CAN THE HEART OF A NATION BE CHANGED?
As I look around my neighborhood and town I see American flags everywhere. We just celebrated Flag Day and in less than two weeks we will celebrate Independence Day. Two hundred thirty-seven years ago we declared our independence, and many courageous patriots put it all on the line, to free us from an overreaching government.
Numerous wars have been fought since that time, when again men and women stepped up to defend the liberties our founders established as the bedrock of our nation. There are countless individuals throughout our nation’s history who also have also spent their lives working to protect us and pursue justice.
“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 of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind of self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
Attributed to James Madison
"Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations; but, on a candid examination of history, we shall find that turbulence, violence, and abuse of power, by the majority trampling on the rights of the minority, have produced factions and commotions, which, in republics, have, more frequently than any other cause, produced despotism. If we go over the whole history of ancient and modern republics, we shall find their destruction to have generally resulted from those causes."
James Madison's Speech at the Virginia Convention to ratify the Federal Constitution June 6, 1788
"Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."
George Washington's Farewell Address
Much has changed in our country in the intervening years. Scandals, both personal and national, plague us. Many people have lost confidence in our resolve, and an increasing number of citizens distrust the various branches of our government. One cannot go to work, read a newspaper, run a business, or manage a household without being reminded about our growing debt, a poorly managed economy, corruption, deceit, immorality, over-regulation, over-taxation, and attempts to increase control over our citizenry. Our beleaguered nation seems to have lost the idea of who we were created to be, a people who were optimistic about the future and who proudly acknowledged that our nation was founded, and operated at its best, under Judeo-Christian principles.
We seem helpless to alter the direction
America is headed, or are we? While we may not be able to change others, we
can repent of our sins, spend time in communion with the Lord, study His Word, and
choose to live the Gospel. We can take responsibility for ourselves and our
families, become informed about what is happening in our country and in the
world and get involved, even if it is only to vote for godly leaders. We can
also pray for revival in our nation, our churches and our families.
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." —Jesus, from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:14-16.
"Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain." Psalm 127:1