Friday, October 28, 2011

Freedom Isn't Free

The high school in our neighborhood has an electronic sign which daily flashes the message "Freedom Isn't Free". It is a good reminder for us all that there are thousands of brave men and women stationed throughout the world prepared to give their lives in defense of the freedoms we enjoy each day here in the United States of America. Political freedom came at a great cost when the 13 colonies broke away from England. Since that epic moment in history hundreds of thousands of American lives have been sacrificed to preserve our freedom. Tragically, it is likely that such sacrifices will continue to be made in the future. Freedom isn't free.

Spiritual freedom came at an even higher price. For us to be freed from the slavery to sin, the price was the death of God's own Son, Jesus Christ. No greater sacrifice could be offered. The Cross is a sobering testimony of the seriousness of our sin. Because of that sacrifice, however, we are free. We are free from the guilt of our evil; free to stand before our God without being condemned; free to spend eternity with him. What glorious freedom! But always remember the cost at which it was purchased.

The war for spiritual freedom isn't over yet. Satan isn't going to give up on trying to take Christians back into his slavery. Unrelentingly, he attacks our weak spots, enticing us to give up the freedom Christ won for us. This Sunday we are going to look at what the free life in Christ looks like in contrast with the life of slavery Satan offers. Arm yourself for the war you face every day. Join us at 10:00 am this Sunday (October 30) for a recommitment to the freedom Jesus Christ won for us.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Knowledge Is Power

A quick search of the phrase "knowledge is power" reveals that it has an almost endless number of interpretations. Some are cynical, others positive. For the Christian, knowledge of Jesus Christ and what he means to our lives offers the power to live a life of freedom. That statement may come as a shock because of the way most people think of freedom today, but that is exactly the case.

You might be wondering, "But what about the 10 Commandments? They're all about 'Thou shalt not do this or that!' How can you find freedom in prohibitions?" Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Tragically, that is the story of the human race. Generation after generation believes that freedom is being able to do whatever a person wants, only to find that such thinking condemns the individual to a destructive and ultimately depressing life. Freedom, as God intended for human beings, is the ability to decide what is best and then do it.

With Jesus Christ as the Savior and Lord of their lives, Christians have the ability to see our culture's faulty definition of freedom and choose to live in such a way that frees them to become the kind of people God created them to be. Join us this Sunday (October 23) at 10:00 am and experience the rush of freedom Jesus Christ wants for you.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Pearl Necklace

The cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.

"Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please!"

Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl's upturned face.

"A dollar ninety-five. That's almost $2.00. If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday's only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma."

As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. Smith if she could pick dandelions for ten cents.

On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere--Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.

Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you love me?"

"Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess--the white horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She's my favorite."

"That's okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.

About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked again, "Do you love me?"

"Daddy, you know I love you."

"Then give me your pearls."

"Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper."

"That's okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you." And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.

A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.

"What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?"

Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, "Here, Daddy. It's for you."

With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny.

He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her genuine treasure.

What are you hanging on to that is keeping God out of the first place in your life? Whatever it is, give it over to him and receive the genuine treasures your Heavenly Father has ready for you.

This story was an e-mail forwarded from an anonymous author.

Hawaii Lutheran Church (WELS)

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Honolulu, HI
Community Lutheran Church holds protestant chapel services in Honolulu, Hawaii near Pearl Harbor, HI. We are next to the USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hickam Air Force Base, and Fort Shafter Hawaii. Look for us directly behind the Salt Lake, Hawaii, Target.