John 8:12 Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.”

We live in a two-story house. It gets incredibly hot upstairs in the summer. Our bedroom is especially hot, so a few years ago we bought blackout curtains, which help somewhat. I mean it’s cooler definitely but still hot in the room. The thing about blackout curtains is the room stays dark all the time.

Today, I threw open the curtains early in the morning and began to clean our room. Things look much different in the light. In the dark, I didn’t see the spiderweb that had started the week before, I didn’t see the thin layer of dust that was on the furniture, and the ceiling fan? Goodness! It needed a good cleaning!

As I got the cleaning supplies together and began to dust and clean I had a God-thought. I realized that many of us live our lives with blackout curtains. They serve to dim the sin in our lives and they serve to hide those areas we don’t really want to acknowledge. Only, we fool ourselves don’t we? Our room looked decent in the dark. In the light of day there were areas that needed attention. Just because we couldn’t see them didn’t mean they weren’t there, it was just hidden in the dark.

I began to see the choices we make. See, we don’t hide anything from God. God is light, and when he enters our life it illuminates that life completely. The problem is we want to see him as a nightlight. We want him to shed a little light, but not expose the all that is going on. It’s painful to see. What I thought would be an hour of cleaning was going to be much more intensive because now that I could see the dust, how could I ignore it and leave it? We were breathing it in, living in it and we could not let it continue. After I had dusted the ceiling fan, I had to then break out the vacuum cleaner, in order to vacuum, I had to make sure all the things on the floor were picked up and put in their place. It took work and determination but it is worth it for our well-being in the end.

The end result of my effort is that in light or dark, the room is substantially cleaner. Don’t be afraid to let the light of God illuminate your life. Then stand back and take a good look around. See the places that need attention. Deal with the garbage that maybe was useful in its time but no longer fits the lifestyle you are creating. Do the work it’s going to take to get things back in order. You’ll be better for it!

An American

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I’m very grateful to have been born an American. I can honestly say that sometimes, I wake up and thank God with my some of my very first prayers for his putting me here on American soil. I am third generation American, my family immigrated here from Mexico.

While there are those who wave the flag of their country in ours, I know of no other country where that would be possible. I have lived in foreign countries in my adult life and nowhere have I found a place as beautiful or as majestic as this one.

There is not another country that offers a free education to every child regardless of nationality. Even those people who are here illegally have access to a free education, will be attended to in an emergency room, can receive welfare, subsidized housing and graduate from our finest colleges.

For those that say they held down by system of this country, I say I don’t get it. While you may be held down by the ideals within yourself, what I have found is that you are only limited by your own expectations. This is still a country that cheers hard work and perseverance.

America is going through a rough patch right now. We’ve overspent, we bailed out not only our own but others as well, we’ve made some costly errors. Some say we are moments away from falling like the Roman Empire. Our founding fathers put in place a constitution that still today, if adhered to, will lead us to a freedom to be who we were destined to be and will ensure that freedom for generations to come. We aren’t perfect, we aren’t always in the right, but we are afforded the opportunity to make those choices. The people who put their hard work and perseverance behind their ideals is what made this a great nation.

On this fourth of July I pay tribute to the United States of America and all of those who gave her life for her. May God bless America always.