The world will not soon forget the images of President George W. Bush standing atop the wreckage of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, nor the pictures of the scarred and damaged Pentagon Building in Washington, D.C. At both scenes the deliberate display of Old Glory shouted to the world from amid the rubble, "We are a united people. You can not tear us apart."
As in earlier days of our history, our nation once again found herself visited by unspeakable horror. Nearly 187 years ago the citizens of Washington, D.C. watched in horror as their city burned. The White House, the Capitol and most of the other government buildings were ablaze. The War of 1812 was in full swing. American Francis Scott Key was held captive on a warship, the Minden, throughout the attack on Fort McHenry, near Baltimore. All through the night Key kept his eyes peeled toward the fort, trying desperately to get a tiny glimpse of THE FLAG. When daylight assured him that "Old Glory" was still waving, the sight of the American flag so moved Key that he penned our National Anthem.
Francis Scott Key's loyalty and allegiance to all that the flag represents was no different from the attitudes Americans feel today. Just as the sight of his flag inspired Key on that fateful night--today as we see it wave over government buildings, schools, churches, and yes, even heaps of rubble--our hearts are moved with grit and determination to hold it gloriously high, at all costs!
Red, White & Blue
The colors red, white, and blue did not have meanings for The Stars and Stripes when it was adopted in 1777. However, the colors in the Great Seal did. Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, reporting to Congress on the Seal, stated: "The colors of the pales (the vertical stripes) are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness and valour, and Blue, the color of the Chief (the broad band above the stripes) signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice."
Down through the years Americans have never hesitated to protect and defend our flag, our nation and all that we hold dear, even to the shedding of our own blood. As a result we have ascribed additional meanings to the flag over time--especially to the color RED. To many, the red has come to represent the blood freely offered by our sons and daughters to guard the liberty we hold so dear.
Because of Fort McHenry and the wars that followed throughout our history, multiplied thousands of American men and women gave their lives and now lie in Flanders fields and in countless other burial places around the world. More recently, hundreds of brave men and women in New York City risked death to rescue their fellow Americans. They, too, gave their lives for our freedom--freedom to live and work and play without the fear of tyranny. What a wonderful blessing--this freedom we enjoy--bought with the price of someone's BLOOD.
There is another type of freedom that you and I can enjoy, and it too was purchased with the price of blood. Jesus, the Christ, conquered our most formidable foe when He freely gave His life on a cross, allowing His blood to be shed for the sins of all mankind. The freedom He purchased for us, from the guilt of our sin, is offered to you today. You can claim the freedom that God provides right now--and know for certain that your sins have been forgiven. The Bible says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
1) Confess before God, "I am a sinner."
All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6
2) Realize that there is a penalty for our sin.
The wicked shall be turned into hell.... Psalm 9:17
How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation. Hebrews 2:3
Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Luke 13:3
3) Believe that Jesus paid our debt for sin.
Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.... 1 Peter 3:18
While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
4) Accept Christ into your heart and life, TODAY!
Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13
Jesus said, He that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. John 5:24
As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. John 1:12
If you accept Christ and the freedom He offers, bow your head, right where you are, and pray:
Dear God, I truly want Your forgiveness for my sins. I am guilty before You and I want Jesus to be my Savior. I want to be free of guilt in my soul. I do, right now, take Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. Wash my sins away in His blood shed on the cross. Help me to live for You all the days of my life. Thank You for saving me--and dear God - bless America.
Lindsay & Marilyn Terry
© American Tract Society
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