Independence...What Price?

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As Harold loves to tell everyone, I was born on the 4th of July. He takes great pleasure in making sure the entire country honors me with fireworks, parades and picnics.

And the truth is … I do have a deep love for this country. I was not born on the 4th of July by accident.

It’s no myth … but a proven fact that this country would not even exist were it not for God. That may seem like a bold statement but there are volumes of historical facts to back it up. Thanks to David Barton they can be easily found … documents straight from our founder father’s papers.

Although many young people are not taught … the United States of America is and has always been a country like no other.

Former Prime minister Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain once said, “Europe was created by history, America by philosophy.”

There are so many facts as to how God was directly involved in our country but I’m only going to go over five.

1. A Haven for Religious Freedom.

The majority of our first settlers came over to find the religious freedoms they could not enjoy in their own countries. European countries not only had a national government each also had a national religion. It was not a matter of choice of religion.

That is why the principle of separation of church and state was so widely emphasized by o

ur founding fathers. In a European country you were required to accept the national religion as well as the national government.

The two were not separated which is why Thomas Jefferson is quoted for calling for the separation of church and state. Separation of church and state meant…you would never be forced by the United States government to accept a designated religion. You would always be able to choose what you believed.

That statement has unwittingly been used to outlaw Christianity from our government when the intent was to make sure the US would always allow the freedom of religion not the exclusion of it.

As just one example, William Penn was imprisoned in the tower of London for becoming a Quaker instead of adhering to the accepted Anglican religion of England.

But as a way of repayment of a debt owed his deceased father by King Charles II, he was given a charter in the new world on land that is now Pennsylvania.

Penn’s colony was a holy experiment that accepted Mennonites, Amish, Catholics and Jews, a safe place for persecuted families fleeing Europe for their religious beliefs.

In keeping with his position on Christian tolerance he named the city Philadelphia which is Greek for brotherly love.

Hebrews 13:1-3

Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.”

2. God Protected and even aided the Continental Army during the war for independence.

There were numerous instances in George Washington’s life alone that showed God intervened to allow him to influence this country as commander of the Revolutionary troops and later as our first president.

While serving under British General William Braddock during the French & Indian war, Braddock along with every officer on horseback is killed except 22-year-old Colonel George Washington who later writes his brother to refute the report of his death.

Washington stated in part:

“But by the All-Powerful Dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectations; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot [from] under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me!”

In 1776, after declaring our independence, the British sent an enormous army to squash the rebellion. And they almost did.

In what was the first and largest battle in the Revolutionary War the British had Washington and his entire army trapped between Brooklyn Heights, New York and the sea.

In order to save his men and the cause, Washington desperately ordered an evacuation across the east river to Manhattan Island in the darkness of night.

But at daybreak half of the American troops were still hiding in trenches waiting to cross to safety. Even as the sun rose there also arose a dense fog over the river yet the sun refused to burn off the fog and the river remained covered until every man escaped. Afterwards, it suddenly lifted and was gone.

This event in the summer of 1776 was not the only incident in which God miraculously intervened. By August 1778 Washington wrote:

“The Hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this—the course of the war—that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith.”

Joshua 10:13 in the New International Version says:

“So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.”

3. God Was Integral in our Constitution.

After the lengthy Revolutionary war was over there was still the overwhelming task of taking 13 various sized and very independent-minded colonies and uniting them in a way that each would be willing to give up their previous independence and submit to a centralized government.

Remember that an overreaching of government in the private affairs of men was why many of them left Europe in the first place.

Over 10 years later May 25 of 1787 at a Constitutional Convention with delegates from every colony were supposed to be hammering out a workable constitution but things were not going well at all.

The smaller colonies or newly formed states were pitted against the large ones, each wanting fair representation.

The large states wanted more say because they represented more people but the smaller states saw that as a way of being run over by the power of the larger states.

By June some delegates had already returned home because of the hopeless deadlock in finding a constitution that could hold 13 very independent states together.

However, on June 28th Benjamin Franklin, being the elder and highly respected statesman at age 81, addressed the Assembly.

