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Jul 30, 2015

The Burden of Boredom

“There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.” Ecclesiastes 2:24-26


One of the reasons often given by young people for getting into trouble is the burden of boredom. School bores them, certain friends bore them, church bores them, their parents and family bore them, the world bores them, even the Creator of it all bores them. They have developed a hunger for something – anything – that will pull them out of boredom by entertaining their senses and removing the malaise from their life. Unfortunately, they fail to recognize the source of a boring life or its remedy. Hence, Neil Postman’s classic 1985 book, “Amusing Ourselves to Death. Postman writes about not just young people’s typical boredom, but modern society’s boredom, propelling it to every imaginable contrivance to be entertained and sustain its insatiable appetite for amusement; possibly to escape stress and worry, but not always. I saw a sign the other day that read, “Desserts is stressed spelled backwards, implying if you want to be rid of “stressed, seek out “desserts – and not just sweet food. Not unlike radio’s paranoid fear of an unplanned, embarrassing silence on the airwaves, society is traumatized when experiencing even a fragment of time devoid of amusement.
Frankly, I cannot relate to this deadening of the mind inscribed with the words “I’m bored! My mother might beg to differ with me, but as far back as I can stir my memory, I cannot remember ever being bored; and I was reared for a time without, God forbid, TV, video games, or movies. I spent a great deal of time as a PK (pastor’s kid) in church, which for most of the bored is the epitome of “Boresville. Still, when I consider the world in which God has placed us to live, while not the paradise of Eden prior to the curse, I/we can still in this sin-filled world exclaim with the Psalmist, “How manifold [numerous, abundant, complex, exciting, fascinating, et cetera] are your works, O God. Or the entire 8th Psalm! I always had a curiosity about life and the world and even alone was well occupied. “Bored” was just not a part of my vocabulary in describing me or my life. I never cease to thank God for a heritage of godly parents and a home infused with spiritual purpose and service. I have to say that I now understand that having the presence of the Creator within one’s inner being is the compelling inspiration of the soul to be curious with awe and wonder about a world so intelligently made. The bored are not so blessed as to have this environmental incubator from which to be hatched into adulthood.
In an article in World Magazine, Janie B. Cheaney wrote, “Boredom is less a matter of what’s going on around us than what’s happening, or not happening, inside. It is a difficult task, as we at the Paul Anderson Youth Home are well aware, to expel the boredom from young people’s minds by exciting their souls to the wonder of the world and its majestic Creator. Boredom is actually an integral element of sorrow and depression which can lead to loss of desire to even continue living. Consequently, teen suicide is on the rise. Again, we catch the drift of Postman’s premise “Amusing Ourselves to Death. Typical amusements become boring with time when they do not nurture an eternal purpose or feed what God has put in us: a hope for eternity. When in our work or play we cease to be engaged in eternally purposeful activity, or do not understand how and why what we do and think is eternally meaningful, hope is drowned in the boredom which is the result. Boredom is the absence of any confidence that what we do and think is significant for eternity.
Are you bored? There is not the least bit of spiritual logic for the Christian to live in boredom other than being blinded by his own sin. I well remember when in the 7th grade I was fitted for my first pair of contact lenses. In my vanity I had refused to wear glasses before and did not understand that I was missing a whole lot. A new world opened to me. It was astounding. I could see details that before were not there. This is not unlike what we who are Christians are to be about. Our own genuine wonder and delight in God’s amazing world ought to be “eye-opening and intriguing to the bored people we engage daily. They need to meet and you need to lead them to your Optometrist.


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Do you have nomophobia
Jul 24, 2015

Do you have nomophobia?

