Monday, July 7, 2008

July 4th, Number Two

July 4th, 2008

"Oh, say! Does that star-spangled banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?" I had bought two small flags and hung them out front on the sign-board at Pumzika Acres as preparation for the 4th of July celebration. We had a wonderful time with our kids and their kids and with Frnaces' brothers and sisters and theirs who could come. Thank God we live in a free country where we can celebrate. I know what it means to live in a place where freedoms are restricted. One of the things I missed while living in Kenya, one of Africa's free-est countries, was the feeling of total freedom to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it in the way I wanted to do it. Yes, there is a difference, even in the way the people talk - or should I say "Don't talk" about their country's leadership. When they do rise up and speak out against personal injustices they are often over-run immediately by the powers that be. If they criticize the president (yes, I've seen this even in Kenya) they sometimes wind up arrested and find themselves lost, literally lost, in the prison system. During our stay in Kenya we read in the Daily Nation of the arrest of a preacher who had spoken out on Sunday in his pulpit against some things that he saw wrong with his government, and especially in the president's office. He would remain in jail from days to weeks to months before finally the order would be given for him to be released. During our early time in Kenya (we arrived in 1989) the president would read an article in some magazine or newspaper and -- finding it not to his liking -- consequently would declare the magazine "seditious material" and have the editor arrested. Furthermore, anyone who had bought one of the magazines had better destroy it because if you were caught with a copy of that particular issue you would be subject to arrest. It was a requirement that all businesses had to have a picture of the president, Daniel Torotich Arap Moi, on display in their businesses. One paper reported of the arrest of a person who had a picture of the former president, Jomo Kenyatta, displayed more prominently than his picture of President Moi. Under such ruthless leadership the common people really suffer. Here in America the most common among us have the right to dissent. Freedom of speech. Freedom of the Press. Even the right to keep and bear arms is ours. Yes, we are attacked on every side by those who would like to do away with our freedoms - but I think it is important that we NOT forget the great freedoms we have. At one time while we were in Kenya our family group would have been meeting illegally because the law was issued that no more than twelve people were allowed to assemble in one place. We had twenty-eight people at the cabin Friday, therefore we would have been illegal. More treacherous sitll, because we had guns in our possession we would have been arrested. A person could be arrested for having even one bullet in his/her possession - even without a gun - so if you found a bullet you would not put it in your pocket or purse. Why are those governments so repressive? Because they are afraid. Fear hath torment.

Oh, How I do thank God for the "land of the free and the home of the brave!" Faith in God and faith in my country gives me confidence to move into the future without fear. Get a grip on your faith in God and you will not live in fear, even if you live in a repressive and restrictive country. Sin will torment you. Sin will cause you to live in fear. If you repent, that is, if you will be genuinely sorry for and will turn away from your sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, You will forgiven and can find the assurance of eternal life. Oh what freedom that is!!!

In the words of one of my favoriet songs, "I trust in God, wherever I may be! On mountain bleak, or on life's rolling sea. Let come what may, from day to day! My heavenly Father watches over me."