…"But the Word of God is not chained or imprisoned!" 2Tim. 2:9
Yes there really is a National Day of Prayer. It’s the first Thursday of every May. What do you do on the National Day of Prayer?
To all those who deny that America was founded on Christian and biblical morals, I have printed the exact message from President Abraham Lincoln’s 97th Proclamation.
Read this carefully and note that this came from the Senate to the President’s desk. Also notice how many times, the entire devotion and dependence on Almighty God is referenced.
March 30, 1863
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.
By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State
Our country has changed dramatically since 1863. This was a time when we had a President and other government officials that were leading America by their faith and dependence on Almighty God. We stood out from the rest of the world. We openly and readily proclaimed our devotion and faith. It was nothing that we hid from or denied, and certainly nothing that offended people, as is much the case today.
The Bible was a revered book, whether you believed it or not, people honored it.
Not so today. The Bible is scorned and laughed at as just a story book full of fairy tales that you can’t take seriously, while other religious books are held in the highest regard, and shame on those that would ever bring any type of discredit to them. They may even loose their life if they do.
It’s time that is well over do, that those who claim that the Lord is the One True God, and He is their God, should not stand up, but take to their knees in humbleness and total dependence on Him, to confess the sins of this nation, and fall on the mercy of God, to heal our land and cleanse our nation from it’s evil ways. That God would restore us to wholeness, and once again be that beacon of light, that shines out into a dark world as a source for the kind of freedom, that only God can provide. That truly once again we can be “the land of the free and the home of the brave”.
I started this post with the proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln, and I will end it with what God has to say to the nation that follows His ways. May God have mercy on us and heal our land.
“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.
And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God.
Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field.
Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock.
Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.
“The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.
The LORD will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
The LORD will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in his ways.
And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of you.
And the LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give you.
The LORD will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.
And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them,
and if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I command you today, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them”. Deuteronomy 28: 1-14
Are you in anguish over what is going on in America today? Does it go deep into your heart and soul what is taking place in this land of ours? We need people whose hearts have been moved and touched by God, to feel what He feels and see what He sees.
Listen to what David Wilkerson said about anguish, in this short video message. Listen with your heart and not your ears.
Whenever we are traveling in an area were we’ve never been before, we usually have a map that we follow. I remember back in the day, taking that long road journey called the family vacation, and my wife following the map that we had and telling me the next road I would have to turn on. We had planned ever road and stop with a marker, so there was no way we were ever going to get lost.
Now I have a terrible sense of direction. All you have to do is turn me around in a circle and I would get lost, and I am no different than any other man when it comes to asking for directions. I don’t know why, but it’s a part a the male species to never want to admit that we are lost and we need directions. I guess it just hits at our pride; you know, the man, the head of the family, the one who protects and provides…..is lost! Just a hard thing for us guys to swallow. Thank God for GPS.
We joke about this, but when it comes to following your life map, the life map that God has laid out for you, we all have a hard time admitting that we might need some direction, and sometimes we just get lost and need some very definite help. When it comes to this, all of us, male and female fall very short on admitting these things.
When the bible talks about the offense of the gospel, why would the gospel be offensive to anyone? The gospel is the good news of God. The way is now open for anyone who wants to, can now come to God and receive forgiveness for all their sins, everything that they have done to offend God. That’s what our sins are, an offensive front against God. He will wipe the slate clean, and give you a brand new life map, that He has laid out specifically just for you. He has promised to be your guide and help you to through your life map.
Why would this be offensive to us? Because I don’t like asking for directions. It makes me feel like I’m not in control. It makes me feel inferior, less of a person, like I don’t know what I’m doing. It means that I have to swallow my pride and admit that I’m lost and I don’t know the right way to go. That’s never been an easy thing for me to do, and maybe that’s never been an easy thing for you to do also, but that’s what is needed to do.
Just like my wife is telling me, as we drive endless hours looking for that road we can’t find, “why don’t you stop and ask for directions?” God is saying the same thing to you and me; “When are you going to admit that you’ve lost your way, and come to Me for directions. I’ve got the life map that I made just for you and you won’t be alone, because I’ll walk you through it.” That’s a promise from God to you and me. Listen to what He says;
“Now, this is what the LORD says,
the one who created you,
and formed you:
“Don’t be afraid, for I will protect you.