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Nomophobia

Do you have nomophobia?  What in the world is nomophobia you might be asking, as I did, but I think I may have it.  We know a phobia is a fear and from the perspective of psychology, a type of anxiety.  The amount of stress that fear or anxiety causes never really corresponds to the amount of danger that actually exists and so it is ultimately, irrational. So a phobia is really an irrational fear.
But Nomo…what is nomo? Nomo is an abbreviation for “no mobile phone” and the term was created after a study 4 years ago found that 53% of mobile phone users in Britain tended to be anxious when they “lost their mobile phone, ran out of battery or no longer had network coverage.” So nomophobia is the fear of being out of contact with your mobile phone!  Stop now and look…do you have your phone?  Did that just cause you panic?
Four years later, a similar study conducted shows that now 66% of Britains feel this same irrational fear or panic you just experienced. Do you:

  • have an inability to turn off your phone?
  • take your phone to the bathroom (full disclosure – I do)?
  • obsessively check emails, texts, facebook, twitter, etc.?

Technological advances are certainly great but with studies showing that we check our phones on average 34 times a day, maybe we have gone a bit too far. Just Google nomophobia and see all the current news. A recent article in New York Daily News describes the issue, interviews a subject, and shows (here is a link to the article) a nomophobia assessment. What is most shocking however is a statement made by one of the people who has this fear:

“I feel like the virtual world is more real. That’s the world I want to engage in.  I can’t even imagine only checking my phone once an hour.  I just feel like that’s my whole universe.”

 If you are concerned that you or your child has become obsessive about checking their phone and that their whole virtual universe is more real than the actual universe, do a few things:

  • Check your self and limit your own time on the phone (that means set the example).
  • Be a proactive, diligent observer of your child and their habits.
  • Who is having the greater influence on your child?  Media devices or you?
  • Don’t let your child isolate themselves from you.

As a parent, you have to honestly ask these questions if you really want to determine who is having the greater influence on your child?  Media devices or you?  Do you have nomophobia?  Does your child?   Silly as it may seem, it is reality in today’s world.  To access other resources on technology, create a My Parenting Page today!  There you can customize exclusive content for articles, advice, tactics, and solutions for navigating today’s current culture.


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Misty Forest Trail
Jul 23, 2015

Overcoming the Anticlimactic

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.” Psalm 84:5-7


Today the PAYH bike riders complete the 650 mile Bike Challenge from Key West to Vidalia, a significant accomplishment to say the least! You have had similar achievements in your own life; not always a strenuously physical one like this, but something for which you prepared with great time, mental and/or physical commitment, met or exceeded your expectations, relished your victory, and kudos from others; and then soon after experienced anticlimax. The blush of victory fades in the days and weeks following as the “drudge of the ordinary” returns.
The anticlimactic experience can lead to deleterious results in your soul. This is not the outcome the Christian should either expect or feel when achieving something significant in the strength of the Lord. When, believing it is His will for you, you pray for God to bless your endeavor, give you strength to succeed, and do it for His glory, should anticlimax ever be your experience coming down the other side of the mountain? Unfortunately, we are all too familiar with it. But what does the Christian do about it? This is not what the Lord desires or intends for you after any worthy endeavor. We often experience highs and lows in life. The holiest among His disciples do. It is the nature of sin and our mortality. However, anticlimax, which differs from highs and lows in your emotions, can be and should be combated by the Christian in a mind and heart which strives for maturity. The mature follower of Christ eschews anticlimactic feelings and actions. He combats and slays them.
First and foremost, these are the arrows of the evil one, Satan. It is his way of putting down and belittling the victory God has given you in answer to prayer, that you might return to the same life and feelings of inadequacy you had before achieving this goal with faith, perseverance, and commitment. You must recognize his arrows into your thought life and make a decision of faith not to succumb. Next, you must consider what you have learned by God’s grace from this achievement and how it has impacted your growth in faith. You must be intent on not taking one step forward and two back in your spiritual life. What has God shown you in how the conquering of this mountain has changed you, not temporarily, but permanently? It is not succumbing to the anticlimactic when you build on your experiences of faith to tackle the next mountain in your life with these newly discovered principles from this just completed attainment. These principles from God are true for other types of challenges you face in your life than solely physical, or solely mental, or solely spiritual. Build on the principles you learned; make the transition to other type problems. Meditate on what God taught you, and utilize it again.
Thank God for your experience with Him on the mountaintop, and ask Him, “What can I tackle now with what I have learned?” Look into your immediate future with the thought, “What has God taught me in what has just been achieved in confronting what is now before me? Now, God, let’s get on to that next mountain. We can do this together. There is no time for any sense of anticlimax and muddling in the doldrums.” When something hopeful is ahead, or an event with great expectations is anticipated, after it passes, the slough of despond may set in, which is in essence this anticlimax; the mature Christian confronts it and refuses to let it take hold on their soul.
So how will it be with you? For there is no anticlimax when receiving the welcome and reward of the Lord entering into eternal life; and right now is the time for sanctifying your soul in the midst of this world’s battlefield in preparation for a climactic and satisfying glory. This is not a time for giving in to an anticlimactic type of life. The Psalmist has it right; pursue going from strength to strength on the way to Zion. Recognize and remember the principles used in overcoming in your endeavor, as the PAYH riders did in traversing 650 hot miles. From strength to anticlimax is not a path to give in to. Be assured: You will be attacked with dreary, anticlimactic thoughts. Don’t let them succeed. Strength to strength is the purpose God wants for you. Faith can achieve it, else God would not ask it of you.


