In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Monday, July 4, 2011

Give Me That Old Time Religion

The song says it all... old time religion can do so much for us. But how can it apply to us today?
How can it be good enough for me if I live in a different time than my mother, than Paul and Silas, than the first Hebrew children.

This week I'm going to focus on lessons we can learn from some of the oldest Christian groups in America. The Amish, Shakers, Puritans, and Quakers, etc all have great teachings. This doesn't mean we need to live like them to worship the Lord in a way that pleases Him, but I want to show some of their noteworthy practices we can benefit from.

On a quick side note, today is the 4th of July, a day to celebrate all of the freedoms this great country affords us. Praise the Lord that we can worship him freely. We live in such a wonderful country to be able to worship, praise, and pray to our Savior without being punished by law. It's a freedom so many live without. Tonight, thank the Lord for this freedom we have and pray that more will come to know that freedom every day.

Today, I will talk about the pilgrims (in Plymouth) who were Separatists and Puritans. Their ideas are those that helped to shape this great nation. Puritans wished to purify the Anglican church. They felt that the Anglican church still shared many beliefs of the Catholic church that should have been eliminated during the Protestant Reformation. The Puritans wished to make their worship, beliefs, and prayer pure by focusing on individual and group piety. They also, as Separatists, wishes to make church independent  from the Anglican Church. Not all Puritans in America were separatists, but those who settled in Plymouth, MA were Many also supported the idea of separation of church and state, which is a vital part of make-up as a nation.

Many believe that the Puritans were sexist and did not respect women as they did men. This is untrue; in fact, the woman's role was imperative in the Puritan community. Women were given the responsibility of raising godly, moral children and ensuring a harmonious marriage. The role of women was constantly in the spotlight and was an integral part of each community's success.

The original Puritan churches eventually led to some of the Unitarian and Presbyterian churches in American today. We can thank them for creating churches that allow a true, pure relationship with the Lord, churches whose doctrines are purely based on the Bible's teaching and are untainted by government or corrupt hierarchies. Their churches are focused on creating a community/family of faith, not of idolatry.

Tonight we should each thank the Lord for all the freedoms this country allows. We should also thank Him for all the freedoms He has given us. So often we focus on all the rules and regulations and restrictions... when in fact worshiping our Lord makes us free, not bound. We are given bountiful blessings and endless opportunities through him, all from simply choosing to live a life as He instructs. What an awesome God we worship! and God Bless America!

May God Bless You All,
Emily Gray

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