July 4, 2012
Even though I’m an adult, I love fireworks. Even small ones fascinate me. A few years ago I had an opportunity to see fireworks at our nation’s capital. I always wanted to see them there, as it seems the most fitting place for fireworks and all they represent to me: rocket’s red glare … bombs bursting in air … freedom, mystery, drama, wonder, and celebration … letting my mind swim back through the years to the courageous days of our forefathers. Lights, colors and sounds on the outside; all the feelings and goose bumps on the inside. It’s a really cool experience.
All over America today, we celebrate our country’s birthday and commemorate winning our freedom from England. Freedom is a wonderful feeling … a state (like Maine or Virginia) of mind, and a privilege. I have taught overseas in Kenya after the bombing of the U.S. embassy, in Uganda while civil war and the Lord’s Resistance Army was active, and in Iraq during our war there in 2007. Until I visited and lived with people in these oppressed areas, I really didn’t understand the magnitude and insidious ramifications of persecution and the powerful meaning of freedom.
But unfortunately, I have some bad news. The sobering reality is we aren’t really free. It’s just a trick. We will always be serving a master. One choice is God – whose orders, commands, wishes, desires, authority, agenda, policies, and rules are perfect. God is the real, loving King of the Kingdom we call the universe. There is no other ruler who will serve you more and do anything to help you rise in the kingdom. The other option is Satan, leader of the rebel party. He’s trying to overthrow God’s benevolent all-caring regime, feeding your fleshly agenda, and giving you what you demand. But he’s harmful. He wants to buy your allegiance. He vies for your loyalty by tricking you into believing you don’t need God. He wants you to believe his destructive ways and me-centered intentions are actually in your best interest. Satan gives you the illusion that you can rule yourself … that you don’t have or need a master.
Now for the good news! You are free in the most important aspect: you are free to choose which master we will follow and obey. And with freedom comes grave responsibility. You see, if you aren’t actively choosing God to be your master, moment by moment, your passive, natural inclination is to reject God, letting your flesh rule your mind and decisions, in effect voting Satan and his policies into office. Since Satan lets us do the “pleasurable” activities we crave now, we so easily buy into his election platform and party line.
Today, enjoy the festivities celebrating our country’s freedom. Mourn with those who lost someone fighting to maintain our free status. But above all else, now and every moment, honor those who died for your freedom of choice, especially Christ, by exercising your freedom to choose your master. Your daily growth and fulfillment, and your eternal destiny depend on it. Only one master genuinely cares for you, is willing to die for you (and He actually did). This master wants to share His wonderful royal palace forever and invites you to inherit eternal riches beyond your most fantastic imaginings! My life changed when I chose Jesus to be not just my Savior, but also the Lord of my life. The Master you pick is the most important life-altering decision you make everyday, so choose well.
Dear King of Kings, Thanks for being a king who gave it all for the lowliest serf in Your kingdom, me. Help me choose You. Help me to be a faithful ambassador for You in this fallen world, so others will see You in me. Thanks for the blessings I have in the U.S.A. including the freedom to worship you. I pray your protection and comfort for my brothers and sisters in Christ who are being harmed because of their commitment to You. Give me a humble spirit to yield to Your rule every minute, because You provide all I need far better than any other master can. I pray in the name of the one who died for my freedom, Jesus Christ – and all God’s children say, AMEN!
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him. Ephesians 6:9
And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left; 1 Kings 22:19
And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world–he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. Revelation 12:9-10