“A noble army, men and boys, the matron and the maid around the Savior’s throne rejoice in robes of light arrayed: They climbed the steep ascent of heaven through peril, toil, and pain: O, God, to us may grace be given to follow in their train.”
(4th verse of Reginald Heber’s hymn, “The Son of God Goes Forth to War”, 1827)


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Spring Impressions from Amsterdam from May 2015, Netherlands
Jul 20, 2015

Miami Herald Features Paul Anderson Bike Ride 2015

MHerald2015

Key West to Vidalia ride to benefit youth home makes local stop

July 17, 2015  

ChristinBike 17 Two PABe Jamison stood alongside Old Cutler Road across the street from Pinecrest Gardens and her eyes welled with tears as her 18-year-old son, Reese, rode up on a bicycle late Friday afternoon. He and 12 other men had just completed a 76-mile leg of the 700-mile Paul Anderson Bike Ride, a charity event for a home for troubled youth.
The eight-day ride is from Key West to Vidalia, Ga., where the Paul Anderson Youth Home was founded in 1961 by Anderson, the 1956 Olympic gold medalist known as The World’s Strongest Man. The home serves young men aged 16-20 who have run into trouble with drugs, alcohol or the law. They are sent there by the court system, or, in the case of the Jamisons, desperate parents.
Reese was expelled from Boca Raton High as a sophomore, sent to Oak Hill Academy boarding school in Virginia, and expelled from there, too. His parents heard about the Paul Anderson home from a friend of a friend, and it proved to be the right solution. He gained self-confidence and discipline, and graduated from high school there last month.
He is back in Boca Raton, working with a plumbing company and enrolled at Palm Beach State College for the fall. He plans to study exercise science.
“This program gave us our son back,’’ said Christine Jamison, whose husband rode alongside their son on Friday. “He was hanging with the wrong crowd, never would have gone outdoors and done exercise, or participated in group activities, and now he flourishes in those situations. I am so proud of him.’’
Reese Jamison IV, the father, added: “He’s a different kid now, 180-degree turn. He smiles, looks you in tBike 17 Three PABhe eye, has confidence. I feel so grateful for the Paul Anderson home, which is why I chose to ride.’’
Reese V said he chose to ride as an alumnus of the program as an example to the younger residents.
“I was very immature when I got to the home, apathetic about everything, had no goals,’’ Reese Jamison said. “I was skipping class, smoking pot in the bathroom, stupid things. I had to learn to respect myself, other people, and the environment.’’
He said the annual bike ride taught him valuable lessons.
“The challenge of it brings something out in you, and gives you a lot of self-confidence, realizing you can achieve something you never thought you could do,’’ Jamison said.
That is exactly the point, said Drew Read, the home’s director.
“I have watched boys literally transform before my eyes on these rides,’’ Read said. “I see them have that light bulb moment where they realize they can conquer a challenge by setting short-term goals to reach a long-term goal. Once they figure out how to get from Point A to Point B, they have the confidence to go further.
“These are kids who felt like failures in school, athletics, with their parents, and then they persevere on this long ride, push through obstacles, and it changes them.’’
Bike 17 One PABOn Friday, one of the riders, a teen named Cody, had an upset stomach and had to take a short break. A staff member asked if he’d like to quit and ride in the car, and he replied: “No. If I give up now, I’ll give up again.’’
Another rider, 19-year-old Chris D. (he asked that his last name be kept private) of Pinehurst, N.C., has been at the home for seven months. He said it is the change of lifestyle he needed. The home provides educational, emotional and spiritual enrichment. Residents even run a vegetable garden and small farm where they harvest eggs and provide food for the kitchen.
“It took me a while to sober up, get everything out of my system, and then my eyes opened and I realized you can have as much fun being outside, laughing, doing sports or reading as you can getting high and drinking,’’ Chris D. said. “This bike ride is another challenge for me, a small step in a long process to becoming a better person. The first day, in Key West, I was nervous. By Day 2, I was like, ‘Alright, I can do this.’’’

