On Wings Like Eagles

On Wings Like Eagles

Isaiah 40:27-31 (NIV) Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

The eagle seems to soar effortlessly above the earth circling the clouds with only occasional flapping of its massive wings. It is a wonder if can carry its’ weight in the sky let alone prey its size or greater sometimes. Yet it does all by God’s Design as an example to us! There are qualities of the eagle that make it unique and serve as a constant reminder that God has designed us to soar on wings like eagles yet so often we stay landlocked with chickens, ducks and turkeys. Scratching the ground for something to eat, relying on others for a few sparse seeds of hope, or confined in a bondage never intended for us. God is ready to set us free. His Word says, “Who the Son sets free is free indeed” and “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.” The eagle does not dwell among other birds. It doesn’t even travel in a flock but chooses a single course of action and only one mate. The eagle prefers the heights and even makes its nests in the crevices of mountains if available. The regal eagle knows its identity and what it is created for – oh if only we could learn from his stellar example.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles… The image of an eagle soaring in the air utilizing the wind current and allowing the airstream to carry it along. Oh the hope who are able to trust the Lord who will renew their strength. Those are the ones who will run and not grow weary in the race of faith. They are the same who will walk and not faint in this lifetime of endurance. How often verses and scriptures are quoted yet we do not have a clue of how it works or what it means. Everyone grows tired, weak and weary. It is just part of life. Those who know how to rest will continue in the journey. Those who are aware of their limitations will find new strength. Those who have a Source of Life will finish strong and claim entrance to eternity. Lord, let that be me.

Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. Too many times, people are after the Hand of God and never know His Heart. The Heart of God is for you. He is a Good Father. Far too impressive to ever allow us to settle for less than His Standard, or offer a substitute in place of His Best. Our complaints do not hinder the work of God but rather us instead. Our grumbling is only a sign of weakness that the Lord seeks to satisfy with strength. Until our voice is silenced, it is very difficult to hear the Voice of God. Today we must stop complaining and grumbling in our dissatisfaction to know and understand that God will do exactly as His Word said that he would. He will do it according to His Timing. It comes at the price of all of me poured out to be filled with all of Him. Christ in me is the very essence of hopeful fulfillment that never leads to disappointment.

Isaiah 55:8-11 (NIV) “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Eagles prefer the heights. The higher the better in fact. God’s Word reminds us today that His Thoughts are not our thoughts neither are His Way our ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His Ways higher than our own. I wonder what might happen if for just a moment or even a day someone reached for God’s Perspective and embrace His Perception of life. To overcome fear, anxiety, worry and stress that land lock us due to doubt and attempt to trust Him for something new, better, or completely impossible. God’s Word cannot and will not return to Him void. It cannot leave without a return. It must accomplish what it was set forth to do. It is on a mission. Our belief or lack thereof does not in any way cause His Word to lack in any way. It is filled with purpose and potential to release a promise and remains until it does just that. Which means that until I am ready to receive it – it still remains in the atmosphere. Think about the promises that you have given up on because they seemed unattainable. Those dreams dead and buried are really only sleeping. It is time to wake them up.

Philippians 2:112-16 (NIV)  Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

I was tending to my little succulent garden which I treat almost as children. The only plants that I have ever managed to keep alive. One of them was looking a bit wilted and as I touched it fell over in the pot. On closer inspection, the roots of the plant were never buried deep enough to take root. For a moment, I thought about pulling it and discarding it. Instead, I dug a deeper hole and planted it more firmly adding just a little bit of water. I am going to give it another chance. I have needed so many second, third and more chances in this life – had to pay it forward to my little cactus friend sitting in my dining room. God loves us so much that even in His Consummate and Uncompromised Perfection chooses to love and pursue rebellious and prideful children to the depths of the earth. He does not lower His Standard of Living and will not compromise His Word for us but He will wait for us to choose better, look up and pursue the heights with Him. He tenderly and lovingly plants us back in a firm foundation of faith and waters our fertile heart in His Love, Kindness, Goodness and Grace then more Grace. He knows us inside out. He knows our pitfalls but continually focuses on our potential. He has given us His Son to provide access to Him. He has given us His Spirit to carry us higher than ever thought possible. Will you seek the God who is higher than us? Those who do will mount up on wings as eagles and be carried by His Strength.

