Let Freedom Ring

It being the week of the Fourth of July the theme of “Freedom” was held up and honored for the virtue it is and rightly so, at church today we did too. I took a pic of something posted on the overhead screen just before we began singing the Praise and Worship song “Let It Rise”

Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

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As I read the words on the screen my thought was, “how twisted has that phrase and bible verse (2 Corinthians 3:17) been taken to give license to sinful behavior.” I won’t try to list them but there are many habits and behaviors that border on sin and others we just want to place in “my thorn in the flesh” category. While the Apostle Paul did say “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace (Romans 6:14), he also reminds us,

1 Corinthians 10:23-33 NKJV 23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.

Following praise and worship today at “My Church” Faith Cathedral in New Iberia Louisiana, and before Bishop Drew preached his sermon,  we had a small presentation of the flag of our nation and state by military veterans of our congregation.  The veteran speaker closed his remarks with some words of Lee Greenwood’s song, “God Bless The USA”

If tomorrow all the things were gone
I worked for all my life
And I had to start again
With just my children and my wife

I thank my lucky stars
To be living here today
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom
And they can’t take that away

And I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I’d gladly stand up next to you
And defend Her still today
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.

Again my thoughts were how the virtue of “Freedom” can be lifted high by so many people, some even in churches today, and yet be totally bound by areas of sin or unedifying and unhealthy habits like smoking or overeating to mention common things. Any type of Virtue and the concept of Freedom are Inseparable!!!

Then Bishop Drew got to preached his sermon today, July 7,2019 that was titled “Little Foxes” and starts at 6:05 into the video.

Bishop Drew’s message started out by pointing to the verses of the Song of Solomon 2:15 and Luke 10:38-42

Song of Solomon 2:15 NKJV 15 Catch us the foxes, The little foxes that spoil the vines, For our vines have tender grapes.

Luke 10:38-42 NKJV  38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

41 And  Jesus answered and said to her“Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Bishop Drew’s sermon is acknowledging my thoughts of “Freedom vs Bondage of sin or bad habits” effect on our lives as the Apostle Paul expressed when speaking of what edifies God in our lives and bodies and what doesn’t.  He said the little foxes eat the stalk of the vine to cause the vines to fall so they can get at the grapes.  They must be “caught” not just killed because the life of everything God created is valuable in some way.

Later in his sermon Bishop Drew speaks of who is it that makes a good doctor.  Is it the handsome young one just out of school who never performed an operation or the elderly decrepit looking one with thousands of surgeries under his belt. He goes on to relate that to the person who makes a good minister in an area is one who has had experience in that area. My example would be an ex alcoholic teaching and relating to those who are trying to get deliverance in that area.

Sadly and yet boldly I have to say my expertise is in sin and the bondage it can place on you. If you are willingly in sin you probably won’t get what I’m trying to express and call me a hypocrite. If God has sent His spirit of repentance to pay you a visit you will understand because you feel the shackles of sin and the power it has on you every time you try to stop doing that thing you have come to despise.  You know the fight you put up and struggle you go through to gain victory over that thing. FREEDOM is a word thrown around a lot in our country and churches, all the while many are walking around dragging invisible balls & chains that shame, humiliate and even affect their lives and the lives of those they love. I know firsthand what it is to have enough of “a sin” and cry out to God for deliverance with all sincerity but lose the battle over and over.

In John chapter 8 Jesus told the Pharisees when they brought the woman caught in adultery that He was the “Light of the World” and anyone who “followed Him” would not walk in darkness. They then asked Jesus who is your father. Jesus said if you had known (recognized Him as the Messiah) they would have known the Father, but you don’t know me or the Father. Even though they know the Law of Moses perfectly, they are spiritually blind and bound by that blindness. But Jesus goes on to say,

34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Bishop Drew says in his sermon that Jesus said,

Matthew 6:24 KJV No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Before service started Pastor Don Phar said his message for this coming Friday night service would be about “Having God As Our Master” and only one entity can be a master. He said if God is your Master you can have perfect peace in every situation.

That is true, I know it right now. I was laid of a job I’ve been at for the last 8 years and have perfect trust in God that this will work out just fine. I am not my own, I have been bought by a great price, the Blood of Jesus. I know all things work together for my good. I didn’t just decide to make God the Master of my life last week. It was no surprise to God when I was told my services were no longer needed because of a new company buying and taking over our oil field.  And I know the difference of talking about living in the “land of the free,” acting like I can do anything I please and yet be bound in sin, wanting to be set free.

The day you really wake up and realize the sin you thoroughly enjoyed is your master and it controls you is the time you can realize you are not really free. Now you can seriously cry out to God to help you be set free. Your sin is your master and all sin comes for satan so he is your master if you want to admit it or not. If by the Grace of God, Jesus God’s Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

So many people live life like it’s a game. They act independent or even pious lives in public but behind closed doors they cuddle up to their thorn in the flesh sin. They let down their guard intentionally and entertain thoughts knowing exactly where it will lead. Then say and think “I’m under Grace not Law, Paul had his thorn in the flesh sin and that was ok.” But no person knows the day or hour that their time in this life will expire. Jesus gave a serious warning to the Pharisees for walking in darkness and not walking in the Light He brought into the world,

23 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

 Remember what Jesus said,

Matthew 6:24 KJV No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

God will not be mocked. He knows every word you ever heard, your every thought, the motives and intent of everything you ever did, even the things you claim you did “for God.” He will be just in His decision to let anyone into heaven or send them to hell.

