Celebrate Freedom

July Fourth

 

“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, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”

Independence Day:  A day filled with parades, barbeques, and family.  We celebrate “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” but do we as Americans truly comprehend the sacrifice of the men who penned those words and how each phrase in our Constitution was birthed from a deep commitment to pursue God freely.

Fifty six men signed their names to a document that represented a pledge of independence from England and the formation of a new sovereign nation. Knowing that they would be put to death as traitors if captured by the British was not a price too high to pay for freedom. The records are unclear, but it’s estimated that between 25,000 and 50,000 Americans died fighting in the ensuing Revolutionary war.

The legacy of these brave men goes beyond every American. Their courage reaches to every person of every country that has been helped by our great nation. The freedom these men fought for is what we celebrate today. Freedom is what our country stands for.

July 4th is one of my favorite holidays because it celebrates sacrifice, patriotism and most of all freedom.   I wish you and your family a wonderful Fourth of July.

My Wonderful, Impulsive Daughter

My nine-year-old daughter Grace has attended a number of summer camps. She participated in beginning archery training in each of them. One of the camps was a daddy/daughter weekend where we shot arrows together.

So, a few weeks ago when our local newspaper announced that the United States Olympic Trials for archery would be held here in Colorado, I thought she might like to go. I began telling her about the information in the paper and how the finest archers in the United States would soon be coming to our town. While in the midst of asking her if she wanted to go to the competition she interrupted indicating she didn’t want to go.

Considering how Grace is always up for an adventure and that she’s told me many times how much she enjoys archery, I was confused. So I asked her why she didn’t want to go. She explained, “Daddy, I would never win. I’m not that good.”

A few minutes after chuckling at Grace’s response, I began wondering: “How often am I not patient enough to hear the full explanation of what my Heavenly Father is trying to tell me?”

There’s No One Like You

Like me, I know you occasionally experience bumps and bruises to your body. My most recent mishap was a little more than a month ago when I broke a bone in the pinky finger of my right hand. A few days later, a surgeon realigned the bones in my finger, inserted a metal pin, and casted my entire arm below my elbow to keep things straight for a few weeks.

I was surprised at the number of adjustments I was required to make considering the injury was only to my pinky. Typing with the five fingers on my left hand and the index finger on my right hand was different. I couldn’t use the computer mouse with my right hand. The way I took a shower needed to be altered dramatically. Opening doors, driving, and how I exercised all changed in light of my inability to use this small part of my body.

In light of what I’ve experienced with my four special needs children, my little pinky problem doesn’t even register. But my recent struggles remind how our bodies are a unit made up of many parts.

What Paul Says

No matter how small, each part contributes to the function of our body. Paul uses the relationship that exists between the parts of our body to illustrate how God designed the Body of Christ to function. Writing to the Corinthian church, Paul said:

“God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where with the body be? … Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.  1 Corinthians 18, 27

God’s Message To You

The message God wants you to hear is that you are so very important not only to Him but to all those around you. In the same way each part of your body is unique from all the others, God instilled in you a set of talents and abilities different from anyone who ever lived. No one else, not even one of the apostles or the prophets, has ever been able to do what God made you able to do. He made you specifically to meet the needs of people in ways no one else can.

Who knows, I may be one of the people needing what only you can offer. Better than anyone else, you may the best surgeon to help heal my most recent spiritual bumps and bruises. But whether it’s me today or someone else tomorrow, it’s safe to say that a great number of people throughout your lifetime will need your compassionate touch expressed through the unique mix of special qualities and gifts God has placed in you.

The Love God Intended

Thanks for visiting my new website. This is my first blog entry making it somewhat momentous for me.

I thought I’d begin with a topic that gives me the excuse of introducing you to my family. My wife, Nichole and I just celebrated our 19th anniversary. Through adoption, we’ve brought five wonderful children into our home. The oldest is 14 and the youngest just turned 5. You can learn out more about my clan by clicking on the “adoption” page link above. I’ll also be providing more details about these fast-growing kids in future blogs.

Now that you’ve been introduced, let’s get to our topic for today.

It All Boils Down to Love

The Gospels record how Jesus summarized the Jewish law into two points. First, as God’s children we are to love Him with our whole heart, our whole mind, and our whole being. Equally important, He said we should love our neighbor as ourselves. But the question arises, “If we are to love God with our whole heart, how then are we able to love our neighbors with great passion at the same time?

We see from Jesus’s teaching that our God-given ability to love isn’t a single arrow to be shot at one target. In fact, God’s given you an exceedingly large number of arrows so that your love can be directed to a host of targets. It’s not only possible, but God designed you so that your heart would be fully given to many. You’re able to do this because loving someone with your whole heart simply means you do it without reservation.

Each of us holds many positions in life: spouse, parent, child, friend, sibling, coworker, classmate, etc. Therefore, loving people fully doesn’t look the same with each person. For example, I don’t exercise my love for Nichole in the same way I do my children. This doesn’t mean, however, that my love for anyone in my family is lesser or contrary to the other.

Falling Short

Unfortunately, you and I must concede that neither of us are perfect lovers. We all “fall short” as the Scriptures say. Although some may be better than others, none of us love God or each other as well as we should. Who can say they give their all for the benefit of others while offering complete forgiveness when they’re disappointed? Only one Lover does all that!

Loving us in ways our minds can’t comprehend, God is the greatest lover. He loves perfectly. By creating us in His image, we’re made to be great lovers too. But unlike God, you and I need help. And one of the ways God tries to stimulate our hearts in the right direction is by providing us an abundance of worthy targets.

css.php