July 4, 2017
Even though I’m an adult, I love fireworks. Even small ones really fascinate me. I always wanted to see Independence Day fireworks at our nation’s capital, and a few years ago, I had an opportunity to take in that moving and heart stirring experience. Washington, D.C. seems the most fitting place for fireworks and all they represent to me: rocket’s red glare … bombs bursting in air … freedom, honor, sacrifice, 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. Experiencing fireworks in Washington, D.C. was really cool.
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 taught overseas in Kenya after the bombing of the U.S. embassy, in Uganda while civil war and the Lord’s Resistance Army were active, and in Iraq during our war and occupation 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 or the powerful meaning of freedom.
Unfortunately, I have some bad news for you. If you look deep in your heart, you know in your core this sobering reality … we aren’t really free. It’;s just a trick. You see, 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 loving King of the Kingdom we call the universe. There is no other ruler who will serve you more, let alone help you rise in HIS kingdom.
The other master you can choose is Satan, leader of the rebel party. He’s trying to overthrow God’s benevolent, all-caring regime, using you in his insurgency, 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. But Satan doesn’t actually care for you, just his own agenda. He doesn’t even care if you live or die and will sacrifice nothing for you.
Now for the good news! You do have freedom in this most important aspect: you are free to choose which master you will follow and obey. With this freedom comes grave responsibility. You see, if you don't actively choose God to be your master moment by moment, then your passive, natural inclination is to reject God. When you reject God, you are allowing your flesh to rule your mind and decisions, effectively voting Satan and his policies into office. Because Satan lets us do the “pleasurable” activities we crave now, we easily buy into his election platform and party line.
Today, enjoy the festivities that celebrate our country’s freedom. Mourn with those who lost someone who fought to maintain our free status. Above all else, now and every moment, honor those who died for your freedom of choice, especially Jesus Christ, by exercising your freedom to choose your ultimate master. Your daily growth and fulfillment, and your eternal destiny depend on it. Only one master genuinely cares enough 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 and Master of my life. The Master you pick is the most important life-altering decision you will ever make, so choose well. Now celebrate with fireworks.
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 ask for 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.
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.
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. ”