Tag Archives: Christianity

Rebellion To Tyrants Is Obedience To God – A Widow Rekindles Her History Joy

Ever since Joe’s passing I’ve been rediscovering and/or reinventing who I am. The first step was upgrading from film to a DSLR camera, the next step was reading books, then came unemployment followed by LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and blogging. That is what widowhood is all about – moving forward with creating a new life while not forgetting the old one.

Now I am on to rekindling an old flame – history.

This summer I read Rebellion To Tyrants Is Obedience To God; The Role Of Christianity In The American Revolution by Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D.

History always fascinated me and was my best subject in school. Once I got out in the working world, my love of history did not occupy much of my time. My interest was slowly been rekindled over the past few years but has intensified this summer. History brings me joy.

However, in school I do not recall getting much of an education about Christianity’s role in our founding. My teachers may have casually mentioned it. So I did some research on Amazon about Christianity and our founding. Dr. Stackhouse Jr’s book was one of the search results and I found the title intriguing.

His book is packed or should I say stacked with quotes from and information about the founding fathers and their faith. There is so much information I found this post hard to write because I want to include everything.

Here is my best shot at a general overview with some quotes scattered through out.

The title of the book comes from Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson proposed seal for the United States, which is on page 98 and the book’s cover.

They Had A Dream

The founding fathers had a dream, a dream of a country where man was not under the rule of tyrannical leaders imposing taxes on it’s citizens. A country of the people, by the people and for the people where man was free to choose and create his own destiny.

They Had Faith

But bringing this dream to life was in going to be what most would say is an impossible dream. However our founders had the faith to know that nothing is impossible with God.

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Matthew 19:26
King James Version (KJV)

Their faith in God is the one thing that I quickly noticed when reading in the book. It was a strong faith, a passionate faith, a faith unlike what we see and experience today. These men KNEW their Bible and applied it to everyday life.

Our faith today is sterile, sanitized and bleached out. It’s too formal, to routine, to bland in fact it is down right too establishment-like. But that is a subject for another post.

#EarlyInfluencer

The Apostle Paul talks about submission to those in authority in Romans 13 as God put them there. It is generally interpreted as blind obedience to whoever is in authority.

However, Puritan minister Johnathan Mayhew (1720-1766) of the West Church in Boston gave a sermon on Romans 13 where he stated obedience to whoever is the ruler applies ONLY when the leader is being kind to his people. If he is imposing things, like taxes on tea, he is not being kind. Since he is not doing God’s will, we have a duty to rebel against the tyrant.

If it be our duty, for example, to obey our king, merely for this reason, that he rules for the public welfare, (which is the only argument the apostle makes use of) it follows, by a parity of reason, that when the turns tyrant, and makes his subjects his prey to devour and to destroy, instead of his charge to defend and cherish, we are bound to throw off our allegiance to him and to resist.

Johnathan Mayhew
Rebellion To Tyrants Is Obedience To God
Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH. D.
pg. 13

Mayhew’s sermon was given on the 51st anniversary of King Charles I’s execution after the English Civil war of the 1840’s.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (emphasis mine)

Matthew 22:37-39
King James Version (KJV)

Obviously imposing taxes or other nasty things on people is not loving your neighbor as you love yourself. Therefore we the people have the right to rebel against tyrannical rulers.

Preaching Politics

There were even sermons about politics preached from the pulpit in the pre-revolutionary war years. Sermons about God being almighty, powerful and the ultimate ruler. Understanding this puts into the power of kings and queens into perspective as they are mere mortals like the rest of us.

Knowing God is the almighty gave them courage to boldly proceed with the fighting for our right to be free from England and the tyrannical rule of King George III.

The Country’s One Foundation

American historian Henry F. May best explains the answer as to why Christianity played a role in our founding:

A great many people believed throughout the period that the religion of the Bible, understood best by simple people, was the safest foundation for all essential truths.

On the whole, various forms of Protestant Christianity served the emotional needs of most Americans better.

