The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence

You know, I believe it is altogether fitting, considering what sacred event is being commemorated this week, that we quote the following, dated July 4th, 1776:

“WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and [of] Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.

“WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, 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 — That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or [to] abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Power[s] in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. …”

“WE, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATED OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by [the] Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of [a] Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; … And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

Under the hot fires of opposition, those last words were not idle words of rhetoric. As they pledged, so too they were required to give, some, even to the last full measure of devotion, their very lives.

Forgive me for a personal aside, but I have lived my life a free man, and most of that life I have been oblivious to the price that has been paid for me. Now, I pray the God of Heaven that He will open the eyes of my children, that they may hold fast to those freedoms which are slipping away. I pray that every person will make this Declaration of Independence anew, that in their own hearts they will declare their independence from every form of tyranny and oppression under the sun, for as it has once been said, when freedom is lost, only blood will buy it back.

Glenn Rawson

Miracle of Independence

Miracle of Independence

In 1789 as he became our nation’s first president, George Washington said the following:

“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”

My friends, America and her freedom have been and are cradled in the hands of God. Now this week we will celebrate the 4th of July. But if you wouldn’t mind, may I tell you the circumstances of a certain historical July 2nd that give[s] all the meaning and heart to this wonderful holiday?

At 9:30 A.M. on the morning of July 2nd, 1776, John Hancock calls the second Continental Congress to order in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. The room is hot, and the delegates are anxious. Foremost on everyone’s mind in that room today is the vote that will decide whether America will be a free and independent people, or the oppressed subjects of a distant monarch. Now what of that issue of independence? Maybe if years before, England had not fought that costly war with France, and then tried to regain that money by taxing the American colonies without their consent, or maybe if England had not so impudently refused to listen to the pleas of the colonists for their rights, or maybe if England had not been so determined to beat the upstart Americans into submission after the Boston Tea Party, or maybe a host of other things that happened, maybe independence wouldn’t be the issue that day. Or maybe if there hadn’t been so many wise men and women raised up by God living among Americans at that time in whom the fires of freedom burned so hotly, maybe independence wouldn’t be the issue in that room today. But it is the issue. This is the time, and these are the men, and this is the moment. It will the greatest decision of courage they will ever make!

The day before, July the 1st, a vote had been taken late in the evening — a test vote if you will. It had stood nine colonies in favor of independence and four opposed. It was a majority, sure enough, but that was not enough. Every man in that room knew that if they did not hang together in unanimity, they would, as Franklin put it, ‘surely all … hang … together.’ There cannot be one dissenting colony. If there is, England will use it as a wedge, and spilt the Union apart.

Finally, in the afternoon, Hancock calls for a vote on the resolution for independence. By now, the sky had grown black. Rain is coming down in sheets, and the thunder is so loud that the delegates at times cannot hear each other, when suddenly at the back of the room, the door opens, and in walks Ceasar Rodney of Delaware. Now, therein lies a story.

Sitting in that room are two men representing Delaware who are on both sides of the issue of independence. They cancel out Delaware’s vote. The night before, a rider had been dispatched to Dover, Delaware with a message for Rodney to come quickly and break the deadlock in favor of independence. No one had wanted to disturb Ceasar Rodney, for you see, he was dying of cancer, and lived in constant pain. It was well known that Rodney could have gone to England for treatment, but he staunchly refused to receive aid and comfort from those he considered the enemy. Now, he stands before them still wearing his boots and spurs. He has ridden 80 miles in a chilling downpour all through the night. He is soaking wet and covered with mud. The cloth covering the large cancerous sore on his face is soaked and matted to his skin. With a fire in his eye, and a smile on his face, Rodney takes his seat amid the admiring stares of his fellows.

