They will gather together in their backyards and or parks with friends and relatives, light up the old barbecue pit, chill down the beer and soda, make sure their miniature American flag is prominently displayed in the front of their house, as they commemorate the date they believe was the birth of the greatest nation mankind has ever witnessed. Later on, as the evening dawns, they will go to various locations in their respective cities to watch the fireworks, many firing them up in their own back yards.
Just another Holiday? “Oh no, (some will respond) this is the day we celebrate and give thanks to God for this great country we live in.”
Further down this observation, I have posted links where you can access two articles I wrote about this same time last year. They provided two perspectives about America; one focusing on this country’s patriotic fervor, and the other one is specifically applicable to its primary religion, Christianity.
Both articles pointed out my views of two institutions that claim they have been the harbingers of humanity’s progress. In both articles, I ended up closing with a group of scripture that I believe is still applicable today:
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land, (2 Chronicles 7:14).”
Throughout the last year, many of my posts have focused on our need to stay connected to God to ensure our lives will improve in all things (financial, spiritual, domestic and social) as I believe God desires for His creation. I stayed away from offering political solutions to the myriad issues being experienced by this country because (as many of you know) I don’t believe they solve the problems of the human heart; if nothing else, a belief that politicians and their system can solve America’s problems is probably its own worst enemy.
Last year, much of America was focused on Barack Obama, this country’s newly elected President, to see if he was heading in the direction he stated he would (“A change we can all believe in”) throughout his campaign While those who voted for him are still waiting with anxious breath to see this change come about, opposing political forces (primarily conservatives and Republicans) didn’t wait a second to begin their attacks on him and his new administration.
The first thing America experienced under Obama’s administration was the mortgage and banking debacles, catalysts to the economic downturn that still haunt most Americans today, but most definitely have fattened the coffers of the "money-changers" of the world.
The slow burning embers heating the ugly kettle of immigration reform has burst into a raging inferno, this past year, fueled by the enactment of SB1070 in the state of Arizona, a new law designed to eradicate a segment of humanity from this once great land, blaming it for all of America's woes.
The rise of the Tea Bag Party (another futile and inept political movement) still rages on in the hearts of many who were primarily upset with how their tax dollars were being spent by the Obama administration. FOX News Television personality, Glen Beck, and other Obama agitators, thought they were close to providing solutions to America’s problems. Many of them, stunned by the BP oil crisis, actually feel impotent now as they can clearly see that not all of America's woes can be solved through politics or even citizen activism, as they witness the looming hurricanes off the Gulf of Mexico, which are building enough strength to pour much of the spilled BP oil onto American shores. They may be saying to themselves, “Dear God, this could be ten times worse than Katrina!”
In he meantime, many self-proclaimed “Prophets” throughout the Internet, media and pulpits across America are totally jazzed by these events, smugly screaming, “I told you so, God is angry at bad Americans and they (unbelievers) will soon feel the sting of His wrath. The Pre-Tribulation Rapture to Heaven could occur any moment now, protecting no one else but us Christians!”
Personally, I don’t join that crowd because I’m the proverbial optimist. I have always believed that God is more powerful than we give Him credit for, and He is willing to heal a sinful nation, if it would only turn to Him for help. America doesn’t do that; instead it continues to believe the state can solve its problems. But God has proven that He can and is willing to heal this nation, and has told us and (glowingly) has proven that He can, over and over again throughout His word, the Holy Bible!
The first and most glaring example of His ability and willingness to heal any nation that humbles itself is found in the biblical story of Jonah, where God ordered him to go to Nineveh and preach the gospel of repentance to one of the most wicked cities in that then world. Jonah disobeyed God and ran away to hide! Later on, he snuck onto a boat where the crew members began to experience a storm and wondered what was happening to them, why were they experiencing such fierce weather? They found Jonah hiding on the boat and he quickly told them what happened. He said the storm was his fault because he disobeyed God. He asked the crew to throw him overboard. They did and consequently Jonah found himself inside a giant whale and he began to pray to God for mercy:
So, Jonah was freed and he finally chose to obey God as he had promised in his prayer. He went to Nineveh and preached the word of God, telling the Ninevites they had 40 days to repent or God will strike it and its people down.
Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish." When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened (Jonah 3:1-10).
Meanwhile, America's leaders continue in their political folly, as so do the millions of citizens who have been seduced and fooled by the money-changers to believe their party, Republican, Democrat and, yes, even The Tea Bag Party, can solve America’s problems, rather than seeking God's help! By the way, the Bible clearly tells us that focusing and involving oneself in these endeavors is sheer idolatry. Anything (family, home, jobs, political party and cultural ideologies) that comes between you and God is considered idolatry, the worst sin a person can commit!
As Jonah prayed to God, stating that Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs, this also should be our prayer as well.
Who knows? Maybe, like Nineveh's king, just maybe, if all Americans (at least its Christians) would beseech its self-anointed king to humble himself and pray, to seek God’s grace, mercy and loving kindness, maybe, just maybe, God will answer that call. He's done it before! Well? It’s worth a try, que no?
Therefore, while you begin to celebrate the Fourth of July this weekend, with friends and family, and while sitting there, watching, waiting, before all the fireworks explode throughout this entire country, maybe, just maybe you can take a few moments and........ "Oh, Mr. President! Listen up"
[Click the links Why Church Numbers Are Going Down and Oh Say Can You See? to read the stories that Joe Ortiz wrote last year, concerning the future of America and its church, to compare (and to see) just how much progress they have made this past year.]
(For more information concerning this blog and the two books written by Joe Ortiz ~ The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation, click here Joe Ortiz