Tag Archives: freedom

Freedom to Live Freely…

     This week began with thankful remembrance. Memorial Day, a day to remember those who gave their lives, fighting and defeating threatening forces, to preserve our nation’s freedom.

     What a debt of gratitude we owe to these men and women!

     Sunday, May 31, is Pentecost Sunday. Pentecost marks the coming of the promised Holy Spirit on followers of Jesus. When the Holy Spirit descended on them in the Upper Room, they were transformed. No longer frightened and confused, his disciples were empowered to preach and teach the message of the risen Christ.

     Ten of Jesus’ disciples, and undoubtedly many others in that room, would die a martyr’s death. They gave their lives to declare and preserve the spiritual freedom for which Jesus came.

     What a debt of gratitude we owe to these men, women, and above all, Jesus!

     Speeches have been orated; poems have been written; and sermons have been preached concerning these four words:

Freedom is not Free!

     Today, I ask myself, and wonder if you’d like to join me in asking:

  • Where the rubber of my faith meets the road of my everyday life, what do these four words mean for me?
  • How will I be a good steward of freedom, both as a citizen and a Christ-follower?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,
You made us in Your image.
Thank You for implanting a desire for freedom into the human heart.

Jesus Christ,
You paid the ultimate price for freedom.
Thank You for giving Your life willingly
to free us from the entanglement of sin and the fear of death.

Holy Spirit,
Thank You for giving wisdom,
for showing us how to best live out God-honoring freedom
that reflects the character of Jesus.

Amen

Blessings on your journey of freedom…

Sue Reeve

Thankful for Four Powerful Freedoms…

     January 6, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his famous “Four Freedoms” speech. In preparing this speech, the president understood even though many citizens in the United States wanted to remain neutral, our nation was on the brink of becoming involved in war because of the advancing German military, already taking over much of Europe.

     President Roosevelt explained to Congress and the American people these “Four Freedoms” must be preserved:

freedom of speech

freedom of worship

freedom from want

freedom from fear

     To encourage citizens to support the war effort, the famous artist, Norman Rockwell, depicted the Four Freedoms in paintings, which were used as posters to sell War Bonds. The messages in his paintings resonated with the people and resulted in record sales.

     On the final full day of Ron’s and my recent vacation to New England, we visited the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. It was a great way to wind down our 40th anniversary getaway.

     The immensely gifted Rockwell wanted to portray commonplace people, living out their commonplace stories in commonplace locations.

     How like the message of the Gospel, I thought. God Incarnate came as a common baby and entered the commonplace stories of common men and women.

     The way we live out our common lives, I believe, can result in some of God’s finest works of art.

     Here are photos Ron took of the War Bond posters (some glare because of the glass protecting the posters). While searching for symbolic details in each, I hope you will not only enjoy them but that you’ll also take a moment to give thanks for the many freedoms we enjoy personally and collectively.

Prayer:

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of freedom. In my lifetime:

  • I’ve enjoyed freedom to speak, to write my heart in these blog posts. Thank you!
  • I’ve been free to attend the church of my choice, to read The Bible, quote scripture and to worship you openly. Thank you!
  • I’ve been blessed with freedom to spend every Thanksgiving with loved ones and can’t remember one Thanksgiving when I wasn’t privileged to enjoy turkey. Thank you!
  • I’ve been able to read bedtime stories, say nighttime prayers and tuck my daughters and sometimes my grandchildren into their beds at night without fear for their safety tomorrow. Thank you!

Blessings as you prepare for Thanksgiving in a few days…

Sue Reeve

Thankful We Can Find Freedom…

     My husband and I were looking for covered bridges in Bennington, Vermont, when we happened on an impressive monument dedicated to a Revolutionary War general. Memorials like this are scattered throughout New England, the birthplace of our nation’s freedom.

     The inscription on the plaque read:

     Although it wasn’t the official designation, I named this impressive monument Finding Freedom.

     We assume great military officials like General Stark will be masterful strategists and inspiring leaders. I believe God is also strategic, and words recorded in the Bible inspire those who pay attention.

     Events happening in our everyday lives or words we hear from scripture may seem coincidental, but I wonder. Might they really be divine interventions and inspiration meant to help us find the freedom our soul craves?

     Many months ago, as I was reading the letter the Apostle Paul wrote to his friends in Galatia, a certain verse stuck to my soul like one of those kids’ Velcro toys stick to whatever surface the manufacturer provides.

     Throughout our time in New England, Galatians 5:1 often returned to my thoughts.

     The Passion Bible translates Paul’s words like this:

Let me be clear, the Anointed One [Jesus] has set us free—not partially, but completely and wonderfully free! We must always cherish this truth and stubbornly refuse to go back into the bondage of our past.

     As I read General Stark’s message urging his soldiers to ‘stubbornly refuse’ to submit to bondage, that message seemed to fit with the one Paul delivered to his friends

     Our country was built by men and women who desired freedom from religious oppression, excessive taxation, lack of opportunity, tyrannical government, and even the same old, same old ways of doing life. Mistakes were made, and injustices occurred in the process of our nation being established.

     The pursuit of freedom often begins with a noble, cherished truth, but along the way, flawed humans err. I’m so thankful that because of God’s love, failures can serve as a dark backdrop on which the jewels of God’s mercy and grace shine brightly.

     I hope you’ll enjoy the following photos, all of which depict aspects of freedom for which our forefathers and foremothers longed and fought.

The Old North Church is the oldest standing church in the City of Boston. It was made famous by Paul Revere’s midnight ride, immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, which you may remember began:

Listen my children, and you will hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere

Paul Revere

From the steeple of the North Church, two lanterns hung, warning when the British were leaving Boston: “One if by land, two if by sea.”

The USS Constitution, known as ‘Old Ironsides, was used in the War of 1812. The stately wooden ship still sits in Boston Harbor. That tall, pointed tower in the background is The Bunker Hill Monument.

Fort McClary, Kittery Point, Maine, built in 1808, was a military site used for defensive fortification.

     Bondage comes in forms other than oppression caused by political environments. If there’s a bondage with which you struggle, a freedom for which you long, I hope these scenes from history as well as encouragement found in words of scripture will help you dig in your heels of faith and find courage to persevere and win whatever battle you’ve been called to fight.

     I’m praying for you…

Sue Reeve