American Independence and the King of kings

July 4, 2019 By Terence P. Jeffrey

John Dickinson (Screen Capture/National Archives-New York Public Library)

John Dickinson was both passionate and polite — and served as a role model for political rhetoricians in an era long before the Age of Twitter.

“Complaints may be made with dignity; insults retorted with decency; and violated rights vindicated without violence of words,” he wrote in 1766.

He was responding to unnamed critics in Barbados, who had published an open letter that struck a sycophantic tone toward the British parliament, while simultaneously complaining about the Stamp Act passed by that parliament and ridiculing the “violent spirit raised in the North-American colonies against this act.”

Parliament approved the Stamp Act in 1765, imposing a tax on American colonists they had not approved through their own legislatures.

Dickinson was an eloquent critic of this act. In his view, parliament’s attack on American rights raised a fundamental question about all human rights.

“Kings and parliaments could not give the rights essential to happiness, as you confess those invaded by the Stamp Act to be,” he wrote.

“We claim them from a higher source — from the King of kings, and Lord of all the Earth,” he declared.

“They are not annexed to us by parchments and seals,” he wrote. “They are created in us by decrees of Providence, which establish the laws of our nature. They are born with us; exist with us; and cannot be taken from us by any human power, without taking our lives.

“In short,” he said, “they are founded on the immutable maxims of reason and justice.”

For the British Parliament to tax colonists not represented in that parliament, Dickinson concluded, “is inconsistent with reason and justice; and subversive of those sacred rights which God himself from the infinity of his benevolence has bestowed on mankind.”

As vehemently as Dickinson argued here — 10 years before the Declaration of Independence — against the acts of a British Parliament and for the God-given rights of American colonists, he ardently considered himself to be a British patriot.

“As to Great Britain, I glory in my relation to her,” he wrote.

“Every drop of blood in my heart is British,” he said, “and that heart is animated with as warm wishes for her prosperity, as her truest sons can form.”

Indeed, this American-born defender of God-given rights had learned the law in London. “From 1753 to 1757, he attended the Middle Temple at the Inns of Court in London and, upon his return to the colonies, established a practice in Philadelphia,” says the biography posted by The John Dickinson Writings Project at the University of Kentucky.

A decade after Dickinson declared that our rights come from the King of kings, Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, which invoked the same principle.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident,” wrote Jefferson, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Despite being one of America’s leading advocates of this principle, Dickinson declined to support declaring American independence.

“When the vote was taken, refusing to vote against his conscience but knowing that any declaration should be unanimous for the sake of the cause, Dickinson absented himself from the proceedings,” says the John Dickinson Writings Project biography.

Yet Dickinson did fight for the new United States of America.

“Determined to prove his patriotism, in 1777, Dickinson did something nearly unheard of for a gentleman of his stature — he enlisted in the Delaware militia as a private and, ‘with a musket upon (his) shoulder,’ scoured the countryside for supplie(s) and served at the Battle of Brandywine,” says the biography. “He was soon promoted to brigadier general, a commission he resigned later that year. Despite not being a Continental officer, Dickinson was nonetheless admitted to the Society of the Cincinnati as an honorary member for his distinguished service.”

Eighteen centuries before Dickinson and Jefferson argued there was a natural law, created by God, that no nation could disobey, Marcus Tullius Cicero made the same point.

“There is a true law, a right reason, conformable to nature, universal, unchangeable, eternal, whose commands urge us to duty, and whose prohibitions restrain us from evil,” Cicero wrote.

“It is not one thing at Rome and another at Athens; one thing today and another tomorrow; but in all times and nations this universal law must forever reign, eternal and imperishable,” he said.

“It is the sovereign master and emperor of all beings,” wrote that Roman patriot. “God himself is it author, its promulgator, its enforcer.”

As Americans celebrate the Fourth of July and more than 240 years of national independence, they should remember and revere not only those who fought to defend this principle, but the principle itself.

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. To find out more about him, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at http://www.creators.com.

https://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/terence-p-jeffrey/american-independence-and-king-kings


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VIDEO The Hand of God on America

 

Dan Celia Jun 30, 2017

 

On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia voted to approve a “Resolution of Independence” that would legally separate the 13 colonies from Great Britain.On that same date, founding father—and future President—John Adams wrote a letter to his wife that said, in part, “The second day of July 1776 will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America.

