July 4th weekend is finally coming up and you can tell from all the frantic planning from shopping, mowing, baking, cooking, that everyone is exited about it. My “getting ready” entails a needed haircut and color along with a mani/pedi so I can look my Star Spangled best! Don’t even get me talking about the Texas Sheet Cake I hear my mom is planning on making for a cookout…YUM!
Really, I know this is not what it’s all about. I didn’t even mention all the fireworks, campfires, and sparkler fun to be had! (Be safe everyone!) And what about Watermelon?!
Here is a little bit about myself that some of you might not know. I am married to a man who served for 28 years in the Air Force and have been able to see so many sacred places where young men have fallen in service to their country with so many places that stand out in my memory.
Every time I go to a place that commemorates a battle field or skirmish that I had to study in my grade school and high school classes, a feeling of awe overtakes me and I am instantly transported in my mind to the time that it happened.
I’ve seen many Revolutionary War and Civil War sites along with the Alamo displaying the cost of freedom paid with the price of courage and sacrifice that has been given by so many. From the staggering rows of white tombstones at Normandy, France to the hush of the Ardennes forest surrounding Bastogne, Belgium where the “Battle of the Bulge” was fought, one cannot help but feel like you are walking on holy ground.
What were these soldiers fighting for? Putting world politics aside, it was the simple word, Freedom. We can never forget that a high price was paid for the freedoms we have here in America, nor ever forget that there are people in other places without this fulfilled yearning that we easily take for granted. I’m wanting every American to put aside our differences and concentrate on the one thing that binds us together. Freedom, and yes, this also means the freedom to express yourself, your disagreements and protests, but could we all agree to do it in a non-threatening, life uplifting, respectful and grateful way?
I’m also wanting to address that it was for freedom that Christ died. Paul wrote in Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” further reminding the recently coverted Christians from Galatia, “do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” How do we become burdened? By letting sin reign in our mortal bodies not by thinking on it, but ACTING on it.
Let me warn you though that it does start in the mind with thoughts. If you are entertaining sinful thoughts, “nip them in the bud” (catch them when they are small) before they have the time to grow into a humongous problem that seems to captivate your mind, soul and then spirit.
Ask Jesus to help you with your thoughts of the mind. He will do it, but you have to give Him something to work with too. In Philippians 4:8, Paul is giving us a hint at how to combat the thoughts of our mind. Here he says, “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. NIV
Yes, think about “such” things. I don’t think I have to remind you of the saying I heard when I was a little girl, “Garbage in/Garbage out”. The things we feed our mind with through television, music, books, games, and speech, are all fiery darts (Ephesians 6:16) that the enemy uses to enslave us to sin. Be on guard what you let into the arena of your mind!
You will begin to find that the more you practice taking control of these attempts to rule your mind, the easier it becomes and will begin to flow more freely and automatically. I definitely suggest making scriptural confessions out loud to begin your day on this path. Don’t become condemned if you forgot early in the morning, just pick up where you are!
Here is a great example: I will rejoice in the Lord and be glad because He loves me and cares for me. I refuse to be discouraged and I will not let my heart be troubled. I know that there is no problem too big, no hurt too deep, nor mistake so bad that God’s power, strength, and wisdom in me can’t overcome. I cast my cares, anxiety and worries upon God. I will face adversity and tribulation with a courageous and cheerful heart. I am a world overcomer, and I refuse to be discouraged. These are adapted from the scriptures: Psalm 34:19, John 16:33, Genesis 50:20.
Go ahead and find other scriptures you can use for your personal devotion or whatever challenge you may find yourself in, and then dig in and don’t lose hold! It is in this tenacious spiritual stance that battles are won. In the mean time, you may find that this helps you grow and have the freedom that Christ came to give you. Your job is to take it and don’t look back because it was freely given!