After signing the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, Founding Father John Adams said the following to his wife, Abigail:
I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more ..."
I thought about Adams' words as I watched the recent July Fourth festivities in Washington, D.C. President Trump's "Salute to America" was the most well-done July Fourth celebration I can recall. Non-political in every way, including the president's speech, the celebration simply recounted portions of our history and honored our service men and women. I'm sure Adams looked down with strong approval and deep appreciation.
Then came the naysaying critics. Actually, they came beforehand, mocking and criticizing the president's plans in advance. The "never Trump" crowd, the mainstream media, and the liberals in government hate our president with vitriolic passion. Not surprisingly then, they criticized the great celebration, after refusing even to televise it.
While listening to their fact-less, shallow, hypocritical rants, I was reminded of the words of the great Martin Luther King Jr.: "A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan."
Though the influence of the "soft-minded" radicals is lessening—a welcome shift, indeed—their babble is still heard to a degree. It seems that President Trump, however, has become immune to their venom, which enabled him to stay the course and give America its greatest birthday party in our history. I, and many others I've spoken with, teared up at times.
One of those moments was during the singing of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. The military choir had the courage to honor our Savior by including the verse: "In the beauty of the lilies/ Christ was born across the sea/ with a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me/ As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free/ His truth is marching on."
I am not ignorant of America's flaws, past and present. However, I've never seen a birthday party for anyone in which people felt the need to include the honoree's shortcomings. To the contrary, they simply showed their love and appreciation by celebrating the birth of the recipient. Too much to expect from the haters of America's true roots, I suppose.
In spite of their disdain for this great nation, however, God is and will continue to turn us back to Himself and His purposes for us, and He is using Donald J. Trump as one of His instruments. We must pray for him and for America's turnaround to continue. In the words of Samuel Adams, John Adams' cousin and a leader in America's fight for freedom: "We have appealed to Heaven for the justice of our cause, and in Heaven we have placed our trust."
Many of you know the story of the "Appeal to Heaven" flag, commissioned by George Washington to fly over our naval vessels and eventually our battlefields during the American revolution. Taken from the teachings of John Locke, a profound influencer of our founders, the concept behind the phrase was simply that when all else has failed, "appeal to heaven" for your breakthrough.
Our Founding Fathers knew our only hope of freedom was in God's providential help. So, they appealed to heaven. (You can read of this amazing, seldom-told portion of America's history, and how God is resurrecting the flag and its message in my small book, An Appeal to Heaven. It is an incredible story.)
Following John Adams' encouragement of conducting great July Fourth celebrations, he made a weighty statement that holds profound significance today:
"I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these states. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means."
Indeed, the cost continues. Most of us will not be asked to lay down our physical lives for the sake of this nation's freedom, nor for its destiny of being a light and distributor of God's glory to the nations of the earth. But as Sam Adams referenced, we must be committed to the ongoing appeal.
Determine with me that you will stand in prayer for our president, and that you will intercede for America's destiny to continue unfolding. Let's ask and believe for a great awakening to sweep our nation and planet Earth, bringing the greatest spiritual harvest in earth's history.
Dutch Sheets is an internationally recognized author, gifted teacher and conference speaker. He travels extensively, challenging believers for passionate prayer and societal reformation. Seeing America experience a sweeping revival and return to its godly heritage is Dutch's greatest passion. He is a messenger of hope for America, encouraging believers to contend for awakening. Dutch has written over 23 books, many of which have been translated into over 30 languages. His international bestseller, Intercessory Prayer, has sold over 1 million copies worldwide. Visit dutchsheets.org.
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