Original article in Miami Herald.

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Jul 16, 2015

Riding Bicycles in the Sanctuary of the Lord

“Praise the Lord. Praise God in His sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness…The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the work of his hands…You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” Psalm 150, 19, Isaiah 55:12


Today some of our PAYH young men, some alumni, some fathers, and some staff will leave the southernmost point in the continental U.S. in Key West, FL and bike 650 miles to Vidalia, GA. This is our annual PAYH Bike Challenge. We truly will appreciate you covering them in prayer as they ride. They will be riding in the sanctuary of the Lord. The striking beauty of the Florida Keys, the white sand beaches and blue waters of the Atlantic Coast of Florida and Georgia, and the palm trees clapping their hands in the ocean breezes never fail to remind us of the utter greatness of the Lord with a feast for our eyes everywhere we turn.
What do you picture in your imagination as you read the Psalmist’s call to worship, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name”? His courts? His gates? What, where are they? Though God once directed the building of a temple for the assembling of his people for worship, and his people still gather for worship in a great diversity of church buildings set apart for such purpose, the Word of God in many, many passages intimately link the worship of our God to his work of creation midst the cathedrals he has formed with his handiwork; cathedrals made of trees, mountains, flowers, rocks, seas, and skies.  All of these call us to praise and thanksgiving, to conversation with Abba Father, to luxuriating in his presence, to abundance of thoughts of his infinite greatness suggested by all we see, by so much which inspires wonder, a kaleidoscope invoking mind and emotion in the knowledge and pursuit of him and him of us.
For those who have the Spirit of God within them, it is impossible to not see God in the work of his own hands. Personally, I do not understand the “thinking” of those without his Spirit who see no intelligent design behind what is observed in the universe, who dogmatically deny the existence of the Maker in their study and research. Their theories are incoherent with what is. Great leaps of illogic attend their constructs because the key of all that is is willfully denied. Such thinking is akin to forcing a round peg in square holes and insisting it fits. An infinite disappointment and inconsolable shock will shake them to their core when their eyes are opened to see the fallacies of their blindness to reality.
But far greater in their stupendous loss is missing the surpassing joy of fellowship with God in his courts, his sanctuary, his cathedrals of creation; to walk by his side in its incomparable beauty confirming to you who he is and who you are. Passages like Psalm 19 teach the inseparable link between the revelation of his creation and the revelation of his Son, the good news concerning salvation. Both General and Special Revelation are necessary and together draw us to God. We find no permanent joy in the creation apart from the Son by whom we know the Father.
Any experience like this bike challenge is an opportunity to seek God in his sanctuary. Walk (ride) with him in the midst of what he has made. Conversation with co-riders is restrained when seeking energy and air to pedal, but your eyes are open and your thoughts are fertile to engage the One who made you, who relishes your fellowship. Wherever you are today, engage your Father in his presence amid the works he has made and bless his name; Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is among you.” Think on this today, “He hems me in behind and before; he lays his hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to fully attain…I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139) Take in his works today with your eyes, your mind, your thoughts, and clap your hands for joy, as the creation around you in all its beauty joins in.


