July   2019       

           The freedoms you and I enjoy today have come to us through tremendous sacrifice. The rights and freedoms we enjoy today have been made possible by the men and women who have spent their lives (many giving their lives) to ensure our freedom as American citizens. Think of the American Patriots. Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence? Five signers were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

           What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags. Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward. Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton. At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt. Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months. John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year, he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later, he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates. Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They valued liberty and were willing to give their lives to follow their convictions. In signing the Declaration of Independence they pledged: “For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” These patriots gave you and me a free and independent America. (Urban Legends Reference, Barbara and David P. Mikkelson)

         Jesus said in John 15:13closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST'closeERROR: The IP key is no longer supported. Please use your access key, the testing key 'TEST', “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” In the Civil War, 365,000 Northern soldiers were killed, and 133,000 soldiers from the South died. In World War One, 116,000 American soldiers died. In World War Two, 407,000 American soldiers died. 54,000 American soldiers died in Korea, 58,000 died in Vietnam, 148 died during Desert Storm. And right now… today, though we are not at war, men and women are serving their country to protect the freedoms we enjoy daily. And we still have American Soldiers dying on foreign soil in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, and other areas as well.

         More than a million Americans have died in wars fighting for the freedom that we enjoy. You and I both know that not all countries enjoy the same freedoms that we in America enjoy. We are free today because of the service of our soldiers. We are free to pray or not pray. We are free to worship as we choose. We are free to speak our minds. We are free to vote for the leadership of this country. We need to remember the sacrifice of our American soldiers who have gone before us, so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy. It has been said and rightly so, “freedom is not free.” What a great privilege and opportunity we enjoy every day to live in this great nation. As we celebrate our independence as a nation this month pause to give thanks for those who have sacrificed so much for us to enjoy the freedom we enjoy, but also ask God to help you to seize the daily opportunities to freely worship, serve and tell others about His great love. And remember, we are only truly free because of the freedom we experience through Jesus Christ for, “He who the Son sets free is free indeed.”

Celebrate that freedom!                                                                                                       Blessings, Bro. Buddy