Lest We Forget

July 4, 2019. 243 years ago, a group of men gathered, in secret, to forge ahead with actions that would end up costing many of them – literally – their fortunes and their lives. They did it in the name of freedom. Freedom from tyranny, freedom of religion, freedom to decide their own fates. Freedom to escape the rule of ‘class’. Were these men perfect? Far from it! Did they make mistakes? Absolutely! Yet they forged ahead, determined that their children and their children’s children and so on would have a place to live in freedom.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

We the People. No country, no nation before us was ever started with a Populous government! With all of the controversy over the Betsy Ross flag and Nike’s decision to pull their shoe that displayed it because it is a “slave” flag, let me refer to Article XIII of the Bill of Rights:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Was there slavery? Yes. It was in the form of both outright ownership of persons and indentured servitude. Was it against the Constitution? Yes, it was. Is it still occurring in the United States? Yes, I am sorry to say, although it is to a much lesser extent than in other countries. Our ancestors fought wars to prevent undue rule and unjust rule. The Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War; WWI and WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Afganistan, the Middle East….. We are still fighting over unjust practices and inhumane treatment. The Civil War wasn’t about slavery; it was about States rights!

What’s my point?

There will never be a perfect place to live on this earth, because humanity is flawed to the core. No man or woman is perfect, and we will all do and say offensive and stupid things. Bearing that in mind, and knowing that in these United States we are all responsible for ourselves, we are Blessed! What other country allows such blatant disrespect to it to flourish within it’s borders? Where else on earth can people publicly make fun of and disrespect their leader without experiencing dire consequences?

Since 1776, millions of men and women, United States citizens, have given everything for our freedom. There are currently hundreds, thousands, military personnel putting their lives on the line, every single day, for our freedom. Ditto for the Police officers, Sheriff departments, Border Patrol Agents, every type of Law Enforcement; all First Responders – Fire, EMT’s. Where else in the world do these freedoms and protections exist? Nowhere, to the extent of those in the United States.

It’s a day to be thankful. We can worship how and when we please, we can speak out – and act out – against our government in freedom.

GOD BLESS AMERICA.

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To Sum It Up:

“To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. For, “The one who desires life, to love and see good days, must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.” (“Keep your tongue from evil And your lips from speaking deceit.” – PSALMS 34:13‭) – 1 PETER 3:8-‬10 NASB

Peter uses these verses (including v. 11-12) to summarize chapters 1 and 2, and the first few verses of chapter 3. He was writing to a group of exiled Jews who were living far outside of their homeland (“foreigners, aliens, and exiles,” 1 Peter 1:1, depending on the translation), who were under pressure because of their status (1 Peter 1:6). He wants us to see that there is a good life for us here on earth, regardless of the problems we are facing. When we follow these suggestions, our hearts are able to enjoy the good in our lives rather than being focused on whatever is happening externally. The psalm Peter quotes, Psalm 34, was written by King David after he had to pretend madness in order to escape from those who were prepared to kill him (1 Samuel 21). We don’t have it so bad when we look at things in context!

We always have a choice as to how we react and resond to the events in our lives. We can choose to see the good and love life; to enjoy what we have, or we can endure it, or we can attempt to escape it. I’ve tried enduring, and it is just that – enduring. No joy. Escaping doesn’t work, either. I promise you, no matter how you try to escape, distance or mind-altering substances or food or sex or shopping or work, it is all right there, still the same! Choose joy, because it is a choice! I was recently having a conversation with a pastor about my current situation (it isn’t all that pretty….) and I ended it by saying that I am very blessed. He expressed some surprise, saying that few people say that. I choose joy, because I have lived the alternatives, and I don’t like them. I’m not a saint! I admit to being depressed and feeling sorry for myself at times, but then I look around and see others who have it so much worse than me. If you are struggling, stop looking at what you don’t have, and see what you do have. It can be eye-opening. Don’t miss the good life GOD has given you!

Jesus said “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” – JOHN 10:10 NASB

Choose JESUS and choose Life Abundant!

Disclaimer: I often use my notes from our pastor’s sermons (with his permission). Dr. Hitchcock brings the gospel alive for me, answering questions I have and bringing more questions to my mind. The thoughts I carry away cause me to read and research the scripture and Bible commentaries, and I always come away with something new! If you would like to hear the original sermons (without any mistakes I might bring!), go to Sermon Archives at http://faithbibleok.com/ The Good Life – we are currently in the Still Standing series by Dr. Mark Hitchcock. We are truly blessed with all of the Bible teachers and books and commentaries that are available for us.

