Two-hundred and thirty-five years ago today, in the year 1776, Congress declared:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness...
"We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."
This was the day that marked the beginning of the independence of the United States of America. A land of freedom as non other has ever existed. As we think of the principles that this nation was raised up on and of the great men and women that sacrificed so much for it's freedom, sometimes or often, our hearts throb with pride and love for this country we often refer to as "my" or "our" country. We take pride in our freedom, our wealth, our culture, our diversity, our traditions, our holidays, our standards, our families, our Presidents etc... Yes, it is good to remember our for-fathers and mothers and the sacrifices they made for this nations freedom and the nobility and strength with which they stood. It is good to remember our history and the ways God has blessed and led us. It is good to give thanks and praise and remember and to be inspired to stand for what we believe no matter the cost. But friends...
I hope this country is not your country.
I hope Canada is not your country.
I hope Australia is not your country.
I hope Germany is not your country and I hope no other country or nation in this world is your country. God said to Abraham "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:” (Ge 12:1) "Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs" (Gen 15:13) “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Ga 3:29) Are you Abraham's seed? If you are, then you are a stranger in the land where you are and heaven is your country. If heaven is our country then we are automatically missionaries and ambassadors for God to call people unto God from sin unto righteousness, from darkness into light, from the country where they are, into the better country which God has prepared. If heaven is our country, anywhere we go, we can love the people as God loves them and treat them the same.
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Mt 6:21). I hope that heaven is where our treasure lies, our country, for people can fail us and countries can fail us, but God can not fail us. And friends, even if we are in chains or in prison we can remember that this is not our home and in Jesus there is freedom from sin. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
Let us be glad and rejoice and remember the blessings God has granted to this country, but let us remember where our country truly is and remember to set our affections on things above and not on this earth. Let us be thankful for our freedom that we have now but also for our freedom in Christ!
Happy Independence Day!
Here is a quote I read yesterday that seemed to go quiet well with Independence day. :-)
"Write the name of Christ upon your banner and never dishonor your colors." ~ E. G. W.