We hear a lot of talk in our nation today about “the separation of church and state.” Many in our society believe that religion has no place in the political arena. Even some Christians believe that because our citizenship is in heaven, we have no right or responsibility to participate in civil government. As our nation prepares for another election, every Christian should consider this question: Does God want His people involved in civil government?
A clear answer to this question can be found in the Bible. For example, in Genesis 14:18, we read of Melchizedek, who was the priest of God Most High; he was also king of Salem. In Genesis 29:41, we read of Joseph, the son of Jacob, who through the providence of God was raised to power in the kingdom of Egypt. In Exodus 1-2, we read of Moses , who through the providence of God was brought up in the palace as grandson to the Pharaoh of Egypt.
Throughout the history of Israel, God sent prophets to be advisors to Israel’s kings. Samuel was advisor to King Saul; the prophets Gad and Nathan were advisors to King David; Elijah prophesied to the wicked King Ahab; Isaiah was advisor to King Hezekiah of Judah; and Jeremiah prophesied to the last four kings of Judah. God also sent prophets as counselors to other nations. Daniel served as advisor to the kings of Babylon, and Jonah was sent to preach to the city of wicked Nineveh in Assyria.
In the New Testament, we are told in Matthew 14:1-5 that John the Baptist rebuked King Herod for his immoral conduct. In Luke 21:12-13, Jesus tells his disciples that they will be brought before kings and governors as witnesses to them. In Acts 9:15, the Lord, speaking about Saul of Tarsus, says that he would carry the name of the Lord before the Gentiles and kings. Saul, later called Paul preached to the Roman governors, Felix and Festus, to King Agrippa and even to Caesar and his court in Rome. It is obvious as we look at both the old and New Testaments, God has always wanted His people to be involved in influencing civil governments.
An objective examination of our history reveals that the principles of Christianity had an overwhelming influence on our founding fathers and the forging of this great nation. These Christian principles produced a government that gave every citizen the opportunity and the responsibility to participate in the political process. Having a government that is “of the people, by the people and for the people,” there has never been a nation throughout history where Christians have had a greater opportunity to be an influence for the cause of Christ. For almost two centuries the citizens of this nation enjoyed the freedom to speak, to print and to preach what we believe, and it is the principle of Christianity that prevailed in such struggles as abolishing slavery and extending civil rights to every citizen.
Yet in the last fifty years, these freedoms have been threatened. Prayer and the Bible have been removed from our public schools. Efforts are underway and great strides have been made to remove the influence of God and Christianity from every level of government and almost every aspect of public life.
Why are these things happening in our nation? The answer is simple. While the advocates of atheism and humanism have been actively working to influence our government, Christians for the most part have been complacent and willing to sit quietly on the sidelines and let it happen. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5: 13-16 that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Much can be said about these words of Christ, but it is obvious that He wants us as Christians to affect the world around us and to permeate every aspect of society with the illuminating, liberating, life-giving influence of Christ and His Word.
As we approach the next national election, let’s take our influence for Christ outside the walls of our church buildings. Let’s speak out for Christ on the moral issues that are debated in the political arena. Let’s inform ourselves and others…about the candidates and where they stand on the moral issues, and let’s cast our vote for the candidates that hold most closely to the Christian principles upon which our nation was founded. May we let our light shine for Christ in every aspect of our society, including the political arena…and may God continue to bless America. -Wendell Ingram, in House to House /Heart to Heart publication
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord”. Psalm 33:12
TO MY GROWN UP SELF: Dear self, I don’t know how long it has been since you thought of me, your little girl self.
To my little girl self: Oh my! I think of you all the time….remembering the happy times and a few sad times. I wonder how different I would have been if our mother had not died so young. I know you don’t remember her at all being only 3. I doubt life would have been a lot different with such a wonderful dad and a grandmother who helped him out a lot…but it would have been easier on them. But I’m looking at that, not used to having a mother and that isn’t fair to her. In fact just calling someone ‘Mother’, ‘Mom’ or ‘Mommy’, isn’t in my vocabulary and I can’t remember when it was. When I speak of her I always say “our mother”.
