Most Americans are excited about the annual season of celebrating our freedoms. Yes, our freedoms are precious, and it is of great importance that we give thanks to God for the freedoms we enjoy, even while realizing that some are being restricted. We think of our spiritual and financial freedoms, and we usually add to these our political freedoms. But we have to be concerned as to how much longer we will be able to enjoy our freedom to worship.
But before going into restrictions on our freedoms, I want to remind us of our moral and spiritual obligations of rendering thanks to Almighty God, the God of all nations, for our spiritual freedom to worship Him in spirit and in truth, regardless of the price we must pay for taking our stand for our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Creator warns all nations in His Holy Word of what happens to nations and cultures that forget their Creator and Redeemer. Yes, He allows a period of mercy and longsuffering, but eventually there will be either repentance or judgment.
Never in the history of nations has there come about so great a nation as the United States of America. Little wonder that Christians want to sing, “My country, ‘tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing.” And how appropriate that we sing, “God Bless America” and we pledge allegiance to our American flag! I remember how glad we Christians were when President Eisenhower, after meeting with Billy Graham in a prayer session and with the approval of Congress, was able to add “under God” to The Pledge of Allegiance.
For 241 years now it has been the concern of true Christians that we remain faithful to God and faithful to His Word. And some wonderful Christian statesmen have been concerned across our nation’s history that we diligently adhere to our Constitution—an amazing document prayerfully created, prayerfully debated, and then prayerfully adopted and ratified.
It is high time for all Americans to consider the apostle Paul’s appeal to the wise philosophers in Athens, Greece, during the first century. It is recorded in Acts 17:24-32, RSV: “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth…made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each of us, for in him we live and move and have our being….Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead.”
Luke, the author of the Book of Acts, captures the intensity of Paul’s passion for the souls of those wise men he addressed. He reported that “…when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, ‘we will hear you again about this.’”
The apostle wanted these highly celebrated philosophers to know that a God of grace was calling them to a spiritual freedom and that their culture had brought them no spiritual satisfaction and that it would lead them to disaster. Their pre-occupation with philosophy had left their inner souls untouched, unhealed, and unsaved. Paul saw past their façade into their miserable, mocking emptiness. Athens in the first century was a picture of many of our modern cities today, including those right here in America.
The apostle was ridiculed, as many of us are today. Even with his loving heart with a passion for their souls, Paul was jeered there in Athens as a “babbler,” a “blowhard,” and a “fool.” But nothing could make him ashamed of his message. And yet the holy record shows that in Athens he preached unto them Jesus, the Resurrection, and the whole Gospel.
Dear people, our God created us for the purpose of knowing Him personally by trusting the One and Only One who died to pay our sin debt; He shed His blood on the cross in order that we might be forgiven and receive the gift of eternal life.
May we all get hungry for the fullness of the Holy Spirit and take our stand for our Lord here in America with the wisdom and passion that the apostle Paul showed more than 2,000 years ago in Athens.
It is great to celebrate what freedom we have left. But, believe me, at this season we must do more than enjoy delicious food, explode fireworks, and play games as we celebrate our freedoms. We desperately need prayer warriors who will fast and pray and believe for the kind of outpouring of the Holy Spirit that will open the heavens, move the mountains, part the waters, and let the fire fall upon the people of God. It will take the greatest of all revivals in these end times to reach the lost and prepare saints and sinners for the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are near the end of the age of grace.
Please pray with me! Oh, God! Call Your people who are called by Your name to repentance! Forgive our sins of self-righteousness, cold-heartedness, unbelief, indifference, worldliness, selfishness, gossip, judging, and materialism. Help us to humble ourselves before You, seek Your face, and experience the outpouring of Your glory falling on our nation like the waters fill the ocean! Please, God! May Your glory shine on our nation again! In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Rev. Jim and Shirley Tharp’s Summer Schedule
Saturday Morning Prayer Group: From 10 am to 12 noon, Pastor Tharp leads a prayer meeting, interceding for revival and a great spiritual awakening. We have changed locations and are now meeting at 856 Glider Lane, Warehouse A-4, Belgrade, MT. If you are in the area, you are welcome to join with us for intercessory prayer.
Sunday Mornings from 9:00-9:30 Mountain Time: Every Sunday morning Pastor Tharp broadcasts a sermon over 99.1 FM on his program, A Call to Prayer, which is heard in several counties of Montana. When our website is updated, we plan to add these broadcasts so that everyone can listen.
July 7-9, Billings, MT—Attending the Rocky Mountain District Assembly, Church of the Nazarene at Big Horn Resort, 1801 Majestic Lane, Billings, MT. (More info is on the district website: rmnaz.org.)
August 10-13, Frankfort, IN—Attending the Tharp-Best Family Reunion at the Wesleyan Campgrounds, West Freeman St.
Prayer Partners, please keep our schedule as a reference in praying for our ministries.
Jim Tharp’s Books
Resources for Spiritual Leaders and Prayer Warriors