Happy Independence Day!

“On this Independence Day I am reminded of all those who have sacrificed for my freedom,
following the example of your Son, Jesus Christ.
Let me not take my freedom, both physical and spiritual, for granted.
May I always remember that my freedom was purchases with a very high price.
My freedom cost others their very lives.”

Independence Day Prayer

https://publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=257511&picture=american-independence-day-backdropAmerican Independence Day

Hope everyone here in these United States of America has had a wonderful Fourth of July. I have really enjoyed being with my family today and will be delaying today’s post until tomorrow. It will be a most interesting one – full of charisma!

As we look back to the historical event that occurred 242 years ago – the Signing of the Declaration of Independence – I believe we can see the hand of God in the establishment of this great country. The men who signed that Declaration risked everything in order to gain freedom.

Here is that incredible document, as read by Max McLean.

We leave you with this Independence Day Prayer (link)

Dear Lord,

There is no greater feeling of liberation than to experience this freedom from sin and death
that you have provided for me through Jesus Christ.
Today my heart and my soul are free to praise you. For this I am very thankful.

On this Independence Day I am reminded of all those who have sacrificed for my freedom,
following the example of your Son, Jesus Christ.
Let me not take my freedom, both physical and spiritual, for granted.
May I always remember that my freedom was purchases with a very high price.
My freedom cost others their very lives.

Lord, today, bless those who have served and continue to give their lives for my freedom.
With favor and bounty meet their needs and watch over their families.

Help me to live my life in a way that glorifies you, Lord.
Give me the strength to be a blessing in someone else’s life today,
and grant me the opportunity to lead others into the freedom that can be found in knowing Christ.

Amen


Comments

Happy Independence Day! — 36 Comments

  1. So I imagine I will get dumped on for this, but I am tired of Independence Day being celebrated as primarily a holiday to celebrate our military. Yes our nation was founded during war and the military is vital to our freedom, but our nation is not about the military. Our greatest strength is our people and our constitution that guarantees our freedoms. Maybe it is my Annabaptist, pacifist heritage but I find idolizing the military in this way to be scandalous as a Christian.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  2. Loren Haas: but I am tired of Independence Day being celebrated as primarily a holiday to celebrate our military

    I’ve been through a lot of July 4ths but I have never seen this emphasis. Apparently where you come from does things differently than in my neighborhood. How about we emphasize what we agree on this July 4th rather than all the divisions, we can disagree later.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  3. Thersites: I’ve been through a lot of July 4ths but I have never seen this emphasis.

    It was tweeted by the President this morning.

    I am thankful the early colonists decided to sever ties with their mother country and that the citizens faught for their freedom.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  4. I have been sitting here and watching the Capitol fireworks show and the Macys fireworks show, feeling somewhat disgruntled. Because of Loren’s post I feel free to express my feelings.What kind of a worldview thinks that God blesses America more than other nations. And what does God’s blessing mean? Wealth? iPads? My father was a WW2 hero who got a Purple Heart. My eldest brother fought in Vietnam Nam. Yet I am having a hard time figuring out why we think God should bless America more than other nations.

    CS Lewis had a lot to say about Patriotism vs. Christianity.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  5. ___

    Predominantly Beset: “Contemplating The Cost Of Freedom, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    “Contrary to contemporary claims that America’s Founding Fathers were secular in their outlook and founding of America, George Washington and the overwhelming majority of Founding Fathers were Christian in both principle and practice. Secularists and the irreligious who attempt to continue to suppress the public Christian expression and origin of America do so against the facts of history. When speaking of the lives of America’s Founding Fathers, secularists always relate minimal information convenient to their cause without allowing these small fragmented pieces to be properly placed within the context of the entire picture. The fact is that a careful study of the lives of the signers of the Declaration of Independence will demonstrate that not one of them was a Deist, as claimed by secularists. A brief study of an important moment in the life of America’s Founding Father–George Washington–will demonstrate what is generally true concerning the overwhelming majority of the rest of the Founding Fathers.”

