Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Morning Devotions with Chaplain Kenny - Happy Dependence Day!


Happy Dependence Day!

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.
~ Romans 7:15-25 (NRSV)




Happy 4th of July!
Happy Independence Day!

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all People are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Right, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Can anyone tell me what this quote comes from? That’s right! “The Declaration of Independence” set forth by our founding fathers July 4th 1776. A declaration of freedom. Freedom from the King of Great-Britain. Freedom that was gained by the blood and suffering of our forefathers. It is a great day in America’s history, and because of their sacrifice, we still live in one of the greatest nations in the world.

Yet while we live in a nation with more freedoms than most, we are nowhere even close to being truly free people. Not only are we not free. We are at War. Not with Taliban in Afghanistan or Iraq. Not our conflicts with North Korea or Iran. No, we are fighting a more deadly war with ourselves! That War is Sin! Not only are we at War. We are POWS—Prisoners of War! Prisoners of Sin! The verdict for the prisoners of Sin is Death!

Happy 4th of July
Happy Independence Day!

Think I’m being a little melodramatic? Well listen again to what Paul writes.
“I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, 23 but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”
Sure sounds like a prisoner of war to me. And if a prisoner of sin, convicted to die are we truly independent?

Let put it another way. There are two basic symptoms of being a POW to sin. One is that we don’t do what we want. For example…I know that God commands me to be in church on a weekly basis. I know that God wants me to pray, and not just pray for 15 seconds, but a person of prayer, like Jesus. I know that God want me to love other people. I know I’m supposed to forgive and be patient. I know I’m supposed to be the kindest person on the block. But I also know I don’t do these things. What is wrong?

The other symptom of being a POW to sin is that not only do we not do what we want, we do the evil that we don’t want to do. I hold grudges. I judge. I lose my tempter. I hoard. I talk bad about people. Basically I sin all day long, and I really don’t want to. What is wrong?

Well it prove to us that we are all POWS—Prisoners of War! Prisoners of Sin! And remember, the verdict for the prisoners of Sin is Death! Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

Paul concludes today’s lesson by saying, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

If this great nation is to remain a great nation with the unalienable right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness we must set forth a new declaration. If you and I are to be released as POWS—Prisoners of War! Prisoners of Sin! We must set forth a new declaration. A declaration not of independence from the king of Great Britain, but a declaration of dependence upon the Creator—and His Son Jesus Christ—only in this way can once truly experience any type of freedom. A declaration of Dependence!

Happy 4th of July
Happy Independence Day!

Here’s the weird thing about it all. In 1776 when the Colonies declared its independence from the King, Great Britain declared all out War trying to squash our pursuit of freedom. Yet daily when you and I declare its independence from the Creator King, Jesus the Christ instead declares all out forgiveness, trying to enable the pursuit of freedom!

I know it doesn’t make sense, cause to us it doesn’t seem fair. Jesus is the opposite of you and I. He always did the things he set out to do and he never did the evil things he hated. He was perfect, and yet he allowed himself to be treated as a sinner, so God could call you a saint. He allowed himself to be taken a prisoner of war, so you could live in freedom. He let his body become a body of death, so that you could have a body of eternal life.

Instead of the firing squad pointing it weapons of execution at you, at the last minute there occurred a prisoner exchange and weapon of death was pointed at Christ instead. He became your sin and you became his righteousness. Jesus Christ is the ONLY cure for a POW of sin!

So what does this mean for you on this 4th of July? A lot! Close your eyes for a moment…and think of all those things you should have done and did not. Think of all those things you should not have done and did. Now think of one person—Jesus. Now simply ask for forgiveness! And right now, at this moment we have been forgiven for all the things you didn’t do and the sins you did do, and your future becomes bright and hopeful—with a freedom beyond compare.

That doesn’t mean the battle is over inside of us. There’s still something wrong with you and I. There will always be something wrong until the day we die. But through the suffering and blood shed on that cross some 2000 years ago, you have a freedom no one can take from you.

Right now on this 4th of July you can begin to live in hope, and the Spirit of Christ will change you outlook, your future, not by what you have done, but by the sacrifices Jesus has made. This is the cure for the problem I have. This is the cure for the problem you have. The cure is called forgiveness—and it is the only cure for our deadly disease of sin.

The day is coming sooner than you think when the war inside of you will end. I can remember like it was yesterday when Rev. Floyd Trexler preached a sermon stating if he could pick a day to die it would be on the 4th of July, because then and only then would he experience true independence, then and only then would he experience true freedom.

I remember him singing his little heart out from the Martin Luther King speech, “Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty I’m Free At Last!” And as many of you know that stubborn saint and sinner actually did die on the 4th of July and Floyd stood at the pearly gates and noticed something missing in his life, and that something was his sin.

That day will come for all us where we too stand before the Throne of the Almighty. And if I we are to be set free as POWs—prisoners of Sin. We must remain dependent upon the promises of God. We must remain dependent upon the work of Christ Jesus.

Then we too will sing, “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I’m free at last!

“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Happy 4th of July!
Happy Dependence Day!

Pray with me this Dependence Day prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

In Jesus,
Chaplain Kenny


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Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Happy 4th of July!

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