TGIF

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74 Responses

  1. Babylon's Dread aka Alan Hawkins says:

    We’ve done worse… daily

  2. Jtk says:

    Can we really leave out the 3,000 babies, each with a measureable heart rate and measureable brains waves at 4 weeks old? 50 million total. 28 million of which would be 16-39 years old? (Think THAT affects immigration rates, those who pay into the system in taxes insurance and more?!?!)

  3. Jtk says:

    We need GRACE…it’s unnerving living completely dependent on grace.

    But we better do it anyway!

    I keep thinking, what if we Christians actually have to dependent on Jesus’ promises of scripture and not the flesh and fleshly structures we’ve built to “provide” for us….

    There are many times in the past 200+ years in America alone that believers HAVE….and we can’t ignore those. We may even need those testimonies!

  4. Michael says:

    JTK,

    Yes, we could add that and other things to the list…which strengthens my point.
    I’m off to work…

  5. Reuben says:

    God Bless Michael for posting this profound truth.

  6. nomans says:

    Best. Tgif. Ever.

  7. Another Voice says:

    Define ‘bless’ (others can since I know Michael has to work)

  8. filbertz says:

    Well said, and very truthful. I hope many will forward this, link it, and spread it around. Grace is perhaps the most misunderstood, misapplied, and under-utilized aspect of the Christian faith.

  9. Another Voice says:

    May I simply add that ‘God shed His grace on thee’ is a REQUEST, not a statement of fact in that song. The rest of the lyrics likewise are filled with REQUESTS.

    It’s what makes the song so special to me. It is a prayer of sorts, not a history lesson. Of course, nobody sings the whole thing very often.

    http://www.scoutsongs.com/lyrics/americathebeautiful.html

  10. Andy says:

    I can’t speak for America. I can speak for me. Jesus will continue to bless me 🙂

  11. Can someone give me ANY evidence that God has blessed America – beyond any general blessing or grace that any other nation has received?

  12. Kevin H says:

    Excellent, Michael, just excellent!

  13. Kevin H says:

    If we look at the history of our nation and compare it with the history of all other nations, both past and present, I think God’s blessings on this nation become pretty apparent. Over the history of time, it would be pretty hard to find many other nations that have enjoyed the same level of freedom, liberty, and prosperity that our nation has enjoyed and continues to enjoy for the most part. Can we with certainty identify a definite specific blessing from God on this nation? I would say no. But in a general sense, it certainly seems as God has blessed this country more than most others.

  14. KevinH,
    ” that have enjoyed the same level of freedom, liberty, and prosperity that our nation has enjoyed and continues to enjoy for the most part.”

    I agree that we have all of these things, but why would we think these are blessings from God – especially the prosperity?

    On the flip side, I think a country that has “less” than America, would be in a position to blame God for not blessing them.

    The theology of glory looks at our circumstances and says I am doing well, God must be blessing me – or I am in real trouble, God must be mad at me. The mega churches do this all the time – look how God has blessed our church – they look to the circumstances – or look at that small church down the street, too bad God is not blessing them like us.

    The theology of the cross looks at things how they are – and sees our only blessing being Jesus, hanging dead on the cross.

  15. kevinh15 says:

    MLD,

    I believe that God gives us things to enjoy and they are a blessing from Him. Or it could be looked at as God’s grace toward us. These blessings can come in any form: physical, emotional, spiritual, etc. Now by no means should we expect these blessings because of anything we have done. It is purely by God’s good grace that we receive blessings in any form.

  16. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Of course it’s posssible that God has both blessed our Country and has also Judged it.

  17. Another Voice says:

    I guess we all can interpret history in our own way. However, one thing I think we would have to admit is that if we allow for God to bless our nation (or any nation) then we MUST allow for Him to discipline and judge that nation. You can’t have one without the other.

    The timing and magnitude of the blessings and cursings are open to subjective interpretation – usually through a partisan lens of some sort.

  18. PP Vet says:

    Bravo, Michael, truly eloquent.

    Put that on parchment, and we can sell it at homeschool conventions.

    However – as a former teacher I have to impose a mandatory 10 point deduction for placing a comma in the possessive pronoun “its”.

    I mention that only because when you’re famous and they start reading this at inaugurations and stuff a lot of retired English teachers would harass you over it.

    But that is still on A nevertheless.

  19. Another Voice says:

    A formerly very good friend of mine from back in High School that I have connected with again through facebook after 25 years challenges me strongly when I have written about the blessing of God on the founding of this nation.

    He’s black you see….

