This Thing Called Freedom

There is no point in time when man did not long for freedom. Freedom was an idea sought by the Israelites while they were being held captive by the Egyptians. More recently, King George sought to withhold freedom from those over whom he ruled. There was no such thing as freedom for individuals to worship as they chose. Instead, the people had to kowtow to the very wishes of the tyrannical monarch. Freedom was nothing more than a waning thought in the night. That thought though would soon become a plan of action.

Freedom is not as simple as it may seem, yet the concept is extremely simple. Freedom is nothing more than the lack of influence from external entities. The Jews sought to be relieved of the autocratic influence of the Egyptians. Those under the aristocratically charged ideology of King George sought to be rid of the chains binding them to the whims of the dictatorial leader. This is why both groups of people left lands of oppression in favor of lands wherein they were able to worship God without the influence of the ruling class.

Freedom would come at a cost. Those leaving King George’s charge would soon find themselves in battles with the kingdom they once called home. Blood would be shed so that the founders of the United States of America would have the liberty to worship God without the influence of a tyrannical leader. And, the battles for freedom would go on. There would be the world wars, The Korean War, the Civil War, and other wars were fought to secure the freedoms of a people.

As we remember those fallen to protect our freedom it becomes increasingly difficult to overlook the One who died for the freedom of all people. John 8:36 has the words, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”  The freedom made possible by the Son is not the freedom to worship, while that freedom is enveloped in the freedom created by the Son. Nor is the freedom specific to the freedom of speech guaranteed in the United States Constitution. Instead, the freedom put for by the Son is freedom from sin. This means that those who choose to follow Christ walk in salvation. Salvation, theologically speaking, is deliverance from the power of sin.

If one is to be delivered from the power of sin, sin has no more influence over him. Deliverance from the power of sin means the one delivered no longer has to walk under the diabolical influence of the evil slave master, sin. It is much like the deliverance the Israelites experienced as well as the experience of those who fought to free a new nation from the oppressive hand of a dictatorial monarch. Freedom has a cost and that cost is the blood of those standing for freedom.

From the founding of the United States of America, many have raised the Star Spangled Banner as a sign of freedom. The colors are significant. The white is shown for the purity of a new country. The blue stands for the loyalty of those who fought and were to fight for the country. The red is for the bloodshed by those standing for the freedom the Star Spangled Banner represents. The price of freedom is far from cheap. Yet, the price must be paid. It is interesting that those paying the price for the freedom do not get to enjoy the very thing for which they laid their lives. Freedom, the one thing that is far from free.

The Son of God, Immanuel, also raised a banner. The Banner raised by the Son was a bloodstained banner. It is stained with His blood. The color of this banner is insignificant because the banner cannot be seen because it is covered in the blood of Jesus Christ. When properly applied the blood of Jesus washes away sin. Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. Without the shedding of blood, there is no freedom from sin. Christ, the Son of God, did more than all those who died for this country. Yes, we honor those who served and gave their lives for the sake of freedom. Still, we must not forget to honor the One who removed His robe of glory and died a sinner’s death so that we could be free from sin.

This thing called freedom cost many their lives. It is not cheap nor is it free. This thing called freedom means we can worship God without the oppressive hand of the Government. This thing called freedom caused the Son of God to wrap himself in the body of humanity so that man would be free from the impact of sin. This thing called freedom would be nonexistent without the shedding of blood. So, as we honor those who gave their lives for this country let us not forget the One who gave all for all.

The Real American Dream

In light of some of the problems that plague the United States many have either forgotten or have never know what the “American dream” is really about. There is a considerable lack of understanding of why our founding fathers fled the oppressive hand of one, King George. Well, there is little sense in rewriting the history books. However, it serves great purpose to examine two points of interest in respect to the founding of the United States as it relates to the American dream.

Item one – The matter of religious freedom under King George was much less than a misnomer. One had to essentially celebrate his way or no way. This is to say that King George preferred a State religion. It was, in a manner of speaking, a type of the bondage held by the Romans over the Jews. The Israelites were not allowed to worship God as they desired. They had to worship predicated upon the desires of the ruling authority. This was the problem between King George and those that sought freedom.

The real American dream had much to do with religious freedom. The preamble of the Constitution of the United States points to our Creator. It is our Creator that affords us the freedoms outlined in the Bill of Rights. The chief freedom is that of religion (or Christianity) as seen by our founding fathers. The 1st Amendment says in part that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” Hence, part of the American dream is one that allows the free worship of God without interference from Government. Note, the Amendment says nothing about freedom from religion, as some purport. Instead, the Christian need not hide or celebrate in private. He has every right to worship God publically without fear of governmental retaliation.

