Freedom – Hard but Worth It

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James 1:2-4 (MSG)

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. 

Its Hard:

Our values are worth fighting for.  What we value is worth going through the hard things for.  Any success or significance that occurs in our lives wont just happen, but require doing the hard things.

Its worth it:

When we face difficult circumstances.  When we go through the tests and challenges of life, it can seem arbitrary and uncesseccary, but if we have the right perspective and the let the hardships be our teacher instead of our enemy it will be worth it.  

We must look at the obstacles as opportunities and the problems as possabilities.

We will find that the results of the hardships are developed faith, strong resolve, determination and patient perserverence.

Its hard but its worth it.

Freedom has a Cost:

Freedom is a powerful word.  To be free is to be unencumbered by external control.  To not be enslaved.  It sounds so easy.  It sounds just like a decision and mostly, it sounds free.  Although freedom is a gift, and it is a powerful force in life, and may make us free, its not free.

Being a person who travels the world and has seen the difference between the USA and so many other nations, I am truly thankful to live in this great nation.  A Nation that was founded on the idea that all men are created equal and are free to Pursue life, liberty, and happiness.  

But Freedom is not Free

We are free to Believe and express our religeous beliefs freely.  We are free to speak our mind. We are free to assemble.  We are free to do so many things.  We are free from so many things.

Thank God today in America although not perfect, it is a beacon of freedom around the world.

But Freedom is not free.

There has always been and will always be tyrannical power hungry, corrupt people and systems who desire to enslave and control others.  Whether they be nations, terrorist, abusers, traffickers, perpertrators of poverty, or individual control and fear mongers there will never be a shortage of freedom thieves.

However as long as there are those, there will also be others who have a deep God given desire for freedom in the depths of their soul, and will stand their ground, and speak up for those who have no voice and speak out for the down and out, and fight the good fight, to win freedom for themselves and for others.  There will always be freedom fighters.

Because freedom is not free.  Freedom is Hard but its worth it.

It’s easy for us to take freedom for granted, because we know nothing else. 

This generation and many before it in the USA don’t know the bondage of tyranny, or slavery. We don’t understand what it’s like to be confined in our speech, or beliefs or, mobility. We don’t know what it’s like to be controlled by an external power telling us every move to make. 

Rather, we know the privelege of freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom to decide, freedom to believe, freedom to take the opportunities afforded us, freedom to be educated, freedom to live where we want, so many freedoms that we are immersed in and don’t even understand or realize them as freedoms. 

Although we live everyday in these freedoms we don’t have to pay the price for them. 

But Freedom is not Free

I think we would respect and appreciate freedom a lot more if we aknowleged that even though we don’t have to pay for the freedoms we enjoy, someone did have to pay for them and someone still has to pay to maintain them.

Condalisa Rice Said…

   

Now, to be sure, the burdens of leadership have been heavy.
I know, as you do, the sacrifice of Americans, especially the
sacrifice of many of our bravest in the ultimate sacrifice, but
our armed forces are the surest shield and foundation of
liberty, and we are so fortunate that we have men and women in
uniform who volunteer, they volunteer to defend us at the front
lines of freedom, and we owe them our eternal gratitude. 

I am grateful for the men and women and families who sacrifice so much to protect and defend this great nation and its freedoms.  Men and women who are cut from a different cloth. They have an incredible sense of duty.  A deep seated bravary.  A root of responsabiity for the protection and advancement of freedoms way of life.  A root that runs deep and grows into an enormous tree of freedom that extends its branches to provide shade for all those who would gather under it, and produces fruit of opportunity, education, and empowerment for a nation.  

These men and women put themselves in a place of vulnerabiliity for the sake of our security.  These men and women and their families make sacrifices that few understand for the sake of the freedoms of all of us who enjoy them.  These beautiful, faithful, loyal men and women of all of our miliatry branches are owed a debt of grattitude, by every single individual who reaps the benifits of their labor.  