I call you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I am with you;
when you pass through the streams, they will not overwhelm you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not harm you.” Isaiah 43: 1-2
I want to close with something King David said to his son Solomon before he passed the throne of kingship to him;
“When David’s time to die approached, he charged his son Solomon, saying. “I’m about to go the way of all the earth, but you – be strong; show what you’re made of! Do what God tells you. Walk in the paths He shows you: Follow the life map absolutely, keep an eye out for the signposts, His course for life set out in the revelation to Moses; then you’ll get on well in whatever you do and wherever you go.” 1 Kings 2: 1-3 from “The Message”
It’s never to late to ask for directions, and it’s OK to do so, because all of us get lost. God has a life map for you, and He will walk with you through it and even show you where all the signposts are. All you have to do is stop whatever you’re doing and ask Him for directions. He just waiting to hear from you.
“God came to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10
This is an old hymn, that you don’t hear very much anymore in church. I just had to print it out here for you. Read the verses and take in the message of the song. There is a little side note at the end, about the song, that I didn’t know.
As you read the lyrics, think about the extreme love that God lavishly pours out on you and me every moment of every day of our lives. This incredible love can never really be understood be the unregenerate heart and mind. We can only begin to come to the very fringe of understanding God’s great love for us, as He comes into our lives and starts to change us to be more like Him. It is this great love of God, that even starts to take this tremendous task of changing your heart and mine, as His gracious gift to you and me.
Verse 3 was penciled on the wall of a narrow room in an insame asylum by a man said to have been demented. The profound lines were discovered when they laid him in his coffin.
Here is a link to the song with the words right in front of your eyes to read along. Be blessed
Jesus Christ saved me and came into my life to change me forever, way back when I was about ten years old. My mother and father were catholic and they would always watch Billy Graham on TV. Well we would all have to watch it if they were watching it, but this one night was different. I felt like Billy Graham was talking directly to me. I never told anyone, but that night before I went to bed, I prayed and asked Jesus Christ to forgive me and and come into my life. He did and the journey began.
The story below is from Billy Graham;
Although thousands were present, he seemed to be speaking directly to me—even when I hid behind the large hat of the woman in front of me! I realize now that God’s Spirit was working in my heart, convicting me of my sins and convincing me of my need for Christ.
One night as he gave the invitation for people to commit their lives to Christ, I knew I had resisted long enough, and I finally went forward (although I held out until the final verse of the last hymn). A kindly man explained how I could invite Christ into my life, and at his suggestion I prayed a simple but sincere prayer of repentance.
When I got home, I went upstairs to my room, sensing something important had happened to me—although I wasn’t exactly sure what. I didn’t feel any strong emotion or dramatic change, but looking out over the moonlit fields of my father’s farm, I thought about the step I had just taken. Then for the first time in my life, I spontaneously got down on my knees and prayed: “Lord, I don’t know what happened to me tonight, but You know.”
Only gradually would I understand my commitment and what it meant. Decades later I am still learning, for the Christian life is one of constant growth.
What really happens to us when we believe in Christ? Let me list seven gifts God gives you when you commit your life to Christ.
A New Relationship
The first thing that happens when we give our lives to Christ is that God gives us a new relationship.
Once we were separated from God because of our sins—and not just separated, but alienated from Him. The Bible says we were “excluded. … without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).
But Christ took away all our sins—not just part of them, but all of them! You are forgiven! The one thing that separated you from God—your sin—has now been removed, and therefore you are reconciled to Him. Instead of being God’s enemy, you are now His friend. The Bible says, “Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). We aren’t only His friends, however. We are also His children.
The Bible uses two vivid images to illustrate this. First, it tells us we have been born again. A second image the Bible uses is adoption. If we have given our lives to Christ, God has adopted us into His family. He is now your loving heavenly Father, and you are now His child, spiritually born into His family.
