A Prophetic Love

So often we are prone to think of God as having a split personality.  Likewise we think of the Bible as two separate stories.  Now granted, it is written that way.  There are clearly two testaments, but we spend so much time in the New that we forget its origins found in the Old.  We gloss over all nuance and conclude that Jesus is the “nice” God and that God the Father is “mean”.  Why would we want to read about a cranky, old, judgmental God?  We prefer the good news only.  It is important to remember that, even though we have two testaments, the Bible is still a whole.  One story. And God is still God, and Jesus is Him. One God.
As you read through Scripture, you will find one of my favorite attributes of God: He wears His heart on His sleeve.  The Bible can at times read like a journal that God has written about his love for the world he has created.  And the apple of his eye, the one that captures his heart, the one that he has actually proposed to is…no, NOT you, but the church.  The people of God, the body of Christ, the gathered believers.  Yes, this means God loves you too, but God’s heart beats for his people as a whole.


What is Freedom?

Freedom is a word thrown out a lot this time of year. But, what does it mean to be truly free. Webster defines freedom as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” For most of us our understanding of freedom ends there. We use it as a crutch to do and say what we want. 
As Christians we need to see the word freedom through Christ’s eyes. What was Jesus trying to tell us about freedom.  Jesus said that He had come to Earth to “proclaim freedom” (Luke 4:18). And on another occasion, He said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). He was not setting us free to do or say what we want but instead was setting us free to take the path God wanted for our lives. Because, up until that point we were hindered or restrained from God’s path by sin. 
Before Christ’s death and resurrection, we were slaves to our sinful nature. We were quick to believe Satan’s lies and temptations. But once we accept that Jesus is God and he died to set us free from those sins, we are free to live in a new way. Christ’s death on the cross freed us to become the people God designed us to be.
It is not often we consider the greatness of Christ’s sacrifice for us — what it cost him to give us this freedom.  As we honor those who have allowed us the freedoms we enjoy in America, we can see Christ’s death in a bit more tangible way. As soldiers die on the battlefield for people they have never met, who may not even appreciate what they are doing, we see Christ on the cross. 
We can start to see a glimpse of the sacrifice God made for us with His Son, in the families who have lost loved ones in the military. We honor their sacrifice by living out our freedom in our speech, to assemble,  and pray to whom we want. Do we honor God’s sacrifice with the same respect?  
Director of Youth Ministries


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