Devotions

Free Indeed

Grow • Devotion #2: Free Indeed
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

French writer Alexis de Tocqueville, after visiting America in 1831 said, “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers—and it was not there. . . in her fertile fields and bound less forests—and it was not there. . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce—and it was not there. . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution—and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”

America is beautiful because she is good. She is good because she is founded on Christian principles. Our freedom is based on biblical liberty. The Bible has a lot to say about freedom and liberty. John 8:36 says, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” True freedom comes through Jesus Christ. Everyone is trapped by sin, but the death of Jesus gave us the opportunity to be free. You can be free indeed. It can be an interesting wordplay to realize that the goodness that comes from Jesus makes us free indeed and even free in deed. We now have the freedom to do what is right. We can do good deeds. We are not full of sin.

The goodness that was noticed by Alexis de Tocqueville comes through Jesus. Galatians 5:1 adds, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Sin and guilt can hold us back or down, but forgiveness through Christ sets us free. We have genuine freedom. We no longer have to be burdened by sin. Sin enslaves us, but Jesus releases us.

1 Peter 2:16 reminds us of our freedom, “Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.” We need to think and act like people who are freed from the bondage of sin. As our godly heritage is mocked and rewritten, we need to take a stand. I am nervous for the next generation because of the quote by Dr. William James, the Father of Modern Psychology, when he said, “There is nothing so absurd but if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it.” The media is so anti-Christian that it repeatedly lies about our heritage. People are starting to believe it. Our country has been blessed by God. God does not owe us anything. Thomas Jefferson said, “Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.” We, the Church, need to humble ourselves, repent, and pray for God’s mercy and grace.

Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

King of Kings

Grow • Devotion #1: King of Kings
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14

In 1796 the court made a statement, “In our form of government the Christian religion is the established religion and all sects and denominations of Christians are placed upon the same equal footing.” The court openly stated that our country was based on the Christian faith.

It should be noted that the Republican form of government was necessary. They regularly gave warnings against kings for godly rulers. The Constitution of the United States laid the foundation against being ruled by an earthly king. The founders made clear statements. When Samuel Adams signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, he said, “We have this day restored the King to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.” Jesus is the King of kings.

Revelation 17:14 refers to Jesus as King, “They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” Revelation 19:16 adds, “On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” John Adams and John Hancock stated, “We recognize no Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus!”

In Exodus 18:21 Moses knew that it was not part of God’s will for them to have a king, “But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.” It was not to be a one-man show. Proverbs 11:14 adds, “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.” Finally, Proverbs 24:6 also says, “Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.”

The United States has a set of checks and balances that should not be controlled by one man or person. We need Jesus. It was founded on Christian principles. God has blessed America. We need to make sure people do not rewrite the past ignoring our God.  We also need to get our focus back on God. Pray for a revival.

Witness

Gather • Devotion #6: Witness
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

Ben Franklin said, “We need God to be our friend not our enemy. We need Him to be our ally not our adversary. We need to make sure we keep God’s concurring aid. If a sparrow cannot fall without God’s notice, how can our nation rise without His aid?” This is so powerful and right on track. We need God to be our friend. We do not want to fight with Him. I like how Franklin referenced Matthew 10:29-33 when he speaks of the sparrows, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Franklin referenced the Bible and acknowledged that God is always watching us and that He sees everything. The Bible was used for illustrations, but more importantly, it was used to help develop our country. The Sixth Amendment addresses the topic of having a fair trial with witnesses, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”

The concept of having witnesses and a fair trial is clearly seen in Deuteronomy 19:15, “One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” One person cannot frame another on his statement alone. There needs to be at least another witness. Matthew 18:16 also talks about having witnesses, “But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’” These verses remind us that the first course of action is not to go to court; it is to go to the person.

John Quincy Adams also expressed his sentiments about God’s Word when he said, “The first and almost only book deserving of universal attention is the Bible. I speak as a man of the world…and I say to you, ‘Search the Scriptures.’”

Our founding fathers were followers of God and strived to live by His Word. Our country was founded on godly principles. We are blessed because of it.

Justice and Morality

Gather • Devotion #5: Justice and Morality
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

John Adams said, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is whole inadequate to the government of any other.” I am thrilled to read about men of old who influenced our lives today. President Adams understood the importance of doing the right thing. It is interesting he did not just say morality. He understood that morality is not enough in itself, it needs to be God focused. He emphasized religion because he wanted to make sure we remembered how we become clean. It is only through God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we can truly live right.

The purpose of our government was to establish justice. The Bible addresses this issue. Leviticus 19:15 says, “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.” It is sad that we need to be reminded that we should be fair and honest. God knew favoritism would be a problem. The command is repeated in Deuteronomy 1:17, “Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Do not be afraid of anyone, for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too hard for you, and I will hear it.” God gives guidelines for administering justice, but He also reminds us that He is the Ultimate Judge. God will judge, and we need to rule carefully today.

In governing the country, the people understood that they were God’s servants. Romans 13:4 says, “For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” Twice the phrase “God’s servants” is used. It is clear that God is emphasizing an important concept to us. They are from God and should operate on behalf of God.

When people understand the Golden Rule, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:14), it covers most of the laws. Do unto others as you would want them to do to you is a great mission statement for our lives.

Have a proper mindset. Judge and rule fairly. Live humbly.

“If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instruction and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity.” Daniel Webster

Ten Commandments

Gather • Devotion #4: Ten Commandments
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

In 1980 it became illegal to post the Ten Commandments in schools. We as a nation have fallen so far. James Madison said, “We have staked the whole future of American civilization not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” Madison knew the value of God’s Law. Here is the list from Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5:

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall make no idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  4. Keep the Sabbath day holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet.

Which of those is offensive? Why would we not want those posted in every school?

The removal of the Ten Commandments was not the only major lapse in judgment of our government.

  • 1963 – Removal of prayer from schools.
  • 1963 – Removal of Bible reading in schools.
  • 1965 – Removal of religious instruction in schools.
  • 1965 – Illegal for a student to pray aloud in schools.

There is a spiritual war all around us. Ephesians 6 talks about the armor of God. Look how verse 6 describes the battle, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Our battle is not between political parties. It is with Satan. He does not want our children reading the Bible or talking with God. He does not like it when people do things for or with God. Misery loves company and Satan wants to take down anyone and everyone he can.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

Put on the armor of God and protect our godly heritage. Protect our past, present, and future. Protect our country.

James Madison is very clear in saying, “We’ve staked our future on our ability to follow the Ten Commandments with all of our heart.” He also said, “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”



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