The bible tells us in Romans that we shoud give honor where it is due.  We honor these men and women because freedom isn’t free, and they have and are paying the price for it.

Whether they are fallen in battle, or served in the past, or currently serve or are newly inlisted we honor them because they honor this nation and what it stands for by their service to it.  
Freedom isn’t freee…Its hard but its worth it.  

Our founding fathers in founding this nation of free people did so at the risk of their very own lives. 

In reference to the occupation of the founding of our nation and the resulting response of the british government Benjamin franklin said to his partners…

“We must all hang together, or we will all hang seperately”  meaning if we are not all in, and unified we will surely die for what they consider a treasonous act.

From then until now many have put their very life on the line for our freedom.  

They were able to do this because they had a mind to fight for freedom.  

They understood freedom isn’t free and although its hard, its worth it.

Benjamin Franklin said…

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Patrick Henry Said…

“Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! 

They were so completely given to the cause of freedom it empowered their every thought and was the filter through which they saw every thing.  To the degree that they wanted every child to know, embrace and live out freedoms cause.

John Adams Said…

“Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.”

An Incredible Gift:  

As we can see freedom is an incredible gift to us.  A gift that has made our way of life possible.  A gift that has given us opportunities that others are not afforded.  A gift that causes our great nation, our young nation, to take its place in a very short time as nations go, atop of the list of nations of influence.

Not the Best Gift:

External freedom is a great blessing but not the greates gift.  There is a freedom that is greater.  A freedom that is eternal and not temporal.  A freedom that far supercedes any type of earthly freedom…

Ronald Reagen said…

Democracy is less a system of government than it is a system to keep government limited, unintrusive; a system of constraints on power to keep politics and government secondary to the important things in life, the true sources of value found only in family and faith.”  

A Greater Freedom:

I submit to you today that there is a greater freedom than external freedom.  It is Internal freedom, spiritual freedom.  There are many who enjoy the gift of external freedom but don’t understand or live in internal freedom, spiritual freedom.

The bible calls this freedom Salvation.  Many use the terminolgy being saved.  The greek word is Sozo – to save, make safe, make whole, to heal, or be whole.  The theological term is regeneration, which means spiritual rebirth.  It is what Jesus talked about in John 3 when He told a man by the name of nicodemus, how to be saved (be in true relationship with God) “You must be born again.”  Nicodemus asked him, “How can I, an old man go back into my mothers womb” Jesus explained that to be in relatiobnship with God we had to know christ and in knowing him, believing him, we would have a spiritual encounter that results in being born spiritually.  Saved, made whole, changed, reborn.  

This is the beginning of true internal freedom.  Its not religion or religeous ideas that make us free.  Its faith in Christ alone that makes us free.  It saves us from the enslavement of sin, and destruction.  It sets us free from the perils of life without God.  It releases us from the chains of shame and guilt and binds us to Jesus with cords of love.

Freedom however isn’t free.  Its hard but its worth it.

We can’t earn salvation, spiritual freedom.  We can’t do good things to get it.  We can’t be good enough to earn it.  It is free to us.  All we have to do is believe it and receive it.  

But freedom isn’t free.

Someone had to pay.  Someone had to stand on the front lines of spiritual battle for us.  Someone had to pay the penalty for the sinful things we have done, and the sin nature that we are born with.  Freedom was available but not free.

There was a cost

Jesus, was perfect, and sinless.  He is the Son of God, and as a result the only one qualified to pay for the freedom we all need.
So He willingly went to that cross, but before doing so, he went to the garden to pray.  In that Garden, he talked to his father, and came to this conclusion, that the price for spiritual freedom was steep, expensive, and personally costly for Him, but  It was worth it!

So He went to that cross, gave his life in place of us, then was buried in a tomb, and three days later, on his own volition decided He would not be a slave to sin, death, hell or the grave, and he rose again to personal freedom and as a result gave all of mankind the opportunity for true, real, internal, spiritual freedom!

