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Sunday, June 30, 2013

There Is a Huge Crack In the Liberty Bell!

“Now the Lord is the Spirit,
and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is freedom.”
2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV 

Our basic American freedoms are freedoms that many Americans hold dear. Our rights to worship, speak, write, assemble, petition, and bear arms are precious. While Americans are currently enjoying these valued freedoms there is a huge crack in the Liberty Bell.
The Liberty Bell rang in celebration of these basic freedoms over two hundred years ago. These freedoms, though still intact, are being severely scrutinized and attacked on various levels. As Americans, who love and cherish our freedoms, we must not be lulled to sleep. There is a very visible crack in our Liberty Bell and we who value our freedoms must sit up and take notice.
This serious and dangerous crack in the Liberty Bell is the result of many abusive agendas. It also comes from the lackadaisical assumption that citizens within the boundaries of America will always be free. There is a surprising number of Americans who lack interest in our country and are indifferent as to the direction our country is headed. True patriots are hard to find. Many Americans do not sing or stand for the singing of the National Anthem, they don’t salute the flag, they don’s support the military, and they don’t vote.  The Liberty Bell is also cracked because there are many who live in this country who appear to want freedom for all, but their main motivation and desire is built on selfish greed. Not all, but many appear to be working for the good of others, while basically they are only interested in a “feel good” feeling about themselves or what they consider to be their personal accomplishments as they work for those who they believe to be the underdog. We must also be aware that some Americans have adopted values that place them squarely in the camp of socialism. There is a crack in our liberty bell simply because many Americans are simply socialist at heart. Some are lazy and want to be cared for by the government. Others are individuals who want to control the lives of others. A free handout from the government is not how we love others; this is how we continue to enable others to continue to be lazy. There are always exceptions. In no way am I saying that one shoe fits all.
In the Bible, Paul admonished the church to help the poor and needy and to take care of the widows and orphans. If everyone loved others as much as they love themselves there would be no need for the government to minister to the needs of our neighbors. We would all simply help our neighbors. I fear that I fall miserably short when it comes to following this command of our God. Perhaps the government has given up on everyone voluntarily helping their neighbor, so many times they solve the problems at hand by freely taking from the pockets of working Americans and pass the monies out first to themselves, and then handing out the few remaining crumbs to those in need.
I take my hat off to those who after taxes, and before paying their bills, still find ways to be benevolent to others out of pure love. It is a beautiful sight to see people rise up and help when natural disasters strike. Many hearts overflow as they serve the homeless, the refugee, and work in third world countries. How we give is also important. Tax shelters don’t count! Neither does praise from the media. Jesus said that I am to give in secret so that my Father in heaven may reward me for what was given in secret. He cautions us against giving publicly and blowing trumpets announcing that we have given. Jesus says those who do so have already received their reward. How and why we help our neighbor continues to gouge the crack in the Liberty Bell even deeper if what is given is not given selflessly.
Our forefathers, who dreamed of and established our constitutional rights, based those rights on a Biblical understanding that all men are created equal and that the respect of God and his commands was essential. Our forefathers respected God and respected others. They invoked God’s blessing for this land and he answered their prayers because they worshiped him and loved others. We became a strong and respected country only because for generations we honored God and passed our respect of God on to the next generation.
Loving others does not mean that we support and give to everyone in all circumstances. We as a nation should be accountable for who we support and who we give to, and only give and support when the need falls within the lines of God’s laws and commandments. The Bible is our source for discovering both God’s laws and his commandments. Oh that those who rule would consult the source!
Most of the founders of this country were determined to serve God and to serve his people. They did not revolt against England and pursue freedom so that they might have prestige, a huge life long salary, and hundreds of perks along the way. They did not seek special privileges and exemptions that placed them above the law. They simply wanted the right to worship, speak, write, assemble, petition, and bear arms. There was no personal self-serving agenda. No, these guys worked for our freedom without pay and they valued freedom more than they valued their life. These men would not recognize this country today! Yes, my friends, there is a crack in the Liberty Bell and that which is enlarging the crack is huge and it is a very real and dangerous threat to all we hold dear.
The only true and lasting freedom that we have is our freedom that is grounded in our personal faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Religious freedom and all other freedoms may pass away, but our freedom in Christ Jesus is eternal. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV The Spirit of the Lord dwells within all believers no matter what country you call home. Because God has provided for us in this divine manner, we are free. Like any freedom, it was costly. Jesus Christ gave his life so that we might be eternally free from the curse of sin. Maybe we will not always be free to choose how we live, but we will always be free to choose Who we live for!
“You, my brothers were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather, serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13 NIV If those who govern would choose to govern as God has commanded then they would govern and serve the people of this country in selfless love. As a people we should not use our freedoms to indulge in sinful actions of greed, prestige, control and power. If we would consider others more important than ourselves, then the freedom bell would ring loud and glorious! God would mend the crack in the Liberty Bell and he would heal our land. We would be a blessed nation and we would walk under the umbrella of God’s sovereign protection.
As we celebrate the birthday of our country I challenge you to embrace the One who makes us free indeed and ask him to move in all the hearts of those who are called by his name. “if my people, who are called by my name, will 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 NIV God is calling us to glorify the name by which we are called, His name. If we call ourselves Christians, it is our responsibility to repent of our selfish pride by humbly bowing before our Savior. When we only toss God an over the shoulder prayer asking that he might bless our country we do not understand the severity of the state of this nation. We must seek his face and then we must confess our sins. We must confess our greed, our pride and selfishness. We must confess all of the wicked practices that we find the citizens of this country indulging in. Only then is God obligated to make good on his promises. It is only then that we will hear from heaven. He will forgive our sinful practices and the worship of other gods. These are not gods of stone but they are gods that come from hard hearts. They are the gods of selfishness, self-righteousness, self-sufficiency, pride, lust, and greed. It is then and only then, that God will heal our land. His promise of blessing is contingent upon our obedient response to having no other gods before him.
Don’t pray that God would bless America but pray that he would heal America so that we will not suffer the consequences that are bound to come to this country as a result of our citizens worshiping of other gods. God is indeed a God of love, but he can not and will not tolerate the worship of other gods. He is a God who is jealous for the single devotion of his people. Such a loving God deserves no less.
One day Jesus was asked this question. “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28b-31 NIV
We are foolish if we think that this command applies only to Israel. This applies to all mankind. We must choose to align ourselves with the one and only true God. He is the God of all and his love encompasses the entire universe. None of us are able to keep these laws perfectly, that is exactly why we need the blood of Jesus Christ to atone for our sin. But I do know that it is possible for all of us to do a better job than we are currently doing. It begins on a personal level. These two commands are for the poorest of the poor and they rise to the ears of all who rule and govern this country. God expects no less from all those he has created.
“…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48b NIV  This does not let a single citizen of this country off the hook. We are a blessed people and much has been entrusted to us. Those who take an oath of office should not take their job lightly. Those who represent the people must also be mindful of following the commands of our God. They are citizens of privilege and they have been given much and because they have been given much, much will be required of them by God.
God has blessed our nation in the past. Are we still living under that cloud of blessing? If we continue to ignore God, he is not obligated to continue to bless this country. At times I fear his blessing has already been lifted. Will the blessing return? It is in the hands of ALL the people. Will we choose to follow God’s two simple commands? Do Americans even know what those commands are? Some do while others remain clueless or selfishly indifferent. Still others are mindful and seek to pray, respect, honor, and please God. They desire to see this nation established as one nation under God with liberty and justice for all. We would all be wise not to believe the greatest lie of this century, which is that... “We are the greatest country on earth.” Greatness is not found in the eyes of men but rather in the eyes and approval of God.