  20. Josh Hamrick says:

    Yep. Precious Puritans.

  21. Em says:

    “America, America, it was never about how good and godly we were.

    America, America, God shed His grace on thee…”

    it was good to turn to the PhxP and see this this morning

    we don’t know WHY God shed His grace on us in His plan of history, but He did … and i’m sure the country will function better if we’d only respect Him for His mercies …

  22. Kevin H says:

    While I believe God has blessed this country in an overall general sense, I believe he could also choose to end/reduce that general blessing and allow us to have to deal more strongly with consequences and ramifications of our sins. Call that judgment if you like. I don’t see it exactly in that manner. But at the very least, as Michael pointed out in his article, our nation has a history of having done some pretty terrible things and yet God has still blessed this country (again as I see it as being in an overall general sense). How anybody can point to any specific current event and say, “Yup, there it is. God is definitely going to get us now”, is beyond me.

  23. Alex says:

    Have to comment on this one…that’s a great article. Very provocative…and it pricks, b/c there’s a lot of truth in there.

  24. kevinh15 says:

    One further thought on prosperity being a blessing. I certainly am far from a health and wealth guy. In fact, most of those guys disgust me. But I do believe prosperity can be a blessing that God gives to us. We can also take that prosperity and use it as anything but a blessing. But God’s purpose in blessing is good.

    If we look in the OT, I believe we see plenty of instances where material things are depicted as a blessing from God. In the NT, the emphasis on God’s blessings is different. However, at the same time, I don’t believe it says anywhere in the NT that material things or prosperity are no longer a blessing from God.

  25. Another Voice says:

    1) I believe in the blessing of God upon the nations whose God is the LORD (Psalm 33) Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach (Prov 14)

    2) I believe in the blessing of God upon nations that do not honor Him as He uses them for His purposes (Babylon in the past..maybe Japan in the 80s or China today)

    3) I believe in the blessing of God known as common grace to all people.

    4) I believe Satan is the god of this world and all the kingdoms are also his to do with as he desires (while under the overall sovereignty of God)

    5) I believe America is most definitely in decline and will go the way of all nations, and far earlier than most of the prior great kingdoms that lasted 500+ years or more often. The only question is will there be a new kingdom that arises from the ashes (like Egypt experienced a couple times).

    6) I believe that decline did NOT in any way start last Tuesday, or four years ago for that matter. Much like most European nations, there can certainly be an enjoyment of the legacy of blessing long after a nation has rejected the LORD as their God.

  26. Another Voice says:

    I thought two Bible references did not lead to moderation? Or am I in trouble again?

  27. Em says:

    patriotism is an interesting animal … i, myself, think that prior to the end of WW2 the engine that drove patriotism in this country was made up of one part desperation and fear of what our immigrant citizenry had left behind and one part ambition to get a piece of the pie called the United States (or Canada) that was baking on the North American continent

    after the win of 1945, we found ourselves sitting on a pile of success and geared up for more … we were seeing ourselves as heroes, modest and, we thought wise, we invited the rest of the world to let us help them do it our way and Eisenhower declared that we were “one nation, under God, indivisible” …

    turned out that didn’t set well once we found out that God was dead, our Savior was science and reason; it was incumbent upon the educators to save mankind … God became the Loch Ness monster and Christians were those guys out there in a row boat looking for it

    patriotism is a dangerous animal (as are we) – IMHO – joining in praying for the grace of God

  28. Kevin H says:

    I beleive I didn’t clrify what I see as the biggest blessing God has given to America. And that is an environment where Christianity can thrive and the gift and blessing of salvation is enjoyed by many. This would be a big part of the blessings of freedom and liberty that I previously expressed.

  29. filbertz says:

    Patriotism tends to allow folks to gloss over the exceptions and focus on the high points. An honest appraisal of our nation’s history leads to a conclusion of God’s grace as opposed to His reward.

  30. Kevin H says:

    One last thought before I must run. I agree with AV’s 5th point in his #26. I too think America is in decline and probably won’t last as long as some of the great kingdoms of the past. But I think just the fact that this country has been able to achieve the level that is seen as a “Great Kingdom” throughout history I believe is evidence enough that God has blessed us. Regardless for whatever reasons God has chosen to bless us. Only a very small percentage of nations over the history of time have been able to enjoy what we have been able to.

  31. Em says:

    #26 AV – amen to all six points – may God increase our understanding

  32. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    I never had any use for Patriotism, most of it is shallow. Now I do not take away the sacrifice and bravery of soliders of the past but I can’t find myself cheerleading a War that kills anyone. Last time I checked, Iraq’s, Afghani’s, Iranians, Palestians were all created by God and are no less my fellow MAN that any red blooded American. My citzenship is Heaven and I am only passing through here. My concern is for souls to be saved not for the affairs of this World.

