Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people to peacefully assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The Constitution of the United States, Amendment I
We have no state religion mandated, nor should we have, and that was the desire and intentions of our founding fathers. They saw the damage it had done in the nations they left, which were cause and reason for their Atlantic crossings. At the core of most hearts who came, was the desire for religious liberty. Which included the liberty to be non-religious.
THAT is the foundation upon which our nation was built, regardless of how the history books have been rewritten to exclude the Puritans and Pilgrims.
Fact is fact. Erasing it from the page doesn’t change the fact, it changes people’s remembrance of the fact, or more accurately lack of remembrance of the true facts. And that’s what is being sought.
Did you know when the US Capitol Visitor Center was built in 2008, all references to God were removed from pictures, signs, and all else. The national motto, “In God We Trust” was removed and replaced with “E Pluribus Unum” – out of many one. Speeches were scrubbed, chairs and walls changed, and bibles removed. The Visitor Center was literally stripped clean of any references to any deity.
It was done to supposedly keep with Thomas Jefferson’s “separation clause” – you know, the one that he (supposedly) wrote separating church and state. (Even that is historian’s seeking to erase the facts, because that is not what Jefferson wrote at all in his letter to Danbury Baptist Assoc., in 1802.)
The Visitor Center designers were seeking to erase our foundations and build new memories into future generations. Memories that are devoid of God and His providence in America’s founding.
Have the facts changed though? No.
What has changed is us. Those of us who know the facts.
My favorite Reagan quote is –
Freedom is a fragile thing and never is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.”
President Ronald Reagan January 5, 1967
We have taken our liberties and freedoms for granted.
Having lost some of them in the recent months, we now see that more clearly than ever.
But the facts have not changed. We have liberties and freedoms and we must not allow them to be whittled away, or erased from memory. And yet, remember this quote?
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Edmund Burke, 1770
In this new decade, even amidst a devolving pandemic, I urge you to not be that good man who does nothing.
Be a defender of our rights, a preserver of our freedoms from extinction. We have many to defend.
Why not start now?
Start with prayer. Prayer for yourself, prayer for your family, prayer for your neighbors and friends. Prayer for this pandemic to lift, for businesses to reopen, the sick to be healed, workers to be strengthened. Pray for spiritual awakening in our nation, for freedom and justice to prevail, for truth to be upheld. Pray for God to forgive and bless America.
Tomorrow, Thursday, May 7, 2020 is the National Day of Prayer, but it doesn’t have to be, nor should it be a single day.
It is not a constitutional violation to have a day of prayer, quite the contrary. It is the exercise of your religious liberty.
Let’s exercise those religious liberties, lest we loose them.
Recently I was tootling around our harbor in the dinghy, on which we are currently using a MinnKota, Riptide 45V electric, trolling motor. I love this motor because it is lite enough for me to lift in and out and it is so amazingly quiet.
I am never in the dinghy for power or speed and so I usually have her revved to only 3rd or 4th gear. But on this day, I cranked her up to her full-out, 5th gear, only to have the motor totally cut out. It wouldn’t restart, either.
Now I am thinking how glad I am that I put the paddles in the dinghy before I launched. So I used the paddle (s) to return to my dock.
Once there, I played around with the connectors from the motor to the battery and got her running again. So off I went. Again. In my mind though, I decided not go to 5th gear anymore on this trip. Solved.
Well, to finish the story, it was solved, for that trip. I had no further outages, but I also didn’t have the full strength of my motor or battery available. (Note to self, be sure and discuss this with husband.)
Well, today was the true problem solving day.
The terminals on the battery had to be cleaned from a build up of corrosion. I guess the battery’s acid was reacting with the saltwater causing that yellowish, electrochemical reaction. That “corrosion can interfere with the battery terminals ability to conduct power and in some cases can completely block the flow.” Autoblog.com.
Silicones Inc. tells us that corrosion, “Is a natural process that involves deterioration of metals because of its reaction with the environment.” It can drain the battery, and even shorten it’s life.
It is interesting to note that “corrosion”, a Latin word, actually means, ” to gnaw through”.
Far more than sharing a Science lesson or a personal story, I’d like to share 6 applications and analogies.
