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One Nation Under God

July 4, 2012

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” – Psalm 33:12
 

This week, we as a nation celebrate our Independence Day. Now, without doubt it has become a sad age for Christians worldwide, as wherever we might look we see only a rising tide of Godlessness and liberalism; a perversion of our Founding Fathers’ fundamental belief of freedom with responsibility into freedom from it. And yet, however decadent and sinful this nation – and to an even greater extent, the world – has become, we still owe the United States of America our allegiance, our honor, and our lives: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: The powers that be are ordained of God,” (Rom. 13:1).
 
Because though this country’s present laws and actions may be somewhat disappointing, our history certainly is not. It is built on the pioneering spirit of generations of men and women who have drenched this soil with their blood, their sweat, and their tears; people who, through toil and war and want and persecution, have endured and persevered in the face of adversity; people who have risen above themselves in an effort to build something far grander, far more beautiful, and far more lasting than has ever been seen. We have made mistakes: we have both displaced and enslaved our fellow man, and at times allowed ourselves to be blinded by greed, avarice, and selfishness. Yet overall, our history is an honorable and glorious one founded on virtue, liberty, and the Grace of an Almighty God. The second sentence of the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence reads thus: “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.”
 
We have much to be grateful for this 4th of July, for we live – without doubt – in the greatest nation that has ever existed upon the face of this planet. We can go to sleep and rest easy without any thought for our safety or liberty. Despite the present state of the economy, we still live in a land of abundance and plenty; a veritable cornucopia where even the very poorest still fare better than the average citizen of some countries might. That you were born in America, the Land of the Free, is reason enough to wake up in the morning and give thanks unto God for such a wonderful blessing.
 
See, even though there is much wrong with our country, it is still our country; for the freedom it gives us it deserves our loyalty and gratitude in return: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors…” (I Peter 2:13-14).
 
Perhaps the greatest thing about this nation is the principle of rule by the people; because as much as we complain about the current state of affairs, only we – as citizens of this nation – have the power to change it. Both as Christians and as Americans, we have the ability and the responsibility to make a difference in the world around us. Many of us, however, find it easier to sit back and complain about how the world stands rather than attempt to change it. We tell ourselves that we’re too small a group to affect any change against the vast majority; forgetting, all the while, that this nation was founded by a bare handful of brave souls fighting against the might of a great Empire for the cause of freedom…just as our church was built upon the foundation of sacrifice by the early saints, and their determination to spread the Word of God and bringing to all men an even greater freedom. Truthfully, we should have more faith in ourselves and in our God, and in the strength He gives us to build a better world; once we did – once, “In God We Trust” was more than just a motto…it was a statement of fact. I believe if we think it’s worth the effort, that it can be again; and I don’t care if the world were to end tonight, because I believe it’s still worth fighting for even unto the last hour. In fact, Christ showed us that it was even worth dying for.
 
So this 4th of July, be both proud and grateful to God to be an American, for it is truly a magnificent blessing. And as you celebrate the anniversary of this nation’s Independence, remember why it was founded and what it was founded on…as well as your responsibility to it. And keep believing that, once more, we can make it truly, One Nation Under God!….”For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and He is the Governor among the nations,” (Psalm 22:28)
 
I leave you with this famous excerpt from the poem engraved upon the Statue of Liberty. This is what welcomed many an immigrant as they saw our shores for the first time; I imagine that Christ awaits us on that other Far Shore, saying much the same thing:
 
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
(Emma Lazarus, ‘The New Colossus’, 1883)

 
Be blessed,
Joshua

 

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