Saturday, July 4, 2015

I Am Free

I am free.
Praise the Lord, I'm free.
No longer bound, no more chains holding me.
My sould is resting.
Oh what a blessing.
Praise the Lord.
I'm Free.

Paul begins his letter to the Philippians thanking them for their continued support.  
He confirms to them that he is praying for them constantly and that his spirit gets overjoyed when he thinks of them and loves them.

Each time I read this I must stop a moment and think . . .  He is in prison. Hello?

If the Philippians were partners in his ministry, maybe he could have complained a little, whined a little, released some frustration a little.  

On the contrary, he says he is overjoyed.  He says he is thinking of them, not himself.

This speaks volumes to me.  

Paul knew what he was getting into when he accepted the call of Christ.

He knew he'd have enemies, he already had them. 

Becoming an ambassador for the very thing he persecuted would just add a few more.  
Prison was not a surprise to him, he knew he'd serve some jail time.

His message, his calling, his assignment went against everything the culture accepted.

Amazingly, he didn't feel stuck, trapped, bound.  
He didn't allow obstacles to distract his mission.

The day he was knocked off his horse, he received a freedom that no one else, or cirmstance, 
could give or take away.  

Christ is freedom!  

As you know I'm a middle school teacher.  Each year I read a book to my 7th graders called, "The Color of My Words" by Lynn Joseph.  The story has a character called, "Guario".  He was named after a Taino Chief called, "Guarocuya".  Guarocuya was persecuted by the Spaniards in their quest to dominate Dominican Republic.  Each time he was hunted, he was never caught.  His creativity and cleverness helped him to escape.  Eventually, the king and queen of Spain, notice his incredible resolve to survive.  So, they offer him freedom to live all of his days in peace.  Guarocuya's response to the king and queen was that they could not give him what he already had.  
He had been free all along.

Just like Paul who was overjoyed in prison, 
and Guarocuya who could not be given freedom when he already had it, 
we, too, are free.

We may have obstacles, but we're still free.
We may have weaknesses, but we're still free.
We may have difficulties, but we're still free.

We are free because of Christ.
He came to free us from our circumstances,
In Him we have peace.
In Him we have rest.
In Him we have hope.
Not as the world gives, 
but the an eternal one
that is only found in Him.

On this July 4th,
we celebrate the freedom that so many
brave soldiers fought for so that
we as a nation can be established
independent of the rule of others.  

I also celebrate the freedom I've been given in Christ.
The one He paid for so that I can live free from the bondage of all that sin brings.

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair.
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed"

2 Corinthians 4: 8 - 9

"So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
John 8:36

~ Be Free ~

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