VIDEO How Founding Fathers Who Loved the God of Liberty & Their Freedom Built the Freest of Free Nations

 

PHILADELPHIA  – As we celebrate Presidents Day, it’s important to remember the first five commanders-in-chief were also all Founding Fathers of the nation. What you may not know is how crucial The Founders’ faith was in America’s beginning. And much of that beginning took place in Philadelphia.

In locations all around colonial Philadelphia, Founders who knew the God of Liberty fought to form a nation of liberty.

Take a Do-it-Yourself Tour

The Providence Forum has organized a self-guided Faith and Freedom Tour to show you how Christianity and the intense desire for liberty in these locations birthed this freest of free nations.

“Why Philadelphia? Because this was the big city. It was much bigger than the little farm town of New York,” Providence Forum founder Peter Lillback told CBN News. “Philadelphia was also centrally located. It was a big city right in the middle.”

Touring around the sights, Lillback described how Bible beliefs backed each step the Founding Fathers took. Standing near a statue of George Washington, Lillback stated the first president personified this.

‘Follow Jesus Christ to Succeed’

“Washington said we need to follow Christ or we’re never going to succeed as a nation. That’s not a minister. That’s not a right-wing conservative fundamentalist. That’s the father of our country!” Lillback exclaimed.

He offered that it’s significant and apropos that Washington’s statue is located right outside Independence Hall since that’s where the Founders declared the colonies’ freedom and formed the fledgling country’s constitution.

Washington led the army that fought for that freedom, then presided over the 1787 Constitutional Convention, and finally led the nation as its first chief executive. But he was always guided by his faith that he held so dear.

How to be a Happy Nation

Lillback explained of Washington, “He’s the one who said, ‘Unless we imitate the Divine Author of our blessed religion in terms of His charity, humility, and specific temperament of mind, we’ll never be a happy nation.’”

In a world used to rule by monarchs, he almost singlehandedly broke Americans out of the habit of being subjects.

“When he was called on to become king, he refused. Because he said, ‘We’re going to let the people decide,’” Lillback shared.

Followers of Christ the Carpenter Met in Carpenters Hall

But many years before that, leaders from the various colonies gathered for the first time and in Philadelphia in 1774 to figure out how to remove the oppressive grip Britain had wrapped around the colonies’ collective neck.

These colonial leaders were overwhelmingly of the Christian faith, following Jesus Christ, a carpenter. And interestingly enough, where they first met was called Carpenters’ Hall.

They longed to unite against Britain but were divided by deep denominational differences and even regional customs. Like when Massachusetts’ John Adams first encountered Washington, the Virginian.

Some Would Shake Hands, Some Would Bow

“They’re all gathered together. They’ve never been in the same room, they’re meeting each other for the first time. John Adams meets this big tall Virginian, George Washington. And they don’t even know how to shake hands. John Adams comes up to shake his hand and George Washington steps back. Because Virginians don’t shake hands. They give a bow,” Lillback explained.

These men gathering in Carpenters’ Hall were taking the actions that would someday give birth to America. Did it begin in rebellion? In bloodshed? It actually began in that hall with prayer.

Standing in front of Carpenters’ Hall, Lillback stated, “This is where the first prayer for the country happens. But not without a debate. They debated the question could they even pray? Not because they didn’t believe in prayer, but because all the different denominations believed that the others were wrong, and they couldn’t fellowship with them,” Lillback related.

The Spark Plug of the American Revolution said ‘I’m no Bigot’

That’s when one of the fieriest radicals against the British stepped into the breach and bridged the gap.

“This is the great accomplishment of Samuel Adams, called the spark plug of the American Revolution, who said, ‘I’m no bigot. I can pray with any man who loves his God and loves his country’,” Lillback said.

Adams called on this First Continental Congress to invite over local Anglican minister Jacob Duche to come and lead them in prayer. Adams was a Congregationalist. Not all that many years before, his people waged war against England’s Anglicans and even beheaded the British king, head of the Anglican church.

They Prayed in Jesus’ Name

But like Samuel Adams, Jacob Duche rose to the occasion, and soon arrived in Carpenters Hall.

“Leads in prayer and he does it in the name of Jesus Christ,” Lillback shared. “So we can honestly say the United States was begun with a prayer meeting.”

He went on, “I think it’s a beautiful thing to realize that American colonialists found a way to come together, and they did it in the Gospel name of Christ, crossing denominational boundaries.”

What these men accomplished, Lillback characterized as, “The spiritual and political first step of the First Continental Congress of the United States.”

And Lillback said of Adams reaching out across the denominational aisle, “It was at that moment that Sam Adams created the American ecumenical spirit, where, in the public square, we can walk over our denominational boundaries.”

Jefferson Wanted Liberty for the Slaves, Too

As the Revolutionary War began, these rebel leaders soon moved into what would become known as Independence Hall. From there, they sent Thomas Jefferson off to come up with the Declaration of Independence. Working nearby, he put together those famed words about life and liberty but also wrote a whole section against slavery.

For those who believe America was just a bunch of uncaring, hard-hearted plantation owners lording it over slaves they felt they had every right to own, the picture was much more complex.

