Sunday, July 5, 2015

Freedom and Liberty


BANG!  BOOM!  SIZZLE!  Those words somewhat describe the sounds coming from outside my bedroom window as I wrestled with sleep last night.  Do I live in a war zone?  Thankfully, no.  Today is the Fourth of July and the world around me is celebrating! 

My lovely town here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is full of flag-waving, America loving citizens and this is the holiday that gives full voice to long held patriotic sentiments.  Parades, fireworks, backyard barbeques….and so much more!

For our war veterans, this holiday might bring on feelings filled with angst as well as joy; a Viet Nam veteran once told me how everyone laughed when he dove under a picnic table at a family gathering when someone lit a firecracker.  Not so funny for my friend.

And, of course, we have a few people throughout our country who seem to thrive on naysaying and denigrating the great history of the U.S.A.  It’s clear those folks don’t have a true picture of what God was doing when He established this country through the work of our founding fathers.  Our founders were flawed men but they had a God given vision; God equipped them to make that vision a reality.

And then there are those Americans, who (like me) get a lump in their throats when our beautiful red, white and blue flag is flying and the national anthem is sung with vigor and gusto.

However, there is looming a dark side.  Many of us have great concern that our freedoms are disappearing.  Our country has lost its moorings by asking God to disappear from its national identity.  We are fast becoming a nation no longer reliant on God….well we actually are and always will be, but we behave as though He is irrelevant.  Many of us who follow Christ are also looking at Biblical prophecy and wondering where we actually are on God’s timeline.

But there is GOOD NEWS in all of this! God is sovereign; He is sitting on His throne; He is working out His purposes. When we give our hearts and lives to Jesus, we are FREE!  We are free from the shackles of sin; yes, we still struggle with sin but we now have the power to conquer sin.  When we become a part of God’s family, we know for sure that our final home will be with Him!  He gives us that assurance in His Word.

Jesus says in John 8: 31(b), 32: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  When we are followers of Christ, we are His disciples and no matter what is happening around us, God promises to bring us through the storms.

I LOVE the 23rd Psalm….such an accurate, truth-filled picture of what it is to walk with the Lord.  Verse 4 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”  Sometimes death is more than a “shadow”; it becomes a reality.  But when we die knowing Christ, we shed only this body.  Physical death actually becomes a transition to our forever home.

This IS a special holiday but beyond the fireworks and parades there is a promise of greater freedom than we can even imagine.   That freedom is found in none other than Jesus Christ.  Won’t you join me and other followers of Christ as we journey together….in freedom?

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