“AMERICA! AMERICA! GOD SHED HIS GRACE ON THEE!”

—thoughts by Pastor Charles P. Schmitt

America is in trouble. The cause of much of this lies with those who are committed to overturning the biblical foundations of America as a nation. They want to make America a purely secular nation; perhaps so that they can more easily further their unbiblical social agenda.

The elections of 2016 are therefore critical. As the dust settles and the candidates become more clearly defined, every true Christian will be given their greatest God-given responsibility—to vote into office those candidates—whether Democrat or Republican—who are most committed to restoring America to its original biblical foundations that we again may be a God-fearing nation. And obviously, our greatest need is to see yet another national heaven-sent Great Awakening that will turn the hearts of the people of America back to God!

America’s clear biblical roots and godly foundations are borne witness to in these amazing random historical statements—

  1. “Preserve me, O God, for in Thee do I put my trust.” —Psalm 16:1, etched on the stained glass window featuring George Washington in earnest prayer; in the Capitol Building
  2. “Search the Scriptures…Holiness to the LORD…May Heaven to this Union continue its beneficence” —Inscriptions on the carved tribute blocks of the Washington Monument
  3. Laus Deo (Praise be to God) —Engraving on the aluminum capstone of the Washington Monument
  4. “…the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men…We have been assured in the sacred Writings that “except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this, and I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel…I therefore beg to move that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of heaven and its blessings on our deliberations be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service…As the Scriptures are given for our reproof, instruction and warning may we make a due use of this example before it is too late…” —Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
  5. “…The God who gave us life, gave us liberty…Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”…”The light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not.” —Inscription from John 1:5 in the Great Hall of the Jefferson Building, the Library of Congress
  6. “Thou hast put all things under His feet…The Truth shall make you free” —Scriptures engraved on the front facade of Union Station in New York City
  7. “Not until I went to the churches in America, and heard her pulpits aflame 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” —Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
  8. “I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize man than any other nation…your Jehovah is our Jehovah and your God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is our God” —John Adams (1735-1826), 2nd President of the United States (1797-1801)
  9. “…The Bible is a book of faith, and a book of doctrine, and a book of morals, and a book of religion, of especial revelation from God; but it is also a book which teaches man his own individual responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow-man” —Daniel Webster (1782-1852), leading American statesman, Senator from Massachusetts, and hailed as the leading constitutional scholar of his generation.
  10. “The Bible is the Rock upon which our Republic rests” —President Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States (1829-37)
  11. “The great vital element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and Divine truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” —Resolution, House of Representatives (1854)
  12. “Our society is illuminated by the spiritual insights of the Hebrew prophets.” —Lyndon B Johnson, 36th President of the United States

—Quotes courtesy of tzurshua@lantic.net

“AMERICA! AMERICA! GOD SHED HIS GRACE ON THEE!”

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SAVED FROM A “HARD SPIRIT”

stone-heartSAVED FROM A “HARD SPIRIT”
by Pastor Charles P. Schmitt

I was recently evaluating how easy it is to develop a “hard spirit” in the process of standing for truth and opposing evil.

As I was examining my own heart along those lines, I was reminded of a familiar passage of Scripture, one of Paul’s admonitions to his spiritual son Titus. Paul began by admonishing Titus to take a firm stand for truth and morality —“these then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you” (Titus 2:15). On the issues of “ungodliness and worldly passions” and on living “self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:1,2), Titus was to be unyielding. But how does one do just that without developing a hard, judgmental spirit, especially towards those who are living wayward and sinful lives?

I believe the key lies in the next few verses. Paul wanted Titus, along with all of us, to “be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men”! (Titus 3:2) How can this be possible as we stand firmly for the truth? Paul’s next statement tells us exactly how. We must never forget that, “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures…”! (Titus 3:3)

What saves us from a hard spirit in the process of defending the truth is to remember the pit from which we ourselves were dug! For example, when I reflect on my own life, I can never despair of any man! I am moved with compassion towards everyone, when I remember my own shortcomings and failures. And for our goodness, our boasting can never be in our own goodness, but in the goodness of Him who graciously redeemed us by His love. Consequently, Paul’s very next statement was: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done but because of His mercy…” (Titus 3:4-5).

This passage, Titus 2:11–3:8, really has answered the quest of my heart—how to be saved from developing a “hard spirit” in the process of standing up for the truth and opposing evil! “If You, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness, therefore, You are feared” (Psalm 130:3-4). Amen!

IS GOD SPEAKING? (And are we just not listening?)

When we see the heartland of America battered by killer tornadoes and devastating floods, and when we see the death toll from these calamities rising – we need to ask ourselves the questions: “Is God speaking? And we are just not listening?”

