Hebrews 4:16

Let us then come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday America

So, this morning my son runs through the kitchen singing "Happy Birthday America!" The little patter of my heart starts to rumble.. have I birthed a patriot?  Woo-hoo! I come from a long line of patriots!In every generation that I can tell, someone in my family has served faithfully in the Armed Forces. Whether during active war or during peace time.  I have a son who wants to continue the tradition.  I think it is just part of who 'we' are. We love this country!  I love what it stands for. And yet, I know so many who don't, it is 'en vogue' to hate America, and  that makes me a little sad. However, it reminds me of what we stand for, or at least where we started.  Freedom to believe, say and think exactly what you want.


So this patriot-at-heart was pondering how to express the importance of freedom to my kids today.... something more than fireworks, or in our case the absence of them  due to the dry weather conditions, and festivals and parades, etc...

Why should it be important? I mean.. is it just another day?

Even in my sometimes limited community I find I am the odd-man out with a deep love for America and for the virtues for which this nation was truly founded upon.

My husband tells me often I am too full of useless facts that no one actually cares about, and maybe I should go on to Jeopardy where it may profit me. But why? Why don't we care about the history of our country and the lives which were given for the freedoms we so easily partake of.

Think of the 1st Amendment Rights..  Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech,Freedom of the press, Freedom to Assemble, Freedom to petition the government. 

Seriously, think of that. This Constitution, while not written on July 4th, is as much a  part of the activities and celebration of this Independence Day.  The Bill of Rights, (the 1st 10 Amendments of 27 in our Constitution) go on to list basic fundamental rights that are to be available to the citizens of this nation.

Rights that today tend to be taken for granted. 
Rights that were not available just over 200 years ago.

If you look at the Declaration of Independence, this eloquently worded document outlines the list of grievances against the King of England by the colonies. It is a long list.  It was the start of America's push for Independence, or the visible start. I believe it started long before that, personally.  You will have to go back to the Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights. And further back to John Lockes's essays on Common and Natural Law.  These, often difficult to understand, writings were the literature the framers read when studying the concept of the rights of man.  

Who gives rights? Where does freedom come from?

The Bible tells us that freedom is found in Christ.( John 8:36)
It also says about Freedom:
Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. ( 2 Corinthians 3:17)

In the book of Galatians chapter 5 there are multiple references to Freedom. 

Galatians 5:1 says, " It is for freedom Christ set us free."
Galatians 5:13 tells us to live free but free for God while serving and loving others.

To be a student of history is a value many of us don't realize. If we look at Ecclesiastes 3:15 we are told that "History repeats itself." And I wonder if we really looked back at what was before us would it change how we view what is before us. The Bible also tells us that there is nothing new under the sun.( Eccl 1:9) What has been, will be again. Hmm...that is a lot to think of and it brings to my mind the word often found in the book of Psalms... Selah which means to pause and think about what was written.

When you go back and look at the event surrounding the birth of our nation, the foundations of our government, the lives of those who gave up their fortunes ....even time with family.... you may also just see that there was a biblical foundation which set the stage for our new republican form of government.

The vernacular is quite different today vs. then and some of the concepts take a different direction. You could argue that the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution were not Christian, but they were brought up reading the Bible and many commentaries that reflected or referred to it. While their choice of relationship is not my basis for believing for a Biblical foundation, the pattern of government and freedom came from reading the Bible ( Isaiah 33:22 shows the structure of our 3 branches of government) and believing in the Sovereignty of God. Ben Franklin for instance while it has never been documented that he accepted Christ, did acknowledge that God alone governs in the affairs of men, and as such they should confer with the Father of Lights asking his blessing and guidance upon the Constitutional Convention.

So, today maybe we will listen to The Star Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key and think about what this poem means for a few moments? ( ok... truth be told I will be the one who really stops to ponder it first but I set the example by modeling learning for my kids.)

Or we will look at the Declaration of Independence and consider what drove the colonists to pick up gun and bullet and fight for freedom?

Or maybe we'll look at the concept of what it means to be free? Because according to Scripture we find true freedom in Christ.

Maybe we'll make a flag cake and go roast hot dogs... and we can't forget the fireworks which  may lead us back to the Star Spangled Banner discussion. Again, while this didn't happen on July 4th... it is as much a part of our Independence celebrations as anything else.

Here is an interesting fact: Did you know that both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on July 4, 1826, 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence?

Here is a great website for reading and studying some of America's most important early documents:

Chuck Colson's ministry sent out a great email about this today and it made me think more about why there are so few who "love" our country and essentially "love" one another in our immediate social community?

I am deciding that it is 'en vogue' to love God and to love those around me, to live my life with passion and virtue, the 'stuff' which morals and religion birth.  I want my children to be proud of their heritage, for the Bible says we have a good one.Psalm 16:6 declares that the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places and I have a good heritage.   We have a lot to be proud of in America. We have a lot to be thankful for and truly... that is the start. That is why we celebrate. To remember and be thank-full.

Happy 4th of July!!!

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