Today Americans are celebrating July 4, the date our nation declared its independence and began its journey as a separate country. In the midst of all our activities today, I hope each of us will pause to thank God for our nation and for His goodness to us for over two centuries.
But our independence came at a price -- both in the beginning, and throughout our history. From time to time enemies tried to bring us down, or cause us to lose our freedoms and change our way of life. But they have not succeeded -- and I pray that with God's help they never will.
And you have been part of this, because you were willing to put your life on the line and fight for our country. Thank you for your dedication and service. I hope your letter will cause all of us to thank our veterans for their service, and do whatever we can to make their way easier. The Bible says, "Give everyone what you owe him . . . if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor" (Romans 13:7).
The most important thing I can say, however, is this: God knows what you're going through, and He loves you and wants to help you. Begin a new life today by committing yourself to Jesus Christ. Then seek out a church where you can grow in your faith. You can trust Jesus' promise: "I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).