Still, there are those that seek to destroy Christianity. Christians are the only group of people wherein it is politically correct to offend and attack. Christians are the only ones forced to acquiesce to things contrary to the teachings of Scripture. Moreover, when Christians stand for godly virtues they are called everything but the children of God. Well, this is not what the founding fathers had in mind and this is not pleasing to God. The question, then, is where is the American dream for Christians desiring only to please God?

Item two – Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution discusses taxation. This is important because King George had no trouble imposing high taxes on the people. Among the taxes imposed on the young Colonies were the Tea, Quartering and Stamp taxes. None of these taxes did anything to aid America (not yet the United States) but served only to bolster the British desire. This was, in essence, theft of labour. This is why taxation, as outlined in the Constitution, was designed to be limited in scope and for the specific purpose of defending the homeland. The exact verbiage in part is, “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.”

Now, some argue that taxes should be high. Some even seek to biblical reason for such actions. While it is good and wonderful for the people to be generous and give of their labour it is not encumbered upon the Government to force such generosity. This is tantamount to slavery. Instead, part of the American dream is a dream to work and be successful. Some will fail and others will not. This really does not matter; the pursuit of happiness means there will be a struggle and that struggle comes in many forms. Financial stability, without an oppressive tax system, goes a long way to securing the American dream.

Many things can be addressed and the Constitution can be juxtaposed with Scripture on many fronts. And that is the point – freedom and the real American dream is a dream of worshipping God, even with our money, away from the oppressive hand of King George and the like.

 

Freely Speaking

From the time I heard of the incident outside Dallas, Texas I became a bit more incensed concerning the attacks on freedom of speech in this nation. Freedom of speech is a thing I freely use not only for political reasons but also as I speak concerning the things of God. I have said many times that I will not relent to the overtures of those that seek to silence opposing thoughts and I will not cease to stand now.  The 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America guarantees that we can speak freely without consequence from the government. If adherents of Islam take issue with the pictorial contest in Garland then perhaps they should move to a land wherein free speech is reserved only for those in power.

In these United States the right to free speech is unabridged. Despite that there are some that seek to silence those with whom they disagree. Consider, for instance, the “Fairness Doctrine.” With some, dissenters to certain view points are nothing less than bigots or suffer with some sort of newly discovered phobia. The problem is that the Constitution does not limit speech; instead it limits the government from controlling speech – especially religious and political speech.

With that let me say clearly that I have had my fill of Islamist coming to this country in an attempt to change it. We welcome all, including Muslims, with open arms in this country. Yes, it is true that Christians would love to see the adherents to Islam, as well as others, come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ and accept Him as Lord and Saviour. However, if individuals choose not Christ Christians do not seek to chop off the heads of those who will not follow. Lovers of Christ seek only to love dissenters to Christianity with the hopes of someday winning them. No, there is no desire to chop off the heads of non-believers from the Christian world. There is no desire to force acceptance of Christ by way of forced contrition.

With that I will freely speak because, first and foremost, I have been provided that freedom, not because of the Constitution, rather because of the freedom that rests in the Word of God. I am tired of those that attach Christianity and its tenants, yet I do not seek to destroy those who disagree with me. I believe, not just by reason of head knowledge, that the Word of God brings with it deliverance. That deliverance means that I do not have to succumb to things that pull from the truth. Additionally, as a Christian I have the choice (freedom) to live as I desire. Yet my desire is to please my Father. I rest in the comfort of the gifts of the Spirit and have no problem employing them in my life. How can I deny so great a salvation?

Some would dare say the recent events in Baltimore and Ferguson had much to do with free speech. Somehow it seems to me that free speech has little to do with vandalism. I am not certain what free speech has to do with theft. I fail to see how one can speak freely with the intent of disobeying laws that are intended to protect the rights of all. Well, dare I freely speak and say that those committing these crimes were not exercising their constitutional rights. They were not standing for justice wherein injustice had raised its head. Instead they took advantage of a situation and allowed the thug nature of criminal acts to spring forth. Yes, it has become politically incorrect to call thugs thugs as now it is racist. Well, if it walks like a thug, acts like a thug and sounds like a thug then it must be a thug: if I can say so.

The thing about freedom is that it impacts all that embrace it. Interestingly, it also impacts those that oppose it. Freedom is not limited to those that purposely walk in it. Instead, freedom reaches to all; even those that seek its destruction. With this I will continue to freely speak. I will continue to cry loud and spare not the truth of the Gospel. I would that all come and embrace the freedom of the Gospel whilst they lay down the vitriol that pulls from freedom. If there is to be destruction let us tear at the old man so as to be renewed in the Spirit of Love. If there is to be theft let there be stealing away to Jesus. If we must succumb to anything it might be best if we succumb to the freedom of the Word of God.

Are We Yet Slaves?