Restored

“The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.” – MATTHEW 28:5‭-‬6 NASB

The cross couldn’t hold Him, death couldn’t retain Him, and the grave couldn’t keep Him. The cross and the tomb shall remain empty for the rest of eternity, and then forever more. He is Risen, Restored to His Glory, restored to His Throne! Jesus Christ, the LORD of Heaven and Earth has conquered death and hell, and He has arisen, Victorious and Glorious!

He is Risen, He is Risen indeed!

Plainly Said

“When it was day, the Council of elders of the people assembled, both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber, saying, “If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I ask a question, you will not answer. But from now on the son of man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God .” And they all said, “Are You the Son of God, then?” And He said to them, “Yes, I am.” Then they said, “What further need do we have of testimony? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.” ” – LUKE 22:66‭-‬71 NASB

Plainly said.

He doesn’t hesitate to say the words that condemn Him to the most gruesome death imaginable. Would you be so bold?

“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him. They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head. After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him. As they were coming out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon, whom they pressed into service to bear His cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull, they gave Him wine to drink mixed with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink. And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots. And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” – MATTHEW 27:27‭-‬35‭, ‬37 NASB

After a night of being beaten and mocked, Jesus is brought in front of the authorities. I can only imagine the dignity with which He must have carried Himself as He was brought into the chamber. He knew what would happen to Him, yet He refused to cower or deny the Truth.

I would be that honest and forthright in my bearing and my witness: plainly spoken.

AWE

Adoration and Worship with Extravagance

Adore the SAVIOUR with our submission and surrender to Him; Worship the Son of GOD with humility, recognizing that He is 100% GOD and 100% man; be Extravagant with your worship and adoration. Remember the Magi, who brought the CHRIST Child costly and extravagant gifts to show their adoration and worship of Him, and to show the world that they saw in His Person a greater King than any other.

When GOD’s arch-enemy, whom we know by many names, tempted JESUS, our LORD answered him by quoting scriptures: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the Mouth of GOD.'” (Deuteronomy 8:3) Then Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the LORD your GOD to the test.‘” (Deuteronomy 6:16, Luke 4:12) Matthew 4:4‭, ‬7 ESV

The definition of insanity for people in recovery programs is “doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” Does that ring any bells? You may not be participating in a formal recovery – for any hurts, habits, or hangup, and absolutely not limited to drugs or alcohol – but most people have acted out this definition of insanity at some time in their lives. Satan is a perfect example. He is a megalomaniac, maniacally desperate to show GOD that he can defeat Him, but all the enemy is doing is banging his head against the proverbial wall. Satan knows he loses in the end, so not only is he an insanely slow learner (pun intended), but we humans continually follow his lead….. over and over, expecting different results.

Instead of wasting our time and our lives chasing the irresponsible and impossible, whatever that may be to you, we would be so much better served spending more of our time in AWE with GOD. Not giving up our dreams and goals, but rather in looking at life, learning to recognize when we are falling into insane behavior, and following GOD’s Will rather than our own. There’s a big difference between giving up because we don’t succeed at something, and in falling into the addictive, insane behavior the enemy wants us bogged down in.

Our LORD GOD wants us to be successful. Our challenge is to distinguish between the Will of our LORD and our will, which is probably being manipulated by the enemy to move us away from GOD. By spending time in AWE, and accepting JESUS as our SAVIOUR, we defeat the enemy, and he hates to be defeated.

Adoration and Worship with Extravagance; AMEN.

“Adoration of the Magi” – Leonardo de Vinci

Give Thanks to YOU Alone

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; Bless His Name!” – Psalms 100:4 ESV

Are you thinking about your blessings today? I am thankful that the Almighty Creator saw fit to cover my sins with the Blood of CHRIST, blessing me with eternal LIFE rather than the eternal death I deserve.

It is well with my soul.

Mercy Me sings it so well:
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone….”

If you can’t find anything to be thankful for, pick something from this list:

  1. Toilet paper (Thanks for the reminder, Katy!)
  2. Food to eat
  3. Clean water to drink
  4. Feet
  5. Hands
  6. Sight
  7. Family, whether birth or adopted or chosen
  8. Pets, and their unconditional love …. Just like our LORD!
  9. Life
  10. I am Born Again, thanks to JESUS!

Not everything on the list will resonate with you, but I pray that you can be thankful for the last. He is the only way to true peace and thanksgiving in your life, and without Him, ….. well, without Him, we’re sunk. Period. Remember this?

No JESUS, No Peace;

Know JESUS, Know Peace!

Pure, complete Truth. I urge you to explore the Bible, and if you are new to this, I encourage you to start with the book of John.

“In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with GOD, and the WORD was GOD. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” ….. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of GOD, even to those who believe in His Name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of GOD.” – John 1:1-5;12‭-‬13 NASB

“For GOD so loved the world, that He gave His Only begotten SON, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have Eternal Life.” – John 3:16 NASB

It can all be yours. Just ask! AMEN