America – a God chosen vineyard

Our country, America, was chosen by God as a nation to serve God. We are the Gentiles written about in Acts 14:27 NLT, “Upon arriving in Antioch, they (Paul and Barnabas) called the church together and reported everything God had done through them and how He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles, too.” That’s who we are. That is what America was founded on. As I research the history of America for my next book, tentatively titled “Isaiah Speaks to America”, I am learning more and more of what it should mean to be an American. And where we are today.

My heart breaks at the riots and looting that is rampant in our country right now. I can never know the pain behind the message because I am a middle – class, white female living in a middle – class predominantly white neighborhood. I don’t have to worry about walking down the streets and being afraid of the police. I have never had people go to the other side of the street to avoid walking beside me. have never been traumatized by America because of my race. My heart cries for those who have.

And I know that the pain is real. How do I know? Because I was raised in Tennessee and as a child I was taught that there is a difference. I wasn’t taught out of hatred, but out of fear and ignorance. I thank God that He showed me that my upbringing was wrong. That all people were created by Him to worship Him. That is the only purpose for God even creating human beings is to walk in fellowship with Him. The book of Genesis describes how God created man to walk in the Garden of Eden with Him and to care for the Garden and creatures He had made. Peace like no one on earth today can ever know. And yet, we destroyed that peace and have been striving to get it back ever since.

All lives matter to God. He has made a way back to that relationship and it is not through hating other humans that He created as well. We are God’s vineyard and we must let Him tend that vineyard. I heard somewhere that the branches of a plant can do nothing on their own, they must hold tight to the vine where they get their nutrients. We can do nothing on our own, we must feed on our Vine, God the Father, so that we are not feeding on our own selfish wants and desires. My friends, there is a better way to do this. There is a better way to love each other. If we don’t change our perspective, God will change it for us.


“Now let me tell you what I will do to my vineyard:

I will tear down its hedges and let it be destroyed. I will break down its walls and let the animals trample it. I will make it a wild place where the vines are not pruned and the ground is not hoed, a place overgrown with briers and thorns. I will command the clouds to drop no rain on it. The nation of (America) is the vineyard of the Lord of Heaven’s armies. The people of (America) are His pleasant garden. He expected a crop of justice, but instead He found oppression. He expected to find righteousness, but instead He heard cries of violence.” Isaiah 5:5 – 7 NLT

So how do we stop the hatred, the bitterness, the fighting, and anger? God’s Word says it so much better than I ever could in Matthew 6:33 NLT

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.”

Ancestry

Mom and me

“And all spoke well of Him and marveled at the gracious words that came out of His mouth. And they said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?'” Luke 4:22 ESV

I have recently been studying my heritage through a popular ancestry site. I am learning so much about the blood line that makes up who I physically am. For instance, I am 39% descendent from London England through the Spring family who married a Culpepper of North Carolina after coming to America. What were they like? This Culpepper family? I envision southern plantations, big hoop dresses, and afternoon tea under the veranda. But I also wonder about the dark side of my ancestry. The side that was ignorant of human dignity.

More recently in my family tree, I am a southern gal from a Pentecostal / Baptist heritage in Knoxville, TN. I had a strict Pentecostal upbringing with the salvation of the Baptist. I learned right from wrong at a very early age. I learned to appreciate the old hymns. But then there is the dark side. Even though I was taught a love of music of all kinds, it was always linked with the fact that my talented father was an alcoholic who only wanted the good life of chasing women and entertaining in bars. Throughout my life I watched as my Mom taught us to lie to get out of trouble and take advantage of others. I was taught to steal, gossip, and lie at an early age. This is the heritage I know.

This is not the heritage I live. I was delivered from this by my acceptance of Christ and the sacrifice He made for me. He gave His life. I give Him mine.

You see, dear friends, we all have a heritage. Jesus had a heritage and that is all that the people He walked with could see. They saw His earthly father, Joseph, the carpenter. And they wondered, how can a carpenter’s son be so wise in the things of God? He has not been seen learning in the synagogues with mentors from birth. He has been working alongside his dad, building in the woodshop. Where did his wisdom come from?

When people I grew up with see me, they probably think the same thing. they will relate me to my past. And the people who know you will do the same. But we have been given a new heritage. We have God as our Father, Jesus is our Brother. The Holy Spirit is that Mamaw who passes on good advice and keeps us focused. If we have accepted Jesus, we know that He was more than a carpenter who was smart in the ways of God. He is the Messiah sent to save us from our sins. If we can believe that with all our hearts, we will live a life of Christ in front of those who know our past and not only will they see the change in us, but they will hunger for what we have.

We cannot give up when others remind us of who we were. God allows each of us to go though trials, mistakes, and heritage here on earth so that we can use His Word to teach others about the unending grace of God, our Father. Jesus came to earth so that we could see that He lived life as a man. He suffered, He was doubted, He was tempted to be like the world, but with God’s Word, He overcame. We can too.