July 4th is not just another holiday.
It's much more than a trip to the beach, lake or pool. It's much more than a picnic in the park or backyard. This holiday is more than oohing and awing at fireworks displays.
July 4th is about freedom and liberty won and maintained through great personal sacrifice, commitment and faith.
Our independence was won by those who were willing to pay the ultimate price so that you and I could enjoy a holiday such as this.
George Washington said:
"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."
The following is a great story about General Washington’s faith in God.
During the dark days of the American Revolution, when the Continental Army had experienced several setbacks, a farmer who lived near the battlefield approached Washington’s camp unheard.
Suddenly his ears caught an earnest voice raised in agonizing prayer. On coming nearer he saw it was the great General, down on his knees in the snow, his cheeks wet with tears. He was asking God for assistance and guidance.
The farmer crept away and returned home. He said to his family, "It’s going to be all right. We are going to win!"
"What makes you think so?" his wife asked. "Well," said the farmer, "I heard General Washington praying out in the woods today—such fervent prayer I have never heard. And God will surely hear and answer that kind of praying." And the farmer was right! It happened. Fervent faith in God brings victory.
My fine wife Bev has a favorite saying: “Prayers that are not prayed cannot be answered.”
Don’t think that when you pray for the freedoms we’ve been losing that they can never be restored again in this country.
Romans 5:20 tells us that where sin abounds… grace does much more abound. I like the way the Message Bible explains it:
“…But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace.When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down.”
The point is to pray … even if it doesn’t feel like or particularly look like we’re winning. We need to trust that our God is greater than anything else that can come against us.
We only lose if we give up and quit.
Every July 4th. . .we pause to celebrate our freedom. . .from tyranny. Yet, way too many believers are living under tyranny. . .not from another country or a government but from the enemy of your destiny. . .the devil.
Let’s talk about how to become free from all that would have us bound.
Galatians 5:13 says:
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”
In the New International Version the word free and freedom are given the same definition as liberty.
“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.”
We were called to be free. The truth is that you and I will never really be free until we’re financially free.
What is your definition of freedom. . .or liberty?
According to dictionary.com freedom is defined as:
“exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.”
Liberty is defined in dictionary.com as:
“freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.”
The enemy wants to control you. . .certain people want to control you. . . debtors want to control you … but it’s time for you break from all that has had you bound.
Let’s discuss seven things you need to be free from.
First, freedom from debt and lack.
Remember, this next statement. . .it’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. . .from the Word of God.
You will never really be free until you’re financially free.
True financial freedom is not based on how much you make but how little you owe.
When you are debt free, you are rid from external control, interference, obligation, restriction or hampering conditions.
If you have to work two jobs and seven days a week just to make ends meet. . .that’s not being free from external control, interference, obligation, restriction or hampering conditions.
If you can’t afford to take off for a week to go with everybody else in your church on a mission’s trip because you have bills to pay, that’s not being free from external control, interference, obligation, restriction or hampering conditions.
If you can’t take the family on a vacation because you’re behind on all your payments, that’s not being free from external control, interference, obligation, restriction or hampering conditions.
If you can’t buy another car because you’re upside down on the payments with the one you’ve got, then that’s not being free from external control, interference, obligation, restriction or hampering conditions.
External control is when you give the lenders or the creditors control of what you can do, when you can do it and where you can do it.
Interference is when outside financial circumstances rob you and your family of the freedom to make your own choices about your future.
Obligation is when you have a legal and/or moral responsibility to creditors that you must honor or face the consequences.
Restriction is any financial obligation/responsibility that limits or restricts what you’re able to do.
Hampering conditions are things that keep you from taking advantage of financial opportunities because you’re not free to do so.
Galatians 5:13 says:
“. . . But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature.”
The King James Versions says:
“. . .only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh. . .”
The word liberty is the Greek word eleutheria (G1657) which means:
“Liberty to do or to omit things having no relationship to salvation.”
It’s been said that liberty is the freedom to live as we should, not as we please.
We should not be in debt. . .to the extent that we’re not free to do what God has called us to do.
We should not be fearful every time the phone rings or there’s a knock at the door.
We should not have to take a minimum wage job after retirement because we don’t have enough money to survive.
We should not have to tell our children they can’t go to the university they want to attend because we don’t have the money.
We should not have to wear the same dress or suit to church every Sunday because we can’t afford anything else.
We should not have to ignore the needs of others because we’re mentally and fiscally consumed with our own needs.
We should not have to cash our payroll checks or secure payday loans because our credit history is ruined.
We should not have to settle for anything less than the best that life has to offer us.
We should not have to say “no” to God when He tells us to give a specific amount to a particular ministry.
If you make your financial decisions based on anything other than the Word of God and His divine direction, then you are not living in freedom and experiencing personal liberty.
It’s time for you to decide enough is enough and that you’re not living this way anymore.
It’s time for you to stop making excuses for past mistakes and errors in judgment.
It’s time for you to create a plan to get out of debt.
It’s time for you to increase your value as an employee.
It’s time for you to dump all the negative thinking out of that mental hard-drive called your brain.
It’s time for you to stop listening to the wrong people and begin listening to the right voices.
It’s time for you to start reading the right books.
It’s time for the Holy Spirit to be in control of your life instead of the TV remote control.
It’s time for you to immerse yourself in the Word of God.
It’s time for you take control of your own destiny.
It’s time for you to finally realize that you are entitled to live in the freedom of God.
Romans 6:12 in the Message Bible says:
“That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don't give it the time of day. Don't even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you've been raised from the dead!—into God's way of doing things. Sin can't tell you how to live. After all, you're not living under that old tyranny any longer. You're living in the freedom of God.”
Freedom gives you the ability to make right choices and decisions.
Romans 6:15 in the Message Bible says:
“[What Is True Freedom? ] So, since we're out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we're free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it's your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you've let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you've started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!”
It’s time for you to experience true financial freedom.
Galatians 5:1 in the Message Bible says:
“[The Life of Freedom ] Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.”
The first sentence in Galatians 5:13 in the Message Bible says:
“It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. . .”
Second, freedom from fear of failure.
“And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up….”
Here are seven keys to overcoming failure.
First, accept your mistakes.
Second, stop trying too hard.
Third, ask God for help in overcoming your fear of failure.
Fourth, ask them for help in overcoming your fear of failure.
Fifth, learn to say “no.” You don’t have to accept every request. . .use wisdom.
Sixth, say “yes” even when you feel afraid.
Seventh, remember, fear is the devil’s anointing.
The only thing you have to change your mind about failure and overcoming it . . . is simply to change your mind by using the Word!
Ephesians 3:12 in the Amplified Bible says:
“In Whom, because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear).”
When our confidence is born in faith. . .it gives us a boldness. . .in knowing we can achieve anything. . .regardless of the obstacles.
Fear flees when confidence in God’s Word shows up
Third, freedom from fear of the unknown.
Always remember. . .fear is the weapon of choice in the kingdom of darkness.
If your enemy can keep you fearful of the unknown. . .he can keep you from experiencing the future and the destiny God planned for you.
Here are seven ways to deal with a fear of the unknown.
First, identify and understand the fear you are dealing with.
Second, determine the risk/reward ratio.
Third, see yourself overcoming the fears you identified.
Fourth, create a plan for the task ahead.
Fifth, work the plan. . .taking one step at a time.
Sixth, reject the enemy’s attempts to torment you by quoting the Word of God to Him.
Seventh, make the unknown. . .known. . .and deal with it. Of course, with God’s help.
Psalm 56:3 says:
“What time I am afraid, I will have confidence in and put my trust and reliance in You.”
Henry Ford said:
“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do.”
Fourth, freedom from fear of terrorism.
Psalm 91:5 in the New King James Version says:
“You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day.”
Terrorism is still a very real threat against the United States.
The response of a United States government official after the attack at the Turkish airport said the threat of ISIS is being contained.
My question is. . .what planet is that official living on because it sure isn’t this one.
Such a thought indicates a ridiculously shallow knowledge of geopolitics.
So long as a single Islamic terrorist lives the threat will remain.
Even in the light of such events, we must refuse to live in fear.
Our God has made supernatural promises and we must choose to focus on and walk in faith and believe He will provide our protection.
We don’t focus on having a car accident … or our house burning down … being attacked or shot in a drive-by or a natural disaster coming along and wiping us out.
The world is full of things to be fearful of and if we begin to be fearful … we open ourselves up to all kinds of phobias.
Proverbs 30:5 in The Living Bible says:
“Every word of God proves true. He defends all who come to him for protection.”