This is the inspiration for the words free at last, and the only real fulfillment of them.  Free at last, free at last, Thank God almighty I’m free at last.  While external and national freedom are great blessings, they aren’t real freedom.

Real freedom is to know Christ.  To be covered in His righteousness.  To know that the chains that used to bind you no longer have a hold on you.  To be free of sin, and to have hope in spite of death, and to know that your eternity will not be in the eternal jail called hell, but in the presence of your liberator, your king, your friend and father.  

You are free.  Free from the traps set to you bind you.  Free from the enemy that’s out to get you. Free from the wrong thinking that enslaved your mind.  Free from the petty survival mode of this life and free to live out the purpose and destiney that God has planted as a seed deep inside your spirit that flourishes and grows and rejoices, in Freedom!

What do we do with this real freedom?

We Know it, live it, and never retreat from it.

Galatians 5:13-15 MSG

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then? 

I thank God for a free nation, and for the people who have paid the price for it, and I thank God for spiritual freedom and for Jesus who paid the price for it.  The question is are you really free today?  Do you know him?

The Art of living Free

Exodus 2:23-25 (NKJ) Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. 24 So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.

We live in a great nation, a nation blessed by God, a nation founded on Judeo Christian principles and thinking. Being a person who travels to different places in the world, I have to say there is no place like home. The thing that makes the U.S. great is the freedoms we have and the lack of tyranny. May we always be free. Free to Express our love for Jesus, and free to worship our God.

The one thing about freedom that is most interesting to me is that freedom is not free. Freedom is free to the ones receiving it, but very costly to the ones giving it. To get freedom, or to receive something free, implies that the one receiving is not charged for it. This is a picture of Grace. We can’t earn grace, we can’t make ourselves free in our own effort. Our freedom is based solely on a price paid by someone else. The giver of freedom himself, Jesus Christ.

The most powerful freedom is not physical freedom but spiritual freedom, and in order to be truly free physically, we must first be truly free spiritually. Even for Christians today who have received the gift of God we have not learned to walk in freedom, there is an art to walking in freedom. You have to learn to receive it, think it, live it, and share it.

Lets look at the children of Israel and their challenge to live free. When the children of Israel cried out for freedom and God sent them Moses, this was a type of Christ. Meaning God was showing us what was to come in the future through the messiah. Moses was a type of Christ, the deliverer. Egypt was a type of sin and bondage. Canan was a type of the promise of God his grace and freedom, and pharaoh was a type of the enemy who fights to keep you bound.

There are four components to the art of living free.

1. RECIEVE freedom

What we’ve experienced through the years is people having a hard time receiving something of significance for free. Its hard for people to imagine that something that has great importance and will impact their life tremendously could be free in anyway. Just in our efforts to serve the community, many times we have encountered people who just don’t want to receive it free, they want to give something back. Thats actually a good thing, but in order for us to be truly free, we must learn that the Spiritual freedom we get, does cost something, but the cost of it was paid by someone else. Jesus paid the price for our spiritual freedom, and so to us it is given as a gift.

Many times people don’t know how to receive freedom because it doesn’t look like they thought it would. I wonder how many times we have prayed for something, and we didn’t receive it because our answer didn’t look like we thought it would. When God sent Moses to deliver the people they had a hard time receiving it, because they couldn’t see Moses as the answer. Its the same reason that many of the Jews did not receive Jesus, because they saw their freedom coming by a military, governmental, Overthrow. The saw the Messiah being a military conquerer, yet Jesus was coming to start a revolution in the hearts of man, not to overthrow the government.

In order for us to receive freedom, we have to drop our pride that says, I have to work for what I get, and it can’t be this easy, and understand that Jesus paid the price so we wouldn’t have to. So our role in this is to receive His gift of Freedom and commit our lives to follow him, in gratitude for this great gift. We also must see our freedom many times comes in ways we don’t expect, we must not allow our misconceptions to keep us bound in the chains of discontent, guilt, fear, sin, religion or hopelessness. Freedom is something you receive, not something you achieve.

