Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Independence Day devotion - Semper Fi - Acts 21:10-16

Acts 21:13       Then Paul answered, "Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."

            You cannot fault Paul’s loyalty to Christ. He believed in Jesus completely and was more than willing to lay down his life for his Lord. Many years before this incident, he was blinded on the road to Damascus by Christ, as a means of saving him from his own destructive ways. Paul never forgot that dynamic moment. It changed everything completely for him, which is why he was willing to totally give everything for Jesus. Paul was always willing to be faithful (semper fi) to Christ, even if it cost him his life, which eventually did happen.

            In a couple of weeks, we will be celebrating Independence Day in the United States. It’s a great occasion for communities to display their national pride. US flags will be flying everywhere; special parades will take place in towns and cities; people will be wearing red, white, and blue; families will be grilling in their backyards, and fireworks will go off all over the place into the wee small hours of the morning. It’s a fantastic celebration of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but I wonder how many of us will remember the sacrifices that our Founding Folks made and the lives that were sacrificially laid down, so that freedom could be procured for future generations?

            It’s the same in the Christian Church. Each Sunday is actually an Independence Day celebration because we remember that Christ set us free from the captivity of sin and tyranny of death, through His perfect sacrifice and glorious resurrection. As Thomas Jefferson once wrote in 1774, ‘The same God who gave us Life…also gave us Liberty.’ In other words, the same God who gave us Christ, also set us free forever!

Questions for personal reflection

How much of my life am I willing to give to Christ? How much does He expect of me?

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, You have set us free from our failures, our mistakes, and our sins. You have purchased that freedom for us through the spilling of Your blood and the giving of Your Life. We are unworthy of such a holy sacrifice, but we are also eternally grateful to You for liberating our souls from the bondage of sin and finality of death. May we freely choose this day to serve You and God’s Kingdom forevermore. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to

Today’s image is one of John’s Independence Day drawings. It’s called “Liberty Lights,” and features the Statue of Liberty surrounded by 4th July fireworks. If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link:

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