America Has a Hope Problem

"But those who hope in the Lord 
will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; 
they will run and not grow weary, 
they will walk and not be faint." ~Isaiah 40:31

Forgive us, Lord, when we place our hope in people, governments, or our own strategies. Our Hope must be in You!

"Rest in God alone, my soul for 
my hope comes from Him" (Psalm 62:5)

"I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, 
and in His word do I hope" (Psalm 130:5).

"Blessed is the nation 
whose God is the Lord...." (Psalm 33:12a).

Oh, that we might seek Him, and place our hope in Him alone.


The Evolution of an Affair

I appreciate Tim Challies' commitment to biblical truth. He often posts "flashback" posts from his blog - articles with lasting impact.

As I read his flashback post today, "How an Affair Really Begins" (from September 28, 2015), I thought of a number of Christian friends who progressed down the path he describes, the evolution of an affair.

"Affairs do not begin with sex," he says. "Falling into bed with a man who is not your husband or a woman who is not your wife is never a sudden, unplanned event. Instead, it is a culminating decision in a long list of terrible, self-centered decisions." (Emphasis mine.)

My heart grieves for these friends... cries out to the Lord for their marriages.

And I recognize within my own heart the sinful seeds of destruction as well.
We must all guard our lives, renew our mind in the Word of God and commit our hearts afresh each day to our spouses.
Challies ends his post with this reflection by John Owen on Hebrews 3:12-13:

"Take heed ... use all means, 
consider your temptations, watch diligently..."

That is my prayer for marriages today. Let us, especially, who name the name of Christ, take heed ... consider... and watch!"

Read Challies' post, and consider:
Are you on the path that leads to an affair? 
What will you do about it?

Some Related Scriptures: 

Hebrews 13:4 - "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous."

Proverbs 5:15 - "Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well."

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 - "For it is God's will that you should be holy: You must abstain from sexual immorality; each of you must know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion like the Gentiles who do not know God."


Keep Liberty Alive

Constitution Day. Unlike Independence Day, this day tends to fade into the background. Yet the Framers of the Constitution promoted a vision of liberty that is well worth remembering.

As the 55 Framers established America's national government and most basic laws, they envisioned liberty through limited government. They sought to guarantee certain fundamental laws to all its citizens. They declared these truths and spelled them out in our nation's founding document, The Constitution of the United States - signing their names to this document on September 17, 1787.
The Preamble to the Constitution begins with three key words: We the People
This reference refers to all citizens of the United States, those born in America and those receiving citizenship through a process. The government receives all of its powers from all of America's citizens. [When the Constitution was ratified, some people did not have the same rights as others (women, slaves), a problem addressed through amendments to the Constitution.]

The Articles of the Constitution followed the Framers many arguments and debates as they, with the Preamble, framed a workable government system that enabled liberty, governance and justice to American citizens.

In short, these seven Articles dealt with:
  1. The powers and limits of the Congressional branches of government: the Senate and House of Representatives.
  2. The responsibility and authority of the Executive branch - the President and executive officers.
  3. The Judicial branch - the court system made up of the Supreme Court and lower courts.
  4. The responsibilities and duties of the states in the Union, and the responsibilities of the federal government toward the states.
  5. The fact that the Constitution can only changed by adding amendments.
  6. The establishment of the Constitution as the highest law of the land, to be upheld by all officers and judges (as well as statements about debts and engagements the US had before the adoption of the Constitution).
  7. The explanation of how many states needed to ratify the Constitution.

This concept of Constitutionally-limited government will continue to frame our lives only as long as it is kept alive in our hearts and minds. 

While the Constitution does not specifically mention the name of God, there are biblical principles woven throughout its text. 

John Adams wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson (June 28, 1813) saying, 
"The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence 
were the general principles of Christianity. 
I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, 
that those general principles of Christianity 
are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God." 

