"The lifeblood of a nation is not freedom, although freedom is a virtuous thing for a nation to achieve. The lifeblood of a nation is always composed of its leaders, and their followers and detractors. And it is made up of the people whose business does not include the politics of the state, but contribute and live daily within a nation's borders. So then, people breathe life into a nation, regardless of the level of freedom or slavery of that nation. The great fabric of society is not society itself and its type, but a man or woman's life performed in front of the Father, God, regardless of or in spite of society. The Law of Liberty prevails whether a nation enslaves its citizenry or not." - Michelle Murphy
The term “freedom” as defined by an internet dictionary below:
the definition, in part, below
- the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
- absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government
- the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.
I do not believe freedom among people should mean "to be able to act without restraint”, for man is far from perfect. Without morality as a guiding light regarding the rule of law, we are lawless and anarchy is amuck; that same morality is required when dealing with neighboring nations and securing national defense. Yet, a careful balance between the state who governs and enforces laws, and the people is necessary; skill in governance is required to maintain this healthy balance, along with moral virtue among a nation's people. And yes, we know that there is a God that oversees mankind and its rulers.
Moral virtue is also required for the balance of energy between mankind and the earth. We cannot live in wickedness, arrogance, or greed without consequences. As a species, we cannot legalize and subsidize bad behavior as it affects others or the environment. Freedom comes with responsibility.
So, given that, what does freedom mean to me?
Freedom sometimes requires a heavy cost to maintain; investing in the character of a nation’s people requires dedication, just as war costs lives. American freedom is a virtue, and to maintain it should not require war. In our country, America, what it means to be free is to be able to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; people cross seas and borders to live here. Yet, certainly the idea of liberty has been stretched thin in this country.
Liberty encompasses the freedom of the press, and the freedom to voice one's own opinion. From where we are today, freedom of the press or freedom of information may be only a goal for the future, but it is a worthy goal that should be tended to. A good education and start in life, rather than a dumbed down version, enhances one's ability to live free within a nation's borders. A good education isn’t about exposing all conspiracies, but building character, intelligence, and skill for living in the workplace and being an active citizen. A nation endorsing freedom should encourage family developments, good health, support life of the unborn, and acknowledge safety as a virtue. Supporting engineering and technological infrastructure allows the populace to pursue and maintain the comforts of electricity and roads, among other things. I think these things are important.
Open conversation between the leaders and populace of a free country is a must on important issues including war, space, intelligent life elsewhere, and population issues; issues where the populace is affected should be realized by the populace. If they are hidden, is it because people would be in outrage? Is such an issue, pursued by the state in secret, of an immoral nature? Complex thinking by the populace is possible if politics and media are much less dumbed down, and better education realized. The populace needs to be willing to participate in solutions, and the calling would be good for bringing real meaning to people that are otherwise searching. It would also shoulder responsibility on the people at a time when more responsibility is needed. Freedom and responsibility go hand and hand and that is natural law.
Freedom means freedom to congregate as a church. It means what you believe is your own business, and a human’s thoughts are not owned by anyone else. This is why we have a relationship with God, so He can judge our thinking and influence our ways and judge our beliefs and faith.
Territorial and power wars between nations should be based on things that are more important than just the arbitrary; even wars about territory, money, and resources should be met with caution. Every nation has a right to seek safety and freedom for its people as a matter of defense and national security, and at times manufactured utopian thinking may have to take a back seat to sacrificing for something real and tangible. I believe in mercy, grace, forgiveness, and even second chances, especially as a matter of diplomacy with other nations. We should remember that the righteous live among even the most rogue or dissenting nations, and we should offer an olive branch on their behalf. These are my strong beliefs.
Overall, for governance, I am a bit of an authoritarian, because I believe in strong national leadership. I also think democracy can instill madness by governments, and lead to poorly skilled leadership, and an out-of-control citizenry; we see plenty of examples throughout history of overthrow of governments and eventual loss of freedom for everyone. Yet, a republic is better than a democracy, and it aims to instill a rule of law that even the leaders must ascribe to. Outside influence and help is part of every nation's repertoire. I am in favor of the rule of law to protect freedom as I outlined, and order and ingenuity among the disorder and rebellion; some rebellion and disorder is healthy.
The second question is, should a nation be able to decide its own fate?
Here, in the United States, we have often meddled in the affairs of other nations, and in some people’s opinion, that means we are not following our own notion of liberty, especially if the outcome is not the development of a free nation. Liberty, in the fullest sense, has never been realized by political means, neither historically or throughout any one nation's entire history. It is more often imagined or an illusion of liberty that people experience. It is often the propaganda fueling non-liberty agendas. So, if one were to fight for it tooth and nail, they must understand that God appoints the times and seasons in life, and that we have true liberty through Jesus Christ and not through government. Fighting is real and not imagined, and more often then not, men are found fighting one another with the roar of liberty and freedom behind them, all the while dictating, killing and endorsing the suffering of others. We must be careful about pursuing war, although sometimes necessity requires it.
