libertybell-195x300I have dedicated my “Heart of a Shepherd” blog almost entirely to my daily study in the Book of Proverbs; however, I would like to add a brief  advertisement of a 3-part sermon series I am beginning this Sunday at Hillsdale where I am in the midst of a verse-by-verse study of the Book of Daniel.  This Sunday we begin chapter 3 of Daniel.

Daniel 3 is a lasting testimony of three Hebrew men whom God providentially placed in positions of leadership in Babylon in the 6th century BC.  Chapter 3 records  Nebuchadnezzar’s demand that  all the leaders in his government bow before his idol or burn in his furnace.  My focus will be to note how God’s men responded when their devotion to God confronts the king’s demand to bow before his idol.  My topic theme is: The Biblical Response to Tyranny.

March 2 – 10:30 AM –  “A Crisis of Religious Liberty”  (Daniel 3:1-2)nebacanezer statue

March 2 – 6:00 PM –  “A Crisis of Integrity”  (Daniel 3:3-18)

March 9 – 10:30 AM –  “A Crisis of Faith”  (Daniel 3:19-30)

Each week I write a letter for our church bulletin.  This week’s letter addresses what I believe is a crisis for Christians and our nation. Because the founding fathers of our nation were for the most part Christian by testimony and practice, they insured that Freedom of Religion and Expression would be a fundamental right. The First Amendment to our Constitution reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

1stOur nation has strayed far from her founding principles and we face an increasing danger of leaders who do not share our worldview nor respect the liberties guaranteed to us as citizens. Government intrusion into our private lives has never been more menacing.  Regardless of party affiliation, the application of laws that violate religious conscience and personal liberty is detrimental to us all.

The latest assault on our freedom is the implementation of the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) in our public schools.  Under the guise of setting high academic standards, the federal government, assisted by private companies and individuals with a socialist agenda, are attempting to override local and parental control.  The effect will eventually be a broad-based platform for social indoctrination beginning with preschoolers.

Good News: It is not too late to intervene and demand that your governor and state legislature opt-out of Common Core and prevent federal government intrusion. A word of warning: There are many who will be enriched by the implementation of CCSSI, including the schools and owners of Charter schools.

My challenge for us all is that we would be a people of conscience and conviction.  Take a lesson from Daniel 3 and trust God!

With love and a shepherd’s heart,

Pastor Travis D. Smith