I will strengthen them in the LORD…

Quote

“I will strengthen them in the LORD, and in His name they will walk,” declares the LORD.  ~  Zechariah 10:12

Calvin Coolidge
Thirtieth President of the United States (1923-1929), stated:

“The strength of our country is the strength of its religious convictions.  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.”

four-chariots-zechariah-6

Zechariah 6 speaks of the four chariots, the four spirits of heaven, going forth after standing before the LORD of all the earth to patrol the globe.  The overriding purpose of the dreams and visions given to Zechariah is to show the people of God how great His love and care are for them and to provoke them to love and good works.  Our King is coming, and He will reign forever and ever!

Keep Your Eyes Focused on God

Quote

I have the most animating confidence that the present noble struggle for liberty will terminate gloriously for America.  And let us play the man for our God, and for the cities of our God; whilst we are using the means in our power, let us humbly commit our righteous cause to the great Lord of the Universe [Psalm 37:5], who loveth righteousness and hateth iniquity [Hebrews 1:9].  And having secured the approbation of our hearts by a faithful and unwearied discharge of our duty to our country, let us joyfully leave our concerns in the hands of Him [1 Peter 5:7] Who raiseth up and pulleth down the empires and kingdoms of the world as He pleases [Daniel 2:21]; and with cheerful submission to His sovereign will [Job 22:21], devoutly say, “Although the fig tree shall not blossom neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labor of the olive shall fail and the field shall yield not meat, the flock shall be cut off from the fold and there shall be no herd in the stalls, yet we will rejoice in the Lord, we will joy in the God of our salvation” [Habakkuk 3:17-18].

~ Founding Father John Hancock, 1774

Let the faith of the founders, who found their joy in the Lord, be an encouragement that when our eyes are fixed on Him as the source of our joy, He who is King over everything can overrule the tyranny of our circumstance!

Speak the Truth in Love

speaking-truth-in-loveWhile our shame and insecurity make it hard to hear a reproof, it makes it just as hard to deliver one. Many Christians, rather than speak the truth about issues the Bible clearly addresses, fearing the discomfort of offending anyone, prefer to be non-confrontational and often elevate it to a near virtue. That wasn’t the example Jesus set. We are to speak the truth in love, sacrificing neither, but notice Jesus’ description of His own mission:

Matthew 10:34-38 (NIV)

34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Jesus’ reference that he came to bring a sword is not saying that he came to bring violence; rather, he came to speak the truth – to confront where it was needed; and clearly spoken words can sometimes cut just as deeply as any sword. We must not be afraid to speak the truth when it is needed or to embrace the truth when those close to us may not. Jesus did not say he desired to divide; it’s just that the sword of truth may well do so.

Far too many Christians have wrongly believed that it is unChristian to offend others, and consequently a love of the truth has too frequently been sacrificed to a fear of hurting someone’s feelings. According to the Bible, both delivering and accepting reproof are virtues, and we would do well to practice both. If we remain silent, how will people come to know the truth? We need to be people of confidence and fearless love for God, people and truth. If the Bible speaks about an issue, so should we – with the same loving and eternal clarity the Bible uses.
(Taken from article in The Founders Bible by David Barton and Brad Cummings)

…and if I perish, I perish. ~ Esther 4:16

Quote

Samuel Adams, one of the Founding Fathers and called “the Father of the American Revolution,” stated:

“The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.  We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence.  It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men.”

Kelly Monroe Kullberg – Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration

Kelly Monroe Kullberg will be speaking to us this coming Monday, September 9, 2013 concerning her work as the founder of Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration.

http://evangelicalsforbiblicalimmigration.com/read-the-letter/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Evangelicals-for-Biblical-Immigration-EBI/208457102639014

Kelly will share her journey of faith outside the relative safety of the ivory towers and into the battle for our nation. David, her novelist husband, is to blame for Kelly’s wake-up call. He will join her.

In 2000, David wrote the novel, The War Against God which, years later, catalyzed the Kullberg’s interest in the funding streams and rhetorical strategies of “evangelicals” behind the Obama administration and its policies. They’ll be telling this story of life imitating art. Of truth even stranger than fiction.

