Tag Archives: Leadership

A Thought on America, The Beautiful…

I used to think that everyone knew the words to this song, but I’ve learned that there are a lot of people anymore who have never heard it, or even know that it exists, and sadly it’s mostly young people and children that give me a blank stare when I mention it. Speaking for myself that’s a sad thing, almost as sad, as the fact that the God mentioned so lovingly and tenderly in this song is almost as forgotten and unknown as the song. Even the title sounds other-worldly, as if it came from another country (or planet) instead of from this country that I’ve always loved so much because it represented the very best of what people who love God, and believe in hard work and freedom could achieve.

I’m sure I’m not the only one, but it feels a lot more lonelier than it used to in believing that we were indeed, “America, The Beautiful.” What was it that made America so beautiful, that made it the shining beacon on the hill, that shone a light so bright that people all over the world wanted to come here?

Let’s think about this for a moment…. Hum…

Perhaps, it was freedom, but was it the same kind of freedom we have now?

Was it the freedom to be openly drunk, vulgar, and stupid that was the draw?
Perhaps it was because they could come over here and have no opportunity?
Maybe because there was no reward for hard work?
Of course there’s always the chance that they came over so they could be told how to worship?
Then again, maybe it was so that they could practice every perversion known to man…
Or promote every kind of filth imaginable?

I’m probably being too harsh and unfair, huh?

Hold on….there’s more…You don’t want to leave yet, do you?

Maybe they came over here because they wanted the chance to be poor, and be taken care of?
Or so that they could get a quality third-rate education where they could be told what to think instead of learning how to think for themselves?
I know…it was so that they could come to a place where human life is treated like it’s trash and thrown away…
No, that couldn’t be it, could it?

No, they wanted to come here so that they could have the freedom to be irresponsible, immoral, dishonest, and disrespectful, and the opportunity to shun any and every thing that might be restrictive to their right to be so.

Is that why this song was written, sung, and beloved by countless generations of Americans?

Somehow, I don’t think so, but when you live in a country where people are idolized for being vain, and vulgar; and where sports and athletes are worshiped, and power and money are the end goal; where the liberty to be and to live a life that honors God, that respects hard work, that believes honesty and sincerity and integrity are still vitally important, and who believe that the Bible and the U.S. Constitution are still two of the best documents ever written are despised, but being liberal, and all-embracing of anything that strips a human being of their dignity and self-respect is looked upon as the highest ideal of man; where people use “Christianity” as if it’s a room deodorizer and anti-perspirant, and where leadership and responsibility have been replaced by eloquence and Charisma then I guess you can call it just about anything….

For me, I’ll call it what I think it is… a country that has lost its way because it turned it’s back on the Great God Almighty who STILL rules over all the nations and leaders of the world, and who is STILL in control, and who is STILL working His plan toward its ultimate fulfillment…

For those of you who don’t particularly care for this post, it’s okay. I don’t hold it against you. Unlike some people I still respect your right to disagree with me. You’ll have to pardon me for being so outspoken I was raised in “America, The Beautiful!”

Just in case you missed the reference, here it is below for your viewing pleasure.

America the Beautiful
Words by Katharine Lee Bates,
Melody by Samuel Ward

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for halcyon skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the enameled plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till souls wax fair as earth and air
And music-hearted sea!

O beautiful for pilgrims feet,
Whose stem impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till paths be wrought through
wilds of thought
By pilgrim foot and knee!

O beautiful for glory-tale
Of liberating strife
When once and twice,
for man’s avail
Men lavished precious life!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!

Here’s a bonus for reading this all the way through….

Prayer for September 14, 2012

Our Father in Heaven
I come to You, Father, Knowing who You are.
You are the Eternal God
Who reigns Supreme over Heaven;
Over all the earth and it’s people.
You are the Everlasting God
Who has always been
And will always be.
You are the One and True God.
The God of Israel.

Blessed be Your name, O God.
May praise and worship be Yours,
And Yours alone, for only
You are worthy to receive
Worship, honor, and praise.
You are the God of Perfection,
Of justice and holiness.
You are the God of Love;
And there is none other.

Father, I ask that Your Kingdom come.
I know that it has come already
In the hearts and minds of Your children,
And yet it won’t be fully revealed
Until our Lord and Savior
Jesus is come to reign
As You have decreed.
Until then, Father, I pray
That we, Your children, will be
About the business You’ve called us to.
Touch our lives and our minds;
Open our eyes, and give us ears to hear
So that we might truly be able
To know and understand
All that You want us to be and do;
And to do it as willingly here on earth
As it is done in Heaven.

