Summary: God can bless any country He wants to, because God is God. But will God still bless America?
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
A. I really do love the United States of America, & I feel tremendously blessed to be a citizen of this land. As most of you know, I lived the first few years of my life on the China/Tibetan border, & since then have had opportunity to visit other countries, too. I’ve seen the differences, & I thank God for the United States, & what it has meant to so many in generations past.
We will soon be celebrating the 4th of July, & that day means a lot to me, too. In many places there’ll be parades & special ceremonies, reminding us of our nation’s heritage, & honoring those who have gone before us. And I must admit to you that when I stand to pledge allegiance to our flag, or to join in singing the "Star-Spangled Banner" or "America the Beautiful," oftentimes I get a catch in my throat or mist in my eyes.
ILL. This week I was at a gathering of some 10,000 Texans, & a part of its program was the presentation of the colors. I stood there with all the others as men & women of our armed forces marched by, carrying flags emblematic of each branch of service.
And as they did, I thought back to WW2, & the years when my parents were prisoners in a Japanese Internment Camp in Manila. On the night of Feb. 2, 1945, 900 men of the 8th Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division dashed through 60 miles of enemy territory held by 50,000 Japanese soldiers, straight into the city of Manila, with express orders to take both the military & civilian prisons, & hold them at all costs until the army could reach them.
For 3 weeks those 900 men held the prisons against furious counterattacks by a determined enemy, saving the lives of my parents, along with more than 4,000 other prisoners. And I thanked God once again for those men.
Last of all, in the presentation of the colors, carried with all due honor & respect, came the stars & stripes, the flag of our nation. And I am not ashamed to tell you that tears began to roll down my cheeks, & it was with great difficulty that I regained my composure. God has truly blessed America!
B. There is probably no country in all the world that has its beginning more entwined with religious beliefs than the United States. When you look back over the history of our land, you discover that our forefathers came here in search of religious freedom. They risked their lives, leaving their homes, because they wanted the right to worship God according to the dictates of their heart.
And as you read the early history of our country, you realize that practically everything that happened was based upon deep religious convictions. In schools, the Bible was the main textbook, & God was a part of class discussions. As children learned to read, they learned to read from the Word of God.
As you learn about our early leaders, you find that they unashamedly went to their knees time & time again, seeking both the wisdom & the power of God before important decisions were made.
Our country has a very rich & illustrious past. We are "One nation under God." We are a nation that is supposedly trusting God each day for our existence.
C. But as we celebrate our nation’s 22_th birthday, it doesn’t take much to realize that many changes have taken place in these 22_ years. This nation, which is supposed to be a Christian nation, leads the world in its divorce rate, in abortions, in alcoholism, in drug abuse, & in violent crime. Immorality seems almost to reign supreme.
So there is much that is wrong with our country. And yet, there is hope on the horizon. It seems like the pendulum is beginning to swing in the other direction as many in our land are trying to get back to the basics, & to restore God to His rightful place in our country - in government, in our schools, in our homes, & in society.
D. But there is a question that has bothered me all week, & I hope it will bother you for a long time to come. The question is, "If we should reverse the trend, & if we would get back to where we need to be as a nation, then, Can God still bless America?"
Now God can bless any country that He wants to, because God is God. So maybe a more pertinent question would be, "Will God still bless America?" The only way we can answer that question, I think, is to look at the way God has dealt with other countries in the past: those which have rejected Him, or pushed Him aside, or simply ignored Him.