“Shine among others like beacon lights." ~ Philippians 2:15
Allen heard if before seeing it. Pop! Pop! Pop! Small ammunition - machine-gun fire.
“Incoming!” he yelled, and dove under the table – shrinking, trembling, cowering. As adrenaline flooded his veins, Allen felt his ribs heaving as if bound by ropes, choking his lungs as he waited for the all-clear.
“Allen, you all right?” He looked over to see his best friend Patrick crouched beside him. “Where am I?” he wondered as the fog began to dissipate. He was no longer with his battalion in Iraq. He was home. Neighbors had been setting off firecrackers. Not gunfire; innocent pyrotechnics.
Embarrassed as hell, Allen stood up. “Sorry,” he muttered retreating into the house. Not in a combat zone but his pulsed raced like he was. Every hair on the back of his neck stood at attention. No more fireworks - never again.
Patrick followed closely behind. When they were safely inside, he spoke gently: “Position yourself, Allen, so you can see the fireworks being lit. That way, you won’t be caught off guard.”
Allen admired his friend. He too was an army veteran; the main reason Allen had enlisted. Patrick understood. It was as if he was telling Allen’s panic to shut up and rack out.
His fear began to melt away.
“And, buddy … most important,” Patrick continued, “Surround yourself with people you know and trust. We’ve got your six!”
Later that week, the two army pals took their place in the field. As the pyrotechnics team lit the first fuse, Allen gazed into the night sky said a short prayer: “Lord, I know You’re here with me.”
The first firework whistled into the air and burst. Allen took a deep breath, and kept watching as the explosion splashed vivid colors across the sky. He was celebrating July 4th for the first time in years, as a child of God shining like a beacon light.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA! Friends, when you see the “Stars and Stripes,” don’t just cheer or salute; give thanks for your freedom even as you pray for those who don’t enjoy the same liberty you do.
If you watch a parade, let the procession remind you of the cost of freedom paid in days gone bye and its luxury today. Then pray for freedom to escalate around the world.
When you see military uniforms, give thanks for those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice and for those who serve today protecting our freedoms. Pray also for harmony among nations and all people.
And finally, as you follow those burning ribbons paving their way to the heavens before the each burst of color, attach a small prayer to one or two. Imagine God receiving your petitions and already at work on them while you wait for His answer.
Heavenly Father, we know that once our prayers break through the heavens, and You take hold of them, something beautiful happens. Just like the fireworks, You respond to each prayer with vivid and powerful results for all to see. Amen