Have you ever really thought about what it was that our Founding Father’s really did when they signed the “Declaration of Independence”?  Aside from the obvious things like infuriating King George, establishing themselves as traitors to the Crown, and generally placing their lives, families, and fortunes in jeopardy, what was it really that they were doing?

England, after all, had much to offer these adventurers.  Why did they feel the need to separate themselves from the security of their homeland?  England could offer established institutions of learning, cultural enrichment, the best medical system of the known world, and the strongest economy of any civilized nation.  They were putting in writing a forfeiture of all these substantial benefits for the risk of building an entirely new country.  The only guarantee they had was that life would be more difficult than they had ever known and they would face more difficult challenges than they had ever thought possible.  In addition they would no longer have the protection of the King’s army, and most likely would begin to feel the wrath of that same army in which they had relied for protection.

England had afforded them great opportunity as they pursued this New World.  They had come to this “Promised Land” in English ships, labored with English servants, been educated by English schools, and been supplied by English merchants.  What right did they have to forsake this great nation and turn their backs in disdain and lack of gratitude and Declare Independence?

One has but to read this masterful document to realize the grievances that were being levied were indeed righteous justification.  It is with Holy Indignation that Thomas Jefferson pens what has become one of the most recognizable phrases in the English language.

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.

It wasn’t a Declaration of Freedom, of Security, of Provision, or even Success.  It was a Declaration to take their life in their own hands and do with it what seemed best to them.  They were, as are all people, free from their birth.  The quality of their life was nobody’s responsibility but their own.  Were there less fortunates in their new society? You bet. Were there those that needed more help than others?  Absolutely.  But it was the constraints of human decency, not government mandates that caused them to care for others.  It was Independence.

Knowing that nobody is responsible for your failures but you, but neither is anyone responsible for your successes but you.  That’s what Independence is all about, and that is the spirit that founded these United States.  Not that the “endowments” or as we might say in today’s terms, the “entitlements” were for Life, Liberty, and the pursuit (not gaurantee) of Happiness.

It is not “Freedom” that we celebrate during this Fourth of July season, but rather “Independence”.  You were born Free because you were born as a Sovereign Being.  It is “Independence” that we celebrate.  The ability to choose, right or wrong, good or bad, success or failure.  I realize that there are those that would like to make those decisions for us and protect us from ourselves, but I for one am thankful and celebrate whole-heartedly my ability to choose.

Let success or failure ride on Independent Choice and let us not blame our failures on anyone else anymore than we credit our success to anyone else.

Happy Independence Day, and my God Bless America and her people.

Pastor Gary & Gayle began their life journey together on March 22, 1977. Growing up in the same church and going to the same school they were truly “high school sweethearts”. They now share this journey with their 3 daughters, Katrina, Stephanie, and Allison. On their honeymoon they had what would come to be the earmark experience of their life and ministry. Through a set of unfortunate circumstances they met a young woman that had walked away from the Lord, and on their honeymoon they were able to lead both her and her roommate back to Jesus. Pastor Gary & Gayle have pursued a life of obedience to the call of God that has led them through many youth ministry positions, and evangelistic ministry, a senior pastorate in Southern Idaho, and then to the current assignment of church planters in Southeast Portland. Their ministry is marked by a deep sense of committment to entertain the presence of the Holy Spirit, rely on His supernatural enabling, and place ministry opportunities into the hands of the believers.

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