July 28, 2014

Democracy-Part 6

Democracy-June 25

Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally, either directly or indirectly through elected representatives, for the purpose of developing and creating laws. It encompasses social, religious, cultural, ethnic, and racial equality while seeking justice and liberty. Admittedly our great nation has struggled through the years, and continues to face challenges, with this concept but arguable there is no better example of democracy on the face of the earth.

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

Capitalism-Part 5

Capitalism-June 23

Capitalism is one of the reasons for America’s quick rise towards global leadership. Capitalism in its purest form is an economic system in which trade, industry, and the means of production are controlled by private owners with the goal of making profits in a market economy.

Capitalism was carried across the world in the 20th century and overcame a challenge by centrally-planned economies. Because of its ability to overcome the challenges, it is now the encompassing system worldwide, with the mixed economy being its dominant form in the industrialized Western world.

“Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; And let them say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns.’” (1Chronicles 16:31)

Religious Freedom-Part 4

Religious Freedom-June 18

From the foundation of the United States in 1776, there has been an inseparable connection between democracy, religious freedom, and the other forms of freedom which became the political and legal basis of our nation. In particular, Baptists and Presbyterians demanded the disestablishment of state churches such as the Anglican and Congregationalist, which existed back when our country was in its infancy. Since then, the protection of religious freedom has existed.

Religious freedom does not mean freedom from religion. Rather, religious freedom is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to choose a religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow a religious belief at all. The freedom to leave or discontinue membership in a religion or religious group is also a fundamental part of religious freedom, covered by Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“Therefore I will give thanks to You among the nations, O Lord, And I will sing praises to Your name.” (Psalm 18:49)

In God We Trust-Part 3

In God We Trust-June 16

“In God We Trust” can be found on all of the currency in the United States, but did you know it is also our Country’s motto? “In God we trust” was adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956 as an alternative or replacement to the unofficial motto of E pluribus Unum, which means “Out of many, one.” “In God we trust” first appeared on U.S. coins in 1864 and has appeared on paper currency since 1957.

“Praise the Lord, all nations everywhere. Praise him, all the peoples of the earth.” (Psalm 117:1-New Living Bible)

Red-White-Blue: Part 2

Red-White-Blue-June 11

This Saturday is June 14th, otherwise known as “Flag Day”. As we all know, the official national colors of the United States are seen on the American flag – red, white, and blue. Although there is no official record as to why Congress selected these colors for our nation’s flag, the colors were defined by the time the Great Seal of the United States was adopted in 1782:

  • Red is a symbol of valor and bravery
  • White symbolizes purity and innocence
  • Blue signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice

“God reigns over the nations, God sits on His holy throne.” (Psalm 47:8)

One Nation Under God-Part 1

One Nation Under God-June 9

With our nation’s birthday just a month away, I thought it might be appropriate to dedicate this next blog series to the most amazing country in the world. Despite our shortcomings and the recent struggles here in America, we still stand as “One Nation Under God” and as long as those words continue to ring true…so will the U.S.A. Here is a sample of what is to come over the next four weeks:

During the mid-20th Century, America and Russia were beginning to believe there could not be two world leaders…one must go. In 1954, the concern regarding the U.S.A. vs. U.S.S.R. was beginning to reach new heights. That is when Congress, after a campaign by a service organization sanctioned by the Catholic Church, added the words, ‘under God,’ to our Pledge of Allegiance.

“The Lord is high above all nations; His glory is above the heavens.” Psalm 113:4

Goals + Plans = Flexibility (5)

Goals-Plans-Flexibility 5

We stress and strain over finding God’s will, and it’s important to seek His direction in all things. But if we’ve made that honest attempt and go forward in faith, there is no sense in turning back and wondering if somehow we missed His perfect plan.

Seek God’s will and determine to pursue it, but don’t stress about your steps. He always puts them in order.

-Chris Tiegreen

Goals + Plans = Flexibility (4)

Goals-Plans-Flexibility 4

If you have not read the story of Joseph in the Bible, I’m certain you must have heard of the musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat”. The story goes like this:

Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery. It was an unexpected turn especially in light of the dreams he had recently had. Those dreams foretold his family bowing down to him. Becoming the property of wandering traders didn’t seem to fit the plan. Neither did his years in an Egyptian prison. Had God abandoned him? Were his dreams really just the product of a self-righteous imagination? How could he be so far off track?

Joseph wasn’t off track. The plans of his brothers for harm fit with the plans of God for good. God had seen the whole tragedy ahead of time and had woven His plan into it. Even when life throws the unexpected at us, it is never unexpected for God. He always has a plan.

-Chris Tiegreen

Goals + Plans = Flexibility (3)

Goals-Plans-Flexibility 3

God want us always seeking His will and obediently following it. But as much as we try to perfect that process, there is usually an element of insecurity in it. We are rarely absolutely sure of His directions. The only question is whether we will be flexible and seek to fulfill it or stubborn and seek to defy it. Either way, whether in rebellion or compliance, God will accomplish His purposes in this world.

Trust God’s guidance, even when you’re unsure of it. He will fulfill His plan. Open your heart to go wherever He takes you, and let Him lead.

-Chris Tiegreen

Goals + Plans = Flexibility (2)

Goals-Plans-Flexibility 2

Jonah wanted to get as far from Nineveh as he could when God called him there, but a storm and a fish dictated otherwise. He became a very reluctant but very effective evangelist. Paul wanted to travel through Asia Minor preaching the gospel, but the Holy Spirit would not let him. There was a better plan. A vision directed his party to Europe, and a new frontier for the church was born.

Those examples vary in their godliness, but not in the means to their direction. Each had plans that didn’t fit with God’s greater agenda. God got them where He wanted them to go, either with or against their will. His agenda prevailed.

So it is with our plans. We determine the direction we want to take, and God intervenes. Sometimes it is even a godly direction, as in Paul’s attempts to evangelize Asia Minor. But if God really wants to accomplish something, and our plans do not fit His purposes, His purposes win. He will intervene. Human-will cannot thwart His overarching plan.

-Chris Tiegreen