I was asked to participate in today's Election Day Prayer event that is being held downtown. It is put on by Southview Church and the Coalition, a conservative political group here in town. My segment of prayer is to focus on the topic of families. Here is what I plan to say...
As we bow our faces before you we acknowledge that a renewal in our country requires a renewal in our marriages and families. We know that we cannot have the former without first having repentance and reformation in the latter.
We confess that our nation is broken because our homes are broken. We suffer oppression from Pharaohs and Caesars because we have not first had godly mothers and fathers.
So we pray that you would grant us renewal at the grassroots level. May there be a reformation in our land, where we take to heart what it means to be united in the covenant of holy matrimony. May we begin to see that there is nothing more patriotic than the fidelity of a husband and his wife. May you grant us fathers and mothers who, instead of slaying their children, will instead love them and cherish them all their days. May these parents then take up their responsibility to train their children them in the fear of you and not further the decay of our country by handing them over to schools where atheism and relativism are the rule.
As we stand here today, we pray “God save the home.”
But yet, we know that as the king goes, so goes the nation. And for this reason we pray not just for a grassroots revival, but we also pray for our leaders and the policies that they make.
Lord, we ask that you would grant that those who would win out these elections would be restrained from instituting policies that further the destruction of marriage and family in our land. Instead, may they be made to do what is just and promote what is in accord with rule of King Jesus.
We pray that policies that strike against godliness would be revoked. You know how our nation permits (and even encourages) things like divorce, sodomy, and abortion. Moreover, our leaders continue to wrap the chains of debt around us. They oppress our families with heavy taxation. They rip apart families with their welfare programs. All this leads only to death at every level.
So we pray, like our forefather’s before us “God save the king.”
Finally, We pray “God save the church.” Where is the light to be found for our families? It is not in the pure preaching of your word and in the revelation of Biblical Truth. Father, we know that families will only rise out of the ashes when you unleash the gospel and unveil the fullness of its saving power. So we pray that you would raise up godly men to preach your word and send them throughout our nation as heralds of Your eternal kingdom.
All this we pray in the strong name of our King and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
The last post reported the death of diligence and here in Ashland. This post is a follow up, focusing in on the massive use of welfare & unwise distribution of charity.
One doesn't need to do a radically in-depth survey to understand the massive dependence upon government welfare programs here in this county. All you have to do is go to Wal-Mart on the first Saturday of the month. It is a stampede of welfare recipients who've just got their food stamp card recharged.
But it is not just the government. Private charities seem to lack real wisdom when "helping" the "poor." I've written before about how one church in town has given out things like ipods and jewelry, rather than basic items that will cover needs (such as peanut butter and bread). However, this indulgent attitude towards the "poor" (I prefer to call them "dead beats") is not limited to this one church.
All in all, this just goes to show that the private sector is just as guilty when it comes to feeding the lazy and self indulgent spirit that looms over the town.
I'm also skeptical of our highly beloved Associated Charities, an organization that receives from many churches and the United Way. I do not know AC well, but I've witnessed them giving to people who have no intention of working. In sum, there seems to be little to no accountability to the people they serve. Instead it is simply a private sector welfare program with massive distributions of freebies.
When United Way comes knocking or when the Associated Charities makes their pitch, it is always the same: "The need is greater now more than ever." Such a sales pitch should make you rethink your approach to what you are doing! If you are not fighting against the increases and causing it to drop, you are likely part of the problem.
It should be self evident: why work when you can have your cake and eat it too, along with a ton of Pepsi, while listening to your ipod, playing your video game, and chain smoking your cigarettes. If you can live happily by mooching off of everyone else, then it is a no brainer.
Government handouts and charity freebies are being pumped out non-stop and with virtually zero accountability. Thus we are only feeding the death of diligence.
I might sound like a broken record by now, but we need to return to the Biblical principle of "If you don't work, you don't eat." Kill all freebies and do not give anymore hand outs, especially ones where you are giving toys and luxuries away.
Stop with the sob stories of people going without for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thanksgiving is a rendering of thanks for the prosperity God has granted. Christmas is about a Savior who was born to set us free from sin (including sloth).
If you want to help someone, make him work. Make them sweep floors for a can of soup and clean gutters for some real wages. If they complain about not being able to find a job, help them start a business.
Today the mayor of Ashland is to give his annual "State of the City" address. Prior to doing so he came to our county's monthly ministerial meeting to give a mini report....though I think that it was more of a lamentation.
The mayor expressed concern over the increasing number of people in town who are not willing to work. He said businesses have jobs, but are not able to retain employees for lack of drive.
The mayor gave an example of how one entrepreneur, who has begun a number of businesses in town, said he is not able to start any more companies because of how disinclined people are to work. He already has one business which has 34 openings he is not able to fill.
On another occasion Dan Philip, who is head of the Transformation Network here in town, expressed similar sentiments. He has said that the TN has top of the line job openings in manufacturing that they cannot fill, despite the fact that people stand in line for food handouts in record proportions at Associated Charities.
The mayor went on to express that the town does not have enough revenue to maintain its current levels of operation, despite their having trimmed 50 people city wide since 2007. As people have left or retired, these positions have been terminated or combined with other positions.
Drugs and lack of drive were two motives that our mayor cited. The lamentation also mentioned the failure of people to show up or show up on time regularly for work. In other words, just plain sloth and love of pleasure.
Ours is a hedonistic culture. People are living for themselves and have no theology of work. Work is considered a "necessary evil" and something to avoid at all costs.
All in all, Ashland is becoming an economic ash heap because the will to work has died. The town's economy will continue on a downward spiral so long as people love pleasure and refuse to join the workforce.
Ashland is an interesting name for a city. I understand that it came from the estate of a Kentucky congressman. However, it seems to sum up well the state of our city today: the land of Ashes.
I'm going to be starting a series of posts dealing with how Ashland is deteriorating and quickly becoming an ash heap. This is not for the purpose of being a curmudgeon or complainer. Far from it. I love this city. I was born and raised here, and came back to it to minister within it.
My intent is for the purpose of information and restoration. Proverbs 14:34 says, "Righteousness exalts a nation." This implies that a nation is brought down by the lack of righteousness. The Scripture is replete with examples of how God causes lands to perish because those nations fail to fear and honor Him.
This, in a nutshell, is the problem with Ashland. It is not prospering because this community is not living in the light of God's principles. It is my hope to express where we have fallen short so that we might repent and see times of refreshing in our land.
Find the series under the tag Land of Ashes.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.