Lillback said of the Declaration’s author, “Jefferson, although a slave owner, realized that they were making the world over again. He said something unique is happening here. And he said, ‘We need to end slavery.’”

Aided by the likes of John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, Jefferson finished and submitted the Declaration to his fellow delegates.

88 Changes to the Declaration of Independence

“It went to the Congress. And we’re told that while it was being debated, Jefferson was fuming in the corner. Because there were some 88 changes that were made to his document,” Lillback said, adding that one of those changes was taking out Jefferson’s idea to wipe out slavery.

But others continued the battle. Opponents of slavery pointed out the scripture from Leviticus engraved in the nearby Liberty Bell.

Lillback stated they’d remark, “Doesn’t that old bell say, ‘Proclaim liberty throughout the land to ALL inhabitants thereof?’ And this became the great icon of the abolitionists’ assault against slavery. And they’re the ones who named it the Liberty Bell.”

Accepting All Men are Sinners, All are Depraved

Meanwhile, at the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Independence Hall, the Founders accepted the Bible’s saying all men are sinners and in their depravity can’t be trusted.

Lillback recalled, “There’s an amazing story that happens in James Madison’s record of the Constitutional Convention. They’re debating how they should distribute votes. And one of the large states says, ‘We should get more votes; we have more people.’ And one of the little states says, ‘That’s not fair. You’ll always outvote us.’ And the representative of the big state says, ‘Don’t worry. We’ll take care of you.’ And the little state representative says, ‘We don’t trust you! We believe in political depravity. We need a way that will check your power.’

Lillback continued, “And so a bicameral system was created. The Senate having two senators for every state, the House of Representatives having a proportional number of votes based on population, both of them having the right to make the law, and neither one can do it without the other – forcing cooperation and compromise. So it’s an amazing system of ‘how do we bring together diversity and still achieve common unity?’ A brilliant solution.”

The First US Congress, the First US Supreme Court

This first Congress of the United States then started to meet just a few feet from Independence Hall.

The Bible suggested people needed representatives, but also said they needed judges. So on the other side of Independence Hall, the first US Supreme Court convened, presided over by Chief Justice John Jay.

“He also turns out to be a president of the American Bible Society,” Lillback said of Jay. “So we see that people who love the Bible were also leaders in government.”

Why Washington May Be the Greatest Man in Western Civilization

Like Washington, who refused to give up in the bitter, killing cold of Valley Forge and later refused to take a crown.

“Some people say Washington is the greatest man in Western civilization for the two things he DIDN’T do: he didn’t quit when all was lost and he didn’t become king when all was won,” Lillback remarked, concluding, “And in doing both, he was following the very character of Christ, who persevered to accomplish His mission and only did it in the right way.”

You can visit the Faith and Freedom Tour website and be guided to dozens of other Philadelphia locations where you can see for yourself how the Lord, His liberty and this land all fit together.

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2020/february/how-founding-fathers-who-loved-the-god-of-liberty-and-their-freedom-built-the-freest-of-free-nations

Ever-Present Presence

Today's Devotional

Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.  Matthew 28:20

During the 2018 World Cup, Colombian forward Radamel Falcao scored in the seventieth minute against Poland, securing a victory. The dramatic goal was Falcao’s thirtieth in international play, earning him the distinction of scoring the most goals by a Colombian player in international competition.

Falcao has often used his success on the soccer pitch to share his faith, frequently lifting his jersey after a score to reveal a shirt with the words, Con Jesus nunca estara solo: “With Jesus you’ll never be alone.”

Falcao’s statement points us to the reassuring promise from Jesus, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Knowing He was about to return to heaven, Jesus comforted His disciples by assuring them He’d always be with them, through the presence of His Spirit (v. 20; John 14:16–18). Christ’s Spirit would comfort, guide, protect, and empower them as they took the message of Jesus to cities both near and far. And when they experienced periods of intense loneliness in unfamiliar places, Christ’s words would likely echo in their ears, a reminder of His presence with them.

No matter where we go, whether close to home or faraway, as we follow Jesus into the unknown we too can cling to this same promise. Even when we experience feelings of loneliness, as we reach out in prayer to Jesus, we can receive comfort knowing He’s with us.

By:  Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

How does the assurance that Jesus is always with you provide comfort? How has He comforted you when you felt alone?

Jesus, thank You that I’m never alone because You’re with me.

Sharing Our Faith

1 John 4:7-21

We live in a world where few people are looking for God. But anyone who doesn’t have a relationship with the Savior will be under God’s judgment for all eternity (Matt. 7:21-23). As Christ’s ambassadors, we should be ready share the gospel (2 Corinthians 5:20). Here are five key words to help us communicate God’s good news:

Need—People must first recognize that something is wrong between them and God (Rom. 3:10), and it’s not something they can fix on their own.

Provision—God sent His Son Jesus to pay the debt we owe for our sins.

Cost—For you and me, salvation is free; it’s a gift. But it was costly to God, who sacrificed His Son (Rom. 6:23).

Faith—There is only one way to salvation, and that is by trusting in Jesus (John 14:6).