The annals of history show the early days of the United States fraught with slavery.  It was a time that tainted the flag of freedom showed as a cloak of burden. The slavery in the United States presented an institution that was anti-Constitutional, yet many fought to keep certain of the citizens downtrodden by hatred and selfishness. Slavery meant that segments of the population were under the control of the masters with no freedom to choose or live any other way except as instructed. The ever present bondage meant that the slave was beholden to his master no matter the slave’s desire.

There were also instances wherein slaves were freed. The freed slaves were no longer beholden to their masters. However, some slaves chose to live in a state of slavery except they were often counted as indentured servants. They chose to stay because in the master’s house there was comfort. There was a place to sleep, and food to eat. There was no need to buy food because the master took care of everything. As long as they stayed with the master the master made sure they were well.

Not much has changed in these United States. There is still slavery except that the slaves are not bound by chains. Some have been freed from the harsh taskmaster; yet they have given him allegiance because of the things he provides. Often these taskmasters present all the comforts of that can be had. Fame and fortune sometimes come with giving in to a taskmaster that loves only what can be done to further his own mission. However, there is no true freedom. There is nothing but constant appeasing of the thing that seeks only destruction.

The fact of the matter is that there is no reason for anyone to be enslaved. This is particularly true when it comes to sin. While it is true that the sin nature of man is natural it is more natural for the Son of God to come and provide a path of freedom from the sin. His vicarious death on the cross meant that no one has to give in to the bondage of the yoke of sin. All one needs to do is accept the atoning death of Christ as atonement for his own sin. However, there are those that choose to live in the bondage of sin, even though the Messiah has shed His blood so that sin can no longer have mastery of its subjects.

Galatians 5:1 shows Paul encouraging the church at Galatia with the words “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” The yoke Paul refers to is sin. Sin is a relentless slave master that promises all the world while doing nothing more than pulling the slave deeper into the abyss of death and destruction. Are we yet slaves to sin? Must we give our lives for a few comforts and a little pleasure?  Must we remain in bondage so as to seal our eternal fate out of the presence of a loving God?

The fact is that Christ did make us free. In His freedom the liberty is without bounds. All we need do is shed the robes of sin and replace those robes with the garments of praise. The praise will serve only to keep sin far from the one singing praises while building that relationship between God and man. And then there are those that choose not to walk in the liberty provided by Christ. There are some who chose to stay with the slave master who will only use them until they can be used no more. Are we yet slaves? Must we where the yoke of bondage that serves only to choke the life out of us?

Living as a slave to sin is living to fulfill the lust of the flesh. Adultery, fornication and uncleanness are tools of the slave trade. Must we give in to lasciviousness and idolatry? Are witchcraft, hatred and variance so important that we must relent our freedom? Are we yet slaves to wrath, strife and seditions? Must we give in to Envyings, murders, drunkenness, and reveling? Do we have to lay down our freedom for the temporary fulfillment of desire?

The death of Jesus served to set man free from the power of sin. Sin enslaves and separates while salvation joins and liberates. If Christ died for our sin are we yet slaves to sin?

Stop the Divide

Many may remember that then Senator Barack Obama took to the campaign trail and ran in great part as the President who will finally bring everyone together. There would be no more divisions predicated upon the idea of “race” as this half Black (perhaps true African-American) and half White man would understand the plight of all and be able to find ground whereupon all would be on a level playing field. Many voted for this future President because they thought him to be the one uniquely able to unite all and that he would be the very one for the downcast, downtrodden and the broken. Many of the same voters have since had buyer’s remorse.

However this nation has not been so divided since the Civil War. Some might recall the feigned war on women fighting against those who see every human life as precious; even the unborn children. This divide was not to be outdone by those who touted the unfairness of the riches of the so called one percent causing deeper and widening divides among the populace. Our President has also weighed in on divides among the people groups of the land turning young against old and Black against White. Some might recall how one set of police In Massachusetts were said to have acted “stupidly” in one case and how Travon Martin might look like the President. Now the police are under attack by not just the President but also Attorney General Eric Holder and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Of course we can’t leave race baiters Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson from the equation. Additionally to ignore SEIU, which might be behind some of the latest protests would be remiss.

The fact of the matter is that this country cannot be destroyed from the outside. It must be destroyed from within. In order to fundamentally change this country there must be multiple divides and attacks against the very founding of this country. The pretense that our Founders were racist from the onset and that equality for all meant leaving out certain others does very little to bridge real gaps in this wonderful country. Most people in this nation are not racist rather are a loving people that want nothing more than to live peaceably with all in as much as possible. This sentiment has been made evident by many yet there are those such as Sharpton that make a living by dividing an otherwise loving people.

It is past time this country began to lay aside the resounding hateful rhetoric of those that seek only riches by dividing the masses. It is time that all men, women, boys and girls reach for the reality that they, as individuals, are fearfully and wonderfully made. These United States are one nation under the True and Living God and this nation cannot and should not lay down its Judeo-Christian founding and values. Instead individuals need to reconcile with God and serve God without fear of a tyrannical government that further seeks to divide a Christian nation from the God of all. As a nation mere idiosyncratic ideologies need to give way to the freedom provided by the Constitution with a limited government. This is to say this nation needs to return to the roots of freedom provided by biblical and constitutional standards.

