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crsschk
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 What America Needs To Be Great Again

Pulled this out of the 'archives' in my files From July 2, 2002

WHAT AMERICA NEEDS TO BE GREAT AGAIN
Curt Dodd
Revelation 2:4-5

[u]Part 1[/u]

[i]Revelation 2:4-5 "Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place."[/i]

These words spoken to the Church in Ephesus as to its place and redemptive history give great admonition to both individual believers, corporate organizations, families, and yes, even our country.

Ephesus was a church that at one time was a blowing and going church. It was a church that stood strong for the gospel of Christ, but started to live on its memory instead of continue to move into the present with a true understanding of what was actually occurring within its body. The same could be said of America. Many songs have been written through the ages concerning America's roots, America's freedom, and the hope that this country gives many. This Fourth of July Weekend I think it is quite appropriate for us to look afresh and anew as to what America needs to be great again.

Some would argue with me and say, "America has never lost its greatness! America is still great!" I would differ. I think sometimes there comes a time for an honest spiritual perception as to where we really are. We all must experience that in our own life. We cannot keep living in the past nor living on what we think we are now or what we wish we really were and live in that kind of spiritual denial, nor as citizens of this land can we afford the luxury of conveniently forgetting what the Word of God says about our land and about our culture and how we are to live based upon the Word of God.

There was a golden age in our country. Now, that golden age has been somewhat tarnished by sin and problems that are the result of sin. What we need is an old fashioned, sin-killing, satan-stomping, Holy Ghost revival. Unless we have that kind of movement of God in the hearts and lives of people, across denominational lines, across political strongholds, through the mentality of people in this land, we are headed for destruction.

Allow me to share with you what I really believe God would have me share with you about what it will take, what America needs to be great again.

I. A SPIRITUAL LOOK AT OUR PRESENT

First of all, America needs a spiritual look at our present. There in the scripture in Revelation, Chapter 2, Jesus speaks to the church and He says to them in verse 4, "Yet, I hold this against you. You have forsaken your first love."
The Lord was telling them how it was now and what was occurring. They had lost the passion of what they were about. It is often said that organizations including churches forget what their purpose is within three weeks. Somehow or another we have forgotten what we are about as a country.

We need to take a fresh look at what is happening right now in our presence. An excerpt from Charles Colson's book AGAINST THE NIGHT reveals Colson's concern as well. He says: "We are entering a new dark age brought on by relativism, radical individualism and materialism. People have grown accustomed to the dark, they don't even realize that the lights are out."

In his book he reminds the readers of the fall of Rome when that empire lost discipline, respect, and obedience. Rome couldn't resist the attacking Barbarians. Today's Barbarians wear pin stripes instead of animal skins and wield brief cases rather than spears. Today's culture offers the church opportunities to serve as outpost the truth, decency and civilization in the darkening culture around us. For even though the church itself is shot through with an individualism that cripples its witness, it is the one social institution that is still capable of challenging the culture. Today I want to speak to you to challenge you, to challenge our culture.

Arnold Poynde said, "Of the nineteen civilizations that have existed since man has formed government, only five remain." He said,
"The greatness comes from hearts, minds and soul -- it is an inner quality."

What is happening in our culture is that we have lost that inner quality of heart, soul and mind. The greatness that we once had as a country and the purity of purpose is no longer there. We need to come afresh and anew to look at ourselves as we really are. How do I know that we are in a spiritual bankrupt position? Just listen to the stats of our country.

One out of two marriages ends in divorce. The median age for divorce now is 34 for men and 30 for women. In 1960, one out of every ten households was maintained by a woman with no husband present. Since 1960, one out of every six was maintained by a woman with no husband present. Today, enough teenagers to fill the Rose Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and the average Super Bowl will practice prostitution to support drug addiction. One million teenaged girls will get pregnant out of wedlock this year, only five-hundred thousand of those girls will have their babies, the other five-hundred thousand will abort them. Of the fourteen year-old girls alive today, forty percent will become pregnant by their nineteenth birthday. Sadly, sixty percent of all church involved teenagers are sexually active. Sixty-six percent of American High School Seniors have used illegal drugs and every seventy-eight seconds a teenager in America attempts suicide. Folks, we've got to wake up and realize that there is disaster everywhere. That happens to be statistics from Hans Svensel, HELP ON THE BABY BOOMER, in his book and a couple of other works, I got this from POINT MAN.