Psalm 91:1-4 (NIV) Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

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Live Free

Live Free

Galatians 5:1 (ESV) For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

My father is a Vietnam War veteran. He served multiple tours of duty when I was very young. I remember my mother putting me in pretty little dresses and fixing my hair in little pony tails while she got all fancied up to go meet him at the airport for furlough. I also remember the rainy morning before sun rise when my son after a swift hug and smile hopped on a bus full of soldiers to spend a year in the Middle East. A child missing her daddy and then a mother whose heart was stretched halfway around the world – a price paid for freedom. I was watching television with my dad many years ago when the news covered protestors burning the American Flag all the while calling those who defend us horrible names. He told me not to worry about it. He was defending their freedom, too. It was thanks to the men and women who sacrifice that afford them the right to state their opinion. I was appalled to think of all those who do not come home or come home changed that must endure the attacks of those whose rights they were upholding.

We hold these truths self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Today is Independence Day. The word “liberty” is important. Liberty is freedom from arbitrary government or control. It is freedom from external rule. It means independence. Liberty is freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction or hampering conditions. It is the right to do, think, or speak according to personal choice. It means freedom from captivity, confinement or physical restraint. We are set free through the Blood of Jesus Christ. For freedom Christ has set us free but we must be careful not to fall back into bondage. To pursue life, liberty and happiness are set forth in the Declaration of Independence which is our right as Americans. To pursue life, liberty and happiness as set forth by the Word of God is truly our freedom to prosper as Children of God and residents of His Kingdom.

James 1:22-25 (ESV) But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

In John 8, it tells us that “so if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Let’s talk for a minute about freedom in Christ. Some may say that it is not freedom at all but more stringent and restrictive. We are instructed to be doers of the Word. There is no penalty imposed or restriction placed on us by God if we choose to use our freedom to pursue other things. Born into the slavery of sin, it is Christ who frees us. My grandson is only five months old. When he doesn’t get his way, he pitches a fit. His mom and dad didn’t teach him to be impatient. Neither one demonstrated what exactly to do when one does not get their way or get it fast enough. No, the little man came prewired and predisposed to sin. As a baby, it is kind of funny when he insists on his way because he such a little human. However, when he is fifteen doing the same thing it won’t be quite as enamoring nor if he carries such behavior into adulthood. We are born slaves to sin and self. Jesus Christ sets us free. We must secure our freedom by doing what the Word says. This is not to complete the work of the Cross – it is finished. The keys to death and the grave belong to us along with the keys to the kingdom. We choose the doors opened and pathways chosen in our life because Christ has set us free and we are free.

To live a life of liberty and true freedom means we have the right to choose how to live our life. God created the world and everything in it then He placed mankind here. He proclaimed it to be good and that was that. People were here a very short time and gave up freedom for a lie. They chose something other than what God instructed. Immediately, they were removed from the garden. Separated from God by choice. This incurred a debt. The debt had to be paid for freedom to be secured. Jesus came and paid our sin debt in full giving us back our freedom to choose. One may decide to use that freedom to build a life of complete unity with Christ, a fully restored relationship with Father God and to attain the Kingdom OR something else. In no way does our choice nullify the price paid for our freedom to choose or evoke God’s Punishment in any way otherwise declaring His Grace insufficient and not enough.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (ESV) Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

We have been set completely free by Jesus Christ. According to God, there is no longer such a thing as impossibility in our life. Every door is open to us. Freedom withholds nothing from us. Liberty allows us to anything. The bottom line is choice. How do we choose to use our freedom? God created you with a plan, gave you a purpose, marked out a pathway, and filled your life with promises. In fact, every spiritual promise is already released to you in Christ. You are free to live in complete freedom and enjoy the benefits of the Kingdom. Or you can decide that this world is what you want and use your freedom to invest in this life rather than eternity. You cannot get mad at God or call Him a liar because you did not choose wisely. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. We are the variable in our success or failure to achieve a rich and satisfying life. Fulfillment is already prescribed for us – we must only choose it.