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty…”Adams’ prediction was off by two days, but one thing was certain: our nation’s formation was surely a solemn act of God that should be held up with great devotion, even to this day. Still, I can’t help but wonder how many of us will take the time to think about the intervention of God on this Fourth of July holiday that we will observe across this great land.

Surely we can see the hand of God, not only in the writing of the Declaration of Independence, but in the Revolutionary War that followed.One thing hasn’t changed much since that time—but hopefully is as apparent today as it was back then—the hand of God is still on this nation. We know that the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence were surely written by men submitted to God.

I don’t need a brilliant man as a leader as much as I need one brilliant enough to defer to the will of God. Our nation has weathered many storms, which has allowed us to enjoy 241 unparalleled years of freedom. This could only have taken place because of the hand of God in our midst.

Like many on-air hosts, I whined, moaned and complained to tens of thousands of people throughout the entire past presidential administration and for two years prior to that.I find myself often doing the same about this current administration. But it’s more about the state of the union, the state of disunity among those who are in control, and what seems to be a lack of concern for doing what is right for the good of the people, the good of the nation and for future generations.I don’t perceive any unity that we can feel good about or stand firm upon. While the founding fathers who wrote our founding documents certainly did not agree on everything, their statesmanship still shines on in the 21st century.The art of negotiation, compromise and that unwavering unity, which came from God first and love of country second, was all that was needed to create an atmosphere of cooperation. This spirit of progress enabled the 13 colonies to develop into the greatest nation on earth.

Although it’s sad to say in this day of political correctness, I don’t expect to see a Congress that is unified around one God. But I pray our lawmakers will follow their oath to be unified in the defense of our nation, our freedoms, our Constitution and our republic.

Maybe this Independence Day will be a time we reflect on the great courage and statesmanship of our founding fathers. Maybe it’s time we reflect on unwinnable wars that were won because of America’s unity and faith. Perhaps this Fourth of July, we can reflect on our founding, and honor our fallen heroes and those who still serve today, and remember the strengths of this great country.

On Tuesday, let’s also reflect on the greatness we have yet to see, and know it can be easily obtained. However, we must find statesmen willing to set aside their differences for the good of the greatest nation on earth, the home of the brave and land of the free. God bless America.

https://townhall.com/columnists/dancelia/2017/06/30/the-hand-of-god-on-america-n2348719


God’s Hand In America By Eric Metaxas Church Sermons, Free Sunday Services

Aug 1, 2017
God’s Hand In America
By Eric Metaxas Church Sermons, Sunday Sermons, Church Services, Bible Study, Christian

When the Founding Father’s put this country together they gave us Freedom of Religion: Freedom of Religion is not the same as freedom of worship. Freedom of worship is worthless without freedom of religion. The Christians’ faith is not to be contained in the privacy of a church service it is to be lived out everywhere we go. In this teaching we learn about the golden triangle of freedom. In the 1960’s they stopped teaching this in public schools and today in universities they teach against this. Freedom requires virtue, virtue requires faith, and faith in turn requires freedom. It’s important to understand these principles so we can encourage others about what we believe, and share our liberty with rest of the world.


The Constitutional Christian DVD w/ David Barton & Mike Huckabee


God’s Hand in American History (Part 1)


God’s Hand in American History (Part 2)


 

Watch Your Heart, not Your Words

May 17, 2019

 

Matthew quotes some rather sobering words of Jesus in his gospel. Matthew 15:18 states, “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.”

Those words hit hard for me because my mouth is often my biggest enemy. I think it safe to say that most of the time I’m in trouble it’s not because of my actions, it’s because of my mouth. Jesus’ brother, James offers no help. He points out the dichotomy of both fresh water and bitter water coming from the same well.

Cleaning up our language is treating symptoms, not causes. The root of a foul mouth is a dirty heart. There. I said it. I don’t like it, but from my knowledge of scripture I believe it to be true.

We use God’s name in vain because we fail to see him as he is. We ridicule others because we fail to see them as creations of God. Yep. Even the guy who cut you off. Even the sports official who is totally oblivious to the rules of the game. Even the server at the restaurant that is more interested in their phone than your empty drink glass. We make off-color jokes because our brand of holiness is governed by culture, not the plum line of a Holy God.

