Saturday, July 9, 2016

HILLTOP CHAPEL NEWSLETTER JULY 2016

HILLTOP  CHAPEL  NEWSLETTER

JULY  2016


“CITY  ON  A  HILL”

The month of July, every year, literally starts off with a bang!  All over this great country, people will be having holiday celebrations, towns and cities will be holding 4th of July parades and fireworks will light up the night from coast to coast.   
            I thought it appropriate, this being the 240th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, that we spend a few moments in reflection concerning what has made us great as a nation and, no less important, what dangers we face moving forward. 
            Ours is a rich history of brave men and women who accepted great hardship, depravation and, ultimately, death to insure the liberties we enjoy as a nation today.  From the Pilgrims, seeking religious freedom, in 1620, our founding patriots, seeking freedom from oppression, in 1776, those who bled and died during the Civil War, two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and many wars and conflicts since, the overriding desire driving them onward has always been the same:  Liberty! 
            The United States of America is a title that still inspires thoughts of hope, opportunity and peace in the minds and hearts of people worldwide.  As President Ronald Reagan stated, so beautifully, many times but especially during his farewell speech to the nation: …“I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it.  But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and heart to get here.  That’s how I saw it and see it still….”  (January 11, 1989). 
            President Reagan was quoting a Puritan pastor, John Winthrop, from a 1630 sermon, “A Model of Christian Charity,” while still aboard the ship, “Arbella” in Boston harbor.  In the sermon, Winthrop stated that their new community would be “as a city upon a hill”.  People from all over the world would be watching to see if they succeeded or not.  The fact that we’re still here, as a nation, after 240 years is quite amazing!  But, Winthrop’s sermon is only an echo of one that took place 1,600 years prior to his arrival in the New World.
            Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:14), told us, “You are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”  He goes on to say:  “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”  (vss. 15-16).
            It is my firm belief that we, as a nation, have moved far afield from attaching ourselves to the
absolute truth of God’s word and gone off into the wilderness of self gratification and greed.  The United States is turning away from the very foundational principles that made her great. The Bible, prayer in our public institutions especially public schools and reverence for the 10 Commandments, have been exchanged for class envy, political correctness—whatever that means—and anything goes morality.  The time for turning away from this present darkness, back to the light of God’s truth is way past due.
            The City on the Hill consists, I believe, of those Christians who are willing to take a stand, not only for our country, but for what made our country great in the first place.  There can be no denying
that freedom of religion is a bulwark upon which America has stood since long before she declared herself free from the oppression of King George III, in 1776.  We need to embrace the principle upon
which that constitutional guarantee is clearly established and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ until
we take our last breath or Jesus comes again, whichever comes first!
            All of our other freedoms, as Americans, will stand or fall depending on how firmly we grasp
the truths found in God’s Word.  We are proud citizens of the United States, but we are also citizens of heaven; being both should make us more determined to make our country a shining City on a Hill,
once again, before Jesus returns.
             
                                                                     PASTOR ROD

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