I will strengthen them in the LORD…

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“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!

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Keep Your Eyes Focused on God

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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!

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

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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.”

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

Constitutional Convention – Benjamin Franklin, July 28, 1787

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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.”