Freedom Is Not Free

Next week, we as Americans will be observing a National Day that is unique to our country. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence declaring our independence from the British empire and giving birth to the new nation known as the United States of America. Through multiple military battles, the United States of America gained independence but it was costly in many respects. Our freedom was not free.

According to Wikipedia, “Freedom is not free” is a phrase first used by retired United States Air Force Colonel Walter Hitchcock. When using this phrase, Hitchcock expressed gratitude for the service of members of the military, implicitly stating that the freedoms enjoyed by many citizens in many democracies are only possible through the risks taken and sacrifices made by those in the military. The saying is often used to express respect specifically to those who have given their lives in defense of freedom. The slogan “Freedom Is Not Free” is engraved into one wall at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. As Americans, our freedom has been at the expense of many lives whether it has been during our War of Independence or the Korean Conflict or any other war in which our nation has been involved in from 1776 to 2017. The cost of lives continues to mount today and into the future.

Freedom is not free” is an applicable phrase for us today. We need to be mindful of our responsibilities as citizens of a free nation. The price we pay for our freedom includes fulfilling our rights and responsibilities as citizens of our country. We pay for our freedom when we exercise our right to vote and execute our responsibility to serve on a jury. By honoring and supporting our elected officials, we obey our laws of liberty. Financially, we pay for freedom when we pay taxes to our government. We may complain about some of these requirements but we need to realize the privilege of these obligations as well. Those living under dictator type governments would gladly pay for the freedoms we take for granted. When we help our fellow citizens, we are paying a portion of our price for freedom. We must consciously consider our responsibility to pray for our nation as a privilege we fulfill for our freedoms of worship and speech. I believe our freedom is worth the price we pay.

I echo the sentiments of the fact that freedom is not free as I look forward to celebrating Independence Day on July 4th next week. I am thankful for the free land in which I am privileged to live. I am thankful for our military men and women who have given their lives and for those who continue to serve our country through active and reserve military duty. I am thankful for the opportunities to serve my country as a citizen of the United States of America. Freedom is not free physically or spiritually. John 8:36 says, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” The freedom we attain in Christ cost His life. Freedom was not free for Christ and it is not free for us today. Value your freedom – it is costly!

Joyfully,
Cheryl

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I Pledge Allegiance…

 

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With the celebration of Independence Day for the United States of America approaching in a few days, my thoughts turn toward the flag that symbolizes our nation. Not only do I think about the flag itself, but more specifically I think about the Pledge of Allegiance that we as Americans declare to the flag representing our nation. I decided to research the history of this pledge in preparation for our celebration of Independence Day on the Fourth of July.

According to Wikipedia, the Pledge of Allegiance was originally composed by Colonel George Balch in 1887 and later revised by Francis Bellamy in 1892. The original pledge was as follows:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

I learned online from Historic Documents that in 1923, the words, “the Flag of the United States of America” were added. I like the specific reference to our nation. At this time it read:

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The last language change made to our pledge was on Flag Day 1954 when Congress added the words “under God.” The 31-word pledge we say today is written below:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

This last phrase added to our pledge has great significance for our nation. The two little words “under God” are powerful and offer a unique kind of protection for the USA! I discover that “banner” is a synonym for flag, and this reminds me of an Old Testament name for God, Jehovah-Nissi. This name is translated as “the Lord is our Banner.” In the account of Exodus 17:9-16, Moses held up God’s staff in his hand during the battle against the Amalekites, and as long as his hands and God’s staff were raised, Joshua and the Israelites won the war. In a sense, God was the flag that was raised during this battle. Like Moses lifting up his hands and relying upon God’s strength to win the battle against the Amalekites, the flag of our nation is lifted up during military battles. The flag of the United States of America represents a nation that is lifting up God. We are a nation under God. When we honor our flag, we are also lifting up the Lord who is the banner over our nation.

When studying each version of the pledge, I note that there is always reference to our being an indivisible nation offering liberty and justice for all. While highlighting each of these characteristics of the USA, I want to make a comparison between the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag and God’s purpose for our nation. Please allow me to take this liberty with words today.

We are an indivisible nation because of our unity. Oneness and unity are uniquely represented within our nation because we are one entity yet composed of 50 individual states. This verifies for me that our nation is patterned after the nature of our God. Our God is the Holy Trinity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In John 10:30 Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.” He affirms this fact by His words in John 4:30, “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” I can hear Jesus praying the words of John 17:21 for all the states of America, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

Let’s move on to the aspects of liberty and justice for all. These are qualities Jesus offers to us through scripture. In Luke 4:18 NKJV Jesus says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because he has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight for the blind, to set set at liberty those who are oppressed. Regarding justice, I am reminded of “Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!” found in Psalm 106:3 ESV. (my emphasis)

This year we celebrate the 240th year of our independence as the United States of America. We have continued to be a prosperous nation because we stand upon the foundation of our founding father and our Father God. We still pledge allegiance to our flag and God. This is why we are an indivisible nation with liberty and justice for all.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Independence Day or Dependence Day?

As the nation of the United States of America, we will be celebrating our freedom this weekend. Our freedom spans a time period of nearly 240 years. On July 4, 1776, the thirteen united States of America unanimously declared their independence from England. The Declaration of Independence is the founding document of the American political tradition and has become a cherished symbol of liberty and freedom for our nation. Although this document declares our independence from England, it is also our document of dependence upon God. Out of love for God and country, the founders of our nation were willing to fight for, live for, and die for the foundational truths upon which our nation is based. The forefathers of our nation depended upon their Heavenly Father for their personal lives and the livelihood of this new nation. We as citizens of the United States of America must follow their example if we are to continue to be a successful independent yet dependent nation.

One way our nation celebrates Independence Day is through displays of fireworks. The explosions of sight and sound remind us of the battles fought for the freedom of our nation. I also want us to experience a spiritual outburst of Living Light within our minds during this holiday because true and ultimate freedom is found only in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. May the brilliance of faith fireworks burst forth in our minds as we meditate upon the promises of freedom available for us when we live dependently upon the Lord. May faith be our firecrackers and scriptures be our sparklers.

My Reader, let me help you begin an early celebration of independence and dependence through the following images and scriptures. May these powerful verses explode with new meaning for you both historically and spiritually.

fireworks-5For freedom Christ has set us free;
Galatians 5:1

fireworks-1So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:36

fireworks-3Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is freedom.
2 Corinthians 3:17

fireworks-8But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God.
Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.
Romans 6:22 NLT

fireworks-10For you were called to freedom, brothers.
Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh,
but through love serve one another.
Galatians 5:13

fireworks-7Live as people who are free,
not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
Honor everyone.  Love the brotherhood.
  Fear God.  Honor the emperor.
1 Peter 2:16-17

fireworks-9I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.
Psalm 119:45

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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