July 7, 2012

The Land of the Free

I love fireworks. The loud booms and bangs of the fiery bursts of color exploding in the air make my heart thump. Maybe I like them so much because they remind me of the freedom that we celebrate on Independence Day.

Many times we take this hard-earned freedom and use it unwisely. The idea that tends to work it's way into people's heads in one form or another is that freedom equals "the right to do whatever I want". We use freedom as an excuse to live for ourselves. Yes, we take advantage of the freedom to "be a Christian"...we go to church on Sunday, do some community service, or tell someone "Jesus loves you!". But is that really enough? Is that really what Jesus meant when He said to, "Love the LORD your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength"? I don't think so.

We as Americans are blessed more than we tend to realize. We have the freedom to worship God without fear of imprisonment. The freedom to own a Bible when in many countries it is illegal. The freedom to talk about the Lord freely. Why do we abuse this freedom by not using it wisely?

 Think with me for a moment about being a Christian in a country where openly talking about Christ could cause you to be thrown into prison or even have you killed. Following Jesus in that country isn't exactly what we would consider easy. But you know what, I'm sure that the Christians who are there are deeply rooted in their faith. Their faith isn't just a surface change or a label that they stick on themselves, it effects their whole life.
Has our freedom caused us to become comfortable? Maybe a bit too comfortable?

If we have the freedom of speech, why isn't Christ the center of every conversation? If we have the freedom to own a Bible (and in many cases multiple copies could be found in our homes) why are they often left to collect dust? And if we have the freedom to worship the Lord openly, why aren't His praises on our lips every single second of the day and every action a reflection of Christ?

I don't want to use my American freedom as an excuse to live for myself, but as a opportunity to live for the Lord every single moment of the day. I want Him to be the center of my conversations; the Bible to be the first book I read in the morning, my frequent reference guide throughout the day, and the last thing I read before bed; and praise and worship of my Savior to be automatic responses.

America is the "Land of the Free"...let's use that freedom to live for the Lord.

"Therefore, prepare your minds for action: be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
1 Peter 1:13-16


  1. Gorgeous photos!!! I love them!

  2. So true! Thank you for the reminder to use our freedom for Christ's glory. Beautifully and wisely said.

    I love your firework pictures! The first one is my favorite.

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Amazing pictures! Wonderful thoughts as well....thank you so much for sharing. Convicting too.

  4. Absolutely stunning blog. :) Thank you for posting these gorgeous pictures.
    ♥ Emily

  5. Gorgeous fireworks pictures!!! What technique did you use to create the bokeh look of the fireworks?


    1. Amber - To photograph the fireworks in bokeh, I just switched the focus from auto to manual. The switch to change this is located on the side of the lens of my camera...and I'm assuming that it would be the same on most DSLRs.

    2. Neat! You are very talented with your camera and inspirational how you keep your images so fresh and clean. I really like your style of photography.

  6. Wow! Love the photos :) You have a real talent when it comes to photography :) How did you get the fireworks to be so sharp? Did you use a tripod ?

    1. Hannah - Thank you so much for your sweet comment :) In answer to your question, no I didn't use a tripod for these photos. My camera lens has vibration reduction to help reduce blurriness even if you don't hold the camera perfectly still. I also set my shutter speed slow enough to capture the fireworks, yet fast enough so that there is less chance of me moving the camera a lot :)

    2. Ah, ok :) yeah, my camera has a similar thing... Well, actually identical.. I have the same dslr as you ;) you did a great job on the photos :)