July 5, 2020 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)


A Journal of Joy: Things that make my heart smile…

By Barbara Dahlgren

Independence Day gives all Americans a reason to celebrate. The parades, the barbecues, and the fireworks are all part of the fun. However, I want to appreciate the freedom I have that make these activities possible.

Years ago I wrote a weekly newspaper column called Patterns of the Past which required a lot of research. Being a student of history made these articles a pleasure to write, not a pain. Around Fourth of July I always tried to include something about our forefathers. So I found out some interesting facts about the signers of the Declaration of Independence.   

Signing the Declaration of Independence was more than just putting your “John Hancock” on a piece of paper. Those men had courage. From the moment they signed their names, they became traitors in the eyes of the British. They sacrificed a lot so I might have freedom.

Did you know the British considered John Hancock and Sam Adams criminals and had a price on their heads? The British chased Thomas McKean, George Reed, and William Hooper like foxes. They had to move their families from town to town to escape being captured. Ned Rutledge, the youngest signer, and Thomas Hayward Jr. were made prisoners of war. Richard Stockton was captured, tortured, and killed. James Otis was beaten by the British and left mentally deranged.

William Floyd, Lyman Hall, George Clymer, and Lewis Morris had their homes plundered and destroyed. While “Honest John” Hart was away, his wife died during an attack on his home. His children had to flee to neighbors for refuge. Francis Lewis had his Long Island mansion destroyed. His wife was imprisoned and tortured. The Revolutionary War swept away his fortune.

War costs money so many other fortunes were lost, too. Lewis Morris was the wealthiest merchant in Philadelphia. His home and business were destroyed. He ended up in debtor’s prison. Thomas Nelson died, leaving his family deeply in debt.

John Morton of Pennsylvania had all of his friends who were mostly Quakers turn against him. These stories could go on and on. The hardships and trials of all 54 men are too numerous to mention. They did more than sign a historic document; they sacrificed their lives so I might have freedom.

Someone else sacrificed His life for my freedom as well. His name is Jesus Christ. He was rich and for me, He became poor (2 Corinthians 8:9). He died to give me freedom from sin and freedom from bondage (Romans 6:18, 22; Galatians 5:1). He gave me the free gift of righteousness and the free gift of grace (Romans 5:7; Ephesians 2:8).

The month of July always reminds me of freedom. I don’t want to ever take my physical or spiritual freedom for granted.


Dear Jesus, I can’t begin to understand what other Christians go through to worship You in countries where freedom is a dream and not a reality. Be with them. Give them strength, courage, and protection. Help me to always appreciate my freedom in America and my freedom in You! May I never cease to give You praise and glory and honor!

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