Devotion: Monday, July 1, 2019

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is Galatians chapter 5 verse 1 which says,   

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Last month we commemorated the sacrifices of the soldiers who scaled the cliffs at Normandy to help win World War II. This month, we remember the sacrifices of people in our history who risked everything so that we too could live in freedom and peace in the United States. July 4th is the day we remember that in a sinful world, our freedoms, indeed all freedoms, exact a price. If you are free in America today, and we are, someone paid the price to make it so.


July 4th always reminds me of a broadcast by Paul Harvey; you know, the radio guy who always talked about “the rest of the story.” One July 4th broadcast in 1974, he reminded us of the price that was paid for the liberties we enjoy today in America. He spoke about “the rest of the story” for those who signed the Declaration of Independence, who risked everything so that they and those they loved would be free. He said:

….Carter Braxton, a wealthy planter and trader, after signing saw his ships swept from the seas and, to pay his debts, he lost his home and all of his property. He died in rags.

…Thomas McKean of Delaware was so harassed by the enemy that he was forced to move his family five times in five months. He served in Congress without pay, his family in poverty and in hiding.

…Thomas Nelson, Jr., of Virginia raised two million dollars on his own signature for provision for our allies, the French fleet. After the War he personally paid back the loans wiping out his entire estate; he was never reimbursed by his government. He died bankrupt.

…John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside while she was dying; his thirteen children fled in all directions for their lives. His fields and gristmill were laid waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves and returned home after the War to find his wife dead, his children gone, his properties gone. He died a few weeks later of exhaustion and a broken heart.

He recounted that of the 56 signers of the Declaration, few were long to survive. Five were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes–from Rhode Island to Charleston–sacked and looted, occupied by the enemy or burned. Two of them lost their sons in the Continental army; one had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 died in the War from its hardships or from its bullets. They had learned that liberty is so much more important than security; for that they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. They fulfilled their pledge–they paid the price, and freedom in these United States was born.

It’s hard to imagine anyone paying such a price so that others might be free. July 4th reminds us of those who did that for our temporal freedom. But July 4th pales in comparison to Good Friday, where the Son of God died on the cross so that ALL PEOPLE might be freed from guilt and sin, freed from deserved condemnation, and freed to live eternal lives with the God who created and redeemed them.

This week, remember those who made temporal sacrifices, but cherish Jesus’ once and for all sacrifice for our eternal freedom even more! Then also rejoice and give thanks for all the freedoms that you and I are privileged to receive and to share.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank you for the liberty you have won for us through your life, death, and resurrection. Give us wisdom to put that freedom to work to give you glory and to serve others faithfully in your name! Amen!