Happy Birthday

Galatians 5: 1

 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

I hope you have been savoring the sweet taste of freedom this weekend.  I imagine many of you have today off to celebrate our political freedom.  As you do, say a thank you to Jesus for your personal freedom as well.  You know, the two are interconnected.  Political freedom is not worth much without personal freedom.  The price has been paid by countless citizens for our religious, political and personal freedom but it was Jesus who created the platform by which others have been able to stand for the liberties we now enjoy.

I am so very grateful for those who paid the price and for all who continue to pray for our country and our leaders today.  Freedom still has a high cost but praise our Lord who gave us freedom so that we could pursue liberty.  Thank you Lord.  And Happy Birthday America!

Celebrating Independence


What does Independence Day mean to you?  We honor our currently serving service people as well as all veterans.  We have cookouts and fireworks.  For many of us it is about food and family.  Let us not forget, however, that this holiday is a celebration of our liberation from Colonial Great Britain and while Great Britain is a great friend of ours, we should recall that the nation many of us call home exists because people had a vision from God of what their lives and this land could be.  As we recall the price generations of people have paid for our liberty, let us not forget the original struggle for independence that is at the heart of this celebration.  Take it into your heart.  Think about the early framers and the men and women who made perilous journey’s to their “promised land” and gave us all the chance to live in a free country.  This is a great privilege and not one to be taken lightly.

Today we celebrate our independence.  We fought for our independence from Great Britain so that we would be answerable to only one authority, our God.  He is our king.  He is the original framer of this country.  Give Him worship for all He has done!


John 8: 36

If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.

We celebrate, today, the United States’ day of liberation. It is the day citizens stop and remember the lives and fortunes which were willingly sacrificed so that we might be free. This isn’t an idea which is restricted to the United States of America nor is it an ideal which is limited to corporate freedom. Personal liberty is every bit as important as political freedom. I would argue that neither is possible without Christ. This Fourth of July I ask you to think about your own personal liberty. Are you truly free?

Personal freedom, the liberty of our souls, is what Jesus was talking about in this verse. The people who responded to him kept thinking in terms of physical liberty. Remember, this is a people who were living with Roman occupation. Certainly their way of life was constrained by a political power but they considered themselves free. They said, “We are Abraham’s offspring, and have never yet been enslaved to anyone” (v. 33). Jesus was talking about being enslaved to someone. He wasn’t talking about physical liberty. He answered them saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin” (v. 34). Jesus knows that our sin is prison from which we do not have the strength to free ourselves. Perhaps we can gain for ourselves partial freedom but not only is it incomplete, it is usually temporary as well. When Jesus sets us free, though, we are free indeed.

Like these men in the eighth chapter of John, most of us believe we are not slaves to anything or anyone, but I wonder. How many habits, social mores, customs, thoughts and old injuries are we actually imprisoned by? What would life truly look like if there were not imprisoning restraints? True freedom requires surrender. Isn’t that ironic? If we will give over our power and our control to Jesus and infuse it with trust then he can set us free and then we will be free indeed.