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Today is Monday, July 15, 2024

Remembering the cost of our independence

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This week we celebrate Independence Day which is also commonly known as the Fourth of July. It's a federal holiday commemorating America's independence from the British empire which over the past 250 years has maintained a public display of pride and patriotism. This past Sunday at church we sang a heartfelt melody of patriotic songs that declared, America. America, God shed His grace on thee, Glory, Glory Hallelujah His truth is marching on, and God bless the USA! There were American flags at every entrance with beautiful decorations. Many wore red, white, and blue to show their love and allegiance to this great nation. Why is it great? It is indeed a land filled with some of the most breathtaking landscapes on the planet, but it's the hard-working, courageous, and God-fearing people who love and obey His truth that makes living here a privilege and honor.

July 4th is significant because it is the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress, a governing body of delegates from the thirteen original American colonies. The document officially declared the United States of America's independence from British rule. It came nearly a month after Virginia Delegate Richard Henry Lee proposed for the colonies to seek independence. The Declaration of Independence we know and love was largely written by Thomas Jefferson. Other members of Congress suggested edits and finally approved one of the most important documents in our history.

The American Revolution was a war for independence, a conflict of self-defense fought by families and neighbors on American farms against a fierce enemy coming from an ocean away. It impacted millions from Vermont's Green Mountains to the swamps of South Carolina, from Indian Country to the Iberian Peninsula. In defeating the British Empire and giving birth to a new nation, the American Revolution made a huge impact on the world. Thirteen colonies on the Atlantic Coast were victorious from being controlled by a constitutional monarchy. We rightfully celebrate how they won our independence and established a republic that still endures.

Am I saying this country is perfect, or that it is not guilty of horrible sins? Of course not. There are many areas where the desire for carnal freedom was and is being accepted by a confused legal system that could care less about God's moral standards.

There are two types of freedom, a spiritual liberty to worship and obey God, and the aggressive pursuit of fleshly rights that defiantly shake their fist in the face of God. In recent years liberal unbelievers have tried to destroy the founding documents which were based on Biblical principles and the Christian faith and replace them with a new progressive culture of moral relativism. God has blessed His remnant because they have stood boldly to speak His truth even while facing persecution. Like Sodom, the faithful few are holding back God's judgment. Psalm 33:11-12 says, "The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord."

Of course some rebel against being loyal to any government or nation and accuse those who do with being a nationalist. The pledge of allegiance is an example the dissidents and anarchists use to teach against obeying and trusting governments. I'm not going into a lengthy explanation of this term as there are so many is so many thoughts about it and many scholars are not exactly sure what it means. I believe for the Christian, honoring the flag includes understanding that God requires a nation to follow His voice. His children do not worship people or politics but are praying and trusting that He will guide the government by His divine truth.

In recent years, conservatives have been accused of being intolerant, discriminating, and prejudiced by declaring that America is the greatest country ever while looking down on everyone else. Some might feel this way, but I believe the overwhelming majority of patriots who love Christ love all people and respect their cultures, history, and traditions. There is nothing wrong with having a deep sense of appreciation for everything good in a nation as long as it does not include the arrogance of supremacy or hostility against those who feel the same way about their countries. The "God and Country" ideology is still very dear to most Americans, as the red stripes of our flag represent valor and the blood of those who paid for our independence.

Dr. Holland is an ordained Christian minister, chaplain, and author. Read more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com.

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