How bad is it? Last year HISD in the 1992 & 1993 School Year describe that of the violence that is rising in our school, almost eight percent of the teachers were assaulted by students. Did you know that almost twenty-three percent of the schools report assaults with deadly weapons? And that's the schools.

We need to look at and realize that not only with the rising tide of abortion and now finding that there is a pill now available in Europe, Americans will push and yell and scream that that is not made available for them. It will take five years because of the fear of the pro-life stance of this country. Our spiritual presence is like Colson says, "It is the dark ages." We are living in a dark spiritual age. We need to come to a realization of that fact and understand that only if America does something individually, as individual believers, who love God and seek His face will there come a turn in our land and this country be ever great again.

We need this land to be great again for the sake of your family and my family, for the sake of your business, for the sake of the future, this land in which we live in is headed on a tragic, destructive, course. We may say the problem is with the politician, it is with the government, we need to realize that we are the government and we elected those men who are our representation of the cultural values and the moral values and the spiritual values of this land. They are representatives of a great problem in our land.

Do you realize that child abuse is up two-hundred and forty percent since 1976, that the corruption of public officials is up over four-hundred and fifty percent since 1983 and that illegal drugs used, drug abuse is up thirteen-hundred and seventy-five percent since 1962, that AIDS is climbing at an alarming rate since 1982, sexual abuse of children is up twenty- three hundred percent since 1976, and currently American has the highest illiteracy rate of any industrial nation in the world. Folks, we need to take a spiritual look at our present and say like the Ephesians, "God does hold something against us for allowing ourselves to come to this place, for us to blame, because we have blamed others for the results of where we are instead of doing something about it."

Continued...


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Mike Balog

 2004/5/22 19:56Profile
crsschk
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 Re: What America Needs To Be Great Again

[u]Part 2[/u]

What does it take for America to be great again? America needs a spiritual look at our present, and secondly:

II. A CLEAR MEMORY OF OUR PAST

There in verse 5, the very first part of verse 5, Jesus said, "Remember the heights from which you have fallen." Sadly our history has been robbed from us. Many of the textbooks do not record the heritage that Godly Heritage of this nation.

The goal of government, the foundation of this land, was based upon the scripture. Listen to just to the charter, the Rhode Island Charter of 1683 which begins:

"We submit our persons, lives and estates unto our Lord Jesus Christ and the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and to all those perfect and most absolute laws of His given us in His most holy word. . ."

Many people are afraid to take that kind of stand today because they are afraid of litigation. The kind of commitment that we have had in the past has been reaffirmed by our President. Listen to the words of our First President, George Washington, in his first inaugural address to Congress. He said:

"No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of heaven cannot be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which heaven itself has ordained."

Listen to the words of Abraham Lincoln as he says: "It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history that those nations are only blessed whose God is the Lord."

Listen to what Noah Webster once said: "The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles. And to this we owe our free constitution of government."

Alex de Tocqueville, the noted French political philosopher in the nineteen century visited America in her infancy to find out the secret to her greatness. He traveled from town to town, he talked with people and asked questions. He examined our young national government, he examined our schools and our businesses but he could not find in them the reason for the strength. It was not until he visited the churches of America and witnessed the pulpits of this land aflame with righteousness did he find the secret of our greatness. Returning to France, he summarized his findings when he wrote: "America is great because America is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."

I want you to know, ladies and gentlemen, we have a clear distinctive commitment to the Word of God as a heritage and I don't care what history books are not telling you today, the first primers were biblically based. The first education system was biblically based in this land.

Did you know even Congress in 1781 approved the printing of the Bible which was in scarce supply in our land. It was called the Bible of the Revolution and is now one of the world's most read books today. Do you realize that Harvard in 1638 was started with Christian roots, committed to the Word of God. Yale in 1701 was started as a place of great spiritual substance, Princeton in 1746 called originally the College of New Jersey sprang from the impact of the First Great Awakening in this land. In fact, Princeton's Presidents were all evangelical at least until the turn of the twentieth century. Dartmouth, in 1754, a strong missionary thrust launched Dartmouth in New Hampshire. Its Royal Charter was signed by King George the Third of England and specified the school's intent to reach Indian Tribes and to educate and Christianize English use as well. Colombia, William and Mary and other Christian Colleges have had their roots in God's Word and existed for the advancement of the Kingdom of God unapologetically for the Bible. Jesus told the church, remember the height from which you have fallen.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are looking at our culture upside down and as the song writer of a contemporary Christian song says: "Many of us are knocking on the Gates of Hell thinking that we are heaven bound." We have fallen as a country and we will never be great again until we have a spiritual look at our present and a clear memory of our past. The key to America's greatness can be simply stated like this: America needs a:

Continued...


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Mike Balog

 2004/5/22 20:02Profile
crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
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 Re:

[u]Part 3[/u]

III. PERSONAL REPENTANCE OVER SIN

Let me share with you in the short time I have with you three critical things. Allow me to give you the positive results of repentance, the negative results of not repenting, and the three reasons why people just don't want to repent. We do not have time to look at all the passages of scripture this day, but allow me to tell you that we are in need of great repentance. That means an acknowledgement of personal sin, separation from God, a remorse for that sin that is separating us from God and acknowledgement of that sin that has separated us from God and a turning and a decision to walk toward righteousness.

Let me share with you first of all three positive results of repentance:

1. First of all, restoration. In Jeremiah 15:19, the scripture says: "If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me;" God will restore His children to the place of real service when they repent.

2. Second of all, there will be rejoicing. In Luke 15:7, the scripture says: "I tell you that in the same way there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."

Not only will there be rejoicing in heaven but there is rejoicing in homes when God's people repent or when anybody repents. That's where the love begins to flow when people are made right and only when there is repentance and acknowledgement of sin and asking for forgiveness can there come joy. You want joy to be in the streets again? Do you want there to come a time in our land where innocence is to be honored? It will not be by programs, it will come as a result of repentance.

3. Third of all, there will be a reception of salvation. There in Acts 2:38, the scripture says: "Peter replied, 'Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

The very thing that we need to do to have eternal life is to repent of sin. We then are baptized because of the repentance of sin and we experience the reception of God's spirit, the Holy Spirit inside of us when we repent. There are some great things that happen, we are brought back into a place to be used, there is joy and we receive salvation when we repent.

Let me give you some results of not repenting from sin. First of all:

1. There is a hardened life that occurs. In Jeremiah 5:3, the scripture says: "O Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent."

Let me tell you something, the reason why this country is getting harder, the reason why there is so much anger in the streets, the reason why people are looking older and wanting to look older, and the reason why people feel nothing is because of the lack of repentance in our land. People are insensitive to sin and therefore, they are insensitive to each other. They are turning hard, not only in face but also of a total hardened life.

2. Bondage that occurs in our life and in our country when we do not repent. Hosea 11:5 says: "Will they not return to Egypt and will not Assyria rule over them because they refuse to repent?"

What happens to us is when we don't repent, God allows other people to rule us rather than for us to be truly free. There is a cycle of culture that is seen in the Bible and seen in history that only when men repent and turn to God does He set them free from the oppressive bondage that they are in so that they can be independently free. When they choose to take lightly the grace of God and continue to stretch the mercy of God to the limit, there will come bondage. If ever there was a time that this nation is in bondage, it is now. The national debt is unbelievable. And we, in our graciousness, and in our smiles, say, "Everything is okay!" We find ourselves in bondage to an entire world that could take us down in seconds.

3. The results of not repenting happens to be the judgement of God. There in Revelation, Chapter 2, verses 21-22, God speaks to the church at Thyatira and describes to them what the scenario was and listen to the mix of mercy and grace and also the judgement that occurs for not repenting, He says: "I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways."

Folks, let me tell you this, God does send judgement, but often it comes from our own hand that has been raised with a fist toward God we beckon for the fruit of our own sinful sowing of unrighteousness and that brings on the judgement of God. Last of all:

4. There will come death for not repenting. In Luke 13, verses 3 and 5, Jesus says it very clearly, you can't get any more clear than this, He says simply to the people who were listening to Him, twice He says to them: "I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."
Then in verse 5:
"I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."

Not only will there come individual judgement upon men and women and children of this land to die, but there will come eternal separation from God if we do not repent of sin. That's what the scripture says.

Now let me give you three reasons why people don't repent. There are so many great reasons to repent, restoration, rejoicing, the reception of salvation.

But, let me give you three sad reasons why people don't repent:

1. First of all, self-righteousness. Matthew 21, verse 32 describes the scenario of many: "For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him."

Jesus castigated the Pharisees and Sadducees for they were too busy recommending themselves to God and adoring how wonderful and how positive they were rather than realizing that they were sinners in need of the grace of God. People don't repent because they will not be honest with themselves and they would rather be dishonest with themselves and see themselves as righteous when in reality they are, as the scripture says: "They are filthy rags!"

People don't repent not only because of self- righteousness, but of:

2. Second, a self-will. There in Revelation 9, verses 20 and 21, the scripture says speaking of the plagues that were falling on this land, the scripture says:

"The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood -- idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts."

Why do people not repent? Because they don't want to. They choose it themselves, "No, God, I will not turn to you!" Self-righteousness, self-willed, self- deception is also true. There in Revelation 16, verse 11, the scripture tells us that even though the judgement of God fell, even though the judgment of God will fall on someone, people do not repent. Part of verse 10 and all of 11 says: "...Men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done."

People don't repent because of self-righteousness, then self-will, finally, they don't repent because of:

3. Self-deception. Self-deception says, "It's not my fault! It's not right, God is not fair!"

Hey, if the truth is known, none of us should be alive right now. I plead for the mercy of God, not justice. And I pray that you do too. And I ask for the mercy of God on our land, not the judgement of God.

Ezekiel 18:32 says: "‘For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone,’ declares the Sovereign Lord. ‘Repent and live!’"

God doesn't want to judge you, He doesn't want to touch this land, but there will come a time of no return when the curtain will finally be drawn on a land that is in rebellion. and a world that is in rebellion. I pray today that you would realize that though you can't repent for America, you can repent for yourself and as a lot of individual selves repent, this nation can turn.

We need the hand of God. What will it take for America to be great again? The key is personal repentance over sin. But when that happens, a fourth thing will come if repentance comes and it truly will make America great again:

IV. AMERICA NEEDS A SOCIETAL RETURN TO BIBLICAL VALUES.

Jesus spoke to the church there in Ephesus and in verse 5b He says: "...do the things you did at first."

What our country needs is to return once again to decisions based upon divine counsel and heavens opinions, not political counsels and public opinions. We need to come afresh and anew and say as a nation unapologetically Psalm 119:105 is still true: "Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."

We need to come afresh and anew like our forefathers who birthed this land unashamedly, unapologetically, demanded, described, declared and lived with this nation with biblical values and biblical words and biblical commitments to the Word of God. You say, "Politicians don't do that!" Oh yes they have, and when politicians did that this nation rose to greatness. Since politicians haven't been doing that, this nation has come falling down and the hoards of satan have been rising to power because there have been no Godly men to stand in the gap. Listen to the words of these great men...

John Quincy Adams said: "The first and almost the only Book deserving of universal attention is the Bible."

Abraham Lincoln said: "All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated through this Book; but for the Book, we could not know right from wrong. All the things desirable to man are contained in it."

That's why now we are having a problem with morals, people don't know what is right or wrong, because they do not listen to the Book any longer.

Woodrow Wilson said: "...The Bible...is the one supreme source of revelation of the meaning of life, the nature of God and spiritual nature and the need of men, it is the only guide of life which really leads the spirit in the way of peace and salvation."

Andrew Jackson said: "Go to the scriptures,... the joyful promises it contains will be a balsam to all your troubles."

Calvin Coolidge said it best when he said: "The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country."

That's why we have lost our greatness. The only way to get it back, the only way is to simply have a spiritual look at our present and believe it and accept it and to have a clear, distinct memory of our past and remember like Jesus said, the height from which we have fallen. A personal repentance of sin and repent and then a return and do the things we did at first as a land and I call upon you to individually today to repent if there is sin in your life that needs to be repented of. Begin to pray for those in authority. The Bible tells us to do that and only when that happens will America ever be great again.

Oh how I long for a great awakening, such as has moved across this land in the years past and decades before many of us were ever born the only memory we have are in the writings of those whose lives were changed and whose businesses were blessed and whose families were honored. Oh how we need the Spirit of God to fall, we need a revival, a revival that comes because of real spiritual repentance.

End.
And Amen


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Mike Balog

 2004/5/22 20:12Profile
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Joined: 2004/4/23
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 Re: What America Needs To Be Great Again

First off, I have a question. Does God want America to be great again? I know and I've heard a little about our history and beginnings, but if I'm not mistaken, along with our country's roots in Christianity, our roots were also in humanism. Not all the founding fathers were Christians. So I guess you can say there was a little leven in the lump from the very beginning.

Now concerning our culture. I think it may be a fact, maybe even seen throughout the Bible, that you're always going to have a country's culture, and then you're going to have Kingdom culture. As Christians we should be more influenced by Kingdom culture than our society's culture. I don't know that you can really make an earthly culture Christian. So should we be trying to accomplish that? I think what we should be trying to accomplish is taking people out of a country's culture and leading them into Kingdom culture. Of course that can only happen through one being saved, coming into a relationship with Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit working in the heart.

Thirdly, because our culture used to be influenced a lot by Christianity, we assume that like everyone in our country had a personal relationship with God. I don't think that was ever true. And you know, I think you find out who the true believers are when there's persecution and an ungodly society. I honestly think that God has allowed these humanists, athiests, liberlists, etc. to take over more and more in our country to test those who claim to be Christians. God did it with the Israelites in the book of Judges:

[i]"The Lord left certain nations in the land to test those Israelites who had not participated in the wars of Canaan. He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle. These were the nations: the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites... These people were left to test the Israelites - to see whether they would obey the commands the Lord had given to their ancestors through Moses" (Judges 3:1-4).[/i]

In conclusion, I think God will always give us the freedom of choice and choices to choose from to test us and see if we really love Him. He did it from the beginning of time. He started by planting the Tree of Life along with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good of Evil. And maybe the same goes with our country. We started out by planting the Tree of Christianity and the Tree of Humanism, and man chose humanism which gave fruit to many other plants that tempt Christians today. But to those who truly believe, the temptations, tests, and wars will only make us stronger.

Those are my thoughts at least.


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Yolanda Fields

 2004/5/26 18:55Profile
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Joined: 2003/9/16
Posts: 474
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 Re:

Quote:
First off, I have a question. Does God want America to be great again? I know and I've heard a little about our history and beginnings, but if I'm not mistaken, along with our country's roots in Christianity, our roots were also in humanism. Not all the founding fathers were Christians.

We've always had those who sought God and those who sought mammon. I live in Virginia and my descendant was a Baptist preacher from Wales. His son became a tavern owner and was one of the founders of "Bourbon County" Kentucky. There's always been this dichotomy of sorts.

The primary difference is much of those truly sought God are now just in it for themselves. I'm concerned that believers here wake up. If we truly had 100 million believers in the U.S. would things be as they are?

I believe that the reverse of what happened in Job's life has happened to America. Satan says I'll bless America and those who say they love you will forsake you because they're more interested in their stuff then they are in you.


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Ed Pugh

 2004/5/26 19:12Profile
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Joined: 2003/10/15
Posts: 1632


 Re: greatest?

But many who seem to be important now will be the least important then, and those who are considered least here will be the greatest then. Mt 19:30

Whoever is the least among you is the greatest. Lk 9:48

in Him, chanin


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Chanin

 2004/5/26 20:19Profile





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