Friday, July 02, 2010

The Truth of Independance

"And God spoke all these words:

2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

3 "You shall have no other gods before me.

4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments." Exodus 20:1-4

So many years ago, the Israelites were brought out of Egypt by a God who loved them so. He loved them so much, He worked supernaturally to save them from a lifetime of slavery. And He saved their descendants from a lifetime of slavery.

Fast forward several years, and persecution of the Christians is spreading like wildfire throughout Europe. If you've never spent time reading the history of Europe and the truth about what went on there before the pilgrims fled England, you really should take the time to do so. A person could profess to worship God, but they had to worship God, according to what the King deemed appropriate. Bibles were not permitted in homes either. Imagine what would happen if the people actually read the Bible for themselves and started thinking on their own and getting ideas about freedom in Christ? Many thousands upon thousands of Christ-loving men, women and children were burned at the stake for their faith. Literally pulled from their homes, these people would be forced to stack the wood properly around their own stake before they were tied to it, and then the fire was set.

And then a new land was found, and the Christians, wanting a better life for their children- wanting their children to be able to love their God with all their heart- and without fear of persecution- worked for years and years to save enough money to pay for passage to this new land.

Years later, the new land was growing in leaps and bounds, and the King back in England still wanted to control the people in this new land. And great men of faith sought time with God and got together and organized the American Revolution. So often in many of the history books, we miss the fact that these men and women who fought for our country's Independence were great men of faith. They would spend time on their knees before a campaign- not only praying for their safety and the safety of loved ones back home- but mostly praying for freedom, and for God's Will to be done above all.

It was prayer and communion with God that created this country. These men spent time with God, and sought His Will above all else. They read in the Bible of how God freed the Israelites and prayed that He would do the same for them. And then God blessed them richly for it. He blessed this country right at it's very beginnings- and it's time for the people of this country to see that we are truly and wonderfully blessed, and to thank God for it!

From time to time our earthly conversations go in a direction of people that we'd like to meet in heaven. I know many people's lists center around people in the Bible- everyone wants to meet Moses, Elijah and Paul. But I'll tell you, I would love to get in a room with Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and William Bradford. Oh, those are the men of God I can't wait to just spend time with. The passion they must have had here on earth for the things of God just must have made them glow from time to time.

God says right there in Exodus that He will bless and show love to a thousand generations- for those who obey His commandments and love Him. And it seems to me that most of us really don't have trouble keeping most of the commandments. It's not hard to not commit murder, you know? But it can be hard to have no other gods before Him. When we place other priorities in front of God, we're elevating them to god status. When we make our money more important than God, we've elevated that to the status of a god in our life. When we make the acquiring of possessions and material objects more important than God, we're making that a god in our life. This verse isn't specifically talking about taking a "god" from another culture and worshiping it. Oh, it means that too- but it also means our day-to-day. What is so important to us that we honor it before God? Dancing With The Stars? American Idol?

It is my prayer, that as we head into the holiday weekend that God will make us ever so much more mindful of this. That He will show Himself God to our nation this weekend. As we celebrate freedom and Independence, may we truly remember what it is that we are celebrating- and may we thank God for the freedoms that we sometimes forget to cherish. Everything those men and women did during the revolution they did for God! I think we forget that as we focus on our barbecues and fireworks displays. This year, as millions of Americans look to the skies and admire the fireworks exploding and creating beauty in the sky, may they look beyond the fireworks. As our entire country "looks up" may they realize where their gaze is resting, and may they offer praise to Him and bless Him, for without Him, we are nothing, and we have nothing. It is through Him alone that we have what we have- a ticket to eternal life, and while we are here on earth- a free nation to spend time blessing and worshipping Him.

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