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.” (I Corinthians 2:12) God has given us His Spirit. Where His Spirit is there is liberty. Freedom to know and understand the terms of our covenant and all the benefits of relationship. Faith will open every door in God’s Kingdom. Grace gives us power to overcome our weaknesses. We have the power of life and death in our tongue. The keys to death and the grave as well. There is nothing withheld from those who love God and pursue Him. We are set free to do just that. We must choose wisely when it comes to liberty. To use our freedom to continue to open the doors of purpose, promise and prosperity. God will not force His Unfailing Love and Goodness on us but rather gives us the freedom to choose the life so desired. Live free. Live well.

John 8:31-32 (ESV) So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 

Live Free

Live Free

I Corinthians 1:7-9 (NLT) Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

“So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” (John 8:36) Free indeed. Unrestricted. Unbound. Unhindered. Unrestrained. The life of the believer is completely free in every possible way. The debt in life that kept us from living as sons and daughters of God was sin. Jesus paid the price in full and gave us the key that unlocks every door that keeps us from what the Lord has promised us. “Now” we have every spiritual gift needed to eagerly anticipate and wait for Christ’s Return. No longer are we subject to eternal judgment for there is no condemnation in Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:1) It is up to us to learn to live free.

“Freedom always comes with a price.” (C.S. Lewis) Jesus paid for our future. It is ours to embrace by faith in the One who secured it for us and released it to us. There is nothing I can do to earn freedom only live in it. I do not deserve the Gift of Grace that I have been given. However, to fully utilize it may very well be the best response to the Giver of Life. The new life given to us in Jesus Christ is without limit. It is abundant. It is extravagant. It is priceless. Always good and futuristic. Freedom is to be cherished and valued. To exercise our freedom in becoming the masterpiece that God designed is to live a life of liberty in His Spirit. How is it even possible? How do I engage in freedom when the Law seems so strict? How does one overcome religious doctrine to live openly in a loving and abiding relationship with Jesus Christ? It is really quite simple. It begins with “yes”.

Galatians 4:28-31 (NLT) And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac. But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit. But what do the Scriptures say about that? “Get rid of the slave and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman; we are children of the free woman.

God made a promise to Abraham. A promise that could only be delivered by faith in the Living God. Like many of us, Abraham and Sarah grew tired of waiting on the Lord and doubt caused them to try to help God fulfill His Promise. Abraham would have two sons – one born to a slave wife and one from his freeborn wife. The son of Hagar represents a human attempt to fulfill the promise of God. This is also the representative of the Law. The Law kept us bound until Jesus came to set us free. Sarah was a free woman. She is figuratively a spiritual mother of those who live by faith. There are promises born by human effort and then there are those birthed by the power of the Spirit. We are called to be the sons and daughters of the Living God who have been given every spiritual blessing. Too often waiting on God’s Word, His Will or His Way to come to pass produces bondage again to negative thoughts, shortcuts and substitutions that are not the product of freedom.

Luke 1:34-38 (NLT) Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.” Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

Freedom always says, “Yes!” To live in complete and absolute freedom according to God’s Holy Spirit is to say, “Yes!” The greatest conviction of a free man or woman in Christ is that nothing is impossible for God. To believe that the Word of God will never fail. Mary would become the mother of our Savior and Lord – Jesus Christ. She was a teenage virgin when the angel of the Lord came bearing wonderful news that might prove catastrophic to her social circle and religious beliefs. Her response the example for us all – “I am the Lord’s Servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Yes! Mary said, “Yes!” What is your response to God’s Promise today? How will you respond to His Word, Will and Way for you? The freedom of potential and purpose is subject to our response to God’s Promises. Will it be yes? No? Maybe? To live in complete freedom is to let go of the things of this world including time to allow God to have His Will and Way for us.

Proverbs 10:22 (NLT) The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich and he adds no sorrow with it.

By way of His Son, Jesus Christ, God has given us freedom. The freedom given is not true liberty if it cannot be used as we choose to use it. Think about it for a moment. You are free. The Son has set you free. You have the right to choose how to live and the fruit produced in your careful cultivation. You can try human effort to respond to God’s Promises or simply live by faith. It is up to you because who the Son set free is truly free. It is up to me. The choices made produce consequences. The consequences are directly related to our freedom. How will you use your freedom today?

The blessing of the Lord makes us rich. Jesus came to give us a rich and satisfying life. Such a life is not of wealth as the world sees it but of a prospering soul. If our freedom is used properly, the blessings and promises of God will not add sorrow to our life but produce wonderful things like love, joy and peace that passes all understanding. This is the life I want. To live free. The Lord has opened doors that no one can shut. I must look for them. He has closed those that are not for me. I must stop trying to reopen them. To live free means to lay my life at the feet of Christ and accept the new covenant. I can’t do it. He must increase and I must decrease. This is how I find true freedom.

2 Corinthians 3:17 (NLT) For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Free Indeed

Free Indeed

John 8:36 (NKJV) Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Happy Independence Day! The Fourth of July is a day of celebration. People gather to cook out, go to the beach, watch fireworks and enjoy the freedom men and women literally died to attain and maintain for us in America.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (Preamble of the Constitution)

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (Preamble of the Declaration of Independence)

A preamble is an introductory statement of a contract stating the purpose, aims and justifications of the document or contract it prefaces. It is a summary of purpose. Clearly it was the purpose and aim of our forefathers to establish “a more perfect union”. In doing so, they determined the presiding factors of such a place to be “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” To insure domestic tranquility, provide a secure place for families to prosper, to promote the welfare of all people, and secure the “blessings of liberty for ourselves” and “posterity” meaning future generations. They believed that these truths were self-evident. All men are created equal and they are “endowed” meaning provided these rights by Creator. This country was founded by people who believed in God. They served God. They established these historical documents including the Bill of Rights with the prosperity of God in mind whether anyone likes it or not. The freedom described in these articles also give people the right to choose not to acknowledge God without forsaking their freedom.

Enough of the history lesson for today – my son is a history buff but did not get if from his mother. Last night and into this morning, John 8:36 played over and over in my thoughts and dreams until I finally had to seek it out in a quiet place. The Lord promises us freedom. The Sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ is all about freedom. Liberty to choose who to serve in our natural life. I know that when I see someone desecrate the American Flag anger rises inside of me. My first thought is not Christ-like at all, but rather if they don’t like it here then why don’t they choose a country more to their liking and belief system. But the soldier on the battlefield fighting for my rights as an American is fighting for freedom not legality. The person who decides to burn the flag is given that right by the very same servant giving up their time and risking their life for me. It is hard to wrap one’s mind around it. The same applies to the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ for me. Jesus Christ died for every person ever created by God. The freedom of choice gives each person the right to decide if Jesus will be their personal Savior and Lord. Just the same, they have the right to reject Him. Love demands a choice. If there is no choice, there is no love.

Romans 8:2 (NKJV) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

“Made free” comes from the word “eleuthero” which means to liberate, acquit, set free, and deliver. In the New Testament, it is used exclusively to describe freedom attained through Jesus Christ. Jesus has set us free from sin and death. But are we pursuing and exercising our rights of freedom according to His Word, Will, Nature and Holiness? Freedom in Christ is not a “get out of hell free” card to be used when meeting the Lord face-to-face. There are rights and responsibilities of freedom in the way we live each day. I was born in the United States. I have only known a lifestyle of freedom given by the laws and bylaws of this nation. It is not foreign to me. I was taught all about this country’s history and heritage from grade school to college. Freedom is comfortable to me because it is all that I have known. But to reborn in Jesus Christ introduces a new way of life. I am a new creation. I must learn what freedom in Jesus is all about because it is contradictory to my nature and the place I live now.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NKJV) Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The word “liberty” used in this passage comes from a variation of the same word as “made free”. “Elutheria” means freedom from slavery, independence, absence of external restraint, a negation of control or domination, and freedom of access. The Lord is a Spirit. The Spirit who lives in you and me is none other than the Spirit of the Lord, Jesus Christ. We have access to all of His Power and Strength to attain every promise He has made. We have the freedom to pursue and attain all things given to us as an inheritance. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. I ask you today – are you exercising your liberty today? Do you feel free in Jesus Christ? There is a distinct difference between knowing something and believing it. It is called trust. Given access to God by the Blood of Jesus Christ, we can come boldly before His Throne and achieve all of His Plan and Purpose walking daily in freedom. The Glory of the Lord is evidence of transformation in our life. Is your life glorious today? If you are like me, just knowing Jesus has made my life radically different for the better. But in those times that I was able to apply my mustard seed of faith to trust Him, I have seen supernatural and miraculous results.

