Freedom is Never FREE…

Freedom is Never Free – The aftermath of July 4 1776

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated.

But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty could be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire.

The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying.  Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.

Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution.

These were not wild eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: “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.”

They gave you and me a free and independent America. The history books never told you a lot of what happened in the Revolutionary War.

We didn’t just fight the British. We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government!

Some of us take these liberties so much for granted…We shouldn’t.

So, take a couple of minutes and silently thank our Lord for faithful patriots. It’s not much to ask for the price they paid. ..

LET’S ALL REMEMBER THAT FREEDOM IS “NEVER FREE”!!!!

Author unknown.

Beyond national freedom we can all have spiritual freedom from eternal punishment the wages of our sins by receiving the gift that was truly free!!

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have life everlasting.”

Advertisements

In God we Trust….

Romans 13:1a “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities…”

In God we Trust…..

The one dollar bill you’re looking at first came off the presses in 1957 in its present design. This so-called paper money is in fact a cotton and linen blend, with red and blue minute silk fibers running through it. It is actually material. We’ve all washed it without it falling apart. A special blend of ink is used, the contents we will never know.

It is overprinted with symbols and then it is starched to make it water resistant and pressed to give it that nice crisp look. If you look on the front of the bill, you will see the scales for the balanced budget. In the center you have a carpenter’s T-square, a tool used for an even cut. Underneath is the Key to the United States Treasury. That’s all pretty easy to figure out, but what is on the back of that dollar bill is something we should all know.

If you turn the bill over, you will see two circles. Both circles, together, comprise the Great Seal of the United States. The First Continental Congress requested that Benjamin Franklin and a group of men come up with a Seal.

It took them four years to accomplish this task and another two years to get it approved. If you look at the left-hand circle, you will see a Pyramid. Notice the face is lighted and the western side is dark. This country was just beginning. We had not begun to explore the West or decided what we could do for Western Civilization.

The Pyramid is uncapped, again signifying that we were not even close to being finished. Inside the capstone you have the all-seeing eye, an ancient symbol for divinity. It was Franklin’s belief that one man couldn’t do it alone, but a group of men, with the help of God, could do anything.

“IN GOD WE TRUST” is on this currency. The Latin above the pyramid, ANNUIT COEPTIS, means, “God has favored our undertaking.” The Latin below the pyramid, NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM means, “A new order has begun.” At the base of the pyramid is the Roman numeral for 1776.

If you look at the right-hand circle, and check it carefully, you will learn that it is on every National Cemetery in the United States. It is also on the Parade of Flags Walkway at the Bushnell, Florida National Cemetery and is the centerpiece of most heroes’ monuments. Slightly modified, it is the seal of the President of the United States and it is always visible whenever he speaks; yet no one knows what the symbols mean.

The Bald Eagle was selected as a symbol for victory for two reasons: first, he is not afraid of a storm; he is strong and he is smart enough to soar above it. Secondly, he wears no material crown. We had just broken from the King of England.

Also, notice the shield is unsupported. This country can now stand on its own. At the top of that shield you have a white bar signifying congress, a unifying factor. We were coming together as one nation. In the Eagle’s beak you will read,

“E PLURIBUS UNUM”, meaning “one nation from many people.” Above the Eagle you have thirteen stars representing the original colonies, and any clouds of misunderstanding rolling away. Again, we were coming together as one. Notice what the Eagle holds in his talons. He holds an olive branch and arrows. This country wants peace, but we will never be afraid to fight to preserve peace. The Eagle always wants to face the olive branch, but in time of war, his gaze turns toward the arrows.

In God we trust is still as relevant as when the founders of our country placed it on our currency. If not, then our nation is in big trouble.

Romans 13:1 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there
is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”

Hope for America….

Hope for America!

There is hope for America if …

II Chronicles 7:14 “And My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

His people will need to start the revival…

How does your life stack up? It is sin to be conformed to this world’s standards and with sin comes separation from the power and blessings of Jesus!!! Being salt and light is not only not easy but it is most often not accepted in our world.

2 Tim 3:12 “Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

The word sin is not pleasant nor is it supposed to be. It also is not just for those in the past. Sin is as ugly today and as offensive to God today as it was with Adam and Eve. If the world or the majority of our world says that in the interest of humans rights that sin is ok, do you then accept it? Challenging question, especially with the voting season upon us. Listen to what God says;

Mark 8:36-37 “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world,  and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right unto a man,  but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

Let us join with the Holy Spirit in urging ourselves to…

Rom 12:1,2 “I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, TO PRESENT YOUR BODIES a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is , that which is good and acceptable and
perfect.”

