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Happy Fourth and God bless
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I have always considered myself to be a Patriot. I love my country, and I am grateful for all of the blessings God has bestowed upon us. But in the last five years I have become increasingly more aware of the reality of the sacrifices made by those in our armed forces so that the rest of us might enjoy the freedoms we have.
You see, I never served in the military. My dad was never in the service. But now, because I serve as pastor in the midst of two military installations, it has hit home with me more than ever.
Just within the last two months we have seen one young man leave for Afghanistan. This weekend another gentleman will return from there. In just a couple of weeks another young man will head to Iraq. And that doesn’t count the young people who have recently joined and headed off to basic training.
I also have had close encounters with two families who have given up their sons to the ultimate sacrifice on foreign soils. And I no longer take for granted those great freedoms I have enjoyed my entire life.
This weekend we celebrate Independence Day. Two hundred and thirty-four years ago our forefathers declared our independence and freedom. Since that time the United States of America has grown and expanded to become the greatest country on earth. It is clear that God has blessed us in innumerable ways.
Clearly, this is not a perfect land, nor has it ever been. How could it be? They allow you and me to live here. We have certainly done our share of foolish and harmful things. And yet God has blessed. For that we are grateful.
As I celebrate this Fourth of July, I want to become a more informed, and more productive citizen. I want to help make America greater because I can. I believe I can do that as I love my neighbor, help those in need and encourage others to do the same.
In many ways, it is similar to becoming a better Christian. I pray that God will give me the courage and the boldness to live in such a way as to honor Him, and to make this land a better place. I pray the same for you.
Happy Fourth, and God bless.

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