To my grown up self: Well in growing up, I remember only one or two times envying my friends who had a mother…but I think there were more times when they envied me. LOL They seemed to want to spend the night with me and my sister a lot. They thought we had more fun at our house.
To my little girl self: One thing I regret that my dad did: Our mother was an artist and had a scholarship to go to art school and she married my dad instead. But she drew a lot on the backs of calendars etc., and Daddy let us play with them…..I know his thinking and I respect him for it. I know he was thinking that our mother was taken from us and he wasn’t going to take her stuff away from us too…But oh! How I’d like to have her art work now! I don’t remember our brother playing with her stuff because he was always making airplanes and doing boy stuff. But we would play school with them and use those for our papers. It wasn’t long until we were a little older and we remembered them but realized they were gone. Our brother can draw really well but my sister and I can’t at all. We reap what we sow…or destroy. LOL
To my grown up self: Now that you are grown up what single thing did you learn that helped you in your adult life?
To my little girl self: Well, I remember being left with a neighbor woman only once because a guy who used dirty language was going to be cutting wood with my dad that day…but all the other times, I went with him. He always made sure we were at home when my brother and sister came in from school too. My dad being a great mother/father figure made me realize that our children can and may have to…. do without one parent or the other…and if I were going to be one, I needed to try to be the best I could be for them. He had the tough part of being dad but he also had the sweet tender part, needed of being a mother. His influence went a long way into how I view a mother should be. He has been gone now for 23 years but I still feel a perpetual hug from him.
One time while driving into the next shopping town from us, Bobby saw about 9 baby calves being watched by two mama cows, while the other mama cows were out eating grass (within sight of their babies.) I wanted a picture of that and took my camera along the next few times but failed to catch the time of day they did it. We could never get a picture.
Today while driving about 4 miles from home, we saw a sight like it again, only not that many calves. Bobby drove back home and we got our camera and went back and took this picture. I love it! The other mama cows (you can see one of them) were in close range where they could see their babies.
It made us note the difference between animals and their young and modern day parents; (modern…as in the past 60 years or so.) who leave their babies and little children all day long with someone else…and they are NOT within sight of their babies. Maybe we could learn from them.
A lot of parents that we know, lately are leaving good jobs and benefits to stay home and be full time mothers. We are very proud of them and they will be blessed abundantly for putting family first.
Among my fondest memories as a boy are the times I spent with my Grandpa Ingram. As we spent time together fishing and hunting and working around the place, Grandpa always had a story to tell that related to whatever it was we were doing. I probably heard them all a hundred times, but I never got tired of listening to them.
I recall one of the stories he told was about when he was a young man and did a lot of trapping for furs. Thought it was serious business because much of the family income came from the furs he would sell, Grandpa always enjoyed trying new ideas to try to outsmart the critters in the wild. He said that he knew raccoons were curious creatures and that they loved shiny objects, so one day he placed a shiny pearl button in a small knot hole in a log that lay across the creek. He knew that the moon would be full that night which would make the pearl shine and he knew raccoons had been crossing the creek on that log. He wanted to see if a raccoon would try to get the button out of the knot hole.
The next morning my grandpa got to the creek just as it was getting light enough to see, and sure enough, there sat a big raccoon with its paw in the knot hole working frantically trying to get that pearl button out of the log. The raccoon had become so preoccupied with the pearl button that he hadn’t noticed it was getting daylight nor did he notice my grandpa as he walked up to the log. Well, to make a long story short, which my Grandpa never did, he added that raccoon’s skin to his collection.
When I first heard that story as a boy, I thought how foolish that raccoon was to lose his life for a pearl button. Though that button was pretty and shiny, it was of no value to a raccoon.
Consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 16:26: “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole wold,yet forfeits his soul.” When compared to the value of our soul and our eternal destiny, this world and all it has to offer are about as valuable to us as a pearl button is to a raccoon.
And yet, it’s so easy to become preoccupied with trying to acquire the things this world has to offer. It seems this is one of the most powerful tools of Satan, seeking to preoccupy us with the things of this world, to the neglect of our souls’ salvation.
