Look at our foundation to assess the lasting strength

What are your thoughts when you see a flag flying, whether outside a home or at any public place? 

Blog. American flag with cross sun reflection.It seems that many consider the flag a visual offense, wherever it is--just by being there. And they're not all young, not all "radical," or whatever convenient label might come to mind. 

An area realtor told of a recent experience with an older married couple who were looking for a house.

Both were Caucasian and judging by their clothing and their car, these two were accustomed to living "the good life."

After the realtor had driven them around the community for an hour or so, the wife told him, "Well, the homes are nice, I grant you that, but I would not want to live in this community."

When asked why, she said, "Too many American flags, they're all over the place! It makes me extremely uncomfortable. I could never feel at home here. Thanks for your time, but we need to look elsewhere for a house."

One photo that says a lot

Nobody knows who took the above photo of the U.S. flag--or where--and no one found evidence it's a Photoshop editing job. Someone snapped it at just the moment when the sun's reflection came through in the shape of a cross.
 
I smile every time I see this photo. It reminds me that even in the midst of all the unrest and the protests and the endless blah, blah, blah, God has not given up on us and walked away in disgust.
For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage.   Psalm 94:14  ESV
Step back to the beginning, to when our Declaration of Independence was hammered out
 
Some of us easily rattle off these familiar words, but for once, let's read them slowly. Thoughtfully. Here's the first paragraph:  
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
(Note: This is not "sexist language." In that time--and for eons--the phrase "all men" would have meant "all people" or "all humankind.")
 
The Declaration ends with these words: 
"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes,  and our sacred Honor."
Did the 56 men who signed this Declaration really mean these words?
 
These courageous men risked everything to go on record with their beliefs and their signatures. They knew beforehand that it could mean prison or death.
 
Some who signed this Declaration did pay with their lives and their fortunes--or various family members did. Even close relatives and former friends often wanted nothing to do with them.
 
All this because they believed the United States of America should be independent, with a government elected by its citizens. 
 
From the beginning, the USA became known as "a Christian Nation"
 
Did that identification fit? Read a few statements of the Founders and decide for yourself:

"[The Bible] is the rock on which our Republic rests."  -  Andrew Jackson

"We recognize no sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus."  - John Adams and John Hancock 

"Here is my Creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshipped."   - Benjamin Franklin

"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."  -  George Washington 

"The gospel of Jesus Christ prescribes the wisest rules for just conduct in every situation of life . . . If moral precepts alone could have reformed mankind, the mission of the Son of God into all the world would have been unnecessary."    -  Benjamin Rush 

"What students would learn in American schools above all is the religion of Jesus Christ." - George Washington

Our Nation today seems far from that

Most people think our society could use some help. 

That makes it easy to be discouraged. It can feel good to hang with others of the same mindset and everyone say "Tsk, tsk, tsk" in unison. But what good does that do?

Whatever our personal opinion, a lot of us feel helpless to make anything better. As always, it starts with the one person looking back at us from our bathroom mirror.

Helen Keller lived with blindness from early childhood. Still, she left her mark in the world--and made it better--with wise words like these:

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do."

So what can I do, right here and right now?

One answer is obvious and free to all of us. We can use our voices and our time to build up, rather than tear down.

Small gestures matter--and they make a difference.

As an example, take one of the longtime checkers at a local supermarket. I know nothing about her personal life, but she seldom stops smiling. Anytime someone asks how she is, her answer goes something like this. "Great, just great. I'm so blessed I can hardly stand it!"

Then she'll ask how her customer is doing and always offer some kind of encouragement or bring up something positive that's going on in our community. I've noticed that every person who walks away from her counter leaves wearing a smile.

This one individual lives out the Apostle Paul's words:

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.   Ephesians 4:29 

It's time to get off the hamster-wheel

Too many of us have been going round-and-round, endlessly reciting what's wrong with these United States. I haven't noticed this makes anyone happier, have you?

So let's cut it out! Let's focus our attention on what is right with America.

Our Constitution was hammered out carefully, then finally ratified on June 21, 1788. Patrick Henry was one of those who ratified it and he said this:

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here."

That was true then. It is true now.

Let us not forget who we are!

We have reason for thanks every day of every year. Thanks for the courageous men of faith and vision who founded our Nation. Thanks for the protection of Almighty God. From the beginning He has been gracious and merciful despite all the ways we've lost our way. 

He has not given up on us, has not walked away. Neither should we, not even in our minds.

Of all people, we who are Christians have reason to be consistently joyful. We actually can grasp what signers of our Declaration of Independence and Patrick Henry were talking about. Yes, we live in a world that's broken. But we do not lose hope because we know Who it is that holds our world together.   

And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  Colossians 1:17

Now there's something solid and immovable to hang onto. To rejoice in. To celebrate, no matter how shaky it feels in the moment. 

May God continue to bless America and keep this Nation strong!

Thankfully,

Lenore


January 21, 2021

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