America the Beautiful

It seems these days that everyone is violently divided and this great nation is becoming a horrid joke, or it would be if that could be funny. This fourth of July, I want you to think about America the Beautiful and its four lessons.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Gratitude. We live in a marvelous country. I didn’t make the mountains or the sky; I didn’t create the prosperity that we’re enjoying; I didn’t create the peace that we love. Neither did you. Grace is a gift, my fellow Americans. Are you grateful for the bounty we enjoy? Have you actually said it? Unexpressed gratitude is sort of useless.

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

Self-control. I don’t always get what I want. Sometimes I want to yell and scream or hit things or people. None of that helps anything, but we want to do it. Each person has to control their own sinful nature. If we don’t have self-control, liberty will be taken away. William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania said, “If we will not be governed by God, we must be governed by tyrants.” If we won’t willingly submit to the moral truth of God’s word, then the freedom we love will be taken away. I can think of few problems America faces that couldn’t be cured with a populace of self-controlled people.

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine!

Sacrifice. We need to remember those that have sacrificed for us and be willing to sacrifice for others. Every nation around the world can look for its rotters, the poisonous people that got into that society and wrecked it. We may learn from these disasters; but far better to remember those that did the right thing, for they can inspire us to do the right thing as well.

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Faith in the Future. We don’t have to wallow in the problems of the now. We can look forward to future that will come. No president can overthrow heaven, no court can overturn the laws of God, and no trouble of today can dim the days of eternity. Beyond our years here, as much as I love America, there is far better things in the ages to come. Remember the promises that come with God’s grace.

May God richly bless you, America. Happy Independence Day!

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