Ever since we started the renovations at our place in the country, it has always been a treat to go sit on the back porch and soak in the beauty of the Texas countryside. I can sit out there in the morning and listen to the birds awakening with the dawn and then enjoy the croaking of what must be ten thousand frogs and crickets in the evening. It is peaceful, quiet, and still – the way I long for my heart to be in the midst of the chaos of life. And it is in those quiet moments – when I am "still and know that He is God" – that God speaks to me and calms the storm within. That is what I want to share with you in these posts. I want to share my view from the back porch. Some of my posts will reflect a few of the things I have learned in my journey through life. Some will simply be statements of what I see in our culture and how we as Christians should respond. I teach a Bible study class each week to an extremely eclectic group of adults and some of the posts and videos I share will be taken from those lessons. I have no delusions of profundity but rather I hope to cause you to think, to laugh, to ponder anew your life as Christ would have you live it. Furthermore, I hope this will be a conversation and not just a monologue. I would love to hear your thoughts, hopes, fears and anything else you would feel comfortable sharing with me. It's wonderful to relax here on the back porch enjoying the view, so pour yourself some coffee (or the beverage of your choosing) and let's talk.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Voting is both a right and a privilege here in the United States. But whether you live in the U.S. or in some other county, the admonition Paul gives Timothy applies to us today. Here in the U.S. we have begun to think that our future is determined by the vote. As citizens we should be salt and light within our country and, consequently, we should be involved in the political process as much as is in our power to do so. However, our faith must be in the One Who establishes and allows governments to exist. Our hope must be in Him. Only then can we walk in wisdom and in peace in the midst of a political storm, a geo-political conflict, or a peace–squelching effort on the part of any human or institution.
Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him.
When things were heating up in the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Ben Franklin called the body to prayer. Without this submission to God’s providence we might never have become the nation we are today.
Likewise, things are heating up in our nation and we must once again listen to the words of Ben Franklin – not for the founding of the nation, but for its continuation.
As we are admonished in 1 Peter 5:5b-9a, we must dress ourselves in humility and not pride as we relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (Proverbs 3:34)We must humble ourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift us up in honor. We must give all our worries and cares to God, for he cares about us. Furthermore, we must stay alert and watch out for our great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. We must stand firm against him, and be strong in our faith.
It is true a nation cannot rise without the power and aid and supervision of the Almighty Creator. “He removes kings and raises up kings.” (Daniel 2:21) Therefore, can we expect our nation to continue without Him? At this time of the year when we celebrate our Independence we must also acknowledge our total Dependence on God and call on Him to once again intervene in the public and private affairs of the citizens of this great nation. Then and only then will we experience in 2022 that which Abraham Lincoln declared in 1864 in his Gettysburg Address “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Whereas the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the supreme authority and just government of Almighty God in all the affairs of men and of nations, has by a resolution requested the President to designate and set apart a day for national prayer and humiliation; and
Whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord;
And, insomuch as we know that by His divine law nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.
It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.
Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do by this my proclamation designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer. And I do hereby request all the people to abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite at their several places of public worship and their respective homes in keeping the day holy to the Lord and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.
All this being done in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the divine teachings that the united cry of the nation will be heard on high and answered with blessings no less than the pardon of our national sins and the restoration of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of unity and peace. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this 30th day of March, A. D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-seventh.
Tomorrow. the first Thursday of May, is the National Day of Prayer.
In 1952, Congress passed a bill stating that every president would proclaim a Day of National Prayer on a date of his/her choosing. The first Thursday of May was set as the National Day of Prayer in 1988, but days of fasting, humiliation, and prayer have been practiced since before our nation’s founding. John Adams, on March 23, 1798, issued the following proclamation.
“As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety without which social happiness can not exist nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed. . .
I have therefore thought fit to recommend, and I do hereby recommend, that Wednesday, the 9th day of May next, be observed throughout the United States as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer.”
Politicians can talk freely of what they will do to rebuild America — grand plans and designs, budget reforms and tax reforms, imports and exports, peace at home and peace abroad, safety and security. “Look here, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.’ How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.’ Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.”(James 4:13-16)
Now is the time to trust God instead of the plans of those who do nothing but boast of what they will do.
I know it’s Friday, but today is Black Tuesday – the 92nd Anniversary of the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the beginning of the Great Depression. Now, I don’t want to depress you, but at that time America had just gone through the end of World War 1 (1914-1918 although the USA didn’t get involved until 1917) and the Spanish Flu epidemic (1918-1919.) Those events were followed by a period of economic growth we know as the Roaring 20’s. From 1921 to 1929 the stock market grew by 539% from 72 points to 381 points. During this same time period the economy grew by 42%. While there are many political and financial events that had some impact on the 1929 crash, I think this cartoon, published in the Los Angeles Times in 1926, may give some insight into another problem of the Roaring 20’s that may have led to the Great Depression. God has a way of correcting things that we may not always see. I’m not saying that we are headed for such a correction 100 years later. However, as stated by George Santayana, an American philosopher, in his work, The Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Evil is real. Demonic forces are active in ways we witness everyday in every aspect of our lives. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12 NLT) So, if that’s the case, our response to the evil in our world must be in the realm of the demonic and the response to evil must be in the name and power of Jesus. In Luke 8 we see one of many times when Jesus displayed His authority over demons. When we go up against Satan’s demonic forces in our own power, we lose. When we go up against Satan’s demonic forces in the power and name and authority of Jesus we win. Furthermore, the only hope that our family, friends, and acquaintances have in this realm of such forces is in Jesus. Therefore, we must be diligent in introducing them to Him. A chaotic life that ends in eternal death is what lies before them. The man in Luke 8 was living in chaos and headed for a tragic end before he met Jesus. Our world, our nation, our state, our county, our town, our neighbors, our work associates, and our family members need to know the victorious power found only in Jesus. That’s how we should respond to the evil in our world.
This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, September 26, 2021. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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