The Sound of Freedom | THE BROOK NETWORK

 

 

The Sound of Freedom

Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.

Leviticus 25:10

If you go to the city of Philadelphia today, you can visit a historic eighteenth-century building which contains a room called Independence Hall. This ordinary room was the place where, on July 4, 1776, men signed the Declaration of Independence and where, in 1787, the Constitution of the United States was drafted. A huge bell, which we know as the Liberty Bell, hung in the bell tower there. Inscribed on its side are the words of Moses written three thousand years earlier declaring a year of Jubilee: “Proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.”

They rang the bell in that tower before the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, as they had rung it on important occasions before. But only decades later did the bell become a kind of icon when it was first depicted on the cover of a new magazine called Liberty, a publication devoted to the cause of the abolition of slavery. Freedom in this new nation was not just freedom from the taxes of the king of England. It had to be freedom for every man and woman, boy and girl—the freedom that is the God-endowed dignity of the human race.

When God told the Israelites in the Old Testament that they should observe a year of Jubilee every fiftieth year, one of his purposes was to teach the people again that he, the living God, stood for freedom. In the year of Jubilee, the Israelites were supposed to let their slaves go free—a hint that one day slavery would be abolished altogether.

We know that liberty is important to God, because the Bible talks over and over again about the Exodus from Egypt as God’s great act of salvation and the hint of his ongoing liberating work in the world.

God knows we all have taskmasters. One person is enslaved to alcohol or drugs, another to a domineering person. One person is trapped in guilt and shame imposed by others, another is in the bondage of being the taskmaster—an addiction to control.

All people need to hear the sound of liberty ring loudly and clearly through their hearts and minds. And only the living God can deliver that kind of liberty.

The sound of freedom rings throughout the New Testament. For instance, the Apostle Paul says something in Galatians 5:1 that seems obvious: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened by a yoke of slavery.”

Why did the apostle Paul say, “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free”? When someone is set free, aren’t they free? Not necessarily.

A convict can be set free, but still think like a convict, talk like a convict, and behave like a convict. Constricted, suppressed, and afraid. Like a person who lived for a long time in a controlling, abusive relationship, he or she may go on cowering in life even when the oppression is gone.

Galatians 5 talks about a bondage to the way of the law. It is the belief that we achieve a truce with God our creator if we follow all the rules just right, make visible displays of righteousness, and track all our spiritual accomplishments. That was the way of Pharisees—and Paul had had enough of it. He was really good at it, but he saw it as spiritual death.

The laws of the Old Testament are good. The Ten Commandments have ongoing relevance. But when Jesus came—Jesus who liberates us from every form of bondage—everything changed. He demonstrated that while the Law came through Moses (and that law was necessary to teach the human race that there is a difference between right and wrong), he brought grace and truth. By God’s mercy, we are allowed to repent and turn to God for a whole new life. He frees us from the childish way of following “do’s” and “don’ts” so that we can freely live in obedience to Christ. We do what is right because we are right with God and our instincts have been trued up to who he is.

But we must remember that we are free. We must rehearse it. Any person can become a Pharisee on any given day. We can turn faith into performance, like a kid trying to gain mom or dad’s favor by being a star player on the soccer field.

No. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Proclaim liberty!

 

Source: The Sound of Freedom | THE BROOK NETWORK

Charles Stanley – A Lasting Impact

 

Matthew 5:14-16

Have you ever stopped to consider this question: How do you use the gift of freedom? God gives all believers true liberty through His Son Jesus Christ. Do you squander that blessing or share it with others? The problem is, some people are so focused on their own needs and desires that they fail to impact even their closest neighbor.

Think about the people you see every week. Do you know how many of your neighbors are sick? Are there people in your church who struggle to make it from day to day? Do you know if any of your coworkers are going through hardships? Most likely, there are individuals all around you who could use assistance. But being self-focused limits our ability to notice those people, let alone reach out to them.

Jesus taught His disciples, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men” (Matt. 5:13). In order for salt to remain useful, it must maintain its purity and potency. Likewise, we must endeavor to lead holy, humble, and loving lives, focusing on the Savior’s will rather than our own. God has prepared the good works that we are to walk in (Eph. 2:10). Our job is to carry them out.

Whether or not we affect our world positively depends on the focus of our heart. Do you look inward to consider how you can do more to get ahead and add to your lot in life? Or do you look outward and think about ways that you can do more to serve others?

