Liberty To Love – Todd Stocker.com

liberty to love.001I’m a patriot at heart.  I love the celebrations that honor our military, our leadership and our country.  Some call me soft, but it doesn’t take long for a tear to push its way out of my eye when our national anthem plays or our flag flies.  

Part of my patriotism is rooted in the word Liberty.  Defined, Liberty is the state of being free.  It is the ability to move and breath within the environment that is set up for protection.  In politics, liberty consists of the social and political freedoms to which all community members are entitled. In theology, liberty is freedom from the bondage of sin.

Maybe that last definition of Liberty is what chokes me to weep.  Seeing our flag reminds me of the flag of victory Christ waves over sin and death for me.  Hearing the anthems wells feelings of joy that I am part of a group, a community, a family in America and in God’s family.  Taking a step back and watching others operate in their freedoms helps me understand that all are love by the Lord and are offered freedom and liberty through his son, Jesus.  (John 3:16-17).

In response, I can turn my focus not on myself, but on others.  What would it look like if our political candidates would be reminded of the same?

In the King James Version, Galatians 5:13 says, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”

Loving and serving is how your liberty takes wing.  Carrying each others burdens and praying for all people is how your liberty has impact.  Trusting in the lord above all things is how your liberty best shows its bright side.  

This fourth of July, celebrate God’s blessing of liberty to your country and for your life!  

Peace!

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America — The Greatest Country in the World

flag-raisingiwo-jimaIt hit me today that America is great.  Never, in the history of mankind, has there been a country as magnificent as ours.  Several triggers caused my tearful patriotic heart today.

First, Jill Dougherty, a stellar teacher in our church and academy taught our kids in the worship service that people waved palm branches when Jesus rode into Jerusalem because palm branches represented freedom and liberty, just like the American flag.

Choke.

As she was teaching, to my right someone spontaneously yelled, “God bless America.”  I glanced over — as did several others — and a young veteran sat up, back erected, in proud honor.

Choke again.  I tear even now.  

Then, I spoke about the freedom we have in our country and the God-given freedoms under which we live.  I don’t know about you, but for me, I am honored and humbled at the thought that God would first, set up a country that finds its core in the divinity of our God and second, cause a swelled and tearful pride for our country even at the sound of her name … America.

Freedom is ours.  Delivery is granted.  Protect it.  Defend it.  Fight for it.  Above all, cast your choice into the bedrock that makes our country great — the God-centered choice of liberty.  

Palm branches and flags.  Freedom is ours in Christ and extended to the liberty’s we enjoy in the greatest nation on the face of the planet – The United States of America.

Peace,

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LIFE, LIBERTY AND HAPPINESS?

I love the documents of our country.  The statements of separation from tyranny, the proclamations of the design of our government, they are all brilliant and timeless.  As I was studying the document for the 4th of July – The Declaration of Independence – the little phrase that stuck out was

“We are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Life? Yes.  Liberty? Absolutely!  Happiness? uh, nope.  We are not guaranteed happiness in this or any other country around the world.  Our declaration states that we are endowed with (or should be endowed with) the PURSUIT of happiness.

Too many in our world feel that it is their right to be happy, that we are entitled to be happy and that our governments should guarantee that we are, happy.  For me, true happiness is not something that is handed to me on a platter.  I find happiness in honoring God through personal productivity, adding value and leadership to others, and reaching the personal goals toward which I strive.

My opinion is that the world’s governments can provide opportunities and environments in which I can choose to pursue happiness, but they cannot provide happiness itself.  History shows that happiness is simply a choice found in personal responsibility and pursuit.

I’d love to hear what you think on this!  Please comment below…

Peace!