Independence Day

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the state of relying on or needing someone or something for aid, support, or the like. Reliance; confidence; trust.

dependent

 

It’s the 4th of July, and you know what that means… today is the Truth Be Told Tuesday “Stripes & Stars” edition. Thanks for checking in.

When I was a teenager one of my strongest desires, if not the strongest, was to be free of my parents and be independent. I loved my parents very much growing up, but I longed to be out of the “house” and doing my own thing. And as I watch my oldest boys grow into men I see the same want in their eyes and hear the same desire in their voices. I tell them that being free is great, but that it comes with a price.

Freedom is never free.

With freedom comes responsibility.

Responsibilities like taxes, utilities, mortgage or rent, car payments and school loans. Most of these requirements for independence take place before the biggest responsibilities arrive: marriage and children.  

And like many young adults today who want independence from their parents, men and women some 230 years ago wanted also to be free. Americans in the 18th century wanted to free from the British Empire and it’s tyranny, religious mandates and taxation without representation.

As history (see the American Revolution) would have it the thirteen colonies in North America that sought after freedom came to understand that freedom wasn’t free, and that it came with a tremendous amount of responsibility.

With freedom comes sacrifice.

Many American families today realize this truth. As our country has been at war in the Middle East for thirteen plus years we have seen sons and daughters lose their mothers and fathers, and mothers and fathers lose their sons and daughters. 

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Freedom always involves sacrifice.

They were all lost in the name of freedom. They were all examples of the ultimate sacrifice.

Some might have the view that our soldiers lost their lives in vain and the fight that they were (are) engaged in was, or is, immoral, and while more than a few people entertain these views it cannot be denied that these brave men and women were courageous and had our countries best interest in mind while serving our country.

They were fighting to protect our national interests and to protect our countries freedom.

As I write these words I’m reminded of the 4th of July three years ago and how I moved closer to realizing that there was One that came before me, One that fought the good-fight and died on the cross to provide me with a future and a hope, and to protect my freedom.

His name is Jesus Christ.

See, while I was sitting in church on July 3, 2011 a man came up to me while the service was coming to an end. And while our choir was singing and people were coming forward to accept God into their lives as their personal savior a man named “Turtle” tapped me on the solider and said; “I want to give you this, I don’t know what is going on in your life but I felt compelled to speak with you and let you know God is bigger than all of it… just lay it at the foot of the cross, all the power you need is at the cross.” As tears were running down my face I just hugged him and held on to him like a young boy who clings to his father when he is crying uncontrollably. 

When I let go of Turtle he revealed to me what he had given me. He gave me a small ‘Cross’ made out of nails that he and his comrades wear with pride. See Turtle was part of “Bikers for Christ” and they wear these ‘Cross’ pins on their leather coats and vest when they ride. 

“Keep this” he said, “and remember the cross is all you need.”

The cross is still present on my desk today.

In the cross there is power. God knew what I needed to hear that day.

During that time I was struggling in different areas of my life. I feel as if there were times of complete stagnation in my personal and spiritual life. Often times I became discouraged and felt completely defeated by my behavior and thoughts. Many times those behaviors and thoughts did not add up to a man that profess to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. There are still times today those words of reflection and confession ring true today.

On that fateful Sunday three years ago, as my time ended with those three wonderful men, Bikers for Christ members surrounded me and knelt with me as we prayed. They prayed over me asking God to direct me to the center of His will for my life. And as tears ran down my face I could hear the words Pastor Tim, Turtle’s friend in Biker’s for Christ, said to me; “You’re playing God, you’re not acting like God, but you’re ‘playing’ God by acting one way with your Christian friends and another way with your non-Christian friends.” He went onto say; “You need to stop and start sharing the gospel with them, that is your responsibility… you need to start sharing today.”

There it was: freedom.

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Matthew 18:3

The answer I was searching for and the freedom I was longing for God revealed to me through a group of bikers. Malcolm X once said; “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.” I had no peace during that time because of the fact I wasn’t totally free. I was in bondage while I continually wrestled with my past.

I had no peace; I had no freedom. 

I was struggling with attitudes, behaviors and thoughts that I thought I had moved on from. I realized that I was serving Christ 23/6 not 24/7.

I was wrong. I was “playing” God.

Was I committed Christian? 

Yes.

Was I committed on every front; totally selling out no matter who I was with or where I was? 

No. 

I was “playing” God. 

In the end, Turtle left me with two verses that came to him as he was speaking to me. The first piece of scripture was Psalm 51:10; “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.” 

The other was Jeremiah 29:13: 

“If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me.” 

The power of the cross is revealed in God’s word.

The cross is about new beginnings and a renewed spirit. The cross is about Love, mercy and grace. The cross is about sacrifice and forgiveness. The cross is about peace. The cross is about DEPENDENCE on Him.

The cross is about Freedom. 

Thank you Pastor Tim, Roy and Turtle for loving me enough to share with me the truth and displaying God’s power in your lives. And thank you God for dying on the cross for me and providing me with true freedom. In the end, I realized that Jesus Christ sacrificed everything so I, so you, could be free.

That is my “Truth Be Told” for July 4, 2014 (tbtt . #60)

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Independence Day . Martina McBride
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