Bible in One Year: Psalm 120-131

 

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Our Daily Bread — A Perfect World

 

Read: Revelation 21:1–5 | Bible in a Year: Job 28–29; Acts 13:1–25

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Revelation 21:5

Katie was given a school assignment to write an essay entitled “My Perfect World.” She wrote: “In my perfect world . . . ice cream is free, lollipops are everywhere, and the sky is blue all the time, with only a few clouds that have interesting shapes.” Then her essay took a more serious turn. In that world, she continued, “No one will come home to bad news. And no one will have to be the one to deliver it.”

No one will come home to bad news. Isn’t that wonderful? Those words point powerfully to the confident hope we have in Jesus. He is “making everything new”—healing and transforming our world (Revelation 21:5).

Paradise is the place of “no more”—no more evil, no more death, no more mourning, no more pain, no more tears (v. 4)! It is a place of perfect communion with God, who by His love has redeemed and claimed believers as His own (v. 3). What marvelous joy awaits us!

We can enjoy a foretaste of this perfect reality here and now. As we seek to fellowship with God daily, we experience the joy of His presence (Colossians 1:12–13). And even as we struggle against sin, we experience, in part, the victory that is ours in Christ (2:13–15), the One who fully conquered sin and death.

Lord, thank You that You are making all things new. Help us to live in the hope of the day we will live with You, pure and blameless, on a new earth in Your presence forever and ever.

God’s perfect world is for all who believe in Jesus.

By Poh Fang Chia

INSIGHT

What can we learn about the perfect world to come—the new heaven, the new earth, and the new Jerusalem? In Isaiah 65 we read (as in Revelation 21:4) about the absence of pain and sorrow: “The sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days.” In this place we will “not labor in vain, nor . . . bear children doomed to misfortune . . . . The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain” (vv. 19-25). Isaiah 66:22–23 declares that in the new heaven and the new earth all the redeemed “will come and bow down before [the Lord].”

Righteousness will dwell in this new heaven and new earth (2 Peter 3:13). In this delightfully perfect place, we will worship our holy God who dwells with us.

Alyson Kieda

 

 

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Ravi Zacharias Ministry – The Cantus Firmus

The telling and beholding of stories bears a certain responsibility.  There is a temptation in narrating histories, biographies, and even autobiographies, to reduce the story to one theory or setting, to one secret or encounter that unlocks the mystery of a life.  We want to solve the puzzle that is Emily Dickinson, resolve the curiosities of Napoleon, and know the essential meaning behind our own winding roads.  But while the mode of storytelling may require certain parameters, life is not usually so neatly containable.

The late Roger Lundin, himself a biographer, suggests the necessity of awe in any telling of human story—a task in which we are all, on some level, engaged. “To be able to recognize the competing claims and the intricate complexity of human motivation is a gift and a necessity for writing a good biography, just as it is a necessity for understanding fairly and creatively and justly another human life.”(1) The task of putting a life into words is surely larger than we often admit. How will you come to describe a deceased loved one to children who have never met him? How will you come to articulate the lives of family members, historical figures, biblical characters, and neighbors? The charge is all around us, vying for a sense of awe.

I have always appreciated the terminology employed by Dietrich Bonhoeffer as he described life to his friend. He spoke in musical terms, and in so doing ushered in the idea that life cannot be reduced to a note or a monotone. The cantus firmus, which means “fixed song,” is a pre-existing melody that forms the basis of a polyphonic composition. Though the song introduces twists in pitch and style, counterpoint and refrain, the cantus firmus is the enduring melody not always in the forefront, but always playing somewhere within the composition. For Dietrich Bonhoeffer, life was a great work of sounds and symphonic directions, and the cantus firmus was the essence, the soul of the concerto.

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Joyce Meyer – The Key to Being Satisfied

 

…Then shall your light break forth like the dawn… — Isaiah 58:8

Adapted from the resource Trusting God Day by Day Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

We all probably want more light in our lives. That would mean more clarity, better understanding, and less confusion. The prophet Isaiah declared that if we would divide our bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into our homes, cover the naked and stop hiding ourselves from the needs around us, our light would break forth (see Isaiah 58:7–8). He also said our healing and restoration and the power of a new life would spring forth quickly. That sounds good to me, and I am sure it does to you also.

