My family often visits "America's Fourth of July City" for Independence Day and we did this year as well. This place goes all-out for the Fourth. There are dozens of craft booths, a food alley, carnival rides, historical presentations, concerts, and of course, fireworks--at least two major displays during the week of the Fourth, plus fireworks, firecrackers, and all other manner of explosives going off all over town.
This town knows how to celebrate.
But I wonder--what are we really celebrating? Are we celebrating our freedom to purchase and light off firecrackers? Our freedom to overeat and drink too much?
Twice today I saw veterans recognized for their service. They know what we're celebrating. They served this country, fought in wars, and know people who gave their lives so that the freedoms our forefathers won could be enjoyed by us today.
We have freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion.
But in the name of "tolerance," we've lost the freedom to tell anyone they're wrong. The citizens of our country are losing jobs to people who aren't citizens, but are given almost all the benefits that a citizen deserves. It's okay for our country to give weapons to rebels in other countries, but it's frowned upon for an ordinary citizen on our shores to carry a weapon to protect himself and his family. Anyone can believe in whatever religion/god they want, but try to tell them there's only one God and they've got the wrong one and you'll be shushed. We have to tolerate everyone, but our beliefs aren't tolerated by anyone. By calling it a "choice" we've legalized the murder of hundreds of thousands of unborn children who didn't deserve to die.
Are these the "freedoms" that thousands of men and women gave their lives to protect?
Is this really freedom at all?
I love this country, but it makes me sad to see some things that are happening in it. I'm thankful that I live here, but this isn't the America that it was when Thomas Jefferson did most of the writing of the Declaration of Independence.
So today, I'm thanking God for the freedoms I have, and praying that he blesses this country despite its faults and failures (just as he blesses me despite my sinfulness).
I'm most thankful for the freedom I have in Christ: freedom from sin, freedom from the power of Satan, and freedom from death itself.
I'm free from guilt. Jesus has destroyed that on the cross.
I'm free from fear. Satan is vanquished: I have nothing to fear.
I'm free from condemnation. Jesus took the punishment I deserve and gave me his perfect holiness.
That is freedom that no government, no country, no person can take away.
"Jesus said, 'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32
"For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and the glory of the children of God." Romans 8:20-21