Henry F. May
American Historian and Margaret Byrne Professor Of History
University of California, Berkeley
Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God
Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D.
pg. 43

Christianity is about a loving God who wants a relationship with all of us because we are his children. However, we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. He sent Jesus down to rescue us because God knew we would never be able to work our way up to heaven. Our good deeds towards others prove we are saved by God’s grace.

It is that simple. And that is how I like my religion – simple. No fancy, foo-foo, frilly religion for me. Foo-foo belongs on evening and wedding gowns. Life was hard back in the 1700’s and is still hard now, therefore religion needs to be simple.

Christianity And The Declaration

With Biblical principles so entrenched in people’s minds it only made sense to use them in the Declaration of Independence.

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, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…

The Declaration of Independence
Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God
Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D.
pg. 60

The words were discussed and discussed until everyone could agree upon them because:

The Declaration had to be acceptable to all of the American People “if Congress expected them to live by it and die for it.” wrote Rod Gragg.

Forged in Faith How Faith Shaped the Birth of the Nation 1607 – 1776 by Rod Gragg
Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God
Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D.
pg. 60

Dr. Stackhouse, Jr. points out that while Thomas Jefferson (writer of The Declaration) did not acknowledge a personal salvation experience, he agreed with Jesus’s teaching. He was also suspicious of religious institution and their leaders.

[Christ’s] system of morality was the most benevolent and sublime probably that ha sever been taught, and consequently more perfect than those of any of the antient philosophers.

Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Dr. Joseph Priestly
Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God
Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D
pg 62

Guess it is a good thing you are not alive today, Thomas. There are a lot of preachers and religious leaders that you would cause you to raise an eyebrow. (By the way, antient is an archaic variation of the world ancient per Merriam Webster.)

“But Wait, There’s More!”

There is more information in this book than I can cover in this blog post – freedom of speech, the Great Awakening, and separation of church and state (spoiler: it does not mean what you think it means) are just a few topics I did not cover.

There are also more quotes from other men such as Benjamin Franklin, Pastor William Sherwood, and George Washington.

I highly recommend Dr. Stackhouse, Jr’s book Rebellion To Tyrants Is Obedience To God; The Role Of Christianity In The American Revolution. It is only 102 pages but the wisdom and knowledge in those pages is vast and profound.

In fact, it would make a great election year Bible Study.

“And The World Will Be Better For This”

It took courage and guts to work tirelessly at fighting for our freedom from England and establishing this country. Their effort is something that we take for granted today.

The world is better because of the founding fathers and their “marching into hell for a heavenly cause.”

To them and to God I humbly and simply say:

Thank you.

The Legal Pad: All links in this post are non-affiliate links.

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills while managing call center teams, co-facilitating a grief support group, and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, and a lover of history, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com

Thankfulness – Adelaide Anne Proctor

Happy Thanksgiving my dear readers! May you find a reason to give thanks even if you are grieving or working through another nasty life event.

blogheader

Here is a poem I found from A Sacrifice of Praise, Second Edition, An Anthology of Christian Poetry in English from Caedmon to the Mid-Twentieth Century; Edited by James H. Trott.

May you have a joy-filled Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Thankfulness

My God, I thank thee who hast made

The earth so bright;

So full of splendour and of joy,

Beauty and light;

So many glorious things are here,

Noble and right!

 

I thank thee, too, that thou hast made

Joy to abound;

So many gentle thoughts and deeds

Circling us round,

That on earth darkest spot of earth

Some love is found.

 

I thank thee more that all our joy

Is touched with pain;

That shadows fall on brightest hours;

That thorns remain;

So that earth’s bliss may be our guide,

And not our chain.

 

For though who knowest, Lord, how soo

Our weak heart clings,

Hast given us joys, tender and true,

Yet all with wings,

So that we see, gleaming on high,

Diviner things!

 

I thank thee, Lord, that though hast kept

The best in store;

We have enough, yet not too much

To long for more:

A yearning for a deeper peace,

Not known before.

 

I thank thee, Lord, that here our souls,

Though amply blest

Can never find, although they seek,

A perfect rest –

Nor ever shall, until they lean

On Jesus’ breast.

