This afternoon, December 21, 2017, I was helping my son edit a paper he had to write on the Civil War. The Civil War was set in a time of a nation divided against itself. What did the country fight about?
SLAVERY.. There was one side profiting off of the lives of others. Stealing their livelihood, their families and their generations.
The Southern States were comfortable making money off of the labors of others. Their way of life could not be sustained if others did not work to sustain them.
What did the North have to gain by freeing the slaves? What did Lincoln have to gain personally? Nothing. Why did they do it? Because our country was created “One nation under God”. The foundation could not be denied and at that time, Christian values were still integrated into the fabric of our country.
I was reminded of how many lost their lives in barbaric ways fighting for what they believed in. As we reviewed Jon’s paper today, I was reminded of the Black soldiers who moved north to proudly fight for their own freedom, for their right to keep their families together and to work to support them. They wanted to feel like real men again, but did they even know what that felt like after generations of slavery. They wanted to know.
When did slavery begin? Genesis 3 (read)
“you will be like God….” They were already created in the image of God!
Once they listened to the lie of the devil they took on his nature too. Slavery had begun. Shame entered the garden and man began to hide from God. Now, God had to fight for his children who were divided, who had a civil war going on inside of them.
But, God had a promise. He had a promise of freedom already planned, an “emancipation proclamation” coming.
God’s heart is for the struggle to end in us. He wants our whole heart back. Most of us have probably heard the Christmas story about the shepherds hearing the angels tell them about Jesus being born. This was the emancipation proclamation! These weren’t just nice singing angels.
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
God had sent himself here to pay the full price. Those angels new that this was the beginning of a war. One man’s death would set the world free of slavery to darkness. Those were not just singing angels, they were the warrior angels, the armies of the living God. They were here to guard this child and all the purposes of his life so that the price of death would set us all free.
What do we have to do to get out of the hands of the devil? Put our trust in Jesus for ALL of our life. Jesus left everything behind in heaven to come show us what we could look like and live like. HE is the perfect image of the Father, your father, God, your creator.
None of us are perfect when we come to Christ. We CANNOT be perfect. we have no spiritual weapons outside of Christ. Once we receive Him and give him our life, we receive power to change and we must keep focused on that power that changes us. What we focus on we become like. God wants us to focus on his image, and by doing that, we are transformed more and more into his image every day.
Maybe you need to see God in a different way today. God is the defender of your soul. He is fighting for you every minute and has been fighting for you since the first sin in the world, loving you fiercely to get you back. You are his treasure, but you can choose your master. You can choose to participate in what the devil is up to, or you can choose to receive what God has for you.
We cannot serve two masters. Who will you choose? Jesus had to give up his opinions of others, the things he was offended or bitter about and he asks us to do that too. That’s all it takes. Love God with all of our heart and love our neighbor as ourselves. There is freedom in that. The angel armies are here to help you win every battle. They are there for every believer.