The most immediate need for America is not a balanced budget or having my candidate be in office. There is a much greater need and urgency. As a believer my view and goals in life must be different then the world and country and state and city and neighborhood I live in. I do believe our nation is running to big trouble by the decisions our politicians are making but I believe our God is sovereign in the affairs of men and able to change and direct our times and events to meet His plans.

With that view my focus must be to know and love the Lord our God and be light and salt to a lost and dying world. This morning remember, serving the King of Kings may be the most meaningful thing you do in your life.

Check out the first Church in the book of Acts to see what their focus was.

With that in mind remember to ……

I Tim 2:1,2 “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in  authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”

Election Day….Perspective….

Today is Election Day. I will vote for the candidate(s) who best lines up with God’s values and truths found in His word and sometimes it comes down to one issue. The important thing to remember is that our God is sovereign and allows or places into power those needing to be there for this moment in time in our world’s history. While that is comforting my responsibility remains the same.

Romans 13:1, 2 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.”

Elections Day…Perspective….

I do not deny the importance of this election, but it seems to me that we need a dose of perspective. So here is a “True/False” test.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, Jesus will still be King!

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, our responsibilities as Christians will not have changed one iota.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the greatest agent for social change in America will still be winning the hearts and minds of men and women through the gospel, not legislation.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my primary citizenship will still be in this order – (1) the Kingdom of God , (2) my Family, (3) Jesus Church and everything else after that………

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the tomb will still be empty.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, Jesus death on the cross and His resurrection, not the government, will still be our salvation.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, our families will still be more concerned with whether or not we spend time with them than with who is President.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my neighbor will still be my neighbor, and loving him/her will still be the second greatest commandment. (Do you know the first?)

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the only way to see abortion ultimately overturned will still be winning men and women to a high view of life through the gospel of Christ.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the only way to see gay marriage ultimately defeated will still be sharing the biblical view of marriage through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my retirement will still not match my treasure in Heaven.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, “Jesus Is Lord” will still be the greatest truth in the Universe.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, we will still know that God is in control.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, I will pray for them.

And the directive for our CHRISTian lives remains the same….

Mat 28:19, 20 “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

The Ten Commandments and the 21st Century….

Luke 10:25-28 “And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ “And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

Ten Commandments and the 21st Century

There is a feeling among many people that the 10 Commandments that God gave to our world are not relevant for today. Why would that be? First and foremost is the fact that the god of the world today, satan (II Corinthians 4:3, 4) does not want us feeling that God’s truths have value for our lives. But when you read them it only makes sense that they point out the wrong that mankind can do or as God calls it sin.

Some feel that truth can change down through the ages and the commandments were given to Israel 3500 years ago so they do not see them as relevant for our modern society.  They see them as a history for ages past. If you believe in God and His word it refutes that error by proclaiming that God never changes and the truths He reveals in His word in the Bible never change (Malachi 3:6, II Timothy 3:16, 17). That being the case then the truths God revealed in the Ten Commandments are as relevant today as they were 3500 years ago. It is important to understand that if the Bible appears to be foolish to follow or study that is probably because you are not a ‘born again’ CHRISTIAN. Check it out in I Corinthians 2:14.

Some simply do not believe that God exists. I find that sad and mind boggling. In Romans 1:20 we are told that all you need to do is look around you and you understand that the complexity of our world, the animal kingdom and mankind had to have a Creator.  It takes faith to believe in God and faith to believe He does not exist. But those believing the lie that He does not exist are in for a shock when they have to stand at their judgment seat (Revelation 20:11-14) and understand their rejection of their Creator. Mankind was created in God’s image and for that I am eternity grateful. How’s that for an awesome truth about your complexity and nature? Believing you evolved from a lower form of life simply gives you a reason to accept sinful behavior but that behavior does not fly with a Holy God and you will be held accountable (Romans 14:12).

Some in Christian circles feel that when the NT portion of the Bible says that they are free from the law that they are no longer obligated to it or subject to the consequences of breaking it. That also is fallacy.  Their eternal destiny may not be changed by breaking the laws called sinning but they are still subject to the consequences of doing so (Phil 6:7). The law and commandments as God tells us in His word were given to us so that we would understand what sin is. They are as relevant in the NT age we live in as they were in the OT.

