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Live Free or Die

We know from John 3:16 that the reason Jesus came to save us is, because God loved humanity so much.

I know that, but there is still a “why” that’s in my brain. Why? Why did He respond like that? Were things really that bad? What bothered God so much He was willing to come and live as a persona and die as a person for us?

It bothered God so much to see his children, that he loved, in bondage and slavery that he had to do something about it. We were created to be free!

Free to choose God or reject God. Free to put our faith in the God who is really there or not.

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.

God has set you free today so that you can be FREE!

2 Corinthians 3:17 Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.! ! ! ! !

We live in a country founded on freedom. The soon to be Americans felt like they were in bondage, that England and the King held too much power over them. And at the same time, a huge part of this country was doing something much worse, literally owning people and building their entire lives and success on the backs of slaves.

That isn’t to say they all thought it was ok. It bothered people like George Washington, but ultimately not enough that they were willing to end their personal contribution to it during their lifetime.

I grew up being taught that it was a great thing George Washington did, giving his slaves freedom when he died. That’s not an honest evaluation of the situation. George Washington knew in his heart that slavery was wrong, that it was a sin, and yet he wasn’t willing to pay the personal price to his life to remove slavery from his life. The cost was too high. There was no way to maintain his lifestyle or even provide for his family, if he was forced to hire people to do the work of Mt Vernon.

I believe at the heart of this problem is a failure of the church. That living in this time, the entire church should have stood on the side of the defenseless, the slave, the poor, the widow, the orphan, on the side of freedom. Instead, the church largely turned the other way and looked for ways to explain their sin.

And what was that sin? It’s easy to say slavery, racism, and things like that, but it’s deeper than that. There was something that had creeped into God’s congregations. How did things get to that point? Whenever we accept that a certain sin is OK, there will always be people who take that to the next level.

And it starts with the idea that some people are better than others. Once that mentality creeps in, it opens the door to entire groups thinking they’re better than others. For example, rich people are rich, because it is God’s blessing on them and the poor are just sinners who need to change their lives and then they can be blessed too.

Then it’s a different group who is better, and soon a whole race is better than another.

This is antichrist. This isn’t the spirit of Christ, and yet the same attitude appears in churches all over the world today.

Acts 17:26, “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth.” Greek actually says from one BLOOD.

We are all people, and God desires the same freedom for all of us!

The same salvation.

The same Holy Spirit.

The same blessings.

Many even decide that certain sins are worse than others. They have no compassion towards the people who are still in bondage to things they know aren’t good for them and who have no hope of changing or ever being free.

Jesus provides the hope.

Jesus said the sin of the world is unbelief in HIM.

This week we celebrated freedom. Can we leave out our religious and personal prejudices and turn to Jesus?

Matthew 23:23 can be applied to so much of the Christian world today.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

The more important matters of God’s law is justice, mercy, and faithfulness.

It’s easy, in the middle of our freedom in America, to neglect these more important matters to God. It’s easy to pay attention to some other issue, and not even realize the great need we have for justice, mercy, and faithfulness in our own nation.

True freedom is only found in Jesus. It’s found when we come and sit at the table with the Good Shepherd. In Him, we find that we can be free even surrounded by danger and threats, darkness and death.

Jesus was speaking to his believers when he said:

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” Revelations 3:20

This is where we find freedom, by opening the door of our heart to Jesus. He isn’t going to kick the door of our hearts down, but he, also won’t give up on any one of us. If we will open the door to our heart, we will find him standing there waiting to come in.

Bring this hope of true freedom and blessing everywhere you go! You carry the blessing of God. You carry the presence of God. When you walk into a room, you are bringing what the others need. You have the answer with you. Walk in that truth today.

My prayer for you:

“God, I thank you for the person reading this. I pray the the truth of your Word would make itself known to them. That they would walk in all the fullness of your blessings upon their lives and that they would bring your Gospel message of hope and salvation everywhere they go and to everyone they come into contact with. Baptize and fill them new and fresh with your Holy Spirit, giving them the power to fulfill the work you have for them.

Let your Kingdom come and your will be done in our lives in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

-Paul Neville

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