Celebrating Real Freedom

I am completely baffled and heartbroken by the direction of our country. The Supreme Court's ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby is a huge victory, yet at the same time, freedom of speech and freedom of religion are under aggressive attack. I have thought often that it's time for everyone in our family to have passport a passport, but then, where would we go?The day our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, they established more than just a declaration of freedom from Great Britain and tyrannical rule. July 4, 1776, marked the beginning of an eleven-year journey that included much hardship, sacrifice, and bloodshed and eventually led to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. A new government designed to protect the freedom of its people, including our freedom of religion and freedom of speech, was born.Regardless of my opinion of certain authorities and special interest groups and their current efforts to encroach on those very freedoms, no matter how disappointed or baffled I am with city ordinances, state laws, and federal legislation and rulings that seem to single out a single sect of the American population - those who follow Jesus - America is still the greatest country in the world.We can and should celebrate the blessings of living in the greatest nation on earth, not just tomorrow for the Fourth of July, but every day. While some might want to stifle our freedoms, we are still free, and it is cause for deep gratitude and grand celebration.I needed this reminder Sunday as my pastor preached on freedom. Sometimes I'm like a spoiled child who doesn't see the abundance of the blessings all around her because all she's too focused on what isn't going her way. I want to see our government and our elected officials adhere to our constitution. I want U.S. citizens to wake up to the great price we pay when we allow the government to expand its reach and power beyond its constitutional bounds. I want to deliver a swift kick in the butt to apathetic Americans who can't and don't want to see the high price we are paying for a government that exchanges liberty and personal responsibility for bailouts and entitlements. I desperately desire the rise of an uncompromising, godly man with firm convictions and a steel spine to the position of president of the United States.For all the ways I'm not getting my way, I am grateful for the freedom I enjoy as an American! Even more significant, though, as God reminded me Sunday, is the freedom I have in Christ.The divine transaction (see A Divine Transaction) through which Jesus becomes our Lord and Savior puts us under God's divine authority, and we have freedom that can never be taken away, no matter how tyrannical or oppressive governing authorities may become. No matter how many freedoms we may lose. No matter the price of that freedom or the price of losing those freedoms. No matter the persecution we may face for the unpopularity of our beliefs as we stand for God’s truth.You see, our Founding Fathers set us free from bondage to a tyrannical king, but Jesus sets us free from the ruler of this world - Satan. Both are formidable oppressors, but the King of Kings rules over all, and when He sets you free, you are free indeed no matter what man does to you. As Jesus declared in Matthew 10:28, "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."Even if we as Americans lose freedoms here in our nation, as Christians, we never lose the freedom Christ Jesus gives. Again, the words of Jesus assure us, "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed" (John 8:36).Always.Free from this world. Free from the fear of man and what he can do to us. Free from the fear of death. Free from the fear of instability, uncertainty, and persecution.Free to give a reason for the hope that we have.Do you have that hope? As you celebrate freedom tomorrow, is it simply the freedom man offers, which may be here today and gone tomorrow, or is it the genuine, irrevocable freedom Christ offers which no man can take away? Do you want that hope? Click here to know more.Lord, thank You for the freedom You bring through salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. Thank You for the men You inspired and empowered in the founding of this great nation, and for the civic freedoms they fought to establish. Bring revival to Your church in America. Grant us repentance and save our nation. Us us, Lord, as we become more wholly Yours today, and give peace, strength, and great reward to our brothers and sisters in Christ in foreign countries where they are rejected, persecuted, tortured, and murdered for their faith in Christ.