Today we celebrate liberty as American citizens, but what about our citizenship in Heaven? The founding fathers of this great country believed in a Creator who endowed His People with blessings and prosperity. Do you believe that today? Take some time, just a few minutes from all the festivities, and thank God for your freedom as His Child. I encourage you to ask the Lord to show you the way to greater freedom and liberty in His Son Jesus Christ. To step out of bondage. To claim your blessings. To walk in victory. To live the life that Jesus died for you to have. I have a taste of freedom in Christ, but today I want more. I want to know the glorious existence found in full transformation into the Image of God through Christ. I want to know what it means to be free indeed. Free from fear, worry, stress and anxiety. Delivered from every shackle and chain that tries to bind me to the past and keep me from my future. To live in the abundance and prosperity promised in the rich and satisfying life promised by the Lord to us.

Galatians 5:1 (NKJV) Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty…I wonder if that is the missing link to our spiritual success. The bridge that takes us to transformation marked by trust. It is easy to claim our natural rights according to the law of the land. Today, make a commitment to claim every spiritual blessing offered in Christ. It is our rights as Christians but we must be believers. Joseph Prince said, “You fight from victory ground by standing. You don’t fight for victory.” Jesus secured the win for us. We have been given freedom and liberty to walk in His Love. He promises to work all the details for our good and His Glory. We must stand. Standing is tough. We must make faith logical by studying God’s Word, communicating with Him and partnering with His Spirit for freedom’s sake. There is a whole new life full of new possibilities as a new creation only when we choose freedom!

Psalm 119:45 (NKJV) And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Your precepts.

Independence Day

Declaration of Independence and American Flag

John 8:34-36 (NIV) Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

On a rainy morning around 5:30 a.m. surrounded by a rowdy group of young people ready to head out on the journey of the life, I watched our son just 18-years-old hop joyfully and purposely on a bus to head out. The bus resembled the same ones that carried him off to camp and church trips for years, but this time it was different. He wasn’t going for a week of teaching wrapped in entertainment and fun. He was headed to a military base to prepare for deployment. He would leave his temporary home there to spend almost a year in the Middle East defending our freedom. I had done really well up to that moment. Smiling and laughing with our son and his friends. This was no joke. Not only the oldest and our first high school graduate, but now the first to leave the nest. Just how far he would fly. I could not reach out and touch him. I could not call him on the phone. My heartstrings would have to reach farther than they ever had before. When the doors of the bus finally closed and their journey began I could not stop the tears from falling. He was answering his call. He was fulfilling his purpose. It was hard. It hurt. At that moment, I finally had a taste of the price of this thing called freedom. It finally hit home.

On the fourth of July, our country celebrates independence. A free country with certain rights that unquestionably are becoming increasingly compromised. I will not pull out the soapbox or begin a debate just simply say that our country and all nations need Jesus Christ. We need freedom more than ever before. The price has been paid, but are we willing to walk in it. July Fourth is Independence Day that day that we come together to barbeque and head to the beach. It is a celebration of the birth of the United States and the Declaration of Independence.

“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal that are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Excerpt from Preamble of Declaration of Independence.

I believe that the heart of this nation was firmly impressed by the Hand of God on the hearts of the men who wrote this powerful statement to the world. In the course of human events, we do find times that we dissolve political bonds and worldly agendas. Jesus Christ died to set us free. The freedom to remain free from bondage is included yet the hardest to comprehend. We hold these truths self-evident that all men are created equal. We have the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Not every does… and that is our right.

Galatians 5:1 (NIV) 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.

