Saturday, December 28, 2019

Freedom with liberty


For those who read the Bible verses from Ephesians, I hope that you noticed the repeated encouragement to choose good. The potential for wrong was evident. The opportunity to choose right was encouraged – this is freedom.

In another place , the Christians were tempted to adopt Moses law as their rule of life. But Paul the apostle warned them:
“So Christ has really set us free. Now make sure that you stay free and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.”

The law is good, but the adoption of it to please the Lord is a bondage no one has been able to bear. Even to the privileged Jews it was written:

“But when the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, subject to the Law. God sent Him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as His very own children.  God has sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts and now you can call God your dear Father.”
Galatians 4.4


This is true freedom with the power to choose good.

This is real freedom to enjoy God.

This is why the Lord Jesus Christ encouraged people to look up and pray:
“Our Father in heaven, honoured be your Name.”

johnmckee@internode.on.net

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Freedom flourishing


Freedom functioning fully
"Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbours the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”[d] Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behaviour. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God."

Bible  -  Ephesians 4

JRM



Friday, December 20, 2019

Freedom in a person


Obtaining freedom

I turn away from the disappointing promises of freedom offered by religion, democracy, socialism etc. Rather I am listening to the quiet voice that has echoed through the last two thousand years:
“The truth will set you free”
“If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

It is popular to think of all religious prophets intending good and freedom for people. There is some truth is this, but one could study the history of such to see how it has so often failed. Yes I am promoting someone who initiated a new religion. His background was the law of Moses and prophets that followed. But that in itself did not achieve fruitful freedom.

Freedom is in a person.

Two questions must be answered.
1          What is truth?
2          Who is the Son?

The dictionary describes truth as “factual reality”. The word is often used for not being a lie. What then is reality? Many philosophers have pondered this question. One concluded ‘I think therefore I am’ . Well it was the humble teacher from Nazareth who identified reality:
‘to be connected with a transcendent being’ (Transcendent- meaning above all)
Then He made the great claim, not only to be from above, but also to be ‘the way, the truth and the life’.

My summary of truth:
To understand our reality physically and spiritually ,
To understand God as greater, yet interacting with His created beings.
That opens the door to much research, much science, much spiritual enquiry!

Second Question – Who is the Son?
(remembering his claim “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”)
Please note the word used is ‘son’, not child. ‘Child’ implies parenthood, a beginning. ‘Son’ means representation, relationship. This is the very great claim by the angel Gabriel – the babe to be born of Mary would  be the ‘son of the Highest’ (Luke 1)  Jesus affirmed this claim as He stood before the Jewish court and was asked “are you the son of God” – He answered “I am”  Mark 14
It is in Him that true freedom is found. Believing in Him, following Him, listening to Him, knowing Him.................here is true freedom.
Freedom from....................................
 Freedom to ..............................................
The Lord Jesus spoke to the religious Jews and identified their religious bondage as coming from the Devil. Many political  systems and religions promise freedom, but most end up being hijacked by the love power, greed for gain, religious bigotry.

The happy outcome of freedom in Jesus Christ as Lord includes the following:
Freedom to know God in heaven as ‘Father’
Freedom to worship God without fear.
Freedom to depend upon the living God
Freedom to speak for Him
Freedom to connect with others of all nations
Freedom from the fear of man
Freedom to love as God loves

Perhaps I need to take this out of religious terminology and see it in real life!
A follower of The Lord Jesus Christ will be enabled by His Spirit to:-
..be motivated by love in all actions
...be joyful in all situations, trusting God who is greater than all.
....be at peace in mind and heart knowing God is working together for good.
.....freedom to be generous to all sorts of people
......freedom to connect with people of varying thoughts and ambitions.
.......freedom to live and serve after the example of Jesus Christ
.........freedom in marriage, in work
..........freedom to respect and honour others irrespective of nationality, religion, caste,  status or wealth.
.............freedom to be poor or to be rich

In conclusion, I seek to show you that freedom is in a person, not politics or religion or wealth or fame. To know HIM, Jesus Christ the Lord is freedom.

JRM

Thursday, December 12, 2019

True freedom


Freedom from Fear

My deliberations continue to be influenced by the peoples coming to Toowoomba to live. It is not hard to discern that the greatest problem is fear. Many have come from lands of war and genocide. Young people are suffering from PTSS, having watched close relatives murdered in their presence. Others are here because they come from situations where they cannot trust anyone, not even their own family. Others have fear of failure, struggling with learning English and trying to support a family. Many live in fear of failing in religious duties, for example, not fulfilling the rules, fear of judgement day, fear of breaking caste traditions, fear of family dishonour.  Some operate in dread of the Police , not understanding that in this country, the Police are here for the people, not against the people.

