I love the 4th of July! Next to Christmas, it's probably my favorite holiday. Jamie and I like to celebrate by wearing patriotic clothes, watching fireworks, and blasting patriotic music throughout the house (and the neighborhood if we are outside--which we usually are.).
One of my favorite quotes is from Dana Perino. She said, "If you were lucky enough to be born in the United States, then you have basically won life's lottery." Because even with all of its problems, America is still the greatest country on earth."
I couldn't agree more. I love my country, and I love celebrating it.
As we celebrate this coming week, it's important for us to look back and remember that the freedom that we celebrate and enjoy came at a tremendous cost. This winter, Jamie and I watched a series of shows about the lives of our Founding Fathers and the sacrifices they made so that we could experience the freedoms we now enjoy. Because I didn't pay a lot of attention to history in school, I learned so much. Meanwhile, Jamie, whose always been a history buff, assured me that this is what he's studied and the stories were true.
Watching as characters reenacted large parts of the life stories of men and women who sacrificed so much left such an impression. Those who went before us literally sacrificed their lives fighting so that we could be free. People with tremendous fortunes gave up everything because they thought freedom was worth the cost. Even more impressive were the ordinary soldiers--those whose names aren't written in the history books--who endured the cold winter at Valley Forge, who went without proper shoes and coats, who fought without enough ammunition, who went days without food and months and years without seeing their families.
Why? Because they believed in the cause of freedom and knew it was worth fighting to achieve.
As we celebrate their triumph and the rewards we've inherited, I will be remembering them this week. I'll also ask myself, "What can I do to follow in their footsteps?"
Because even in 2023, freedom is not free. The great nation we love can be lost if we don't do our part to protect it. Still, as a middle-aged woman who can't fight in the military, what can I do to fight for freedom?
I can pray for my country.
Over the past year, the Holy Spirit has reminded me over and over again of the importance of praying for our country. The truth is that worrying, watching the news, and making social media posts do very little to change the direction of our nation. But prayer is powerful.
More than anything, our country needs a revival. We need a revival where people come to know Jesus and turn from their sins and return to Biblical principles. Not so churches can be filled and Christians can get all the "Pentecostal feels" (not saying that's wrong, we need more.).
If America is going to remain great and remain free, we need to turn back to God. If we love our country, we need to intercede for its salvation and a revival that changes people's hearts and minds.
We need to reject sin in our lives and obey God's laws.
1 Chronicles 7:14 says,
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
America has a massive sin problem. It isn't enough to rail against an ungodly culture and say, "They need to change."
Instead, we need to obey 1 Chronicles 7 and look at ourselves. As we humble ourselves and pray, we need to be open to the Holy Spirit's conviction and remove any wickedness in our hearts.
Don't think your sin is as bad as what you see around you?
It doesn't matter--sin is sin. Repentance starts in the house of God.
National revival starts in our prayer closets--as we humble ourselves, repent of any and all sins in our lives, change, and intercede for our country.
We need to know what the Bible says and be willing to stand firm for truth.
So here's the thing: I hate confrontation. I can't stand it. I'd rather do anything than confront someone or take a stand.
However, just because we don't like something doesn't mean God doesn't call us to do it.
In 2023, when our society has rejected Biblical values, rejected truth and even common sense, and embraced lies and sin, a patriot who loves their country must know what the Bible says and lovingly stand for truth.
We can't go along with lies just to make people comfortable.
Truth is truth.
God's ways aren't going to change. When confronted with evil and lies, we must know what the Bible says and be willing to stand for the truth.
Will it be uncomfortable?
Will it be difficult? Uh, yeah.
But you know what else was difficult?
Freezing and going without food at Valley Forge. Writing and signing the Declaration of Independence, knowing their actions marked them as traitors, and if captured, they would be tortured and die.
Our founding fathers sacrificed so much so that we could be free. What are we willing to sacrifice to stay free?
In 1776, freedom had a cost. It still has a price in 2023.
For some, it means serving in the military, and I'm so thankful for those who do.
For some, it means praying and standing firm for the spiritual soul of our nation.
Both soldiers are necessary.
In prayer, repentance, and truthfully will you fight for our freedom?
Happy 4th of July!
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry."