What is it that keeps liberty pure? Because we have seen liberty go awry in many contexts. When liberty is used as a reason for wantonness, vice, even the freedom to commit evil acts, it is no liberty, but misery.
What keeps liberty pure and desirable is truth. It is the difference between the American Revolution and the French Revolution. Without truth, liberty is an excuse for excess and selfish deeds. Truth brings to liberty our need to help our fellows, to realize that we are not alone, that we live in community with others. Liberty with truth demands a heed to the fact of our creation and special place as images of the Almighty God; that we are eternally responsible for our actions in this life.
Liberty that is sought and bought by this truth will truly set us free. We would not be set free again to bondage, especially to sin and vice, but to be truly free, free even from our fleshly desires. We would be free from the sin that so easily entangles us. That is truly freedom.
Would you seek freedom today? Seek truth. Desire it. Claim it. Pursue it. Let truth dwell in your richly. It is the Gospel. God bless you today.
I can’t even imagine what kind of life the Apostle Paul led. We read about his exploits in the book of Acts, and are appropriately awed by all the things he said and did. I know I am amazed at his evangelical prowess, his ability to argue from the Old Testament and from his experience as an Apostle proving that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. But then there are verses like this that prove being an Apostle is not an easy job. In fact it is physically and emotionally challenging. Yet He speaks of his physical trials not as detriments but as encouragements. He takes on the attitude that the bad stuff that happens to him is actually working out for good, and is working out for a good end. I just don’t know if I can be that positive. I mean, I had oncall last Sunday.
I was called in three times to deal with patient issues. I was ok with the first and managed the second, but by the time I had my third call-in, I was upset. I had had enough and didn’t want to have to deal with another emotionally and spiritually troubled person that day. Lord forgive me. I went in angry, only to run in to an awful tragedy. And I repented. God needed me in this situation too. Paul would probably have been delighted to have another opportunity to minister the gospel. I wasn’t Paul.
Even though I was tired and done with the day, God still needed me. I was weak and tired, but God strengthened me to do ministry. Are you having a bad day? Are you suffering from circumstances beyond your control? Remember this verse. When I am weak, then am I strong. His power is made perfect in weakness, because it is His glory, not our own, that shines through. It is when we stop depending on our own strength and rely on His, His hope and promises, that we truly shine for Him. I hope you are having a good day, but if not, remember He still loves you.
“The Most Important Election of our Time!” Seems like we hear these words every four years around October. Strangely enough, they may be true this time. It is a decision about the values of America, and whose definition of those values you accept. It is a question that hopefully we won’t wait to ponder until we get to the voting booth. But more to the point, as Christians, how the Bible the Word of God inform our vote?
America is a grand experiment. It is the first nation on earth founded on the principle that men have the wisdom to make their own decisions, and collectively, to make the right decisions for the nation. Unlike all nations before her, America was never ruled by a single person, but by the people, and on behalf of the people. The decisions for leadership and values in this country have been decided by popular vote for over 200 years, rather than a small ruling class, or a king. We have believed that men, guided by the Word of God and a desire for the common good, will make wise decisions regarding her representatives and holders of public office. Yet, decisions about prayer in school, abortion, and homosexual marriage, haven’t been decisions by the American people, but by a small group of people in the Supreme Court. The Constitution allowed for this, but the decisions and activities of the Supreme Court have gone beyond interpreting the Law of the Land, to simply making it by fiat.
Some of the best and worst decisions that affect us all have been determined by men and women handpicked by the President. Sadly, enough Democrat votes have been cast in recent elections to ensure that liberal-minded Judges with lip service paid to the Constitution, have voted and ruled on issues the Founders would be appalled with. These same men and women will hold their positions of power for years to come. Thus, the ethics and moral values of a President affect, far beyond his time in office, the ethics and values of a nation. Ethics and values are the basis for God’s judgment of a nation. A decision this November isn’t merely for the success of a nation over the next four years, but her standing before God for the next forty! Does it matter who you vote for? Listen for the next couple of weeks. The Bible has much to say on this topic.
Have you ever tried to run away from God? Jonah tried it once, ended up in a huge fish. He remembered something David had said, “even though I make my bed in Sheol, you are there” and prayed to the Lord. Guess what, God heard him. You are never too far from God that He cannot bear you. You cannot run so far that He isn’t there. And God is always attentive to the prayers of those who earnestly seek Him. Do you feel like you are far from God this morning? Open your lips and speak His name, “Jesus, I need you today.” He says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I didn’t graduate with anything like the honors above. Oh I had a couple of things back in High School, but in college and grad school, I was glad to graduate. But there is something funny about that special honor, because it sounds like “come Lordy” as in, get back here Lord before I really get myself in trouble. But of all the honors and degrees we can receive, there is none better than, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” That degree doesn’t come from a piece or paper or a stack credits to your name, papers written or classes taken. It comes from the wisdom from above, not granted by colleges, but by the Lord, through the grandest textbook of all time, God’s Holy Word. Of all the books in the world one could ever own, let his hands be laid upon this one. For in it are the words of eternal life.
Have a blessed Sunday. Read His Word. Worship well and often. For these mean more than a whole stack of degrees.
Do you understand the privilege you now share because you are a Christian? Because you have been cleansed by the blood of Christ, and since you are now free from the slavery that is sin, you now have fellowship with every other person on earth that has made that decision. Imagine never being alone again. Imagine that because God is your father, all of these others have now become your family. All because you all share this unique quality, you are cleansed from sin. You are part of an amazing family. Let us choose this day to rejoice for the wonderful gifts He has showered upon us. Thank you Jesus for my brothers and sisters. I can’t wait to meet them all one day.
I have to believe that millions of people are probably praying at the same moment I am. If I am listening to someone talk to me, I have to devote attention and focus to keep up with their dialogue. If not, I get hopelessly lost and have to ask them to repeat themselves. But God in His ability to be fully present in all places at once, can hear my voice in this choir of prayer. He can devote absolute attention to my voice, as if I was a soloist, and hear every word. He not only listens to my words, by the voice of my heart, which speaks more truly to Him than my lips.
10 I am the LORD who searches the heart, who tests the inner depths to give to each person according to what he deserves, according to the fruit of his deeds.
May my lips match the words of my heart.