Tag Archives: Benjamin Franklin

God SAVE America!

Happy 4th of July!

flagIt has been 242 years since the colonies declared their independence. It was not an easy decision to make, however, and many of the signers paid a heavy price. But John Adams, in a letter to Abigail Adams, said he was “well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it [would] cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States.”

So, happy birthday, America! Your birth was a hard and costly one, but well worth the pain.

God Bless America?

Now, each year about this time we sing of our love for America. Irving Berlin wrote a song with a title that is repeated every time one of our presidents closes a speech: God Bless America!

God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.

However, as I said in past sermon:

“Maybe we should stop asking God to bless America. Maybe we should, on the other hand, be saying, begging, ‘God spare America…God have mercy on America!’ We have already been blessed by God more than any nation deserves, yet what are we doing with those blessings? Where is our thanks to the God who blesses? We are rapidly going down as a nation, so before God completely abandons this nation to the trash heap of fallen empires, we had better be praying God REVIVE America…God SAVE America!…God have MERCY on America!”

Franklin’s Suggestion

Benjamin_Franklin_by_Jean-Baptiste_GreuzeIn 1787, not long after the war with England, representatives sent by the people met in Philadelphia to hammer out what was to be the Constitution of the United States of America. Tensions were high, arguing was accomplishing nothing, and the whole Continental Congress was in danger of falling apart. That was when the great Benjamin Franklin offered the following words…

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection.” Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this 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? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments be Human Wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of the City be requested to officiate in that service. – Source

We are “groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us.”

We are “divided.”

We are “confounded.”

We are becoming a “reproach and a bye word to future ages.”

And what is worse, mankind is leaving the forming of new governments to “chance, war, and conquest.”

Oh that America would cease fighting each other and fall on humble knees before a Holy God and pray!

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. – 1 Timothy 2:1-2

We should be “imploring the assistance of Heaven” before Heaven becomes deaf to our prayers.

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Filed under America, Countries, Culture Wars, current events, God, politics, voting

God SAVE America!

Happy 4th of July!

flagIt has been 237 years since the colonies declared their independence. It was not an easy decision to make, however, and many of the signers paid a heavy price. But John Adams, in a letter to Abigail Adams, said he was “well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it [would] cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States.”

So, happy birthday, America! Your birth was a hard and costly one, but well worth the pain.

God Bless America?

Now, each year about this time we sing of our love for America. Irving Berlin wrote a song with a title that is repeated every time one of our presidents closes a speech: God Bless America!

God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.

Last night, however, in a sermon to my congregation, I said,

“Maybe we should stop asking God to bless America. Maybe we should, on the other hand, be saying, begging, ‘God spare America…God have mercy on America!’ We have already been blessed by God more than any nation deserves, yet what are we doing with those blessings? Where is our thanks to the God who blesses? We are rapidly going down as a nation, so before God completely abandons this nation to the trash heap of fallen empires, we had better be praying God REVIVE America…God SAVE America!…God have MERCY on America!”

Franklin’s Suggestion

Benjamin_Franklin_by_Jean-Baptiste_GreuzeIn 1787, not long after the war with England, representatives sent by the people met in Philadelphia to hammer out what was to be the Constitution of the United States of America. Tensions were high, arguing was accomplishing nothing, and the whole Continental Congress was in danger of falling apart. That was when the great Benjamin Franklin offered the following words…

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection.” Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this 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? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments be Human Wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of the City be requested to officiate in that service. – Source

We are “groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us.”

We are “divided.”

We are “confounded.”

We are becoming a “reproach and a bye word to future ages.”

And what is worse, mankind is leaving the forming of new governments to “chance, war, and conquest.”

We should be “imploring the assistance of Heaven” before Heaven becomes deaf to our prayers.