The worst part about words unwisely spoken is that you can’t reverse the results. You can be forgiven, but poorly chosen words are like a cancer to the soul. They can lie dormant for years but are always lurking in the memory banks of time.

Holy God, forgive us for the wounds unwise words have caused. Cleanse our hearts so that the words we speak build up where lives have been torn down. Heal the wounds we bear at the tongues of others. Amen

https://builtwithgrace.wordpress.com/2019/05/17/watch-your-heart-not-your-words/

Fear Not!

Pure Glory

by Hazel Straub

When you obey God, he covers you with anointing and honors you. Do not cower at the giants that face you. Be strong and of good courage because Jesus won the victory for you! He intercedes for you, so you do not get discouraged.

God goes with you through your life journey and fights your battles, as you rely on and trust in him. Do quit and fear not!

Be strong, courageous, and firm; fear not nor be in terror before them, for it is the Lord your God Who goes with you; He will not fail you or forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:8 AMPC)

© Crown of Glory International Ministries. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission, from this blog’s author and/or owner, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Crown…

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Christian arrested for ‘insulting Islam’ on Facebook

Family escaped as angry mob ransacked home

A young Egyptian Christian was arrested for allegedly insulting Islam on Facebook after a mob of angry Muslims chased his parents from their home and ransacked the house.

Morning Star News reported Fady Yousef, 25, was arrested June 11 in Giza, southwest of Cairo, despite having posted a video claiming hackers had placed the offending material on his Facebook page.

Citing the Coptic Bishopric of Maghagha and El Edwa in Minya, Morning Star News said Muslims angered by the material attacked his parents’ home in Eshneen el Nasara village, near Maghgaha in Minya Governorate.

Bishop Anba Aghathon said in a statement the mob “entered and destroyed the contents of the house, then moved to the house next door where his brother lived and attacked it from the outside.”

“They were shouting against the Christian religion and the Copts of the village,” the bishop said.

Fady Yousef’s father, Yousef Todary, his wife and daughter were able to escape minutes before the Muslims broke in and destroyed the refrigerator, television set, mattresses, furniture and windows, according to the bishop.

The young Copt posted an apology on his Facebook page claiming innocence and insisting he would never do such a thing.

His sister, Nermeen Yousef, posted a message insisting her brother did nothing wrong and was apologizing only “because he respects your feelings.”

“He is not a child to do such a thing, and also his friends are Muslims and always tell me they are dear to him and they know this well,” she said.

Police also detained Fady Yousef’s brother and uncle. Two other uncles turned themselves in as soon as they heard that police sought them. Copts United reported the brother and uncles have been released.

Yousef remains in custody facing charges of posting material offensive to religion, according to Copts United.

In Egypt, insulting Islam, Judaism or Christianity is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of 500 to 1,000 Egyptian pounds, about $30 to $60.

Egypt ranked 16th on Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of countries in which it is most difficult to be a Christian.

 

https://www.wnd.com/2019/06/christian-arrested-for-insulting-islam-on-facebook/

Apathy

June 14, 2019 by Discerning Dad

The best hammock overall

But whoever has been forgiven little shows only little love.  Luke 7:47

Apathy can strike us at any stage in life and at any area of our life. But what is apathy exactly? Apathy is an “absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement” or “a lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting.” We can have apathy in anything from our jobs, school, spouses, family, children, politics, hobbies, and yes even, unfortunately, God.

If we look at Luke 7:36-50, we see Jesus at a house of a Pharisee. An unnamed woman (different than the stories where they name Mary wiping Jesus’ feet in the other gospels) who had been in a sinful life (possibly a prostitute) enters the house, pours perfume on Jesus’ feet and wipes it off with her hair. Jesus asked Simon question, “Two people owned money to a moneylender, one 500 and one 50. Both were forgiven, which of them would love him more?” Simon answered correctly the one who had the bigger debt. Jesus then honors the woman for what she did and calls out the apathy of the people in the house who did not do the same thing for Him.