  33. Em says:

    patriotism, “my country! right or wrong!” … anyone who takes exception to that statement must also take exception to prevailing, contemporary viewpoint (even among Christians) that says, “my kid! right or wrong!” … we may have an ideal that our flaws will be resolved “behind closed doors?” – government and family … and i don’t know where i stand on either statement

  34. Another Voice says:

    I am engaged because this is a very important topic. Michael gave example of the way Obama’s election is interpreted by some. However, we see this all the time whenever a large hurricane or earthquake or tornado hits and takes lives and causes damage. Are these the ‘judgement of God’ in some direct way? If God blesses, must He not also judge/discipline or at the least (nodding to Kevin) remove the hand of grace a little.

    As I said earlier, we all can interpret history differently. For starters, was the Declaration a just document? Does the argument of that text wash in the eyes of the Lord. Michael mentioned we rebelled against a legitimate sovereign but the whole POINT of the Declaration (and the men who signed it) was that England was no longer a legitimate sovereign and the colonists DUTY before God was to declare their independence.

    Of course, some may argue with that view. But it is sort of an important starting point IMO.

    http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

  35. covered says:

    Hey Sol Rod, God also created Satan, Hitler, Stalin, Hussein and countless other murderers. What you fail to recognize is that (hopefully), you have something inside of you that seperates you from them and makes you different.

    I will be headed to the Syrian border soon to bring medicine, food and Jesus to children who have had their parents killed in front of them, who have had their genitals electrocuted and who have been tortured. In my mind, the people who do such things should be put to death without hesitation. Those who commit such horrendous acts deserve to die and they are nothing like you and I. Their blood may be red but they are not the same. Rev. 6:10.

  36. covered – what a great comment at #36 … off to run errands and ponder the absolutes of a Holy God as well as His mercies

  37. Rob Murphy says:

    #36. That is right. I agree with Em. (great post on post WW2, btw, Miss Em)

  38. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Covered said:

    “Hey Sol Rod, God also created Satan, Hitler, Stalin, Hussein and countless other murderers. What you fail to recognize is that (hopefully), you have something inside of you that seperates you from them and makes you different.”

    Umm I never mentioned those men, I’m talking about the vast innocent lives that killed anytime war breaks out.

  39. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    correction: I’m talking about the vast innocent lives that get killed anytime war breaks out.

  40. It’s really funny that whenever I ask Christians to list for me the last 5 blessings they got from God, they always, and I mean always list positive things. When I ask them why they leave out the bad things they just stare at me.
    When I explain that all things from God, whether we think good or bad) are blessings, they usually walk away.

    Christians are no better at recognizing God’s work than the non believer.

  41. Ixltan says:

    I have heard how God is now going to judge American because we elected an ungodly president….like that is anything new…..

    What is even more disturbing are the Christians that I have heard that really want judgment to fall…. They better read the book of Habakkuk.

    What this tells me is that these people want sacrifice rather than mercy. Their indignation is a stench in the nostrils of God.

  42. Ixtlan says:

    Can someone delete my #41 that was moderated?

    I have heard how God is now going to judge American because we elected an ungodly president….like that is anything new…..

    What is even more disturbing are the Christians that I have heard that really want judgment to fall…. They better read the book of Habakkuk.

    What this tells me is that these people want sacrifice rather than mercy. Their indignation is a stench in the nostrils of God.

  43. Another Voice says:

    MLD, that is a bridge too far. The word blessing means “good-word”

    eulogia, eulogeo

    Your point about receiving all things from God is valid, but nowhere in the Bible are those negative things called blessings. Paul called the one he got a minister of Satan, a thorn in the flesh. Yes, God used it for a good purpose (as all things), but the word blessing is not applied.

    Job recognized that evil was also sent from God…but he did call it evil in contrast to good. Job 2:10

  44. Lutheran says:

    I have a hard time with the notion that in this era, God has some kind of special relationship with any nation. That strikes me as a much more OT notion. The NT emphasis is that God in Christ has reconciled the world to himself and His people are to carry that message and live Christlike lives in their vocations, no matter the government.

    If you believe that America has such a special relationship, why is it we always wind up with buffoons like John Hagee and the late Jerry Falwell. Why are these people always so punitive, anyway?