Conversation will include the whole counsel of Scripture in relation to the immigration bill and the “evangelical leaders” promoting it. While we all may agree that reform is necessary, we do not all agree that the 1,200-page Gang of Eight bill is the needed reform.

Kelly founded The Veritas Forum now in 130 universities around the world contending for the truth, Veritas, of Jesus Christ. She edited/co-authored bestseller Finding God at Harvard and authored the sequel, Finding God Beyond Harvard: The Quest for Veritas. Together the Kullbergs co-authored A Faith and Culture Devotional.

UALC – The Church at Mill Run, Room 2031 or 3002 (check lobby sign – room could change)
3500 Mill Run Drive, Hilliard, OH

Calling the Nation to Prayer and Fasting

(Portions taken from “The Founders Bible” Calling the Nation to Prayer and Fasting, pp 711-715)

In Ezra 7, Babylonian King Artaxerxes commissioned the priest Ezra to gather Jewish captives, return to their ancient homeland, rebuild the holy temple in Jerusalem, which had lain in ruins for decades, and also set up a separate civil government.  In chapter 8, Ezra assembled the people, but before they set out on their trek:

 21 There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. 22 I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.

He called for a time of fasting and prayer so the group could beseech the Lord’s intervention and assistance; and as Ezra attested, God answered their prayers.  They journeyed safely to Jerusalem and successfully restored both the temple and civil government in their homeland.

The practice of calling the nation to a time of corporate prayer and fasting is repeated frequently throughout the Scriptures. I want to focus on two of those occasions.

In late 1860, it appeared that a national conflict was soon to begin, so President James Buchanan called the nation to a time of prayer and fasting, reminding the country:

 “In this the hour of our calamity and peril, to whom shall we resort for relief but to the God of our fathers? His omnipotent arm only can save us from the awful effects of our own crimes and follies — our own ingratitude and guilt towards our Heavenly Father.

 

Let us, then, with deep contrition and penitent sorrow, unite in humbling ourselves before the Most High, in confessing our individual and national sins, and in acknowledging the injustice of our punishment. Let us implore Him to remove from our hearts that false pride of opinion which would impel us to persevere in wrong for the sake of consistency, rather than yield a just submission to the unforeseen exigencies by which we are now surrounded. Let us with deep reverence beseech him to restore the friendship and good will which prevailed in former days among the people of the several States; and, above all, to save us from the horrors of civil war and “blood-guiltiness.” Let our fervent prayers ascend to His Throne that He would not desert us in this hour of extreme peril, but remember us as he did our fathers in the darkest days of the revolution; and preserve our Constitution and our Union, the work of their hands, for ages yet to come.

 

An Omnipotent Providence may overrule existing evils for permanent good. He can make the wrath of man to praise Him, and the remainder of wrath he can restrain. — Let me invoke every individual, in whatever sphere of like he may be placed, to feel a personal responsibility to God and his country for keeping this day holy, and for contributing all in his power to remove our actual and impending calamities.” 1

President Abraham Lincoln, while in the midst of the bloody Civil War, called the nation to a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer, explaining in most profound terms:

 “Whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord;

 

And, insomuch as we know that by His divine law nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

 

It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness…..   ….All this being done in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the divine teachings that the united cry of the nation will be heard on high and answered with blessings no less than the pardon of our national sins and the restoration of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of unity and peace.”2

Times of corporate humiliation and prayer were called in time of national danger and also in times of national tragedy.  America has a long history of following the Biblical precedent of observing times of spiritual discipline that every Christian would do well to personally develop (Matthew 9:15).  Jesus noted that some situations in our lives change only through prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21), and it allows us to spend time in concentrated prayer in our relationship with the Lord.

Now, therefore, in compliance with ancient tradition and in light of the speech given today by President Obama seeking approval to bomb Syria –  I do by this proclamation, call all citizens to national humiliation, repentance, fasting and prayer.  And I do hereby request all people to abstain from ordinary pursuits, and to unite at their places of public worship and respective homes, in keeping themselves holy to the Lord and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to solemn occasions.

May God save us…

1 – http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=3587 
2 – http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=69891

Summer Picnic Plans!

FOOFers,

Our summer picnic is scheduled for Monday, June 17th from 7-9 PM @ the Fancyburg Park shelter house.  A map is shown on this link.
http://www.meetup.com/The-Central-Ohio-912-Meetup-Group/events/120013122/

Please invite your friends and neighbors to this Fellowship of Believers!  Fancyburg has a great playground for kids!

I have invited a young Wycliffe Bible Translator missionary friend to join us!  Hasso Pape (www.wycliffe.me/hasso) grew up in Upper Arlington, and is preparing to join a team of software developers in Texas to create programs that assist translators with storing, sorting, comparing and preparing data for publication, allowing technology to tackle tedious translation tasks.  Wycliffe is committed to seeing Scripture translation in progress for every language still needing a Bible in their own mother tongue by 2025.  (http://www.wycliffe.org)  Hasso will spend a few minutes sharing his work and inviting us to join him in the process of bringing the Word of God to remote people groups.

At our last meeting, we collected enough money to pay for the facility rental.  Since it would be incredibly hard (and expensive) to anticipate how much meat to purchase for grilling, we will supply the charcoal and have a fire burning and ready for any meat each of you want to bring.  (Please bring any needed buns as well.)

In addition, we will set up tables for pot luck contributions.   If everyone brings one entrée or side item, and one dessert (knowing how FOOFers like sweets), there should be plenty for all…!

I will bring table settings, paper products and condiments – and will have coolers of ice with a selection of drinks available.  You are encouraged to bring additional beverages as desired.  (Per UA park policies, alcohol is prohibited in parks and facilities at all times.)

Please respond to this post if you intend to come, with a number estimate (kids and adults).

Join us as we imitate the pattern set up for us by the early church!
Acts 2:42  “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

We Are The Church!

Julie
Faith of Our Fathers

Constitutional Convention – Benjamin Franklin, July 28, 1787

Quote

benjamin-franklin“In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection.  Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered.  All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in our favor.

“And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend?  Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?  I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God Governs in the affairs of men.  And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?

To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity.  We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labour 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: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

“I therefore beg leave 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.”

Will We Succeed?

When I first accepted Jesus as LORD of my life at 25, I was grateful for his merciful forgiveness.  My walk was full of passionate glee at the fresh start!  I was discipled by mature Christians to focus on the Cross of Christ and meditate on the Resurrection.  In prayer, I stood among the crowd in front of Pilate until realizing that I was among those screaming, “Crucify him!”  The terror of my selfish demand that the Author of Life die in my place was sickening. I had to get a closer look at Jesus.

As my prayers changed to remorse, I caught glimpses of Jesus carrying his cross and presumptuously offered myself in place of Simon of Cyrene.  What personal folly that revealed!  My own tragic immaturity and hunger for significance assaulted me.  I was unworthy.  Not only was I a master at concealing sin (even from myself), I discovered that I wasted much life actually NURTURING my offenses.  Shame turned to shock when I realized Jesus was helping ME carry my own cross…

at-the-foot-of-the-cross-01How many lifetimes have I lingered in the mud below the Cross of Christ?  How often have I begged that His shed blood would cleanse me?  My petty opinions and creative evils torment my soul.  “Save me, Lord, from my corrupt mind and heart!  Crucify me instead!”

Love for Jesus.  Willingness to embrace the horror of the Cross.  Acceptance of guilt and the overwhelming realization that Jesus completes all creation…  Total forgiveness.  Transforming joy.

Then the whisper, “Stand up, learn from me.”

Galatians is a cannonball shot over the bow, exclaiming Christian freedom.  We face an epic battle against rulers, powers, increasing world darkness, and spiritual wickedness (Ephesians 6).  We must learn to stand.  We will succeed in our struggle – if we fear God and repent of our sins.

Galatians 2:20 (NASB)  I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.