    *

    “The inhabitants of the surrounding country, knowing this sad state of the army, were very uneasy; one of them left his home, one day, and as he was passing thoughtfully the edge of a wood near the hut-camp, he heard low sounds of a voice. He stopped to listen, and looking between the trunks of the large trees he saw Gen. Washington engaged in prayer. He passed quietly on, that he might not disturb him; and, on returning home, told this family he knew the Americans would succeed, for their leader did not trust in his own strength, but sought aid from the hearer of prayer, who promised in his word, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” A female, who lived at the Valley Forge when the army was encamped there, told a friend who visited her soon after they left it, that she had discovered that it was the habit of Washington to retire to a short distance from the camp to worship God in prayer. Many, who in “the day of prosperity” have forgotten or neglected to worship their Creator, will earnestly call upon him in ” the day of trouble,” when they feel that His power only can deliver them; but it was not thus with Washington; it was his constant custom as one of his nephews has thus related: “One morning, at daybreak, an officer came to the general’s quarters with dispatches. As such communications usually passed through my hands, I took the papers from the messenger and directed my steps towards the general’s room. Walking along the passage which led to his door, I heard a voice within. I paused, and distinctly recognized the voice of the general. Listening for a moment, when all was silent around, I found that he was earnestly engaged in prayer. I knew this to be his habit, and therefore retired, with the papers in my hand, till such time as I supposed he had finished the exercise, when I returned, knocked at his door, and was admitted.” Thus, in obedience to Him whom he called ” the Divine Author of our blessed religion,” Washington, in the retirement of his chamber, prayed to his “Father who seeth in secret,” and truly his “Father, who seeth in secret,” did ” reward him openly…”
    https://christianheritagefellowship.com/george-washingtons-prayer-at-valley-forge/

    Our blessed freedoms are not, and have not been free.

    (tears)

    ♪♩♪♩ hum, hum, hum…” Mine ēyēs have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord…

    ATB

    Sòpy

    https://youtu.be/Jy6AOGRsR80
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Hr89qY6FhJg
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NVIprbKmVIM
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4MZmaylvtHI
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UvlLE02flXg

    ;~)

    – –

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  6. In Canada our military day is Nov 11 (Remembrance Day aka Poppy Day). I normally attend the main Cenotaph ceremony in downtown Vancouver BC. Veterans (fewer and fewer) and local military units are naturally present and participate in a parade afterward while dignitaries take the salute. There is also a military presence on our national day (Canada Day, July 1), e g an exhibition at the main venue (Canada Place), but it is about the present Forces vs those who served and sacrificed earlier.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  7. Loren Haas,

    I guess that I’m saying that those who serve need a day when their contribution is recognized. Both grandfathers served during WWI (one joined up when he was 40, leaving his wife in a new city [away from family and friends] with 5 boys to take care of by herself), and my father served during WWII.

    Even sincere Christians can only hope to agree on essentials of faith and practice after the necessary time and effort (teaching and persuasion). Given our fallen nature, it is impossible to agree on details. Anabaptist groups (Mennonites, Amish, Hutterites etc) are typically pacifist while the Anglican Church is officially militarist: “It is lawful for Christian men, at the commandment of the Magistrate, to wear weapons, and serve in the wars.” We are designed to complement each other, giving to others what they cannot give themselves. Every group has its strengths (even Calvinists [smile]) and weaknesses; no one has it all.

    The bigger issue to me is utopianism: universal peace, universal justice (e g lack of human capital punishment), universal prosperity. According to Scripture, as I understand it, such (Millenial) conditions will only be possible when Christ returns to visibly and directly rule, his human helpers being immortal and perfect, vs using mortal authorities who are at best deeply flawed and fallible and at worst more than normally evil and foolish.

    If we reject in a practical sense that which is designed to limit violence and poverty, we will get our reward: an explosion of violence and poverty. If what I read is true, more people died at the hand of their own governments than died through the acts of foreign nations. Communism, meant to bring universal prosperity, instead brought universal poverty.