  1. Do you see that this country’s Liberty Bell has a huge fracture?
  2. Do you see that selfishness and complacency is the cause of the crack?
  3. Will you be counted with those who pray for God’s healing to this land?
  4. Will you accept God’s challenge to follow his two commands of loving him above all and loving and caring for your neighbor?
  5. Will you pray that you will develop personal accountability regarding how you reverence God and serve others?
Dear God,
Father I confess that most of the time I would rather do than pray! What a travesty. I join so many who hide behind my good works, acts of kindness, fancy words and empty promises. We as a people want our country fixed but seemingly we don’t know how to fix it. We blame others and do little ourselves. God, your Word is explicit and clear. The words of your son, Jesus Christ are simple to read but hard to live out. Father, forgive me when I brush your words aside. Forgive me when I put my hope for the future in a single person, a position, or a governing body. Help me to firmly set my hope in you. Father, only you can move in the hearts and minds of mankind. Lord I pray for revival in the hearts of those who lead this country. I pray that you would raise up leaders that honor your Word and worship you instead of themselves. Lord, I fear that I sound self-righteous, but I know that I too am an earthen vessel susceptible to breakage. It only takes a moment to blame others.  Am I the one who is neglecting to pray? Am I the one who is failing to give? Father, I pray that I will hear your voice and be willing to obey you. I confess that I am selfishly in love with myself. Above all, I desire to fall deeper in love with you and endeavor to love others as much as I love myself. I must decrease so you can increase. Send revival to the hearts of your people. Help me Lord to step out of my comfort zone and risk loving others.
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.