The Fourth of July.  Fireworks, flags, family, and fun.  Burned burgers, burned backs and burned-out bottle rockets.  Beans, barbeque, and Boston Pops.  Water sports, water slides, and watermelons.  What a great day!  We simply call it “The Fourth,” and everyone knows exactly what we’re talking about.  With all that going on, it’s easy to forget the one thing sets it apart and makes it special.  Freedom.  How often we take it for granted!  I’m sure you have plans for this holiday; my family and I do.  But in all the activity, here’s a suggestion: take some time and consider the price paid over the last 241 years that has provided and preserved our freedom.  Consider those in uniform today who stand guard against the constant enemies of our freedom.  Think about those in other countries who cannot celebrate freedom as we do.  Brothers and sisters in Christ who cannot gather publicly this Sunday, but will meet stealthily in someone’s apartment, a back room, a basement, or a quiet place in a field or forest.  They’ll read contraband Bibles, sing quietly, pray fervently, and learn hungrily.  Oh, how blessed we are!  On this Independence Day, I pray that we will truly be thankful to our God who has seen fit to grant freedom to our nation.  I pray we will take advantage of this freedom to stand for right and Godly values in this wicked day.  I pray we will fervently and feverishly labor to share the message of true freedom through Christ with those around us as well as with those around the world.  So why not use this holiday to make a fresh commitment to follow the advice of George Washington who said, “To the distinguished character of patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.”  Our duty as citizens goes beyond our desire to be better Americans and rests in our decision to be better Christians!