July 2021 – Just Be Still … God is Our Freedom

July 2021 – Just Be Still … God is Our Freedom

Scripture: Galatians 5:1

Introduction

As we approach the Fourth of July, we celebrate the freedoms we have as Americans. Let us also focus on the greatest freedom we experience through God. He set us free from the slavery of sin.

Decorations

Decorate the room in red, white and blue with tablecloths in the same colors. Use American flag napkins and small American flags as centerpieces.

Activity

Give each woman a small printed–paper flag and explain the meaning of the 13 folds as they fold their flag. Use the following link to print out a guide for the women to follow as they fold their flag.  https://i.pinimg.com/736x/d2/6e/9e/d26e9ef392cbf514cf74ab24b0f5186f.jpg

  1. The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
  2. The second fold signifies our belief in eternal life.
  3. The third fold is made in honor and pays tribute to the veteran departing our ranks or who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace.
  4. The fourth fold exemplifies our weaker nature as citizens trusting in God. It is to Him we turn for divine guidance.
  5. The fifth fold is an acknowledgment of our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right, but remember it is still our country, right or wrong.”
  6. The sixth fold reminds us where our hearts lie. It is with our hearts that we “pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
  7. The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all enemies.
  8. The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mother, for whom it flies on Mother’s Day.
  9. The ninth fold is in honor of womanhood. Their faith, love, loyalty, and devotion that have molded the character of the men and women who have made this country great.
  10. The 10th fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country.
  11. The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and, according to Hebrew citizens, glorifies the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
  12. The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the eyes of Christian citizens,  God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.
  13. The last fold reminds us of our national motto, “In God We Trust.” When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost,

Freedom In Christ

I have always loved the Fourth of July. It is celebrated across the country with parades, fireworks, picnics, and family gatherings. It is one of my favorite holidays, partly because my birthday is on the third. When I was a child I thought that the Fourth of July was an extension of my birthday, just another excuse to gather with family and celebrate, and boy does my family celebrate!

As I grew older, I learned the true meaning of the Fourth of July and what we were actually celebrating—our freedom and independence as a country—freedom from oppression, from unfair taxation and from a monarchical rule. It is estimated that 6,800 Americans were killed in action during the Revolutionary War, 6,100 were wounded and upwards of 20,000 were taken prisoner. Historians believe that at least an additional 17,000 deaths were the result of disease, including about 8,000–12,000 who died while prisoners of war. The total death toll of Americans during this War is listed as ranging between 25,000–70,000 in the 8 years, 4 months and 15 days that the war lasted. Freedom came at a great price.

Our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence claiming our autonomy as a nation just over a year into the war. Today the Declaration is housed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. July 4th has been declared a national holiday to commemorate the day the United States laid down its claim to be a free and independent nation. Today we still enjoy that freedom, and many of our family members or even some of us, have or are fighting to defend that freedom today. We have parents, siblings, children, spouses, friends, and neighbors who have served in the military defending our country’s freedom. That is why we celebrate this day with fireworks, parades, and family gatherings to remember the freedom we enjoy and the price that was paid and is still being paid for us to enjoy that freedom.

Long before the Revolutionary War, Christ hung on a cross and died for the sins of mankind so that we, as God’s children, could enjoy the freedom that comes from a relationship with Him. When we are living in the fullness of Christ, we enjoy freedom from sin, freedom from guilt, freedom from shame, freedom from oppression, freedom from the old way of life. Many of us can remember how we felt when we were new believers, when we first experienced that freedom and new life. Do we celebrate it like we celebrate July 4th?  Do we regard it with as much importance? Or do we allow ourselves to become slaves once again, slaves to rules, to expectations, to legalism, and to old habits?

The cost of our freedom was paid in full by the blood of Jesus. Christ died so that we could be free from the yoke of sin. He died so that we could enjoy fellowship with God. Our freedom came at a great price. What do we do to celebrate that freedom and to remember the price that was paid?

Paul warned the Galatians:

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1 NIV)

I am proud to be an American, and I still love the 4th of July. I love celebrating our freedom and independence as a country. I love to wear red, white and blue with pride and march in the parades and watch fireworks with my family in celebration of our freedom and all of those who have paid a great price for us to enjoy it. I am even prouder to be a child of God. I am proud to be redeemed by the blood of Jesus. I love to celebrate my freedom from sin. I love to remember what Christ did for me personally and for all of mankind on that cross. He did what we could not do for ourselves. Every day we should be celebrating what Christ did for us. Let our witness be like a great fireworks display for all to see. God is our freedom, let us celebrate and remember that freedom today and every day.