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Freedom to Love God

I love my country!  I have always been a flag waving patriot.  I have always believed that despite the selfish ambitions that often fuel the actions of political leaders, America is a country that will triumph.  America is a country destined by God to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God.  America is a country that has abundance and blessing because there are those citizens who believe in the power of prayer and the call to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly as found in Micah 6:8.

One of my prize treasures is a crayon drawing from a 5 year old church member presented to me a dozen years ago.  It portrays a simple house draw in red, white and blue, lighted by a bright yellow sun, dressed with pink flowers and green grass.  The artistic creation proudly states, “I love God” and “I love America”.  It was bordered in alternating stars and crosses.  Somehow this preschooler had been able to look into my heart and see the love I felt for my God and my country.

When I minister in foreign countries, I am always awed when I return; setting foot on American soil and seeing the abundance and beauty that epitomizes our land.  I can’t explain the thankfulness I feel.  When I fly across the vast Mississippi River, the Plains and the Rockies, I am always amazed at the diversity and beauty of the country I call home. 

As I celebrate Independence Day weekend, I am reminded of the joy of freedom, the cost of freedom and the value of freedom.  Many men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom and a future of hope for American citizens. The value of their actions is priceless. The joy they have secured for us cannot be expressed.

I am also reminded of the joy of freedom, the cost of freedom and the value of freedom I celebrate spiritually as a Christian.  Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for my freedom and my future hope.  The value of His action is priceless as He laid his life down so I could be free.  He gave me joy, freely without measure and without limits.  I am daily thankful to also be a citizen of the kingdom of God.  Although I can’t view the heavenly landscape I am sure it is more beautiful than anything I have ever seen in America.  I know from the scripture that heaven is a beautiful place filled with His glory and grace.  I look forward to the day when I see Jesus face to face and when I can explore the countryside of heaven.

Our spiritual freedom is expressed so well in this scripture in Titus 2:14:  “He gave himself for us to set us free from every sin and to cleanse us so that we can be his special people who are enthusiastic about doing good things”.  I love the admonition in Psalm 33:12: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people whom He has chosen for his own inheritance. “  2 Corinthians 3:17 declares the source of ultimate freedom: “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty”.

You can be a Christian and not be an American.  You can be an American and not be a Christian.  The perspective of George Washington one of our founding fathers, intrinsically ties the two together.  He says, “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.”  He was a wise man, a man of commitment and a man who loved America.  Let’s consider his wisdom and remain a country of freedom that loves the God who has given us freedom.   May God bless America!

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