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From My Desk

Reflections on FREEDOM

As an American, today is an important day in our history as a nation. On July 4, 1776, the colonists declared our Independence from British Empire. We basically separated ourselves from the authority, influence, and power of Great Britain and the King. That was a bold and dangerous declaration, which cost the lives of many to secure it. We have learned something basic as a people --- it is one thing to "declare" a thing, and it is totally another to "enforce" that declaration. Just saying you are "free" is one thing -- it is another thing to "live out" that freedom, and it always comes with a price.

Over the past 241 years, our nation has fought many battles and thousands of lives have been lost to preserve and defend that freedom. We have come to the aid of many groups of people who have been "enslaved" by despotic rulers, and we have sacrificed thousands of lives in order for them to be free. We believe in FREEDOM!

By definition, FREEDOM is "the domain of being Free" = the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint; the absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government; the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.

When I think of FREEDOM, I think of what the Jewish Carpenter from Nazareth did when he submitted himself to the Roman soldiers and was crucified on a cross on a hill outside Jerusalem (the hill called Golgotha) in AD 33. He was sacrificing his life for the lives of us all. Why? Because we are ALL a part of a human race that has rebelled against a Holy God. None of us is right or holy - none is guiltless - we are all enslaved to an evil called SIN, and it is a tough taskmaster!

Jesus Christ declared that HE was doing this for us all, because His Father (God) had asked Him to come down to earth -- be a man -- live a life -- and then die a death for the FREEDOM of humanity.

When I think about what the death of Jesus Christ (and the subsequent resurrection) to provide freedom, I think about the word "FREE". Now, who doesn't like something that is FREE? But we all know --- nothing is really FREE, is it? Somebody pays a price.

Here's what the package deal is. Here's what the sacrifice of HIS life means to you and me:

F - Forgiveness

You see -- we all need forgiveness because we all have sinned. There is only ONE

who can actually provide forgiveness for us --- real forgiveness -- that is JESUS

CHRIST. His prayer on the cross is still good today: "Father, forgive them, for the

they don't know what they do" -- Being FREE begins with Forgiveness --- Jesus

is still praying that prayer over you --- have you received that forgiveness yet?

R - Redemption

Redemption is a slavery term -- someone is owned by another -- the only door to

freedom is for another to "buy" them and in so doing, you change owners.

When Jesus took our place on that cross -- he was "redeeming" us from the slavery

of sin and ourselves, and purchasing our freedom --- but notice, HE was merely

changing owners. We no longer are slaves to sin -- we become servants of the

God who made us in the first place. Have you been redeemed?

E - Empty

Seems a little anti-climatic to say that FREEDOM comes with an emptying -- but it

does. For as long as you have been a slave to sin and all its evil -- your thoughts

and actions have become habitual --- you can sin and do evil without even

thinking -- it's habitual. Receiving forgiveness and redemption is one thing -- now

you need to be "emptied" of all that junk and stuff -- and your mind needs now to

be changed or renewed. That too is a part of what Jesus died for --- to dramatically

change who you are and how you act -- by changing the way you think! Are you

up for the challenge -- to be emptied -- then re-filled with new energy, new thoughts,

and thus new actions?

E - Expression

Why do we Americans celebrate the "4th of July" with parties, food, family, and

fireworks? We have found that true freedom comes with an expression. When

you are FREE you should act like it - and express gratitude and joy for what you

have received. Hey, I wasn't there in 1776 -- but I still rejoice and celebrate that

I live in a FREE country! When you truly receive forgiveness and redemption --

when you have been emptied of all that bondage -- then you'll want to celebrate

every day by "Living the Life" of purpose and meaning -- unashamedly and

without fear. Express your freedom today --- by helping everyone you know get

truly FREE!

Let me close with this thought. Since I am writing on this blog -- and it is posted on the WORLD WIDE WEB -- there is a good indication that you are reading this, and you are NOT an American. Maybe you live in a country that doesn't have that many freedoms. What I said about Freedom still applies to you --- because of Jesus Christ -- you can be FREE inside -- even if you aren't as free as you like on the outside. Let me encourage you to pray today --- receive what Jesus Christ did for us all -- worldwide -- and then let me know about it. Message me -- email me -- I want to meet you and pray for and with you. God can bless your land too --- if we pray!

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