"So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today." -Deut. 6:24
Ever since 9/11, I get a little irritated when I pass signs and billboards that boldly proclaim, "GOD BLESS AMERICA." While it is encouraging to see folks turn to God, I have to ask: Has He not blessed America already? The real issue is, what are we doing with those blessings? In our greed and complacency (and that goes for Christians and non-Christians alike), we feel we deserve more. We're Americans--Hear us roar! We're superior; we're better; we deserve freedom.
But are we willing to pay the price? Some are. They have already demonstrated their commitment. But I fear the vast majority are simply spewing off lofty platitudes with no real substance to back up their words. I hope I am not one of those. Writing these words is a wake-up call to examine my heart and see what I am really made of. As Americans, and especially Christian Americans, our day of persecution may be dawning brighter and brighter. I pray we are ready.
Christians all over the world have suffered greatly for their faith down through the centuries. It has been reported that more Christians were martyred in the twentieth century than all other centuries combined. Islam zealots have hounded believers for over one thousand years. Their goal is to erase Christianity from the globe in the name of God. They truly believe they are serving God and are willing to die for the cause. With ease of communication and transportation, the world is smaller. Access is easier. Persecution a very real threat.
But everywhere that persecution thrives, so does Christianity! Instead of being squelched and snuffed out, Christianity prospers. The Church of the living God multiplies. Believers are thankful and joyful, even when suffering. Only the one , true God can do that!
Perhaps, it is because we as Americans have had such an easy time that we are complacent and lethargic. We are riding the coattails of our founding fathers, who did pay the price, who did honor God. And God, in turn, blessed our great country on account of their commitment to godly principles. You see, God blesses the country who blesses Him. It has always been so, all down through the ages.
Somewhere along the line, we as Americans have forgotten to pass the baton to succeeding generations. The further each generation gets from the source of blessing, the easier it is for them to become lazy and ungrateful. That's why in the Old Testament, God urged Moses time and time again to encourage the Israelites to pass the baton of faith down to their children and their children's children. He commanded them to tell their children how HE had delivered them from their enemies. He told them to write it down "for the generation to come; that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord" (Psalm 102:18). The godly passion of the parents rubbed off on the kids. They constantly rehearsed God's words and feared His honored and awesome name (Deut. 28:58). And when the people strayed, God gave them an option: "I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life, in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days" (Deut.30:19-20). When the people honored God, He delivered them from their enemies.
Sadly, America has come along way from honoring God. We have forgotten our godly roots implanted by our forefathers. They acknowledged a God in heaven who rules in the affairs of men and chose to honor Him first. But somehow, as time wore on, succeeding generations lost the vision and basked in the sun of God's blessing without returning the blessing. We turned our back on the very God who had endowed us with liberty, countless wealth and resources. In our pursuit of happiness and equality, we stripped His name and His story from our children's textbooks. We denied His name spoken in prayer in school and public events. We tore down His commandments from our courthouses. We purged our schools, stores, and public squares from any semblance of the true meaning of Christmas and Easter. And as time goes on, we silence men of God, pushing them further and further back into their pulpits, because that's where Christianity belongs, right? "Keep it in your church, but don't infringe on my rights by forcing God on me," we hear today. How long will it be before the pulpit is no longer a safe and honored place? How far will Satan have to drive us back before we speak out on behalf of God and our founding fathers? I wonder.
There will be no stopping secular humanism and false religious ideologies from advancing if we as God's children don't take a righteous stand against Satan's agenda. He is out for the destruction of the human race. And he would love nothing more than to see the Christian faith stamped from the face of the earth!
One of the most compelling political cartoons I have ever seen was published during World War II, when American hearts were once again turned toward God. The cartoon pictures Uncle Sam kneeling by a bed in a typical American bedroom. A portrait of a soldier hangs on the wall above the bed. Uncle Sam's head is bowed and his hands are folded in prayer. Oh, how we need to once again rely on God as our strength and sufficiency as Americans and lift the defenders of freedom up to the throne!
With that said, what are you doing today to pass along God's blessings? What am I doing today?
Perhaps you could pass a tract to a service man who comes to your home for a repair. Or maybe pray with a troubled neighbor. Perhaps call your congressman and express your opinion on an urgent bill affecting religious freedom. Or pray with a parent who has a son in the military. Maybe you could sit down with your child, open the history book, and share how GOD used his servants to birth a country under His name so that the gospel could be spread to other lands. One of Columbus's primary motives in seeking out the new world was to perpetuate the gospel. George Washington's personal diary is full of entries addressed to his God and Saviour and records hours of time spent on his knees in prayer. But those are two facts the average textbook conveniently ignores. There are many, many others! Our future generation needs to know what America is really all about!
Find one way you can share God's blessings today with someone else. Be a part of restoring godliness to a nation who desperately needs a return to its roots. Keep rehearsing God's faithfulness to your children. Only as America blesses God will He bless America!
Eileen Rife, author of Second Chance, conducts marriage seminars with her husband. Chuck. She is currently working on her fifth novel, Laughing with Lily, and a gift book of cute kid quips inspired by her six grandchildren. She also speaks to women’s groups on a variety of topics. www.eileenrife.com, www.eileen-rife.blogspot.com