Tonight I am going to the in-laws for the traditional 4th of July BBQ. I kinda wish I had something a little more exciting to do. Lex is working though & I had too many invites to narrow it down to one...well, that last part wasn't true. So grandma's house is it. I love Lex's parents so it will be fun!
The big city of Wolfforth puts on a noteworthy fireworks show. I'm not planning on keeping Annerson up to watch it so I'll probably be viewing the spectacular lights from the kitchen window! Oh the things we gladly sacrifice for our children.
So even though I'm not super focused on patriotic activities and the such, I did wake up with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the freedom I experience personally. I've been thinking about it all day.
I am so free...from the burden of trying to do the right thing and be a moral person in an effort to win God's approval. Don't hear that I don't strive to please God by obeying Him or living morally. What I mean is that I get to spend my life on earth and my eternal life in the presence of God and the ONLY reason I get to do so is because the minute I understood that Christ died for MY sins I was called righteous, or saved, or in simple terms-forgiven. Forgiven for the past, present & future sins that are in my heart. The best part of this is that I never had to prove myself worthy of Christ's love. He called me in my sin-not after I had it all together or had worked to clean myself up. The best of the best attempts on my part are not even on the radar in light of a holy & perfect God. No matter how hard I try, I will never be a good enough person to deserve God's love. He is infinitely holy. I am not. It doesn't matter to what degree or level I might be categorized in as a moral person. I fall short of God's glory & therefore have no hope...unless...unless Jesus frees me from the penalty of the law by way of the cross!!
I've heard this over and over and over, all my life. But lately it is just overwhelming to think about. Today it is overwhelming to think about. So I celebrate this freedom that I dwell in day after day.
I am thankful for my country, yes. I am thankful for our founding fathers & the blood that was shed to secure our liberty. I am thankful that I am not persecuted as many of my brothers & sisters in Christ because we have "religious freedom" in America. I put quotations around religious freedom b/c it is quickly dwendling for Christians in America. Example: preachers are being persecuted for calling homosexuality or abortion a sin in the pulpit. Really? So basically we are "free" to believe in the Bible as long as it doesn't offend anyone and at that point we receive the discrimination. That's a totally different topic. Regardless, we still experience so many more freedoms as believers than other nations allow. For that I am grateful.
But I chose to not only celebrate our nation's freedom but the author of that freedom as well as eternal freedom for those who believe. I love the way Matt Chandler describes celebrating. Celebrate the source of the shadow and not the shadow. The creator and not the created. Makes so much more sense doesn't it?
These are 3 of my favorite verses in the whole Bible. They all have to do with freedom.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17
Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
It is for freedom that Christ set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
So as you celebrate freedom tonight it is my prayer that you really contemplate what you are free from and what you need to be freed from. I praise God for so many things that He has brought me out of and ultimately freed me from. And still, there are areas of my life where I am in bondage to sin & seek freedom. By no means do I ever stop struggling to be free from my own sin.
So as you eat homemade ice cream & watch fireworks tonight ask yourself: Do you know the Truth? Do you know the Spirit of the Lord? Are you burdened by a yoke of slavery? Do you know that there is freedom in Christ & what the freedom is from? I'm warning you that these are tough questions. They can shake you up inside and out. However, I propose that the answers to these questions are by far the most freeing of all.
Be safe & don't burn yourself!