Ronald Reagan would have been 100 years old on 6 February if he were still alive. There has been much in the news about him, but this morning I learned a few things myself.
Did you realize that Woodrow Wilson was a “five point Calvanist”? FDR was still an elder in his church? I didn’t. Those were considered liberal Democrats, by the way. At one time, Reagan was as well. That was a much different time, though. Today, it is almost a major story if anyone even mouths their beliefs in a god of any kind.
Reagan was baptized at 11 in a church that normally didn’t baptize until 12. He was considered mature for his age. Some even speculated he would later become a minister.
Yet, you don’t hear that much about it from our news media. So blind is the secular news that there are entire sections of his life that seem to be completely overlooked.
Reagan often spoke at churches about Nazism and fascism to liberal progressives of his day. He would get applause whenever he spoke of the defeat of their regimes. He spoke of the evils of highly authoritarian governments. One day, his pastor took him aside and said that he gave a very fine speech. However, his pastor told him, the Nazis were no longer in power. Fascism had been defeated. However, he went on, there is another “ism” that is still totalitarian in make-up, that still oppresses people and is just as evil.
So, what did he do? Well, his next speech ended with the remark that if he investigated communism and it turned out to be just as totalitarian and authoritarian, then he would be speaking out against it as well. No applause; just silence.
The light bulb started to come on. The liberal progressive movement was being hijacked by communism. That was the start of a transition for him. As he said later on, “I did not leave the Democratic Party. It left me.”
Both parties have in recent years pandered to special interests, but that isn’t really the topic here. God has granted America a certain amount of freedom, certainly more than any other country in the history books. However, history also tells us that people cannot handle freedom.
God wants to grant people freedom, but His idea of freedom is very often very different than what we associate freedom with. He gives very strict boundaries, but for most people He grants within those boundaries the means to choose our own destiny. We are free to use the gifts He has bestowed upon us in order to serve and give back to Him and to others. The problem is that people don’t want to stay in those boundaries, and so the whole system becomes skewed.
What happens when things start to break down? “We need a law!” is the cry that people often unthinkingly state. What of the laws we already have? Why aren’t we enforcing them? Will yet another one really do the trick?
Sometimes, perhaps. Most of the time, no. That’s because you cannot force someone to be a moral and upright person from the outside. It has to start with the inside. God’s way starts with repentance. It moves on to the Holy Spirit being implanted within. God starts with the inside.
Satan’s way is just the opposite. It is trying to control others from the outside, forcing them to do what he wants them to do.
God gives a choice. Satan takes the choice away if he can.
God gives love and what is best for the person. Satan doesn’t care, and he would gladly hurt all he can.
God is outgoing concern. Satan is all about selfishness.
The list could go on.