Category Archives: AmBraCol

Return To God With A Whole Heart

Lately my Bible reading had been taking me on a tour of the Old Testament again. It has been interesting to trace the rise and fall of the diverse kings of Israel and Judah. Last week brought me to the story of Josiah and how he sought the God of his forefather David with all of his heart. The plot thickens and gets REALLY interesting when they discover the “book of the law” in the temple 18 years after Josiah began to reign at age 8. So as a man of 26 years of age he comes face to face with God’s promises to the “children of Israel”. The scriptures don’t specify which portion was read before the king, but I highly suspect it was the portion we find in Deuteronomy chapter 11. When Josiah heard about the blessing and the CURSE which was written in the book of the law, he tore his clothing and humbled himself before God for he knew that God would keep His Word and that trouble lay ahead of the people because of the sins they had committed. You can find the story of Josiah in II Chronicles 34. His heart was right before God, even though he didn’t have the Book of the Law to guide him.

What does this have to do with us today? Well, my reflections took me on a tour of US history. It took me back to when the colonies were working on a Constitution for the new nation and how they were unable to agree on anything until they took time to pray and ask God to guide them. It is my steadfast belief that He did guide them and that is the reason they were able to come up with such an outstanding document, one which has guided our nation over 200 years. As one reads things which the founding fathers wrote, it is clear that their intention was to establish a Christian nation. Not a country dominated by some denomination or other, but rather a land governed by the basic tenets and principles of morality taught in the collection of books known as the Bible. This foundation was recognized as late as 1890 when the Supreme Court of the United States of America stated that the US was a “christian state”. In fact, one of the greatest deceptions practiced by the enemies of Christ in the United States is the wresting out of context of a passage from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson. In that letter Jefferson stated that the “wall of separation of church and state” was to high to allow for a certain denomination to become the official religion. This “separation of church and state” was not an absence of Godly influence in the government of the nation, but rather the absence of denominationalism which had caused so much death and destruction in “merry old England” and Europe. According to Jefferson, this would never come to pass in the United States because the first amendment prohibited Congress from enacting any law “respecting an establishment of religion”. Jefferson must be spinning in his grave because of the way his words have been twisted.

What is the future of our land? What will come to pass? When Josiah heard what the “Good Book” said, he humbled himself and sought the will of God. Because of this his land was spared from destruction. If we will humble ourselves and seek God, perhaps our nation too will once again turn to Him and so spare itself from His certain wrath.

How about you? Are you ready to seek Him? Are you ready to do His will and to forsake the pagan ways which are being forced upon us? Are you one of those “whose knees have not bowed before Baal and whose lips have not kissed him”, or have you allowed yourself to become like those who turn their backs on the Creator?

Let us take to heart these words from Deuteronomy 11: 18-22

 

18Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. 19And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 20And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: 21That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth. 22For if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him;
King James Version

That is what it will take for us to take back this land for Him who established it. We HAVE to know His word and teach it to our children and our children’s children. It must invade each aspect of our lives, every facet of our being. It must be on our hearts and our minds, as we work, as we play and in each and every part of our families and being. So I end with these words which Joshua spoke in Joshua 24:15 and a paraphrase after them:

15And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house,
we will serve the LORD.

King James Version

If you choose not to turn back to God who created you and established this nation, then choose which path you want to follow, the path of those who say “there is no God” or the path of those who say “all roads are the same”, but as for me and my house, we will follow God the Creator and His Son, Jesus the Christ and the Holy Spirit, our seal unto the day of redemption.

A Religious Experience

Recently I was given the opportunity to go shooting with an author who’s work I’ve enjoyed much over the years. This was quite an experience for me. He and his wife took me into their home as I was traveling through the area and made me feel at home. Browsing through his collection of books, gun leather, mounted trophies and guns was very enjoyable, but when he took me out to his local shooting range the REAL fun began.

He took along a collection of Colt and Smith & Wesson revolvers in .45 Colt and .44 Special calibers. I had along my Ruger Vaquero in .45 Colt. We set up targets at the 25 yard line and the festivities commenced. After trying out my new Vaquero with “Cowboy” loads and some hot Buffalo Bore ammo, he asked if I’d like to try any of his collection. After reminding me to not try any of the Buffalo Bore ammo in his Colts I tried a couple of them out. Then he offered me what he called a “Religious Experience”, to shoot his pre-war “long action” .44 Spl. I took it and a fixed sighted model to the bench with some cast semi wadcutter loads, but somehow it wasn’t the same as he’d described it to me. For me, the real religious experience was in handling the Colt “sixguns” in that most famous caliber, .45 Colt. That’s when I felt how a perfectly tuned sixgun rolls gently in your hand as the hammer falls and got lost in the moment, forgetting to count the shots and seeing the hammer fall on an empty chamber with no perceivable flinch at all. The smell of fresh coffee blended with the odor of bacon frying and the remuda’s smell as the herd was brought up the trail. The fresh smell of sage after a rain blended with the acrid smell of blackpowder and I could hear the bawling of calves at roundup time… yes, I felt transported to another time and another place by simply holding and firing these wonderful pieces of history.

