This time of year, my thoughts turn to how thankful I am for the independence that I experience as an American. But I also recognize the sacrifices that have been made by so many to ensure this freedom. President Ronald Reagan famously said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” His words have never been more poignant than right now when we are once again facing the possibility of war to secure a freedom that some seek to take away from us. Every day our men and women in uniform put their lives on the line for our liberty and for the values we hold dear as Americans. Independence Day is the time we set aside to support the ongoing efforts of our military and to remember all of the freedoms we enjoy because of their sacrifice.
While I am reflecting on my liberty as an American, I also think about a more important kind of freedom I experience as a Christian. Jesus put His life on the line so that we could have everlasting liberty. He died to set us free, free from sin and free from the trappings of this world. It is only by His sacrifice that we can achieve this liberty.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
The Apostle Paul, tells us how to have liberty in Christ in three parts. So, let’s break it down and examine each one.
#1 Stand Fast…
We cannot lose our salvation in Christ. That is the most basic fact of our Christian faith. Even though we can’t lose our salvation, we are told many times in the Bible to stand fast or to stand firm in our belief. The world is knocking on our door, trying to cause us to back down. They don’t want us to stand up for what we believe. They want us to agree with their misguided thoughts, that they are right and we are wrong. But we can’t back down. We must always be ready to stand fast and stand up for our faith.
#2 the liberty by which Christ has made us free…
Liberty in Christ and freedom from sin comes from accepting Jesus as your Savior. There is no other way. We know this because we have experienced the love and grace of salvation in Christ. But sometimes it slips our mind and we forget that we have been set free. So now is the perfect time to remember all that Christ has done for us and experience the liberty by which we have been made free.
#3 do not be entangled again by the yoke of bondage…
Sin is a burden that we don’t have to bear any longer. Jesus has taken that yoke on Himself so that we can be free from it. We don’t have to become entangled by the things of this world or by the sin that so easily ensnares us (Hebrews 12:1). We can move forward knowing that because of the sacrifice of Jesus, we are able to live a life that is full and free from the bondage of sin and shame.
This Fourth of July, I hope that you will spend time with your family and friends, grill some burgers and hot dogs and watch the amazing fireworks displays. But most of all, I hope you will remember the loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ and that true liberty comes from knowing Him.
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I know many of us are praying for revival in our country. We feel that the nation is headed in the wrong direction and we so badly want that to change. It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s an election year or not, most of us fall into two categories. Either we’re feed up with Washington and all of the gridlock from both sides of the aisle, or we’ve become complacent and think that no matter who’s in office, nothing will ever change. It leaves us wondering…Is there anything that we can do? Can we get back to “one nation under God”? Let’s take a look at what God says we can do to turn our country around.
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14
The first words of this verse are the most important part. And I don’t want us to miss it.
If My people who are called by My name…
This is a powerful message directed at Christians! God isn’t talking to the world at large, He is speaking only to those of us who are believers. If we want to see real change in our country, then it’s up to us. God says that we have to be the ones to lead the way!
Many times in the Bible God makes both unconditional and conditional promises to those of us who believe. This verse is an example of one of the “conditional” promises that God has made to us. In order to receive the blessing, we first have to do the things that God asks of us. In this verse God gives us a list of three actions that we need to take in order to see revival in our country, then He promises us that He will do three things in exchange.
Our Actions to Take
#1 humble themselves…
Humbling yourself is hard to do and admitting that you are wrong is equally difficult. But God is asking us to do just that. We need to recognize that our way of doing things doesn’t work and God’s way is the right way. If we want to see real change in our country and in our lives then we have to follow God’s way.
#2 pray and seek My face…
Praying and seeking God’s face is a way of creating an intimate relationship with Him. He wants to spend time with us each day and He wants us to be close to Him! Praying isn’t just about asking God for stuff, it’s seeking God’s will and listening for an answer. How can we have a relationship with someone we never talk to and how can we know God’s way if we don’t listen for His answer?
#3 turn from their wicked ways…
Are we willing to admit that we’re not always right, that we’ve made mistakes? As a nation and as a people? In order to turn our country around, we must repent of our sins and admit that we’ve made bad choices that have lead us away from God and His will. We must turn away from those past decisions and seek God’s way.
When we do these three things God will fulfill His promises to us.
#1 I will hear from heaven…
The ball is in our court. God is listening and waiting for us to do our part.
#2 forgive their sins…
God is always faithful to forgive us of our sins, all we have to do is ask. I think that’s pretty amazing! Don’t you?
#3 heal their land…
When we do our part, God will do His. He will bring revival to our country! He will bless our nation! Because God always keeps His promises!
Are you are frustrated with the direction our country is headed in? As Christians, it’s up to us to recognize that our nation desperately needs revival. And we must be the ones who lead the way back to a relationship with the only One who can give it to us. If we return to God, humble ourselves before Him, seek His face and turn from our sin, then we will see a new revival in our hearts and in our land. If we do our part, God will do His! So let’s get to it. Please join me in in seeking God’s will for our nation and praying for revival in our country. God bless!
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About the Artist
Connie Rowland is the Artist and Blogger behind Master's Hand Collection, a series of Christian artwork that depicts God's hand in our lives. Each picture features an inspirational word spelled out in American Sign Language with a corresponding Bible verse. Check out the About page for more info on Master's Hand Collection and Connie.
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