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Filed under America, Countries, Culture Wars, current events, God, politics, voting

The Other Side of a Coined Phrase

You can talk all you want about what we’re NOT supposed to do, but we DO it all the time.  Who hasn’t seen the video of the panel of judges that were totally awestruck, not to mentioned very embarrassed, when Susan Boyle began to sing?  Judging by her looks, this was not supposed to be a superstar singer.  The whole crowd was guilty of  thinking the same thing…”What is this ugly woman doing on stage?”  Subconsciously they were thinking, “Only beautiful people can sing beautifully.”  Oh, how wrong they were!

I have heard it said all my life, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  Since I have done some research, that would mean I would have to be younger than 70, because that phrase wasn’t even coined until the mid 1940’s.  Anyway, I have been taught, as most people have, that we are not supposed to make assumptions about people simply on the basis of appearances.  As a matter of fact, long before “don’t judge a book by its cover” was coined, Benjamin Franklin said, “Don’t judge men’s wealth or godliness by their Sunday appearance.”  We all know that we shouldn’t judge a man’s character by his appearance (or even by the color of his skin, as Martin L. King, Jr. would have said).  But with all that said,

I can’t help but think that there is another side to this coin (coined phrase, that is).

While it may be true that we shouldn’t come to a conclusion about someone based solely on appearance,  how many books would you pick up and open if on the outside there was nothing describing the inside?  How much money is spent these days on cover design, I wonder.  Go to any bookseller and browse any isle and tell me what you find.  Are any of the books simply bound with only the title and the author printed on front?  Probably not.  Every kind of trick imaginable is employed to catch your eye and cause you to open the cover to see what is inside.  Now, not every cover will appeal to every reader, but the author will know ahead of time what type of audience he is trying to reach, therefore he will have a cover designed to appeal to the reader that will most likely buy the book.  How foolish would the writer be if he spent thousands of dollars for a design that appealed to the wrong crowd?  Even more, what would be the purpose of writing a book that had a cover which said nothing hinting of the content?

The other side to this “book-judging” coin is that even though we should not pre-judge a book by what is on the cover, the cover should give us some clues to what is on the inside.

For example, take a look at the title of the book to the right.  If you were to pick this book up at a book store, you would assume that on the inside there should be at least a hundred recipes, correct?  Really, the title of the book should give you confidence that inside resides the answer to all those questions you’ve had recently about how long you should roast a kangaroo tenderloin.  Shouldn’t it?  It says “How to Cook Everything.”   Well, by dang, I would assume, based on the cover, there should be, by my judgement, a kangaroo recipe in there somewhere.  I don’t know if there is or not, but do you see my point?  If you say you’re something, or if you want to give a certain impression, then be what you say you are, or kangaroo eaters are going to be disappointed.

Now, Jesus did say in Matthew 7:1,  “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”  He also said,  “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).  The problem is that when we say that we should not judge a book by its cover, we imply that we can NEVER make ANY judgment based on what we see.  Seriously, how practical is that?  Jesus never said that we could never make righteous judgments.  As a matter of fact, consider these words of Jesus as found in Matthew 7, verses 15-20:

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

We are not supposed to come to any rash, prejudiced conclusions about people.  That is a fact.  We have no way of knowing whether a nice, fluffy sheep is a wolf, or not.  By outward appearances alone, all we can determine is that if it looks like a sheep and sounds like a sheep, it must be a sheep….until it starts to act like a sheep-eating wolf.  Then, when a sheep starts baring fangs at us, it is safe to judge, and there is no sin to be added to our account.

Righteous judgment, as Jesus mentioned in John 7:24, CAN be made if it is in reference to the fruit being inspected.  The fruit of a wolf is different than a sheep.  But here’s the point:

If a sheep claims to be a sheep, it should act like a sheep, not a wolf!

What is on the cover of a book SHOULD tell what is on the inside.  What we look like on the cover SHOULD make others want to read what is inside.  What we look like on the outside SHOULD mirror the message of the Author’s Word.  As believers in Christ, we claim to be something special.  We have the imprint of our Saviour written on our binding.  Jesus has a reputation as an Author, and what is inside our covers should not bring shame to His writing ability.  It may be wrong to judge a book by its cover, but it is equally wrong to claim to be a book that you’re not.

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Filed under Christian Living, General Observations, legalism, World View