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There is Freedom

I’ve mentioned in past blogs that I love running for many reasons, and clearing my head is one of them. That’s why I don’t listen to music or anything while I run. It’s just me, unplugged, processing my thoughts, planning my day and often talking to the Lord. As I started my run this morning, my thoughts were scattered as usual, thinking about the list of to-do’s for the day, things I didn’t get done yesterday, and is my pace fast enough? The overwhelming Florida humidity often deceives you into thinking you are going a lot faster than you are due to the amount of effort you are putting forth just to breathe. So I’m always pleasantly surprised when the time on the watch reflects the energy I felt I spent.

If you’ve followed my blog at all, you know my Dad is my running partner. He always carries the American flag during every race we run and, also, when our run days fall on holidays. (Flag Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day…) He says he does this to “honor our Veterans and those that are in active service, and to remind people that it is a symbol of our freedom and the sacrifices people have made to win that freedom. Additionally, that it represents the Biblical foundation of our country.” So of course, today being July 4th, my Dad carried the flag. And it’s not a little hand-held flag, like little kids hold during a parade. It’s a 3 feet by 5 feet flag that he carries on a pole, so it definitely garners a lot of attention. I always joke with him that as much as he dislikes the whole idea of social media, he’s probably all over it because people are always taking his picture with the flag.

So this morning I’m running, battling the heat and humidity, aware of the day we are celebrating and catching glimpses of the beautiful red, white and blue colors waving beside me. Obviously my immediate thought is how grateful I am to live in America, this land I call “home sweet home”. I just spent some time in Canada this past weekend, and while we had a wonderful time and it was a beautiful place, I found myself quoting Dorothy once we landed at our first stop in North Carolina, before reaching our final destination in Florida- “there’s no place like home”. So grateful for this country. Then I looked down at my Nike runners with each footfall and thought about just the simple fact that I’m allowed to run, knowing that in many areas of the world, women athletes are still frowned upon and it’s a fight for them just to do what I do in my normal day to day routine. We truly have so much to be grateful for. I then started thinking about the scripture in 2 Corinthians 3:17 that says, “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” I began to pray, thanking the Lord that this nation was founded on His Word and on the Spirit. For I know that true freedom comes only from the Lord. I prayed that His Spirit would continue to invade this land, so people would experience freedom, true heart-freedom. And that we as carriers of His Spirit would rise up and take our place, injecting this freedom everywhere we go. The American Patriot’s Almanac records President Calvin Coolidge’s speech given on July 5, 1926 and it so beautifully encapsulates my thoughts and prayers this morning, so I thought I would share it with you today:

“Our forefathers came to certain conclusions and decided upon certain courses of action which have been a great blessing to the world…They were a people who came under the influence of a great spiritual development and acquired a great moral power. No other theory is adequate to explain or comprehend the Declaration of Independence. It is the product of the spiritual insight of the people. We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren scepter in our grasp. If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it. We must not sink into a pagan materialism. We must cultivate the reverence which they had for the things that are holy. We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which they showed. We must keep replenished, that they may glow with a more compelling flame, the altar fires before which they worshiped.”

Friends, as you celebrate your freedom today, be mindful that, just as President Coolidge stated in his speech, “the things of the spirit come first…we must cultivate the reverence which they had for the things that are holy.” Let us honor the Lord and the true freedom He has given us, and carry His Spirit wherever we go, because where His spirit is, there is freedom!

Happy Independence Day!!!

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