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Worship Wednesday – Independence Day Reflection – You Say I Am Free – Lauren Daigle’s How Can It Be

Photo Credit: My God and My Dog

This week we Americans celebrate our Independence Day.

Food, fireworks, and freedom. That’s what it’s all about. Family, too, and/or friends gathered. It’s a big day around here.Photo Credit: PixabayPhoto Credit: NeedPix, Martinique Le Prêcheur

Today I’m reflecting on freedom.

American Independence Day (4th of July) commemorates our declaration of freedom (July 4, 1776) from the rule of Britain. We declared our own freedom.

On July 4, we celebrate the freedom we continue to have as Americans because of the many wars fought to hold onto freedom.

How much more transforming when the Lord Himself declares us free!

On Sunday, we were in Dave’s family’s home church – Grace Church in Seaford, Delaware. Their pastor is teaching a sermon series on Avoiding Colossal Mistakes. This Sunday’s sermon centered on the cross of Christ (podcast here).

During the worship service before the sermon, this lyric really penetrated my heart:

“You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free.”

When you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive with him and forgave us all our trespasses. He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14

As we celebrate our Independence Day, we have a far greater celebration in the cross of Christ. Apart from receiving His death for our sin, His righteousness for our own unrighteousness, we would be dead in our sins today. Still in bondage, enslaved.

We, in the US, have a dark history of slavery. No matter how deeply we are grieved by it, the stain of that great sin is forever a part of our nation’s fabric. Try as we may, we cannot wash that stain out.

Those who lived as slaves in this country, like those who are enslaved today through human trafficking, did not bring their bondage on themselves. It was/is a wrong done to them.

Many anti-trafficking organizations have a key strategy:

Reach, Rescue, & Restore

This is exactly what Jesus has done for us. In our sinful state, He reached out to us. He rescued us through the cross, and He restored us to Himself.

As we think about the freedom we have in Christ and the freedom we have as Americans, I pray we don’t forget our own bondage, or that of others – spiritual bondage, and for some…the physical bondage of being trafficked, forced into slavery even today.

We must reach. We must rescue. We must restore.

Worship with me, as we celebrate freedom, to the Lauren Daigle song “How Can It Be“:

I am guilty
Ashamed of what I’ve done, what I’ve become
These hands are dirty
I dare not lift them up to the Holy one

You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You break my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

I’ve been hiding
Afraid I’ve let You down, inside I doubt
That You could love me
But in Your eyes there’s only grace now

You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You break my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

Though I fall, You can make me new
From this death I will rise with You
Oh the grace reaching out for me
How can it be
How can it be

You plead my cause
You right my wrongs
You break my chains
You overcome
You gave Your life
To give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be*

He himself [Jesus Christ] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world. 1 John 2:2

So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude. Colossians 2:6-7

*Lyrics & the Story Behind the Song “How Can It Be” performed by Lauren Daigle – Songwriters: Paul Mabury, Jason Ingram and Jeff Johnson

The Victory of the Cross – Chuck Smith Sermon Notes – Blue Letter Bible

Colossians 2:14-15 – Commentary – Precept Austin

Independence Day Montage – Family, Food, Fireworks, and the American Flag

Blog - Fireworks - John WilliamsPhoto Credit: John Williams

Last year, I wrote about July 4 here.

Just want to wish you all a happy and safe celebration of our Independence Day, you Americans out there.

On this rainy morning, we will still push through with preparations for a family cook-out later in the afternoon. 2015 July 4 Family Weekend 0212013 July 4 2013 006

Lee Greenwood’s renditions of “God Bless the USA” will be viewed on YouTube and sung at parades and baseball games around our country. [The one in the YouTube below shows Greenwood singing at the World Series at Yankee Stadium just weeks after the WTC bombings of 9/11.]

Patriotism is a costly thing. Freedom, even costlier. We, like many other nations around the world, have lost many of our young men and women in wars…fought for all sorts of reasons.