As the vote is called, I wonder what might have been going through the minds of those men in that room. I don’t know, but maybe it was this. That very moment, there are some 130 British warships anchored in New York Harbor ready to do battle, aimed at America, the largest war fleet ever assembled in the history of the world. Moreover, tens of thousands of professional British soldiers and ruthless mercenaries stand well equipped and ready to crush the 9000 untrained farmers, merchants, and whatever that comprised Washington’s army. Surely — surely those delegates in that congress knew that of the approximately 2½ million people they represented in the colonies, one third of those are loyal to England, and they will fight from within against the patriots’ cause. The opposition was incredible, and surely they knew that England had already declared them as rebels, and if they were caught, a hangman’s noose would be their fate.

The vote is called. As the night before, nine of the colonies still vote in favor. Then, the four dissenting colonies following Delaware’s lead suddenly change their vote in favor of independence. It is unanimous; it is miraculous! America, the nation of prophecy will be a land of liberty.

The temple of American freedom was built of the bricks of divinely guided people and events, and mortared with the blood of patriots. It is precious beyond price. I do not hesitate to tell you that if we gain all the world and lose that freedom, we have lost it all.

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

The Star-Spangled Banner

August 24th, 1814, Washington D.C.: The capitol buildings of the United States of America burned so brightly that the citizens of Baltimore 40 miles away could see them. In horror they watched the city burn, and knew the British would come there next.

War between the United States and England began in June of 1812. Fresh from the defeat of Napoleon, the British arrogantly proclaimed that they would chastise the American savages, that they would punish America, instill fear, and do away with our Constitution and the Republic of law it had created.

Well, for the first two years of the war, England more or less had her way with America. On every front, Americans were humiliated. Numerous towns and villages begged for peace from the British, even when they weren’t threatened by them. And indeed, the British did turn north up Chesapeake Bay towards America’s third largest city, Baltimore, which was a rich and a rough town famous for harassing the British by sea. It would be a worthy prize, the British felt. But the people of Baltimore led by General Samuel Smith, a veteran of the American Revolution, decided not to lie down. They armed and readied themselves for a fight.

September the 12th, 1814, the British attack on Baltimore began. 4700 soldiers came ashore to attack Baltimore from the east by land, while the British war fleet positioned itself near Fort McHenry just south of Baltimore. Around 7:00 A.M. the war fleet opened up on the fort. They fired bombshells weighing more than 200 pounds that could travel more than 2 miles. These bombs carried a warhead lit by a fuse when fired. When the bombs ignited, it scattered shratenal in every direction. Another killer weapon used by the British was the Congreave Rocket.

Well, the fort fired back on the British armada, but the British ships were out of range. The Americans didn’t stand a chance. As their useless cannon fell silent, the Americans felt like pigeons tied by the legs to be shot at. All that day the British pounded Fort McHenry mercilessly. Every building in Baltimore shook from the explosions. The rain filled skies flashed with bursting bombshells and the glaring red stream of the rockets. How could anyone survive this most awful spectacle?

Meanwhile, held by the British 8 miles downstream was a 35-year-old Washington lawyer named Francis Scott Key, a member of the militia and a man devoted to family and faith. Key was on a mission of mercy. All through the day he watched Baltimore fight for its life, and prayed that it would live.

As twilight deepened amidst the explosions, Key could see the flag flying over Fort McHenry. It was 30 by 42 feet in size, and flew 90 feet over the Fort. If it came down anytime, it was a signal of surrender.

Through the night and into the wee hours of dawn the next morning, the battle for Baltimore continued. And it was as though the men of Fort McHenry led charmed lives. At one point, a live bomb fell through the roof of the Fort’s powder magazine, but didn’t go off. It just sputtered, and then a quick thinking man doused the fuse.

