FaithView: July 2, 2010: “The God Bless America Edition”

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Joe Torosian Senior Pastor Burbank Faith Nazarene

(I wrote this 11 years ago. I’m a better writer now, but this still reads reasonably well.)

FaithView: July 2, 2010
By Joe Torosian

“Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them. Glorious and majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate.”
 — Psalms 111: 2-4

Creation is amazing…and I haven’t even traveled all that much.

I remember being in the big CN Tower in Toronto back in 1999 and the view of the earth as the horizon slightly looked like it was starting to bend. It was awesome.

The first time flying over a city at night or across the middle of the country during the day is enough to literally suspend breath.

I’ve been in Mexicali during a spring evening and felt warm breezes blowing through the trees.

And flying to Hawaii, could the Pacific Ocean be that big, so blue, and seemingly so empty? The expanse of it boggled.

The earth is incredible…I might not go up and hug one, but a tree is gorgeous. Big flocks of autumn leaves blowing in a November wind make me happy to be alive. (The kind of weather that tells me to go out and be somebody!)

The mountains, the pine trees, the evergreens, the cold, the rain, and the snow thrill me. Yes, even a city guy like me can be thrilled by these outdoorsy things.

The John Muir Trail through parts of Yosemite, herds of deer, and the solitude of being away from everything…is a blessing.

All of it is part of God’s creation…

Amen!

“That’s good preaching Pastor.”
“Thank you I thought so.”

We love God’s creation!

We love our children and families, God’s creation.

Amen!

We love those beaches, and the stars, and the sea, and all the incredible stuff of nature.

Fantastic!

“Our God is marvelous in all creation!”
“Yes, yes, and yes!”

And I love my country…The United States of America because it is a creation of almighty God.

“Well now wait a second…You’re starting to get political…”

This has fascinated me for a long time. We praise God, as believers, for all the simplistic ins and outs of nature.

We praise God for those we love, but there is this growing, rapidly manifesting, disease within the church to not praise God about the country—the United States of America—that God himself by divine providence created.

The history of the world is not unique…you have tyrants, collectives, and philosophy…but you have nothing like the United States of America. It is, from its inception to now, the greatest nation on God’s green earth.

By the standards in much of the church (universal) today what I just wrote, and how I phrased it, would be refuted and put down. They would say: “Joe, you’re crossing the line.”

Save for ancient Israel every society up to 1776 man was answerable to man…But starting with independence and further brought about in the Constitution man was given the opportunity to become answerable to God. The founders were very clear that the form of government they were attempting was doomed to failure if the people had no relationship with God.

The church will come in now and say: “This is not a Christian country, America is just like every place else…there’s too much greed…it had slavery, we have abortion…”

Yeah…and I was made in the image of God but I still sin.

The oceans are majestic, but they still have sharks.

The mountains are beautiful, but they still are treacherous.

God made all those things. They are part of his creation.

This isn’t an argument about the United States being perfect…everything pales next to the work of the cross…everything.

Should I love my country, providentially brought about, more than Jesus who went to that cross for me?

No.

These arguments we make in the church are so pedestrian…and insulting. They speak of a pseudo spiritual aristocracy which believes it knows more than you. They generally start with; “Let me explain something to you…” and it ends with them saying “…you don’t understand.”

Can I just share that my responsibility to man’s authority ends when it conflicts with my praise and acknowledgement of God.

Should I love my children or my wife more than I love my God?

No.

“Jesus Christ was always consistent to God, and the Christian must be consistent to the life of the Son of God, not consistent to hard and fast creeds.”
 — Oswald Chambers

Part of the vigilance, the consistency, and cultivation of a daily walk with God allows me to keep my family in perspective in how it relates to my Savior…In how I relate to my country.

I don’t know about you but when I sing ‘America the Beautiful’ I’m praising God…because I’ve been blessed, call it the lottery of birth or divine plan, to have been born in a country unlike any other in the history of this planet.

With that comes a great responsibility. To me as a citizen and to us as a country. And the acts of the United States of America, while imperfect in a lot of ways, is a testament to the hand of God at a particular moment in history…When he created something unlike anything that has ever been seen before.

Oh yeah, I love creation. “From the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans white with foam, God Bless America.”… And yes I understand, fully, it is the Creator and not the creation that blesses America.

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