New Hope Notes
Congratulations to Raeceen Wolford who was recently crowned Miss Hawaii U.S.A.! Raeceen is not the first or second, but actually the third Miss
Today’s guest speaker is Rick Green from an organization called WallBuilders. WallBuilders is dedicated to presenting America's forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which
During this time when our nation’s foundation is being seriously attacked and undermined, WallBuilders' goal is to exert a direct and positive influence in government, education, and the family by (1) educating the nation concerning the Godly foundation of our country; (2) providing information to federal, state, and local officials as they develop public policies which reflect Biblical values; and (3) encouraging Christians to be involved in the civic arena.
The United States of America is perhaps the greatest nation in the world but in these troubled times, in order to ensure that we remain a great nation, we need to go back to the foundation and values that we were built upon that enabled us to be so successful in the first place. On this Fourth of July weekend, I want to spend time talking about the values country was built upon and what that means for us today.
Most people think the Declaration of Independence – the document that established this country – was signed on
Imagine being in the room that day as each of the 56 members of the Congress was called up one-by-one to sign their name at the bottom of the Declaration of Independence.
Excerpt from Under God by authors Toby Mac and Michael Tait with WallBuilders:
“A pensive and awful silence filled the room, as one delegate after another signed what many at that time believed to be their own death warrants. The only sound was the calling of the names and the scratch of the pen.
Then the silence and heaviness of the morning were interrupted by the tall, sturdily built Colonel Benjamin Harrison of
In the end, no signer was hung for treason, though many suffered greatly for their stand. For these men, who mutually pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor, this was more than a declaration. It was more than a document. It was a covenant, the most solemn, the most sacred of human agreements. They understood that God himself was a witness of their actions that day.”
The reason I share this story is because I believe it clearly demonstrates these men were well aware of the consequences they faced by signing the Declaration yet they signed it anyway fully expecting God to keep His side of the covenant as they obeyed His Word and followed His Spirit.
The Declaration of Independence is the framework that holds the picture of our lives. The basic principles that make up that framework are found in these words:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Principle 1: “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”
This first principle has to do with knowing right from wrong. This phrase suggests that there is an absolute, moral right and wrong that we all know and understand, as suggested by the words, “self-evident.” The first principle suggests that we need to have religion and morality in the foundation of our nation.
Principle 2: “...consent of the governed.”
This second principle suggests that we not only have the privilege, but the responsibility to take part in the governing of our nation. We need to be involved in the process! President and Pastor James Garfield (1877) put it this way, “The people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature."
In our system of democracy, we are ultimately responsible for what happens in our government so let’s do our duty by getting involved, which would include getting out to vote.
Principle 3: “…endowed by their Creator”
Is God in our frame? Absolutely, God is in our frame! Some claim that most of our Founding Fathers were non-religious and that religion has no place in government but that is not true. 95% of the 250 Founding Fathers were outspoken Christians who had much to say:
John Adams: “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.”
George Washington: In many of the paintings and statues of George Washington, he is depicted kneeling in prayer. And in diary accounts of some of Washington’s personal friends, they comment about walking in on him and disrupting his prayer.
Reverand John Witherspoon: Rev. John Witherspoon was an active clergyman when he signed the Declaration of Independence. In fact, he achieved a greater reputation as a religious leader and educator than as a politician.
Charles Thomson: In addition to being the only other person than John Hancock to sign the Declaration of Independence on
In fact, 29 of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence had Seminary degrees so it is surprising that people would say that our Founding Fathers were non-religious.
One mistake that our Founding Fathers made during the time when establishing this country was to leave the final decision on slavery up to the individual states to decide. This mistake resulted in several decades of otherwise avoidable conflict and fighting that could have been saved people’s lives if they had just abolished slavery once and for all. Let’s hope that we avoid that same sort of mistake in our time on issues such as abortion.
Principle 4: “…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”
The last princple has to do with the pursuit of happiness; the pursuit of happiness is fundamental to our freedom.
The words and principles of the Declaration of Independence are the framework of our lives and freedom: truths, consent, creator, and the pursuit of happiness. So what do we do about it? What is our call to action?
Live Out Your Freedom
So we are called to live out our freedom, but what does that mean? The first and most obvious things is to…
Remember, the Declaration states, “…from the consent of the governed.” That’s us. We are the governed and we make our consent known by voting for those who we think will best represent us. Now some people say they don’t vote because their vote doesn’t really count or because they don’t really agree with any of the candidates who are running. Two things on this:
In addition to voting, we also live out our freedom when we…
We need to remember that freedom is not free, and that it’s worth fighting for and worth the taking:
“The earth is the LORD's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1)
This scripture reminds us that all of this belongs to Him, and if it’s not where we think it should be, it’s because we have not taken it there.
On this Fourth of July weekend, in these troubled times, we should look back at our history to help us understand what we need to do for our future. The actions and intentions of our Forefathers secured our freedom and have allowed us to be successful these 233 years. The core principles of truth, consent, our Creator, and the pursuit of happiness have carried us this far. Let us be willing to fight to keep those principles alive and working in our families, communities, schools, government, and country – In God We STILL Trust, here in America!
1. What can you do to “rebuild walls” in your family and your community?
2. What would you say to someone who says Christianity has no place in our government?
3. How are you living out your freedom?
4. What actions can you take or contributions can you make to support the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans?
5. How will you be different because of what you’ve heard today?