Independence Day | JOY for Today

(Updated 6/22/2023)

In this country, we take freedom seriously. It's synonymous with the United States of America. But what is freedom?  Freedom, exercised properly, brings great JOY. This Independence Day, we ask you to consider that freedom comes with responsibility. Our forefathers labored to create a land free from oppression and tyranny. Are you choosing to live a life in service to freedom for others or are you chained to selfishness?

Fireworks behind a handheld American flag comprise the background. Text overlay reads: "For you have been called to live in freedom my brothers and sisters." Galatians 5:13-14
July 4th Annually

Independence Day Choices:


Did You Know:

  1. We have John Adams to thank for our firework tradition? His vision of Fourth of July celebrations written in a letter to his wife states: "It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward, forevermore." (Founders Archives)
  2. Calvin Coolidge is, to date, the only president born on July 4th? Each year, his hometown of Plymouth Notch, Vermont hosts a three-day celebration of Coolidge's life. Events include: a debate tournament, a dinner, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, a birthday cake, and a wreath-laying ceremony. (Coolidge Foundation)
  3. Three presidents died on the 4th of July? John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on our country's fiftieth anniversary (July 4th, 1826) and James Monroe died five years later (July 4th, 1831). (Better Homes and Gardens)
  4. The first person to sign the Declaration of Independence never became president? John Hancock was president of the Continental Congress but never of the United States. He was a candidate for the first presidential election but out of 138 total electoral votes received 4. Comparatively, George Washington received 69 votes and John Adams 36.  (
  5. The Fourth of July was not official until 1870? While it was celebrated nationally every year, the War of 1812 caused a reemergence of American patriotism after facing Great Britain in battle again. The annual celebrations flared, and Congress declared the Fourth of July an official holiday in 1870. (

We'd Love to Know:

Which fact was new to you?

Wolfe Stew Connects

Our independence as a country is without a doubt worth celebrating. I love that we make a big deal about it, too, just as our forefathers predicted we would. We stand on the shoulders of people with big dreams, people who envisioned a better tomorrow with better possibilities for all. A country where everyone could have and achieve their dreams without a government dictating the boundaries of those dreams.

You probably know, but it bears repeating, that the world watched with bated breath as we fought to gain our independence from England. We were the hope of many nations. If we could achieve the "American Experiment," (links to explanatory article at maybe there was hope for other countries too. We became proof that nations did not have to run the traditional way of royal rule or dictatorship but that there could be a government where common citizens' voices were heard and valued.

There is no better way to celebrate the success of our American experiment than loudly and proudly - with fireworks that blaze across the sky and music that blares our sentiments. The best firework display I've witnessed was in the small town where my parents live. Everyone gathered in the rodeo arena and listened to patriotic music as fireworks burst against the star-studded sky. There's something powerful about a crowd of people united for a common purpose to celebrate. The joy is palpable.

While our forefathers craved and celebrated independence from British rule, they welcomed and honored their dependence on God. It may seem illogical: wanting freedom from peoples' rule while willingly submitting to God, but in the Christian religion that's exactly what you get. To be truly free from your sin, free from the pull of desire for wrongdoing, free to make choices that lead to righteousness, you must completely surrender to God.

If you struggle with surrender, we've crafted a GROWTH for Today calendar with short, but impactful, exercises for precisely this purpose: to help us practice relinquishing control to God. There is freedom in surrender. Experience it yourself: enlist today. We need you in the fight, Warrior!

We'd Love to Know:

What is your favorite Fourth of July memory?

Bible Verses and Quotes about Freedom


  • "Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" Psalm 118:5-6 ESV
  • "I have chosen the way of truth. I have set your ordinances before me. I cling to your statues, Yahweh. Don't let me be disappointed. I run in the path of your commandments, for you have set my heart free." Psalm 119:30-32 WEB 
  • "Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. instead, you live under the freedom of God's grace. Romans 6:14 NLT 
  • "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 5:1 NIV 
  • "For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Galatians 5:13-14 NLT


  • "Life without liberty is like a body without spirit." - Kahlil Gibran
  • "America is another name for opportunity." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • "We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls." - Robert J. McCracken
  • "Where liberty dwells, there is my country." - Benjamin Franklin
  • "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." - Nelson Mandela

We'd Love to Know:

Which verse or quote would you feature at your Independence Day festivities?

Independence Day Activity Suggestions

Celebrate your freedom with one of these suggestions below.

Our Nephew's Suggestion

"Light fireworks!"
Although we do know the frustrations of attending a fireworks display. So, ff you would rather watch from home, here are some virtual options for you:

Our Suggestions

  • Barbecue Most years we keep it simple: hamburgers, hot dogs, and watermelon. What are you making this year? 
  • Craft 
    • Kid's Blowers. Decorate a toilet paper tube in blue and stars then attach white and red streamers for a quick and easy patriotic craft. For more details visit Natural Beach Living.
    • Balloon Dart Board Game. Make peg board a party game by filling balloons with prizes, blowing them up, and affixing them to a peg board. Alternatively, put a waterproof prize in water balloons, fill them with water, and throw them at a target to see what you get. For more details, visit Giggles Galore.
    • Ribbon Wands. Attach ribbon on the end of a dowel rod with an eye hook and use in place of sparklers for kids to show their patriotism. Fore more details, visit Alice and Lois.
    • Coordinate Grid Graphing or Pattern Finding with Choose from 12 PATRIOTIC OPTIONS. Our choices: Fireworks and Lady Liberty.
  • History
  • Books
    • PreK-2nd Wonders of the USA (A Shine-A-Light Book) by Carron Brown & Bee Johnson. Features fifteen US wonders - some natural some manmade - and the flag at the end. This "Shine-A-Light" book invites readers to engage with the text by asking a question then shining a light from beneath the page to find the answer. Find facts throughout the tour with more waiting at the end.
    • 3rd-6th O, Say Can You See?: America's Symbols, Landmarks, and Inspiring Words by Sheila Keenan, illustrated by Ann Boyajian. Exploding with information about American symbols. Text-heavy with helpful illustrations. Symbols include: Plymouth Rock, Independence Hall, the White House, the Capitol Building, the Supreme Court Building, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Mount Rushmore, the American Flag, the Liberty Bell, Uncle Sam, the Bald Eagle, the Great Seal, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, our National Anthem, The Pledge of Allegiance, and selected holidays.

Would You Rather:

  • Watch fireworks on television or at a park?
  • Eat watermelon or strawberries?
  • Light a sparkler or throw pop-its?

Family Challenge: 

Throughout the week, share reasons you are glad to be an American.

We'd Love to Know: 

What is your favorite Independence Day activity?

We’re excited to share one more day with you and wish you JOY for Today and HOPE for Tomorrow. Come back next week for...Give Something Away Day!

Fighting the Good Fight with You,

Red stew bowl with steam rising from top. Wolfe Stew crawled on front.

Find even more JOY for Today in our monthly calendars, holiday, and seasonal posts.


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