I love my country! This is the greatest country in the world and I am proud to be part of it. I love the people. I love the spirit of freedom that Americans have. I love the way Americans love helping others. I love the way if a disaster happens somewhere in the world America will show up and help. We are a great nation!
Today we celebrate our 239th birthday. We are getting old! There has been a lot of changes since that first birthday 239 years ago. We have seen things that our founding fathers never dreamed of. We’ve landed on the moon, cloned sheep and watched Miley Cyrus as she “came in like a wrecking ball.”
I know there is a lot of things in our country that I am not happy with. Some things I find discouraging and disappointing. I am sure if the folks there in Washington would give me a call I would be able to explain why things should be different, but they never seem to consult with me. I do vote, and sometimes my candidate wins, and sometimes they lose. It makes no difference, I still love my country.
No matter what changes the country has made, Christ is still being preached regularly. The church still offers God’s grace without interference. The apostle Paul said we should “rejoice in the Lord always.” So, let’s rejoice that we still stand as a beacon of hope in this country that I admit seems more and more lost every day. Jesus did not come into this world to condemn the world, for the world already stands in condemnation. We can’t “argue” anyone into heaven. We don’t need to stand on the corner throwing rocks; we need to be speaking hope into the lives of the hopeless.
If the day ever comes that we can’t preach Christ then we need to rejoice all the more! Jesus said: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven ...” If that day comes, that is when we will see true revival! Look around the world today. Where is the church growing? It is seeing its biggest growth where it is being persecuted.
Be encouraged, my friends. God does not change. Jesus is Lord. Speak hope. Celebrate our nation’s birthday today with great cheer in the knowledge that we live in the greatest nation in the world. This week share the hope you have in Jesus with a loved one, neighbor or a coworker who needs to know that there is more to life than what this world has to offer.
Lt. Mark Cyr is pastor of The Salvation Army, 661 Colorado St. Carson City, NV 89701. For information, go to carsoncitysalarmy.org.