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Sunday, December 7, 2014

And His Ears Are Open Unto Their Cry

Psalm 34:14-16 (KJV)

Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous,
and his ears are open unto their cry.

The face of the Lord is against them that do evil,
to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.






In recent weeks the events taking place in Ferguson, Missouri have caught the attention of just about everyone in America. The tragic death of Michael Brown has brought forth an outcry of public concern, mostly in opposition to the way in which the authorities have handled the situation. With the recent decision not to prosecute Officer Darren Wilson for his involvement in the shooting... Red flags are being raised. What's coming into question are the very people placed in position to protect and govern - the people of our country. 




The incident in Ferguson is not an isolated one. Actions which bring into question the behaviour of the police, our protectors, have been taking place all along. It would seem that the officials who should be keeping watch, as well as taking actions to stem the spread of such acts, have for whatever reason, opted to turn a blind eye. 


"The grand jury in Staten Island decided not to indict NYPD Officer, Daniel Pantaleo, for the death of Eric Garner by illegal chokehold. It’s hard to grapple with this after last week’s news from Ferguson that Officer Darren Wilson was not indicted. This decision follows an appalling national pattern where police officers use excessive and sometimes fatal force against people of color and are frequently not held responsible."

~ Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Action ~


In a lot of cases, its only when caught with their backs against the wall that measures are taken at all. Often, those measures are initiated and hard pressed by the very same victims involved in the incident.

The following clips are a small sampling of questionable actions that were lucky enough to be caught on camera. Who can say how many more have went unspoken of? 





Police are given authority and power, but what happens when that authority and power go unchecked? When abuse of authority and power become the norm, with nothing more than a slap on the wrist as questionable behaviour is uncovered... What then is the course of action?





As long as there have been governments, there has been corruption. Oppression of the people by those they sought for protection is nothing new. The mere installation of officials and the signing of laws on paper won't change the sacred truth that is evident throughout the history of the world. Somewhere along the course of events, hidden agendas, personal interest, predigest, and self motivated lust tend to make their way to the forefront. Now, I'm by no means saying that we should stop our efforts at improvement of our governmental system. Better laws, accountability, and oversight... all of the things we have been doing should continue... But if we keep doing only the things that we have been doing - How can we ever expect a different result? We... Each and every one of us, are imperfect creatures. Our response to life's challenges are as varied as there are people on the planet. One thing is, and has been a constant... We're prone to mistakes and we very often error in judgement. Another factor in all of this is the very world we live in. On many occasion it paints a picture of pleasure and gain that we are tempted to pursue. Usually with lack of attention of what is really involved in the pursuit or the consequences. If we, when thinking we are following a good desire, can allow ourselves to be led astray... How can we expect better result from others, who are just as subject, whether  intended or induced - to become wicked as well?    


 Psalm 9:9 (KJV)
 The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.






The idea of a separation of Church and State is one that has for the most part become vastly distorted. Prayer has been removed from schools and just the mention of God is rapidly turning into a political taboo. While the Government has no grounds for imposing a religious doctrine, order, or ideology... the moral foundation found in the presence of God, should and must be kept as an integral part of our Nation. Many of those who settled this country did so in a quest for religious freedom. The opening statements of the Preamble of The Declaration of Independance references God and the rights given by Him to all mankind. When God is the basis by which we express our intent to form a Nation... How can we logically remove Him from the Nation created? The men who have come to be known as the "Founding Fathers" allowed the guidance of God to direct their understanding as our country was being shaped.

Consider these words expressed by those same men as they undertook the task.


"The practice of morality being necessary for the well being of society, He [God] has taken care to impress its precepts so indelibly on our hearts that they shall not be effaced by the subtleties of our brain. We all agree in the obligation of the moral principles of Jesus and nowhere will they be found delivered in greater purity than in His discourses." 
~ Thomas Jefferson ~

"If men were angels, no government would be necessary."
~ James Madison ~ 


"Mankind, when left to themselves, are unfit for their own government."
~ George Washington ~ 


"The Bible is worth all the other books which have ever been printed."
~ Patrick Henry ~ 


"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
~ John Adams ~


"Our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty."
~ Samuel Adams ~ 


"As Congress is now to legislate for our extensive territory lately acquired, I pray to Heaven that they may build up the system of the government on the broad, strong, and sound principles of freedom." 
~ John Dickinson ~


"Work as if you were to live a hundred years. Pray as if you were to die tomorrow."
~ Benjamin Franklin ~


"He is the best friend to American liberty who is the most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind. Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country."
~ John Witherspoon ~

(This representation is but a short list.)


