5/29/2020

AMERICA'S ABOLITIONIST FOUNDING FATHER


Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) was a member of the Continental Congress, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a passionate abolitionist. He was influential in turning America’s founding generation against slavery and in America’s founding documents being colorblind, containing no mention of slavery nor any classifications based on race or skin color.
Rush was a Scot who earned his M.D. at the University of Edinburgh. After immigrating to the Thirteen Colonies, he served as Surgeon General for the Revolutionary Army. Not only was he one of Philadelphia’s leading citizens, he also served as Professor of Chemistry and Medical Theory at the University of Pennsylvania.
His Christian Faith
Rush was a devout Christian and his Christian worldview was the basis of his impassioned opposition to slavery. This worldview was based in creation and redemption—that all people were created equal by God and that Christ died to redeem all people to Himself.
Rush was also convinced that the American Republic could not survive apart from Christian values and morality. He once proposed inscribing John 3:17 above the doors of courthouses and other public buildings. The passage reads, The Son of Man Came into the World, Not To Destroy Men's Lives, But To Save Them.
Although he recognized the blight of slavery that continued in the South, Rush was convinced that America’s founding documents were a work of God. Careful not to put them on the same level as Scripture, he, nonetheless, said,
I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as perfectly satisfied that the Union of the United States in its form and adoption is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 155).
His Impassioned Fight Against Slavery
As a passionate abolitionist, Rush helped found in Philadelphia the first Abolition society in America. Rush’s influence is seen in the fact that Benjamin Franklin, one of the best known of America’s founders, joined this society and later served as its president.
In his crusade for abolition, Rush challenged the ministers of America to take a bold stand against slavery, which he called a “hydra sin.” He wrote,
But chiefly—ye ministers of the gospel, whose dominion over the principles and actions of men is so universally acknowledged and felt, - Ye who estimate the worth of your fellow creatures by their immortality, and therefore must look upon all mankind as equal; - let your zeal keep pace with your opportunities to put a stop to slavery. While you enforce the duties of “tithe and cumin,” neglect not the weightier laws of justice and humanity. Slavery is a Hydra sin and includes in it every violation of the precepts of the Laws and the Gospels. In vain will you command your flocks to offer up the incense of faith and charity, while they continue to mingle the sweat and blood of Negro slaves with their sacrifices. Remember, that national crimes require national punishments, and without declaring what punishment awaits this evil, you may venture to assure them, that it cannot pass with impunity, unless God shall cease to be just or merciful (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that Defined America, 100-01).
Rush came to the aid of the well-known black preacher and former slave, Richard Allen, when he and others walked out of the Methodist Church in Philadelphia when its white leaders decided to institute segregated seating.
Rush encouraged them, not just with words, but used his influence and his money to help them obtain property and put up a building. This was the beginning of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in America. Allen later wrote,
We had waited on Dr. Rush and Mr. Robert Ralston, and told them of our distressing situation. We considered it a blessing that the Lord had put it into our hearts to wait upon those gentlemen. They pitied our situation, and subscribed largely towards the church, and were very friendly towards us and advised us how to go on . . . Dr. Rush did much for us in public by his influence. I hope the name of Dr. Benjamin Rush and Mr. Robert Ralston will never be forgotten among us. They were the two first gentlemen who espoused the cause of the oppressed and aided us in building the house of the Lord for the poor Africans to worship in. Here was the beginning and rise of the first African church in America (Hyatt, 1726:The Year that Defined America, 156).
His Christian Death
Rush once said, “I have alternately been called an Aristocrat and a Democrat. I am neither. I am a Christocrat.” His deep, Christ-centered faith is obvious in a letter he wrote to his wife during his final illness. He first addressed her personally, saying, “My excellent wife, I must leave you, but God will take care of you.” He then continued in what could be called a eulogy of praise to God, saying,
In the mystery of Thy holy incarnation, by Thy holy nativity; by Thy baptism, fasting, and temptation; by Thy agony and bloody sweat; by Thy cross and passion; by Thy precious death and burial; by Thy glorious resurrection and ascension, and by the coming of the Holy Spirit, blessed Jesus, wash away all my impurities, and receive me into Thy everlasting kingdom (Hyatt, 1726: The Year that DefinedAmerica, 156-57).
His Lasting Legacy
Yes, there were strong anti-slavery sentiments at the time of America’s founding, and no one expressed those sentiments more passionately than Benjamin Rush. He died in 1813 but his legacy lived on in the nineteenth century abolition movement and the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. His legacy continues today in the nation’s ongoing march toward racial equity.
In his Autobiography, Rush attributed the development of his thinking and ideals to the preachers of the Great Awakening. This makes perfect sense, for in my book, 1726, I document the anti-slavery movement that arose out of the Awakening and how it was driven by the preachers of that Awakening.
Let us, therefore, pray for another Great Awakening across our land for such would do more than anything to bring racial justice, healing, and reconciliation. If he could speak, Dr. Benjamin Rush, America’s Abolitionist Founding Father, would certainly approve.
This article is derived from Dr. Eddie Hyatt’s book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.