Father, I thank You for this day,
And for all the ones before,
And I pray Father, that You will help us all
To look at each day as Your gift to us;
As another opportunity to learn
Who we are to be, and how we’re to live,
And how we’re to love
Our neighbors, our friends, our families,
Our enemies, and You.
Father, God, I pray that You
Would show us all
That we’re to love the unlovable;
That we’re to serve those undeserving,
That we’re to support and encourage
And pray for those over us.

Father, God, I pray for those in the Middle East,
For all those people, those individuals, Your children
Who are suffering at the hands of those who hate.
Father, please don’t let us forget
That You love all people.
Help us to love those who are in the grip of evil;
Who are being used and manipulated
To bring harm and destruction
To the innocent, and
Those who have done them no harm.

Father, God,
I pray You place a hedge of protection over
All Your children.
Lead, guide and direct them, Father,
To a place of safety and shelter.
Stay the hand of those who wish
To persecute them, and send to them
Those who can bring them aid and relief
From the terrible trials
They’re enduring.

Heavenly Father,
I pray that You will be with Your people, Israel,
And I pray that You will strengthen them;
That You will give them wisdom, and courage;
And, that You will remind all nations
Of Your promise to bless those
Who bless them,
And curse those who curse them.
Father, I pray that You would use
Your children to remind
Our men and women in leadership
That to not stand with Israel
Is to stand against You.
Turn us from this path, Father,
And help us, Your children,
To restore our devotion to
Your chosen people, and to show them
Your love, and to reassure them
Of our commitment and willingness
To help and stand with them.

Father, I ask You to be with Your children
In this country You’ve blessed so much.
Father, You have blessed us, and
Made us a nation like no other.
You have made us great
As You have made Israel great,
But Father remind us
That our greatness
Came through our love and commitment
To You, and Your chosen people;
The nation of Israel.

I ask You, Father, to touch the lives
Of Your Servants in this country.
I pray Father, that You would create a fire
Within the hearts and minds of all
Those who preach and teach Your Holy Word.
Father, make us stand, and declare
Your Holy Word in all it’s truth.
Use the Godly men of this country, Father,
To remind Your children,
And the people of this nation that
You are Supreme;
That You are Sovereign, and
All powerful, and
That You are as much a God
Of justice and truth,
As You are a God of mercy and love.

Father, I ask You to please forgive me
Of my sins, and the sins of this nation.
We have sinned against You.
We have spit in Your face.
We have taken the blessings You’ve given us,
And laid claim to them as if
We gave them to ourselves.
We praise You with our lips,
But our hearts are far removed
From You, and Your Holy Word.
Father, God,
Have mercy upon us.
Restore us.
Do not let us go as those nations
Have gone who have
Come against You and Your people.

Father, God, we don’t deserve
All that You have given us.
We don’t deserve Your love.
We do deserve Your wrath;
Your anger.
For our denial,
For our refusal,
For our failure,
To stand for those things
That are precious in Your sight.
We have killed the unborn;
We have taken every form of
Wickedness and vice
And celebrate them, and promote them,
And call them entertainment.
We encourage greed
And self-worth,
And self-love,
And the growth of self
To the point where we can not
See beyond ourselves.

Father, forgive us.
Turn Your anger from us, and cleanse us.
Create in me, and our nation a new heart.
Teach us to follow You,
Teach us what it is to have faith and trust.
Show us that they are more
Than mere words,
But that they are actions
Which must be taken and shown,
And above all, lived.
Keep us from the temptations
That are all around us.
All the evil that beckons us
To turn our eyes from You,
And that stops up our ears
So that we can not
Hear Your voice.
Deliver us from the evil that
Threatens to overwhelm us.
Let us not be taken
In by clever lies,
And the praise of false lips,
And the promise of
Things that will never come.

Let us rejoice in You;
Let us glory in the fact that we
Know You, and that You
Are our Almighty God;
That Your Kingdom is even now
Being established,
And that You are and will forever
Be all Powerful,
And that Your Glory
Will one future day outshine the sun,
And we shall live in it’s light
Throughout Eternity.

In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Prayer for September 12, 2012

Heavenly Father,
I come to You, Father, in worship and praise.
You are the Eternal God.
You reign Supreme.
You are the Everlasting God.
The One and True God.
You are the Merciful and Compassionate
And Loving God.
You are Perfect and Just and Holy.

Heavenly Father,
I thank You for the way You’ve blessed my life.
I thank You for the people You’ve
Placed in my life.
I thank You for Your provision.
I thank You for Your Great and Abiding Love.
I thank You for Your Son, Jesus.
I thank You for Loving me so much
That You gave Him for me
So that I may live forever
In the light of Your Love,
Your mercy and Grace.

