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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Freedom on Independence Day

From: Bill Johnson
To: Friends
Re: Feeling Patriotic?
Date: July 3, 2013
By Chris Johnson
It's the week of Independence Day - prime time for patriotism and celebrating freedom.
Ironically, as we celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, many of us are concerned that we are losing many freedoms even as we celebrate.
We think, most recently, of the Supreme Court's decision on homosexual marriage which threatens our First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of religion. Then there is the newly revealed information regarding the NSA's disturbing access to citizens' phone records and metadata. And the FBI's wiretapping of journalists. And the Benghazi cover-up.
Long story short, it is becoming less easy to trust a government that supposedly is "by the people" and "for the people."
But, we still love this country. We look at the history and heritage of our nation. We study the vision that America's founders had for men and women to be free to worship God and better their situation. We can see all the ways that America has made the world a better place through technology and medicine and information and, even more so, through the blood that Americans have left in foreign sod to help others win freedom, too. In spite of its flaws, America is worth celebrating and we long for a day when we can accomplish great things again.
What is frustrating is to know what America needs to be great again, not just economically or militarily, but morally. Yet, we see that our leaders are doing the exact opposite. Our borders are wide open, leaving us open to attack; we no longer motivate people to work hard and be the best they can be, we just hand them a check; we kill unwanted babies with the excuse that, because they are still in the womb, they aren't human; and now we have taken it upon ourselves to attempt to reengineer God's design for marriages.
And what can we do? We get to vote once every four years, but the country is already barely recognizable from only a few years ago. We can accost our friends and neighbors with depressing news, hoping that inspires them to get involved, but that often just results in them avoiding us in the grocery store.
Of course it's important to vote and to inform our peers, but that can only be so effective.
It's my belief that we neglect the most effective tool we have, or we pin it onto the end of the list, because we're Christians and we have to say it somewhere.
And, of course, I mean prayer. How many times have we heard or said, "Well, all we can do is pray."
All we can do is pray? We have a direct line to literally the only Person who can make the radical changes we fight for in culture, but, somehow, talking to Him is often done only as an obligation.
This is as much a challenge to myself as it is to any readers. I have done a pitiful job of praying for our nation like I should, and I'm sure there are a lot of readers who are real prayer warriors for America, but I think I'm not the only one who has had a very upside down perspective on praying for our country and its leadership. And, by His grace, I intend to do better.
So if you find yourself at the corner of feeling patriotic and mourning for the direction the nation is going, talk to the Only One who can do something about it.

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