A New Citizenship
The second thing God gives you when you commit your life to Christ is a new citizenship. You are still a citizen of a particular country—but now you are also a citizen of the Kingdom of God.
In Jesus’ day, one of the most coveted privileges a person could have was Roman citizenship. A Roman citizen paid fewer taxes, and if he went into the army, he automatically became an officer. A Roman citizen couldn’t be flogged or put to death by crucifixion (except in very rare cases, such as treason). If found guilty in a Roman court, he had the right to appeal directly to Caesar.
But Jesus said His followers possessed something far greater than Roman citizenship—and that was citizenship in the Kingdom of God. In His first recorded sermon, Jesus declared, “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15). God’s Kingdom, He made clear, wasn’t an earthly political kingdom, but a heavenly spiritual kingdom—the realm over which God rules. The Bible says, “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).
As long as we are on this Earth, we possess dual citizenship. On one hand we owe allegiance to our nation and are called to be good citizens. But we are also citizens of the Kingdom of God, that invisible Kingdom of which Christ is the head. Our supreme loyalty is to Him, and if someone demands we do wrong, “we must obey God rather than men!” (Acts 5:29). And someday, the Bible tells us, this world’s kingdoms will become “the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
A New Family
God also gives us a new family. You aren’t just related to God; you are now related to other believers. Everyone who truly believes in Jesus Christ is now your spiritual brother or sister. We are bound together in God’s family, not by an organization but by a spiritual relationship. The Bible calls us “members of God’s household” (Ephesians 2:19). One of the most frequent terms for Christians in the Bible is “brothers,” underlining our family relationship.
In my travels, I have often met men and women who were very different from me. And yet after a few minutes it was almost as if we had known each other all our lives. Why? Because we both knew Christ. Our common spiritual bond cut through the barriers that separated us, and we enjoyed fellowship as members of God’s family.
A New Purpose
When we come to Christ, God gives us a new purpose. Now we want to live for Christ and not just ourselves. We begin to see other people differently—not for what they can do for us, but for what we can do for them. The Bible says, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
When I came to Christ, I had little inkling of what I might do with my life, but I knew something was different. Before my conversion, for example, I tended to be touchy and irritable. Now I deliberately tried to be considerate and courteous. Some may not have noticed, but my parents did—and so did I. Little by little I was beginning to have a new purpose in life: a desire to live for Christ. I was learning that “those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:15).
A New Power
One of the Bible’s most comforting truths is that when we come to Christ, God Himself comes to live within us by His Holy Spirit. We are not alone; God is with us!
The Bible says, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9). If you know Christ, you don’t need to beg for the Holy Spirit to come into your life; He is already there—whether you “feel” His presence or not.
But why has God given us the Holy Spirit? One reason is to help us live the way we should. God has given us a new purpose—but without a new power we’ll never be able to achieve it. We are too weak!
But the Bible says, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness” (Romans 8:26). Jesus promised, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:8). We aren’t meant to live the Christian life in our own strength. God has provided His Spirit to help us.
A New Destiny
The word conversion means “change” —and the most radical change of all when we come to Christ is that God gives us a new destiny. Once we were headed for hell; now we are headed for Heaven. Once we were bound for eternal separation from God; now we will live with Him forever. Once we had no hope of eternal life; now we do. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Note carefully what this verse says: Eternal life is a gift. Many misunderstand this (even some Christians). They still think they must earn their salvation by their own good works.
But we can never be good enough to earn our way into Heaven, because God’s standard is perfection. Our only hope is Christ, who purchased our salvation at the cost of His own blood and now offers it to us as a free gift. The Bible says, “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3–4). What a gift!
A New Journey
God gives us one final gift: a new journey—a whole new path to follow until the day He takes us to Heaven.
In other words, your decision for Christ isn’t an end but a beginning—the beginning of a whole new life. We aren’t only called to become Christians; we are also called to be Christians. Don’t ever think that faith in Christ is just a type of “spiritual life insurance,” something we obtain and then put away until we need it to get into Heaven. The Christian life is a new journey—one that will take us the rest of our lives.
And the best part is this: We never walk it alone, for Christ walks with us.
