Proud To Be An American; Proud To Be A Christian.

“I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free and I won’t forget the men who died who gave that right to me and I proudly stand up next to you and defend her still today. Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land, God bless the USA!” 

Most Americans feel a sense of pride when they hear these lyrics penned by Lee Greenwood. It stirs something in the hearts of those proud to live in the United States of America.

Yet Americans are facing the another pivotal time in our country, with an abundance of contention and fighting occurring in high places. How are we to be united? Though we have been through much, we are still better and stronger as a nation than we were 245 years ago at the time of our birth.

“Proud to be an American” is not an arrogant statement but rather one of thankfulness and gratitude. Our great nation has much for which to be thankful. Our freedoms are envied by the rest of the world, and unrivaled by much of it. Our rich heritage is second to none. Are we perfect? No country is unblemished in their actions and while the USA is imperfect, it is ours. The American flag still waves as a symbol of freedom and bravery and is still a sign of strength and courage.

The case is the same for Christianity today. Those who are free from sin are grateful for the one who died to give them this great freedom! As proud as we are to be Americans, we are prouder still to be Christians. Now more than ever, we must stand together to make our voices heard by everyone around us and defend the Judeo-Christian beliefs that this great country was founded on.

“Proud to be a Christian” is only an offensive statement to those who refuse to honor God, but never to the true      Christian. The godly foundation that this great nation was built on is still the strength that has held us steady through years of battles from those outside our country as well as those who have fought us within. The cross of Jesus remains our symbol of strength and forgiveness.

As Christians, we face challenging times. All around us is bitterness and vengeance. A loud minority are using their anger and hatred to strike out against those of us who will stand for truth and honor. Many want to rob Christians of their freedom to worship and serve the great God of heaven.

Are you proud to be a Christian? Are you willing to stand for truth? If you are asking, where can I find people like this to stand with? It is at the Church of God.

The most effective way to demonstrate our pride and conviction to both our country and to God is to be saved from sin. Our forefathers knew that if a nation were to stand the test of time it would have to be built on godly values. How are you showing your pride of country and belief in God?

Many need to be   reminded to stand for the flag and kneel for Christ.

by J Kretzler

Our Christian Duty

As our country faces unprecedented times, it calls  upon us all to take a closer look at life. The future is uncertain and basic values seem to be fading into   obscurity. Principles that were once taught in schools have been replaced with modern ideology, painting the dependence our founding fathers had in God as a mere fairy tale. The unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are gradually being washed away with new legislation.

Is this the opportunity to let your voice be heard in some march or display of protest? Or is it more appropriate to sit idly by and watch the downfall? Neither option is the answer.

Consider Ephesians 6:10-13 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

Today is the day to stand up for what you know is right, holding to godly morals and clinging to the Lord. Live in such a way that others have no question what you believe. “If we don’t stand for something, we’ll fall for anything.” – Irene Dunne on America’s Town Meeting of the Air, May 1945

At times, it may be easier to go with the flow, but what can this approach accomplish? Having a “coexist” attitude only gives silent approval to things you may contradict. Do you agree with all the things that are considered the new “normal” in our     society? What does God think about the wickedness that is   being approved, even legislated? As Christians, we cannot put our approval upon these things. We must remain faithful to the principles we hold dear, no matter what the consequence may be.

In Daniel 3, the three Hebrew children knew they would face the fiery furnace if they did not bow down to the golden idol. This did not change their determination to be true to God, whom they faithfully served. They held their ground and were marvelously delivered unharmed!

Follow the example of these men and have the same determination to be faithful. Standing up for righteousness is not a loud or showy display. It is having confidence in the One you serve. Yes, stay loyal to your country, but more importantly, keep your  allegiance to God!

“Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us.”  – John Hancock

~  S. Shick

Consecrated to God

Do you know the full plan of salvation? First, it means to be saved from sin. The person you once were has been cleansed and you are made new. This transformation is so amazing it is almost like having a new identity. Bad habits and vices have been forgiven and you no longer wish to do those wicked things. “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17) Yet, there is more to this wonderful plan! The second work of grace, called Sanctification, is the culmination of the Christian experience.

Sanctification (or sanctify) means to set apart as holy, to consecrate. Some will argue that people cannot be holy, that perfection is reserved only for God. Yet, the scripture says, “…be ye holy, for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:16) The Bible would not set forth an unattainable guideline for man to follow. That would be like dangling the proverbial carrot in front of the horse’s nose.

Being holy does not mean you no longer make mistakes or errors, but that your heart is made perfect. Sin is no longer a part of it; the Holy Spirit enables you to stay that way, if you choose. This is the true evidence of the Spirit of God in one’s life. It is not to speak in an unknown tongue, as some will claim; but to have the power to live pure in the sight of God.