The thing that made me realize God hates willful, premeditated and lusted after sin was His Word, brought to life in my understanding. God shined “Light” in my mind to understand it. After that point I had a choice of believing the twisted gospel of “no law, only grace” or what God showed me.

In the Old Testament, ALL the sacrifices for sin were for “Unintentional Sin” and many times it says, as in Leviticus 4,

23 or if his sin which he has committed comes to his knowledge, he shall bring as his offering a kid of the goats, a male without blemish.

Verses about sacrifices for sin done in ignorance links, Leviticus 4:2 KJV, Leviticus 4:13 KJV, Leviticus 4:22 KJV, Leviticus 4:27 KJV, Leviticus 5:15 KJV, Leviticus 5:17 KJV

The person comes to “understand” they have sinned against God, only then could they bring a sacrifice to atone for their sin. Animal sacrifices for sin were only for sins committed “through ignorance.” Willful sin which was known as “high handed” only had one remedy, repentance. To turn away from doing it. If it was a sin punishable by death some people would run to the altar of God and “lay hold to the horns of the altar.” They knew they couldn’t bring a sacrifice because it was intentionally so they would grab onto the horns that were on the four corner of the altar hoping for God’s mercy.  God’s word says this about it,

Exodus 21:14  14 But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die.

Joab, the captain of King David’s army had shed the innocent blood of Abner and Amasa so David told Solomon to not let Joab go to his grave in peace.

28 Then news came to Joab, for Joab had defected to Adonijah, though he had not defected to Absalom. So Joab fled to the tabernacle of the Lord, and took hold of the horns of the altar. 29 And King Solomon was told, “Joab has fled to the tabernacle of the Lord; there he is, by the altar.” Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, “Go, strike him down.” 30 So Benaiah went to the tabernacle of the Lord, and said to him, “Thus says the king, ‘Come out!’ ”

And he said, “No, but I will die here.” And Benaiah brought back word to the king, saying, “Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me.”

31 Then the king said to him, “Do as he has said, and strike him down and bury him, that you may take away from me and from the house of my father the innocent blood which Joab shed. 32 So the Lord will return his blood on his head, because he struck down two men more righteous and better than he, and killed them with the sword—Abner the son of Ner, the commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, the commander of the army of Judah—though my father David did not know it. 33 Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab and upon the head of his descendants forever. But upon David and his descendants, upon his house and his throne, there shall be peace forever from the Lord.”

34 So Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up and struck and killed him; and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness. 35 The king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his place over the army, and the king put Zadok the priest in the place of Abiathar.

Maybe you say that is Old Testament, we are in the New Testament times now. No sacrifices are being offered on any altars anymore though the Temple Institute in Israel is in the process of trying to get one built soon. They have already built an altar with the four horns placed on each corner because they don’t accept the finished work of Jesus Christ. Maybe they will tie an animal sacrifice to a horn of the altar before it is offered soon too as this psalm says,

“God is the Lord—He has showed us light—bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.” Psalm 118:27

Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God was bound to the cross 2,000 years ago and he said “It Is Finished.” That verse says “God has showed us light.” Jesus said “I am the light of the world.” He is also the “Horn of our salvation.” Hold onto Him for dear life.

Don’t refuse the “Light,” the understanding of His Word Jesus gives you, walk in it in obedience. If you do He will shine more light to understand even more. Don’t be like the people Jesus spoke of when He said this after one of the most famous verses in the Bible,

John 3:16-21 NKJV  16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Your aren’t FREE if you walk in darkness, sin or evil and desire and plan them “presumptuously.” Jesus told many people “go and sin no more” even adding at times “lest a worst thing come upon you.” Jesus didn’t come to excuse sin, instead He clearly raised the bar when he said this,

Matthew 5:27-28  “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

 Bondage to sin can even be only in your mind but will still be accounted as sin against you if you relish imagining or replaying your evil deeds.

Then there is the precious Blood of Jesus that He willingly shed on the cross and before it. The Power of Jesus’ Blood cleanses us from sin but will you mock God against the precious Blood of Jesus. Will you willfully commit sin knowing and planning to claim “it”s all under the Blood of Jesus?”

Hebrews 10:26-30 NKJV   26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[g]says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

That’s in the New Testament!!!!!

 We sang Francis Scott Key’s national anthem today too for worship service, “God Bless America.” The phrase in it, “the land of the FREE and the home of the brave” is just as not completely true as it should be today as it was back then. Many of our African American brothers and sisters were very much slaves back then. Today many of our church brothers and sisters are slaves to sins Jesus shed light upon but they refused the light and chose to walk in darkness at their own peril. As Bishop Drew pointed out in his sermon, even the little things, the “Little Foxes” need to be caught.

The battle for your soul begins in your mind where Father God and Satan present their will for you. Walking in darkness is not comprehending. Your eyes don’t see, your ears don’t hear, your heart can’t perceive truth. Apostle Paul did NOT promote Lawlessness!!!

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 NKJV   For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

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