On July 4, 1776 the Continental Congress adopted The Declaration of Independence and the separation of the thirteen American colonies from Great Britain. On this day, July 4th, that we celebrate our Independence from England, although we were really not independent until the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783.
On this day of celebration when when gather with friends and family for great barbeque and all the other great foods that go along with it, and to watch awesome fireworks shows; we should remember that in the Declaration the founders referred to rights that were given to all men by God. Rights which had be restricted, or denied by the British government. They were declaring that these God given rights were worth fighting for and, the Thirteen Colonies were declaring their independence and freedom . They and the vast majority of the people living in the Thirteen Colonies were on July 4, 1776 declaring themselves free from Great Britain's denial of those God given rights.
By Guy Hatcher
The Legacy Guy (Bold emphasis mine)
The Declaration of Independence was adopted by the on July 4, 1776, and announced the separation of the thirteen American colonies from Great Britain. With this, a new nation was formed—the United States of America. History verifies Thomas Jefferson as the composer of the original draft. Once completed, Jefferson submitted his draft to Benjamin Franklin and John Adams for their changes. Eventually, it made its final destination to Congress where it was amended for the last time. Today, we see in its detailed wording why Congress was declaring independence from Great Britain.
The most quoted line from the Declaration is "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.” Our forefathers were declaring they not only deserved freedom, but were willing to continue fighting for it.
Freedom is a great definition of independence, as it is the result of the choices we make in our life. The power of choice is one of the greatest freedoms we have in our country, and knowing where to find it is important, as we see in Proverbs 2:6: “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding.” Let's review eight freedoms we should all celebrate this July 4th.
1. The freedom to believe
Our country continues to serve as a magnet for oppressed individuals who come to the USA for an opportunity to capture their dreams. Many dream for a good job, food, and shelter for their family. But our government should not be relied upon as the only resource to replace our faith in a God “who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment"
I Timothy 6:17-19 NKJV Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
2. The freedom to live out our faith
In some countries the mention of serving God or his son means instant death. Our forefathers recognized the creator through their extension of certain God-given rights in the Declaration of Independence. Our faith is the most important of all, as it gives us the foundation and assurance that God is in control of a world in chaos. When life seems out of control, seek the source of all creation — God. He will provide peace in the midst of all your life's storms.
3. The freedom to worship
We are allowed the choice to worship in any way we desire. God created us for fellowship. Our individual gifts are stronger when they are joined with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
I Corinthians 12:12-14 NKJV For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body— whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.
Romans 12:3-5 NKJV For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
Sadly, statistics show worship attendance is in a decline as more people choose a life of independence which ultimately leads to a life of solitude.
Hebrews 10:24-25 NKJV And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Choose today to ask God to direct you to a community in which to be involved. He will direct you to “give and receive“ as needed.
Luke 6:32-38 NKJV “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
4. The freedom of prayer
Self-reliance is an American lifestyle demanded and respected in numerous circles. Just as this can be seen as a strength, it can also be a tremendous weakness when it leads us to put God on the sidelines of our life, and call upon him only when we need his rescue. In personal times of self-reliance, I sometimes take on an image of seeing myself as "God-like" which results in my placing other gods before him, namely the god of “Me." By choosing to submit our requests to God in prayer we are making the choice to live out the faith to which he calls us.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
In the last Presidential election over 30 million professed Christians did not vote. We must recognize in our nation every vote does count, as issues such as mixed marriage, abortion, social services, and taxes continue to create further divisiveness. Our nation was founded on God, yet we continue to chip away at God’s sovereign place of authority through the decisions continually implemented by the Senate, Congress, and Judicial branches (also President and Executive Branch of government - this mine). As a body of believers, we must call sin what it is and stand united as we cast our votes through God’s divine wisdom and direction.
6. The freedom of speech
Free speech is one of the most sacred rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, and truly, all the others flow from it. We are guaranteed the right to speak openly and publicly about our opinions, beliefs, and faith. And like many of the other freedoms, it's easy to take this one for granted. This is also an extremely important freedom when it comes to preaching the Gospel. We are blessed to live in a country in which evangelism is not only tolerated, but protected in our founding documents.
Mark 16:15 NKJV And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
Ephesians 6:18-20 NKJV praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
7. The freedom to petition the government
The freedom to petition the government is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Constitution. This freedom includes having the right to collect signatures on a petition, to engage in lobbying activities, and to protest government leaders if they do something with which we disagree.
One way the freedom to petition the government has been explained is as follows: "A more simple definition of the right to petition, is 'the right to present requests to the government without punishment or reprisal.'"
If you notice in the Declaration, one of the rights it defines is "the pursuit of happiness." Galatians 5:22 says we can have real joy in our life as we walk in the Holy Spirit. We don't have to pursue happiness; rather we can choose to live it out in the Spirit. This allows us to receive what we richly deserve.
Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
So what about the disease, divorce, death and disappointment we may receive along life’s journey? Peter summarizes our responsibility well: "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12-13).
Adapted from the article "Do You Celebrate These 6 Freedoms on Independence Day?" by Guy Hatcher, found on Crosswalk.com
Romans 8:1-4 NKJV There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Psalms 146:5-7 NKJV Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the Lord his God, Who made heaven and earth, The sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever, Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.
II Corinthians 3:17-18 NKJV Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is , there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
John 8:31-32 NKJV Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”