By Linda Cox

Trying to pick a Bible verse to write about for the Fourth of July left my thoughts as scattered as fireworks bursting in air. Which one do I use?

Then I realized that as those individual fireworks join together to paint a beautiful picture in the night sky, there are a number of verses that paint a picture about how we need to pray for our nation…

Psalm 33:12Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance.

★ Are we still a nation whose God is the Lord?

★ Have we wandered from the principles upon which it was founded?

★ When we hear the words from the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal,” do we accept the truth that God created us equal in His sight?

Galatians 5:1Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

★ Does defining freedom as “the license to do what we want no matter how it hurts others” entangle us in its own form of bondage?

★ The German philosopher Jutgen Habermas said, “Democracy requires of its citizens qualities it cannot provide.” As a democratic republic do we look to God and our freedom in Christ for those qualities?

1 Peter 2:16As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

★ Alexis de Tocqueville said, “America is great because America is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” Do we realize that when God is taken out of America, it will eventually collapse?

★ Do we live as servants of God who best serve our country by proclaiming in word and deed Christ’s Gospel of salvation from sin, the truest freedom of all?

Pulling all these together is the seldom-sung last verse of The Star-Spangled Banner:

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand

Between their loved home and the war’s desolations

Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n-rescued land

Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation!

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”

And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

(Emphasis mine)

Happy Fourth of July and may God bless America!