Can Our Christian Liberty Be Taken From Us?

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Can our Christian liberty be taken from us?

Jul 6, 2020

 Can our Christian liberty be taken from us? From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Q: I heard a song about the Statue of Liberty that symbolizes our freedom as Americans and what it means to give allegiance to this great nation. It also rang with a wonderful message that the cross of Jesus Christ is the Christian’s Statue of Liberty. Our liberties are being taken away, can our Christian liberty be taken from us? – S.L.

A: During the national observance of the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor there was a great emphasis on the number of legal immigrants who had left everything behind in their mother countries. Coming to America with nothing but the clothes on their backs, they risked their lives for something they valued and wanted: freedom. They did not take their adopted country’s hard-won freedom for granted.

Their experience is a picture of what we must do when we come to Christ. Christians around the world recognize that we must forsake our allegiance to this world, leave behind all that it offers, and become citizens of a new kingdom – the kingdom of God. His statue of liberty is represented by the cross that Jesus died on to win liberty for the hearts and souls of people around the world.

As long as we are on this earth, we possess dual citizenship as citizens of our nation and the kingdom of God, but our supreme loyalty is to the King of kings and Lord of lords, and the liberty He offers is secured forever.

The Bible says, “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25).

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(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

(c)2020 BILLY GRAHAM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

From Dr. Jim Denison:

Can God bless America? 

This was a Fourth of July unlike any in living memory. But even with the pandemic and recession, I am grateful to be an American. Every time I travel overseas, when I return, I’m glad to be home.

And I pray for my country to be a nation God can bless.

The psalmist declared, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12). His statement assumes that every nation has a god of some kind. Theologian Paul Tillich was right: we all have an “ultimate concern”—something or someone that we trust above all others.

Some trust the god of Islam, others the path to nirvana taught by Buddhism, the way of moksha (salvation) in Hinduism, or the laws of Judaism. Still others trust the gods of materialism, hedonism, or self-reliance.

To be “blessed,” however, a nation must make their God the “Lord.” This rendering of God’s name, with a capital L and “ord” in small caps, translates the Hebrew YHWH, often transliterated as Yahweh. This is the name God disclosed to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14); it describes him as the “God who was, is, and ever shall be.”

To be blessed, our nation must make this God our God. We must use the freedom we celebrated over the weekend to trust in him unconditionally and unreservedly as our Lord, Master, and King. Such a commitment does not earn his favor, but it positions us to receive his best.

Wherever he is our Lord, we can be blessed as people and as a nation. Wherever he is not, we cannot.

Here’s the question: Is America a people God can bless today? Are you? Am I?

“In your presence there is fullness of joy” 

This week, we will focus on ways to be a nation God can bless. For today, let’s ask: How do we trust God more than ourselves or our circumstances?

At least thirteen people were killed in Chicago over the weekend, including a seven-year-old girl. At least fifty-nine others were shot and wounded. Soaring COVID-19 cases overshadowed July 4 celebrations. Broadway star Nick Cordero’s wife announced yesterday that he had died from coronavirus complications at the age of forty-one.

The challenges we face show us the urgency of making the Lord our God. How can we do this today?

If you were to compile a list of the greatest kings, leaders, warriors, theologians, writers, and musicians the world has ever seen, David would be on it. If your list required that a candidate be all six, he might be its only entry.

And yet he wrote: “I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you” (Psalm 16:2). What follows is a masterful exposition of the joy of trusting in YHWH and the foolishness of trusting in anyone else.

David knew what happens to those who trust someone other than the one true God: “The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply” (v. 4a). Thus, he said, “Their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips” (v. 4b).

Rather, he testified, “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup” (v. 5). He added, “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken” (v. 8, my emphasis). With this result: “Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure” (v. 9).

He concludes: “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (v. 11).

“My temple and my tower” 

Would you would like to know the “path of life,” true “fullness of joy,” and God’s “pleasures forevermore”? In other words, would you like to live a life God can bless?

If so, I invite you to pause right now and make three decisions.

First, ask God if there is any area of your life over which he is not Lord. Surrender to him anything or anyone that comes to your mind.

Second, name the circumstances and challenges you expect to face today, then submit them to his lordship as well.

Third, make a commitment to make such a surrendered life your lifestyle.

The hymn, “All My Hope on God is Founded,” contains this declaration:

Pride of man and earthly glory,
Sword and crown betray his trust;
All that human toil can fashion,
Tower and temple, fall to dust.
But God’s power, hour by hour,
Is my temple and my tower. 

What is yours?

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