What is freedom? Freedom is the power to determine action without restraint. To be free is to enjoy personal rights and liberties as one who is not in slavery. Okay, what is slavery? Bondage or involuntary servitude. What is a slave? A person who is property of and wholly subject to another or someone who is entirely under the domination of some influence or person. It is important to know what freedom is and how Christ administers it to us. Sin put a price on our life. We became bound to sin because humanity could not pay the amount owed to reclaim their freedom. Jesus paid that price which immediately made us His Slaves. However, God and His Son had bigger plans and gave us the Holy Spirit who identifies us as God’s Children. Like the prodigal son who thought as he ventured on his way that he was living in freedom would soon find out, freedom has a price. When he returned home with the intention of becoming a servant in his father’s house, he found that he was still a son.

We are free to be the sons and daughters of the Living God. To live according to His Kingdom, His Will and His Power, but do we use our freedom in such a way to ascertain it. Freedom is a choice. Each day as I go about my business, I decide if I will remain free. If I choose to obey the law, I am free from imprisonment. If I choose to live within my means, I am free from debt. If I decide to stay in God’s Word and feed my Spirit, I will walk in freedom that grace has given me. I will serve a master. I have to. My sin held me captive. But now I am captivated by His Love. I want to be a Child of God. I do not want to be a slave to sin.

James 1:23-25 (NIV) Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

“Freedom consist not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” Pope John Paul II. Jesus Christ has given us the opportunity to raise our standard of living not in observing the law but living out the Love of God in our human life every single day. God gave us His Word not to hold us back but to prosper our life. Sin stole the blessing of obedience from us because our debt swallowed it whole. When Christ died on the Cross and gave us grace, we now have the opportunity to remain in right standing with God which frees us to live according to His Word and now receive the benefits associated with it. In no way shape or form will the Lord ever force us to be blessed but allows us to make a productive choice through restoration of righteousness.

Now what? By choosing to obey God’s Word, we can have everything that He promised those who do. It is not something we earn. It is facilitated by grace. Just like my children enjoy the benefits of the price that we pay for their home, care, convenience and comfort including mortgage, utilities, internet, cellphones, clothing, and entertainment so it is with God to His Children. We now have a Provider, Healer, Deliverer, Prosperer, and more. We are now free to enjoy the Kingdom as first intended by the Grace of God given through Jesus Christ. Religion is restrictive focusing on the do’s and don’ts of the Law so do not be deceived. A relationship with Jesus Christ consumed by love will never make us do anything we do not want to do but as our bond grows stronger we will want to be closer than ever before. Freedom makes it so.

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (NIV) But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is – there is freedom. Do you ever have the thought that there must be more to life than this? I do. In fact, after being a believer for over a decade, I now know that there is. However, there are still days I struggle to maintain my freedom in Christ. This freedom that I have been given is not dictated by my circumstances or the current condition of my life but is according to the Word of God and His Spirit inside of me. Without an inward change there will be no outward conversion. We cannot continue to live according to the world and expect Kingdom reward. Maybe I should go one step further and say that we should stop looking for earthly reward for Kingdom Business as well. Church is not for profit. Or is it? Our relationship with Jesus is not a business partnership by a loving relationship. If only we could set our heart and mind on heaven first before we start each day, pursuit or journey. To have one sole purpose to live in the freedom of His Love and do His Will faithfully. What would happen? We would be free. Free from doubt, fear, worry, stress, slavery and every other harmful thing binding us from living the prosperous life that God planned and Jesus died for.

Today as we celebrate freedom, men and women all around us are watching who whether you know it or not gave a portion of their life to maintain it. Some will be the family members of those who loved ones are away or never coming home. They understand the price of freedom because they paid it. We honor them when we live in freedom including the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. Jesus gave His Life so that we could live in absolute freedom and prosper in those three areas as well. He gave us freedom wrapped in the gift called grace. What are you doing to maintain your freedom? What are you doing to discover its parameters? To live in bondage to sin after knowing Christ is to dishonor His Love and refuse the Gift set before us. He died nevertheless to pay our debt to sin. Every day that we choose to live freely according to His Word and by His Spirit as God’s sons and daughters is to celebrate our Independence Day in Christ. Thank you Jesus for the Price you paid to set me free. Lord, let me never take such a precious gift for granted. Help me to be free!

Psalm 119:41-15 (NIV) May your unfailing love come to me, Lord, your salvation, according to your promise; then I can answer anyone who taunts me, for I trust in your word. Never take your word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws. I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.