This was echoed by a statement from the United States Supreme Court in 1892: 
"Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be 
based upon and embody the teachings 
of the Redeemer of mankind
It is impossible that it should be otherwise; 
and in this sense and to this extent 
our civilization and our institutions 
are emphatically Christian."

Our government is inspired by the moral principles of the Ten Commandments. The blessings of liberty we all enjoy were inspired by principles in the Bible such as those pertaining to moral behavior, free will and individualism, and personal responsibility - to name a few. 

If we want to KEEP LIBERTY ALIVE, I recommend we need to do two things:

1. Read the Constitution (and work to appoint court judges that will uphold it).
2. Read the Word of God and discover the source of lasting liberty.

The Bible has so much to say about freedom.

If you are a Christian, you know: "if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36) and "the truth will set you free" (John 8:32) and "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Corinthians 3:17) and many other verses about freedom in Christ.

What do you think about the Constitution today? Do you cherish its concept of limited government? What do you think about the biblical concept of "freedom in Christ"?


Meditation: God's 'Schoolroom'

Back to school gives many moms more "free time" (or at least, different strategies for using their time). I love this quote from Dr. David Jeremiah's Turning Point devotional, "Back to Your Future - Back to School" (9-3-16).

In the devotional, this scripture is quoted:

How can a young man cleanse his way? 
By taking heed according to Your word.
Psalm 119:9

That's not just for a young man - maybe a child going off to school - but also for the parents. We change as we "take heed" (pay attention to and obey) God's Word.

The devotional began with a description of Billy Graham's childhood experience of loving to go into a barn as a young man and listen to raindrops hitting the tin roof. It was in that quiet place, he says, that God shaped his character, and he is still in the habit of finding a quiet spot to talk to God.

Here is the part of the devotional God used to speak to me today:

As our children return to school this fall, let’s remember that God’s schoolroom is called meditation. It’s not enough just to read the Bible, or even simply to study it. We need to find quiet times to mull over its words, meditate on its verses, and ponder its truths. That’s what shapes our character. 
If you can’t find a barn with a tin roof, any quiet spot will do. Settle down, quiet yourself, be still, contemplate the Lord and His Word, and know that He is God.
By holy meditation the soul doth, as it were, breakfast with God every morning.
~ Thomas Watson, Puritan

I'm a busy, type A+ person, always on the move. Stopping to meditate is hard for me. And the distractions in our culture multiply as technology feeds us new forms of diversion (and in some cases, perversion.)

For me, personally, I've found a quiet time in our backyard jacuzzi early in the morning, meditating on a single scripture for 15 minutes, is a life-changer.

The important thing is: develop a strategy to get alone with the Lord.

What is your place and time for meditating on God's Word?

Graphic of school bus adapted, courtesy of Morguefile.


Hungry for Revival? Cry Out!

Byron Paulus, the director of the revival ministry, Life Action, is seeking the Lord for revival in our nation, but he makes sure we understand revival begins in individual hearts before it moves into groups and organizations. He has seen the Lord move in hearts, families and churches as God's people confront lies and embrace the truth of scripture. (The quote, above, is simply one reflection of how we can be deceived.)

He and others are calling us to cry out to the Lord for grace and mercy. The One Cry! movement is part of this. Find out more at OneCry: A Nationwide Call for Spiritual Awakening.

Women will gather, September 22-24, 2016, for the Cry Out! National Women's Conference, sponsored by True Woman 2016.

As part of that, a Cry Out! simulcast is planned for September 23, 2016 (6-9pm CT/PT and 7-10pm ET/MT).

Believing "When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears" (Psalm 34:17), these and other ministries are urging women (and men) to bow together before the Lord and cry out for mercy and supernatural intervention in our world, nation, churches, cities and homes.

But first, let that cry come from your own heart, for your own life.

Ask the Lord to revive your heart (Psalm 85:6) and then pray about how you can join with others this fall to seek Him and Cry Out! in this critical time.

Graphic: courtesy of Morguefile