5/15/2020

ARE WE SEEING A NEW "GIVE ME LIBERTY OF GIVE ME DEATH" MOVEMENT?

When I read the story of the 77-year-old barber, Karl Manke, and his defiance of the lockdown orders of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, I was reminded of Patrick Henry’s defiant speech before the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775.
Henry gave his speech in response to a debate that raged over whether the colonists should surrender their liberties to the invading British who promised them protection and safety. Vehemently opposed to sacrificing freedom for safety, Henry, with eyes blazing, passionately declared, “Give me liberty or give me death!”
I am not saying that that Manke is Patrick Henry, but there are parallels between the two--between now and then--and it ultimately boils down to the question, “How much do we value our civil liberties?” Will we surrender our God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to Big Government in return for promises of protection and safety? 
Karl Manke Chooses Liberty
If you haven’t read his story, 77-year-old barber, Karl Manke, defied Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s lockdown orders and reopened his barber shop after being turned down for unemployment compensation. He had to make a living!
The governor, of course, insists that she is looking after the safety of her citizens (or subjects?). Manke, however, was desperate to get back to work and was willing to take the risk involved. He told radio host, Steve Gruber, “I just couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do that.”
Manke took every precaution with his customers, sanitizing his hands and equipment and wearing a mask. That was not good enough for the governor who sent the state police with an order for him to close. Manke replied, “I will only leave if they drag me out in the street or Jesus comes.”
After then receiving several tickets from local police, who turned his case over to the prosecuting attorney, Manke replied,
I’m 77. What are they going to give me? Life? I’ve got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. I could care less.”
Manke, of course, is not alone. Others, desperate to feed their families, have opened their shops in defiance of the lockdown. In fact, a movement of protest has emerged across the land against what many consider to be tyrannical measures by government officials that rob them of their God-given, consitutional rights of individual and religious liberty.
The British Lockdown of New England
It was 1775 and the British had locked down the city of Boston and closed its seaport. The lockdown was imposed because Bostonians had publicly protested the unfair taxes and tariffs on their goods without any say on their part. Everyone knew that the same thing would happen in Virginia and Pennsylvania unless they acquiesced to the demands of King George.
King George saw the colonists, not as citizens, but as subjects, and he sent six regiments of British troops to Boston to put down their rebellion. He also revoked the right of the people of Massachusetts to choose their own governing officials, something they had known since the time of the Pilgrims. He then began appointing governors and other officials who would carry out his wishes with the colonists.
The Debate Between Safety and Freedom
Throughout the colonies a great debate arose as to how they should respond to this British take-over. Should they resist? Should they fight this attempt to rob them of the freedoms they had known since the days of the Pilgrims—freedoms that had been purchased and implemented at great price by their parents and grandparents?
Some argued that there could be advantages to sacrificing a few freedoms and living under British control. Living under British rule meant they would not have to worry about marauding pirates who might pass by their shores. The British would also defend them against any future invasions by the French or Spanish and would provide help against attacks from hostile Indian tribes.
Patrick Henry Chooses Freedom
For many, it seemed like a good trade-off. Sacrifice personal freedom for safety. Patrick Henry, however, saw it differently and his impassioned speech changed many hearts and brought the majority over to the side of choosing liberty.
In his speech, Henry laid out the case for not caving to the demands of King George. So moving was his speech that Edward Carrington, who was listening outside a window of the church, requested that he be buried on the spot. Thirty-five years later, in 1810, he got his wish. Henry ended his speech with these resounding words,
Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
Watch and Pray
A common saying in early America was, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” We must be especially prayerful and vigilant at this time and not allow our civil liberties to be subtly stolen away in the name of government protection and safety.
Yes, we should cooperate with government officials in their attempts to control the coronavirus, but not at the cost of individual and religious liberty. Government officials must remember that they are not monarchs and we are not their subjects. We are citizens of a free Republic and they are elected officials who serve at the pleasure of the people.
We must, as Jesus said in Matthew 26:41, "Watch [be vigilant] and pray." Pray for public officials to have the wisdom of God in dealing with this pandemic. Be vigilant knowing that power-hungry politicians are using this pandemic, and the fear it produces, to gain more conrol over our lives with promises of government provision, protection, and safety. 
Pray and Choose Liberty
Last, but not least, let us pray for another Great Awakening to sweep across the land. This would do more than anything to preserve our God-given liberties and rid the land of this virus and the more deadly virus of a carnal, casual Christianity.
Yes, personal freedom involves personal responsibility and personal risk. I, for one, am willing to take the risk. I say with Patrick Henry, Karl Menke, and millions of others,  “Give me liberty or give me death.”
Dr. Eddie Hyat is the author of 1726: The Year that Defined America, a timely and strategic book that documents how the Great Awakening played a primary role in the founding of America and the ending of slavery on this continent. This book, and others he has written, are available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com.





