It’s good to see you this morning! We continue thorugh the book of James by going to James 3. There he writes about the power of the tongue. With it, we can bless or curse. May the Holy Spirit give us self-controlled and wise words as we walk through this life.

We gladly celebrate Independence Day today. God has blessed us beyond measure. Yet today it among many evangelicals, any show of patriotism in a church is disparaged. We are accused of being Christian “nationalists.” We are told to remember that God is the God of all nations. And then accused of idolatry.

I will grant you that it gets carried away in some churches. But it’s only idolatry if you make it idolatry. We should be grateful to God for what He has given us. To fail to do so is ingratitude and even presumption. He has given us freedom, prosperity, and peace. He has also given us people who have served to protect and perpetuate those blessings. We given honor to them as someone to whom honor is due (Romans 13:7).

I have friends in the metro area who are pastors and immigrants. Two of them told me in 2020 how grateful they are for this country. One of them told me (and I’m paraphrasing) that this country gave him a wife, children, a ministry, freedom, and prosperity. He is baffled that American is often disparaged. We talked about people who have come here from repressive or communist countries. They are extraordinarily thankful to God Almighty for creating a country like this.

Tara and I ate supper with a Kansas City area pastor and his wife earlier this year. They were in a UN refugee camp circa 2010. They had a choice as to what country they could emigrate to and chose America. Now he is a bi-vocational pastor of an ethnic church (Bhutanese) in Kansas City, Kansas. He got his real estate license and is doing well in that area. I couldn’t help but notice his wife had an Apple watch on her wrist. 11 years earlier, she was in UN camp and penniless. I’m not sure there are many other places in the world that could have happened.

We acknowledge American has deep-rooted sins. We have a sordid history of slavery and racism. That sin will reverberate for generations to come. But let’s compare American to other nations. Have our sins been worse than Russia or Germany or China? Wherever there are human beings, there will be sin.

God has used America to distribute Bibles around the world. She has sent countless missionaries. The land is saturated with Christian teaching. People from all ethnicities desire to live here. Yes, it’s an incredible tragedy that like Esau, we are exchanging extraordinary blessings for that which is temporal and fleshly. We treat God lightly, the church flippantly, and His Word carelessly. And it appears that His judgment has begun. But none of that takes away from the fact He has blessed us.

Let’s reverse the tide. Be holy for He is holy. Give Him the praise and thanksgiving due Him. Thank for Him for your blessings. Purpose in your heart not to waste a single one. And then go shoot off some fireworks tonight. Happy Independence Day!