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July 2024

by Rev. Phillip Girardin

What does it mean to be free? When we think of freedom, our minds will likely go all kinds of places. We might think about how we are free to go where we want. It's possible that we will think of the idea of we can do what we want or get what we want. In 1776, freedom was the idea of being separated from a King who was clinically disturbed. An example of which was in 1788 he had “psychotic illness” and in 1810 dementia which eventually led to his death. We rebelled against England because of oppressive taxes at 1.5% here in the colonies, compared to England's 7% at the time. We also felt that we were not free for lack of representation and self-determination.

Yet the ideas of freedom are not seen. We aren't free to say and do as we wish. There are laws that govern it. If a person makes an encryption code and doesn't provide a copy of the key to the NSA, that's a felony. If you want to own a car, you can't own any car, you can only own what you can afford. Caps in the economy make upward movement relatively difficult in some cases. Taxes are levied against the citizens without regard to their opinion on the morality of said taxes. Do you agree with abortion? Planned Parenthood receives an average of $592 million dollars... in actual number that looks like $592,000,000. From 2019-2021, they received $1.78 billion. How many millions went into abortion? Social media has a remarkable ability to control how people think with the result that so many wait to see what the latest influencer says, and the tragedy is that this is across all age groups. It's just a matter of who the influencer is. The idea of being free is something that we aim for but can never actually attain.

When we look at this spiritually, the reality is that it is even worse. Apart from Jesus Christ, we are bound to sin, death, and the devil. Talk about some hateful monarchs! They happily let us sit in our dreams and desires allowing us the elixir of human philosophy, all the while wringing their bony hands readying themselves for the next corrupt soul to fall to them. Even the idea of our moral superiority, or intellectual loftiness is nothing but a fever dream. Sin has it's hooks in. Death comes to all (unless Jesus returns first), and the devil haunts the lives of every person alive. Freedom is far from us.

Yet Paul tells us something incredible. In Galatians 5:1 (a verse the founders used to justify the Revolution) Paul tells us:

"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."

The prosperity Gospel of the American fundamentalist movement would remind us that the Founding Fathers said this in order to make it okay to cast off English citizenship, yet what Paul speaks about is the reality that we are free in Christ. Jesus' work has freed all mankind from those cruel taskmasters; sin, death, and the devil. Jesus has snatched us from their grasp, and we have been given life and salvation in the most extraordinary way possible. He took the penalty of sin upon Himself, and gave you and me the laurel crown of victory. Jesus felt the dark and icy grasp of death and instead gives us the warm and bright eternity in Heaven with Him. Jesus even cares so much about you that if you decide to reject Him, while painful, He will let you... simply because in Christ you are truly free.

This year we are moving into an election year with two major candidates that seem to have had their better days. Both have glaring deficiencies. Jesus does not. This year, I am going to rejoice and celebrate, not that I'm an American, but that I'm a Child of God. I'm not going to celebrate the insanity of the political parties, but rather the peace that comes because of what Jesus has done for you and me. My independence, your independence, was won two thousand years ago on a hill outside of Jerusalem. Praise Jesus, and I can't wait for Him to return for us.

Blessed Independence Day

Pastor Phil

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