11/13/2013

A Month of Thankfulness: The Land I Love

When I look at what I have and the opportunities that have been mine my whole life, my thankfulness must extend to the land in which I live. There are many patriotic songs we sing today, but one doesn't get the recognition I think it should. We borrowed it from the British and put our own lyrics to it in 1831. Samuel Francis Smith, a student at Andover Theological Seminary wrote the words, replacing the British version of God Save the Queen.




My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty
Of thee I sing
Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims' pride
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.


The radical idea that people could enjoy freedoms that the government couldn't take away birthed the United States of America in 1776. It hasn't been easy to stay that way, and in light of how large and powerful our government is today, who knows how long it will last. We've fought against tyranny and each other. We've welcomed people from every nation into our land. America has given them the opportunity to succeed and enjoy the liberties of a free society.  I can travel, have privacy, choose where I live, where to work, worship without government prohibition, speak for her and against her, and yes, even bear arms. 

My mother's genealogy research uncovered a lineage of service to our country throughout its stormy history. From the Revolutionary War through today's wars, members of our family served or are serving in the armed forces, and some gave their lives to ensure our way of life. All wars are unpopular, some more than others, but America has never wavered in defending the "land of the free and the home of the brave." Without our military and its top notch abilities, the world would be very different today.

My native country, thee, Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love; I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills; My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.


America is a place of glorious beauty. Whether you live on its shores, the sweeping prairies, the mountains, deserts, there's no place on earth like it. I've visited other countries, and yes there are gorgeous lands besides the USA. But to an American's heart there is no comparison to the grandeur that is ours. From the tropical scenes of Hawaii, the glaciers of Alaska, the awe-inspiring Rockies, the lush countrysides of Virginia, the beaches on both the Atlantic and Pacific, and so much more, the variety we enjoy is like no other. 


Our fathers' God to Thee, Author of liberty,To Thee we sing.
 Long may our land be bright,With freedom's holy light, 
Protect us by Thy might, 
Great God our King.


Our democracy is rather tattered these days. Politics has polarized Washington, D.C. There's no doubt that we're in real trouble. Our freedom cannot be taken for granted. The blessings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are threatened on many fronts. We can easily blame politics, but the answer is getting on our knees.

As with everything, the source of our liberty is not the documents under glass in Washington, D.C. It's from the One who established the authority of government. Romans 13 will give you much clearer instruction on governmental authority and its responsibilities and ours as well.

Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. Romans 13:1 

But we know that those authorities are easily corrupted because of the power they have. Jesus recognized that as well. He said in Matthew 20:25  But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.

He also told us we need to be rebels against popular culture. That appeals to my American nature in many ways. Americans have that rebellious bent. Matthew 20:26-27 Jesus says: But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.

A radical statement, don't you think? Goes against our grain, and makes us uncomfortable. We may even dismiss it as crazy advice. But as this nation was built on the principle that the government serves the people - a very crazy idea in 1776, and just as crazy today, Jesus' instruction to us makes absolute sense. The high ideal that service is what brings greatness came straight from the Gospels. It's the real American way - sacrifice and service to others. That's the land I love, am so thankful for, and pray for in these difficult times. I urge you to do so as well, just as Paul asked Timothy.

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. I Timothy 2:1-2

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Positively encouraging

11/13/2013

A Month of Thankfulness: The Land I Love

When I look at what I have and the opportunities that have been mine my whole life, my thankfulness must extend to the land in which I live. There are many patriotic songs we sing today, but one doesn't get the recognition I think it should. We borrowed it from the British and put our own lyrics to it in 1831. Samuel Francis Smith, a student at Andover Theological Seminary wrote the words, replacing the British version of God Save the Queen.




My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty
Of thee I sing
Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims' pride
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.


The radical idea that people could enjoy freedoms that the government couldn't take away birthed the United States of America in 1776. It hasn't been easy to stay that way, and in light of how large and powerful our government is today, who knows how long it will last. We've fought against tyranny and each other. We've welcomed people from every nation into our land. America has given them the opportunity to succeed and enjoy the liberties of a free society.  I can travel, have privacy, choose where I live, where to work, worship without government prohibition, speak for her and against her, and yes, even bear arms. 

My mother's genealogy research uncovered a lineage of service to our country throughout its stormy history. From the Revolutionary War through today's wars, members of our family served or are serving in the armed forces, and some gave their lives to ensure our way of life. All wars are unpopular, some more than others, but America has never wavered in defending the "land of the free and the home of the brave." Without our military and its top notch abilities, the world would be very different today.

My native country, thee, Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love; I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills; My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.


America is a place of glorious beauty. Whether you live on its shores, the sweeping prairies, the mountains, deserts, there's no place on earth like it. I've visited other countries, and yes there are gorgeous lands besides the USA. But to an American's heart there is no comparison to the grandeur that is ours. From the tropical scenes of Hawaii, the glaciers of Alaska, the awe-inspiring Rockies, the lush countrysides of Virginia, the beaches on both the Atlantic and Pacific, and so much more, the variety we enjoy is like no other. 


Our fathers' God to Thee, Author of liberty,To Thee we sing.
 Long may our land be bright,With freedom's holy light, 
Protect us by Thy might, 
Great God our King.


Our democracy is rather tattered these days. Politics has polarized Washington, D.C. There's no doubt that we're in real trouble. Our freedom cannot be taken for granted. The blessings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are threatened on many fronts. We can easily blame politics, but the answer is getting on our knees.

As with everything, the source of our liberty is not the documents under glass in Washington, D.C. It's from the One who established the authority of government. Romans 13 will give you much clearer instruction on governmental authority and its responsibilities and ours as well.

Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. Romans 13:1 

But we know that those authorities are easily corrupted because of the power they have. Jesus recognized that as well. He said in Matthew 20:25  But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.

He also told us we need to be rebels against popular culture. That appeals to my American nature in many ways. Americans have that rebellious bent. Matthew 20:26-27 Jesus says: But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.

A radical statement, don't you think? Goes against our grain, and makes us uncomfortable. We may even dismiss it as crazy advice. But as this nation was built on the principle that the government serves the people - a very crazy idea in 1776, and just as crazy today, Jesus' instruction to us makes absolute sense. The high ideal that service is what brings greatness came straight from the Gospels. It's the real American way - sacrifice and service to others. That's the land I love, am so thankful for, and pray for in these difficult times. I urge you to do so as well, just as Paul asked Timothy.

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. I Timothy 2:1-2

No comments: