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By the time you read this article, we will have celebrated our 234th anniversary as a free nation. If you remember last year’s article, I gave you the fancy word that describes an anniversary of 250 years. We are only seven years away from being a nation for a quarter-millennia. Congratulations to the United States of America for lasting this long! Some nations which are based on a citizen’s individual right to freedom don’t last even a decade. Thankfully, this great experiment, started in the 18th century, is continuing on strong. As we look at other nations around the globe, we should be impressed by the length of time they have survived. Yet a closer observation tells us their freedoms, and forms of government, are greatly lacking as compared to our great nation. This is my thought for today; not to compare or contrast one nation to another, but to build off of last week’s article about being thankful. Are you thankful that you, by God’s providence, were either born in this great nation or have found yourself a citizen of the land of the free and the home of the brave? Most of you are aware I was born in Germany, and my mother is still a German citizen. At the age of 18 I could have chosen to become a German citizen, or taken on dual citizenship. In my opinion, knowing our history, especially our ancestral history, is important. My German and Norwegian heritage partially shape who I am as an individual. But more importantly, my access to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness causes me to be very thankful for my American citizenship. As you consider your upbringing, your heritage, your ethnicity, take a moment this weekend to consider the blessings which are yours. Never forget generations ago, or maybe just 50 years ago, your relatives chose to come to America. I am only two generations removed on my father’s side from my Norwegian ancestry. And I am technically a first generation American on my mother’s side. By the way, my mother is a legal alien resident. (Yes, “alien” is the correct term, as it reads on her Green card.) She pays her taxes, she renews her Green card on a regular basis, but she’s glad to live in the United States of America. Please think about the level of sacrifice she made to move thousands of miles away from her family, for the sake of her husband and children; it’s just another great story of the American journey. As we each consider our journey, we should also take into consideration a more important journey, and our most important citizenship. “But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.” Philippians 3:20 NLT This is one of my favorite scripture passages. It reminds me of Paul toward the end of his life, and even though his highest calling and allegiance was to the kingdom of God, he still reminded others he was a Roman citizen. Our highest allegiance should be to the kingdom of God, but at the same time let’s be proud to be Americans. Let’s celebrate with everything we are, being thankful for what God has provided for us, never forgetting in His great sovereignty He allowed us to live our lives in these United States of America.

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