Today, we celebrate the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, an American Founding Father, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and the third President of the United States.
Of all the titles given to Jefferson – the ways in which he is held in high regard – my favorite, is that he is often called an ‘apostle of liberty.’ For I believe, that it is by the inspiration of God, and His providence, that this man would indelibly write our religious freedom into our nation’s founding documents and champion their preservation.
In the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, it is written,
Congress shall make no law
respecting an establishment of
religion or prohibiting the
free exercise thereof.
Jefferson also points to religious belief and the free exercise thereof as a ‘natural right,’ and states, We are answerable never submitted, we could not submit. The rights of conscience we only as we have submitted to them. over such natural rights,
‘[O]ur rulers can have no authority
over such natural rights,
only as we have submitted to them.
The rights of conscience we never submitted,
we could not submit.
We are answerable for them to our God.
One of Thomas Jefferson’s great acts, as an ‘apostle of liberty,’ was the 1786 drafting of his Virginia statute on religious freedom, ‘An Act for Establishing Religious Freedom,’ In it, he states,
No man should ‘suffer on account
of his religious opinions or belief;
but that all men shall be free
to profess, and by argument to maintain,
their opinion in matters of religion,
and that the same shall in
no wise diminish, enlarge,
or affect their civil capacities.
Many have used his writings to propagate a warped and incorrect philosophy of ‘separation of church and state’ that would exclude Christians from civic involvement. However, the intent of President Jefferson – along with most of our Founding Fathers – was to prevent the ‘State’from interfering with the free exercise of the ‘Church!’
Let’s take a moment for prayer and thanksgiving!
- Thank God for Freedom to worship and live out our faith
- Give Thanks for living in a nation established on Judeo-Christian principles
- Ask God to give you the courage to accept the responsibilities given with that right
- Pray Christians will faithfully uphold and practice our rights of religious freedom
- Pray for those nations who do not share this liberty – their Christians’ safety, security, and blessing
Will you agree with me in prayer?
Father, thank You for making us FREE
– ‘it is FOR freedom, that we have been set free! (Gal. 5:1)’
Today, we thank You, Jesus, for allowing us to live in America – whose freedom has been enshrined in her most important documents and monuments.
Help us to not take it for granted. Give us courage – embolden us, Holy Spirit to faithfully and courageously ‘live out our faith’ in private AND in public!
Show us strategic and significant ways to be involved in preserving, promoting, and defending our religious liberties. Let Your Gospel go forth from this nation around the world – heralding TRUE freedom, which only comes from You.
Save, bless, and protect those believers around the world, who are suffering persecution for their faith. Cause the ‘good news’ to spread in unprecedented ways in the darkest of nations. Send us renewal, so we may shine Your light to others!
In Jesus’ Name! Amen!
As you head into the weekend, most of you will go to a ‘house of worship’ or local church in your neighborhood. Many will drive onto the parking lot; be greeted by loud and friendly people; lift your hands and hearts in worship – unashamed – giving praise TO God and receiving a touch FROM God. You’ll hear a pastor proclaim the ‘Good News’ of the Gospel without flinching or wavering – all the while your children are enjoying powerful age-appropriate ministry in a safe and secure environment. No doubt, you’ll leave with your head a little higher, heart a little stronger, and spirit full of faith – ready to take on the week! You’ll drive around the corner to Luby’s (or prayerfully some better place to eat if the service doesn’t go long) and enjoy the company of friends and family who share in the same blessings.
You do this each week – every week – PRECISELY and ONLY because we live in a country who has written into it’s founding documents, by the patriarchs of its inception, that we would be a nation FREE to worship and free to LIVE OUT our faith without the restriction of government.
We are here in Washington, DC, representing you, championing this right through the Center for National Renewal and our work in the nation’s capitol. Thank you for standing by us, praying for us, and partnering with us to see our nation renewed!