  45. covered says:

    Sorry Sol Rod, I must have misunderstood you. I thought that you said, “Last time I checked, Iraq’s, Afghani’s, Iranians, Palestians were all created by God and are no less my fellow MAN that any red blooded American.” As a people group, Americans don’t support the actions of many of those who “share your blood”. I am grateful & blessed to live in a country where Patriots see to it that we can have our own opinions…

  46. AV,
    1.) I specified to Christians
    2.) Are you going to make the case that if God delivers something that WE see as bad that he has not done so for our good????? Is not God’s discipline for our good?
    3.) If something is for our good, is it not a blessing? You live too much in the present. Something delivered by God, that we thought was bad, we now look on as a blessing – NOT that God ended up by using it for good – he always intended it for good.

  47. covered says:

    Great point Lutheran. I agreee that God sees 2 groups of people. Those who believe and will be saved and those who don’t and won’t.

  48. Another Voice says:

    MLD, I think I was clear. I know the literal meanings of words is not as important for your hermeneutics as mine. 🙂

    My suggestion is that the next time you want to play a gotcha game with someone in the Body of Christ, just ask them about God’s work in their life – you will probably get a similar answer (only good things) and then you can proceed to make your point in a way that does not require a redefinition of a commonly understood word.

    If you invent new meanings for words that even the Bible does not use, then you can’t really crow when the people you talk to seem to not understand you. 😉

    You don’t really think the unexpected, sudden loss of a child should be described with the words “a blessing from God”, do you?

  49. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Covered said;
    “Sorry Sol Rod, I must have misunderstood you. I thought that you said, “Last time I checked, Iraq’s, Afghani’s, Iranians, Palestians were all created by God and are no less my fellow MAN that any red blooded American.” As a people group, Americans don’t support the actions of many of those who “share your blood”. I am grateful & blessed to live in a country where Patriots see to it that we can have our own opinions…”

    Yes those people from other countries where we either were, are or possibly going to be at war are no less my fellow Man than people that live in the U.S.

  50. Another Voice says:

    Lutheran, my gift to you to expand your buffoon category since you seem to only see one-side of the buffoonery.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Gospel-According-Apostle-Barack/dp/1468587021

    I might add one significant difference is this woman is actually a college professor shaping the minds of students paying tuition for an education, and not simply a loudmouth preacher.

  51. But then I don’t see the loss of a child as a direct act from God either.

  52. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “Poorly wriiten to make a fast buck, it could best be described as the rantings of a lunatic. The thought process is bizarre at best. You’d be better off reading the back of a cereal box.”

    This made me laugh

  53. Josh Hamrick says:

    In fairness, Jerry Falwell shaped a lot of minds. I don’t like his public image, but I have to say, I talked to someone this summer who knew him personally and I have a whole new admiration for the man. People are complex.

  54. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “People are complex.”

    Yup they sure are. How many Christians would admire David or King Solomon if they were alive today with all the flaws, sins and personality quirks they had

  55. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Many Christians tend to want their leaders squeky clean on the outside rather than rough around the edges

  56. Josh Hamrick says:

    I always thought the beatitudes were interesting in who Jesus said was blessed. I mean it wasn’t the rich guy, or the president, or the guy dancing in the streets.

  57. Alex says:

    To AV’s “I believe” whatever that was above:

    I believe Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden etc are not very Christian and is more “prosperous” and blessed with a better quality of life:

    Here’s the list for 2012:

    THE PROSPERITY INDEX
    TOP 25
    1 – Norway
    2 – Denmark
    3 – Sweden
    4 – Australia
    5 – New Zealand
    6 – Canada
    7 – Finland
    8 – Netherlands
    9 – Switzerland
    10 – Ireland
    11 – Luxembourg
    12 – U.S.
    13 – UK
    14 – Germany
    15 – Iceland
    16 – Austria
    17 – Belgium
    18 – Hong Kong
    19 – Singapore
    20 – Taiwan
    21 – France
    22 – Japan
    23 – Spain
    24 – Slovenia
    25 – Malta

    I believe that God sets up kings and kingdoms and knocks them down.

    I believe that most of the Empires and kingdoms of men throughout history who had wealth and were ‘blessed’…were not “Christian”

    I believe you don’t know what you’re talking about as usual, with respect to the full context and full balance of Scripture and history

  58. It’s funny that none of the top 5 countries have anything close to an open border policy or a free work program – you know the one, sneak in, get a job under the table and collect all the social benefits.

  59. Another Voice says:

    I’m shocked. Alex somehow read one or two lines out of a whole post, ignored the rest, then jumped in with both feet to say how wrong I am.

