God Bless America

IMG_1914Just fifty years ago, John Wayne hosted a variety show celebrating AmericaThe contributors were among the most prominent voices of Hollywood, a panoply of stars who loved this nation, joining together to sing God Bless America. Today, most of those patriots are gone, their names and their fame lost to the newer generations. Unfortunately, they have now been replaced by a Godless community of celebrity voices that, for the most part, hate and bring shame to our country. 

Go back another fifty-two years to 1918, toward the end of World War I when Irving Berlin initially wrote God Bless America; he was one of the greatest songwriters the USA has even known. Like so many others who became citizens of this great nation, he was an immigrant who entered via Ellis Island in New York Harbor. He was only five years old when his family fled the extreme poverty, discrimination and brutal pograms of Imperial Russia. Clearly, he understood the value of freedom! But like so many others of both his and the succeeding generation, his is a name that is unknown to many younger people today.

What will history have to say fifty or a hundred years from now about our current crop of the rich and famous? Probably not much; they will become a pretty-much-forgotten footnote in history. We would all be wise to remember the absolute truth of the words of King Solomon:  

For the wise and the foolish both die. The wise will not be remembered any longer than the fool. In the days to come, both will be forgotten. (Ecclesiastes 2:16 NLT)

God Bless America should be more than a song that is commonly sung at the opening of sporting events; it should be a prayer expressed from the heart of every American. That said, I still have to wonder if it will be one of the aspects of major league sports that will be eliminated when those games resume because it is considered too dangerous for the emotional health of the nation; it is just too divisive for it speaks of God. As the ‘powers that be’ determine what ‘truth’ we can or cannot engage in, we would do well to remember that the ultimate authority is God. Political correctness means nothing to Him, and the only Truth that really counts is His:

Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
    and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
    and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
    on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
    today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
    and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
    and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
    be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
    lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
    for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalm 2)

If there was ever a time for our nation to heed the words of the Lord, this certainly seems to be it!

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT)

Peace Is A Person

FEAR NOT PICI often forget what I’ve written in days gone by, especially on this blog that has been sort of off my radar for some time since I’ve been busy writing elsewhere. So, when I posted Paul Knight’s recording, Afraid? just a few moments ago, I was surprised to see my own post, Shelter In Place, from March 5, 2020!

God has not been taken by surprise by the Coronavirus threat the world faces today, and He is still our refuge, as is clear in Psalm 91. He not only knew the days of our lives that were appointed for us, but also is aware of every word before we speak it. In this time we can take great comfort in His truth as expressed in Psalm 139:1-18:

O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you;the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.

Yesterday I wrote the preface for a new book, a portion of which I will share here:

By the time this book is published, the pandemic will be history; but as Jesus foretold, the latter days, or end times, will be rife with terrible and frightening events. Even so, His promise remains certain:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

Contrary to the media, Christianity is not against science. Rather, the media hates Christianity and denies God’s righteousness; it denies the reality of His truth regarding the spiritual world, which the Bible identifies as the heavenly places. Oh, fictional supernatural thrillers and super heroes are fine, but in the physical realm our supernatural God is unwelcome by many. 

During this stressful time, not-so-helpful suggested coping mechanisms I’ve read include:

    • Embrace the resiliency of life; after all, regardless of what happens, human life will go on and years from now this will be just a distant memory
    • Take a deep breath, hold it for ten seconds and release it slowly to alleviate some of your fears
    • Burdensome to-do and not-to-do lists of things that will lessen anxiety

Regardless of the advice, unless biblically based, it all seems to come down to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words, “Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.” Not true! Peace is not a place; it’s not a state of mind that one achieves; peace is a person, and His name is Jesus Christ:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called WonderfulCounselor, Mighty Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

May the Prince of Peace meet you at the place of Your greatest need. Rest assured that He is able to bring you through the storm. As Jesus so often taught, fear not