5/10/2020

GOD'S FAITHFULNESS IN TIMES OF ECONOMIC DISTRESS

The blameless spend their days under the LORD'S care . . .
In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will have plenty
.
Psalm 37:18-19

The coronavirus continues to take thousands of lives but there is, perhaps, an even more deadly scourge that is now plaguing our land--"hopelessness."
Because of the shutdown of the economy and the ensuing loss of millions of jobs, suicides, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and domestic violence are all on the rise. The stress of being without income and unable to pay the bills is putting many thousands over the edge. 
Many find themselves ensnared in pits of despair and hopelessness with seemingly no way out. CBS News recently reported a study that estimated that 75,000 Americans will die of what they called “deaths of despair.” 
Sue and I believe that God showed us in 2001 that there will be a collapse of the world economy. I do not believe that this downturn is the fulfillment of that vision, but that is not the point here. At that time God showed us that out of the rubble of economic collapse, His providential provision would arise for His people, and that is my point in this article.
This providential provision and blessing I call “the opening of the windows of heaven.” Many years ago, God spoke to me with great clarity about this “opening of the windows of heaven” and it has been an incredible source of hope and strength ever since.
God Gives Me a Promise
In 1976 I was reading a small book entitled The Authority of the Believer. Within the book was a quotation of Malachi 3:10, which includes the promise from God that He will open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.
The phrase open for you the windows of heaven burned in my soul. I went to bed that night and it seemed as though I could actually “feel” that word in my soul in the same way food just eaten could be felt in the stomach. It was a very real experience.
I arose the next morning and began my devotional time in which I was reading through the Bible. However, I immediately sensed my heart beginning to burn with that phrase I will open for you the windows of heaven. I paused to consider whether I should continue with my devotions as usual or should I give attention to this burning in my soul.
As I pondered this question, I glanced down at my Bible which was lying open on the floor. It had fallen open to 2 Kings Chapter 7 and the first words I saw were windows in heaven. I was astounded for I did know there was another place in the Bible that spoke of the windows of heaven. This was incredible and I knew that God was speaking.
God Uses Four Poor Lepers
I continued to read and found that this was the account of God’s supernatural deliverance of a city of Samaria that was besieged by the king of Syria and his powerful army. They had cut off all escape routes and blocked any food or other supplies going into the city. There was a complete economic collapse. It was so bad some in the city were turning to cannibalism.
In the midst of this desperate and impossible situation, Elisha the prophet (who was inside the city) made an incredible prophecy. He predicted that the very next day food would be sold at ridiculously low prices because of the abundance.
An officer of the king of Israel (who resided in this city), heard Elisha’s prophecy and scoffed. Look, he said, If the Lord could make windows in heaven, could this thing be (I Kings 7:2)? Elisha replied that he would see it but would not eat or partake of it.
That same night four leprous, homeless men who lived outside the city gates decided that it was time to take radical action. They said to one another, Why are we sitting here until we die? They reasoned that if they went into the city they would die of starvation. They would also die if they remained in their present position. Why not go out to the camp of the enemy, they reasoned. The worst that can happen to us is that we will die. But if we sit here, we are going to die anyway.
So, they began walking toward the enemy camp. As they marched forth, God caused the Syrian army to hear a sound of a large army marching toward them. They concluded that the king of Israel had hired the Egyptian army, and they ran in terror, leaving everything behind
The Windows of Heaven are Opened
The four lepers reached the camp and found food, clothes, gold, and silver in abundance. They enjoyed a sumptuous meal and then they took gold and silver out and buried it. Then they went back to the city and informed the watchman on the wall of what they had discovered. The watchman informed the king and the king sent several men to check it out. It was as the leprous men had said. The Syrian army had fled leaving behind a massive storehouse of supplies.
As morning dawned and word spread that food was being sold at the gates of the city, there was a mad rush by a lot of hungry people. The officer of the king who had scoffed at the prophecy of Elisha was put in charge of the gate where the food was being sold.
As the crowd rushed forward, he was trampled and died. The prophecy of Elisha was fulfilled in that he saw the widows of heaven opened but he did not eat or partake of the miracle.
