Saturday, July 1, 2017

Independence Day


On July 4th, 241 years ago 56 men who believed they were being led by God, pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor as they officially signed the Declaration of Independence from King George and Great Britain to form a new nation founded upon the idea that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights among those life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The forefathers of this great nation were men of action. They realized there was strength in unity and that victory could only be won under the guiding hand of Almighty God. They further understood that success would take hard work on their part and would be the result of a process which could cost them everything but would be well worth their investment.

The driving force that motivated our nation’s forefathers was their belief in a better tomorrow. The future of their children and their children’s children for generations to come hung in the balance and compelled them to give their all. They knew what they had and knew what they didn’t have. However, they also knew that all the complaining in the world was not going to change anything. So, they decided to focus on what could be and what they could have if only they could obtain and maintain the blessings of the Lord on their endeavors.

July 4, 1776 is recognized by the past generations of US citizens and citizens of the world as America’s Independence Day. Many people imagine that to be the day America became a free nation and a free people. They imagine correctly. However, July 4, 1776 was not the day the war for independence ended … O no! – Rather, it was the day the war began!

The declaration did set America free. How? People go free the day they first decide and declare their freedom. The enemies of America did not initially just give up and agree to let the people go. It took some to convince their enemies but the citizens of these United States of America did not need convincing … they had declared their freedom and they were free!

Our forefathers immediately set about to write a constitution and empower a government while waging war against those who opposed their freedom. Representatives of the original 13 colonies met, assigned responsibilities and began the process. They decided it would take the agreement of two-thirds of the new states to ratify the constitution and its amendments.

It was a long and arduous struggle to insure the liberties and rights of a growing nation and the generations of Americans yet to come. After endless drafts, several proposals, many revisions and much debate consensus was achieved. And on December 15, 1791, 15 years, 5 months and 11 days after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the First 10 Amendments to the Constitution of the United States called the Bill of Rights was ratified and became the law of the land.

Although other amendments were proposed at that time I feel it noteworthy to recognize something many Americans aren’t taught. Indeed, I believe the citizens of the United States have been led to believe something that is not the best representation of our founding father’s true intent. The truth is our forefathers were primarily conscious and rightfully concerned with the spiritual strength of this great new nation. They understood that to preserve this union all men must first and foremost be free to worship Almighty God without governmental interference.

Freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, is guaranteed by the first words of the Bill of Rights. The government was kicked out of Church affairs not the Church out of the government’s affairs. However, we have been subtly and subconsciously programmed and brainwashed by repetition to imagine the First Amendment to be primarily about freedom of speech, it is not. In fact, in my research this week into how the First Amendment has been re-titled, repurposed and referred to during the past 150 years, it alarms me to see the minimization of the framer’s true intent and first concern. How can we overlook this bold and revealing truth?

The 1st Amendment is presented to the American people and to the world in schools, publications, debates, news articles and on the world wide web as: Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion and Petition

But in reality, it should by all rights and reasons read as written and ratified by the colonies after 15 years, 5 months and 11 days of prayer and debate. Our Founding Fathers knew exactly what they were doing when they wrote:

Freedom of Religion, Speech, Press, Peaceful Assembly and Petition

Religious Freedom is the very first right mentioned. Why? Because that’s the way our founding fathers believed it and wrote it. After more than 5 years of debate, endless re-drafting and the ratification process, it was firmly decided that the very first responsibility of the new government of the United States of America was to protect the rights of its citizens to worship Almighty God without hindrance, intrusion or mandate by the government. Separation of Church and State is a one-way street!

Nowhere does the constitution suggest, require or imply that the government of the United States should be free from religion but only that religion should be outside of the confines, dictates and control of the government. It is rather implied by its prominent and primary position within the Bill of Rights to be of the utmost importance and protected as much or more than every other freedom. And by the way, history clearly records that these men believed in the Holy Bible, Jehovah God as its Author, and His Son, Jesus, as Savior of the world. This was the worship and the religion they intended to preserve, protect and to which they gave their pledge. The First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Some people only see:
1.   What We Have
a.   And never imagine it can or will change …
2.   What We Don’t Have
a.   And complain about it …
3.   What We Could Have
a.   And do something about it!

Our forefathers saw what could be and realized the first step was to acknowledge God and give Him first place in their lives and first place in their endeavors. Benjamin Franklin said that if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without God’s knowledge, it is doubtful that a nation can rise without His intervention.

Whether talking about individuals, families, businesses or nations … the best way to build starts with putting God first.

That brings us to our text for today:

Matthew 6  NKJV
25  “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
26  “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
27  “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28  “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
29  “and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30  “Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31  “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32  “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
33  “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Commentary and Conclusion
·        A personal invitation to put and keep God first in everything …

Happy Birthday America … God bless America and God bless you!