After we finished our shooting, had breakfast and said “Goodbye”, I drove off on my continuing journey. As I drove down the highway, surrounded with fond memories of an enjoyable time, I reflected on the difference between his “religious experience” and mine. As I thought about it, I was reminded of the passage in Hebrews 5 that says:

 

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Hebrews 5: 12-14

 

You see, my author friend has been shooting since I was “but a sparkle in my daddy’s eye”, and although the shooting sports are high on my “favorite things to do” list, the truth of the matter is that only rarely am I able to indulge my passion for “things that go ‘bang’”. So the analogy carries over. At my age many men have had the chance to learn to shoot and have indulged themselves in the sport, developing a feeling for “the deeper issues”. But through my inexperience and lack of practice in the matter I have yet much to learn. Elmer Keith began his carreer with black powder and later with the .45 Colt. As he learned he progressed to the .44 special and later to the .44 Magnum, only rarely returning to the “first principles” of the sport.

So, what does this have to do with us as christians? Many are to christianity like I am to the shooting sports. Wildly enthusiastic, but with little real experience. Endlessly curious, but with a small store of personally acquired knowledge. Yes, for me to handle a genuine Colt revolver in .45 Colt caliber was a real thrill. But the joys of the .44 special are still under appreciated by me. As the years pass and my experience in the shooting sports grows, perhaps my appreciation for the .44 will grow too. Yet my true desire is to see christians learn to discern the differance between good and evil as they exercise their faith.

Yes, shooting the old guns was akin to a “religious experience”, but more important yet is seeing my brothers and sisters grow in their faith towards God and in their understanding of His will. If you too wish to grow in Him, you won’t ever be able to do so by sitting there with your Bible closed. Get into His word and learn to know what His will is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

It’s The Heart That Counts

It was a pleasant September day, the kind of day meant to be spent in the company of friends. Several of us had been invited to spend the day at Rob Applegate’s place. Rob and Marilyn opened their home to us and we spent an enjoyable time looking over Rob’s collection of guns and his shop until the ladies called us in for a snack. After having eaten into Rob’s private store of Colby cheese and washing it down with cold beverages the men took off to Rob’s private shooting spot while the ladies went in search of antiques. It promised to be an enjoyable afternoon.

Everyone brought a reasonable collection of guns and copious amounts of ammunition. It was a real pleasure to share this time with fellow shooters. Everyone made me feel welcome and let me try their various pet guns. There were Linebaugh built Rugers, Gary Reeder built Rugers, Smith and Wesson’s and assorted long arms. Rob had a gong set up around 200 yards and one set up at around 25 or 30 yards (if memory serves me) The farther gong soon became the target of choice as we took turns terrorizing it with all manner of calibers and weapons.

In the middle of all the fun and camaraderie I kept ribbing Gary about his “tupperware” gun that he was packing on his hip. Amongst all the custom revolvers, old Smiths, old Rurgers and such, his G-g-g (I can’t even get myself to type the name!) plastic gun seemed out of place. Being a fine Christian gentleman he took the kidding as long as he could, then he did the unthinkable, he made me shoot it! He handed me the pistol with a clip full of nondescript hardball ammo and told me to give it a try. I aimed at the 200 yard gong, squeezed the horrid trigger…..and rang the gong! That didn’t seem right. The horrible trigger, the ugly gun, the cheap ammo, and yet I hit the gong! In fact, as I worked my way through the clip full, I hit the gong more often than I did with any other gun! Life’s not fair!

Later, as I reflected on the experience, I got to thinking about how that g-g-g-gl-glock was a lot like some people. It had nothing attractive at all about it. It was soul less plastic poured into an ugly square mold, and yet it did a fine job of what it was to do. If given the pick of the tailgate of all the guns brought to that shoot, I’d probably never have picked out the g-g-g-gl-glock. In stead my eye would have been attracted to any one of the various “sexy” guns that had been brought along. The Smith 29 with the 10+ inch barrel, the Gary Reeder .475, the Linebaugh .45, the Old Model .357 Ruger – they each had some aesthetic appeal that would have taken my fancy. But the fact remains, the g-g-g-gl-glock shot better for me at that distance than any of the rest.