    Romans 12 mentions 7 gifts. One explanation is that they are special motivations for helping people: clusters of aptitudes, traits, and special needs. Each of us is born with one, and it may be energized by the Holy Spirit to produce eternal results vs merely temporal. Only then will it be a spiritual gift vs a merely natural one. Those whose motivation is mercy (healing the hurts of others, close personal relationships) have the most difficulty with such concepts as just war, just legal penalties (including capital punishment), just poverty. Pained by the suffering of others, they don’t want to see it happen, but they need to understand that the price of rejecting necessary suffering is worse suffering later. Prophets (“This is morally right. This is morally wrong. This is why. Boss, what are you doing? If society continues like this, it’s going to collapse!”) instinctively understand that when words of truth are rejected, stronger persuasion (justice) is necessary. They are the most likely to believe in just war, just legal penalties, just poverty. Exhorters (motivating spiritual growth in others, practical steps of action to accomplish goals) instinctively understand that suffering is a vital catalyst to personal growth and have the least problem with it. I personally believe that I am a “prophet”.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  8. God forbid if a future July 4 would fall on Sunday! The New Calvinists would have nothing to do with it in their churches! No flags, no celebration of freedom, no recognition of America’s fathers who entrusted this country to God, no honoring American military who fought to preserve our freedom. Yep, they wouldn’t skip a beat, their “lead pastors” would simply continue with their sermon series borrowed from one of their heroes of the faith (Piper, etc).

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  9. Max:
    God forbid if a future July 4 would fall on Sunday!The New Calvinists would have nothing to do with it in their churches!No flags, no celebration of freedom, no recognition of America’s fathers who entrusted this country to God, no honoring American military who fought to preserve our freedom.Yep, they wouldn’t skip a beat, their “lead pastors” would simply continue with their sermon series borrowed from one of their heroes of the faith (Piper, etc).

    Yes Max, it would be utterly unthinkable to deviate from one of their all-important, required ‘9-Marx’ of “expositional preaching!” 🙁

    Christians, above all people, should understand that because of Christ’s death on the cross, that freedom isn’t free. Honoring those who have fought and died to keep this country free, in my opinion, walks hand-in-hand with that principle–and takes nothing away from the message found in the Good News.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  10. Root 66: it would be utterly unthinkable to deviate from one of their all-important, required ‘9-Marx’ of “expositional preaching!”

    I attended an SBC-YRR church plant a few years ago on Easter Sunday (I like to see what makes these young reformers tick so I can write about them accurately). The 30-year old lead pastor had no traditional Easter sermon, he simply continued his sermon series from Ephesians. No mention of the Cross of Christ, no resurrection, zilch. Regarding the usual communion service, he told attendees “I picked up the cheapest grape juice and crackers I could find at Walmart. (laughter). Grab you some on the way out!” Yep, this ain’t your grandma’s SBC!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  11. Root 66,

    Before I began attending an evangelical (Low) Anglican church, I attended a Mennonite Brethren church for a number of years. In spite of the official pacifism, it seemed that some couldn’t help but honour those who had sacrificed when Nov 11 fell on or near Sunday. The young woman who was responsible for the bulletins allegedly got flack for including the poem “In Flander’s Fields” on the appropriate Sunday. Those who spoke were not/may not have been aware of the thousands of Canadian Mennonites who enlisted during the Second World War, hundreds of whom never returned. Many were harshly rejected by their leaders and peers for doing so or sensed rejection upon their return. (At least some appeared to have been motivated by rebellion; rebellious Anglican youth reportedly expressed the same attitude during that time with opposite behavior.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  12. Max,

    Wow! Not only did he entirely miss the boat on what believers should celebrate every Sunday (Easter–the Resurrection!), but the way in which he also denigrated the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus in such an unworthy manner is quite flippant and disturbing!

    It seems unusual to me for one in the Neo-Reformed crowd to reduce communion to such a free-for-all. Typically, they want to “fence in” the communion table and pretty much exclude anyone they determine as ‘unworthy’! There’s got to be a better balance than this.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  13. B Badger:
    Root 66,

    Before I began attending an evangelical (Low) Anglican church, I attended a Mennonite Brethren church for a number of years. In spite of the official pacifism, it seemed that some couldn’t help but honour those who had sacrificed when Nov 11 fell on or near Sunday. The young woman who was responsible for the bulletins allegedly got flack for including the poem “In Flander’s Fields” on the appropriate Sunday. Those who spoke were not/may not have been aware of the thousands of Canadian Mennonites who enlisted during the Second World War, hundreds of whom never returned. Many were harshly rejected by their leaders and peers for doing so or sensed rejection upon their return. (At least some appeared to have been motivated by rebellion; rebellious Anglican youth reportedly expressed the same attitude during that time with opposite behavior.