Not only does God offer you protection. . .but your enemies become His enemies.
Exodus 23:22 in the Amplified Bible says:
“But if you will indeed listen to and obey His voice … I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.”
Fifth, freedom from the fear of tomorrow.
Here are seven keys to overcoming your fear of tomorrow.
First, change your spiritual viewpoint.
Second, change your attitude.
Third, change your outlook.
Fourth, change your perspective.
Fifth, change your modus operandi (your way of doing things).
Sixth, change how you plan your day. . .if you do. . .at all.
Seventh, remember, your glass is always half full or better.
How do you overcome the fear of what may or may know happen tomorrow?
The Word of God. If our focus is on Him… it can’t be on anything else.
Matthew 6:34 in The Message says:
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
Sixth, freedom from the fear of rejection.
When it comes to a fear of rejection. . .it’s absolutely necessary for you to understand where and how this fear originated.
Once you’ve identified the source. . .I recommend you ask God for directions on how to overcome this fear of rejection.
Notice I said. . .this fear of rejection. . .on purpose I did not say your fear of rejection because it doesn’t belong to you unless you decide to make it so.
If you have a feeling of rejection. . .smile and know you’re in good company.
John 15:18 in the Amplified Bible says:
“If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you.”
If you love God and read the Word. . . you are accepted by the most important One and the only One that really counts. Plus, it would be totally ignorant for anyone else to reject you.
After all, you were made in His image and after His likeness. . .so rejecting you means they’re rejecting Him.
That’s dumber than cat hair.
Seventh, freedom from fear of what people will say.
Other people don’t pay your bills.
Other people don’t do your job.
Other people don’t walk in your shoes. . .so they have no functional clue on how it feels to be you.
Other people will not be accountable for your sin or what you’ve done for the Kingdom since you’ve been saved.
Other people who talk about others. . .are often envious or at a minimum. . .self-absorbed.
Matthew 5:11 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of your outward conditions) are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account.”
To the seven fears we’ve identified. . .we could add the following common fears: loneliness, abandonment, people, authority, commitment, heights, germs, closed-in spaces, airplanes, dogs, cats, snakes, anything creepy or crawling, being laughed at, being fat, being skinny, being old and even fear of being attractive or ugly.
Here are seven scriptures which reveal the only kind of fear you should ever have and equally important. . .how you’re blessed by it.
First, when you fear the Lord you have everything you need.
Psalm 34:9 in the Amplified Bible says:
“O fear the Lord, you His saints [revere and worship Him]! For there is no want to those who truly revere and worship Him with godly fear.”
The Living Bible translation of Psalm 34:9 says:
“If you belong to the Lord, reverence him; for everyone who does this has everything he needs.”
Can somebody say “Hallelujah!”
Second, the fear of the Lord brings wisdom, knowledge and understanding.
Psalm 111:10 in the Amplified Bible says:
“The reverent fear and worship of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom and skill [the preceding and the first essential, the prerequisite and the alphabet]; a good understanding, wisdom, and meaning have all those who do [the will of the Lord]. Their praise of Him endures forever.”
Third, fear the Lord and delight in wisdom, instruction and discipline.
Proverbs 1:7 in the Amplified Bible says:
“The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline.”
Fourth, those who fear the Lord hate evil and all its running buddies.
Proverbs 8:13 in the Amplified Bible says:
“The reverent fear and worshipful awe of the Lord [includes] the hatred of evil; pride, arrogance, the evil way, and perverted and twisted speech I hate.”
Fifth, the fear of the Lord will give you a long life.
Proverbs 10:27 in the Amplified Bible says:
“The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord prolongs one’s days, but the years of the wicked shall be made short.”
Proverbs 10:27 in The Living Bible says:
“Reverence for God adds hours to each day; so how can the wicked expect a long, good life?”
Sixth, the fear of the Lord brings honor.
Proverbs 15:33 in the Amplified Bible says:
“The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord brings instruction in Wisdom, and humility comes before honor.”
Seventh, the fear of the Lord brings riches, honor and a long life.
Proverbs 22:4 in the Amplified Bible says:
“The reward of humility and the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.”
One last verse. . .
Isaiah 41:10 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.”
Now that’s real home security…much better than ADT or Brinks.
And, by the way, you’ll be free.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS