Happy Birthday, U.S.A! #TraditionallySouthside

Well, it has been a while since I have had the opportunity to post a blog. Things have been rather busy of late as we have gotten ready for our huge Celebrate America program this past Sunday. I decided to break my silence by sharing my thoughts on our program: it was fantastic. Each year I hear the words, “This was the best ever.” And I believe it is true. Wayne and Peggy Baggett do an outstanding job putting this program together every year, but they would be the first to tell you that it is a team effort with dozens of people joining in to make it happen. I don’t say that to minimize the work they do because it is an incredible thing, but there are many who spent hour after hour working to make this program happen. So thank you to everyone who participated in the effort. I am proud to be the pastor of a church who presents what I believe to be the premier patriotic program in North Alabama.

The other day, however, I read an article stating that Christians should not be patriotic. I don’t know if that was the actual intent of the author, but that was the takeaway. He/she made statements that America is not the chosen people of God (well, duh!) and that patriotism turned nations into idols (really?). I can’t help but think about how Paul encouraged Christians to be good citizens of a government that was completely anti-Christian, and I wonder how he would respond to a government like ours. Yes, it is flawed. Yes, it is becoming more flawed every day. And yes, we are quickly descending the slippery slope of moral decline into an abyss of depravity like we have never known in this country. We have strayed far from our roots – far from the biblical foundation upon which this nation was founded. But we still have the freedom to worship as we please – at least for now. So I cannot help but think that the apostle who instructed his readers to obey the laws of the land and to pray for their leaders would rejoice in this grand experiment called the United States of America.

I believe that as the Psalmist said, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord….” Yes, this was written to his people Israel, but as I read the history of these United States, it is obvious that God also blesses other nations when they build their government on scriptural principles. With that said, I also believe that the only hope for our nation is the hope that God gave to King Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7. “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” However, these verses are directed not at a political entity but at God’s people. While I do not believe that the church is the New Testament replacement for Israel, I do believe that this promise is extended to His people, the body of Christ. So it is up to us as Christians to follow the prescription presented by the Divine Physician if we are to have any hope of becoming a blessed nation once again!

Happy birthday, U.S.A! You are the land of the free and the home of the brave!

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