freedom

Freedom!

I enjoy gathering with family and friends for food, fellowship and fireworks on the 4th of July holiday, and I imagine you do too. As I participate in the festivities, I’m reminded that our founding fathers and their families paid a tremendous price in order for us to enjoy the freedoms we have in this great nation, freedoms that we all too often take for granted. Although they had security as far as the world measures it, each of the signers of the declaration valued liberty more than their belongings, even their lives. They pledged the following to one another:

“For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

Many people are unaware of the sacrifices they did in fact make. The British captured five of the signers during the war, including Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, and Arthur Middleton, and George Walton was wounded as well as captured. Richard Stockton was captured and never recovered from his incarceration by British Loyalists and he died in 1781. John Adams received a letter from Thomas McKean who wrote that he was "hunted like a fox by the enemy - compelled to remove my family five times in a few months." The British captured two of Abraham Clark’s sons during the war.

The homes and property of eleven signers were destroyed. Francis Lewis's home was demolished and his wife was taken prisoner. John Hart's farm and mills were destroyed when the British invaded New Jersey, and he died while fleeing capture. Carter Braxton and Nelson lent large sums of their personal fortunes to support the war effort, and they were never repaid.

The reality is that freedom is never free.  There is always a cost.  And as much as I am grateful—and I truly am-- for the sacrifices of our founding fathers who were willing to give up their property, their safety and security, and even their lives to establish our nation, I am far more grateful to Jesus Who was willing to lay down His life to secure the greatest treasure I will ever have--freedom from the power and penalty of sin. And that was the costliest purchase ever made. My freedom—and yours—could only be bought with the price of Jesus’ blood. Our Heavenly Father had to be willing to sacrifice the life of His blameless, Beloved Son Jesus in order to redeem my life and yours. If you ever wonder how valuable you are, remember the great price that God was willing to pay for you and your freedom! You are treasured by Him! He was willing to exchange a perfect life for your sinful one in order that you could be set free from your sin.

My husband and I are going through a challenging period in our lives right now that has made me keenly aware that because I know and trust in Jesus, I have been set free from all fear! When we received what many, if not most people in the world would have considered devastating news, we immediately reminded ourselves that although it may have caught us by surprise, it certainly did not catch Our God ‘who is able to work all things together for our good and for His glory’ by surprise. God is still on His throne; He is Sovereign over our circumstances, and we trust completely in His good and loving nature and know He not only WILL NOT fail us, but He CANNOT fail us as we look to Him and lean upon Him rather than our own understanding.

(Proverbs 3:5-7)

Despite our circumstances, my husband and I are flooded with peace…the peace that truly ‘surpasses all human understanding’. (Philippians 4:7) How can we be filled with peace, and even have joyful anticipation thinking what the future may bring? Because we are resting in the sure knowledge that ‘our redeemer lives’, and we firmly believe that He IS always at work-- regardless of our circumstances or our understanding-- to bring about our good and His glory. (Romans 8:28) It is one thing to believe those words with your head, it is another thing altogether to be in the midst of the storm and know beyond a doubt that you believe them with all of your heart! What a joy it is to know we have been set free from fear! Free because our trust is in the One Who was willing to give His very life to purchase our freedom!  If Jesus was willing to give us His very life, is there anything good He will ever withhold from us? (Romans 8:32)

So as you celebrate the 4th of July this year, I hope you will thank God for our founding fathers who valued liberty more than security so that you can have the liberties you enjoy in our country today.  And I especially hope you will take the time to thank Jesus for being willing to give up all of the glories of heaven to come to earth to be born a man and give His life in exchange for yours, so that you can have ‘peace on earth’ and spend eternity with the One Who was willing to pay the price for your everlasting freedom! Let us walk and rejoice in the freedom that Jesus has purchased for us!

I'm no longer a slave to fear

I am a child of God

I am surrounded

By the arms of the father

I am surrounded

By songs of deliverance

We've been liberated

From our bondage

We're the sons and the daughters

Let us sing our freedom

 Lyrics above from No Longer Slaves by Bethel

Written by Julie Van Gorp

 

Are you curious to know how much fear, worry and anxiety is impacting your life? Take our free quiz to learn how fearful, worried and anxious you really are?

Could You Be 'Taken' Captive?

Watching the movie “Taken” or seeing an Amber alert sign gives a chill to every caring parent. Every mother’s nightmare is that someone might take and harm her child.  To protect against that, I wanted my daughter to learn self-defense. So we took a class together where we learned the self-defense style used in the Bourne Identity movie—which means we now know how to protect ourselves with our hands, a pen, or even a rolled-up magazine (hopefully someday we’ll graduate to Jason Bourne status!) Our instructor taught us self-defense using the acrostic “Escape to Gain Safety” (to go for the Eyes, the Throat, the Groin and the Shin.

self-defense
self-defense

God as our loving Heavenly Father is also concerned for our safety so He has taught us how to avoid being taken captive by Satan, our adversary.

The first rule of safety that my daughter and I learned is: do all you can to ensure that you do not put yourself in a position of harm. Our instructor warned us to be aware of our surroundings at all times and to avoid the places and situations that most likely could lead to danger.

Similarly, God tells us to not be ignorant of the schemes of the enemy (2nd Corinthians 2:11) and to “Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring (in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.” 1st Peter 5:8 Amplified

We learned the best way to avoid danger is to flee from it. In several scriptures God also commands us to flee temptation that otherwise will lead to our harm.

“Flee from sexual immorality. “1 Corinthians 6:18

“Flee the evil desires of youth… “2 Timothy 2:22

“Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. “ 1st Corinthians 10:14

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.But you, man of God, flee from all this…” 1st Timothy 6:10-11

In addition, our instructor taught us specific moves to help us defend ourselves against an attack should one occur.  God also gives us specific instructions on how to counteract the attacks of Satan. His Word would support that ‘the best defense is a good offense.’

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  James 4:7

“… be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. …take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;and take the helmet of salvationand the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance…” Ephesians 6:10-11, 13-18

After our self-defense course, my daughter and I both felt far better prepared and more confident regarding our ability to avoid and protect ourselves in the event of an attack from an adversary. How prepared are you to face your adversary Satan, whose desire is to “rob, steal, kill and destroy you” (John 10:10)?

Do you need to be more vigilant in learning about the devil’s schemes?  Do you need to be fleeing some area of temptation?  Or is there some aspect of ‘the armor of God” that you need to put on so you are able to withstand the devil when he attacks you?

Written by Julie Van Gorp

Are you curious to know how much fear, worry and anxiety is impacting your life? Take our free quiz to learn how fearful, worried and anxious you really are?