 It's quite apparent that these men came to the table with something more than a personal ambition or lust for power. To hold participation in The Continental Congresses and/or the signing of The Declaration of Independence was in fact an act of treason and a death warrant in the eyes of Britain. .. Something today's legislators don't have to be concerned with. What has changed so much that we've gone from a willingness to put life and liberty on the line... to a position that allows us to take life and liberty with abandonment and disregard? Where did we acquire such a hardening of the heart, and drastic change of spirit? The answer may be closer than we care to admit. 


2 Corinthians 3:17 (KJV)
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.


Just as Paul gave instruction to the Church at Corinth, our Founding Fathers, along with the Bible they valued, may be providing a bit of instruction for us. They embraced their faith. The early designers of our country delighted in the presence of God and acknowledged Him in their undertakings.



Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 


In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.



I wonder what part of, "In all thy ways..." have we forgotten, or maybe, somehow chosen, not to understand. For them, God could not be reduced to some mythical invisible man, only whispered about  in the secret and private places of ones personal dwelling. At the very least, they were in no sense of the word ashamed of their association of Him.



Mark 8:38 (KJV)
Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.


God, the gospel message, and prayer was not removed from the schools and other public places. To the contrary, The Spirit of God was very public. In fact, these men were adamant in their public display and efforts were made to keep faith as a public way of existence.


From a Fast Day Proclamation issued as Governor, Massachusetts, March 20, 1797 

"I conceive we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world . . . that the confusions that are and have been among the nations may be overruled by the promoting and speedily bringing in the holy and happy period when the kingdoms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and the people willingly bow to the scepter of Him who is the Prince of Peace." 

~ Samuel Adams ~


Called on the people of New Hampshire . . . 

"to confess before God their aggravated transgressions and to implore His pardon and forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ . . . that the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be made known to all nations, pure and undefiled religion universally prevail, and the earth be fill with the glory of the Lord." 

~ Josiah Bartlett ~ 

 

Speech in the First Provincial Congress of New Jersey... 

"Let us enter on this important business under the idea that we are Christians on whom the eyes of the world are now turned… Let us earnestly call and beseech Him, for Christ’s sake, to preside in our councils. . . . We can only depend on the all powerful influence of the Spirit of God, Whose Divine aid and assistance it becomes us as a Christian people most devoutly to implore. Therefore I move that some minister of the Gospel be requested to attend this Congress every morning . . . in order to open the meeting with prayer." 

~ Elias Boudinot ~


Requested the whole State of Massachusetts to pray . . . 

"that all nations may bow to the scepter of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that the whole earth may be filled with his glory. 

"that the spiritual kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be continually increasing until the whole earth shall be filled with His glory." 

"to confess their sins and to implore forgiveness of God through the merits of the Savior of the World." 

"to cause the benign religion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be known, understood, and practiced among all the inhabitants of the earth." 

"to confess their sins before God and implore His forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior." 

"that He would finally overrule all events to the advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom and the establishment of universal peace and good will among men." 

"that the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be established in peace and righteousness among all the nations of the earth." 

"that with true contrition of heart we may confess our sins, resolve to forsake them, and implore the Divine forgiveness, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, our Savior. . . . And finally to overrule all the commotions in the world to the spreading the true religion of our Lord Jesus Christ in its purity and power among all the people of the earth." 

~ John Hancock ~



Our nation and the people that reside within its borders, were and are, made strong because we took an interest in the common welfare of the people... that is to say all the people. Sure, there have been hiccups and bubbles along the way, but for the most part... that has been the central theme that binds us together. With that being the case, personal agenda and self interest must be put aside. We must develop and hold fast to a "Fellowship" that includes all of the citizenry... not just a select few. That concept, a thing we call "Unity", is the underlining basis of what is found throughout the principles of discipleship as taught by Jesus and described in the gospel. Christ prayed for it and His Apostles took up the call to teach the merits of His Spirit in the "Fellowship of Faith."



John 17:22-23 (KJV)
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them;
that they may be one, even as we are one:


I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them,
as thou hast loved me.



Perhaps the greatness and glory that the United States once stood for was not so much due to brave men willing to put their lives on the line, but more accurately because they were willing to risk their lives for a faith they believed in. A faith that they practiced and urged others to adopt. A faith that was so important that they allowed it to guide them in forming a country where freedom and peace could be enjoyed by all.

In our rush to put God and Christ in a box... one removed from public view, we might have packed along with it the very values that we so badly seek. It just might be the reason why scenes like this one are becoming common place. The following video is disturbing. I would hope that it is not an indication of the direction we as a nation are heading. It graphically captures one man... a policeman, who also seems to act as judge, jury, and executioner. I don't think he was meant to have that kind of authority and power. In the absence of a just and moral God, I wonder how many more will began to act as he does.