Isaiah also wrote of justice, and he said it would go before us and conduct us to peace and prosperity, and that the glory of the Lord would be our rear guard. If we are actively helping the oppressed, God goes before us and He also has our backs! I like that feeling of safety and certainty.

Isaiah further said if we would pour out that with which we sustain our own lives for the hungry, and satisfy the need of the afflicted, our light would rise in darkness and any gloom we experienced would be comparable to the sun at noon (see Isa. 58:10). The sun is very bright at noon, so it sounds to me like helping people is the way to live in the light.

The Lord will guide us continually, and even in dry times He will satisfy us. He will make our bones strong and our lives will be like a watered garden (see Isa. 58:11). All of this happens as a result of living to bring justice to the oppressed.

I hope you are seeing what I am seeing through these promises. I think most of us waste a lot of our lives trying to get what God will gladly give if we simply do what He is asking us to do: care about the poor, the hungry, the destitute, orphans, widows, the oppressed, and needy. Live your life to help others, and God will satisfy you in every way possible.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to always have compassion on those less fortunate…and take action to help them in their time of need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Peace of Heart and Mind

 

“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27).

A stricken widow stood beside the coffin of her husband. She said to a friend, “There lies my only earthly support, my most faithful human friend, one who has never failed me; but I must not forget there lies also the will of God, and that will is perfect love.”

By faith, she saw good and blessing, remembering the promise of God, “I know the plans that I have for you…plans for good…” (Jeremiah 29:11).

As the Prince of Peace, Jesus gives peace of heart and mind, truly one of the greatest and most remarkable gifts we can receive. In the midst of trial and testing, His perfect peace is a supernatural blessing far exceeding even such coveted gifts as good health, for with His inner peace we have everything we need.

How do we obtain that kind of peace? First, it is the fruit of the Spirit. “Love, joy, peace…” As we are yielding to Him and controlled by the Holy Spirit, the fruit of peace is being cultivated in our lives moment by moment, day by day.

Second, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee” (Isaiah 26:3, KJV); “As he thinketh in his heart so is he” (Proverbs 23:7, KJV). It is a fact of life that we become in our attitudes and actions like that which most dominates our thoughts. That explains the dramatic moral spiritual deterioration resulting from the influence of immoral television programming. When the Lord is given His proper priority in our lives, His perfect peace will reign in our hearts.

While it is true that all such blessings are a gift of God and cannot be earned or merited, it is equally true that we can deliberately choose to cooperate with God’s Holy Spirit by yielding ourselves to Him and thus cultivating the fruit of peace.

Bible Reading:Isaiah 26:1-5

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: By faith I shall claim God’s promised peace for today and every day. I shall ask the Holy Spirit to help me concentrate my heart’s gaze on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, and I will encourage someone else to do the same.

 

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – God’s Family of Friends

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Paul gives us this relationship rule for the church: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love” (Romans 12:10). You didn’t pick me. I didn’t pick you. You may not like me and I may not like you.  But since God picked us both, we are family.

C.S. Lewis said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’” If similar experiences create friendships, shouldn’t the church overflow with friendships? With whom do you have more in common than fellow believers?  Amazed by the same manger, stirred by the same Bible, saved by the same cross, destined for the same home.  The church. More than family, we are friends. More than friends, we are family. God’s family of friends.

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – The trapped soccer team: What freedom really means

Twelve boys and their soccer coach went missing in a northern Thailand cave on June 23. The Tham Luang Nang Non cave system is a local tourist attraction but can flood severely during the rainy season. The boys and their coach became stranded in the dark tunnels by a sudden and continuous downpour.

Divers found them alive Monday evening. The video of their discovery made headlines around the world. But their saga is far from over.

The Wild Boar soccer team and its coach are trapped 1.2 miles into the cave, somewhere between eight hundred meters and one kilometer (0.6 miles) below the surface. They were found huddled together on a small incline, surrounded by water in a pitch-black chamber.

Huge pumps are now running to drain the cave complex so the boys can be rescued. However, Thailand is in the midst of its monsoon season. Heavy rains could make it impossible for the team to hike to safety.

Bringing the team out the way their rescuers went in is especially perilous. Cave diving is dangerous even for experienced divers. The safest option could be to leave the boys in place until water levels drop or a new entrance is discovered. However, if water levels rise too high, they could threaten the boys where they are.

Continue reading Denison Forum – The trapped soccer team: What freedom really means