Emancipated, But Are You Free?

Posted: June 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: It Hurts So Good, Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

freedom_shackles_chains_Few words have changed the course of American history like “emancipate.” It’s very utterance stirs images of black families being freed from bondage.

I can see entire families who have just received the news colliding in the middle of a field with crazed enthusiasm greater than the celebration pile at the end of a sports championship win. Decades of struggle, toil, and beatings finally come to an end. The fruit of their labor could now be their own.

But for some it was not so. When the Union won and President Lincoln enforced the Emancipation Proclamation, some slave owners were less than honest. Since slaves weren’t taught to read, some owners told their slaves not that they were free, but that it meant that they could no longer be sold to a new master. This was incredible news to them as it meant their families would no longer be split up and sold to other masters. They could all serve the one master together.

Some worked for years for their old masters before they found out that all along they were truly free to walk off the plantation and make their own way in life.

This Sunday at church, we sang the song “Break Every Chain” by Jesus Culture. The main words of the chorus are:

There is power in the name of Jesus
To break every chain

In singing these words, I couldn’t help but think about the freedom that Jesus’ death and resurrection purchased for all mankind. However, a harsh master, the Father of Lies has intentionally misrepresented it to us – and some have believed him.

I cannot imagine what it was like to be a slave in the early years of our great country. The humiliation, degradation, and utter emotional and physical devastation that they underwent is unsurpassed in even my imagination.

But I do know what it means to be hopeless and a slave to sin. I know the weight of those chains well. I know what it means to serve the Master of Deception. The wounds of his whip and the scars of his shackles remain.

But when I put my faith in Christ, I am no longer a slave to sin. He gave me the right to walk away from sin and never serve its master again. But I fear so many times I look down and see my broken chains and loosed shackles and just stand there. Maybe it’s that after so many years of bondage I don’t know what freedom even means and the Father of lies says, “Yes Chris, you are free. You can be holy and still work for me on the side. You can raise your hands in worship to God on Sunday morning and lower His standards for you in worship to me on Sunday evening.”

Instead of running for the hills with my freedom papers in hand, I choose to stay and work for the same hard master. I believe my old, harsh master’s words over God’s.

Maybe it’s that I’ve restricted the definition of freedom as only a release from bondage and not also as the permission to move toward liberty. Is it possible that I’ve watered down the regenerating power of God in my life as only the power to abstain from sin and not as the authority to be righteous and holy.

Corporately, as a church, have we done the same and in so given ourselves, by an abuse of grace, a way to serve our old master? Have we manipulated freedom’s definition to hold tight to unholy habits that satisfy our flesh yet defile our spirits?

I know I’ve asked more questions than answered, but look hard at your life, and I will mine. We must look in the mirror and ask the hard questions and not be afraid of the answers. We must examine ourselves regularly to see if we are still in the faith, or out of it. And do so humbly allowing God to confront us where we are wrong and submit ourselves to His correction.

Remember, Jesus’ death was a contract. We’ve been emancipated. We are free, because whoever the Son sets free, is free indeed!


Martin Luther King Jr. on Forgiveness

Posted: January 22nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »
Copyright AP Photo/PL

Rev. Martin Luther King with Harlem Hospital's Dr. Emil A. Naclerio. AP Photo/PL

On September 20, 1958, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was nearly assassinated. At a book signing, Izola Curry stabbed Rev. King in the chest with a steel letter opener. It was reported the next morning that it was so close to his aorta that if he’d have sneezed it would have killed him (source).

I cannot imagine what I would feel toward that woman those five days in recovery, but I can give you the words of Rev. King one month later.

“I am deeply sorry that a deranged woman should have injured herself in seeking to injure me. I can say, in all sincerity, that I bear no bitterness toward her and I have felt no resentment from the sad moment that the experience occurred…

“And finally, as I indicated before, the experience I had in New York gave me time to think. I believe that I have sunk deeper the roots of my conviction that nonviolence {non-violent} resistence is the true path for overcoming injustice and for stamping out evil. (source)”

Incredible. Not only does he forgo any sympathy toward his injury, he focuses on his concern for the woman that tried to drive a letter opener through his heart! Sometimes I have a hard time forgiving my own family of petty differences and incidents, yet this great man did not hold a single ounce of malice toward a woman who tried to end his life. He did not even press charges against her and instead encouraged her to seek treatment.

And then I consider the words of Jesus, “But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:15 CEV)” Wow, really? Is God saying that harboring unforgiveness separates me from him? And I see Jesus hanging on the cross looking down at the people screaming obscenities at him while demanding that he prove his claims, at the soldiers with blood splattered hammers in-hand gambling for his clothes while he gasps for air. Then I hear those final words, “Father forgive them.”

I’m left empty, praying. “God help me to be like that. Help me to let go of any debt I feel others owe me because of the pain they’ve caused and truly forgive them. And not only to forgive them but show them love and compassion.”

