. Because we were following Him one step at a time, He led us to a high place of victory in so many areas. And we’re not the only ones who have been led. Our partners have also been led by the Spirit in their giving and praying. Because they have had a heart to cooperate with God, we have seen Him do the impossible again and again and again.

As you look at your own life today, I urge you to make the decision to let the Spirit be your Leader in every area of your life. Let Him take you by the heart and give you a little “tug” and “pull” in the right direction. Then say, “Lord, I sense that You are tugging on my heart, and I’m ready to let You lead me where You want me to go.”

You may not see the full picture from the onset of your journey. Certainly my wife and I could never have conceived what a huge impact would be achieved in the former USSR when we were first getting started. But part of the excitement is letting God be in control! Watching where He leads and seeing what He does through you will later give you cause for great rejoicing. You’ll be so thankful that you allowed Him to be the undisputed Leader in your life!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I want to be led by the Holy Spirit in all that I say and do. When the Spirit “tugs” at my heart, trying to lead me in a new direction, please stir in me the courage I need to go wherever He leads me without being fearful, nervous, or concerned. I know the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and would therefore never mislead me. Help me become fearless to obey whatever He tells me and to go wherever He leads me. I know He has my victory in mind as I follow Him where He leads. Thank You for helping me to be bold to follow!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I am led by the Spirit of God! The Holy Spirit “tugs” and “pulls” on my heart, and I cooperate by following Him as He gently leads me where He wants me to go. He prompts me, tugs at my heart, and pulls on my spirit to get my attention. Because I am sensitive to Him, the Holy Spirit leads me one step at a time to exactly where He wants me to go with my life. He sees and knows what I cannot see. He is leading me exactly where I need to be in order to reach my maximum potential in life.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Are you aware when the Holy Spirit is tugging on your heart to lead you in a specific direction? If so, how would you describe that “tugging” to another believer who has never experienced it?
  2. Have you ever started a Spirit-led project without having the entire picture before you got started? As you got started, did the Holy Spirit keep directing you step by step to where He wanted you to be?
  3. Although it was challenging to be led in this way, were you afterwards glad that you obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is a Gentleman and does not force you to obey Him. He prompts you, tugs on your heart, and pulls on your spirit to get your attention. Sometimes His “tugs” may be so gentle that you almost miss them.

 

You Judging Others

Recently, while leading a group of businessmen in a Bible study, I had the uncomfortable feeling that I was being scrutinized… and judged, as several of the men projected a supercilious manner in icily quizzing me:

 

With what group are you affiliated ? What is your educational background? What is your theological position on such and such? etc. etc.

 

In reflecting back on that encounter I am reminded of Paul’s admonition:

 

Why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before Gods judgment seat?” (Romans 14:10)

 

Here, “judging” conveys a censorious attitude toward others without first possessing the facts. That is not to suggest that we should avoid the practice of carefully looking for the evidence of godliness in professing believers’ lives: “By their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:15-20)

 

The Scriptures inform us that judgmental people:

  • Tend to be blindly self-righteous:

King David, for example, piously condemned the man in Nathan the Prophet’s story who had stolen another man’s lone sheep, while he himself had stolen Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba:

  • David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die!‘ (2 Samuel 12:1-10) (Also Romans 2:1-4; John 8:1-11)
  • Tend to be harder on others than they are on themselves:

Christ admonished us, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brothers eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)

  • Await God’s judgment:

When you, a mere man, pass judgment on themdo you think you will escape Gods judgment?” (Romans 2:3)

 

Isn’t it Christ’s way to accept people by assuming the best of them until they give us good reason to believe otherwise? After all, “love looks for a way of being constructive.” (1 Corinthians 13:4 J. B. Phillips)

 

Certainly this is how Jesus treated Peter the day they met. Christ, knowing full-well of Peter’s future instability, gave him a name that conveyed strength and solidity: “Thou shalt be called Cephasa stone.” (John 1:42b)