“This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears, all nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres. This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; his hand the wonders wrought.”
(1st verse of Maltbie Babcock’s hymn, “This Is My Father’s World”, 1901)


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Jul 09, 2015

Exertion

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown which will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave, so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:25-27


Very interestingly, the use of this word “exertion” was much more prevalent in past centuries than in ours, a fact which surprised me. Strange, but for what it’s worth, is it that this generation would rather just have things come easily than through the necessities of personal exertion and hard labor to attain worthy goals? Exertion is both physical and mental; the latter has inextricably proven to be more difficult, but physical exertion has also proven to be a real stretch for those who have become used to having things provided for them without it. One of the problems requiring constant focus by our staff at the Paul Anderson Youth Home in working with the young men God sends us is the necessity of teaching the vital life importance of exertion in physical labor; a developed work ethic on arrival is practically non-existent. Work is seen as drudgery to avoid rather than a worthy endeavor to build life-long character.
Work is actually designed by God to be rewarding in and of itself, both physically and spiritually. God created our psyches and our bodies for doing work as a primary and treasured purpose of life. Leisure is meant to be the occasional rest and “re-setting” of the mind and body for returning with greater vigor and sharper focus to your life’s work. However, in the present culture’s primary perspective, work is meant only to sustain as much leisure as possible, not the opposite. Current thinking is, if at all possible, live a life of leisure, not of work. But God designed work to be enjoyable, fulfilling, and a nurturer of good in you when done to His glory.
Physical exertion ought to inspire spiritual exertion, and spiritual exertion is meant to spur physical exertion. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24) “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10) They go hand in hand; physical and spiritual exertion are integrated activities, even as the body, mind, and spirit are integrated, essential parts of the whole person. If physical exertion is separated from a pursuit of God in mind and heart, it loses its eternal value and squanders its ultimate reward. In pursuing your work with all your might, your mind and spirit should be engaging eternal questions like, “Why am I doing this? What is its purpose? What is the end of it, and what is my end?” Too often man falls miserably short in attaining satisfying answers to such questions; he or she accepts a deceptively false answer which fails to satisfy, and eventually, beyond its initial and desirable enticement, rots, in exchange for the results which satisfy and always will. If your physical exertion does not lead to a pursuit of God, it is wasted in the end, for there is no satisfying work, no knowledge, no wisdom in the place of the dead (Sheol), a place destined for all who will not grasp hold of their Maker in this life, by failing to cling to Christ when He is near.
Next week some of our boys and staff will begin a 650 mile bike ride from Key West, Florida, to Vidalia, Georgia, home of the PAYH. Undoubtedly, this is a challenge of great physical exertion, not for the weak-hearted. This is not just a test of physical strength, but a test of will and spirit, as any similar challenge. Pray that this will lead the young men to a thoughtful pursuit of Almighty God through His Son; an exertion which will not  find rest until there is assurance of His continual presence and a deposit in their heart of His promised reward. There is abundant time to think while exerting muscle to pedal. The surrounding views are thought-provoking, considering God’s beautifully skilled craftsmanship in His world. Why am I doing this? What do I get out of it? It is so easy and natural to pursue this achievement for your own glory, but it is far more rewarding to do it for His. This is why you and I get up in the morning, it is why we continue to breathe, it is why we work, and it is why we are. Your exertion in any worthy endeavor will always satisfy your spirit when you do it for Him.


“Father, I know that all my life is portioned out for me; the changes that are sure to come I do not fear to see. I ask thee for a present mind, intent on pleasing thee.”
(1st verse of Anna Waring’s hymn, “Father, I Know that All My Life”, 1850)

If you would like to learn more about the Paul Anderson Bike Ride, please visit www.payhbikeride.com.


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Jul 02, 2015

Is Patriotism a Christian Virtue?

