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Sunday, July 3, 2016

July 4th, 2016

"Why was he here? That was what he had to remember. Simeon lay still with his eyes closed, working on remembering the past few days. There was something wrong, something…his homeland was in danger again. The thought of America in trouble, his beloved USA, sparked through him and rushed his comprehension to the next step. Scenes from various times in his life washed over him, green landscapes and rich Virginian history, tall trees and rugged beauty of Washington, oceans and seals of California, and the beautiful varying browns of his wonderful New Mexican home. With the scenic pictures came the memories of people, so many people, all rushing across his mind in an instant; friends he had grown old with, church families, coworkers, millions of faces glimpsed over the years in airports, and subways, and through car windows. They were happy, carefree faces, living in a land that let them be free and earn their living, and grow their lives. And it was all jeopardized again. Not his America. Simeon forced himself to draw a deep breath and put his mind to work on his situation."
-Simeon Lee, from Adelie Angst

It's not easy to define and express a love of country. There is a certain hesitation, I think, in expressing something that we feel so instinctively and deeply. And yet when love is there, when it flames in us strongest is when we start to do something. That is the instinctive way we respond with all things we love. A sharp sense of loyalty and love, of pride and joy in something, makes us want to do something for it. In the case of our salvation, Jesus' blood covering us fully and heaven being made sure for us despite ourselves, it inspires such glorious love and gratefulness, we go out and tell others, and strive to live godly lives for the One who has saved us for Himself. A delight in our wife or husband might show itself in a spontaneous gift, or even something as simple as a sudden dance step to a favorite song. When we look out on our land and feel that influx of love for all that it stands for and means to us, we don't stop and soliloquize (or at least most of us don't). Instead we head to the voting polls, or our Chamber of Commerce meeting, or even to clean the trash off the highway; we go do something.

This is how it should be. Especially in America, the freest nation on Earth. We the people are ultimately in charge of who is elected and thusly what laws are passed and how our country acts. That can be hard to live with when times are changing, as we are seeing in our nation now. We are no longer a Christian nation, not in firm fact, but are swiftly descending deeper into becoming a pagan nation. But I still look out on my city, and my nation, and feel that love and joy in my own land.

"All the beauty I had seen in my travels, the eyes that had met mine, the astounding variety of tree species, the greater variety of personalities, the diversity of the regions, and the deeper thrumming rhythm of beauty that went on always under and within the ancient kingdom that I called my own, coming from its history and traditions and ancient trees and songs and epic poems…all of it flashed through my mind…I had always had a love for my country, but I think it was that moment when I felt our combined fates hung in the balance that it woke to its full. And a great longing came in me to see my kingdom revived, and relieved of evil, and God’s kingdom advanced within my own."
-Charlie, from Dreaded King: Reign Falls

We should still be striving to see God’s kingdom advanced within our own. The current situation might look hopeless, but that doesn’t let us out. Not by a long shot. We who were born in America have more than just the right to strive to see our nation righted. We have the duty to do all that is in our power to see righteous leaders elected, and evil laws struck down. Yes, it should grieve us to see evil sprout in our country, and especially to see it condoned.

"On all sides we hear to-day of the love of our country, and yet anyone who has literally such a love must be bewildered at the talk, like a man hearing all men say that the moon shines by day and the sun by night. The conviction must come to him at last that these men do not realize what the word 'love' means, that they mean by the love of country, not what a mystic might mean by the love of God, but something of what a child might mean by the love of jam. To one who loves his fatherland, for instance, our boasted indifference to the ethics of a national war is mere mysterious gibberism…'My country, right or wrong,' is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, 'My mother, drunk or sober.' No doubt if a decent man's mother took to drink he would share her troubles to the last; but to talk as if he would be in a state of gay indifference as to whether his mother took to drink or not is certainly not the language of men who know the great mystery."
-G.K. Chesterton, from The Defendant

Maybe we can't do much. But that is the worst reason possible to do nothing. Those who assume their one little act can't change the world will never change anything; including themselves. But those who step out for consciences sake and do whatever they can, for love of God and country, those will help their own conscience and might just end up changing things for the better. Christian, why are you here? "…to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.[1]But why are you here? Do you think God has placed you in the nation He has, in the time period He has, for a reason? If you don't you need to rethink your ideas of His sovereignty. If you do…don't you think you ought to be casting about for the best way to do that glorifying and enjoying you're supposed to be doing, in the time and place you're in?

"The great Master Gardener, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and a wonderful providence, with his own hand, planted me here, where by his grace, in this part of his vineyard, I grow; and here I will abide till the great Master of the vineyard think fit to transplant me."
-Samuel Rutherford

You are not here by accident. Never fall for that lie. And your little act might be the catalyst to more than you can imagine. To look back at history, think of D-Day. The allied troops pressed down on the beach, the German fire getting closer and closer to gaining their position...What made the difference? It wasn't a general's brilliant order. It wasn't even a clever concerted attack. It was Private Jones, or Smith, who saw he was going to die if he stayed still and decided he would rather die trying than lying still on the beach. One man got up and ran toward the German lines. Another saw his courage and followed. Then another. Slowly, man by man, they began to break through. Never underestimate the power of one person taking courage in both hands and doing what is right. Will we change America back to being a Christian nation? I don't know. But I do know this: 

"For the kingdom is the LORD'S: and He is the governor among the nations."
-Psalm 22:28

In the end, God is the real ruler over America. If He judges her for the blood of the innocents and the evil she has willingly accepted, then that is what will happen. If He pardons her, and heals our land of our iniquity and brings a revival of His grace and righteousness sparking through the country, then that is what will happen. But I never, never want it to be said that I went down idle with a dying nation. I want to be fighting for the right, wherever God has me, fighting for His right.

Never compromise the right. For any reason. Don't let people convince you to accept the best of two evils. Fight tooth and claw to see evil done away with and shunned in this country. To quote a current fad:

"This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world - 'No, YOU move.'"
-Captain America

Never, never compromise the right. If you lose what is most important, what does it matter what you win? Stand up, Christian. Fight for the country you've been given, and don't lose heart when it looks like you're alone. No Christian can ever be alone, for we have God in our hearts and on our side. America is still the freest nation on earth. She’s sinking, fast, but don't stop fighting just because you don't see an easy end. There may be an unhappy ending. But I would rather see an unhappy ending with honor than a peaceful one with dishonor. Never compromise truth and always do what you know is right.

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
-2 Chronicles 7:14

[1] Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 1 

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