God and Country? – I’m Good With That

The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
The plans of His heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

Psalm 33:10-12 NKJV

This past Sunday our church had its annual God and Country worship service. We honored veterans, waved American flags, and sang patriotic songs. Some might argue that this is a dangerous mix of faith and patriotism. We should be honoring Jesus and not our country. However, I think those who would argue that are misguided.

I am not going to argue that the United States is God’s new chosen people. And our church is not declaring that either. There is plenty of evil in our land. And as our pastor said, if we keep going the way we are, God will have to judge us. Abortion (54 million+ killed since 1973), immorality, greed, and pride have powerful grips on our culture. Many Americans needs to repent and turn back to God for sure (starting with the church!).

However, while all that is true, America still is the number one missionary sending country in the world and the home of the greatest number of evangelical Christians. We are also the most charitable country in the world, according to the World Giving Index. We are the beacon of freedom to a world of bondage. We are the refuge for the poor and needy and persecuted. There is much more to America than the nightly (bad) news and the sewage seeping from Hollywood. God is blessing the world through America.

God and Country worship service

God and Country worship service – July 1, 2012 Burnt Hickory Baptist Church, Powder Springs, GA

America’s ideals are drawn from the truths of Scripture. Freedom and liberty. Sacrifice for others.  Protection for the weak and the minority. Checks and balances to curb corruption. The rule of law. The power of grace. The melting pot of many cultures, talents, and opportunities. The good guys win in the end. The value of one life. The importance of the individual. The bonds of community. We do not consistently live up to our ideals, yet they do inspire us toward  God’s best. America, ideally, is good.

I agree with our pastor’s exhortations from Sunday. America’s future hope is in Jesus Christ and His people, the church.  It is not in Washington, D.C., or Hollywood, or Wall Street or even Main Street. It is at the foot of the cross. When we bow to our Creator; when we seek His ways and turn from ours; when we earnestly pray and trust; then He will hear, and answer, and heal. Otherwise, America has no hope. The church must stand unashamedly for Jesus in our land.

So, it is with joy and sorrow that I celebrate our country’s birth. I am so thankful for God’s blessings on America. I am thankful for the freedoms we (yet) have. And I am inspired by the ideals that spur us on. My heart is stirred when I think of all those who sacrificed to make our nation great and free. But I mourn for the lost in America. I mourn for those who spurn God and turn to the false idols of self, security, fame, fortune, and power. I wish we did not use our liberty as a license to sin against God. Yet, I will wave my flag, pledge my allegiance, and celebrate this great nation.

Happy birthday, America! May you honor God and realize His blessings.

My recent prayer for America