The other night was a very emotionally draining and fearful evening to say the least for me and my family.
My wife and I were coming home from a nice meal that we enjoyed together, when she received a call from my sister-in-law. She was crying so hard that my wife had a hard time understanding what she was saying, but it was obvious that something was very wrong.
My nephew had just stormed out of their house. He said he was leaving. He had packed some things in a bag and ran out the door. Words were exchanged, and he was gone.
My brother was getting ready to go to work, when he noticed that his handgun was missing. (My brother is in law enforcement) He looked frantically for the weapon, but was unable to locate it any where. He asked his wife if she had seen it. She said no….. They both stopped and looked at each other….You don’t think….Yes….Paul had taken the weapon with him.
Paul had just graduated from college. He has an engineering degree. He is a very handsome young man. Out going and into many different organizations that reach out into the community to help those who are less fortunate than him. Cancer, teens against suicide, just to name a few. “He had everything going for him.” How many times have you heard that one before?
One thing happened to him that would rock his entire world. The girl that he had dated for four years, and whom he wanted to marry, left him for another guy. This just happened about two months prior to this.
Paul kept all this inside. No one knew he was planning to ask this girl to marry him. He had a ring all in place. Although his parents were never on the same page as he was concerning his relationship with this girl, he wasn’t going to let their views stop him from going forward and asking for her hand in marriage. She ended all that when she walked out of the relationship.
My sister-in-law said he was acting a little strange. Not talking to anyone. Staying in his room. But he is a reserved person when things are on his mind. His girl friend was very much on his mind at this moment. Because his parents really didn’t like her, they saw this as a good thing, but Paul saw it totally different.
My wife and I rushed over to their house. We prayed together and consoled with them as the hours ticked by.
Right after we had prayed with them, a neighbor lady came done the street and dropped off a note with the story of the prodigal son. It is not unusual for her to do this. She does this often, but she didn’t know what was going on. She never knocked on the door, she just dropped the note on the porch and left. I don’t know if you know the story, but in the end, the son comes home.
That gave us a little bit of hope. Were you telling us God through this lady, that Paul would be coming home?
Frantically everyone was leaving messages on Paul phone. “Where are you”, they were asking. “Please come home.” ” We love you”, but there was never no connections made.
Finally an email message sent to his sister….. It said that he had his life all planned out. Get a good job. Marry the women that he loved. Instead he was looking at thousands of dollars in student loans. No job, and especially the girl that would put everything together was gone forever. But the hardest thing of all was the fact that his parents never thought to ask him how he was doing. Because he wasn’t doing well at all. He was distraught. He hadn’t eaten in days. He wasn’t talking to no one. Staying locked up in his room, and nobody cared. Paul was definitely at a crossroad. Now what do I do?
What is my life? At the end of the message, he said he decided to end it all. He was going to take his life with the weapon that he had taken from his father’s desk. He said his good-byes and his love, and then silence. The whole house was silent with the exception of the wales of morning coming from people.
I said in my heart to God, this can’t end like this. This young man doesn’t know you Lord. I grabbed my wife and we went into the bathroom together where we would not be disturbed. We both held each other and we cried out to God. “Lord, don’t let this happen. Let this all work out to Paul coming to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and savor.” Save him from what Satan is trying to do.”
My brother was using all his law enforcement connections to find his son. Ten minutes after my wife and I prayed we got the word that Paul was found at a Holiday Inn. He had checked into a room and was within minutes of taking his life with his fathers gun when the police arrived. God heard and answered our prayer.
Today Paul is under going treatment for his depression and will be released soon from the hospital.
“If you, O LORD, were to keep track of sins,
O Lord, who could stand before you?
But you are willing to forgive,
so that you might be honored.” Psalm 130:3-4
Never are we acting more like God, then when we forgive someone. Forgiveness is the closet action to God that we will ever undertake.
In today’s society, forgiving someone is almost looked down upon. Vengeance and getting even is what is portrayed as the true test of ones strength. Forgiveness is an act of a cowering weak wimpy person. Is it? Lets look a little bit closer at the importance of forgiveness.
