this last Sunday night (July 1) at our church’s annual Independence Day
Celebration. Several remarked they
wished they had a copy of this so I thought this would be an appropriate place to post it.
you have a happy and safe July 4th.
When I was a kid at my older brother’s football games, my
dad always made me stand up right beside him during the National Anthem. It was the one time I couldn’t go run around
and play with my friends.
I didn’t understand the significance of this until I was
much older. It really taught me
something about respect for those who fought for MY freedom. It caused me to
discover the mix of church and government creating this great nation. It helped me see for myself how the Bible and
the American flag belong together in every American’s heart. I learned a lot by being forced to stand up,
stand still, and stand tall while hearing:
can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
The wisest man to ever live, King Solomon, wrote in Proverbs 14:34 “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin
condemns any people.”
Our leaders down through the centuries of this nation
seemed to understand this:
As the declaration of Independence was being signed, Samuel
Adams declared: “We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom all
men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the
setting of the sun, let His kingdom come.”
Benjamin Franklin, June 28, 1787, First Constitutional
Convention said: “In the beginning of our contest with Britain, when
we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for divine
protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard and graciously answered … We have been
assured in the sacred writings that except the Lord build the house they labor
in vain that build it. I firmly believe this and I also believe that without
His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than
the builders of Babel.”
In the will of Patrick Henry who gave the famous speech on
“Give me liberty or give me death” he wrote: “I
have now disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more that
I wish I could give to them and that is the Christian religion. If they had
that and I had not given them one shilling, they would have been rich; and if
they had not that and I had given them the world, they would be poor.”
President Abraham Lincoln: “We
have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in
peace and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined that all
things were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated
with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity
of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God who made us.”
To say that our nation has not moved from its
original foundation is to ignore reality.
As a whole, our nation is turning its back on the God Who made the
United States the great nation that it is. And the results have not been pretty.
According to the May 2012 report by the National Commission
on Civic Renewal, the United States continues to lead the nations of the world
in murders, violent crime, imprisonment, divorce, abortion, sexually
transmitted diseases, teen suicide, cocaine consumption and pornography
We “lead” the world in these things. Perhaps our current president was speaking
prophetically when he said, “America is
not a Christian nation.” With a moral reputation like what the
Commission points out, I’d hate to blame Christ and His bride, the church, for
The “American Way” has been redefined as
self-gratification, self-fulfillment, self-realization, and self-absorption. We seem to have a horrible “I” disease: “I want this…I deserve that…I, I, I.”
But this is not how our founders wanted it to be. And I bet, somewhere in your heart you agree:
it should not be all about “me”.
Scripture challenges us in the book of James 2:18 saying, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my
faith by what I do.” To put
it another way, “who are you gonna believe: a
paid endorser or a satisfied customer?” I’m
here to tell you, we are satisfied customers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We pledge our allegiance first to a cross before a country because
the hope of our nation is not in politics.
It’s the same hope today as on July 4, 1776 at the signing of the
Declaration of Independence. The only
hope for our nation is not presidential elections, congressional elections, or Supreme
Court Decisions: it’s Jesus and Jesus only.
It’s not the country that will
save us, but the cross!
The poem by Francis Scott Key we call “The Star Spangled
Banner” is familiar to so many but did you know Key also wrote other verses
to this poem? We only hear the first verse
but here is the last verse to “The Star-Spangled Banner”—our national anthem…
be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
We know that “the land of the free” is what we are given
and “home of the brave” represents the sacrifice we must all be willing to make
to ensure freedom in this great nation.
More important than the freedom we have politically is
the freedom we can have spiritually.
That freedom doesn’t come from wars fought with guns or
elections. That freedom has already been
fought on a hill called Calvary by a Man named Jesus Whose death changed the
world and made us truly free.