By Joan Clayton: PNT Religion Columnist
“Breezy, our new horse, checked out the boundaries in his pasture. He wanted to know the limits of his new home and I like to think he also wanted to know that he was safely enclosed in his “space” and that he was secure in Emmitt’s love and care.
I need boundaries too. God’s rules for happy living are not for my restriction. On the contrary, God’s way gives freedom, protection and a sense of well being. If I step beyond God’s boundaries in life I step out from his safety and I suffer the consequences. I am not my own. My owner paid an inestimable price for me. By making right choices, I find freedom in God.
Boundaries relate to all aspects of life from legal descriptions to borders that divide nations.
The founding fathers recognized this fact whether in the physical borders in the land or the spiritual boundaries for right living. We observe the birthdays of two noted men during the month of February. They share two concepts that still apply to us today.
They believed in God and they believed in freedom. My second graders thrilled to the story of George Washington’s honesty about the cherry tree. They relished the story of the integrity of Abraham Lincoln. He worked three days to pay for a book. He had borrowed the book and it had been damaged by rain in his leaky log cabin.
George Washington has been quoted as saying, “It is impossible to govern the world without the Bible. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles.”
Abraham Lincoln has been quoted, “In regard to the great Book, I have only to say it is the best gift which God has given to men. They might lay down tons and heaps of their heartless reasonings alongside a few of Christ’s sayings and parables, to find that He had said more for the benefit of all our race in one of them than there is in all that men have written. They might read His ‘Sermon on the Mount’ to learn there is more justice righteousness and mercy in it than in the minds and books of all the ignorant doubters from the beginning of human knowledge.”
In my mind’s eye I can still see the photo in my grade school years of George Washington kneeling in the snow to pray at Valley Forge. My teacher taught us well about the first President of the United States.
Abraham Lincoln, a man of prayer and honesty, led this country by biblical principles and I can still say parts of The Gettysburg Address we were required to memorize: “Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation…”
As we celebrate President’s Day, let’s remember to be grateful for the legacy our forefathers fought so hard to establish. Their unselfishness enabled our ancestors and you and I to have a better way of life. They founded this country on biblical principles and those principles still hold true today. Freedom is a precious commodity and is bought with an enormous price.
George Washington and Abraham Lincoln knew the source of real freedom. God has set boundaries for me to have an abundant life here and in the hereafter. I need those boundaries for in them I find freedom. If I go beyond those boundaries I am in extreme danger. Doing “what is right in my own eyes” would lead to disaster and heartache. I don’t have the wisdom to know what is best for me but God does.
My real freedom is in God.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1 NIV).