In everything set them an example by doing what is good. Titus 2:7

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A Little Think

Oh say, can you see?

Question: What do Francis Scott Key who wrote our national anthem in 1814 and Brigitte Gabriel who wrote They Must Be Stopped in 2010 have in common? Here's a hint: They gave us something to say and see!

At age 10, each had a life changing experience. Key left his family's Maryland plantation for St. John's Grammar School in Annapolis, going on to study law. He went on to serve as District Attorney under Presidents Jackson and Van Buren in Washington, D.C. until 1841. He was also Vice President of the American Bible Society for 26 years. It was Key who suggested in the fourth stanza of the National Anthem that "In God is our Trust" should be the national motto. In 1956, the United States officially adopted the motto "In God We Trust." You get the idea of the kind of man he was!

At age 10, Brigitte Gabriel was nearly killed when her Christian village was destroyed by Islamic extremists during the Lebanese Civil War. Her family lived in a bomb shelter for seven years. She went on to become a news anchor for World News, the Arabic evening news broadcast for Middle East Television, and met world leaders like Margaret Thatcher, George H. W. Bush, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Perez and Ariel Sharon. Gabriel immigrated to the United States in 1989 and is now one of the most sought after terrorism experts in the world. She founded ACT! for America, a non-profit issues advocacy organization dedicated to educating about the threat radical Islam poses to world peace and national security. You get the idea of the kind of woman she is!

I may not have met Francis Scott Key, but his fiery focus on freedom inspires me. Even when change was iffy, he pursued it from within the system. For example, he was opposed to slavery, yet still owned slaves and even took up cases in court to try to free the slaves. He opposed the War of 1812, but joined the volunteer militia and served in the "flying battery," a horse-drawn artillery, when the war came to the Chesapeake Bay area. In 1814, Key learned that his friend, Dr. William Beanes, had been captured by the British. With assistance from President James Madison and Col. John S. Skinner, Key was able to locate and sail out to the ship holding Dr. Beanes to negotiate his release. The Brits approved, but held Beanes, Skinner and Key as prisoners until after the attack on Baltimore. Key watched the bombarding of American forces in that battle at Fort McHenry. When the smoke cleared, he saw that "our flag was still there," and while sailing back to shore, he wrote more verses to the poem.

Fast forward to Brigitte Gabriel, whom I did meet and interview. (Listen the week of July 3 on Woman to Woman®!) A 21st century likeness to Francis Scott Key, she implores the world to take seriously the threats to freedom posed by Islamofascists. Her first book, Because They Hate, is followed by her recent best seller, They Must Be Stopped. Both explain why and how we must defeat radical Islam. She says, "My past is your future if you don't do something now." Gabriel says, "I know what this means. For years, I witnessed first-hand how brutally jihadists treat non-Muslims. We are in for the fight of our lives and we must ACT! - before it's too late."

Centuries apart....both Key and Gabriel address freedom as a human right and oppose the wrongs! Key was motivated by his love for Christ. Similarly, Gabriel forgave her oppressors because Christ says to turn the other cheek. As we enjoy family and friends and a few days off this 4th of July, let's learn what's up with our basic freedoms. Oh say, can you see what Key wrote about in our national anthem and what Gabriel is urging us toward today? The hope for freedom is not hate and payback. It's found in Bible verses like 2 Corinthians 3:17: "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." Another description of this freedom can be found in Galatians 5:1: "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 5:13 builds on this point: "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love."

The point is, if you want the truth go to Jesus. He delivers. In John 8:32, Jesus says to those who believe him, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." Feel free to celebrate the 4th of July, with truth on your side. When you say what you see through the verses above, you'll be a freedom fighter as well! Have a little think about it!

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