Anxiously, Key watched the Fort all through the night. The burst of rockets in the darkness told him that the flag was still there. And then around 4:00 A.M., the firing suddenly stopped. Had the fort surrendered? Key waited and watched pacing the deck, and then finally, by the dawn’s early light Key saw the flag. The Star Spangled Banner was still waving in the breeze. It filled him with such joy that he pulled an old letter from his back pocket, and wrote out his exuberant feelings in poetic verse. After 25 hours, nearly 2000 bombs and 700 rockets, the fort still stood — and the British gave up. They withdrew by land and sea, and after defeats in Canada and New Orleans, the British gave up, and the War of 1812 was over. And with it, America gained a new respect before the world. They were now no longer a fledgling nation, but a power to be reckoned with internationally.

And as for the poem — well, Key finished that poem, and borrowing an already known tune gave it to a friend who quickly had it published. Key never titled it, nor did he sign it. But it caught on and spread across the country like a wildfire, growing in power until March of 1931 when The Star Spangled Banner became our national anthem. It is an anthem of dignity that speaks the prayer of patriots in its last verse:

Oh, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry in peace, may the heav’n – rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Historic story from the writings of Glenn Rawson.

UpLIfts For Life – Make It A Great Day!

If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships–the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.

TODAY’S TRIVIA: (scroll down for answers)

1. In 1671, who stole the crown jewels from the Tower of London?
2. When did the first published U.S. political cartoons appear, and where?
3. Who was granted a U.S. patent for creating an ice-making machine?
4. During what year was the patent issued?

TODAY’S MOTIVATION:

“The first and best victory is to conquer self.” – Plato
If you have lots of talent but haven’t produced much in the way of results, the problem may be a lack of self-discipline. Here’s what you can do to take control of your life.

Review what you did last week. What did you do to advance your career? To improve your health? To pump up your portfolio of savings and investments? If the answer is that you accomplished little or nothing, then you know where to begin.

Tackle the assignment you’ve been putting off. At the very least take a walk during lunch. Take 10% of your next pay check and put it aside for your retirement. Then repeat these actions — and see how your talents blossom.

Compliments of congratulation are always kindly taken, and cost nothing but pen, ink and paper. I consider them as draughts upon good breeding, where the exchange is always greatly in favor of the drawer. – Chesterfield

THE GODS OF THE COPYBOOK HEADINGS
~ Rudyard Kipling ~

As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race, I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market-Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn.
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breath of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market-Place;
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its ice-field, or the lights had gone out in
Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch.
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch.
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings.
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Heading said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul; But, though we had
plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Heading said: “If you don’t work you die.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew,
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not God that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four-
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man- There are only
four things certain since Social Progress began:-
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,

And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins

When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!
————
Perhaps any of us could get along with perfect people. But our task is to get along with imperfect people. – Richard L. Evans


YIDDISH EXPRESSIONS OF WISDOM THROUGH PROVERBS:

A child’s tear rends the heavens.

Ask about your neighbors, then buy the house.

Don’t be too sweet lest you be eaten up; don’t be too bitter lest you be spewed out.

What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t invent with your mouth.

Surrounding yourself with dwarfs does not make you a giant.

If you are bitter at heart, sugar in the mouth will not help you.

A half-truth is a whole lie.

ANSWERS:

1. Thomas Blood, an Irish adventurer better known as Colonel Blood.
2. In The Pennsylvania Gazette, a newspaper founded by Benjamin
Franklin.
3. Inventor John Gorrie, who is considered the father of refrigeration and air conditioning.
4. 1851.

UpLIfts For Life & Thoughts To Make It So

“I like thinking of possibilities. At any time, an entirely new possibility is liable to come along and spin you off in an entirely new direction. The trick, I’ve learned, is to be awake to the moment.” — Doug Hall

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” — Mary Engelbreit

“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.” — Carl Sagan

“Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.” — Walter Landor

“Let us never negotiate out of fear; but let us never fear to negotiate.” — John F. Kennedy

Father’s Day Thoughts

Hide and Seek

How important is it to be a careful parent?

I was in the kitchen one Sunday afternoon making bread. I dearly love hot homemade bread, but that’s neither here nor there. My 3-year-old son, Adam, was sitting on the counter helping me — or at — at least if you call sitting in the flour helping me, he was helping me — when suddenly without any preamble he announced, “Dad, I want to be just like you.”