We see an important example here of what can happen in the Christian life when we either grow up in the church or we have been a Christian for a while. We get apathetic for the things of God. We lose our first love (Revelation 2:4). We lose sight of the fact that we have been saved from an eternal punishment for our sin and we now have everlasting life where Jesus will bring to fulfillment a world with no sin, sickness, or death. I see newer Christians who have been saved out of immense bondage who have a freedom and joy many Christians never get to experience. To them, they have seen death first hand in the form of addiction, sin, new age, or the occult. They know the joy and freedom that Jesus gives and the removal of the curse over their life of death and decay. These newer Christians can be on fire for God and stand as an example for every Christian who acts apathetically before our Lord and Savior by refusing to read the Bible, witness to others, or love their brothers and sisters. Just like in the example from Luke, these newer Christians see fully the immense debt they were forgiven from.

Many Christians are not purposefully apathetic. They can still love Jesus they just go through the motions. If we do not view our forgiven debt as significant (which it is), we can find ourselves thinking “well I was a decent person before I was saved”, “I didn’t do anything THAT terrible”, “I’ve grown up in the church, I’ve always loved Jesus, I never had THAT bad of sin.” We need to remember that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). This does not only mean the sin we ourselves created, but the sinful nature we were born into. The sin we committed and still commit TODAY as Christians deserves death. We should never act so entitled to our salvation that we forget the great price that was paid by Jesus on Calvary so that we would not face what we actually deserved!

Now, there’s another aspect to this story of Jesus and the woman. The woman came in, overwhelmed with emotion, washing Jesus’ feet. Jesus told the Pharisees “her many sins have been forgiven- as her great love has shown.”

In other words, the woman was forgiven and showed her immense gratitude and love for Jesus.

THEN Jesus says to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” What Jesus says about the woman He then says directly to her. But why? She already “knew” that her sins were forgiven which is why she was there in the first place honoring Jesus. I feel this is more of a personal reassurance to the woman. She may have been haunted by reminders of the past and overwhelming memories of her sin. Jesus reminded her of His grace for her and of her forgiveness she needed to accept, even though it had already happened.

Satan is the king of guilt trips. If we have been forgiven from sin, God removes it as far as “the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12) provided that we “go and sin no more” (John 8:11). When our thoughts go to the past, we need to stop them before they snowball out of control. Our past can cause us to feel like we are unworthy of grace, unworthy to be used by God, and unworthy of love. We must turn these thoughts into love FOR God WHO IS WORTHY, just like the woman who wept over Jesus’ feet.

So how can we combat apathy in our Christian life? How do we not lose our “first love”? Apathy is also known as being “lukewarm” and is given as a warning to the church in Laodicea (Revelation 3:16). First of all it’s not easy; it takes a willful effort on our part to read the Bible, to pray daily, to love our neighbor, to listen to God’s voice, and walk where He leads. Not out of “going through the motions” but out of genuine love and desire for a relationship with our Bridegroom who came and died for us and is coming back again.

We need to make our prayer like David after the prophet Nathan convicted him of his sin with Bathsheba in Psalm 51:12, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

Discerning Reflection: How have I been apathetic or even lukewarm in my relationship with Jesus? What can I do TODAY to address this? Do I truly desire this and why?

Prayer: Lord, restore to me the joy of my salvation. Thank you for your work on the cross and may I never take that for granted. Forgive me of apathy I have had and give me a fire again for a relationship with You! Amen.

Tim Ferrara

Discerning Dad  http://www.discerning-dad.com

Apathy

The Risk of Happiness

An experiment with joy
DOUGLAS GROOTHUIS| JUNE 11, 2019

The Risk of Happiness

‘I don’t trust happiness,” said Mack (played by Robert Duvall) in Tender Merciesafter losing his young daughter. These four words rang sadly true, and they lodged in my soul. In 1983, when I was 27, it seemed right to me. I had not known the nadir of unhappiness. But my father had been killed in a plane crash in 1968. Since that grave loss, I thought that serious people, thinkers, ought not to risk happiness. It was, after all, a fallen world; optimists were deluded. Happy was usually silly and not the attitude of the brooding prophet, of which I was one.