    Who would have guessed? First day I’ve interacted here in quite awhile too. Again, who would have guessed?

    I’ve learned long ago future discussion is futile. Especially with a guy who apparently thinks Christianity had nothing to do with the history of nations like Norway, Denmark and Sweeden.

  60. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    I wonder if the Native Anericans left over from the massacre of their people think this is Christian Nation

  61. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    I wonder what the Native Americans think of the Declaration Independece

  62. Lutheran says:

    #50

    AV,

    I hadn’t seen that book. Thanks. I think. 🙂

    Any attempt at utopianism like this book should be given the raspberries, for sure.

    If she’s speaking “for God,” that makes it even worse. That’s what I don’t like about people like Hagee. I suppose most people tune guys like him out, anyway.

  63. At any given moment the concept of God blessing or cursing a nation is absolutely ridiculous. This is about, as Michael has pointed out, grace, and grace is unmerited favor to individuals, not “a collective”, not “a tribe”, not “a people”. Our religion has evolved from that Bronze Age way of seeing the world.

    God is intimately involved with each of us as individuals and that covenant relationship means I have a responsibility to love mercy, do justly, and walk humbly before God and man. Everything else is purely an addendum to what is before me and as His child and ambassador to the individual in front of me, at least according to Jesus, I’m to let my light shine in such a manner that the person comes away glorifying Jesus’ Father in Heaven, not the country of my birth, the people I descend from or even the flag I live under. It is by the fruit of my life that the expression of God’s grace is felt in the borders of the country & political identity I find myself in.

  64. #57, most people here do know what they’re talking about … that doesn’t mean that there isn’t another angle, a clarification or more to be added to what was said … and some plain disagreements with conclusions … that’s why i keep my posts scattered and confusing 😆

  65. #58 ? i seem to recall reading that Sweden has a town where the police are afraid to enter because of its hostile Muslim population …

  66. i wonder if it is possible to clean house – to eliminate that list of sign-ins? – i always forget to go back to plain old Em …

  67. Jtk says:

    If I recall correctly, the first generation of Pilgrims lived in peace with the Native Americans, it was the succeeding generations that pulled the stercorous toro….

    MLD,

    We are blesses having had one system of government since 1776, while France has had nearly 300….and at least we are not French! 🙂

  68. Em says:

    at this point in life, as i can piece together or history, it seems to me:

    by the 1500s this continent had quite a few people from all points on the compass settled into territorial, tribal lifestyles – they had for centuries probably, taken control of what they could and killed one another defending it … for the most part they were just like those who’ve come after them: the more powerful (not more virtuous) European power brokers and governments with their seasoned double dealing and chicanery … (and so it goes on today in the middle-east) … do we see the the Native Americans as virtuous simply because they were weaker and didn’t prevail? i think people move within the stream of history, we don’t control it … Thank God for belief in the promises of a joyful end of it all someday … the quiet gentle people inherit the planet … gotta give myself a talkin to on that one …

    gotta conclude after thinking it over today that i am a Patriot of an ideal; i salute the Stars and Stripes of the Republic for which it stood as it seems to me that it flew over some of the best displays of human good ever – i’m not at all certain of the nation as it functions today – the next few years promise to create a new nation, but i don’t know what this new one now forming will be …

  69. brian says:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20375395

    This just broke my heart. I had a long diatribe which everyone here knows. All that aside this is just horrible, there is nothing what so ever redeemable in it, it is just horrible.

  70. brian says:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/16/mea-maxima-culpa-catholic-child-abuse_n_2143748.html

    Speaking of other events that should not bother me, well it does. It brakes my heart and makes me weep. It should not I get that, and it is extremely clear. I mean very clear, with a vengeance. One should never make a mess as Jesus hates that. You know I personally do not get it, I really do not. I count that a personal failing on my part. Want to hear something even more abhorrent I pray for peace for these people.

    http://www.democracynow.org/shows/2012/11/13

    scroll to 37 minute mark talking about the sexual abuse of 200 children who were deaf. I will refrain from any other remarks.

  71. Nonnie says:

    Prayer from a morning devotional:
    “God, our refuge and strength,
    bring near the day when wars shall cease
    and poverty and pain shall end,
    that earth may know the peace of heaven
    through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    Amen”

  72. Ixtlan says:

    @61

    They don’t, and we have given them little reason for the hope that lies within us. But then again, it all started way back in 1492.

    http://www.aigenom.com/

  73. B.B.G says:

    Would God bless us if we elected a Man who follows a different jesus with a small j.Both are blind and fallen beings and I need a break.

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