moses

2013-09-17 Flickers

ACH Study Groups

Ben & Fran Gilmore – Cofounders

7659 Gingerblossom Drive

Citrus Heights, CA 95621

916-722-2501 histbuff@garlic.com

www.ACHStudyGroups.com

September 17, 2013

This is a letter to our friends –

Flickers

Each morning at dawn, Fran and I share coffee at the table by the front window. For many years we have read through “The Bible In A Year”. It involves a section of the OT. NT, Psalms & Proverbs for each day of the year, Usually I will read the passages aloud (sometimes Fran reads). After reading we pray aloud about whatever is on our heart and may be on the day’s schedule. A great way to begin each day. We recommend it!

The other morning, during our prayer time, American government and our society were heavy upon my heart. I asked the Lord to forgive the nation for having so blatantly turned her back on Him. I reminded Him of everything He had invested over the centuries to teach men how to relate to Him and to one another.

It took Him 1620 years to make a Pilgrim!! After they landed and planted the seed of Christian self-government, it took another 150 years to create a nation that could illustrate His principles of civil-self-government to an astonished world.

In spite of our backsliding into a civil-war, the good fruit of that Christian form of government dwarfed the positive results of any other nation in human history!

Today, that system is still firmly in place. The words written on the paper of the Declaration and the Constitution have not been erased. “We the people” are the ones who have drifted away from our foundations. The rest of the world, even our enemies, are hoping, desperately, that we will wake up and get our act together.

If God’s illustration of civil-self-government fails and America dissolves into the ash heap of history, a sense of gloom will engulf the globe! So, my prayer, like Moses’ prayer over rebellious Israel, is, “Lord, if we fail, it will look as if your principles have failed. It will appear that men, even with YOUR help, are unable to govern themselves! Grant us mercy for your principles’ sake, rather than the justice we deserve.

Suddenly, I saw, in my mind’s eye, Ben & Fran sitting alone and quiet in prayer for America. A tiny flicker of prayer in the vast population of America. As I watched the picture, the Holy Spirit was gently blowing upon the flicker – Like one would do in camp to start a fire.

I continued watching. I could see flickers of prayer all across the nation. Praying as were we, for America. The flickers became flames nursed by the breath of the Holy Spirit. The flames burst into an inferno of answered prayers. Truth and righteousness swept through the continent. America was saved. The world rejoiced.

Scoffers may say, “It is far too late.” I reply, “It is never too late! I want to be found believing for God’s grace.”

Which Reality?

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Change of plans –

Before church today, I wrote the first half of a column about the biblical boundaries of the “promised land”. I planned to finish it this afternoon. While fellowshipping after church, a dear saint who loves the Lord and also reads these columns, approached me —

Ben, I like it that you are optimistic about America. I love it as much as you do – but – It is too late! God has to let us fall. There is just too much evil and corruption. We are the most blessed nation in history save perhaps Israel, but things keep getting worse!

I replied, “Everything you say is true – BUT – Which reality are you focusing on?”

Goliath was real. Goliath was a trained soldier who happened also to be a giant of a man. David knew that. David was also real. He was around 14and not a trained soldier. All that was reality.

David saw another reality. His God was real. His God wants to demonstrate His glory. Not because God is on an ego trip, but because people need to know God and make Him known. David saw both realities. Goliath was real. God was real. Focusing on Goliath was producing fear and defeat. Focusing on the reality that glorified God, produced victory, faith, and honor for God and man (David).

The Jews that God used Moses to lead out of slavery in Egypt were dumb and dumber! They saw the plagues on the Egyptians. They saw the “1st Passover”, when the angel of God killed all of Egypt’s first-born males. They saw their slave-masters load them down with gold, silver, all sorts of goods, and beg them to hurry and leave! They saw the waters parted. They saw the Egyptian army drown in the same waters. They saw the pillar of light leading them 24/7.

Then the first chance they got, they built a golden calf and worshipped it in God’s face – DUMB!!!

Egyptian slave-masters were real. Moses knew that. God was real. Moses saw both realities. Moses chose the reality that honored God.

God saw all that and gave up on His “chosen people”. Once before, God gave up on the human race and told Noah to build an ark. Then he flushed the race and started over. He told Moses He had decided to wipe out his people and start over with Moses.

Moses buried his nose in the sand and begged, “Don’t do it God. The world will see it and think you are a vengeful God. One to be feared and avoided. Wiping us out will give You a bad image.” The dumb people were real. God was real. Moses saw both realities. He chose the reality that honored God.

