We celebrate our freedom this week with all sorts of travel, family time, picnics, fireworks and all manner of festivities. Have a safe and wonderful time.
Our freedom is not free. It was bought with blood. We dare not take it for granted.
We are free far more than just nationally. We are free spiritually because of the blood of Jesus. We can be free from the masks we wear, the pretense we carry, the trying to be good enough, from the shame and guilt. Jesus has set us free! Now that is something to celebrate not just this week but every week of the year.
I went to visit my father for Father’s Day. We had a great time.
While there I was reading a book on Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. I ran across this quote on happiness from Dr. Anthony Clare: “Happiness is a cognitive state, and intellectual perception or understanding of you, the person and your relationship with the environment. It does have pleasurable components, but that is not the essence of happiness. The essence of happiness is a conscious appreciation of the rightness of being. And it is a sate. It is not a permanent trait. People aren’t “happy” – they have experiences of happiness.”
Do you think that’s a good definition?
Dr. Clare went on to give a prescription for happiness:
- cultivate a passion
- be a leaf on a tree (know you are unique but also connected to community)
- avoid introspection
- don’t resist chnage
- live in the moment
I was in Riverside, California two weeks ago. I spoke to the women of Sandals Church on Saturday and then the pastor, Matt Brown, “interviewed” me during the Sunday morning services – incorporating it into his sermon for Mother’s Day. He has been doing a series on “honor” – Mother’s Day he preached about honoring our parents using Noah’s son, Ham, as an example of dishonoring and Shem and Japeth as examples of honoring. It was a terrific sermon. They have 4 services on Sundays – two in the morning and two in the evening. By the 4th service, I wasn’t sure what I had said or not said! I am not sure how Matt does it week in and week out. He is a great preacher – he puts truth down “where the cows can get it”.
You can listen to his sermons on the Internet. Just go to Sandals Church, Riverside, California. Don’t you love a church called “Sandals”?
This is a church doing “transparency” from the top down. Their mission is to be “real with self, others and God”. They take it very seriously – as a lifestyle. I made plans to stay the week. I had the privilege of meeting with some of their key leadership as we journeyed together through some painful and “secret” life “issues” – sharing our hidden hearts. I was deeply moved by the authencity and transparency of these people. Especially the men. Their transparency and commitment is very authentic.
It is good to be with people with whom you can be honest, who accept you as you are, without condemnation, taking you before God in prayer. We all hunger to be known fully. Loved unconditionally. Honored as valuable. With our best attempts we fall short in giving that to each other - it only truly happens in Christ. At best “we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.” (I Cor. 13:12)
Won’t it be exciting to be fully known, fully loved, fuly honored? For now we can give that to each other as best we can knowing it is only a dim reflection of what Jesus gives to us. We can be Jesus to each other.
When we think of Memorial Day we think of the start of summer, 4-day weekend, cookouts, sales events…My granddaughter was watching TV with me this morning and an ad for a Memorial Day car sale was trying to entice us into buying a car. My granddaughter asked, “What’s Memorial Day?” I am glad she asked but it showed me how we tend to forget the reason for Memorial Day.
A day to remember. Remember all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. Families who have an empty place at their table…
We enjoy our holiday events – I love a good burned hot dog covered with mustard, katsup and relish – but perhaps we have come to emphasize all the activities over the reason. I am touched each time I see the advertisements for the Wounded Warrior Project – what an important endeavor. For those of us from the Vietnam era, there was so much venom spewed out towards those who served our country because so many thought the war was wrong. Our returning veterans were spit upon, taunted, jeered. And yet they answered the call to duty and served. They were not responsible for the political decisions yet they bore the brunt of it.
This Memorial Day, remember…thank a service man or veteran. Remember all those that serve our nation – especially those who do so out of true love of country. Get a copy of our Constitution and read it. Thank God that you live in the greatest nation in the world. A nation built for freedom – a nation who birthed great men like George Washington, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan – men of principle and honor.