To me, the frown was the crown of the Christian critic. Francis Schaeffer was seldom photographed while smiling. I don’t remember him smiling in any of the scenes of the film series, “How Shall We Then Live?” Woe to our modern, post-Christian culture! We serious people must beware of pointless mirth and witness chuckles. Yes, I knew who I was. A Christian sister in my college youth group said I was so “serious.” She liked to laugh, even giggle. I liked her, but that giggle! Somehow, we became friends.

By grace, I learned my calling soon after conversion: Teach, preach, and publish. Defend the faith. Exegete and challenge the culture in the mode of Os Guinness and Francis Schaeffer. Out-think the world for Christ! One must be serious to do this. Remember Kierkegaard, the great and melancholy Dane, whose book, The Sickness unto Death, helped lead me to Christ. But Os Guinness, as I knew from lecture tapes, had a seriousness and cheerfulness about him. When we met, I delightfully discerned this again. And C. S. Lewis wrote so much about joy. Hardly unserious, that Lewis.

“I don’t trust happiness,” I often intoned to myself as one dream died after another, as my wife went from chronically ill to terminal dementia. I wrote a lament about it, Walking Through Twilight. I was in good company: C. S. Lewis and Nicholas Wolterstorff who wrote laments for their own losses (a wife and a son, respectively). The latter wrote the foreword to my book. Yes, I tried to smelt every bit of meaning and love out of my suffering according to my Christian convictions.

I escaped into meaning as my life devolved into caregiving for a dying spouse—once brilliant, now not. I found meaning in my work, my aesthetic enjoyments, my mentoring, and my friendships. “A lot of people love you,” I have been told.

The pessimist assumes the worst, so he is not so disappointed. Assuming the worst is emotional insulation meant to provide protection from pain. I read Authentic Happiness, by noted social scientist Martin Seligman, over a decade ago. One fact stood out: Optimists tend to be less aware than pessimists of reality. I will take reality over happiness, I resolved. I have told my students, “I’d rather suffer for the truth than be happy with a lie.” The brooding prophet will not be deceived.

Now I wonder about this grim posture. I know, especially from Ecclesiastes, that life, even at its best, is hevel, “a vapor.” But this life “under the sun” also affords simple pleasures of work, family, eating, and drinking. And the vapor will one day give way to eternity.

My friend and author, Gail MacDonald, signs all of her letters with “Don’t postpone joy.” This, I take it, is the polar opposite of “I don’t trust happiness.” Gail is not a superficial, happy-clappy soul. She and her husband, Gordon, have been faithful partners in my laments over the years. They are seasoned saints whom I respect and love.

I distrust happiness still. Yet I know the beginning and the end of the great story. The new creation will know no sorrow, neither tears nor groans of longing and agony (Rev. 21–22). By grace, I am a citizen of heaven and will thrive on a new earth with all the redeemed. We will invent new games of happiness, new talks of hilarity, new festivals of celebration of our great God and King. I will converse with Blaise Pascal and Soren Kierkegaard, whose legendary melancholy will be no more. Francis Schaeffer will be beaming as well.

Happiness is ganging up on me. I am now married to a kind, gentle, loving, faithful, and beautiful woman, who loves me as much as I love her. We have a vision of ministry together. I am no longer obese. The 50 pounds I gained through sorrow have been lost. I don’t feel ashamed every time I put on clothes or look into the mirror, which shouldn’t be too often anyway.

Why not embrace happiness now and expect more—in this broken world, on this groaning orb? Every happy thought, every feeling of joy (unless sinful), is a strike against the fall and Satan and his devils. People say I look lighter, physically and emotionally. I am learning to welcome the pleasant as just as real as the unpleasant. No, it is more real! God made all things very good before the fall. Sin is a parasite on goodness, which is aboriginal in God and creation. Joy will find a way, even through the detours.

Why should I postpone joy? I find no duty before God or man to do so. God gives all good gifts, including every second of happiness. I accept it in the embrace of my new wife. My smiles need not fade so quickly. I need hide no reality to find the levity in God’s good world.

Call it an experiment in happiness, well worth the risk. But I am reluctant still. What if it is dashed, squashed? No matter. I accept and relish any godly happiness I meet. In that moment, it cannot be taken away by anyone or anything.

Douglas Groothuis is professor of philosophy at Denver Seminary. He is author of many books, most recently Walking Through Twilight.

 

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