Noted below are the Ten Commandments and just some of the NT parallels for each. Many take it a step further in that the mind can and does create the same sin that the body can. So, if anything the NT expands the truth of and need for obeying the Ten Commandments today.

  1. Exodus 20:3 ‘You Shall have no other gods before Me”
    1. Mat 4:10 “Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only”
  2. Exodus 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them”
    1. I John 5:21 “Little children, keep yourselves from ”
  3. Exodus 20:7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain”
    1. John 20:30, 31 “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name”
  4. Exodus 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.
    1. Mark 2:27, 28 “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
  5. Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and mother that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
    1. Eph 6:2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise:
  6. Exodus 20:13 “You shall not murder”
    1. Mat 5:22 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.
  7. Exodus 20:14 “You shall not commit adultery”
    1. Mat 5:28 “Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart”
  8. Exodus 20:15 “You shall not steal”
    1. Mat 5:40 “If someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well”
  9. Exodus 20:16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
    1. Rev 22:14, 15 “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a ”
  10. Exodus 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Luke 12:15 “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed”

If Noah lived in the USA Today….

Gen 6:5, 6 “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He grieved in His heart.”
IF NOAH LIVED IN THE UNITED STATES TODAY…… Some humor and truth for your day

And the Lord spoke to Noah and said, “In one year, I am going to make it rain and cover the whole earth with water until all flesh is destroyed. But I want you to save the righteous people and two of every kind of living thing on the earth.  Therefore, I am commanding you to build an Ark.”

In a flash of lightening, God delivered the specifications for an Ark. In obedience, Noah took the plans and agreed to build the Ark. “Remember” said the Lord, “You must complete the Ark and bring everything aboard in one year.

Exactly one year later, fierce storm clouds covered the earth and all the seas of the earth went into a tumult.  The Lord saw that Noah was sitting in his front yard weeping. “Noah,” He shouted.  “Where is the Ark?”

“Lord, please forgive me!” cried Noah. “I did! my best, but there were big problems.

  1. I had to get a permit for construction.
  2. The plans did not comply with the codes.
  3. I had to hire an engineering firm and redraw the plans.
  4. Then I got into a fight with OSHA over whether or not the Ark needed a fire sprinkler system and flotation devices.
  5. Then my neighbor objected, claiming I was violating zoning ordinances by building the Ark in my yard,
  6. So I had to get a variance from the city planning commission.
  7. I had problems getting enough wood for the Ark, because there was a ban on cutting trees to protect the Spotted Owl. I finally convinced the U.S. Forest Service that I needed the wood to save the owls.
  8. However, the Fish and Wildlife Service won’t let me catch any owls. So, no owls.
  9. The carpenters formed a union formed a picket line around our home.  I had to negotiate a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board before anyone would pick up a saw or a hammer.  Now I have 16 carpenters on the Ark, but still no owls.
  10. When I started rounding up the other animals, I got sued by an animal rights group.  They objected to me only taking two of each kind aboard.
  11. Just when I got the suit dismissed, the EPA notified me that I could not complete the Ark without filing an environmental impact statement on the proposed flood.  They didn’t take very kindly to the idea that they had no jurisdiction over the conduct of the Creator of the universe.
  12. Then the Army Corp of Engineers demanded a map of the proposed new flood
    plain.  I sent them a globe.
  13. Right now, I am trying to resolve a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that I am practicing discrimination by not taking Godless, unbelieving people aboard!
  14. The IRS has seized my assets, claiming that I’m building the Ark in preparation to flee the country to avoid paying taxes.  I just got a notice from the state that I owe them some kind of user tax as I failed to register the Ark as a “recreational watercraft.”
  15. Finally, the ACLU got the courts to issue an injunction against further construction of the Ark, saying that since God is flooding the earth, it is a religious event and therefore unconstitutional. I really don’t think I can finish the Ark for another 5 or 6 years!” Noah wailed.

The sky began to clear, the sun began to shine and the seas began to calm.   A rainbow arched across the sky.  Noah looked up hopefully. “You mean you are not going to destroy the earth Lord?”
“No,” said the Lord sadly.  “I don’t have to. The government already has.

That is the humorous side. Remember a sad note. Remember of course that

God is sovereign over all governments so His control is the one absolute we can count on for our lives and even for a modern day Noah. All except Noah’s
family died because of their rejection of God at that time. I wonder how close our world’s view of God is today to that same rejection?  And more of a challenge is, how does my view of God stack up. Is He #1 in my life or #???????
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.   