God’s Sudden, Supernatural, Abundant Provision
Out of this experience the opening the windows of heaven came to mean to me “God’s sudden, supernatural, abundant provision.” It is God breaking through from above into our present situation. It is God bringing about effects for which there is no human cause or explanation.
In the natural world there is the scientific law of cause and effect which says that for every effect there is a cause. This is a human attempt to explain, on a horizontal plane, why things happen. We work forty hours per week in order to get a paycheck. We toil for hours digging, planting, weeding, and watering and the effect is a beautiful garden. Sometimes it seems that nothing happens unless we do something to cause it to happen.
But when God opens the windows of heaven, He brings about effects for which there is no human cause or explanation. He breaks into our lives from above and produces effects that we have not caused. He provides in a way that is sudden, supernatural, and abundant.
God Confirms His Word
As I pondered all of this that morning, I seemed to hear in my spirit, “I am going to open the windows of heaven on you and on everyone who supports you in what I have called you to do.”
About two years after this, Sue and I were sitting around our kitchen table with several other people, including a white-haired, eighty-year old woman who was a long-time prayer warrior. As we lifted out hearts in prayer, this dear old saint, arose from her chair, came around the table, laid her hands on my head, and began to pray. After our time of prayer had ended, she said, “The Lord told me to lay my hands on you and pray, and when I did, I saw two doors/windows open over your head.” I excitedly replied, “Praise the Lord! He told me he would open the windows of heaven on me.”
Conclusion
As Sue and I have, for many years, sought to walk out God’s plan for our lives with integrity and a daily dependence on Him, we have seen Him fulfill His promise and open the windows of heaven in ways we could never have imagined. Out of our walk with Him certain principles have emerged that I will here share with you. They are, I believe, keys to seeing God open the windows of heaven in your life.
1)       Always see God as your source.
Your job is not your source. Your government pension is not your source. These are channels that God uses to provide for you. God has many channels that He can use, but you must always see Him as your One and only Source.
2)       Ground yourself in God’s promises.
          Before we married, the Holy Spirit brought three promises to Sue’s mind that would characterize our lives together. All three are wonderful promises of God’s provision; Psalm 34:10, Psalm 84:11, and Philippians 4:19. Memorize these and other promises of provision and meditate on them every day until they are a part of your life. 
3)       Nurture an attitude of generosity.
I am not talking about a “give to get” religious legalism that often comes through in Christian fundraisers and telethons. I am talking about a heart attitude that wants to bless others and help those in need. There are many promises in Scripture related to the generous and those who give out of a pure heart. Jesus said, Give and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken down, and running over will be put into your bosom (Luke 6:26).
4)       Listen for God’s wisdom.
God’s provision often comes to us, but it will sometimes come through us. In other words, there are times that we will have to take certain actions to set in motion the miracle that is needed. Wisdom is defined as “the correct application of knowledge” and God wisdom working through you will bring blessing and favor into your life.
5)       Be the best you can be—diligence.
One thing that impressed me about John D. Rockefeller was that in his autobiography he tells about when, as a young man looking for his first job, he decided that he would put in eight hours per day looking for a job until he found one. This is known as “diligence.” At a significant time in our lives, God said to Sue and me, “Be the best you can be.” That is diligence. Proverbs 22:29 says, Do you see a man (or woman) who excels (is diligent) in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men.
Will God still open the windows of heaven? Will He do it for me? Absolutely! One of His Old Testament covenant names is Yahweh Jireh, which literally means the “The LORD will see and provide.” As we take Him as our Source and Provider, we will see Him open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings in ways we could never have imagined. We will not live in fear about the economy. As it says in Psalm 37:19 of those who trust in the LORD, In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

Dr. Eddie Hyatt is the co-founder and president of Hyatt Int'l Ministries with a vision to see the church transformed and the world impacted by Biblical Reformation and Spiritual Awakening. His books are available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. His latest book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, documents the impact of the First Great Awakening on the founding of the United States and the ending of slavery on the American continent.