So what is the answer to this devastating disease of fear? Education helps, but a better cure is in having an understanding of the true character of God, specifically as revealed in Jesus Christ. I could trace so many of the world problems to other religions. For example :- the terror that flows from ‘Judgement day ‘ prospects, the poverty of millions because of the imbedded caste system, the grinding surveillance of millions because of atheism, the greed that has flowed from hijacked Christianity.

Let me present the positive!

God is so great that we should reverentially fear Him. This is not the dread of some sinister deity. Rather it is giving Him the honour of His holiness and His right as the Creator to bring all peoples to account.
God in His character is Love. This has been and still is known in His communications of mercy and acts of grace (undeserved kindness). Millions of lives have been changed from fear to freedom by knowing and trusting Him. This is a spiritual regeneration which creates individual connection with the living God. Most religions are about rules and ritual. True Christianity is about connection and comprehension.

1    Connecting with the living God as Father to children

2    Comprehending God as revealed in Jesus Christ

This changes the whole way of thinking and living. This can filter through to the foundations and fabric of society to  remove fear and bondage. In actual fact the Australian citizenship training book, points to this as the foundation of Australian ‘freedom’.

Let me explain:

Christians obey God because we love Him.(that flows on to loving others. Loving in spite of unworthiness)

Christians understand God, because Jesus Christ has given a full and final revelation of God (making relationship with Him a great joy and cause for praise)

I well understand there are many forms of false Christianity, but I am pointing my readers to the God revealed in the Bible, not the systems of religious imagination. There have been and still are supposedly Christian groups who control the people by fear.

I encourage you to read the Bible. Have a look at 1 John chapter 4, to discover such precious, positive words:

“And we have seen, and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in Him and He in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. 

God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in Him.

By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgement, because as He is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear

We love, because HE FIRST loved us!”


Bibles free at johnmckee@internode.on.net


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Danger


The dangers of freedom

In Australia we have freedom to travel. Generally it is safe to travel anywhere across this vast land. Yes safe from bandits, safe from molesters, safe from extortion and corruption. However this freedom has put many into trouble. For example –many tourists come to Australia, hire a car or campervan and set out to travel from Brisbane to Adelaide. So they choose to go via Birdsville and Innamincka to see the outback. Out in these ‘safe’ places they go, unprepared for the inevitable difficulties of heat, desert, mechanical failure etc. My children have assisted several of these unprepared freedom seekers.

What is my point? Freedom without guidance is dangerous. Freedom to travel needs a guide. Freedom of religion needs a guide. Freedom of business enterprise needs a guide, freedom of speech needs a guide, freedom of education needs a guide, freedom to choose a marriage partner needs a guide!

As I teach citizenship lessons, this point becomes clear  -  --   on our own , freedom can lead to disaster. Recently heard of refugee men in Australia, leaving their wives and children to enjoy ‘freedom’. Alongside freedom goes responsibility!


So who is the trustworthy guide?  In so many situations, this is indeed the difficulty. Government representatives have limited capacity. If I was intending to cross Australia , I would seek the help of someone who had survived such a journey themselves.  If I was choosing a religion, I would talk to someone who understood by study and experience religion. Someone who was intelligent about various beliefs and the outcomes of such. ( Jesus said – “wisdom is justified by her children)

In conclusion of this section I say – “freedom is great, but freedom without God is dangerous”

johnmckee@internode.on.net

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Failure of freedom


Freedom is the liberty to choose. I write in the context of Australia where freedom is a favourite word. I often ask migrants what they like most about Australia – the answer is always the same  - ‘freedom’.

Indeed it is a privilege to have freedom, but why do we have so many laws and regulations and legislation to make society function? It is because of a root problem – the problem is the natural tendency to choose wrong and this leads to disorder and destruction. It is in the fallen nature of humans to choose wrong! (Wrong? Who says it is wrong to be greedy? Who sets the moral standards about lying? Who determines that oppressing others is wrong?)  Following self driven evolution, progressing by survival of the fittest does not help. Humans without a compass are little more than sophisticated animals.  And so it is that Governments without God, seek to establish laws and rules to control human unpredictability.

But bring into the picture a Creator who has moral values and the situation changes. When our conscience is active and God is recognized, laws become less relevant. Add to this the Christian’s companion – the Holy Spirit, and the laws become unnecessary. (as the NT teaches ‘Love does no wrong to anyone, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law’! Romans 13.10 )

Why then do we have the increasing regulation of society?? Because so many are without God and without hope in this world.

John McKee