Alrighty, first off, let me just say that this is an unusual post. I was planning on sharing something or other about writing, but as I was looking through my documents, I suddenly realized just how many poems and short stories I had written about my country, about America.
I come from what a lot of people would call a military family. While my dad has never served, I have a lot of uncles, cousins, and grandparents who have served in many of out nations most horrific wars. WWII, Vietnam, Iraq.
I have always been proud of my nation. Proud of what we have stood for, namely Justice, Liberty, and Freedom.
But now ... now instead of being proud of the country I live in, I grieve as I see just how far we have fallen.The things that are now happening under the banner of equality and civil justice are absurd! Is this truly the country that was founded on Christian principles? America has fallen so, so far. Instead of the Christian nation we used to be, we are now the same as everyone else around us. Worse, perhaps, because we still "claim" to be a Christian nation. When I look around and see the wickedness that is happening, I wonder if there is even any hope that our country can experience a revival.
2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which 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 forgive their sins, and will heal their land.
This, my friends, is the only way. Now I am not in any way trying to compare America to Israel. I realize God had a covenant with them as a nation that America has never had.
However, those who have trusted in Christ to save them are God's chosen people, just as much as the Jewish people are.
As the land around us grows darker, it only means that the light we have been given will shine brighter! So many people are hurting, and only Jesus can heal that hurt; so many people have questions that only Jesus can answer; and so many people have longings that only He can fill.
Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in him who they have hot heard? And how shall they believe without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they be sent? For it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
As His people, we have a mission to spread the good news of the gospel to those those around us. We have only one life to live, and only what we do in our service to Jesus is going to last for eternity.
God has shed his grace on America, and He continues to hold back the judgment we so justly deserve. While we still have the freedom to do so, we need to unashamedly shine the light of the gospel into the darkest areas of our world. Now is our chance to show others the difference and change Jesus can bring about in single life.
Matthew 5:17 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Whew. That's been something that has been on my heart for a while, and it is so good to finally get it written out. To end the post, here is a short story I wrote last year for Independence day. Even though America is sadly no longer what it used to be, I still am proud of our heritage and the values we have stood for.
“Grandpa, Grandpa. I want to see that one!” Eleven-year old Sam pointed across the Arlington cemetery to the Marine Corps memorial that stood tall and silent, flag flying proudly in the breeze.
Grandpa smiled. “Alright, we’ll go and see that one next.”
Sam slipped his hand into his Grandpa’s as they began to slowly walk across the large cemetery.
“Grandpa, why are there so many crosses? So many graves?” the boy asked, glancing at his Grandfather with a questioning look.
“Those, my boy, are all the men who have died for our flag.”
“But Grandpa, why would they die for a flag? It seems silly.”
“Oh, Sam, you want to know why they would die for our flag?" Grandpa stopped and looked down at Sam. "Let me tell you. When our forefathers declared their independence, we become the first nation that had a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Do you know why that was so important, Sam?”
He shook his head. “Why Grandpa?”
“Because that meant that no longer would there be a king or a dictator telling people what they should do and shouldn't do. They were free to govern themselves, and to elect the leaders they thought would be best for our great country. And, most importantly, America had freedom of religion.”
“But, Grandpa, I thought that being free meant there were no rules and you could do whatever we wanted. There are still rules in America.”
Grandpa smiled. “I’m glad your so inquisitive, Sam. Yes, being free means you can do what you believe best, but there are also laws that are needed to protect our freedom. I mean, would you feel free if you knew someone could kill you simply because they thought it would be best?”
Sam shook his head. “That would make me scared.”
“That’s right. So, to protect our freedoms, we have laws. The laws should never tell us what to believe or how we must live, but laws are guidelines made for your protection. Sam, freedom is the ability to listen to your conscience, It doesn’t give you a free ticket to sin. It’s just like how Jesus died for us. He forgives all our sin if we confess them and ask Him to come int our hearts, but does that mean we should keep on sinning?”
Sam shook his head. “No, because that would make Jesus sad.”
“That's right. When we love someone we don’t want to do anything that would hurt them. The same is true for our country. If we truly love ‘The land of the free and the home of the brave,’ we won’t do anything that could hurt it or tear it down. We’ll realize that the laws that are in place are meant to preserve our freedom. When our founding fathers established the country, the laws they governed it by were the same laws and rules that are found in God’s Holy Word. That’s what truly made our country great. But,” a sad look entered Grandpa's eyes, “We are turning away from those laws in our country. People who haven’t been taught why America is great, who haven’t been taught the Bible, and don’t know the real meaning of freedom are trying to make their own laws. If we aren’t careful, their laws will destroy our country. We need to pray that God can show them what freedom really is. Freedom in His Son is the only true freedom. And we need to be a witness through how we live. We need to show them what true freedom looks like.”
“Why did you fight for our country, Grandpa?” Sam wondered.
“I fought for our freedom. I fought so that you can be free to make decisions, Sam. I fought so that you can choose who to serve. I fought to give you the freedom to choose.”
“So, even if I chose to do things you don’t like, you fought for that?”
Grandpa chuckled. “I certainly hope you chose to do right, but, yes, I fought that you could have a free choice. But we must remember, whatever choice you personally make is yours alone. You can not try and force it on others. They must make their own choice, they are free to make their own choice. And they do have the right to make their own choice.”
“But, Grandpa, what about the flag? You said the men died for the flag.”
“They did. The flag stand for everything I've been explaining for you. Our glorious flag stands for freedom, liberty and justice for all. It stands for the freedom to make your own personal choice. It stands for America.”
By this time they had reached the Marine Corps memorial and Sam gazed up at the flag, “Is that why these men were trying to keep the flag up?”
“Yes, my boy. The flag must never be dishonored, must never be allowed to touch the ground. they loved America. They were fighting to keep us free.”
Sam thought for a moment, “I love our flag, Grandpa.”
Grandpa smiled. “So do I, Sam. So do I.”
And ... that's all for today. I hope you guys have an amazing weekend! God bless! And remember, stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has set us free! (Galatians 5:1a)
The fine print. ;) I would highly recommend reading the book "Is God on America's Side?" by Dr. Erwin Lutzer. It's had a huge impact on my life and how I view things that are going on in our nation. If you can get your hands on a copy, read it!!