I was a little taken back by that, “You want to be just like me?”

“Ya, you know,” he said, “guns and jogging, and stuff like that.”

I don’t know where he got the ‘guns’ thing, but I do like to jog. Do I want him to be like me? Well, that really made me think. And so in that light, may I share a story by F. Burton Howard that really impressed me?

When he and his wife were first married, they decided during a break in their university schedule to visit family back home. Well, ‘back home’ was a 10-hour trip. Have you ever spent 10 hours in a car with a small boy? Well, they packed sandwiches, and prepared the back seat for the little boy. As the day wore on though, he never wore down. He seemed to gather strength.

Finally, Mom and Dad hit upon a strategy: If they could just get him to slow down and close his eyes for just a few minutes, the tuckered little tyke would fall asleep. Their idea was a game of “Hide and Seek.” Have you ever tried to play “Hide and Seek” in a car?

Well, this is how they did it: A front seat passenger would crouch down and hide while the little man in the back seat hid his eyes. After a few seconds they would say, “Okay.”

And their son would bound over the seat and say, “A-ha, I found you.”

They kept doing this. I can just picture it. The game must have been delightful!

Finally, Mom and Dad said, “We have a really good place to hide this time. It’s gonna take longer. Close your eyes and we’ll call you.”

He enthusiastically ducked down behind the seat and hid his eyes. A minute — two minutes — five minutes went by. “We drove along in silence,” Dad said. “The tranquility was marvelous!”

They traveled a few miles further congratulating themselves on the success of their devious game. And then suddenly, from the back seat came the sobbing voice of a heart-broken little boy, “You didn’t call me. You said you would.”

“It was,” Dad said, “a defining moment in our lives.” They never played that game again.

The raising of children, my dear friends, is not a game. It is a serious business of much joy. I like how Jeffery Holland said it:

“Our children take their flight into the future with our thrust and with our aim. The most important mortal factor in determining that arrow’s destination will be the stability, strength, and unwavering certainty of the holder of the bow.”

And so it is.

Thoughts from the writings of Glenn Rawson, October 2003.

Some Southern Humor – In Time For Father’s Day

As every Southerner knows it’s time to get ready for that all important cooking technique of the south…. Outdoor Grilling.

I have found several stores (not just in the south) where you can get a FREE Bar-B-Q Grill!
You can get a free BBQ grill from any of the following stores:
A&P
Albertsons
Costco
Fry’s
Kroger
Big Lots
Brookshire’s
Lowes
Publix
Safeway
Sam’s Club
Target
Vons
Wagner Hardware
Walgreens
Wal-Mart
Winn-Dixie

I especially like the higher rack which can be used for keeping things warm!
outdoorgrill.jpg

Just make sure to get a metal one…the plastic one’s don’t do so well.

UpLifts – The Postal Service No One Hears About

THE POSTAL SERVICE NO ONE HEARS ABOUT

Some of you may know that our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month.
The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying
and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write
a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her.
She dictated and I wrote:

Dear God,

Will you please take special care of our dog, Abbey? She died yesterday
and is in heaven. We miss her very much. We are happy that you let us
have her as our dog even though she got sick. I hope that you will play
with her. She liked to play with balls and swim before she got sick. I am
sending some pictures of her so that when you see her in heaven you will
know she is our special dog. But I really do miss her.

Love,
Meredith Claire

P.S. Mommy wrote the words after Meredith told them to her.

We put that in an envelope with two pictures of Abbey, and addressed it to
God in Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith
stuck some stamps on the front (because, as she said, it may take lots of
stamps to get a letter all the way to heaven) and that afternoon I let
her drop it into the letter box at the post office. For a few days, she
would ask if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He
had.