Assurance—When we believe, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us. Through Him, we know that we are God’s children and will spend eternity with Him.

Aren’t you grateful that someone shared these truths with you and introduced you to Jesus? Let’s do the same for our friends and loved ones who haven’t yet discovered the joy of salvation.

Daniel a President

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.” (Daniel 6:1-2)

Not many people realize that the godly prophet Daniel was the first president of the great Medo-Persian-Babylonian empire!

Of course, Daniel’s office did not correlate directly with that of an American president, being appointive rather than elective, and being subject to the emperor, but he nevertheless had great authority. Many translations use the word “governor” instead of “president”—the original language was Aramaic in this case rather than Hebrew.

In any case, Daniel was a God-fearing Hebrew rather than a Persian or Babylonian, and so soon drew the envy and resentment of the other “presidents” and “princes” of the empire. But the only charge they could make against him (there was no hint of scandal or corruption in his character or activities, unlike certain nominally Christian presidents in our own country) was that he was too “religious,” worshipping openly the true God of creation instead of the nature gods of the pagans. “They could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him” (Daniel 6:4).

It is sadly true that such a testimony could never have been given concerning any American president, not even Washington or Lincoln, as great and praiseworthy as they were. Nevertheless, God would remind us “that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). HMM

The Dead Churches

These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest and art dead.

—Revelation 3:1

 

I think we are going to have to restudy this whole teaching of the place of the Holy Spirit in the Church, so the Body can operate again. If the life goes out of a man’s body, he is said to be a corpse. He is what they call “the remains.” It is sad, but humorously sad, that a strong, fine man with shining eyes and vibrant voice, a living man, dies, and we say, “the remains” can be seen at a funeral home…. The living man is gone. You have only the body. The body is “the remains.”

So it is in the Church of Christ. It is literally true that some churches are dead. The Holy Spirit has gone out of them and all you have left are “the remains.” You have the potential of the church but you do not have the church, just as you have in a dead man the potential of a living man but you do not have a living man. He can’t talk, he can’t taste, he can’t touch, he can’t feel, he can’t smell, he can’t see, he can’t hear—because he is dead! The soul has gone out of the man, and when the Holy Spirit is not present in the Church, you have to get along after the methods of business or politics or psychology or human effort.   COU112-113

Lord, send Your Holy Spirit in power, that we might not be a dead Church, striving to look alive, pretending to function as though alive, while the life is actually gone. Amen.

 

The Word and Spirit

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

—James 1:18

 

Some people wish they could have lived in Jesus’ day so they could have heard His voice and His teaching. They forget there were thousands who heard Jesus but who had no idea what He was talking about. They forget that His own disciples had to wait for the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to know what He had been telling them.

“If only I had heard Jesus,” you may have said. No, you are better off now. You have the Light that lights every person. You have the voice of the inner conscience.

Some are sorry they never heard Dwight L. Moody or Albert B. Simpson in person. But I remind you that even if we could have [heard] the apostle Paul on magnetic tape…his speech could do no more for us than the Holy Spirit can do with the Bible and the human conscience….

We have heard the voice of the Light within the heart….The Church needs to listen to the inner voice and do something about its message! FBR076-077

There are two extremes. The Word without the Spirit is dry and dead, but the Spirit without the Word is incomplete. HS489

 

Purity of Heart

Matthew 5:8

We all know what is meant by being pure. When we talk about the purity of things around us, we mean that they are clean and unadulterated. That is, that they are not only without dirt or filthiness, but have no inferior substance mixed with them.

Sin is spoken of in the Bible as filthiness or defilement of the body, mind or spirit. Purity in religion must mean, therefore, the absence of such things. In short, to be pure in soul signifies deliverance from everything which the Lord shows you to be opposed to His holy will.

We all like material purity. I am sure that everyone reading this letter prefers to have a clean body. You like clean clothes and clean linen, do you not? You like a clean home. See how the housewife scrubs and washes and brushes and dusts to keep the floor and windows and furniture clean.

You like a clean city. What a laborious and costly sweeping of the streets, carrying away of rubbish, and money spent on keeping our towns sweet and pure.

We like this sort of purity because it is pleasant to the eye and good for health. But all right-minded beings admire the purity of the soul far more than they do the purity of the body, or the clothes, the home or anything else; and that, because it is so much more important.

God loves soul purity. It is His nature to do so. I have no doubt, like us He prefers to see His children also outwardly clean. His dwelling place is pure. Its inhabitants are pure.

As the heart in your body is the great driving force of the natural man, so the heart we are talking about is the great driving force of the spiritual man. In this sense it is your heart that feels joy or sorrow. It is the heart that chooses between right and wrong. It is the heart that molds the character, guides the choice and masters all the course and conduct of a man’s life. The heart is the captain of the ship. How important it is to each one of us that we should have a good—a right—

a pure heart.

But what is a pure heart? A pure heart is a heart that has been cleansed by the Holy Spirit from all sin, and enabled to please God in all it does: to love Him with all its powers, and its neighbor as itself.

To those who know that they do not possess a pure heart, God is waiting to cleanse you. Now is the accepted time.

William Booth, Purity of Heart