Life – Liberty and Happiness

 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:7-7 ESV

July 4th, 1974 was a hot and humid day in West Plains Missouri, and a perfect day for a church picnic. But what my wife Nancy I remember most about that day is the birth of our oldest son, Chris. The labor pains had begun while we were playing frisbee with our friends in the Jack’s Fork River, but Nancy was having so much fun she declined to tell me until her contractions were five minutes apart. Speeding in a pick-up truck up two miles of dirt road and then another twenty-five on asphalt is something neither one of us will ever forget! But amazingly, right at 11:45 that evening, the adventure of being a mom and dad began, and those small details of that one day are still precious to us after all these years.

On a different 4th of July, two hundred and forty-five years ago our nation was born. On another hot sweltering day in Philadelphia, the Second Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. It is a day we celebrate, not just because our nation began, but because it was founded with the idea that, “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Today’s verse tells this same idea by reminding us that we need to honor and respect everyone, (And even pay our taxes!) There are plenty of things we could find to complain about, criticize or even make fun of about our country and its leaders. But our hope and confidence is not in our leaders or even our friends. It lies only in God. He is still in charge no matter who lives in the White House. His laws do not change every time congress passes another piece of legislation or the courts rule with their opinions. Most importantly we must remember that we are commanded to love one another. You might say, “That is a pretty tough row to hoe, you don’t know my family, my fellow church members and my neighbors!” Hey if this were easy God wouldn’t have made it a command! But what is impossible for men, is possible for God. He sent Jesus to the cross to die for us all. There the ground is level and we are equally in need of His grace which alone can give us real life, real liberty and real happiness that will last forever and ever!

Life Liberty and Happiness by Peter Caligiuri first published in the Sunshine Newsletter Copyright 2021 all rights reserved use by permission only

The View From Here

Though our nation is in turmoil with questions about racial justice along with the uncertainty of the Corona virus it might be good if we all take a breath and remember some things we have to be thankful for. With July 4th celebrations just around the corner remember that our founding fathers began this American experiment with the revolutionary idea that all men were created equal and were given rights, not from any government but from God. Though none of the signers of the declaration were perfect; the direction that they pointed us to as a nation has been a beacon of hope for people around the world. My own grandfather came at 16 years old in 1913, escaping the poverty of Messina Italy that had been devastated by the great earthquake of 1908 that left over 50,000 dead.

Today I think of our Nepali friends who came as refugees escaping ethnic cleansing just 10 years ago. Before we lose hope imagine where any of these would have gone if America were not here.

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! – Inscription on the Statue of Liberty

Still a Revolutionary Idea!

On this National Day of Prayer I thought it appropriate to return to where the founders began on July 4, 1776.

“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  Declaration of Independence

  • As we pray we must humbly remember that everything we have comes from God
  • As we pray we must believe that God will hear and answer prayer just as he did for the signers of The Declaration of Independence.
  • As we pray we should ask not only for God’s help for us but also for what He would want  us to do to help for others.
  • As we pray we must always remember that we are His creation and that without Him nothing else matters. No prosperity will ever be enough, no success can be final and no joy will last unless we put our trust in Him.

In God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me? Psalm 56:11

On this 7th of May in 2020 in the middle of the Corona Virus Pandemic, it continues to be true that trusting God is still a revolutionary idea!

close up photography of american flag

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