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America by Brother Larry Vann

AMERICA

This nation's origins began with the migration of people from Europe to the New World.  The ones of most interest to us are those who were seeking a new home.  They came here for freedom of religion and freedom from a government which was not interested in their welfare, but only it's own.

This year our nation celebrated it's 237th year of independence.

This nation declared independence from England in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence.  It was signed by 55 colonial representatives who pledged their personal lives and fortunes in support of liberty for this nation.  Since that time, some 1.2 million Americans have died in battle to preserve the freedom that was described in that year.  Our freedom has certainly been won and maintained at a high cost.

The Declaration of Independence includes the statement:

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

How precious those words are to the American people - to us in this assembly of Christian friends and family.  While I believe the desire for freedom is born in us, we (in the United States) have been raised to appreciate what it means - because we have been raised in the freeist nation on earth.

This nation's founding fathers did not invoke God (our Creator) by accident.  Our God has set the bar for freedom.  While he is a jealous God, in his unfathomable wisdom, he deemed it appropriate for mankind to have the freedom to choose for themselves whom they will serve - whether him, or themselves, or any other God.  He made it man's choice from the beginning (in the Garden of Eden).

then

The original signers of the Declaration of Independence were representatives of the colonies.  They were mostly lawyers, farmers, and businessmen.  52 of the 55 were members of Christian churches and all believed in the benefits of the biblical principles of freedom, honor, and the equal importance of each person to God.   These men included another phrase in the declaration:

"For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

What was their sacred honor worth?

Of the 55 -

- 14 died from wounds and/or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

- at least 5 lost family members either in the war or as a result of persecution by the British from signing the document

- 12 had their homes and properties ransacked and burned - impoverishing them.

Others, at the time, suffered similar fates - but they, and those like them, gave us a free and independent America.

If you don't mind, I'd like for us to sing the song most of us know as AMERICA.

It is #520 in your song books under the title "O Beautiful for Spacious Skies".  Let's sing this song as a show of how much we love our country.

now

As a country, we have come a long way from the beginning to now.  While 237 years may not be a long time by world historical standards, as Americans, we feel a significant pride in the fact that our nation is different from all before it.  It is a country that was founded on biblical principle.

John Adams, the 2nd president of the United States, said: "The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity … And I avow that I believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God."

George Washington, our first president and the "Father of this nation," made these comments:  "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."  "Do not let anyone claim to be a true American patriot if they ever attempt to separate religion from politics."

Abraham Lincoln said that the Bible was "the best gift God has given to man."

Certainly the ACLU would disagree with those quotes today.  Today, the Judeo-Christian religion is being systematically excluded from American Society in the name of separation of church and state.  They have taken the stand that the separation of church and state goes well beyond giving people freedom to worship as they please, by making it criminal to honor God's word from the same book which gave us the idea for such freedom in the first place.

Prayer in school is now grounds for lawsuits.  The Ten Commandments have been removed from public buildings.  Our Pledge of Allegiance and national songs are being modified or side-lined because they include the word God.  Changes have been brought against preachers for "hate speech" because of their quoting passages from the bible which disagree with world views.  The list goes on.

We have accepted aborting our young as normal to the point patents are being sought for ways to exploit the activity for profit in the medical field.

States are legitimizing same sex marriages which promote behavior that God gave as the reason for his destroying the cities of Sodom and Gomorra.  I wonder if those who support this trend and call themselves Christian believe that God should maybe apologize for his mistake in destroying these cities.

The majority of items we purchase today are "Made in China", "Made in India", "Made in Mexico",  etc.  and are being purchased with borrowed money.  America is swimming in debt.  We are thus impoverishing our children and grandchildren because of our greed to have what we want at their cost.

What happened to the bible passage about the good person being able to give an inheritance to his/her grandchildren?

Our country is now engaged in embracing life-styles diametrically opposed to bible teaching - and as a result, we have become a dependent nation - and thus a weaker nation.

We are dependent on foreign oil, the majority of which comes from nations which hate us.

Our politicians are now engaging us in military conflicts where we furnish our enemies with weapons which are then used to harm us because our current leadership is letting the "New World Order" determine who we should support, what cause to champion, on what ground we should spill the blood of our children.

In 2 Tim 3: 1-5 we read

But mark this.  There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with them.

Some people say this defines where we are today.  This is actually a good description of where the world has been for thousands of years.  I believe Jesus is talking about the fundamental changing of people who view themselves as Christians - but whose actions are anything but.

Some churches have embraced homosexuality by say "God has changed his mind."

Have you noticed how email and "face book" have brought out boldness in people to show their true colors way beyond what they would ever do when really looking a person in the face.  What is it about this type Christian who confesses that he/she loves you but then says such hateful and mean things about you on this new public communication platform?

Do you remember Jerry's sermon about how we, as Christians, could cut the number of abortions in half almost immediately - by stopping our own participation in them?

We have, for the first time in our history, voted in a president who was not raised with Christian values - whose parents believed Christianity was part of the problem - not the solution.  It does not mean he might not be swayed toward Christian values (perhaps I should clarify that to be Biblical Christian values) at some point in his life, but it is sad to say he isn't that way now.

What it all means is that our nation's people have now tipped the scales in a direction fundamentally and morally opposite that from which our nation began.  The majority has voted that believes the bible is flawed, and so our moral compass (and the definition of our freedom) is now variable and in need of review.

How scary and sad.

Where to now?

I used to be in the business of predicting future sales and, to a lesser extent, the economy as it affected businesses within The Dow Chemical Company.  They paid me for this.  I tell you this not as a way of proving my credentials in predicting future events, but to assure you that God has a sense of humor.

A statement I am absolutely sure of is that men think they control the economies of nations, but they do not.  God does.

That being said, it's appropriate to refer to Deuteronomy chapter 28 to get things in perspective.  I won't read it here, but I recommend that you read it on your own later.  This chapter begins by describing the blessings God will pour out onto the nation that is obedient to him and then shifts to a description of the curses that will plague the nation who rejects him.  Moses is giving God's message to Israel, but as God does not show favoritism, will he treat us differently?

Will there be an economic collapse of the US dollar?  Why would God let such a thing happen?

-  We sacrifice our health to the god of money.

-  We sacrifice our marriages and children in the pursuit of more money.

-  America's new cathedrals of worship are banks.

I don't know.  What do you think?

Will there be a nuclear terrorist attack on the US at some point in the future?  Would God let such a thing happen?

It seems that the United States Plan B, is to accept a nuclear Iran.  This despite the Iranian Leadership's threat, on international television, to "wipe Israel off the map."  This despite the June 2008 television interview in which Iranian president Almadinejad told the world, "Today, the time for the fall of the satanic power of the United States has come and the countdown for annihilation of the emperor of power and wealth has started."

Our enemies want the bomb at any cost, including the cost of a nuclear war in the Middle East.  Our response has been to lecture the prime minister of Israel on the nerve of his country building housing units in the city of Jerusalem.

There are many more questions about the future, but our response to them is pretty much the same.

What do we do?

In Phil 4: 5-9 we read:

Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.

1.  Love one another.  Know and associate with your church family.  Be a good example that others (inside and outside the church) will value your presence.

2.  Rein in your fears so that you can think clearly.  God is in control.  Petition God in prayer about yours and your country's needs.

3.  Get away from worthless endeavors such as trash television, radio, and email.  Clean up your life and attitude - and

4.  Put your life into gear.  Be involved with life by using the talents and gifts God has given you.  God has a plan for your life and it's time to be about your business.

Don't quit. Never Quit.  Never give up.