Today, we will see our flag displayed more than any other time of the year. Hopefully, today, it won’t be at half-mast. So many losses in recent years that have kept us from flying her at full-mast.Blog - 4th of July - American Flag - Jason MillerPhoto Credit: Jason Miller

Whatever our politics or our passports, today is a day to be grateful for all the sacrifices that went into making this nation…and hopefully we will strive to protect the freedoms fought for by so many others. My hope also is that we can still strive to be a nation that does good, not just inside its own borders but around the world.

As I think of our family and friends all over, both here and abroad, may we not forget what is at stake…on this day, and every day.

For today, we who can spend the 4th together, will count both our blessings that we richly enjoy and the costs incurred that make such a day possible. We look ahead to what we bring to making this nation what it can be still.

Let freedom ring and God bless this country we lift up to Him. To God be the glory!

DebMillsWriter – Independence Day in the USA – Celebrating the 4th of July and Remembering that Freedom is Not Free

Celebrating Who We Are Becoming – Strategic Monk – Greg Richardson

YouTube Video – Top 10 American Independence Day Facts

YouTube Video – Soussa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever – “The President’s Own” Marine Corp Band

YouTube Video – The Star-Spangled Banner – lyrics, vocals & beautiful pictures

Blog - 4th of July - Cairo and Braves Baseball

Independence Day in the USA – Celebrating the 4th of July and Remembering that Freedom is Not Free

 Blog - 4th of July 3

“America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” – Alexis de Tocqueville*

July 4th each year marks a huge celebration in the US – a federal holiday with all the trimmings of a perfect summer day. Cookouts, baseball games, flags flying, parades, friends and family, fireworks, backyard fun. If you are new to the USA, these are the elements of this holiday that you will enjoy hopefully through the glad welcome by American friends.Blog - 4th of July 5 (2)

There is much more to this holiday, but we’ll start with the familiar through these pictures from some of our 4th of July celebrations:

Blog - 4th of July 12Blog - 4th of July 11Blog - 4th of JulyBlog - 4th of July 6Blog - 4th of July 2IMAG5657 (2)Blog - 4th of July 8Blog - 4th of July 4Blog - 4th of July 7

 Like Memorial Day, our Independence Day, has a more somber side to it. The War of the American Revolution was fought, at great cost, from 1775 to 1783. 13 colonies stood up against Great Britain to win their independence. Our Declaration of Independence wasn’t actually signed on July 4th. It, in fact, was signed over the course of many days, as different representatives of those 13 colonies attended to its signing during that late summer in 1776. Then the revolution followed in full. Blog - 4th of July 10Blog - 4th of July 9Blog - 4th of July 13

I am so grateful to be a part of this country and to enjoy the freedoms we have as Americans. I never want to take them for granted. This is another July 4th to mark what happened to secure the freedoms we have. Happy 239th birthday, America. May we determine to use the blessings God has given us here to always be a blessing to the nations.Blog - Preamble of US Constitution - 4th of July

Photo Credit: Humboldt.edu

Postscript: Facebook status of an American friend of ours spending July 4th in England:

“Wondering how one celebrates July 4th in the land we got our independence from…” [and then later] “Nothing like fish ‘n’ chips in front of Wimbledon on a Friday night in Oxford with English friends on July 4th weekend ;))… people, ya gotta love life wherever you find yourself ’cause there are always sweet surprises there.”

*Quotes for Independence Day, 4th of July 

YouTube Video – Flag Scene from The Patriot (2000, Mel Gibson)

5 Facts About Independence Day by Joe Carter, Acton Institute

Top 10 Revolutionary War Movies

YouTube Video – John Adams – “While I live, let me have a country, a free country!” (2008, HBO miniseries)

YouTube Video – John Adams – The Passing of the Declaration of Independence (2008, HBO miniseries)

American Declaration of Independence of July 4th, 1776 by Robert Hole for History Today

Happy Birthday, (New) America

9 Things You May Not Know About the Declaration of Independence

The Story of the 4th of July

The History of the 4th of July

Declaration of Independence – pdf

YouTube Video – Tea, Taxes, and The American Revolution: Crash Course World History #28Blog - 4th of July 5