“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” 1 Timothy 2
A week after but I want to be sure to include this in my message since I just got back from a great relaxing vacation/family reunion.
Happy 4th of July weeks end! One nation under God indivisible. I want to relive, if you will, this week of the 4th, our Independence Day. What it meant then and what it means now and why we should celebrate it daily.
I want to read to you the first Flag Act that was passed by the Continental Congress:
“Resolved that the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation.
The first colonies that the flag represented were: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.”
If you have never been, let me tell you that it is such a moving experience going to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C where you walk in and see the original “Stars and Stripes.” This was the flag that Francis Scott Key was immortalizering during the bombardment of Fort McHenry.
The flag is as big as the building itself. It was hanging over the fort. The whole flag is not there today because much of it was hit by the bombs that were exploding in mid air. It really sends a message to your soul about what others have been through so we can enjoy our independence today.
“Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light, What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight, O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
In 1814, about a week after the city of Washington had been badly burned, British troops moved up to the primary port at Baltimore Harbor in Maryland. Frances Scott Key visited the British fleet in the Harbor on September 13th to secure the release of Dr. William Beanes who had been captured during the Washington raid. The two were detained on the ship so as not to warn the Americans while the Royal Navy attempted to bombard Fort McHenry. At dawn on the 14th, Key noted that the huge American flag, which now hangs in the Smithsonian’s American History Museum, was still waving and had not been removed in defeat. The sight so inspired him, he wrote a poem entitled Defense of Fort McHenry; later the poem was set to music.
The song was used as the national anthem during the World Series of Baseball in 1917 when it was sung in honor of the brave armed forces fighting in the World War One. The World Series performance moved everyone in attendance, and after that it was repeated for every game. On March 3, 1931, the American Congress proclaimed it as The National Anthem, 116 years after it was first written.
This whole nation was founded on religious freedom. I would like to share with you some of the words of the Declaration of Independence. This is what we celebrated on the 4th and during this last week. We should honor and celebrated this every day. But do most of us know just what we are celebrating. We have to know what we’re celebrating. We have to know why this is important today and how we can go beyond this for a better tomorrow. We must be sure our children and grandchildren know.
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776
By the Representatives of the
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
This document is telling us why we are separating. Our mind needs to know the reasons why we are doing something. It needs to know why we are standing up and saying, “I will defend this with my life,” and what resolution we’re making that separates us from a former state of belief.
Every day we should make a declaration of independence inside us. We should declare independence on former ways of living our life that no longer work. If we are going to change, we have to know the reasons why. If we’re going to change and become better, we have to know why we are separating from the past.
A personal declaration of independence is a powerful spiritual activity that can change our heart and soul.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This is our message every week in Christianity. Some people never, in their whole lifetime, ever accepted that they have a right to happiness. Yet, following God we must.
I pray that you will follow your right to happiness under God’s guidance. I pray that this will be your July 4th and onward celebration. I pray that you, like the firecracker, will pop out of the old restrictions that used to be and decide, “Yes, here I am and I deserve to have the freedom to pursue my happiness. I have the freedom to pursue my liberty. I have the right and liberty to serve our God and our Lord, Jesus Christ.”
What does liberty mean to you? Envisioning your own dreams. Giving yourself freedom. Seeking God and God’s guidance with a new way of thinking about yourself and your possibilities.
“. . . That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed . . .”
We all live in a system of government. The real government we live in is in our heads. It is, in a given day, what we consent to. Do we consent, in that given day, to unhappiness? Do we consent to pessimism? Do we consent, in that given day, to living under the dictatorship of tyranny of our own fears dictating to us what we have and do? Do we consent, in that given day, to thinking that that can cause great anxieties?
God’s will is for us each to have more.
We have to consent to be governed, by a higher mind than our own. When we consent to be governed by God, we have everything that a woman or man could ever want in her or his lifetime.
“. . . that whatever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it . . .”
With the help of Jesus Christ, with the help of God we can say the old worries, in the government of our mind that holds an oppressive poor self-image of ourselves “Get out of here! You are evicted! You are no longer my king! I now put God first in my every thought. I can live in a free world that is filled with liberty.”
As a child of God, isn’t it about time?
“. . . and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles . . .”
This tells us we can lay our government on the foundation of God’s principles or God’s laws, and to live our lives knowing that these are true and self-evident.
“. . . and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light or transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism . . .”
When life becomes hard enough, bad enough, we then stand up and say, “Give me liberty or give me death. I will not live this way anymore. I refuse to.” This is what our forefathers said, and this is what we must say today to our self.
This follows, in a brief time, with thirty paragraphs outlining exactly why we are decreeing a declaration of independence; why, as a nation, we are standing up and saying, “We’re not going to take this anymore. We don’t want any part of it.”
What is our declaration today as a group of people gathered in this household of faith?
On a statue in the nation’s Capitol you read these words: “What is past is prologue“. Far greater wonders are in store for our nation than almost anyone has dared dream, if we free our minds of past failures.
As God’s followers, we know that our time has come to be actively involved in the spiritual advent of almost unbelievable accomplishments for the greater good of ALL humanity.
Let us get down on our knees and pray for God to bless us with His love and grace as we follow that path he has laid out for us. Then we will have – true liberty and independence through God and our savior Jesus Christ..
Today we are decreeing our declaration of independence over fearful thoughts. We don’t empower them anymore. We are here to say, “I believe in God. I know that God is with me, and I refuse, from this day forward, to be afraid in anyway. No matter what faces me, no matter what I have to go through, I will not go through it alone. I will go through it with God.”
May we all be blessed by our God whom we follow.
In God we trust!