Happy 4th of July ya’ll! I woke feeling good today. With a day off from work, I walk outside to enjoy God’s presence with the morning sun, and what do I find?
The flora and fauna alive and in full bloom. Looking around I thought about how God has blessed us with freedom. Freedom for the butterflies and bees. Freedom for you! Freedom for me!
I grabbed my phone and before I knew it I had 260 pictures and videos. I’ve peppered this post with the ones I like the best. My fire bush literally shimmered with zebra butterflies at one point. I could not capture the glory of God in that moment (and I tried!). It is amazing the gifts God gives us if we just look around.
As I write I realize how truly great a gift he gave me. Chronic headaches and sensitivity to noise, heat, and sun make it difficult to attend the 4th July events I love. As a kid in SoFlo (South Florida) my family celebrated all day long. In the morning we were either on a boat, at the beach, or both. After a late picnic lunch we cleaned up everything and headed for the parade. The evening held a family BBQ followed by the fireworks displays run by our brave volunteer firemen! By the way, my dad was one of those volunteers! During the day my family discussed our precious freedom with tales from history, family, and scripture. This morning’s prayer describes the gift I received as I relaxed in His presence:
“Holy Lord God Almighty! You know how much I miss celebrating you and my country with food, family, salt air, and fireworks. You gave me the gift of celebrating your creation this morning. The awe of seeing so many butterflies dancing around the fire bush is beyond my comprehension. The butterflies’ flit about the fire-burst shaped flowers, shimmering in the morning sun, like the sparkles that fall from a firework bursting in the sky. Amazing God you are my blessing, my freedom. Thank you for being with me this morning to witness the freedom you bestow in all living things. I love you my Lord.”
“16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. [2 Corinthians 3:16-17 NKJV]
We are blessed to live in a country whose founding values include our personal freedom to be who we are and choose who we worship. There are voices from all sides screaming to squelch our voices of personal freedom. As Americans we need to stand strong in the face of those working to silence the majority.
History shows when the majority caves to the control of the few, the first freedom to be silenced is speech. Think Mao’s China, Stalin’s Russia, and Hitler’s Germany. It all began with suppressing speech. Once the majority falls silent, fear sets in to control the masses. America treads a historical path right now. Back in the 1700’s we tread the same path. We made the choice to stand against a ruler for our freedom. In 1776 we declared our independence. We are blessed to live in a country where we actually get to celebrate our freedoms!
“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.” [A portion of “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America” also known as the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America]
Will we give them control? I think not. Most of the silent majority will not either. The steadfast stand for the values our country was built on. We stand today and every day of the year for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. God and our country have given us freedom just like the butterflies and bees in my back yard. Let’s keep it sacred.
A Zebra Longwing Butterfly feeds on Fire Bush while a Yellow Sulphur Butterfly flits about. The Zebra LongwingButterfly is the official Florida State Butterfly.
However you choose to celebrate the 4th of July (or any American day), enjoy those freedoms. I am dancing with the butterflies.
P.S. Did you know liberty is a synonym for freedom? Huh! If I pay attention I learn something new every day. In the Encarta Dictionary: Freedom means – a state in which somebody is able to act and live as he or she chooses. And Liberty means – The freedom to think or act without being constrained by necessity or force. Very cool! Let’s keep our values America! It is a balm to our souls.