Freedom is Not Free

On this Election Day and as Veterans’ Day approaches this week, my heart overflows with gratitude. We are blessed to be born in a country where we can elect our leaders. So many countries don’t grant their citizens such a privilege.

I thank God for those who fight and fought for our freedom. Freedom is not free.

A lump formed in my throat as soon as we drove onto the holy ground of the majestic Florida military cemetery this past weekend. My Uncle Tommy Carter defended our country years ago as a Marine. We honored his memory this weekend at a heart-rending Marine service. A solo trumpet played “Taps” somberly in this distance, and a 21-gun salute captured our attention.

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The beautiful US Flag was reverently unfolded and draped over my uncle’s remains. Then the two Marine servicemen intricately folded the US Flag back ceremoniously, silently. The officer knelt, bowed his head, and presented the US flag to my Aunt Vicky in a touching presentation. Tears streamed down my face, down almost every face present.

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Moments like these are what make America great.

How ever you may vote politically and how ever you may feel about war, we are all united as American citizens.  Please vote today.

We serve and play on the same team–Team USA.  Our country’s future is in your hands.  One vote makes a difference–yours. Freedom is not free.

Please pray for our leaders, whether you vote for them or not.

“Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.”  –1 Timothy 2:2 NLT

Happy Election Day.  Freedom is not free.

Reflect:

–Would you consider yourself to be patriotic? Please comment.

–Who are some American heroes in your life? How will you show your appreciation for them? Please comment.

Renew:

–” ‘…no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will not refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,’ declares the Lord.” –Isaiah 54:17 NIV

–“Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” –Romans 9:5 NIV

–“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.” –2 Timothy 2:3-4 NIV

Recharge:

–What do you or will you do this week to demonstrate your patriotism? Vote today.

–Please unfurl your American flag and wave it high. Let us show the world we are honored to be Americans.

Resource:

–Your Vote Counts

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America! America!

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Have you noticed it also? The stores are packed with various sizes of American flags and patriotic bunting. The metal trailers for selling fireworks are cropping up throughout the city. Even the clothing stores are featuring larger quantities of patriotic attire. It’s coming soon… The Fourth of July, our nation’s 240th birthday.

However strong your Christian faith may be, however you may vote politically, we are all united as American citizens. May we all remember what is imprinted and engraved on all our US dollars and coins, as well as all of our hearts…In God we Trust.

We live in the greatest country in the world and are blessed with abundance and freedoms most countries envy.  We serve and play on the same team–Team USA.

We are blessed with valiant heroes today and in wars past. Each time I see a serviceman or woman in uniform, no matter where I am, if I am able to make eye contact, I say, “Thank you so much for serving our country.” To me, our encouragement is the least we can do for their valiant service of defending our country. Freedom is not free.

Let’s unfurl our American flags and wave them high. Let us show the world how much we believe in America. God truly shed His grace on thee.

In eighth grade, our Social Studies teacher had us memorize a portion of the Constitution’s Preamble. It still is recalled easily, as it is seered on my heart:

“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility,  provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.” Amen.

May we savor these tender words of “America the Beautiful”:

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Reflect:

–Who are some American heroes in your life? How will you show your appreciation for them? Please comment.

Renew:

–” ‘…no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will not refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,’ declares the Lord.” –Isaiah 54:17 NIV

–“Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” –Romans 9:5 NIV

–“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” –2 Timothy 2:3 NIV

Recharge:

–What do you or will you do this week to demonstrate your patriotism?

Resource:

–Enjoy the US Naval Academy singing “America the Beautiful.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JKCom39yKQ

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Our Founding Fathers and Our Father in Heaven

After celebrating President’s Day yesterday and knowing 2016 is a Presidential election year,  my heart is yearning for our country to get back to the basics. Our foundational basics of our deep-rooted Judeo-Christian values.

You may already know this, but I sure didn’t. President George Washington had a deep faith. In fact, even after he was elected, his inauguration was bathed in prayer.

On April 6, 1789, following the ratification of the Constitution, George Washington was selected president; he accepted the position on April 14, 1789, and his inauguration was scheduled in New York City (the nation’s capitol) for April 30, 1789. A leading New York Daily newspaper reported on the planned inaugural:

On the morning of the day on which our illustrious President will be invested with his office, the bells will ring at nine o’clock, when the people may go up to the house of God and in a solemn manner commit the new government, with its important train of consequences, to the holy protection and blessing of the most high. An early hour is prudently fixed for this act of devotion and . . . is designed wholly for prayer. (New York Daily Advertiser, Thursday, April 23, 1789, p. 2)

Beautiful. Our country basically had a revival to prepare for our first President’s inauguration.

On April 27, three days before the inauguration, the Senate resolved:

…That after the oath shall have been administered to the President, he, attended by the Vice President and members of the Senate and House of Representatives, shall proceed to St. Paul’s Chapel, to hear divine service. (Annals of Congress, Vol 1, p. 25, April 27, 1789; available online at Library of Congress.)

Prayer was the first act of the joint Congress of the United States! What a blessing! How encouraging!

Do you know the chilling irony? St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City is the same church used for triage at Ground Zero on and after September 11, 2001!

Now is the time for us to get back to our Founding Fathers prayerful foundation. Please join me in praying for our beloved country, our leaders, our upcoming leaders. Your vote and prayers count.

This anointed prayer of George Washington appears on a plaque in St. Paul ’s chapel in New York City. Although it’s a little fancy to read, may our hearts echo this prayer for our wonderful country.

Almighty God,

We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy Holy protection; and Thou wilt incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field.

And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with… humility…and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reflect:

–How do you feel about our Founding Fathers faith?

–How will you respond?

Renew:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.” –2 Chronicles 7:14

“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” –Isaiah 9:6

Resource:

Barton, David. Original Intent, p. 113. New York Advertiser.

Cahn, Jonathan. The Harbinger.

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0209/st_pauls/online_extra.html

Editor’s Note: We will enjoy next week Guest Blogger and friend Teresa Tarrant’s uplifting message about how the Lord healed her broken marriage.

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