Sawing Off the Branch You are Sitting On

In late winter or early spring, I have the task of pruning about a dozen fruit trees and removing dead branches from the many other trees on our property. When I was a bit younger I would climb up in our big lodge pole pine tree and cut away dead branches—all the way up to the top. I would be careful to be sure that I wasn’t sawing off a  branch that was supporting me!  That may be a very obvious thing to avoid, but I am amazed how many in our western civilization are doing all in their power to do that very thing. They are trying to purge culture of the very thing that provided for the freedom and the success they have experienced.  They are attempting to purge Christianity from public life on every level: business, sports, politics, education, the military, etc. The freedoms and scientific progress we enjoy in the West are due to our foundation of Christianity and biblical principles.

   Our Constitution and most of our laws and governing structures were based on God’s Word. Thomas Jefferson wrote: “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever” (1781).  This quote contradicts historical revisionists who contend that Jefferson wanted a “wall of separation” to protect the government from the people of faith. Actually it was the very opposite. He also wrote: “The greatest danger to our American freedoms is government that ignores the Constitution.” (There’s been a lot of that happening!)  George Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”  We are getting a good picture—and not a pretty one—of what happens when we try. Ronald Reagan said, “If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be nation gone under.” Erwin Lutzer, pastor of Moody Church, wrote in his book When A Nation Forgets God: When God is separated from government, judgment follows.” (If you haven’t read Pastor Lutzer’s book from Moody Publishers, I highly recommend you get a copy).  Our second president, John Adams, said, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. Statesmen may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. ”   How can we expect God to bless this nation if we have pushed Him out of public life? 
     The Psalmist wrote: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD” (Psa. 33:12), but, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psa. 11:3). The word for “foundations” is not the usual word for, say a building foundation, but one which means “purpose” or “basis.” Not only does it refer to a nation straying from the purpose for which it was founded, but it applies to us as believers. The fear is not that the foundations of our faith might be undermined, but that we might lose our sense of purpose. If we allow the devil to undermine the very purposes God has for our lives, following instead some temporal interests, then why even continue with a pretense of Christian living? When we are tempted to wonder whether it is really worth it and when our very purpose for living seems to be crumbling, remember that God is Creator, Sustainer, and Judge of all—that He is still on the throne, and that we who belong to Him have been “predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11).
     It is with that purpose in mind that Franklin Graham, over the next several months is conducting a “Decision America Tour” in which he will speak in the capital of each of the 50 states, challenging Christians to repentance, preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and asking for God to heal our spiritually sick and dying land (II Chron. 7:14).  As he wrote in Decision magazine, January 2016: “Founded by Separitists from Europe seeking religious freedom to practice their faith before Almighty God, America has long enjoyed the blessings of people who acknowledged and practiced belief in the God of the Bible. For centuries, our country has stood brightly as a ‘city upon a hill,’ defending freedom abroad, and affirming our spiritual heritage as ‘One Nation Under God.’ In recent decades, however, that enduring foundation and heritage have been under relentless and vicious assault. Christians now find themselves constantly on the defensive from a  progressive, godless culture, that seeks to diminish and eradicate any religious influence in our society.”  We have been sawing off the branch that supports us!  Franklin began his “Decision America Tour” last Tuesday in Des Moines, Iowa and Tuesday will be speaking in Tallahassee, Florida, and on Wednesday at Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He will speak at noon in each location. I recommend you go on line and see the schedule so you can be praying for Him—and our nation—at the same time He is speaking. Christianity transforms not only individual lives but entire societies as well. Pray that, if God is willing, He will once again transform our society that has turned its back on Him.
        Forever His,
            Pastor Dave

About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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