You see, we as humans, tend to judge things by their outward appearance. Our eyes often deceive us, because we believe that whatever pleases the eye must be good. But God looks upon us differently. When the profet Samuel was searching for a man to replace Saul on the throne of Israel, he went to the house of Jesse like the Lord had told him to. Jesse called his sons before Samuel and Samuel looked on them with human eyes. Here’s what the Bible tells us about what happened that day.


And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’S anointed is before him. But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. I Samuel 16:6-7
The King James Version

We, too, must learn to discern and to seek the heart, not the appearance. Although I hate to admit it, that Glock of Gary’s is a fine shooting gun. It has a lousy trigger, but despite that, it gets the job done and that’s what counts. May I do the same for my Lord.

4 July 2001 – 225 Years Of Freedom

Independence day! Oh what a sound those words have! They carry the ring of Freedom and Liberty! Crowds gather to celebrate little realizing that instead of possessing freedom and liberty they are slaves to sin and serfs under the cruel dominion of satan.

What is true “freedom”? Where is freedom to be found? We find in John 8:32 these words: “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Today, if you would celebrate freedom, turn to the Author of Life and seek the freedom that He offers through knowledge of His word.

The principles on which the United States of America were founded are mostly unknown to people today. When the records are examined, the words of the founding fathers ring with the sound of true freedom. These were men who knew what they were doing and knew that they were seeking to establish a country in which the right of the people to serve the True God would be upheld. Let’s take a look at some of their writings.

“When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. … 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…. We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States…. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” –A Declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America in General Congress Assembled July 4, 1776

“We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom alone men ought to be obedient.” –Samuel Adams

“Yesterday, the greatest Question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater perhaps, never was nor will be decided among Men. A Resolution was passed without one dissenting Colony, ‘that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, and as such they have, and of Right ought to have, full power to make War, conclude Peace, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which other States may rightfully do.” — John Adams to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776

“May it [the Declaration of Independence] be to the world what I believe will be (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all), the signal of arousing man to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition has persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings of security and self-government.” –Thomas Jefferson

If we wish to be free; if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending; if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained–we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms, and to the God of hosts, is all that is left us. –Patrick Henry, 1775

“We now have a National character to establish, and it is of the utmost importance to stamp favorable impressions upon it; let justice be then one of its characteristics, and gratitude another.” –George Washington

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it. –Thomas Paine

“Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.” –Samuel Adams

“People and nations are forged in the fires of adversity.” — John Adams

“Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered. Yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” –Thomas Paine

“There is an option still left to the United States of America, that it is in their choice and depends upon their conduct, whether they will be respectable and prosperous or contemptible and miserable as a Nation.” — George Washington

That last one strikes home through the centuries. What will we as a people choose? Will we turn from “the God of our fathers” to follow the modern call to dependance on the schemes and ideas of men? Will we turn our backs on the examples of those who pledged “our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” and on the God who saw them through the conflict?

What direction will we as a nation now take? Will we turn back to God and take back the “land of the Free and home of the Brave” from the hands of godless men who seek to destroy that which was established 225 years ago? Will we as a nation (in the words of George Washington) “be respectable and prosperous or contemptible and miserable as a Nation.”?

Is it to late? In Romans chapter one we read:

“18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shown it unto them. 20For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21Because that, when they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, neither were they thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. 24Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: 25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. 28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

This is a picture of the once great nation of the United States of America. For too long good men and women have stood aside allowing perverse people to set the laws and customs. We have refused to stand up for what is right and so our land has slid into disrespect towards our Creator. Marriage is no longer honored nor respected in our land. We have allowed the concept of family to be brought into disrespect by allowing those who live in sodomy to be considered “a family”. God’s laws are clear on these and many other subjects, and yet we stand by and say nothing while our land is brought lower and lower away from the paths set by God.

Let us not forget the judgements handed down by God to the nations of Judah and Israel. Because they did not walk in the way that God had set for them, because they turned aside to follow the wicked kings and to serve other gods, they were removed from their land. Their nation was destroyed. Let us not allow that to happen to the United States.

Today, July 4, 2001, is a good day to begin to take back our nation and to proclaim the Glories of Him who allowed us to become the greatest nation on earth.

… in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever. I Chronicles 28:8b