Heavenly Father
I come to You, Father,
And I ask You in the name
Of my Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ,
To forgive me of my sins.
Father, I ask You
To change me. Take from me
All that is ugly and evil.
Restore me, Father, and wash me
So that I might be whiter than snow.
Father, there are things
In my life
That I need to let go, that I need
To turn away from.
Help me, Father, to live the life
You’ve given me
In a way that will bring
Your love to others.

Heavenly Father,
I ask that You be with the leadership
Of this country.
That You will be with our President.
I ask You to give him wisdom,
Courage and strength.
I ask You Father to surround
Him with people who
Know You, and who will give
Him Your wisdom and
Who will help to guide
Him to do and to be that
Which this country’s people
Need.

Heavenly Father,
I pray that You would pour out
Your Holy Spirit on the
People of this nation,
And that You would lead Your children
To be bold, and to stand for Your truth.
Be with those who preach Your Word.
Fill them with a hunger;
A driving need to teach and to model
What it is to be Your child.

Heavenly Father,
I ask that You be with all those who suffer;
With all those who are in pain.
Father, I pray that You might comfort
Those who are mourning.
That You would give to those who
Are struggling to live
The courage and the strength
To keep going, to keep believing;
To keep putting
Their faith and their trust
In You. 

In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

From the writings of James Ryle

Outside the Camp

“Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.” (Hebrews 13:13)

This world is a campy place, and people gravitate to the camp that suits them. This is true in may ways — political, religious, economic, recreational, vocational, educational, or ideological. We find our niche and get our name, and learn the secret handshake. We also learn why we are superior to those in other camps.

But Jesus is outside the camp. He is a man with no labels. And the moment you link up with one group or another, and take unto yourself the labels and causes and agendas and issues of this or that group, then it is you cease following Jesus and begin following men. That will lead to pride, division, strife, and trouble.

Men love to build empires and fight enemies. But Jesus has called us to something better and higher. He has called us unto Himself.
We are in this world, but not of this world. Here we have no continuing city; for we seek a city whose builder and maker is God.

Therefore, we are pilgrims passing through the many camps we come in contact with; exchanging greetings in the marketplace, dining in the restaurants, sunning on the beach, or playing in the fields — but only for a while. For this is not our home; this is not our camp.
Jesus calls us onward, upward, and outward.

Onward insures that we will experience progress in our lives; upward insures we will reach our potential; and outward insures we will be misunderstood…and rejected. For the moment you leave the camp and go out to Jesus, the others campers will hold you in reproach — just like they did to Him.

But while we may be reproached by the world, we are embraced by the Lord. Not such a bad trade off if you ask me!
See you outside the camp?

A Thought on . . . .

     So what is tonight’s subject?  It’s on the most profound, least understood, most controversial, most misinterpreted, most ill-used, most beautiful and thought-provoking issue of all time.  It has spurred more disgust, more argument, more disdain, more discussion, more thought, more hate, and more love than any other know entity.  Nations have risen, fallen, transformed, and died because of it.  It has led some to great prosperity, and led others to great poverty.  It’s influence has been world-wide, and none of us have escaped its influence.  Throughout history it’s been burned, banned, shunned, denied, and still it persists and it’s voice echos through the corridors of history as strongly as ever it first did when man first embraced it, and from that first man, it has always been embraced by someone who has loved it and cherished it.  Never has it not been loved, never has it not been sought, never has it been ignored, and I can say with full confidence that it shall never not be relevant. 

     It’s has united, divided and separated more people, spurred and spurned both the great and the small, the weak and the strong, the wise and the ignorant, the humble and the arrogant.  Nothing, since its inception, not one thing, not one person, has not in some way been touched and influenced by it.  If you live today, in this country (America), or any modern country, you have been touched by it – though it’s touch may have been as light as down – you have felt it’s influence though you may not have recognized it for what it was.

     So what do you think it is?  As you answer this question, I ask you to hesitate for just a second, and ask this question of yourself first: why has it been what it is.  Why has it endured when everything else, everything else, is subject to decay, destruction, and ultimate death, this one thing has prevailed; has continued to thrive in spite of the war against it, that continues to quietly stand in the face of the warriors against it and laugh; that continues to stand in front of those who have embraced it, and shields them from every dark and evil flight of arrow that tries to penetrate the armor of those who wear it.

     The greatest of all men, both the common and the uncommon, the educated and the illiterate, have been held sway by its beauty, have been captivated and captured by it, and have been held the most loving prisoner because of it.  No man, nor woman, nor child, apart from it has ever known their true worth, their role, and their duty; nor their destination without it.  No guru, college professor, politician, media mogul, or religious leader can compare, compete, or conquer the one it embraces –  for you see – the one who holds it most dearly in his or her heart is held by it in return.