1. Connections are vital for life – no matter who locks you down or what restrictions are placed on you, without connections to others, you will loose power and die out. Stay connected to other people.
2. Environmental reactions – the people in your close family/work environment will cause reactions in you, and you will cause reactions in them, especially over long periods of time. Be aware.
3. Unhealthy connections – when things build up between you and those you are connected to, it must be cleaned up or you are draining the power of your relationship. Notice & deal with it early.
4. Corrosion – those reactions, not cleaned up, will gnaw through your mind, heart and eventually the connection to the other person if left alone. Gnawing feelings are corrosive.
5. Clean connections take time – the time and effort it takes to apply some cleaning compound (honesty, love, forgiveness) to that connection is minimal and yet mandatory for you to run at full-power, 5th gear capacity in your relationships. Take the time.
6. 5th gear living – you were designed to run at full throttle, full power, abundant life. Don’t settle for less by choice or by corrosion on your connections with others. Let’s go.
For most of us humans, being boxed up as we have has probably caused some electrochemical, corrosive reactions within our walls. Perhaps we have even noticed we haven’t been running at full power, or ability.
The good news is, we know what to do now to get back to full power and lite, quiet running.
This phrase/verse has been weighing heavily on my heart lately.
” When hope’s dream seems to drag on and on, the delay can be depressing.”
Proverbs 13:12 The Passion Translation
The loss of hope is debilitating. Paralyzing. Depressing for sure. Today, we want to talk about the importance of hope and offer you some solid examples of those who had hope in difficult situations.
A study of the original Hebrew words used in this passage from Proverbs would reveal that this is a much better transliteration of Proverbs 13:12:
” When a prophetic vision or expectation from the Lord is delayed, prolonged or removed; feelings, will, and intellect are all worn down, and worn out, making one sick and weak.”
Proverbs 13:12 original Hebrew meaning
You see, when hope is removed from the equation, our mind, will and intellect become worn out and weak.
Let’s be honest, it has been really tough to watch the news and read the latest reports without emotions rising up within us. Each day we hear restriction updates, business expectations, state revisions, financial concerns and add the family realities chiming in, we are definitely being worn out and rubbed down by the news.
Just today, I had to cancel our flight and accommodation reservations to Honolulu in mid-May for our son’s wedding! Vacations are being cancelled or postponed, graduations are not receiving the honor they are due, workers are still unemployed, travel has been suspended, schools have been closed and morphed into online, distance education, church meetings are virtual, gatherings are forbidden and freedoms have been handcuffed.
Hope has definitely been deferred!
Today, I’d like to submit to you stories of people who also faced a deferment of hope so that “hopefully” we can be encouraged and keep us from allowing our will, feelings and intellect from becoming “sick”.
Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman (Psychology.com) tells us from his studies, that hope is a “cognitive motivational system.” It starts in the emotions and follows to the cognitions (mind). Lord knows, our emotions have been stirred enough and pressed upon enough to affect our thinking. Right?
But your hope, is more than a cognitive or emotional reaction.
Dr. Jerome Groopman, in his book, “The Anatomy of Hope”, tells us that belief and expectation are key elements of hope and they can block pain by releasing endorphins and enkephalins because they act like morphine in the brain and body.
So hope, in and of itself, has a powerful effect in the human body, mind, intellect and emotions. And hope triggers a virtuous cycle.
We are told that there are 4 types of hope. Let’s look at each of those and then look at those stories of biblical characters who demonstrated that kind of hope. Ready?
These are the four types of hope that psychologists say we have:
In reality, if we are struggling with having hope, who cares that there are four kinds??! But here goes, anyway.
1. Realistic hope – this is the hope that says in a cancer situation, if we take these meds it will help. It is realistic in and about the situation.
Abraham and Sarah, in Genesis 15 were given a promise of a son of blessing and yet 60, 70, 80 years passes before Isaac, that son of promise was born.
They lived a normal family life for years with that hope and without it’s fulfillment. They tried to hurry the hope and Ishmael was born, but he wasn’t the son of promise. The hope of a son of promise had been rubbed down and worn out as Ishmael grew to the age of 13. Their hearts could haven been sick. Their hope could have escaped.