True freedom lies outside of sin, outside of suffering, and in talking, communicating, and lending a hand unto others. We should first demand of our leaders, and other nations, solutions we can take part in for the future that promote a better welfare for all, as if we were in this same life together, roughing it out and needing support. If someone were to be dictating our life, we should be an example to them for the short period we experience life here. "For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people" (1 Peter 2, Verse 15). Again, war should always be a last resort. And when a nation fights for a neighboring nation’s freedom, and it is true in its intent and marksmanship, we should respond with caution and hope; caution in that we do not like war and its consequences, and hope that we shall all be set free. For some nations do not know freedom or how to obtain it; its leaders are wicked. We must always remember that God, the All Powerful, will judge us all, leaders and the populace.
The Bible says we should pray that our leaders extend to us a peaceful life and a world where the gospel can flourish. Those two blessings are part of the freedom we've traditionally held in the United States (1 Timothy 2, Verse 2 and 2 Thessalonians 3, Verse 1). We should pray earnestly for these two things here and overseas, and appreciate that we already have a peaceful life and freedom of religion in the United States.
Awesome God (worship song)
Our God is an awesome God he reigns
From heaven above with wisdom, power and love
Our God is an awesome God
How Great Thou Art (worship song)
O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed,
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee;
How great thou art, how great thou art!
Acts 17, Verses 22 - 34, Sermon on Mars Hill - 22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ 29 Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. 30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” 32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, “We shall hear you again concerning this.” 33 So Paul went out of their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.
Today I was sitting in a bible study at church when I really took something in that was being taught, and I thought, "Our God is an awesome God". My focus shifted to this and I realized I was in a room with others who had declared that "God is Good!"; I was in a place of righteous worship, reflection and fellowship. I felt God shined a light on us in that moment. We were studying God's covenant with Israel and the many times they fell away. Often they fell into observing what neighboring nations were involved in, including orgies, human sacrifice, improper sexual relations, and deity worship outside of God. Looking back now, God's laws and commandments determined a path and pattern of righteousness for all people to inherit one day through the new covenant brought by Jesus Christ and the future judgement. All this which existed in part because of this prior relationship with God and Israel. Paul in Acts 17 is right - God will come to judge the entire world in righteousness through Jesus Christ at the appointed time. He is no longer the "unknown God" and He is a righteous God.
In a book by Jack Cottrell, "The Faith Once and For All", the characteristics of God are listed as follows: God is Spirit, Self-existent, One, Three (Father, Son, Spirit), Infinite, Eternal, Righteous, Immutable, Transcendent, Sovereign, Omnipotent, Wise, Good, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Immanent, Glorious, Holy, Loving, Jealous, Wrathful, Merciful, Patient, and Gracious. In the introduction it says, “Because God is holy, he is jealous and wrathful in the presence of sin; because he is love, he is merciful, patient and gracious toward sinners.” I am studying the biblical definitions and text associated with these traits so I can get a fuller understanding of God as part of my faith and prayer life. I want to make sure as part of my faith-journey I fully understand just how glorious God really is.
It is amazing to think of the world on God's terms rather than the alternative. In American culture there is an inherited belief system from Christianity that promotes justice, kindness, humility, family values, compassion on the poor, respect for all, work ethic and other forms of righteousness. Yes, darkness lives here; darkness has its place everywhere; it cannot be denied as humans are fallen. At the same time, we send missionaries into much darker places. In some places the worship of other gods, or another god, leads people into sexual slavery, or beatings, or because of a certain belief about karma for droves of people to turn a blind eye to the poor. When Mother Theresa first set foot in India her faith was tested for what she saw was terrifying. Christian missionaries are often overwhelmed with the situations they are confronted, but they most often are very passionate about their work because they seek what is good. Corruption is at a larger scale in most other countries than here at home. Often people blame corporatism, socialism or communism, but intermixed in these systems is a lack of respect for biblical values and freedom of religion, either through state-force or propaganda. Yet, God still reaches the hearts of the righteous and continues his kingship over the authorities.
The new law of the New Testament means one should have faith in Christ and pursue righteousness as evidence for that belief. Our God has a true form of justice that has worked itself over man throughout history molding and shaping him for appointed times and a bright future. God will also finally judge each and every man, woman and child. God is perfect in every way, so it is with great relief and great fear that he is both our Maker and Judge. In the end, the debased may be given over to evil and hell, while the remaining in a heavenly resting place. The complexity of it all is for God and Jesus to understand; we tend to oversimplify it in our minds. But our God is not simple - he is great. "O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder, Consider all the worlds, Thy hands have made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed, Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee; How great thou art, how great thou art!"
Dear God, I am unsure when you are guiding my thoughts and actions, or in my presence before me, as I have a creative imagination and it is hard to pinpoint. Yet, today at church when my focus became pinpoint clear and the background surroundings faded out, I imagined You were there to be seen shining a light on us. I see answers to my prayers looking back, and callings to do what is more righteous when I am otherwise not up to it. I agree You work in mysterious ways, and it is not for me to know. Your ways, however, are great! As the Maker of all things I find You glorious and wise. When people dare to say, "God is Love!", I am assured of Your mercy, patience and graciousness. As the Author of the final judgement, I fear and respect the outcome, knowing that what is holy is perfect and righteous. I pray for those that are suffering in immeasurable ways, especially the vulnerable. May people not turn a blind eye to what suffering they see, and strive to make a difference for those in need. May the authorities not be given over to debased minds, and instead declare justice and freedom of religion in their lands; may they set an example of humility and skill in governing; may they resist war and violence on their own people and other nations. May Christianity flourish wherever it is planted. In the name of Jesus, the Christ, Amen.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.