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.”
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.”
Thursday is the National Day of Prayer. Perhaps we should take a page from our founding fathers and humbly seek God’s face in the face of injustice.
After the Boston Tea Party, King George punished the city by instituting the Boston Port Act, March 7, 1774, effectively closing the harbor to all commerce.
Upon hearing of the Boston Port Act, Thomas Jefferson drafted a Day of Fasting, Humiliation & Prayer resolution, to be observed the same day the blockade was to commence. It was introduced in the Virginia House of Burgesses by Robert Carter Nicholas, May 24, 1774 and was supported by Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee and George Mason. It passed unanimously. It was to be “a Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, devoutly to implore the Divine interposition, for averting the heavy calamity which threatens destruction to our civil rights.”
The King’s appointed Royal Governor, Lord Dunmore, was so angered by this Day of Fasting, Humiliation & Prayer resolution that two days later he dissolved Virginia’s House of Burgesses. Virginia’s colonial leaders went down the street and gathered in Raleigh Tavern, where they decided to form the Continental Congress which met in Philadelphia a little over three months later. About a year later they reconvened as the Second Continental Congress and one year later voted for Independence.
5Then the LORD gave me this message: 6“O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. 7If I announce that a certain nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed, 8but then that nation renounces its evil ways, I will not destroy it as I had planned. 9And if I announce that I will build up and plant a certain nation or kingdom, making it strong and great, 10but then that nation turns to evil and refuses to obey me, I will not bless that nation as I had said I would.Jeremiah 18:5-10
God spoke these words to the people of Israel through the prophet Jeremiah. While we should be cautious about taking any prophecy concerning the nation of Israel and applying it to any other nation such as the United States of America, we should take note of the general description of God’s sovereignty as we look at verses 7-10. In fact, we could replace the words “a nation” and “a kingdom” with the informal name, America, and it’s truth remains the same.
5Then the LORD gave me this message: 6“O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. 7If I announce that America is to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed, 8but then America renounces its evil ways, I will not destroy it as I had planned. 9And if I announce that I will build up and plant America, making it strong and great, 10but then America turns to evil and refuses to obey me, I will not bless America as I had said I would.
We must renounce our evil ways. We must turn away from evil and turn to the One who alone holds us in the palms of His hands . . . before it’s too late.