Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Freedom

Fireworks over Niagara Falls
©ShelleyWilburn.org
Happy 4th of July! Independence Day. A day when we celebrate the independence of our nation. I always loved the fireworks display of our town. Of course, I just love watching fireworks anywhere, especially the big ones! The bright colors, the crackling of the sparklers, and even those stinky, sulphur-smelling smoke bombs and their brightly colored smoke. I loved buying those when I was a kid and setting them off in the yard to see how many colors I could get. Those were some fun times growing up. 

Can you imagine what would be happening in our country if our troops hadn't fought for our freedom? I'm so thankful for, and proud of, all of them.

I'm also extremely thankful for the spiritual freedom that God gave me. Since being healed of the years of mental and emotional abuse that I've endured, I can see things in a whole new light. Gone are the anxieties of the past. Gone are the hateful barbs of those who have picked at me for years. And gone are the feelings of worthlessness that have been drilled into my head by those who wanted nothing but to insult and keep me down.

This might sound harsh, but there are those who cannot feel good about themselves unless they are putting someone else down. These are the people I have to stay away from. Some of them are family, some friends, some even women I went to church with. I may love many of them, but I limit my time with them because to be around them for any length of time only causes stress. Some of them I stay away from completely.

I've talked about it before, but this is a healing process. Just because I'm healed of the oppression doesn't mean my life is perfect. It just means I'm on a new journey. This is my "Journey to Forgiveness." Some people aren't going to like it. Some will retaliate. Just like when our troops are fighting for the freedom we get to enjoy in the United States. Our adversaries in other countries don't like it, so they retaliate. It's basically the same way with our spirituality. Our enemy, the devil, is constantly looking for someone to devour (destroy). That's why we have to be on alert so that we can fend him off. 

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world." ~1 Peter 5:8-9

But the good news is that I have a God who is bigger than all of that. He has promised me that He will be with me every step of the way. I may have to walk through some rough spots, but I am now better equipped to handle it. There will be no more oppression for me. I may get attacked verbally, but those are just words from people who don't "get it." I don't have to be around them. I have other things to do and can't waste my time letting someone try to trip me up.

Let me tell you what the devil did to me. For most of the life I've lived, there has been someone always putting me down. I'm not whining about it, I'm just stating facts. I never knew how to handle it, and therefore allowed them to oppress me, never defending myself. But let me tell you what the LORD did for me: He came in and took all of that emotional and mental oppression from me and gave me a fresh start! I stand before you today healed, cleansed, and ready to do what the Lord has called me to do. Help others who are suffering the same thing.

I am happy. I am free. I am a brand new person. Freedom isn't free. Someone gave his life so that you and I can live in a free country. Jesus gave His life so that you and I can live eternally. I hope that you all have a happy and safe Independence Day. I also hope you all have an eternity with Jesus, celebrating the independence He gave us!

"But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you." ~1 Peter 5:10 (emphasis mine)



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