Thursday, February 5, 2015

Is America Going Down the Tubes, or Am I a Soldier of the Cross?

Vintage Postcard found on Wikimedia , David Slack.

Editor's Note: I was getting ready to post something red, pink, and cheery for Valentine's day, but I came across this article I had written a while ago and I thought it was a pity it was never posted. I don't know how this article got "lost" in drafts, but it is based on a class I attended and I think the thoughts are timely even though it will be "late" for whatever purpose I was saving it.
We had an interesting lesson on Christian Citizenship and the trite saying came up, "America is going down the tubes!" Our teacher pointed out a few things about that, and I would like to share them here:

In Scriptures, we have a few examples of a nation's or city's options when they are headed downhill. We discussed two. First there is the case of Sodom. The Lord was set to destroy that city, but He would have spared it if there were as few as 10 righteous people in it (you can read the story in Genesis 18:20-33). If you recall the whole story, Lot had moved into that city with his family (Genesis 13), but they had to leave before its destruction (Genesis 19).

The second example used was what the Lord told Solomon about the nation of Israel. He said in 2 Chronicles 7:14
"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."

The conclusion was, that the state of the nation depends on the state of Christians and the church. We are living under the New Testament with Christ's Law, but what we learn in the Old Testament are principles and examples that apply to our lives. If you notice, in that scripture in Chronicles it says "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." Folks that are waiting around for the whole entire nation to wake up at once and see how bad things are, and for everyone in the country to get down on their knees and pray in one body, will be waiting until the judgment day. It is the Christians in the land that are wearing the name of Christ that should be praying.

But not just praying. This lesson got me to thinking about some other things.

A song came to mind,

       Am I a soldier of the cross,
a follower of the Lamb,
and shall I fear to own his cause,
or blush to speak his name?

Must I be carried to the skies
on flowery beds of ease,
while others fought to win the prize,
and sailed through bloody seas?

Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
to help me on to God?

I emphasized that last line, because my thoughts run like this: how many Christians think that they have to have one foot in the world in order to get along, or to be an influence, or to be relatable? Is a relationship with the world going to help us to be more righteous?

How many times have Christians thought that they can't give the impression of being too stuck up or something, and compromised with the world? Whole groups from church having a "movie night" and going to the theatre to see films that they should not be watching! Dressing immodestly! Wearing shirts and accessories with worldly messages on them! Getting tattooed! Social drinking! Using cuss/slang/swear words! Listening to music that only can be distinguished from worldly music by a few lyrics (if you can hear them above the din)! Reading unwholesome books or magazines! Young people living with each other, and not getting married or being reproved by their parents! Old people gambling their money away! Missing the gathering of the saints every week for communion and exhortation, to go to ball games or what have you! These aren't just "black sheep" I'm talking about, I'm speaking of groups of Christians, of whole families, as well as individuals.

The church needs to keep itself pure from the world. We are in the world, but not of it, so we need to be careful not to adopt worldliness and get sucked right into an on-the-fence way of life! Parents should train their children in the Bible and its living every day, by example and by teaching, not just expect a few Bible story hours to deeply root God's word in their lives. Young people need to take care, and walk the walk carefully, not letting anyone lure them off of the path of life! Older Christians-- don't rest on your laurels! Keep watchful!

America doesn't have to go down the tubes-- God's mercy will save it, if His people are walking uprightly.

Christian families are so important to a healthy state of the nation! That is why Satan tries so hard to attack the family unit. In the story of Lot and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, there were not found 10 righteous people there to save them. Wasn't Lot and his family there, though? The Bible mentions his sons-in-law. We aren't told the number, but I wonder how many people there were in his family. Just think-- if there were ten people in his family, and Lot had been more of an influence on them, they could have saved those cities and all of their inhabitants.

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