 

Adelaide Anne Proctor

(1825 – 1864)

 

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills while working as a call center team leader, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of golden retrievers and an amateur photographer.

 

Weekend Wisdom: Psalm Sunday

Here are some verses that spoke to me as I was struggling with what to post today.  May they speak to you today and all through the week.

When I am afraid, I will trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? 

Psalm 56:3-4

Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of my wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. 

Psalm 37:16-17

For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. 

Psalm 37:28

Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsake those who seek you. 

Psalm 9:10

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me. 

Psalm 138:7

(There will be no post Tuesday.  The next post will be Wednesday.)

Even In Our Darkest Hour

"Ask, Seek, Knock - Matthew 7:7-12

“Ask, Seek, Knock – Matthew 7:7-12

The candle was a gift I received at the 2009 Women’s renewal at church.  It has a picture of Jesus knocking on a door.   Friday night was the first time I lit the candle.  All the lights in the house were off when I took the picture.  See how the light of Jesus shines, even in our darkest hour.

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.

But take heart!

I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

Michele’s Favorite Christmas Music: I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day – Casting Crowns

Casting Crowns version of the traditional carol.

  • Songwriters: John Mark Hall, Bernhard Herms, Dale Oliver, Traditional

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet their songs repeat
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men

And the bells are ringing
(Peace on earth)
Like a choir they’re singing
(Peace on earth)

In my heart I hear them
(Peace on earth)
Peace on earth, goodwill to men

And in despair I bowed my head
There is no peace on earth I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men

But the bells are ringing
(Peace on earth)
Like a choir singing
(Peace on earth)

Does anybody hear them?
(Peace on earth)
Peace on earth, goodwill to men

Then rang the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep
(Peace on earth, peace on earth)
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, goodwill to men

Then ringing singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men

And the bells, they’re ringing
(Peace on earth)
Like a choir they’re singing
(Peace on earth)

And with our hearts we’ll hear them
(Peace on earth)
Peace on earth, goodwill to men

Do you hear the bells, they’re ringing?
(Peace on earth)
The life the angels singing
(Peace on earth)

Open up your heart and hear them
(Peace on earth)
Peace on earth, goodwill to men

Peace on earth, peace on earth
Peace on earth, goodwill to men

“Ask, Seek, Knock – Matthew 7:7-12

6 Biblical Tips For Surviving Unemployment

These tips apply whether you are experiencing a short or extended transition period.

Tip #6    “…Love your neighbor as yourself.”  

Matthew 23:39

Just because you are in transition does not mean you are worthless like most of society would have you believe.  You are one of God’s children and that means you are loved by him. You are not worthless to him and I guarantee He has plans for you.

Now that you believe that about yourself, believe and act it towards others also in transition.

Tip #5     Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

Start an encouragement file/journal/notebook.  Share the quotes, poems, scripture, and articles you find with another unemployed person or two, or three, or four …etc.  Hold an encouragement party where people share what they find and then work on their files together.

Tip #4     Be joyful always

1st Thessalonians 5:16

This is the role of your gratitude journal as well as your encouragement file.  Keeping a gratitude journal will help you realize all that you have, which in turn helps keep you joyful.

Tip #3     Pray continually

1st Thessalonians 5:17

Prayer works.  Send up brief quick prayers as you go through your day, thanking God for even the littlest thing that lifts your spirit.  Do this in addition to your morning and evening prayers.

Tip #2     Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (emphasis added)

1st Thessalonians 5:18

Realize that as bad as you have it, there are people out there who have it worse than you.  Give thanks for the blessings He bestows upon you every day.

The blessings are there, you just need to look for them.

The #1 Tip  

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” 

Matthew 7:12 (NIV)

 Surviving unemployment starts while you are employed, whether you are a worker, lower management, mid management or C-level. 

  • Your position can be eliminated at any second.
  • You could find yourself in transition at any given moment.
  •  The company you work for can be bought out or go bankrupt anytime.

