The Prayer of Independence

The 4th of July in America is a time of barbecues, fireworks, watermelons, swimming, and the red, white, and blue.

Most Americans know that this summer celebration marks the anniversary of the signing of The Declaration of Independence, but is there anything more to this 240-year-old document than the freedom of “Merica”?

The Founding Fathers did not necessarily expect the King of Great Britain to read the Declaration of Independence and immediately grant America her freedom. In fact, the Declaration guaranteed that the Revolutionary War would continue. But it did not matter that the King of England was not listening to the Declaration of Independence because the King of Heaven was.

The most famous lines of the Declaration begin by recognizing God as the giver of human rights: “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.”

A sentence earlier Jefferson writes of the, “separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle [people].” Without doubt, the Declaration bases the foundation of human rights in God.

By the end of the document, this preparatory acknowledgement of God turns to a prayer for God’s blessing and support upon the new nation: “…appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, [we], in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States…”

The Founding Fathers’ closing sentence again appeals to God: “…for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

More than an announcement to Great Britain of America’s independence, the Declaration is also a prayer of petition to God. One of the first and most important documents in American history is a prayer of independence.

To read the entirety of the Declaration of Independence or even download high-resolution images, visit www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.

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Love God and do as You Please

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.”  1 John 5:3

Really, John? Isn’t that laws and rules and restrictions? But what comes next?

“And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”  1 John 5:3-5

That makes more sense. So, we love God by keeping His commandments, but we keep His commandments through faith in Jesus, not through our own strength. Ok, Jesus has made it possible, but isn’t it still stifling?

Well, no.

If I really love someone, serving them never feels confining. If I really love someone, I want their happiness more than I want mine. If I really love someone, their desires become mine. If I really love someone, I want what they want. If I really love God, I can do whatever I want because I want what God wants!

Woah.

Love God and do as you please!

Seriously?

“Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 37:3-4

If you really love God, His desires are your desires. If you really love God, your steps are His steps. If you really love God, He will give you the desires of your heart because they are the desires of His heart.

Try to wrap your mind around that. I can’t.

God freely gives His grace to His children. Grace doesn’t just not condemn us, it bestows God’s unmerited favor upon us. Sometimes, I get caught up in the fact that I am saved from my sins – and I am. But, that’s not all. I am also receiving God’s glorious, unmerited favor. I am favored of God!

Double-woah. (Yes, that is a technical term.)

I get to live in God’s favor everyday! And so do you! If you believe Jesus took the punishment for your sins and gave you His righteousness, you have received God’s grace! Not just his mercy from punishment, but Jesus’ perfect righteousness and God’s unmerited favor! Love Him, and you will keep His commandments and receive the desires of your heart.

Let’s be encouraged in God’s favor! Let’s celebrate today! Let’s live worthy of the calling God has given us (Ephesians 4:1)! We don’t get to believe the implications of the gospel and not be optimistic! 

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Photo by Rachel Hollis, © RLA Designs

I Didn’t Go to Church Today!

Today, I went on a spontaneous mountain adventure. It was glorious! Full of laughter, friends, fall colors, hot springs, mountains, history, warmth, and freedom.

I’m so glad God doesn’t tie us down to endless structure! I love that we can praise Him just as easily driving through the mountains as sitting in church!

That’s all. No life-shattering revelation in this post 🙂 I’m too busy basking in the joy God has shined upon my heart!

“My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever…
It is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.”  
Psalm 73:26, 28

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Fly Free

I often wonder how any human being can make it through life without God. Life for the unbeliever is meaningless and full of questions without answers. If there is no God, then life is just some kind of freak game where the most successful and happiest people win. We each live and die in the span of purposeless moments.

Except we don’t.

We feel our lives are supposed to mean something because they do. God has a purpose for each of us. God loves us unconditionally. God cares for us perfectly. We are created in the imago Dei.

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Many of us would agree this is true, but do we live and think as if it is?

Charles Spurgeon once declared, “Oh people of God, be great believers! Little faith will bring your souls to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your souls.” We can languish to the end of life and enter heaven on the faith that Jesus saves us, but why would we want to languish? Why would we not want to flourish?

Flourishing in life comes from faith that because Jesus saves us from our sins, He also saves us from the everyday. We must believe God really does love us more than we could ever imagine and He really does work things together for our good.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

This doesn’t mean we will have perfect lives from a materialistic point of view – it means even through suffering we know God’s love never fails. We believe and trust He will make beautiful things out of the dust.

Let’s remember today how blessed we are to have been given the love of Jesus. We can fly free from worry, despair, inadequacy, hurt, weakness, and pain. We can fly today! We don’t have to wait for heaven because we have already been given perfect love! 

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18

But let’s not grasp this incredible gift so tightly that we don’t share it with others. Let’s give the lost what we have been given. Let’s share the love of God with the people in our lives.

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