Gen 6:22 & 7:1 “Thus Noah did; according to all God commanded him,
so he did. Then the Lord said to Noah, ‘Come into the ark, you and all
your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me
in this generation.”

We will all have a Resurrected Body reunited with our Souls…..

Resurrection Body to be Reunited with the Soul

When you die where does your body go and does it stay there for eternity? What a question and one that has many views but only one that counts. Some people believe that once you die physically your body is in the grave and that is all that there is. Fortunately that is not what God says and the God who created us is the only one who holds the truth for all questions like this one.

Did you know that your body will be resurrected and reunited with your soul according to the Bible? And yes that is regardless of whatever state your body is in at that time. The same God who formed you from the dust of the ground can place you back together to stand before Him on judgement day.

If you believe in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit then you also believe that God recorded all truth for us in the Bible and it does not change from generation to generation (Mal 3:6).

There are two groups of people when it comes to the resurrection of the body reuniting with the soul. The two groups are first those called ‘born again’ believers who have placed their faith in God and His Son Jesus sacrifice as their judgement for sins. Then there are those who are unbelievers who place their faith in their own personal merits, church affiliation, family heritage or anything other than or in addition to Jesus to determine their eternal destiny.

Do not be concerned about how can our decomposed or destroyed bodies be once again made whole and put back together with our souls. The God who created us is more than able to. The issue at hand is when you are resurrected for what purpose will it be and where will you spend eternity. The believer’s destiny is to spend eternity with God. The unbeliever’s purpose of resurrection is to stand at the Great White Throne Judgement and give account of what they were depending on to wash away their sins. They choose self, their church denomination, their good works or even Jesus plus works which in the Bible is called ‘Another Jesus’. (Revelation 20) as their eternal destiny.

In scripture which is the one source of truth that never changes (Mal 3:6), there are multiple resurrections noted for the believer but only one for the unbeliever. The question this morning to ask yourself is; ‘which one will I be at?’

The resurrections for the believer or ‘born again’ CHRISTians are;

  • Mat 27:51-53 Many OT believers or saints as the Bible calls them are raised to life when Jesus died on the cross for our sins. The dead  come out of the tombs or graves after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city Jerusalem and appeared too many people. Note that in the Bible a saint is anyone who has placed their faith in Jesus as their Savior which is different than how our world would define a saint. The difference shows the enemy satan at work trying to change God’s truths. For never changing truths check out II Tim 3:16,17, II Peter 1:20,21 and Mat 5:18.
  • I Thes 4:16-18 Many believe this is a description of when Jesus raptures or takes His church out of this world just before the start of the 7 years of tribulation our world will go through. The Church of the Bible are the people and no one particular denomination. Scripture does not mention the name of any denomination that we have in our world today. The enemy at work once again trying to distort and change God’s truths.
    • The resurrection of the dead noted here are those ‘born again’ saints or believers who have trusted Christ down through the ages and have passed away. While their souls are in heaven their bodies await this reuniting with their bodies. The reuniting does not take place so they can stand at a judgement seat for their sins. Jesus did that and His blood washes our sins away (Acts 16:31, Rom 10:13, Titus 3:5, Rom 8:1). HALLELUJAH.
  • Revelation 20:4-6 There is a 7 year period of tribulation that is to come on our world giving mankind one last chance to trust in Jesus. During those years the judgement the world brings on itself by denying Jesus destroys most of our world as we know it and most of the people die during those years without trusting Jesus. Immediately following that period of 7 years is a 1000 year period of time where Jesus rules our world called the Millennium.
    • During the Millennium those ‘born again’ believers that were martyred during the Tribulation period will be resurrected to rule with Jesus for those 1000 years.

The Resurrection of all unbelievers who have passed away without having trusted in God will occur at;

    • Revelation 20:11-15 The body in whatever condition it is in will once again be made whole and reunited with the soul that has waited in Hades after their physical death for those not trusting in Christ and awaiting judgment for their sins. Unbelievers choose to base their salvation on something or someone other than Jesus and this is their chance to plead their case.
    • Sadly listen to an example of them pleading their case for eternal life with God and His response.

 

  •  Mat 7:20-23 “Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
  • Rev 20:11-15 “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.  Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

 

The big question for this morning is to what Resurrection will you be at? For more on that visit the Bible where God speaks directly to us if we desire to know what must be done to be saved from the Great White Throne Judgement.  (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:8,9 and Romans 10:13)