All eyes were carefully curved to the President. Would what he warned about actually appear?
New Year’s Day 150 years ago was awaited with immense anticipation. Black churches held Watch Night services in anticipation of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation taking effect in the midst of a bloody Civil War ripping the nation apart. One hundred days prior-following the Battle of Antietam, Lincoln advised rebel states to rejoin the Union by January 1, 1863, or have all slaves in those states declared free.
The rebel states ignored Lincoln’s warning, and he did exactly what he promised-freed the slaves. Though the proclamation didn’t and couldn’t immediately end slavery-since areas under Confederate control couldn’t be enforced by the Union President, the wheels were positioned for all men who had been created equal to actually experience equal freedom.
Yet there is a greater freedom, and Jesus unshackles it. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free (John 8:36 NLT). His Jewish listeners claimed they had never been enslaved, though they had…to the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, and currently the Romans. Jesus introduced a different variety of liberty -spiritual liberation.
Each new day gives an opportunity to start with a clean slate. A chance to throw off the shackles of unfilled dreams and expectations, the chains of addictions, the manacles of misplaced priorities, the irons of unforgiveness, and the fetters of emotional entanglements and to enjoy the freedom possible through a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ.
Knowing all our sins are forgiven and that we are made righteous in God’s sight is a freeing experience with which there is no equal. And living with his strength that confers power to cast off binding habits, actions, and emotional states is life in abundance. Let Christ declare you once and forever free.
Prayer: To the Almighty God who has power to release us from all enslaving practices, we humbly ask You to infect us with Your power so we might bask in the fullness of the freedom You provide.
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