Greetings to all of you today. Most of you who know me are aware that ever since I was a lad, I have been a big, big baseball fan. Like everything else, this season was less than normal. But there is a magic to baseball that always enchanted me. Over the last few weeks, some of the Boys of Summer who I followed and admired have passed from the scene reminding me of days long ago when as a kid we would hit the ballfield and pretend to be our heroes. It was an age of innocence in so many ways. Now, Whitey Ford, Al Kaline, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Tom Seaver, and yesterday, Joe Morgan have left the scene and metaphorically entered the Field of Dreams.
Yes, they were great times when we could watch the Falstaff Game of the Week or listen to our heroes on the powerhouse stations that permeated the airwaves. For me, it was KMOX in St. Louis. We collected their cards, used their signature bats and gloves and dreamed of seeing them play. Like so much of life, it changed and we all grew up. Many of my buddies I played ball with are gone, some are not but when we gather, we go back in time to that wonderful time, that age of innocence and hope and fun and fulfillment.
With all we have dealt with this year with COVID, it seems so much more desirable than ever to remember those kind of times and so many others like them. Many of you remember those days. But for some of you, those are simply tales of long ago and before your time. Growing up in the 50’s and early 60’s, was pretty cool. Oh sure, we had the space race and the Cold War but the U.S. was head and shoulders above any nation. And while there were Civil Rights issues, there was movement forward. We had a president named Eisenhower and it seemed everyone liked IKE. Kennedy after brought a new look and enthusiasm. It was quite a time to grow up. Things changed, not all for the better. Vietnam calloused us. Watergate and riots made us cynical. But even then we emerged stronger and looking, as the Cold War ended in our favor, as a “ Shining City on a Hill.”
But today, the America and world I see is barely recognizable from the world I grew up in. Hatred is everywhere in spades; politics and our institutions of government are floundering under pettiness that we never ever saw as bad on the playground with little brats. Our morals nationally are abysmal and should I also add, abortion was not legal and marijuana was not pushed at our society because we were “proud to be an Okie from Muskogee.”
We were not pulling down statues and seeing any kind of movement to pull down every statue let alone the people that gave us our freedom. We had statesmen running things and both parties, though different, still had great similarities and great people in both. Television actually was wholesome and fun rather than pornographic and exploding with lasciviousness. I guess I could go on and on.
America lost so much with progress as it is called. Technology improved and many positive things came out of it but as is often the case, technology without morals is not a good thing.
We have little resemblance to the country or life I grew up with. It is like Mayberry died. Now if that all sounds hopeless, it is not.
The key is this: another thing that was so much different in my time is that believers and churches were filled and faith in America was vibrant. We have lost that by and large. This nation needs to repent and get back to some of the things that drove the engine of this country, most notably faith in God. As we witness what I believe is the decline in America, it is no coincidence that it is joined to the decline in our reverence and faith in God. We have become our own idol, and seem to think we are too sophisticated for faith. We have drifted so far from where we were and need to be in all walks of life. We have lost our innocence and our vision. It is about everything but what it needs to be. The Bible says, “blessed is a nation whose God is the Lord.” Psalm 33:12
I preached on the Old Testament Book of Habakkuk over the weekend and in this we see the aforementioned prophet warn his nation to turn back to the Lord before it was too late. They did not and God dealt harshly with them for their sin. It grieved Habbakuk’s heart but he knew God was only doing what was necessary to save His people from worse calamity.
I believe God is calling this nation to repentance as well. Will we respond? I do not know. But I do know this; God is sovereign and loving and wants the best for us. If we turn to Him, He will heal our land. If we do not, we will reap the whirlwind and may already be seeing that in so many ways. As we enter this last quarter of 2020, all of us need to be praying for our people and our nation. An election will not make America great again and neither will a leftist agenda. Only God can make us great again. But our greatness and return to the innocent trust and security we once had will only be found in God, El Shaddai, Almighty God, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. It will only be found in Jesus, His Son and our Savior and Lord and thru the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit. The most important vote you make this fall is to vote for God. He alone will determine our future and He alone can make it wonderful.
My wonderful mom will turn 102 in about two weeks, She is hanging in there but social isolation has taken a toll. I do know that she loves cards and I count it a personal favor if maybe you would send her a birthday card encouraging her. My mom means so much to me. Being not able to see her for more than three times for a total of less than an hour total in seven months is awful. This birthday at her age is pretty special. Your cards to cheer her and celebrate a great life would mean a lot to me and my and her family. Thanks. Her address is Northern Mahaska Specialty Care, 2401 Crestview Drive, Oskaloosa, Iowa 52577. God bless.
Hope you tune in every Sunday morning at 6:30 to KIIC for “My Hope” with a message and some great music for you every Sunday morning. Blessings.