In the woes spoken over the people of God in his day, the prophet Isaiah declares, “woe to those who call evil good and good evil…” (Isaiah 5:20). This is one of the cardinal sins of present-day America, and I sense one of the primary causes for its present woes. We have called “evil good” by legitimizing what God has clearly called unrighteous and sinful. And then we have called “good evil” by opposing those who seek to stand against this rising tide of evil.

For example, the Scriptures are clear on the sanctity of all human life and especially the life of the preborn, and yet, all too many in our government adamantly refuse to spare the preborn even from the agony and pain of a late-term abortion. We have slain over 60 million of our precious boys and girls primarily for “convenience,” and we wonder why our nation itself is wracked with pain.

The Scriptures are also clear on what godly sexuality is. “Women [who have] exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones” and “men [who have] committed indecent acts with other men” (Romans 1:26-27), should cause us deep concern, as it did Paul. Peter (as Paul in Romans 13:1-7), also clearly defines for us how a legitimate God-given and God-blest government is to function: Its officials are to “punish those who do wrong and commend those who do right” (1 Peter 2:13-14). When any government commends those who do wrong and punishes those who do right, they have lost their God-given legitimacy to govern and open the nation to judgment from the hands of a righteous God.

In all my years of adult life I have not seen a national moral crisis as grave as the one we are presently in. Our singular hope is for a national awakening from heaven that will bring us back to biblical morality and godliness. To that end we must unitedly continue to pray with faith and fervency! And in this democracy, we must also awake out of our stupor and act responsibly in unitedly voting into power in 2016 a government that will assist in restoring America to again become a nation blest by God! Only then will our borders be safe and our heartland be whole. So let us stand as the saints in Hebrews 11: “Through faith’s power they… established true justice. Their faith fastened onto God’s promises and pulled them into reality!” (Hebrews 11:33, Passion Trans.) May our merciful and gracious and forgiving God bless America with a godly government and with a godly people!

—Pastor Charles Schmitt

Holy Week Devotional- Maundy Thursday- Mark 14: 12-72

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Maundy Thursday Slide MAUNDY THURSDAY
Evening Service at 7:00

12 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’

15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.”

16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. 17 When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve.

Holy Week Devotional: March 29 – Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday MeditationMarch 29 – Palm Sunday – Mark 11:1-11
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

11 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”

They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

“Hosanna![a]

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[b]

10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

Footnotes:

  1. Mark 11:9 A Hebrew expression meaning “Save!” which became an exclamation of praise; also in verse 10
  2. Mark 11:9 Psalm 118:25,26

DAY 20 – WHAT A NATIONAL REVIVAL LOOKS LIKE

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DAY 20 WHAT A NATIONAL REVIVAL LOOKS LIKE
Prayerfully read 2 Chronicles 20:1-20

“Come down to make your name known…and cause the nations to quake before you!” Isaiah 64:2

We lift our voices with multitudes across our own land for a powerful visitation of the Holy Spirit. This is what a national awakening looked like a century and a half ago in the days of Charles Spurgeon—

Spurgeon wrote, “The times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord have at last dawned upon our land. A spirit of prayer is visiting our churches. The rushing mighty wind is already discerned, while on rising evangelists the tongues of fire have already descended.”

Spurgeon’s godly wisdom concerning revival was reflected in his words: “Observe how sovereign the operations of God are…He may, in one district, work a revival and persons may be stricken down and made to cry aloud; then there may be crowds and all may be still and quiet, as though no deep excitement existed at all….He can bless as He wills and He will bless as He wills. Let us not dictate to God. Many a blessing has been lost by Christians not believing it to be a blessing because it did not come in the particular shape that they conceived to be proper and right.”

Spurgeon had earnestly prayed: “O God, send us the Holy Ghost! Give us both the breath of spiritual life and the fire of unconquerable zeal. O thou art our God, answer us by fire, we pray thee! Answer us both by wind and fire…Oh that thou wouldst send the wind and the fire!…God, send us a season of glorious disorder…Oh, for the fire to fall again!…Give us now both hearts of flame and tongues of fire to preach Thy reconciling word, for Jesus’ sake! Amen!” And God answered! In those years a million people were converted to Christ in the United Kingdom!

We pray with Charles Spurgeon—
Oh God, send us the Holy Ghost! Answer us by wind and fire! God send us a
season of glorious disorder! O, for the fire to fall! For Jesus’ sake! Amen!

P R A Y E R F O C U S
• Lord, today I take additional time to seek Your face in prayer, fasting, worship, and adoration.
• As I am still in Your presence, speak deeply into my soul, all that is on Your heart for personal, national, and world-wide revival. (journal what you are hearing)

By Pastor Charles Schmitt