     You must be careful in its handling, and in your approach to it, for it above all other things can condemn you as nothing else can, and yet for those who approach it with the right heart, who seek its revelation as the most precious of all jewels, and accept its value as beyond price nothing will ever hold more importance for you.

     What is it?  It’s the Word of God; The Holy Bible

From “Faith’s Checkbook” C.H. Spurgeon

       Let us not forget that we’re only as good as the one who leads us.    

“God Is in the Front Line ”

Deu_31:8

In the presence of a great work or a great warfare, here is a text which should help us to buckle on our harness. If Jehovah Himself goes before us, it must be safe to follow. Who can obstruct our progress if the LORD Himself is in the van? Come, brother soldiers, let us make a prompt advance! Why do we hesitate to pass on to victory?

Nor is the LORD before us only; He is with us. Above, beneath, around, within is the omnipotent, omnipresent One. In all time, even to eternity, He will be with us even as He has been. How this should nerve our arm! Dash at it boldly, ye soldiers of the cross, for the LORD of hosts is with us!

Being before us and with us, He will never withdraw His help. He cannot fail in Himself, and He will not fail toward us. He will continue to help us according to our need, even to the end. As He cannot fail us, so He will not forsake us. He will always be both able and willing to grant us strength and succor till fighting days are gone.

Let us not fear nor be dismayed; for the LORD of hosts will go down to the battle with us, will bear the brunt of the fight, and give us the victory.

Taken From the Writings of Charles Swindoll

     This is to all men and boys.  Here’s the line in the sand.  You can be a boy or a man.  The world and this country has plenty of boys.  We need men.  The choice is yours.  Which one will you be?

THE WORLD NEEDS MEN…

who cannot be bought;
whose word is their bond;
who put character above wealth;
who possess opinions and a will;
who are larger than their vocations;
who do not hesitate to take chances;
who will not lose their individuality in a crowd;
who will be as honest in small things as in great things;
who will make no compromise with wrong;
whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires;
who will not say they do it” because everybody else does it”;
who are true to their friends through good report and evil report, in adversity as well as in prosperity;
who do not believe that shrewdness, cunning, and hardheadedness are the best qualities for winning success;
who are not ashamed or afraid to stand for the truth when it is unpopular;
who can say “no” with emphasis, although all the rest of the world says “yes.”

Charles Swindoll, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, p.107-8.

 

From the Writings of James Ryle-Nov. 4

     I came across this last night in my meandering, and found it food for thought.

The Book of Presidents

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, NASB).

On this day we vote into office our next President. Much has been said and done by both candidates in their campaigns for our support. One will win, and one will lose — whether it’s a blowout, or one of the tightest elections in history.

But the bigger question is, “Will WE win?”

Those who pursue the high office seem to be increasingly dismissive of the Highest Office of them all. This is a grave mistake. For no man can soundly govern a nation who is not himself being governed by God; to have authority, one must be under authority. The alternative is dictatorship.

Here is a brief view of how our previous Presidents have regarded the influence of God in their lives and administrations, particularly as that influence was wrought through their devotion to the Bible:

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” — George Washington

“So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens of their country and respectable members of society…” —John Quincy Adams

“That Book, sir, is the rock on which our republic rests.” — Andrew Jackson

“I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to men. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this Book. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.” — Abraham Lincoln

“Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet anchor of your liberties. Write its precepts in your hearts, and practice them in your lives. To the influence of this book are we indebted for all the progress made in true civilization, and to this we must look as our guide in the future.” — Ulysses S. Grant

“There are a good many problems before the American people today, and before me as President, but I expect to find the solution of those problems just in the proportion that I am faithful in the study of the Word of God. A man has deprived himself of the best there is in the world who has deprived himself of this, a knowledge of the Bible. When you have read the Bible, you will know that it is the Word of God, because you will have found it the key to your own heart, your own happiness, and your own duty.” — Woodrow Wilson

“We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a nation, without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic. Where we have been the truest and most consistent in obeying its precepts, we have attained the greatest measure of contentment and prosperity.” —Franklin Roosevelt

“The whole inspiration of our civilization springs from the teachings of Christ and the lessons of the prophets. To read the Bible for these fundamentals is a necessity of American life.” — Herbert Hoover

“The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings we get from Exodus and Saint Matthew, from Isaiah and Saint Paul. I don’t think we emphasize that enough these days. If we don’t have a proper fundamental moral background, we will finally end up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the State!” —Harry Truman

“The Bible is endorsed by the ages. Our civilization is built upon its words. In no other book is there such a collection of inspired wisdom, reality, and hope.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Within the covers of the Bible are all the answers for all the problems men face. The Bible can touch hearts, order minds, and refresh souls.” — Ronald Reagan

May God revive our spirits and restore our Nation to a love for His Word, that we may walk in His ways.