Pastor Karns often reminds us, God does not find pleasure in supposed holy water, beads or statutes; He delights in hearts that are clean and holy! Men and women that love God supremely and are truly dedicated to following His will for their life. That reverent dedication does not hide one away in a monastery or a convent, but uses the opportunity to be a light to those around them. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)

In a recent sermon, our pastor also likened the sanctified heart to clay in the potter’s hands. Physically, the potter molds the clay into the shape he needs. The clay does not demand to be made into a vase or bowl, but is submissive to the potter’s design. In like terms, God knows when, where and how you need to be used. He has a specific design that He needs you to become. The second work of grace brings a desire to “… be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (II Timothy 2:21) After experiencing the miracle of salvation, the least we can do is willingly give our lives back to God, to be used in whatever capacity He chooses. To be as clay in the Potter’s hand requires Sanctification.

So many today have twisted values, “… and worshipped the creature more than the Creator…” (Romans 1:25) For this second work of grace to be truly effective, God must be one’s chief joy and main priority in life. We live in a society with ever-changing opinions and trends. Many prefer to chase their own ambitions and goals but forget about God’s opinion.

The sanctified heart considers God with every move, asking for His guidance and desiring to stay in His will. The song “Consecration” by Mildred E. Howard beautifully details the sanctified life.

~ J. Shick

Moral Decay Creating A Nation Of Disarray

Jesus Christ came from heaven to earth 2,020 years ago, restoring the gift of salvation to mankind. Instead of salvation being received through the blood of bulls or goats as in the Old Testament times, He became the sacrificial lamb, dying on the cross to save from sin. With Jesus providing a better way, mankind has the choice to accept the gift of salvation and live sin-free, or reject Him.

Much like our Lord and Savior, the Framers of the United States Constitution were also visionaries. The Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787 and intended to sustain the evolution of time. The Framers’ goal was not only to address the specific challenges facing the nation during their lifetimes, but to establish the foundational principles that would sustain and guide the new nation into an uncertain future.

How has the world altered the original course Jesus charted? How far as a nation are we from what the Framers imagined this time to be? Father, Son, or founding father, none desired a country where the creation is worshipped more than the Creator or where man is more reliant on their own human ideology over God’s.

Chick-Fil-A, makers of a tremendous chicken sandwich, had a Christian founder who chose the Bible as guide-book for life and business. All locations are known for being closed on Sunday and until November 2019, chose to donate to conservative-leaning charities. However, once the LGBT community raised a stink over them donating to the Salvation Army, Chick-Fil-A decided “future partners could include faith-based and non-faith-based charities,” and none of the organizations could have anti-LGBT positions.

Similarly, mainline religion is not exempt from moral decay. The thirteen million-member United Methodist Church is facing a potential split into two separate denominations over the issues of gay clergy and same-sex marriage ceremonies. Known as the “Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace Through Separation,” a proposal introduced in January 2020 allows for the formation of a new “traditionalist” Methodist denomination that would not sanction the performance of same-sex weddings or the ordination of openly gay clergy, and the continuation of a presumably smaller but more liberal United Methodist Church.

While the Constitution is an objective proposition that grants all Americans unalienable rights, it does not stomp on the rights of Christians and the judgements of God like those opposing us do. Many of the Framers were God-fearing men who sought God’s direction in crafting the document and would be aghast to know the political turmoil our nation is in today.

President Trump faces fierce criticism from his opponents, whose sole agenda is to degrade his accomplishments. Nevertheless, the President has stood tall, proving that God put the right man into office at the right time.

In his 2020 State of the Union Address, President Trump defended prayer by saying, “My administration is also defending religious liberty, and that includes the constitutional right to pray in public schools. In America, we don’t punish prayer. We don’t tear down crosses. We don’t ban symbols of faith. We don’t muzzle preachers and pastors. In America, we celebrate faith, we cherish religion, we lift our voices in prayer, and we raise our sights to the Glory of God.”

Values have declined in our world despite Jesus making way for us to live free from sin long ago. Values have declined in our nation, despite the Framers setting up a clear and moral constitution. And values have declined on a smaller scale in these individual organizations, despite their founders original intentions. We must not be afraid to speak out and do our best to steer back to those original values, in our families, organizations and world. Will you join us?

– M Karns

Posted in God

Why Our Name Matters

What is so important about a name? Does it really matter what someone is called? When a baby is born into a family, he is given the surname of the father.

Whether tied to a person, place, or group, a name is a source of identity and individuality, and can carry great power and reputation. Just as mankind places great importance upon achieving a name worthy of honor, God is particular about the name of His church.

What name does God intend His church to assume? God is often referred to as the “Father,” and His people as “children of God.” Following this pattern, it is a logical conclusion that children of God would make up the Church of God.