I’ll leave you with these words from Rev. King and a challenge. Who has wronged you that you have been unwilling to forgive? Now take the time this moment and truly forgive them.

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”


To Live Is Christ, To Die Is Gain

Posted: September 8th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

This is a great bit of audio.  Here is the video from youtube, or if you like, you can follow the link and download the mp3.

Words that hurt so good: “They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God.” John 16:2

Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?   As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.   Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.   For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,   Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Download Now! To live is Christ, to die is gain (compilation) by Compilations


Don't let it be said by God, "I never knew you."

Posted: August 13th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Saw this recently.  Wow.  About 10 minutes long, but it will really make you think about.  There is a way to pursue righteousness that leads to hell!


Forgiveness: A Martyr's Prayer

Posted: July 11th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Ravensbruck-1Recently I read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.  Wow.  The atrocities and torture that thousands have endured for the cross is humbling.  To think that somehow the largest sacrifice I have to make on a daily basis is laying down my pride just seems petty.  Anyhow, in reading other articles about martyrs, I ran across a portion of  “Prayers of the Martyrs,” which is equally humbling.

The story was of a child that was taken to Ravensbruck (a German concentration camp for women).  In this camp, approximately 92,000 of the 132,000 women there died from gas chambers, malnourishment, sickness, and other violent acts.  I cannot conceive of what it must have been like there, but despite all of these conditions, this humbling prayer was found written on a paper in the coat of a dead girl:

forgive-4

O Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will.  But, do not remember all of the suffering they have inflicted upon us; Instead remember the fruits we have borne because of this suffering — our fellowship, our loyalty to one another, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart that has grown from this trouble.  When our persecutors come to be judged by you, let all of these fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.”

Oh that I could learn to forgive others for the offenses that seem petty in light of this suffering.


Obama declared June Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month

Posted: June 2nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Political | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

In a press release given yesterday, Obama has declared June Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.

My thoughts: Why is it not listed with the other press releases at WhiteHouse.gov? I had to search for it to confirm it wasn’t a scam.  Somehow this doesn’t surprise me.  Though Obama doesn’t support gay marriage, he will declare them a “Pride Month” to keep them somewhat happy.  If I were in this group, I’m not sure how I would take that.

Please leave your thoughts.

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary

___________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release                                     June 1, 2009

LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2009
- – - – - – -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.

LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country’s response to the HIV pandemic.

Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBT rights movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openly today than ever before. I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration — in both the White House and the Federal agencies — openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism.

The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done. LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without the fear of harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed to live their lives with dignity and respect.

My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.

These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.

BARACK OBAMA

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Presidential-Proclamation-LGBT-Pride-Month/


A few thoughts on homosexuality as sin . . .

Posted: January 21st, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

A recent comment by Reynvaan has caused me to do some thinking on homosexuality as sin. Here is the comment:

  1. No offense intended, but if Jesus never spoke a word on the subject of homosexuality, why is it an issue for Christians? If it’s because the Old Testament condemns it, then you should (among other unspeakable things) also be killing children who disobey their parents. If it’s because the apostles condemn it, then you should (among other ludicrous things) be actively prohibiting women from speaking in church.

First, thanks for the comment, no offense was taken. I love to get in the Bible and search out why I believe what I say I do.

I guess I will start with the Old Testament. I agree in part with what you said about the law being obsolete. I believe that the original law, as laid out to the Jews in the Old Testament was fulfilled through Jesus Christ. He paid the price for sin so that we could live under grace (Hebrews 9:22, Eph 1:7). Obviously there is no longer animal sacrifice, etc. The things listed in the law are still detestable to God, and He still hates them today, but through Christ, there is forgiveness. But just because there is grace doesn’t mean we get to keep disobeying God (Romans 5-6). To continue in sin would mean that we don’t truly love God, because if we do, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15).

Even before the law however, God laid out the original plan. He created a man and a woman, and commissioned  them to multiply (Genesis 1:27-28). He said that man needed a suitable helper, and created woman, not another man, and not two women. His plan is for one man to be with one woman in a monogamous relationship or for them to be in no sexual relationship at all. There is no indication in the Bible that it was ever intended differently.

I couldn’t find any red letters that said, “the homosexual lifestyle is sin.” I guess I thought I would.

Homosexuality isn’t the only sexual sin; fornication, adultery, bestiality, and every other type of sexual  relationship outside of marriage are condemned.  In the following passage, Jesus clearly states that God made man and woman, and that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Matthew 19:4-5 (quoting Genesis 1:27, 2:24), “And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

Though homosexuality is not mentioned, it is not found in what Jesus stated was the correct sexual relationship. Therefore anything outside of what is stated as acceptable is unacceptable.

As for what the apostles said regarding it, I agree with them. Paul writes in I Corinthians 6:9-10 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”

The best part is the next verse, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

And that is the end of it all. None of us are of our own selves acceptable before God except through the blood of Christ. Sin is simply disobedience to God, and we are all guilty, no matter what name we give it.

Please leave your thoughts.

- mooney