Somehow we must understand the need for God and the closeness of His Spirit. As we draw close to God, He draws close to us. The Bible says that God is a "Just and Righteous" being. It uses the term "Holy" which in one sense is the absolute idea of completeness. While the idea of God may seem mysterious to some, a great many in fact... His objective is not. His intended outcomes are much more definable than the double talk and cover ups we get from the hearts of police and other present day officials. 


Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?


After all, He is the Lord, He changeth not, and... He's not a man that He should lie. He has given us great and precious promises. The likes of which we can identify and count on.


2 Peter 1:3-4 (KJV)According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.


I know there are many who have no faith or belief in God. Some may chose to take issue with me instead of with the mounting problems that threaten to tear our country apart. I'm not twisting arms and I'm not trying to shove my religious belief down anyones throat. What I am trying to point out is simply this. Those of us who do have faith... the ones that believe in earnest, make every effort to practice the faith we believe in. A faith that is rooted in forgiveness, grace, mercy, righteousness, and what can only be described as the "Love of God." It is that love which we seek and we carry along the desire to display that love outwardly as well as share that love with all. You may choose to deny God, to back away from all He stands for - But what is that choice really saying? If you're moving to distance yourself from God... What are you drawing closer to?


1 John 4:7-8 (KJV)

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God;
and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.


I would like to think that those individuals that we place in power... our governors, policy makers, and those positioned to enforce the decisions made - Would be ones who could act with something more than a desire driven by self interest, self motivation, or self serving agenda. I would hope that the love they display for their fellow man stems from a place far greater than from just self at all. When mankind is left to follow his own thought, to carry out his own mind... What happens to the consideration and common well being of his fellow man? Without God, a supreme authority, Man becomes his own authority... listening only to himself. 

Genesis 6:5 (KJV)

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth,
and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.






Mark 10:27 (KJV)
And Jesus looking upon them saith,
With men it is impossible,
but not with God:
for with God all things are possible.



When Man becomes his own voice, the voice of every other Man is seldom heard if heard at all. As I said early on, sooner or later, hidden agendas, personal interest, predigest, and self motivated lust tend to make their way to the forefront. Scripture points out that we are a corrupt and sinful being... What comes to the forefront is the corruption within us. Even when you deny God and the instruction given in the Bible, you cannot deny history. In the short time of America's existence, we've did a bangup job of showing the world how corrupt we can be. Just review our treatment of Native Americans, Blacks, Immigrants, and don't forget the everyday, rank and file citizen. If we are to achieve and maintain the greatness that we'd like to be known for instead of the images of these videos or the current reports going around in the news... Then we must favor a cause that promotes a righteousness far greater than that which is found in ourselves alone. We need the "Righteousness of God."



Psalm 35:27 (KJV)

Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified,
which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.



Being our own boss and doing our own thing sounds like a good deal... So does all the ice cream and cake you want, when presented to a little kid. Like it or not, there must be order. Too much of a "Good Thing" and its not good anymore. God is a God of order. Like all good parents, our Heavenly Father knows when to give and when to take away. And like all children, we don't always understand the need for discipline... But that doesn't make it any less necessary. For the happiness, joy, and peace that makes life meaningful... We need to live our lives with God, not off to the side with Him somewhere far removed. Without the light of God to give direction, we are stumbling in the dark.



Ephesians 4:18-23 (KJV)

Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
 

Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

But ye have not so learned Christ;

If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;


Mankind has had problems with his fellow man long before this country became a Nation. There have been rebellions, demonstrations, protest, and outcries for as long as there have been injustices. Laws have been written, passed, retracted, and rewritten. People have been placed in position of authority, removed and replaced with new people. Inspite of it all we seem to find ourselves at these same crossroads, again and again. 

How long will we continue in this endless cycle?
If we keep doing what we've been doing, we'll keep getting what we've been getting!!!
Maybe, just maybe... The thing that we need to change is the direction we send our voices.

Our "Founding Fathers" kept God close. They didn't deny Him in public. They prayed to Him, sought His counsel, and taught their children to do the same. That practice gave them the foundation that became "Our Nation." A Nation which saw tremendous growth and prosperity in its early years. Perhaps the time has come for us to once again pickup the banner that they so boldly waved. These times may be the necessity for taking God out of the box and placing Him back where He belongs... In our hearts.


Psalm 37:4 (KJV)

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 


Blessings



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When I was a boy in my father's house, still tender, and an only child of my mother, he taught me and said, "Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
(Proverbs)

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