A Needy Nation

  Generally when you see the term, “a needy nation,” you think of a third world country that is impoverished; its people are very thin and quite often malnourished, but physical needs are not the first sign of a nation in decline.  The precursor to physical abasement and humanitarian crisis is a deterioration of, and departure from, God ordained moral absolutes.

  In a nation whose founders would embrace slogans like: “In God We Trust,” and “One Nation Under God,” when its leaders becomes self serving (narcissist) and employ lies, theft and cheating to accomplish selfish goals, morals have eroded.  When society is fully vested in lasciviousness (unbridled lusts), and engaged in every deviant sexual practice known to man (e.g. incest, fornication, adultery, prostitution, homosexuality transvestism, bestiality, etc.), morals have eroded.  When God calls something right and man calls it wrong, or when God calls it wrong and man calls it right, morals have eroded.  When men of faith blush to speak His name, and fear to speak His Word, morals have eroded.

  Though many disdain the mention of morals because they border, or perhaps overlap into the spiritual realm, it would serve us well to be reminded that we were made by God, in the image of God, to serve God, and we will ultimately answer to God, and be measured by His moral laws.  Let every nation heed the warning that God gave Israel over three millennia ago:  “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day… (Deuteronomy 11:26-28)”  Israel, though it seemed to have good intentions, failed God, ignored His Word, and spent years in bondage as a result.

  “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. (2Chronicles 7:14)”   “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD… (Psalm 33:12).”

Thanks To God

  Thanksgiving is probably the least commercialized holiday on the calendar.  Perhaps it is because, in spite of the efforts of some who would have us deny our Creator and direct our thanksgiving to comrades and evil companions on this horizontal plane, Thanksgiving has traditionally been associated, in the minds of most Americans, with God—the Supplier of our great bounty.

  But last year’s presidential proclamation for Thanksgiving is a good example of how far our nation has drifted from the moorings established by our forefathers:

  “We are grateful for our family and friends and for all of our fellow Americans, even those whom we may never meet but rely upon nonetheless.  We are thankful for the scientists, researchers, doctors, and nurses who have kept us safe through a pandemic, and for the frontline workers who have kept essential services going by growing and providing food for our tables.  We are grateful to faith leaders for their counsel, comfort, and support.  We thank our brave service members and veterans who sacrifice so much for our freedom, and the first responders who put so much on the line to keep us all safe.  As Scripture says:  “let us rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances.”  This is a special time in the greatest country on Earth, so let us be grateful.  America is a great Nation because we are a good people.  This holiday, we celebrate all that brings us together, grounded in history and our shared hopes for the future.”

  What is the missing element?  It is God—who created and sustains all that is, and upon whom we are utterly dependent.  While we are certainly grateful to those who serve us, we must acknowledge that America was great because America served a Great God.  Americans have done great things because of their dependence upon their Great God.  Thanksgiving is about God!

  “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17)”

Jesus, the Christ

  Perhaps you didn’t know, but the name Jesus was common in Bible times.  In the Hebrew language of the Old Testament it was pronounced Yehoshua (Ye-HO-shoo-ah), which in time was shortened to Yeshua (Yeh-SHOO-ah), which we pronounce in English, Joshua.  It means, “the Lord is salvation.”

  In the New Testament Greek, the name is pronounced Iesous (ee-ay-SOOS), which we pronounce in English, Jesus.  There are several Bible characters who bear the name “Jesus,” but none so important as Jesus, the Christ.

  “Christ” is the NT equivalent of the OT title, Messiah.  It means “anointed one,” and in this case, “God’s Anointed One.”  He was God’s Son (God in the flesh), sent from Heaven on a mission to rescue His creation from sin, and eternal separation from God, who is holy and cannot tolerate sin.  God is just and cannot overlook sin.  Paul summarizes Christ’s mission:  “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (1Corinthians 15:3-4)”

  As for why Jesus, the Christ, came to die: Death was the price of your forgiveness. “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23)”  Jesus came to receive your wages!  And now, as Christ rose from the dead, so you will be raised in the end, and your life will continue forever—but where?  Very simply, “He that hath the Son (Jesus) hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. (1John 5:12)”  “But as many as received him (Jesus), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (John 1:12)”

  So, those who accept Christ’s forgiveness will be raised to live forever in God’s presence, “For God so loved the world (you), that he gave his only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believeth in him (you) should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)”  But Beware! Those who reject Christ will be cast out of God’s presence forever, and “have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8).”


 Years ago my wife and I wanted to buy a camera.  I wanted a SLR (single lens reflex) with a couple of fancy lenses for different settings; she wanted a “point and shoot” camera that required very little participation in the picture taking process.  I won!  It was a joy to have a camera that was very versatile, and we used it at home and on a couple of mission trips, etc.  After a roll or two of film (i.e. a flexible strip of plastic with light sensitive… Oh never mind), I learned that it was critically important to take the time to get a clear focus if my photos were going to clearly reveal where we had focused our attention, and I had focused the camera.

  More recently I have discovered that focus is not just for cameras.  We focus our attention on certain things that help to define life for us.  For years I was a “God and Country” focused individual.  “God” was placed first on purpose, and then there was our “One Nation Under God.”  It was hard to talk about either without appreciation of the other.  God defined right, and the majority of our people were pleased to do it.  …But, my, how times have changed.

  I have found it necessary to use a more telephoto approach to refocus, but this time, more on God, and less on our country.  Please don’t get me wrong, I love America, but it no longer defines who I am—it has departed, to some extent, from the God of my Fathers.  I have decided now, that my eyes should have been more exclusively on Him, even in the better days of yesteryear.

  God never lies.  His definition of right never changes.  His love never wavers.  His Word is constant and true.  His promises never fail.  His power never wanes.  His knowledge is complete.  His presence is constant.  His ways are perfect.  He is always good.  He is my “Abba” (an endearing term for Father, Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6).

  “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. (1Chronicles 29:11)”