More valid than human logic is the biblical reference to the “Church of God” in the Bible, where that title is used to describe the church at least twelve times in the New Testament. It’s important to note that this is the only given name for God’s church in the Bible and is the origin of the name “Church of God.”

Accepting the titles inside the Church of God however, is just the first step. With the name comes a responsibility to be a representative of the identity and reputation that comes with the title. This responsibility is demonstrated by yet another name for God’s people: “Christian.” The word Christian translates to “Christ-like,” or following after the sin-free example of Christ.

Following Christ’s example is a common belief in the Christian world, but the Church of God believes in following God’s commandments without diminishing their purpose. When taking the name of God as their own, no duty is greater for Christians than to live worthy of His name.

– S Roxbury

Posted in God

Our Own Cross, A Perfect Fit

One evening, a couple was having a conversation after their children were asleep. Each had experienced difficulties and were overwhelmed with how they were feeling. The burdens of life weighed heavily and they went to bed with weary hearts.

As they slept, the Lord Jesus came to them in a dream. He took them into a room filled with crosses of various sizes. “My children,” He said “I see how troubled your hearts are, and I will allow you to choose a different cross to bear instead of the one you now carry.”  Eagerly, the husband reached for a cross and his knees nearly buckled under the weight. “That cross belongs to Joe,” said Jesus. “He hurt his back and suffers pain nearly every day. Hanging his head, the husband resolved to appreciate his own blessings more.

Meanwhile, the wife was experiencing similar difficulties with the cross she had chosen in her dream, and the Lord told her it belonged to her neighbor. Her husband was without work so the bills were adding up, and she also had to care for her elderly mother. Then Jesus pointed out two crosses and told the couple to pick them up instead.

“This is my own cross,” the husband exclaimed in surprise, “It appears larger than many of these other crosses, yet it does not feel as heavy as the first one I picked up.” His wife agreed and asked the Lord how this was so. “When you pick up your cross and follow me,” Jesus said, “I give you the strength and grace to shoulder your own burdens and will not let more come upon you than you are able to bear.” The Lord swept his arms and indicated the other crosses, “I will do the same for anyone who will follow me,” He said in all love.

Do you feel overwhelmed with your cross? We can always go to God. He wants to take away our burden of sin and help us through our troubles. Matthew 11:28-30: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.“

– R. Trauger

How Do You View God?

Many people have differing perspectives of God. Some view him as all powerful, some see him
as the creator of the world while others look at God as the judge of mankind. God is all these things, but
he should also be viewed as the one who can successfully guide us through life. Unfortunately, there
are individuals that find it difficult to believe God cares for them and the path they take from day to day.
These are the people that go through life blaming God for every reverse they face. They
question God, asking, “Why me?” and “Why didn’t God stop this horrible thing from happening?” They
grumble, “if God really cared, then he would have worked this out for me!” These people believe that
God is far away, up in the clouds of heaven, too busy to notice us little people down on earth. Perhaps
they feel that he is rather indifferent towards mankind or enjoys watching us struggle to work things out
down below. This could not be any farther from the truth.

To better understand the love that God has for us, let us look at the love Jesus showed while
here on earth. Many have learned the scripture John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his
only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Truly,
this is the greatest proof of God’s love for mankind, that he would give his only Son to die for our sins.
This is also abundant proof of Jesus’ love for souls, as he himself said in John 15:13, “Greater love hath
no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This amazing selfless act of sacrifice is still
not enough to convince some of God’s care for them in a personal way.

Therefore, consider Christ’s prayer, or what I like to think of as his love letter to his church. This
is found in John, chapter 17. Here we see Christ praying to God, his Father. He knows that he is coming
to the end of his time here on earth. He has finished his ministry here and his disciples have believed in
him and kept his word. They have worked by his side and grown to love him dearly. Christ knows that
he will be crucified and going back to heaven soon. While his work is about to be finished on earth, his
disciples’ work is just about to begin. He is concerned for them. He knows that his death will shake
them. He cares enough to pray for them. Verse 20 says, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them
also which shall believe on me through their word.” Christ now expands his prayer to include all future
believers. He knows that he is about to die not just for the twelve that have walked daily by his side, but
for all future generations of man. His concern is that we all be kept in this world, but not of it. His
desire is that we obey his word while living in this world. He also beseeches his Father in verse 24,
“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold
my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” Christ
loved each of us enough before we were even born to pray that we would believe on Him and one day
be with Him in heaven!

God does not want us to struggle through life blindly. Not only did He give His Son as an
example to us in all things, He has also promised to be our guide through life. Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct
thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” We can depend on
God’s guidance to help us through all of life’s twists and turns. If we follow Him, we will find Him to be,
“…our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1).