The fact is that divides seek only to destroy a people. Consider, for instance, divorce. This is among the most hateful divides against any people. It tears at all involved normally because of selfish reasons. The hurt and pain can last for years while tearing at the family economic status. Things are not much different when a nation is torn apart. Very few prosper when a nation tears from itself. The converse is that when a nation comes together many good things happen. Love begins to abound while those that seek hatred are minimized. People work together no matter the complexion of their skin. Peace becomes the order of the day while families and communities grow stronger because of a diminishing divide.

So, Mr. Sharpton, Mr. Jackson, Mr. de Blasio, Mr. Holder and Mr. President you are urged to stop the divide. Your words and actions have been divisive at the very least. This country needs leadership that will strengthen the common factor we all enjoy. That factor is freedom. We need the freedom of the law, which is the Constitution to let this nation stand. We need the freedom of worship. We need to be free from the false narrative of all things racist so that we can all join hand-in-hand as a people indivisible standing for the liberty that Christ has prepared for us all.

Again I Voted for Freedom

Yes, I did it again. I found my way to the early voting polling place recently. You have heard the story of how I did this very same thing in Baltimore a couple years ago. Yes, I voted early because I bemoan those long lines and loud people. What I bemoan even more is the lack of freedom that some seek to impose on this wonderful nation. With that I had no choice but to return to the polls as had been in the past in order to cast my mark for freedom. Yet before my vote was cast I paid attention to what was going on. I listened to the arguments of the contestants and knew that again I had to vote for freedom.

This is another matter that had to be taken personally. This is because there remain some in these United States of America that choose not freedom. Consider the many fights over individuals flying the United States flag on their property. This is a flag that resembles a free land. The red stands for the shed blood of those before us while the white stands for the purity of a free people and the blue for the loyalty of same. Well, I have had my fill of those who attack those choosing to express patriotism by flying the flag of the United States of America. That is a flag that I joined the Marine Corps to fight for. It is that flag that I learned to respect as a boy scout. It is because of the flag that I again voted for freedom.

As important as that flag is there is one thing more important than the flag that some want to trample upon. You see not only I am a natural born citizen of the United States I am also a staunch Christian to which I make no apologies. The Bible is in fact the Word of God and it is upon that Word that I stand. And when some tell me that I have to keep my Christian worldview to myself my freedom is greatly infringed upon. Even more Romans 6:7 declared that “He who the Son has set free is free indeed.” Well, I choose to walk in that freedom. I choose to wear that freedom on my sleeve and I will not hold back the truths of the word of God simply because some choose not freedom. While I love my country I love my God even more so once again I voted for freedom.

There is another document that affords me freedom. In fact much of the freedom by this document comes from the freedom of the Word of God. The Constitution of the United States of America specifically affords the citizens (not illegal immigrants) specific freedoms and specifically limits the government. A big government is not the mark of a free people rather a small government that allows freedom to live and breathe without the hand of a tyrannical government making and forcing decisions that have nothing to do with freedom. My vote went toward a small manageable government not one seeking to dictate my every move. Yes, I enjoy the freedom to worship and all other freedoms afforded by the Constitution so that again I voted for freedom.

In order to have freedom one must first have life. If life is prematurely snuffed out then there is no freedom. This is why I stand for those who would be killed before they are born. These people are not choices rather that are human beings that have been formed in the wombs of their mothers. How dare we decide who should live and who should die? How dare we abort simply because that new life would be an imposition? That unborn person deserves to be free and for that unborn person I voted. Life and freedom most definitely go hand in hand so again my vote was cast for freedom.

Economic freedom is another that only builds a strong people. The idea of raising the minimal wage (for which no such idea can be found in the Constitution) serves only to push some out of employment while raising the costs of goods and services. That is not freedom. That will only pull freedom from some and redistribute wealth to those who were pushed out of the work force. Instead I voted for the freedom of the free market wherein businesses are not over taxed. I voted for the freedom of hardworking people setting the course for their only lives. I voted for the freedom of energy independence. I voted for a nation to be prosperous and competitive in every possible way. I will not give in to the idea that economic freedom is tantamount to the love of money. So because I want economic freedom for me and mine again I voted for freedom.

The list of freedoms I voted for are nearly endless. I love the Lord Jesus Christ and the entire Godhead and I will fight for the freedom to worship until I can fight no more. I love my country and vowed to defend it against all enemies foreign and domestic. I voted to secure the freedom of a free loving people so I encourage one and all to join me in not just a right but also a responsibility as again I voted for freedom!