For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day


Today is my favorite holiday of the year! I love the Fourth of July! I love God and my country. I love the soldiers who have shed their blood here and abroad to keep our nation free. I love the vets who served in our nation's wars. Many never came home.

I'm not sure when I began to love the Fourth of July. Perhaps it could have been as a child when we would wait with great anticipation for my Dad to set off the fireworks. I remember as a really young girl how my sister and I were treated like fragile glass. The boys had all the fun with the bottle rockets, firecrackers, and so forth. My sister and I loved the sparklers and the little black dots that when lit looked like snakes coming out of the ground. Every year we looked forward to that. One year I got burnt by a missile that went in the wrong direction. Another year one of my older brothers lit a firecracker that I was holding behind my back. I didn't know what he was up to until the thing exploded in my hand. It hurt then but now it is a precious memory of my childhood.

I was raised in a Baptist church and the Fourth of July was a big part of my faith. It was a time to celebrate the lives of those who died to buy our freedom and the ultimate sacrifice; God's death on Calvary that would redeem not just a country but the world. I loved singing the patriotic songs and as I got older I began to claim The Battle Hymn Of the Republic as my favorite.

In 1993 my church got a new preacher and Pastor Kelley hosted an annual Patriotic Program. Our church invited dignitaries, local politicians, those in armed forces, law enforcement, firefighters, etc. We have church members dressed up as famous American leaders and we have an awesome mini-drama. We have the posting of the colors, a prayer for our nation and her leaders, and my favorite parts of the show are the children's flag parade and recognition of the military.

As independent fundamental Baptist we are known to be very conservative but on the Fourth of July we are almost transformed into a charismatic group! I love to hear the choir sing the songs representing the various miliatary branches. Current soldiers and past vets come forward as their song is played. Some will be shouting at the top of their lungs. I am usually crying. I cry when the Marines go forward because my dad was a Marine during the Vietnam War. I cry when the Navy song is played because my oldest brother was in the Navy during Desert Storm and I cry when the Army song is played because my oldest brother is now an officer in the Army National Guard.

Another part of celebrating the Fourth of July is usually partaking in cookouts or barbeques and usually you might end up at the lake, beach, or a friend's house who has a pool. We eat and visit and wait for nightfall to approach so that we can begin to set off fireworks. And as each one explodes in the sky we ooh and aah about the beauty of it all. I don't live far from Ft. Jackson and every year they host a spectacular program with concessions, military band, posting of colors and a professional fireworks display.
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.”- John Fitzgerald Kennedy

All this is great and wonderful and makes me proud to be an American but I don't base my Independence Day solely on the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1176. That date would declare our separation and freedom from England and allow us to establish our own great nation. But my freedom dates back further than that. My freedom was bought for a greater price. My freedom was at Calvary more than 2,000 years ago when Christ hung on a cross and died that I might go free. Christ paid a debt he did not owe because I owed a debt I could not pay. Calvary was a gift given to all mankind but eternal life will not be yours unless you personally accept that gift.

When you celebrate our nation's birth remember the Lord's death. When you call to rememberance the death of all who have sacrificed their lives for our country take a moment to thank the Lord for sending His son to Calvary. When you remember the blood that was shed and innocent lives that were lost remember the blood of the Lamb of God who was without sin yet chose to be persecuted and murdered for us so that He could buy us eternity.

Matthew 26:28 (KJV) says, "For this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." (A blood donor saved my life).

John 15:13 (KJV) says, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend."

GOD BLESS AMERICA LAND THAT I LOVE!

2 comments:

  1. HAPPY 4th of JULY!

    This country is wonderful and we are free, but too bad we are not free of sin. There are those who go against God and good morals, but that is their loss.

    **hugs to Pippi from the Viking Lady

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