There is a portion of Mr. Franklin’s speech in which he stated to the chairman-elect George Washington in front of the gathered delegates:

“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of thus truth—that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?”

He continued by quoting Psalm 127:1“Except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.”

Although this is but a small section of his dialogue, if you read the history books our children read today, you find the consensus of new historians questioning that Benjamin Franklin even knew God at all.

Nevertheless, this speech led to the convention inviting God to guide the forthcoming sessions.

Today the US House and the Senate still have a resident chaplain who opens each session with prayer which actually started as result of this plea.

As the 4th of July approached the delegates gathered to hear a sermon that might not have singed their hair off their heads but it certainly dealt with their consciences.

For from that point on, they began to make progress in writing the US Constitution we have today.

4. The American Way became known as American Exceptionalism.

Some years later in 1836 a French historian named Alexis de Tocqueville toured the United States and was so taken by our American way of life that he wrote a two volume set called Democracy in America.

De Tocqueville came up with the term: American Exceptionalism because of our country’s “exceptional” way of life … unlike any government in the past. He is quoted as saying:

“Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.”
“The Americans combine the notions of religion and liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive of one without the other.
In his work, de Tocqueville makes the statement that although there are a huge number of church doctrines which all differ … their common ground is each ‘adore the Deity in its own peculiar manner, but all … preach the same moral law in the name of God….”

He goes on to marvel at how this unity under God has produced such an influence over the souls of men that “its influence is powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.”

The following is a favorite quote, in part, sums up his amazement:

“I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of American in her harbors…; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.

“Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.

“American is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

De Tocqueville continues by saying… “The safeguard of morality is religion, and morality is the best security of law as well as the surest pledge of freedom.”

Self-government means it is of the people, for the people and by the people. That also requires that we, the people, must be involved and morally educated.

John Adams left a message long ago when he spoke to us, his upcoming posterity.

“Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it.”

There are people in our society who work very hard to keep our voices quiet.

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people. Prov 14:34

5. America’s Higher Educational System Began with God

What we know as the great Ivy League colleges like Princeton, and Yale were founded by Christians.

Yale started in 1701 as a school for congregational ministers. Harvard was founded in 1636 by the Puritans.

Not all founding fathers attended such colleges or any college…but that doesn’t mean they were not educated men.

Many had specific interests they pursued.

Thomas Jefferson, our third president, had a hunger for science, botany, architecture, horticulture just to name a few. He attended what is now William & Mary and also founded the University of Virginia.

Jefferson spoke and wrote multiple languages and collected a huge library during his lifetime. After his death some of the books found in it were written in Italian, Arabic, Irish, Welsh and Dutch.

John Adams, our second president, also spoke Latin and French and attended Harvard University.

Most students entered by 16. We may ask ourselves. What was there to learn? Plenty.

A typical Academy that prepared students for college entrance such as Princeton had to know Virgil, Cicero’s orations and Latin grammar.

They also had to know enough Greek as to render part of the four gospels in that language into either Latin or English.

John Adam’s son, John Quincy Adams, also spent most of his life in pursuit of knowledge. He spoke multiple languages and was actually sent overseas because he had a command of the French language and again because he could speak fluent Russian. He also served as our sixth president.

Yet, John Quincy had to wait a year before entering Harvard because the president didn’t think he was quite ready.

How equipped are our students today?

The US Constitution was once required as a subject of learning in grammar school but today the teachers are pressured to teach English and math skills. History is basically considered unimportant.

After all it’s much easier to control a people who don’t know if something is unconstitutional or not.

In 2014 a report by the National Assessment of Education Progress showed only 18 percent of American high school students are proficient in US History.

Teachers complain that if they get into controversial subjects the parents will become offended.

My definition of political correctness is this: your opinion is not wanted or valid unless it agrees with those who support political correctness. There are people who work very hard to keep Christians silent.

If our children aren’t proud of what their country stands for, it’s even more difficult for them to find their way in it.

I realize this is a very different teaching but it affects every aspect of our lives whether we recognize it or not.

So … what now for America?

We as Christians are called to make a difference. In the founding of this country, people received their information by way of the pulpit and newspapers. There are people who say the pulpit should never mention right or wrong in government.

Here are 5 Keys why we can expect to change things around.

1. The United States was founded on God.

When Paul went into Ephesus for the first time he found a city founded on paganism.

The advantage for Christians who face false gods is the fact that they’re false. They do nothing for those who believe in them…and Paul came with the power and anointing of the Holy Ghost!

That is the same power and anointing we have working for us today.

The only question is how we are going to use it.

Paul had to tear down and rebuild—we have to awaken the sleeping church.

It is up to us to rise up and not turn a blind eye when God is outlawed in our schools and our community gatherings.

2. When Opposed We Can’t Give Up.

Change is not easy but it wasn’t for the Apostle Paul either.

Acts 19:8-9 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

 “And he went into the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, persuading and arguing and pleading about the kingdom of God.

“ But when some became more and more stubborn (hardened and unbelieving), discrediting and reviling and speaking evil of the Way [of the Lord] before the congregation, he separated himself from them, taking the disciples with him, and went on holding daily discussions in the lecture room of Tyrannus from about ten o’clock till three.”

Not everyone will listen but it doesn’t mean some will not hear. It is still up to us to speak the truth … in love.

3. We can expect God to give an increase.

The Apostle Paul knew that the Lord’s hand would not be short that it could not save. Isaiah 59:1

Anyone who’s been involved with our ministry for very long knows we believe you reap from the seed you sow. Paul knew this too.

Acts 19:10 is a remarkable scripture describing what Paul did and it should make us shout:

10This continued for two years, so that all the inhabitants of [the province of] Asia, Jews as well as Greeks, heard the Word of the Lord [concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God].

Not just some… all of Asia…that is astounding. The King James Version puts it this way:

And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.”

Hearing is one thing … but action is another.

4. What Can One Person Do?

Most of us think we have too small of a voice to have much influence.

When I hear someone say that I like to ask if they’ve ever spent the night with a mosquito.

The question is how badly do you want to see change? Paul was determined to turn Asia upside down and he did.

Gandhi wanted India to gain independence from British control and it did.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. championed the civil rights movement to change US law and he did.

5. We can Pray.

When we pray the Word of God … our prayers begin to change things.

We may be small but the God of heaven isn’t.

I John 5:14-15 in the New International Version says:

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”

When Israel sinned… God always gave them a way out.

2 Chron. 7:14 says:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Even if you feel you are the only one who cares… you are not.

Elijah felt that way. In I Kings 19:14 it says:

 “He said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts, because the Israelites have forsaken Your covenant, thrown down Your altars, and slain Your prophets with the sword. And I, I only, am left, and they seek my life, to destroy it.”

But the Lord answers him in verse 18:

“Yet I will leave Myself 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

We are not alone. Somewhere in 2006 I felt led to begin an intercessory prayer meeting the first Saturday of every month. I told our followers we were only meeting to pray for the USA. And I ended up with 5-6 regular people.

It occurred to me that I was not the only one the Lord touched and over the years the Lord has allowed me to meet up several people who were led to do the same thing. Many have elaborate weekend sessions with guest speakers.

God is not through with the US and He is calling us to action even if means a daily prayer of agreement.

The question we must ask is if we are doing the part we are called to do?

Proverbs 16:2 says:

“All the ways of a man are clean and innocent in his own eyes [and he may see nothing wrong with his actions], But the Lord weighs and examines the motives and intents [of the heart and knows the truth].”

The Living Bible Translation is my favorite:

“We can always “prove” that we are right, but is the Lord convinced?”

 “If not us, who? If not now, when?”

This quote is attributed to many people but whoever said it doesn’t weaken the truth it speaks.

July 4th is not just my birthday … it is a sacred day that celebrates freedoms most of the world do not enjoy.

Edmund Burke, a statesman from Dublin during the 1700s, said:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”