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may truly lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior. 1 Timothy 2:1-3


For a variety of reasons, some Christians do not think patriotism is a Christian virtue. They say the Christian’s citizenship is in heaven and heaven alone; yet Jesus prayed to His Father, “I ask that you do not take them [believers] out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. (John 17:15) God has given His children responsibilities in the world, including loving their neighbors, honoring authorities, paying taxes, serving in the military, exercising duties within the governing structure of the nation, etc., with the prayer that they would be kept from the evil one in the performing of those duties. He has placed us in a specific nation within the world community for a purpose, where He calls us to be salt and light.
There is such a thing as “civil religion which does not befit the true follower of Christ, but “civil religion is not synonymous with patriotism; the Christian must be careful not to succumb to the heresy of any religion not permeated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “Civil religion is a heresy which attaches to any cause within the society where the cause is worshipped, and commitment to the cause is the basis of one’s “salvation. There are good causes which can be associated with God’s commands but are not to be worshipped nor become your “church. Pro-life organizations and causes can become for some people a “civil religion; a good cause, but not a substitute for church. Anti-racism causes can become a “civil religion where combatting racism is the end all and be all that unites the participants, rather than a devoted relationship to Jesus Christ and obedience to all His words. Government acknowledgement of God, or a “higher deity in general terms, or politically-correct neutralizing of anything so specific (exclusive) as the name of Jesus, so as to offend anyone of another faith, creates civil religion. Patriotism, which has been called a “civil religion by some, needn’t be.  Patriotism can be rightfully practiced and felt by faithful followers of Jesus Christ.
Patriotism is love of homeland or fatherland, the land of our families, the land of our neighbors. As C.S. Lewis says, “Patriotism offers us the first step beyond family selfishness, as the family offers us the first step beyond self-love. Americans especially are blessed to be citizens of a country which God has used for good in the world for two and a half centuries. That is not to say, as patriotism detractors are quick to point out, that Americans have not been guilty of evil as well; it is to say that America has a proven record of coming to the world’s aid, to the oppressed, the poor, the vulnerable, the enslaved, like no other nation in history.
History revisionists, who are a dime a dozen today, cannot remove the truth known to God, no matter how hard they try, of America being raised up by Him for a time. He has chosen her and fit her to be a force for good in the world community and to combat the evil of tyrants. Apart from God, America would never have been the tool in His hand to open closed doors and dark lands so that the Gospel could spread throughout the world.
Still, in her history, America has played a part in the enslavement of other human beings for a time who should have been equal citizens; but she also gave the life blood of her sons to rectify that grievous history as no other nation on earth. Even as evil men continued to “enslave through racist behaviors, her citizens and legislators ensured the passing and enforcement, though imperfect, of laws to combat this sin within the society. The task will not be resolved this side of heaven and the new earth; yet today, in this sinful world, there is racism being practiced by all sides, by those of all races and color of skin.  All of America’s citizens are creatures created equally in the image of God; equally sinners in need of a Savior; and equally within hearing of the call, “Whosoever will, may come!
Patriotism is a worthy Christian virtue of followers of the Lamb when it is a heart-felt expression of thanksgiving to the Prince of Peace who gifted America centuries of peace to be what she has been in the hands of the Ruler of the Universe. Has any other nation midst her warts been so blessed as the “home of the brave?  The patriotism of a Christian ought to be infused with thanksgiving to God for His blessing of this land which is presently your “home this side of your eternal Home. Here we still worship freely, marry, rear families, work, love neighbors as ourselves, and combat the prowling evil one.
Loving and appreciating what God has brought about for your good is not a sin; it is a thanksgiving which is well warranted and pleasing to Him. Celebrate it this Independence Day and throughout the year. You may not have it much longer. Having seen much of the rest of the world, I believe all Americans especially have reason to be thankful to God in a patriotism that remembers these blessings and does not take them for granted. America has been richly blessed!


“While the storm clouds gather far across the sea, Let us raise allegiance to a land that’s free. Let us all be grateful for a land so fair, as we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.
God bless America, land that I love, stand beside her, and guide her, through the night with a light from above. From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans, white with foam, God bless America, my home sweet home.
(“God Bless America, 1918, Irving Berlin)


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