Yesterday there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch.
Curious, I went to look at it. It had a gold star card on the front and
said, “To Meredith” in an unfamiliar hand.

Meredith took it in and opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers, “When
a Pet Dies”
. Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had
written to God, in it’s opened envelope (which was marked “Return to
Sender” Insufficient address). On the opposite page, one of the pictures
of Abbey was taped under the words, “For Meredith”. We turned to the back
cover, and there was the other picture of Abbey, and this handwritten note
on pink paper:

“Dear Meredith,

I know that you will be happy to know that Abbey arrived safely and
soundly in Heaven! Having the pictures you sent to me was such a big
help. I recognized Abbey right away.

You know, Meredith, she isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me –
just like she stays in your heart – young and running and playing. Abbey
loved being your dog, you know. Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven,
I don’t have any pockets so I can’t keep your beautiful letter. I am
sending it to you with the pictures so that you will have this book to
keep and remember Abbey. One of my angels is taking care of this for me.
I hope the little book helps. Thank you for the beautiful letter. Thank
your mother for sending it. What a wonderful mother you have! I picked
her especially for you.

I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By
the way, I am in heaven but wherever there is love, I am there also.

Love,
God and the special angel who wrote this after God told her the words.”
_____
As a parent and a pet lover, this is one of the kindest things that I’ve
ever experienced. I have no way to know who sent it, but there is some
very kind soul working in the dead letter office. I just wanted to share
this act of compassion.

May the feet of God walk with you
And His hand hold you tight.
May the eye of God rest on you
And His ear hear your cry.
May the smile of God be for you
And His breath give you life.
May the Child of God grow in you
And His love bring you home.

Amen

UpLifts – In the eyes of a child, Love is spelled “TIME.”

When filled with God’s love, we can do and see and understand things that we could not otherwise do or see or understand. Filled with His love, we can endure pain, quell fear, forgive freely, avoid contention, renew strength, and bless and help others in ways surprising even to us. — John H. Groberg

Love spends his all, and still hath store. — P. J. Bailey

If there is anything better than to be loved, it is loving. — Someone

Caring lifts the burden… courage shoulders the weight… but only love lightens the load. — Lloyd John Ogilvie

In the eyes of a child, Love is spelled “TIME.” — GPH

Kind Words

You know, sometimes it’s not what you say to people; it’s how you say it. When Jerry was just a teenager he got into an argument one day with his father. Well, that night as he sat in his room sulking, his mother came down to talk to him. As they talked, Jerry realized he had judged his father wrongly and that he had acted inappropriately. His mother suggested he apologize. Jerry promised to do so the next morning at breakfast, but when he went down for breakfast, his father was not there nor would he be ever again. He had left early that morning to supervise an airdrop in the Alaskan wilderness. His plane flew into a mountain — and Jerry’s father was killed.

For the next few years, Jerry struggled with a terrible burden of guilt — his last moments with his father, and he had wasted them on a selfish tantrum. He could not forgive himself.

Then one day in a church meeting, he listened to a speaker teach him about love, especially that precious love between parents and children. The speaker encouraged the audience to express that love. Well, it was too much for Jerry. He broke down and began to sob. As the people filed out of the chapel, Jerry was left alone. His sobs became an uncontrollable torrent of emotion, until even his hands and feet became numb. One by one his closest friends came back in the room and spoke words of encouragement to him, but it did no good. There was too much pain and too much guilt over too many years.

Then Jerry became aware of arms encircling his shoulders, and a warm cheek pressed gently against his own. He was pulled into a warm and loving embrace. Kind words softly spoken in his ear penetrated his grief and gradually eased away the pain. He opened his eyes — and looked into the loving face of the speaker who had taught of the power of love, Spencer W. Kimball, author of the book “Miracle Of Forgiveness”.

You know, Jerry has long since forgotten the words that were spoken that day, but of the warmth of that embrace and the sincerity of that love, he will never forget.

Adapted by Glenn Rawson — March 1998