What’s the definition of forgiveness? Forgiveness is a promise. Forgiveness is a pledge. Forgiveness is a statement of undeserved and unearned love that says, no matter what you’ve done, there is no anger, no hatred, no desire for vengeance, and there will never be no retaliation. I do not hold you guilty, and I do not blame you. I hold no self pity for myself because I have been offended. I pass by this transgression completely, and extend my love to you fully. That is biblical forgiveness.
We see this character trait of God in Exodus chapter 34 and verse 6.God is talking to Moses here.
“And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, the LORD, a God full of compassion and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy and truth.”
I know a women who years ago was just a working class girl. Single. Enjoyed the party life. One day after her bowling night with her friends, she was leaving to go home. She had a few beers to drink. Nothing out of the ordinary. She wasn’t stoned drunk, but while she was pulling out she didn’t see the man on the motorcycle. What she thought was a slight bump to the motorcycle, turned out to be much more. She went to see if he was alright, but she could see by the twisted body, that he was not alright. He was dead!
The police came. She was arrested, and tried for manslaughter. Punishable by a long term in prison. But to her amazement, while the trial was coming to a close, the dead mans family chose not to prosecute the girl. In an emotional plea, they decided to forgive her and let her go.
Today that girl and the dead man’s family are good friends. They are all Christians and go to the same church, The girl goes around to schools and preaches to kids the dangers of drinking.
The press went wild with the story of the great act of forgiveness that this family showed this girl. There were stories in all the major newspapers, and they were even on the “Good Morning America” show.
The extension of forgiveness changed, not only the girl’s life forever, but the families involved, and who knows how many countless individuals who came to hear or read about this incredible act of forgiveness.
Jesus Christ taught many parables or stories while He was alive, and one of the most familiar stories was a story of a fathers great love for his son, and forgiveness of a wrong that was totally undeserved.
It is found in the Gospel according to Luke, chapter fifteen. The son said to his father that he wanted his part of the inheritance. He didn’t want to stay with the family. He was tired of living under his roof and under his rules. He was going to go out and do what he wanted to do. ( Kinda sounds almost like the kids of today.) You have to understand, that this was a huge insult to the father, and normally the son would be considered dead to the family and no longer accepted into the house ever again.
Now while this lad is out and spends all his money and times start to get bad. He has no where to go and no food to eat. he finds a part time job tending to a farmers pigs.( How is that. A Jewish kid tending to pigs?) He is so hungry, that he starts eating the slop that the pigs eat.
He decides to go back to his father, and admit that he was wrong and ask his forgiveness. He won’t ask for anything but to be treated like one of his fathers servants. He knows that it would be wrong to ask to be let back into the family circle.
Well while he is walking down the road that leads to his fathers house, rehearsing what he is going to say, his father sees him from the living room window, and runs out the door to meet his son. In Luke’s account of this story on the power of forgiveness, it says that not only did the father run out to meet his son, but his heart did also. Luke 15:20; “his heart went out to him.”
They meet each other and before the son could get a word out of his mouth, the father grabs him and hugs him so tight. The father is elated that his son is back. No guilt! No big speech of how he let him down! No anger! No hatred. The father just pours out his love on his son. The father puts the finest robe on him and a ring on his finger, and they have a huge feast and celebration. The father says, ” my son was dead, and now he is alive again.” ( Luke 15:24) Maybe our government should learn this, and instead of forgiving huge corporations for squandering the stockholders money, they should forgive honest hard working people their financial woes, and start listening with your heart.
This is a story of God’s great love for you and me. The salvation He provides. We have all turned to our own way. ( Isaiah 53:6 ) We, like the son, have said, I don’t need you God. I want to live my life my way. I don’t like your rules. But like the father in the story, God is waiting and looking to see if you are tired of going your own way. He is looking out the window, down the road to see if you decided that you had enough of getting beat up from the world. Come on home. He is waiting to forgive you. He has already done it. While He was hanging on the cross, He said, ” Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” ( Luke 23:34)
You are never more like God, then when you forgive. He has certainly left us with the greatest example of forgiveness. His son, Jesus Christ