2. THINK freedom
Once we are set free we must think free.
EXODUS 6:9 (NKJ) So Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage. When we are enslaved spiritually or otherwise for a period of time, it profoundly effects the way we think. Being bound is a very different life than being free. Someone makes decisions for you, you are hoping to merely survive. You are made to think low of yourself. When we have lived in bondage to sin, to shame, to condemnation to the opinions of others, to our circumstances it effects the way we think, our minds must be renewed. You can be free, but if you think bound, your freedom might as well not exist, because you are mentally still enslaved. Freedom is not just a state of living its a state of mind. Thats why if someone is truly free, you could lock them up and freedom will still ring true in their hearts, while others can be free, and still live like they are bound. Its all in the way you think. The children of Israel, after being delivered from egyptian bondage were free, but kept thinking like slaves. When they had to face the responsibility of their freedom it was easier to just say, lets go back to bondage it was less trouble. In order to be free, we must think free. How do we do this. By realizing we are not just being set free from something but to something. Our freedom has purpose.
We are being set free from sin to righteousness, from hate to love, from fear to confidence, from condemnation to a clear conscience, and from isolation to family. Freedom is not just the absence of bondage but the presence of purpose.

3. LIVE freedom
The sad part about the first generation of freedom out of Egypt for Israel was they couldn’t live in their freedom.
They allowed the behaviors of their bondage to Frustrate their freedom. They went from the bondage of slavery to the bondage of the wilderness, because they refused to believe, submit, and live in the freedom they were given. Fear ruled their lives, so they had to wander in the wilderness until the next generation arose and they died off.
Caleb and Joshua understood how to live freedom, to possess the promise of God, believe God and his purpose for our lives.
Jesus Paid the cost for our freedom, He set us free. So we must receive it, think it, and live it. Its amazing how many people who have come to know Jesus still live bound by the chains of their past, by the chains of others opinions, by the chains of condemnation, and by the chains of oppression. Freedom must be lived, not just known. Freedom is an action not merely an idea.
John 8:34 (NKJ) 34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Don’t let fear, shame, condemnation, or man made religeous ideas keep you bound when you are free. Live in the freedom you have been given, refuse to accept the chains of the past. Have the attitude that Caleb and Joshua had, we will not fear, we know what God has promised, and even though we don’t deserve it, we are going to receive it, embrace and act on it. Don’t be a person who’s dreams die and who’s kids have to overcome them in order to live out their purpose, but be the generation that will live out the freedom that God has so graciously given us.

4. SHARE freedom
Freedom is not to be held on to for personal purposes, the most free people in life, are the people who are most bound by love.
The Apostle Paul describes it this way, we are bondservants of Christ. A bond servant, is a servant who has been set free, but chooses to continue to work for their master because of their love one for another, not as a slave now, but as a person totally committed by choice.

When Jesus gave us our freedom from sin, death and hell, he made us a part of his family, and our response to that is total commitment to him and his cause. We are sons and daughters who have bound ourselves in love to our savior Jesus Christ. That is true freedom!

2 Corinthians 5:17-20 (MSG) Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.

So, be free! Receive the free gift of freedom from Christ. Think freedom everyday, don’t let the thoughts of the past strangle you. Live your freedom out, free from guilt, and shame, and sin, and man made religious ideas, live free. Finally share your freedom. How dare any of us, have the keys to true freedom, and allow the people around us to live on in slavery.

This is the art of living free!

Independence day…

My encouragement to all on this wonderful celebration of the Independence of the Untied states of America. Is to remember where we came from. Remember what are true roots are. Read for yourselves the history of the men and women who founded this country. Read their very own words. Not words taken out of context to influence history. This Country was clearly founded on the Bible and Christianity. The founders themselves said so. So as we celebrate our Nation, find yourself at church on Sunday giving honor to God, to our leaders, and to our military men and women who are so valiant in there efforts to preserve freedom. God bless America, and God bless you!

David