Happy Birthday America!
On this Independence Day we celebrate our nation’s 234th birthday. We owe a great debt of thanks to our Founding Fathers for their vision, bravery and faith in God.
I usually post a music video on Sunday. However, today I want to share this scene from HBO’s award winning John Adams mini-series. This is why we celebrate every July 4th.
Last year, in my blog Happy Birthday America! – A July 4th Challenge, I encouraged you to do two things as you celebrate our Independence. First, take a moment to read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Protect your freedoms. You typically lose what you don’t know you have. It doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a "Slow Fade". This song from Casting Crowns is about marriage, but the words can apply to anything in life, including freedom.
It’s a slow fade
When black and white are turned gray
And thoughts invade, choices made
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day
Freedoms never crumble in a day – (those are my words)
And finally, a simple request from one of our Mountain Warriors. Lieutenant Colonel John Luttrell says, as you celebrate Independence Day this weekend, “find a veteran and say THANK YOU.”
I also want to share two articles from the Christian Broadcasting Network. These articles highlight our nation’s Christian heritage and the trust our Founding Fathers placed in almighty God.
CBN.com – The Birth of a Nation
For more than 225 years, America has been blessed as the longest on-going Constitutional Republic in the history of the world. David says these blessings are not accidental – they are blessings of God. David says that this is evident as we look at the turmoil in other nations and contrast that to the stability we see in America. Preserving American liberty depends first upon our understanding of the foundations on which this great country was built, and then it depends on preserving the principles on which it was founded.
David says on July 2, 1776, Congress voted to approve a complete separation from England. Two days later, the early draft of the Declaration of Independence was signed. Four days later, members of Congress took the document and read it out loud from the steps of Independence Hall, proclaiming it to the city of Philadelphia, and afterwards they rang the Liberty Bell. The inscription on the top of the bell is Leviticus 25:10, which reads, "Proclaim liberty throughout the land and to all the inhabitants thereof."
John Adams said, "The general principles on which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity." Probably the clearest identification of the spirit of the American Revolution was given by John in a letter to Abigail the day after Congress approved the Declaration. He wrote her two letters that day: One was short and jubilant that the Declaration had been approved; the other letter was much longer and gave serious consideration to what had been done that day. Adams could already foresee that their actions would be celebrated by future generations.
A Different Holiday
Adams also noted: "This day will be the most memorable epic in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival." He felt the celebration should be in a manner that would commemorate the day as a "day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty." John Adams believed that the Fourth of July should be a religious holiday. The two top holidays celebrated in this country are Christmas and the Fourth of July. According to John Quincy Adams, the two dates are connected. On the Fourth of July, the Founding Fathers simply took the precepts of Christ and His birth (Christmas) and incorporated those principles into civil government.
The Declaration of Independence was the birth certificate for this nation, but the men who signed it knew it could be their death warrant. The closing paragraph states, "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance of the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." The 56 Founding Fathers, 27 of whom were trained as ministers, took their pledge seriously. On the morning of the signing, there was silence and gloom as each man was called up to the table of the President of Congress to sign the document, knowing that it could mean their death by hanging.
Most wars have a motto. The motto of World War II was "Remember Pearl Harbor." The motto during the Texas war for independence was "Remember the Alamo." The spiritual emphasis, directed towards King George III who violated God’s laws, gave rise to a motto during the American Revolution: "No King but King Jesus." David reminds us that the Founding Fathers passed the torch to us. It is our responsibility to not let it go out.
More from the Foundations of Freedom special feature
More Church History on Spiritual Life
CBN.com - At the dawn of American history, the faith of our founding fathers was intricately woven into the very fabric of this nation's freedom. We want to turn the spotlight on the first president of the United States whose faith, humility and courage helped to establish the destiny of our great nation.
From his youth, George Washington firmly believed that God's hand was upon him personally. As a 23-year-old soldier during the French and Indian War, he had four bullets pass through his coat and two horses shot out from under him.
Yet he survived the conflict unscathed. Washington credited God for his survival. Asked to serve as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, General Washington incorporated his deep personal faith in the very commands he issued to the newly formed forces.
In one of his earliest general orders dated July 9, 1776, Washington outlined his personal convictions for the men who served under his command.
"General Washington hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live, and act, as becomes a Christian soldier defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country. To the distinguished character of Patriot it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian."
Not content to merely inspire with high ideals, Washington included in his general orders specific directives for regular and earnest prayer.
The earliest days of the Revolution provided unparalleled opportunities for Washington to act upon his forthright faith. It was the events of one extraordinary day in August of 1776 that definitely underscored the miraculous intervention of God in the course of America's destiny.
Faced with a fact of America's declared independence, the British military command determined that the key to suppressing the rebellion lay in the domination of New York.
The army that controlled access to the Hudson River would control the lines of supply for the colonies north and south of this strategic zone.
Under the command of General William Howe, the British quickly established a formidable presence in New York. The only impediment was the American-held town of Brooklyn.
It was there on the western end of Long Island that General Washington found himself nearly surrounded, outnumbered more than three to one by a better trained, better equipped enemy.
However, when circumstances seemed to spell defeat, a miraculous series of events began to unfold. Amazingly, the very capable and seasoned General Howe failed to capitalize on his obvious military advantage. Throughout the afternoon, the evening, and the following morning, Washington's forces tensed for an attack that never materialized.
By the afternoon of August 28, northeast winds drove a chilling rain across the East River, preventing the British fleet from launching any offensive maneuver.
Inspired by the delay, General Washington formulated a daring strategy of escape. Under the storm's cover, he began to remove his beleaguered army by small boats, enabling them to join other American forces a full mile behind enemy lines. As night fell, the inclement weather dissipated and still, Washington's army continued its evacuation without detection. But as the morning sun dawned, the Americans calculated that at least three more hours were needed to transport the last of the 8,000 troops.
One who was actually there best describes what happened next. Major Ben Talimadge, a member of the Continental Army, wrote:
"At this time a very dense fog began to rise, and it seemed to settle in a peculiar manner over both encampments. I recollect this providential occurrence perfectly well, and so very dense was the atmosphere that I could scarcely discern a man at six yards' distance. We tarried until the sun had risen, but fog remained as dense as ever."
What the British discovered when the fog lifted was an empty and abandoned encampment. Washington's army had seemingly vanished, along with all their provisions, cannons and even horses. Instead of defeat, the Americans experienced a temporary setback and regrouped to fight on at a future successful date.
How did General George Washington portray his personal role in the Revolutionary War?
"I was but the humble agent of a favoring heaven, whose benign influence was so often manifested in our behalf, and to whom the praise of victory alone is due."
So what does July 4th mean to you? Let me know your thoughts. I’ll share some of your comments here on the blog.
In closing, I want to leave you with these two quotes.
Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience. – George Washington
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. Psalm 33:12
Happy Independence Day!
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God Bless America!
Neil Middleton <><
WYMT Mountain News
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