And yet, in Romans it says in chapter 4, verse 18, ” Against all odds, when it looked hopeless, Abraham believed the promise and expected God to fulfill it. He took God at His word…”. Hope was deferred for at least 13 and maybe 60 years, and yet Abraham and Sarah had hope in the God of their circumstances. They were realistic in their circumstances.
2. Utopian hope – is a collective hope, negating the present and driven for a better future.
Joshua and Caleb, in the book of Joshua would be a great dipiction of this type of hope. They held out for the collective victory of Israel and their entering Canaan for 40 years. Do you think that after 40 years of hoping, they may have been a little worn down? A little heart sick? Was their hope deferred? You betcha!
Yet, after a 40 year wait, their hope was strong and Caleb said, “So here I am today, 85 years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle as I was then. Now give me this hill country…” Joshua 14:10-12 NIV
Joshua and Caleb hung onto the Utopian hope of a better future of fulfillment for Israel.
3. Chosen hope – chosen hope helps us live in a difficult, present situation with an uncertain future. It helps us to regulate negative emotions.
Joseph, in Genesis 37, who dreamed at age 17 of his brothers bowing before him, had that dream burning in his heart and thoughts for 13 years! In those 13 years he was betrayed and sold as a slave by his brothers. Imprisoned in Pharaoh’s palace, yet favored and set as a leader there. Falsely accused of sexual assault, thrown into prison again. Joseph’s dream, still burning in his heart, fighting off deferment sickness, he hoped until he finally became the Prime Minister. And then, his brothers came and bowed down before him. His chosen hope was finally fulfilled.
David, at a young age of probably 15, was anointed to be the next King of Israel. (1Samuel 16) That anointing, held him and his hope, through so many discouraging circumstances. He was literally searched for as an enemy of the king and his life was in danger, sought after, and chased down for 15 years. He did not become king until he was 30 years old. 15 years of hoping… 15 years of deferment. Yet he chose to “be strong and hope in the Lord.” Psalms 31:24
4. Transcendent hope – a general hopefulness that something good can happen.
Romans 8:28 – In all things, God works for the good of those who love him…
Psalm 38:15 – Lord, I hope in you
Lamentations 3:21 – This I recall to mind, thereore have I hope
These verses are just a few of the many we are given assuring us that something good will happen to those who put their hope in the Lord.
Yet, the best example of transcendent hope would be Jesus, the epitome of transcendent hope. His hope was fixed not on the now, but on the future… “Who for the joy set before him endured the cross..”. Hebrews. 12:2
And yet, even Jesus hoped. As a 12 year old kid, stumping the Rabbi’s until he entered his ministry in AD 26, he hoped. He hoped as he called the disciples and built the Kingdom of God inside them. He hoped as he taught the crowds, healed the sick, and raised the dead. He hoped in the garden of Gethsemane and he hoped hanging on the cross. He hoped in that empty tomb, he hoped as he ascended from that hill.
He hoped for them, he hoped for us, that we would hope without growing weak, tired, worn out or rubbed thin. He hoped that we would hope in Him, His promises and His Word.
Jesus’ hope transcended every limit.
Our hope can be secure like these heroes of hope, when it is anchored to God’s promises, (Hebrews, 1 Peter, Acts 26), when it is anchored to Jesus (1Timothy. 1:1), and when it is anchored to the Word. (Romans 15:4.)
Those three, God’s promises, Jesus, and The Word of God make for us a three-fold cord, that will not be easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12) When our hope is built upon these, we are anchored, secure with an UNSWERVING HOPE. No matter the length of wait, wearing, or rubbing.
When our hope is anchored in Jesus, His Word and His promises we are secure. Our mind, emotions, will and intellect are strong and stable. We are not sickly. Our hope is in Him and our emotions will follow our will.
That kind of hope motivates. That kind of hope is congious. That type of hope can be learned. That type of hope is healthy and promotes healthy behaviors.
Hope deferred does NOT have to make your heart sick when it is anchored God’s promises.
But if it does, please allow Abraham, Sarah, Joshua, Caleb, Joseph and even Hannah, Simeon, Anna to encourage you to not allow the constant rubbing away of freedoms & strength in your situation to make you sick, weak, and depressed.
Hope deferred, may make the heart sick, but may it not be your heart, because you are anchored into Jesus, His Word and His promises.