    There was so much at stake during WWII. At times, the very freedoms we all currently enjoy hung in the balance. I’ll quote the last lines from Winston Churchill’s “Finest Hour” speech, which drives home that point quite powerfully:

    “But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.
    Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth [which included Canada!] last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”

    Remembering and honoring others’ sacrifices for our freedoms should remind us of Him Who purchased our eternal Freedom!

    Extra credit bonus: “In Flanders Fields” was written by Lt. Col. John McCrae, who was a Canadian physician.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  14. Loren Haas,

    Life is a series of trades: if we wish to receive, we must give. Both Mennonites who maintained at least a degree of separation from society and retained their pacifist convictions suffered for it as well as those who settled down and forsook them. When a Dutch queen proved intolerant, many Mennonites left the land of their religious origin for Prussia which at that time tolerated pacifism. (The “Water Mennonites”, fitting the most into Dutch society at that time, remained and are there today.) When Prussia demanded military service, many Mennonites moved to Russia. Those who stayed and shed their pacifism were killed and wounded in large numbers while serving during the Franco-Prussian and the two World Wars. Those who moved to Russia eventually ended up in the frying pan instead of the fire. To gain permission to settle there, they unwisely agreed to not propagate their faith. In the wake of the Communist revolution they suffered violence at the hands of both the Soviet government and an anarchist group.

    There is a family story about my paternal grandfather, whether it is true or not. Some time after returning from military service in 1919, he let drop this remark at the dinner table. He wished that he had joined up for the Boer War since it would have given him experience for the Great War. (His work took him away from home a lot in general.) The respect and honour that he got from his normally very calm wife prompted him to beat a hasty retreat.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  15. Loren Haas,

    Everything in balance: I personally think that we should neither idolize, as you rightly said, nor needlessly denigrate the military. While the nation is not about the military, the military is about the nation.

    Someone pointed out the inconsistency of pacifist Mennonites enjoying freedoms and protection thanks to the military while failing to make a proportionate contribution in turn.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  16. Root 66,

    Thank you, Route 66! Yes, we can draw a (partial) analogy between Christ’s sacrifice and that of service personnel. As I mentioned in an earlier thread, the then Anglican church building (we eventually had to leave it after withdrawing from the Diocese of New Westminster) has a large stained glass window on a side wall honouring the men and women who served during the World Wars. The building itself is a memorial to them, eg a plaque naming parish members (not a few) who made the ultimate sacrifice during WWII.

    That famous poem written by a Canadian: yes!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  17. drstevej: They could salute their pastors and say, “Thank you for that sermon, sir. Can I have another?”

    I think that already happens to some extent. Pastor expects accolades.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  18. Loren Haas,

    There was another consequence from the move to Russia. Mennonites also fought for America, Germany, and Russia in fairly large numbers, pitting Mennonites against each other. For some, the outward tolerance of Christians by the Nazi government stood in sharp contrast to the Communists, and they wanted to strike a blow against the hated Stalinist regime. I heard of one such man who became disillusioned with the Nazis and switched sides. Since he understood German, he was assigned to eavesdrop (with the aid of equipment) on the enemy lines.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  19. Max: Regarding the usual communion service, he told attendees “I picked up the cheapest grape juice and crackers I could find at Walmart. (laughter). Grab you some on the way out!”

    Another Tribal IFF Code from the Reformation Wars:
    Romish Papists put all that Importance on their wafers and wine, So We Must Treat Them As Dung.
    WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  20. B Badger: I guess that I’m saying that those who serve need a day when their contribution is recognized.

    We do honor and recognize veterans on Veterans Day and those who gave their lives in service to our country on Memorial Day. There are other days those in the military are recognised, D-Day and Armistice Day are a few.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  21. Root 66,

    I have read that “the religious problem” was a negative topic in Hitler’s private conversation second only to the Jews. If he had won, the Church would have been persecuted to one degree or another, limited only by expediency, eg the large number of Germans identifying as Protestant or Catholic. Based on earlier, anti-Catholic actions, most buildings would have been closed, a minority of clergy put to death, and a larger number sent to concentration camps.

