July 4, 1837

(portions of President John Quincy Adam’s Independence Day speech in 1837 as quoted in Our Presidents and Their Prayers)

Why is it, friends and fellow citizens, that you are here assembled? Why is it, next to the birthday of the savior of the world, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day? – And why is it that, among the swarming myriads of our population, thousands and tens of thousands among us, abstaining, under the dictate of religious principle, from the commemoration of that birth-day of Him, who brought life and immortality to light, yet unite with all their brethren of this community, year after year, in celebrating this, the birth-day of the nation? Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the corner stone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity, and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies, announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Savior and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets six hundred years before?

…the Declaration of Independence announced the One People, assuming their station among the powers of the earth, as a civilized, religious, and Christian People, – acknowledging themselves bound by the obligations, and claiming the rights, to which they were entitled by the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.

…A moral Ruler of the universe, the Governor and Controller of all human power, is the only unlimited sovereign acknowledged by the Declaration of Independence; and it claims for the United States of America, when assuming their equal station among the nations of the earth, only the power to do all that may be done of right.

Measure of a Man (book review)

This may be the best audio book I’ll ever hear. If there aren’t plans for it to become a movie, it’s just a matter of time. Someone alert Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese.

The quality of an audio book can be determined by the reader. Within minutes you understand why this reader, Stefan Rudnicki, has won Grammys. 

Yet, even though the quality of the production is fantastic, the mesmerizing aspect of this book is the life story it covers. Mr. Greenfield’s story includes the horror of the holocaust, his transitioning to America, his providential start in the tailoring business, and his fortuitous connections to politicians and celebrities. Despite his success, he maintains the importance of loyalty to his family, his faith, and his workers. He gives all the credit to God for how his life illustrates the measure of a man.

Read this book if you…

  • …like biographies.
  • …enjoy history.
  • …are an immigrant.
  • …love America.
  • …are inspired by other’s success.
  • …believe God deserves all the credit.

Fruity Fridays: Seen Peace

by Jeremy Nixon, a nobody fireman trying to do it right, but mostly getting it wrong

Galatians 5:22 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace… 


We’ve walked through what love and joy means over the last couple of months; but today, today we enter into peace. At least my prayer is that you can enter this day, week, month and year with peace, a true peace. With the election being over and hate crimes surfacing, racism, discrimination, x vs. y, red vs. blue and everything else going on in America, to say that tension is like cutting butter with a knife is an understatement. So my prayer for you and me this year is that we could have peace. The God-sized peace that is talked about in the Bible. But, what is peace?

 

Peace is a fruit of the Spirit, and Paul writes that if we live by the Spirit then we are free and we can stand firm knowing that we are doing what God has called us to. Peace is supposed to rule in hearts. (Col. 3:15) In 1 Peter we are called to cast all of our anxiety on the Lord because he cares for us. He also calls us to seek peace and pursue it, turning away from evil and doing good. James tells us that peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. Proverbs 12 tells us that those who promote peace have joy…and we all know how important joy is.  

 

I see a trend of the fruits. One leads right into another. They go hand in hand, and I don’t believe that you can have one without the other. Psalm 29:11 says the Lord gives strength to his people and the Lord blesses his people with PEACE.  

 

Paul calls us, in Romans 12, to live at peace with everyone. WOW. That seems like a hard statement living in the world we are in today. It’s easy to get anxious and worry about different things in our lives: our children, our homes, making ends meet, or work. And the media seems to show that there is so much hate in our world, but I believe and trust that God is up to something BIG. If we can stand firm and let the fruit of peace happen in our lives, it will overflow into the world. It has to start with you. It has to start with me. You all know about the snowball effect. God wants to use you, and me, to spread his peace to all nations, and I believe that if we are seeking first His kingdom and listening to what the Lord says, he will give us peace. He promises it.  

 

When we need peace, He promises to give us a peace that surpasses all understanding. The best thing that we can do when we are filled with anxiety and worry is to find a quiet place to pray and seek His kingdom. God wants us to live a life that is full of peace. He wants to do BIG things in your life. Let your fruit be seen.