Washington lost the eight year war for American independence – until he won it! Washington saw defeat and discouragement after defeat and discouragement. The defeats were real. Washington also saw the hand of God, time after time, miraculously saving the day for another battle. God was real. Washington saw both realities. He chose the one that honored God.

Recently, I wrote, “Our chief executive appears hell bent on finding new ways to commit treason, almost daily. Our legislature is grid-locked in a socio-political conflict. Our Supreme Court justices are perverting the principles of our Constitution. What could possibly go wrong?” That is reality. God is also real.

My nose is buried in the rug (along with thousands of fellow Americans) begging God to release yet another miracle. We are reminding Him that though Americans have been as dumb as the slaves He chose to lead out of Egypt! He accepted Moses’ prayers and Moses’ concern for God’s reputation, and granted mercy rather than justice. We see both realities.

One reality demonstrates that God is just. The world will see human failure and the failure of the principles of Christian self-government. A dark cloud of hopelessness, anarchy, and confusion will cover the earth. In the other reality, God guides in the repair, rebuilding, and the restoration of America’s ship-of-state. The world sees restored faith, hope and a merciful God.

I choose to humbly join Moses and Washington in focusing upon the reality that God is bigger than the problem. When he checks in on me, I want to be found focusing upon things that bring honor to God and peace, good will to men.

What are your thoughts?

[xyz-ihs snippet=”ContactBen”]

Liberty – More Than a Word

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Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.” [2 Corinthians 3:13b]

“Liberty”, “freedom”, and “rights” are words that are tossed around freely these days. But – words mean things! When we begin looking for definitions we are drawn deeper and deeper until we reach an original statement, or a first cause.

Often that is a Bible quote like St. Paul in Corinthians (above). St Paul was a “newcomer”!! Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, David, and Moses all used the word, “liberty”! Wait – We can go back further – to Adam, a creation of God!

It is absurd to believe creation around us did not require intelligent design. Thus – This First Cause is what we call God. We can discover things about God by studying what is created.

For instance – Everything needed for a human to live a long, happy, healthy life was on earth before man was placed upon earth. Thus – God is concerned with man’s long, happy, healthy life.

God gave humans the gift of observation and reason. For example – Were you the only human on earth, you would be in a “natural state of liberty”. Because you had life, you had the liberty to gather the things needed to sustain life. Further you had the freedom to enjoy the fruit of your efforts, your property. “Life, liberty, and property”, sound familiar? That was the original text in our Declaration of Independence – “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” – rights given by God to “all men”.

Now, suppose another human is placed on earth. Two of you enjoying the “natural state of liberty”. Both of you are constrained by the law of nature – (gravity, severe weather, need for food and water, …).

Observation and reason produce another law of nature – Each of you are constrained not to violate the other’s liberty. (i.e. My space ends at the tip of your nose J).

Next – A guy and a gal make a baby. Now we have a family. Several families join to make a tribe. They are free to join the tribe, or remain in their “natural state of liberty”.

The advantage of joining the tribe –

· Mutual protection from other tribes and animals.

· Shared burdens, farming, hunting, marketing, …

· Arbitration of disputes.

· Have a voice in the formation and execution of tribal rules.

The disadvantages of joining the tribe –

· Submit to a set of tribal rules (known in advance and documented).

· Submit to the system of just arbitration of disputes.

· Submit to specified penalties for violation of tribal rules.

We call this “voluntary union”. “Government by the consent of the governed”. In all of human history, every effort to form such a government had failed – until – September of 1787.

[T]he laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” were understood by the colonial Americans to mean “the will of God” discovered by observation and reason [“natural law”] as well as by Bible truth [“revealed law”], since both come from the same source.

Americans valued their understanding of individual God-given rights to “life, liberty, and property”, they were willing to risk their lives to throw off tyrannical government. No man may touch a farthing of my property without the consent of myself, or my representative.

Upon winning independence from England, American’s had no government. They chose to unite and create one for themselves with limited authority to protect their lives, liberty, and property.

Americans have never experienced harsh tyranny as have most others in the world. Rather, we have volunteered our precious God-given liberty a bit at a time, until we are so far removed from true liberty that we have forgotten its value.

Unless we renew our understanding of the source and reason of our “natural state of liberty” we may have to purchase it anew with our own blood and tears.

[xyz-ihs snippet=”ContactBen”]

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