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04 July 2010

...Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness!

The Declaration of Independence:
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.... 
.......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...... 
.....We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

This was the stance of the American colonies, on this day, in the year 1776.  They bickered back and forth with Britain For over 100 years about their treatment as a colony.  Finally, along came a small group of men that took a stance...that was a stance for the better.  They realized that the people didn't have to be treated like this, that there was a better way to govern, that they could do a better job.  And they did, with the full faith that it would work.  They had no idea what the repercussions would be for cutting ties with Britain.  They did it because they knew it had to be done, and with a Faith-based way of thinking and unconditional-love that no one before them could have matched other than God Himself.

God realized after so many years of letting us live as a human race, that there was no way we could continue to operate like we did.  So He did exactly as He said he would.   He sent His Son Jesus to die for us, on the cross.  God knew that we needed change, and knew that this would be the only way to "Get our attention" and to show us the amount of unconditional love that pours out from the Trinity.  That is called Agape love, unearned love God has for people.  He knew that He would be sending his only Son to die for us, but did it for US because He knew how much He cared for us!

Romans 8:38-39
(38) For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, (39) neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This year we celebrate 234 years as a nation.  While small in comparison to other countries, it is extremely significant considering in our relatively short lifetime we have grown to be a nation that flourishes on just about every aspect.  I think God intended the same results when He sent Jesus to die on the cross for us, it's just a matter of us taking that Agape love that He showed us and projecting it out so that others may come to know!

03 July 2010

I want to break free!

First off, sorry I haven't wrote in a few days.  Between my Navy school, and an impending 4th of July weekend, I was quite busy.  Anyway, back to the grind...

Last night I was with Hillary and her Mom, her sister, and some other of their friends.  The goal was to go to a place called "Half Shell" to sing karaoke.  I had never done it so I quickly obliged, I also assumed that this place was a restaurant, not a bar.  I found out very quickly that the bar atmosphere was not for me.  Just a bunch of intoxicated people and some REALLY ear piercing karaoke.  It was awkward, but as opposed to sitting there and pouting about it, we found our own entertainment through playing hangman, and me, cracking jokes at some of the people because they were acting out.  I took an awkward situation and turned it around.  I like to call that stepping outside the comfort zone.  It got me thinking about the times that God encourages us to step outside our "spiritual" comfort zone....

Genesis 12:1
"The Lord said to Abram, 'Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you." 

Basically what that says is leave everything that you are comfortable with, and follow God!

That willingness to leave at the Lord's command opened up a whole new world for Abraham and for his family in what would become the Jews' "Promised Land." But first he had to "leave." Most of the major advances in our lives begin by taking the risk of leaving, or stepping out, of that comfort zone we are used too. Moses had to leave his "comfy" life as a shepherd in Midian to become the deliverer of God's people. Peter had to leave the security of his business to become a world-impacting leader for Jesus Christ.

God encourages us everyday to step out of our "Spiritual" comfort zone.  One in particular is by ministering to others and show Christ's love.  It doesn't have to be through preaching from a pulpit or screaming at someone from the side of the road to "repent."  It can be something as simple as helping someone feel good, showing them that God works in us, and that His Love is enough, or buying food for the car behind you in the drive-thru.

K-Love has a program every Monday called "Go M.A.D."  The MAD stands for Make A Difference.  They encourage people to do one thing to make a difference in someone's life and call in and share it with them.  I really like that, but it can be more than just Monday's.  We should live our lives in such a way that those who don't know God, will come to know God through our thoughts actions, and words.  Does that mean every now and then we have to do something we aren't used too?  ABSOLUTELY, but I promise you it will be worth it in the end!