Let us never forget the value of our soul and the souls of our children, of the precious peace that Jesus has brought and the eternal kingdom that God has prepared for us.
Let us never allow ourselves to become preoccupied with the things this world has to offer, which are of no lasting value…any more than a pearl button would be of value to a raccoon.
When our daughter was in elementary school, a lot of the little girls were bringing their dolls to school and playing with them during recess. Their teacher told them they were too big to play with dolls and to not bring them to school any more. We didn’t make an issue of it, but my daughter and I and some of the other parents and children laughed about her ideas. I wondered though, why they were too big to play dolls and not too big to play secretary, teacher or nurses.
This was back in the middle 60’s but it shows that prejudice was rampant even then against a career as a mother and homemaker. Parents however, do not have to allow this intervention by the “Village” to interfere with the rearing of their children. We handled it in a way that made it of no consequence.
I wonder though how much a part it plays in our nation’s children in growing up too fast, and not getting to live their childhood. Parent who let their little first graders wear heels and makeup and revealing clothing and dress like many teens do, and like teens shouldn’t…are just simply asking for trouble. When they get to be teenagers and even beyond, what is left for them to experience that isn’t already ‘old hat’….it makes me shiver to think!
Too many little girls are pushed into adult situations before they are ready for the responsibility. Some of them who still should be ‘playing’ with dolls have the responsibility of a real one before they are hardly aware of it.
Another thing that happened not long after those years, is the kindergarten building was used to make room for the head start group and the kindergarten children moved to the elementary building and the sixth graders were moved up to the highschool building. Damaging? Maybe not, but it seems to me that peer pressure would be even more prevalent and kids are being pushed into the grownup world all too soon and this is representative of a nation that does not nurture its young. We are reaping the results of that in more ways than we can count. I believe a nation can be judged accurately by the way it nurtures its young and respects its old.
Just recently a school in our state held a talent show to raise money for a project. The parents of some of the students were directing the affair and the ages of those participating were from head start through high school. Some of the acts were songs that the young children were pantomining. The songs were of the sort that I would not want my children to listen to even when they were in their teens. Those little children probably did not even know what the lyrics meant, but I wondered about the parents who allowed it. There are so many decent songs they could have used. Some parents, I am convinced, either do not care…or they are just un-enlightened about how to influence their little ones for good.
In the early 1900’s when families began to move away from farms into the urban areas, the boys’ and girls’ clubs were organized to give the young ones something to do to occupy their time. In some aspects this may have been a good thing, since the parents were busy with jobs that did not include the children any more. However in many cases, they simply replaced family time, thus they were not involved in ‘family life’ as much, as they were in the rural residences. The ‘village’ can be harmful as well as helpful if the parents permit it.
Many people say they do not know how to fix it, but it has been suggested by some conscientious statesmen in our nation’s capitol that our nation be re-educated concerning morals and parental responsibility instead of leaving everything to the ‘village’ or to the government agencies regarding our family and its personal responsibility. This sounds good to me and I feel it is the only way we can rear our children in this great nation to nurture its young and respect its old.
©Edna L. Ingram
My favorite picture of Wendell & Kathy.
Marriage is for Life
What is it like to be married for 50 years? Too many in this world will never know what it’s like to be married to the same person for that long.They will never know the joy, the comfort, the pure sweetness of being married to the same person for 50 or even 60 or 70 years. They will never have the treasure of an unbroken home in which to nurture those precious little ones who are born to them. What a tragedy!
In their old age, they will never know the pure joy that comes from discussing together the memories they have of the growing up of the children that they both had pleasure in raising. They will never understand that you can disregard a fierce argument or disagreement without it affecting your love or your respect for each other…because you have learned that: “This too shall pass.” Some will never have the time to know each other well enough to blend together as truly one.
When we said those wedding vows, we pledged to remain faithful until death separates us. I have never seen vows that states that we will be faithful as long as our mate is faithful or until my pride is hurt…but it is always UNTIL death separates us.Our society is becoming one where commitment is unheard of and/or old fashioned…and where vows are taken lightly. May it cease to be so and hopefully a cure for our nation’s ills, yea even the ills of our whole planet will be realized.
-Edna L. Ingram