If you were to be become part of what society deems “The Untouchables”, you would want to be treated with dignity and respect.  You would want help finding a new position.

So treat those who are in transition the way you would want to be treated:

  • Don’t eliminate someone because they have 15, 20, 25 or more years of work experience.  Don’t eliminate a potential new hire just because they are your customer.
  • Do offer to meet someone for coffee to learn about them, give them advice and pass their resume on to a hiring manager you know.
  • Do offer support and encouragement when you find out someone is out of a job.
  • Do offer to speak at job seeker meetings about your particular area of expertise.
  • Be willing to train a person whose experience is similar to the position you have available.
  • Respect people who have learned new skills while seeking a new job, whether they have taken advanced courses in Word, Excel, Access or Powerpoint, or maybe they have dove head first into blogging and gaining a deeper understand of using Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook for business. If they have a deeper understanding of social media, hire them.  Every business needs social media people now-a-days.

Final Thought

Though you mourn your situation and are poor in spirit, you will be blessed by God in His own way and according to His time.

You fit into God’s overall plan and His plan is perfect.

 

“Fresh Hope … Cleveland” Ideas For Everyone, Everywhere

(Note from Michele:  Sorry there was no fresh post yesterday.  On Wednesday I had issues with WordPress and could not get past the sign-on screen.  Now on to my review of “Fresh Hope … Cleveland by Nanci Gravill.  FYI – I paid for my Kindle version and the links to her site in both today’s and Wednesday’s article are NOT affiliate links.)

I Don’t Know How

Many times people want to help widows or others going through a nasty life event, but do not know how.

Here’s how – buy Nanci Gravill’s book “Fresh Hope … Cleveland: Resources to Help You Navigate through Unsettled Times.” (order through her site to get a signed copy.)

What A Challenge!

My challenge was to write a blog post without giving away all the information in Nanci’s book.  There are so many resources and ideas and you do not have to live in Cleveland to use this book.  

So I narrowed it down to what is the one idea,  project or quote that would be the most valuable for people who want to help widows?

The 1 Idea –  “Start An Encouragement File”

I LOVE this project and you can find it on page 56.   Since the weekend is here, now is a good time to at least get it started.

5. Start an encouragement file ~ Read it once a week or more if needed. Sometimes there are people who encourage us, but for the most part, we must continue to encourage ourselves. Therefore, save cards and notes that others have given you. Write down the great comments also that people have made about you.

 

Nanci J. Gravill (2012-02-22). Fresh Hope … Cleveland: Resources to Help You Navigate through Unsettled Times (p. 56). WestBow Press. Kindle Edition.

Michele’s Idea On How To Implement This Project

Make one for a widow and one for yourself. Then take the folder over to the widow and explain this project’s purpose.  Once a week mail the person something encouraging for them to put in their file. Yes, send it snail mail.  You have no idea how excited she will be to receive something in the mail other than bills, political ads, and grocery store flyers.  Getting an uplifting note from you will give her something to look forward to each week.

Even if you write a fantastic new quote you found on a piece of paper and mail it to her, it will be enough.  You do not have to send elaborate cards each week, just something simple.  It is the simple little things that people cherish the most.

Remember while you are doing this for her, you are also keeping a copy for your encouragement file as well.  There will come a time when you need encouragement.

Works Both Ways

If the widow finds something encouraging, she is to mail it to you for your file.

My Challenge To You

This is not a project that will help you support only widows, it will help you support anyone going through troubled times due to:

  • Divorce
  • Job Loss
  • Health Issues
  • Any other issue

Philosophy

This project fits right in line with one of the philosophy statements behind this blog:

Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

Thank You

Thank you Nanci for including “starting an encouragement file” idea in your book.  Many people will be blessed by it.

So Much More

There is so much more valuable information in this book than what I can discuss in a blog post.  

I am confident it will spark all sorts of ideas of how you can not only help widows get through tough times but also how to help yourself navigate through troubled times.

“Fresh Hope … Cleveland is for everyone, everywhere who wants to help themselves, help widows, or help friends/family going through another type of nasty type of life event.   

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