Friday, April 27, 2012

THE NEED FOR FREEDOM





What would it be like to be a slave? How would that affect your life?
Sometimes you would be chained. You would be made to work hard all day. If you stopped to rest a minute, you might be beaten with a whip on your bare back.
While you are young, you probably would be taken away from your parents, no matter how much you loved them, and most likely you’d never see them again. If you fell in love with another slave and had children, there would be a good chance that at some time you or members of your family would be sold, and you’d never see them again, either.
Slaves don’t have freedom to choose where they want to live, what they want to do in life, and who they’ll share their life with.
It was a great day when America gave freedom to all slaves.
Freedom is what America is all about, even if some of the early settlers didn’t give freedom to slaves.
Most of the people who sailed to America from other countries came because they wanted to be free. No, they weren’t slaves, but they wanted religious freedom. They wanted to worship the way they believed they should worship God, not be forced to obey the rules of another religion.
No one can force another person to be a born-again Christian. Each person must make that decision himself.
Americans today, mostly young people fear Christians would like to force them to accept their religion. Even though you can be forced to join a church or be baptized, a person isn’t born again unless he believes in God, accepts Christ as Savior, repents of his sins, and decides to follow Jesus.
God gave us this freedom to choose.
Many people in history have suffered because of their faith in God—and that isn’t freedom. Moses had to hidden in a basket in the bulrushes (water plants) of the Nile because the Pharaoh said every Hebrew child must be killed. The Pharaoh’s princess daughter found Moses, took him into the palace and saved his life.
Mordecai, a Hebrew whose family was carried away by Nebuchadnezzar to Persia, was ordered hanged because he wouldn’t bow down to the prime minister.
Haman, the wicked prime minister planned to massacre all of God’s people. But after fasting and prayer by the Hebrews, Queen Esther went before the King and saved Mordecai’s life and prevented the mass killings. Haman was hung on his own gallows (Esther 9:11).
The Jews still observe their deliverance from mass murder by Haman at the feast of Purim.
Joseph was sold by his brothers as a slave into Egypt because of his faith and prophetic dreams, and he eventually received honor by God and restored love with his family. Daniel lost his freedom when he was thrown into the lion’s den for praying three times a day. God shut the lion’s mouths and he was delivered.
The three Hebrew children lost their freedom when they were bound and thrown into the fiery furnace for not bowing down and worshipping the King. Shadrack, Meshack and Abednigo were delivered. Those watching the furnace said it appeared a Fourth Man was walking in the Fire, and it was revealed to them that it was the Son of God.
In the New Testament the evangelist, Stephen, was stoned to death for preaching about Salvation through Jesus Christ, who had risen from the dead.
The Apostle Paul was jailed numerous times for preaching about Jesus. His writings show he knew he would die for his faith. Traditions say Paul was beheaded, probably during Nero’s bloody persecution.
All of Jesus disciples, except Judas and John, died for their faith. Judas committed suicide after betraying Jesus and selling him for 30 pieces of silver. John suffered for his faith on Patmos, a rocky barren island, until old age. But he still had fellowship with God, and wrote the Book of Revelation while on that island.
Religious persecution still occurs today.
Even though America was founded so that its citizens could have freedom, there are people who would like to take our freedoms away. But it’s not just people. Satan would like to bring us into bondage and make us slaves to sin. The Bible says in Romans 6:18, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”
But if we obey God, we don’t have to be a servant of sin.
Today, you have freedom in the United States to pray, to read your Bible and go to any church you choose. It may not always be that way. Let’s pray for the freedom from sin only God can give and that freedom will continue in the United States.