    Hitler allegedly promoted a movement of mere God-believers, but any god he believed in was not the Christian God.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  22. Root 66: quite flippant and disturbing

    That would describe the “gospel” delivery of some of the new reformers, especially “lead” pastors in their 20s-30s who are determined to change everything about doing church. They just don’t get it. It’s a great mistake to unleash the immature and inexperienced on the church in America, but that’s the situation with some church planters.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  23. Max:
    God forbid if a future July 4 would fall on Sunday!The New Calvinists would have nothing to do with it in their churches!No flags, no celebration of freedom, no recognition of America’s fathers who entrusted this country to God, no honoring American military who fought to preserve our freedom.Yep, they wouldn’t skip a beat, their “lead pastors” would simply continue with their sermon series borrowed from one of their heroes of the faith (Piper, etc).

    Ah, yet they have their freedoms because of the Declaration of Independance and the ensuing revolutionary victory!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  24. Bridget: We do honor and recognize veterans on Veterans Day and those who gave their lives in service to our country on Memorial Day. There are other days those in the military are recognised, D-Day and Armistice Day are a few.

    Churches in our area recognize veterans on Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day, which means a lot to me. Hubby is a retired Green Beret; several 2nd cousins served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. I have family who served in Korea and Vietnam. I remember great uncles who were in Germany in WWII. My first husband’s (deceased) were in WWII, one at the Battle of the Bulge, another in the South Pacific. One of my gg-grandfathers, a ggg-grandfather, and an uncle fought for the Union in the civil war. That same ggg-grandfather’s granddaddy fought in the Revolutionary War – his father, a Swiss immigrant, provided food from his farm for our soldiers. So, I love the recognition of our veterans.

    But, July 4th ain’t the day for it. It’s for the recognition of Indeoendance Day, the birth of our nation. I think our military personnel should be involved in the celebrations, but certainly not the focus of our celebrations!
    I still have (ahem) a handfull of canning jars from the Bicentenniel: 1776 – 1976, with the American flag in the middle!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  25. B Badger,

    Perhaps one should consider the history of Annabaptists.
    My forbearers were severely persecuted by Lutherans, Calvinists and Catholics. They were hung, (the lucky ones) drowned in Lake Geneva (which proved their guilt), and burned to death (after having their tongues cut out) All of this due to collusion of church and state. Baptizing believers outside of the state church was a capital offence. Others were killed because they resisted being impressed into the armies of petty princes to fight other “Christians”. Many migrated to the Volga River area in the Ukraine at the invitation of the Russian Queen. Within two generations promisses of freedom from military service were broken and many migrated to the US. Being hardworking, most flourished in the US. WWI reinstated the draft and annabaptist were killed in riots and jailed for resisting. FDR was more sympathetic and created an alternate national service during WWII. Many annabaptist men worked in, hospitals, logging camps and farms for the duration. This program continued into the Viet Nam War.
    We are, understandably a little testy about the separation of church and state, as well as making an idol out of the military and it’s symbols.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  26. Loren Haas,
    The only thing the Pope, Luther, and Calvin could agree on was a Final Solution to the Anabaptist Problem.

    Today, Evangelicals and Baptists have the same tribal marker as the Anabaptists:
    Credobaptism instead of Paedobaptism.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  27. Loren Haas: Maybe it is my Annabaptist, pacifist heritage but I find idolizing the military in this way to be scandalous as a Christian.

    I come from a military family. July 4 is not about idolizing the military, it’s simply celebrating our nation’s break away from Great Britain.

    But there’s nothing wrong with showing gratitude or respect for military personnel.

    I’m not a pacifist.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  28. Contributor Haas has the liberty in 2018 to freely express opinions here and elsewhere because persons – military and civilian – sacrificed much for that liberty. I sincerely hope that that fact is not forgotten in this celebration of the United States’ Independence Day. Salutes to the Anabaptists who firmly held to their beliefs. However, they were Christians in a long line of other Christians persecuted for their beliefs…and they were not the last.

    Thank you, Deb, for posting the Independence Day Prayer.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *