November 25, 2012

Be Thankful To The Almighty God – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Please consider this address by Abraham Lincoln and excerpts from the executive action accompanying it. While many challenged the constitutionality of his military conduct, this proclamation was unquestioned. Some denied that Lincoln was a Christian. (He did not appreciate nor attend denominations.) However revisionist historians may judge his motives, the ready reception accorded these words provides undeniable evidence of a prevailing attitude toward God that no longer prevails in our nation.

It should be our prayer and determination to change it back. When this attitude prevailed, the truth of the gospel was much easier to communicate. America at that time was a more fruitful field.

Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Address

(The origin of the Thanksgiving Holiday)

It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that all nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.

We know that by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.

But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.

Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those whose are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.

(signed)

A. Lincoln

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

 

 

 

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November 18, 2012

Be Careful, Watch Over, Guard Your Heart – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Solomon admonished his son with words of wisdom from God.

Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, And give attention that you may gain understanding, For I give you sound teaching;… (Prov. 4:1-2)

In verse 23 of this proverb he says…

Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. (Prov. 4:23)

This rendition is from the New American Standard Version. Different wording from other translations provide additional insight into this admonition.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” NIV

“Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts”. TEV

We don’t take time to consciously think about most of our actions each day. Most of what we do is controlled by a wonderfully designed “automatic pilot.” The young child concentrates on putting one foot in front of the other when learning to walk.

Adults seldom think about it. They have “programmed” a part of their mind that can take over and run things without distracting our conscious thought processes. This amazing mechanism is sometimes referred to as the “heart.” We learn poems by heart, meaning we have programmed so well that we can quote without consciously thinking about it.

Solomon is referring to this process when he urges his son to “watch over,” “guard,” “be careful.”  Our “heart” is being programmed whether we are trying to do so or not. Continual repetition leaves an imprint. Solomon is saying, be aware of the fact that this is happening and be careful, be on guard. You are programming your heart and there is a lasting effect. “from it flow the springs of life” or “your life is shaped by your thoughts.”

How careful are we about what we allow to occupy our thoughts? Do we dwell on cruel injustice we have endured? That programming turns into bitterness and vengeance. Do we allow sexual desires for women or men who are not “ours” to live in our imagination? This turns into sinful lust and actual sin.

But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. (James 1:14-15)

Movies, conversations, music make more than temporary impressions. Therefore “diligence” is wise. Solomon warned his son, “Be careful.” “Be on guard.”

This powerful life controlling mechanism works just as effectively with positive programming. Good movies (unfortunately rare), spiritual conversations, edifying music are life-molding forces that can strengthen and keep us automatically in the right path. Our creator understood this and designed activities to utilize these forces… “assembling together,” “admonishing one another,”  etc.

Solomon’s wisdom helps us appreciate what may seem to many to be fanatical. Preachers or parents who continually “harp” about the real danger of negative activities and the real benefits of spiritual activities are not being obsessive. They are demonstrating divine wisdom. Consider God’s instruction to Israel.

“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

 

 

November 11, 2012

Redeemed by the Lord – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary.” (Psalm 107:2)

The word “redemption” usually brings to mind spiritual blessings. This hymn of praise for God’s providence centers around four examples of God’s deliverance from physical problems. The four situations are as follows:

 Lost travelers who are out of provisions far from a city. He delivered them out of their distresses. (vs. 4-6)

4 They wandered in the wilderness in a desert region; They did not find a way to an inhabited city. 5 They were hungry and thirsty; Their soul fainted within them. 6 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble;

Prisoners imprisoned for their own rebelliousness (vs. 10-16)

10 There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, Prisoners in misery and chains, 11 Because they had rebelled against the words of God And spurned the counsel of the Most High. 12 Therefore He humbled their heart with labor; They stumbled and there was none to help. 13 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses.

The physically ill who are suffering due to their sin (vs.17-22)

17 Fools, because of their rebellious way, And because of their iniquities, were afflicted. 18 Their soul abhorred all kinds of food, And they drew near to the gates of death. 19 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses.

Sailors who face shipwreck on stormy seas (vs. 23- 29)

23 Those who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters; 24 They have seen the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep. 25 For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, Which lifted up the waves of the sea. 26 They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths; Their soul melted away in their misery. 27 They reeled and staggered like a drunken man, And were at their wits’ end. 28 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, And He brought them out of their distresses. 29 He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed.

In each case, the individuals prayed for deliverance that resulted in God’s providential rescue and a response of praise.

This cycle reminds us of the pattern during the time of the Judges when “every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Due to their rebelliousness, God brought the people of Israel into captivity over and over again. Each time, in the midst of their oppression, they cried unto the Lord, who raised up a judge and empowered him to vanquish the enemy and free the people.

The exact same pattern can be found in Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the temple. He recognized man’s tendency to rebel and forget the Lord’s provision when things are going well, thus eliciting God’s judgment. But God has always used times of trouble to bring men and women back to Himself. He is a God of grace and mercy and love, desiring to forgive and restore those who repent and call to Him for deliverance (2 Kings 8).

The same truth applies today. Nations still rebel against God’s righteousness. God has not gone to sleep. He is as aware as He ever was. The Messiah, as prophesied, rules the nations.

‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’” (Psalms 2:9)

AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father; (Revelation 2:27)

And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. (Rev. 12:5)

We exert what influence we can and pray that our nation will respect God’s principles of righteousness. The obvious failures should bring deep concern and much prayer.

Of course, individual Christians still tend to rebel, and He remains long-suffering, willing to forgive and restore upon repentance.

“7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which  is perishable,  even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at  the revelation of Jesus Christ;” (I Peter 1:7)

 Adapted by Don Patton from an article by John Morris

 

 

 

November 4, 2012

Delight in the Will of God – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart,” (Psalm 40:8)

This worshipful statement of David not only expresses his own devotion but is actually also a Messianic prophecy, fulfilled completely only in Christ. As Messiah Jesus said this. David foresaw that he would say,

“My meat is to do the will of him that sent me,” (John 4:34)

“I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me;” (John 6:38)

“The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me,” (John 10:25).

“BEHOLD, I HAVE COME (IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME) TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.’” (Hebrews 10:5, 7).

His heart was attuned perfectly to the will of God because God’s law was written in it.

“…written not with ink but with the Spirit of  the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (1 Corinthians 3:3)

“Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

When we begin to understand who God is (His infinite wisdom and power) it is certainly appropriate to make the revealed will of God our will and our greatest delight. We are saved by grace, but this is not to deliver us from the burdensome constraints of God’s holy law. With His law enthroned in our hearts these acts of service become a delight. Jeremiah foresaw this quality of the coming new testament. He said,

“THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,” (Hebrews 10:16).

Then we learn, like the psalmist, not to resist His will, but to love His will and to delight in His law.

“O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day…

Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.

I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight,” (Psalm 119:97, 111, 174).

Adapted by Don Patton from an article by Henry Morris