Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Prayer of Enos for Our Time

Our studies in Sunday School took us through the Book of Enos this past week.  It’s only a page long; but holds a wealth of information, information which applies to our day, perhaps more so than when it was written.

Enos prayed unto the Lord for a remission of his sins and during the conversation, prayer being more than a casual acknowledgment of the Lord’s hand in our lives; during that conversation Enos poured out his concerns regarding his people as well as those who stood in direct opposition to them.  After carefully reading the text it becomes evident that the people Enos pleads for at first are his own; but that they have become complacent and headed down a troublesome road.

In verse 10 we get a better idea of the dilemma Enos faced as he pleaded for his people to be worthy of blessings while at the same time well aware that those who understand their responsibilities, having decided not to follow the Lord’s way, those people must face the consequences of their actions.

The Lord speaking, "I have given unto them this land, and it is a holy land; and I curse it not save it be for the cause of iniquity; wherefore, I will visit thy brethren according as I have said; and their transgressions will I bring down with sorrow upon their own heads."

In case you haven’t figured it out, ‘this land, and it is a holy land’, refers to the geographical area we now call the United States.  The ancient inhabitants were divided against each other, much as they are today.  There were those who accepted the Lord, Jesus Christ, as Savior of all mankind and did their best to follow His commandments and there were those who opposed them.    

Enos understood that his people could not expect the Lord to defend inappropriate actions; that eventually they would fall, the wicked, non-believers and idolatrous barbarians would destroy them and take over the land. 

Do you see any similarities between colonial America that at one time acknowledged the Lord, comparing them with current day America that’s divided against itself along many lines; socialism, Atheism, communism?   Add to the division other cultures like Islam who would gladly destroy the land of the free and home of the brave; does that make it more clear?

Enos took his case before the Lord with the sinking feeling (foreknowledge) that his people would eventually be lost; but he took it a step further by asking the Lord to enlighten his enemies, that one day they might accept the gospel and become a righteous people worthy of this great land which had been set aside and blessed.  

He didn’t ask the Lord to preserve his enemies in their fallen state; rather his desires were that they become what his own people had rejected, a people who would obey the commandments and seek only that which is right and proper.

So too in our day we can observe so many of our people, people who have been blessed beyond measure with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; but rather than acknowledge the Lord’s hand in our nation’s success they’ve become self absorbed to the point of becoming ripe with iniquity, unfit to receive blessings that would ‘preserve us a nation’.

I suppose the ‘Christian thing to do’ would be to pray for those who hate our way of life and ask the Lord to soften their hearts so that after the dust settles and our nation has been crushed (yes, we are headed for self destruction); ask the Lord to show those who have conquered us; have them eventually embrace the gospel and become a people the Lord can bless.  This land can only be blessed for those who follow the Lord, all others are cursed.

Can’t you just see the tears falling from our Savior’s eyes as He considers how many opportunities He’s given us and watched as we rejected His ways in favor of expressing our right to chose, our right to be disobedient, our right to…  Oh, my, therein lies the problem; all of these rights came from God…  When you pervert the meaning of rights to fit desires which are in conflict with the Author of those rights, at that moment the Lord’s blessings are withdrawn.

You can bet the farm Enos saw much more than his own day; he saw ours as well.  He’s pleading with us, as if from the dust, to become a people who are deserving of the Lord’s blessing, deserving of Providence and Divine Intervention so often mentioned by our Founding Fathers as our nation miraculously came to be.  

What will be the outcome?  That answer is easy; the Lord’s side wins, it’s been known since before the world was created.  Pick your side carefully.

 (Image of the ‘headless’ Statue of Liberty was found on Facebook but didn’t give credit as to its origin)

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Support, Patriotism and Reality

Since the end of WWII America has been on many battlefields; but, regrettably have not made a serious attempt to force our opponents into unconditional surrender.  Instead we’ve learned how to retreat in such a way as to appear more or less victorious; not the same as having beaten your enemies into submission, …now is it?

“My country right or wrong.”   Whoa, can you imagine anyone from Generation X agreeing to that? 

Some of my Facebook friends were circulating a picture of some Vietnam soldiers.  I was unable to force myself to hit the ‘Like’ button, something which caused me to consider ‘why’; ...not because I didn’t support what these brave young men had done in the service of their country or that they hadn’t been valiant and done their jobs.   Something else was gnawing at me; but what?

“Sadly, fewer than 2% of you will like and share this picture of brave Vietnam soldiers. So let's see how many likes and shares they can get.”

No, these men and all those who’ve gone to battle wearing the ‘uniform’ deserve to be recognized; but in the back of my mind there remains an open sore that’s never healed.  The wound was present back in the late 60s, a nagging feeling that our government was being less than honest as to our purpose for being involved in Vietnam, much as we’d been involved over in Korea. 

I don’t claim to be a superior military strategist and in my late teens I’d yet to understand how our media was being used as a propaganda tool to indoctrinate and turn public opinion one way or the other.  That said, I’d figured out that young men had been placed in harm’s way without a clear plan on how to completely and utterly destroy the enemy until they surrendered unconditionally. 

In short, I didn’t trust my government and those in positions of ultimate authority to ‘do the right thing’, to entrust my life with folks who lacked credibility.  Rather than wait to get drafted into the Army, something unlikely since my Draft Number was high, I volunteered for the Army Reserves.  It satisfied my ‘obligation to serve’; but did so on my terms, limiting the circumstances under the supervision of men I was less than sure had my best interests at heart. 

It didn’t appear that our leaders intended to ‘win’ in Vietnam and history has proven that to be true.  Each military conflict since then has been a cookie cutter replication, put on a good show; but don’t be too hard on the enemy, makes us look like bullies.

In the movie, Good Morning Vietnam, there was a line intended to be funny, “If you’re going to clash…Clash!”  Wars are inherently terrible and to be avoided at all cost; but in our day they’re classified as ‘conflicts’, to be resolved and so we use surgical strikes directed at only the very worst of our enemies. 

Anyone not specifically targeted is considered ‘collateral damage’, which includes our own soldiers.  In fact we now put our own soldiers on trial for murder if they kill the enemy before that individual has been listed as an official target under current rules of engagement; not making this up folks.

I’m not saying those who’ve died in combat weren’t valiant or in any way demean their efforts; to the contrary; they gave all they had while following orders.  Those who perpetuated the killing fields for personal gain, power and/or money, bear a responsibility for eternity to those who fought and died for the lie of doing so in ‘America’s best interests’. 

We actually have had U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan guarding poppy fields; that right, making sure the opium trade was protected from the effects of war.  Truth be know, the same went on in Vietnam; makes you proud to be an American.

Those who’ve served and returned, with our without obvious physical injuries, have a bitterness, something difficult to define.   It comes under the heading, “You sent me out on some god forsaken battlefield to defend America’s interests; but were less than honest about what those interests are”.  That kind of bitterness sticks in the back of your throat when someone asks you if you support the troops and challenges your patriotism.

I did my part; I’ve shared the image posted on Facebook.  Does that prove I support the troops, that I’m a patriot? 

I’d much rather meet on the streets of Washington with a few million fellow citizens holding torches and pitch forks; challenging our elected representatives, making them accountable for the way our nation has been reduced to a laughing stock in front of the entire world.  A little tar and feathers might be all we need; but don’t rule out a serious citizen’s revolution, that’s a reality of what patriots due when Liberty is threatened. 

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.