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A note from Pastor Unke

Free...and secure!


Do you remember “Snuffy the Seal?”    I’d be surprised if you did.  He wasn’t real, but he starred in a great TV commercial for Discovery Channel. 
The commercial started out with a newscaster telling us how Snuffy had been rescued after washing up on a beach in California.  Now that Snuffy had been nursed back to health, a reporter was filming the occasion on which the beloved seal would be set free.  Just as Snuffy was being lowered to freedom, a great white shark breached the water and swallowed Snuffy whole.  The crowds—including the reporters—were in total shock!  As the TV ad came to a close, it simply said, “It’s Shark Week—no seal is safe!”
Pretty funny stuff.  And, oddly enough. it makes a point I’d like to share to help us better appreciate the love of God in Christ Jesus.  (Where’s he going with this one?)
Sometimes freedom can be a bit scary!  Snuffy was set free, but he was insecure and in danger.
It’s common to hear of prisoners who were locked up for many years who had serious trouble after they’d been set free.  Since they have little money, no place to live, and no means of income, it is not uncommon to see them struggle with their new found freedom.  Some quickly return to their former friends and the problems that came with them.  They can’t make it.  Freedom isn’t exactly what they’d imagined!
We love to speak about how Christ Jesus set us free from sin and its consequences.  There’s no greater truth than knowing that we’re free from guilt and death and hell! 
But our sinful nature can really struggle with the concept of freedom.  Every one of us has mulled over the idea that since the Gospel tells us we’re free, then maybe we can simply keep on sinning to our heart’s desire.  What a perfect way to “game the system!”  Since sins are freely paid for, than why not freely sin?  Sounds like the best of both worlds, right?  (It’s not—read Hebrews 10:26-27 and shudder!)
Freedom can be dangerous in other ways, too.  Imagine if the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus set us free, only to release us back into the world to fend for ourselves.  Are we wise enough to see through the deception that is woven into the philosophies that float all around?  Do we have the strength of character to stand firm in the face of temptation?  Have we achieved a mental toughness that makes us immune to the sinful desires from within?  Can no trouble shake us?  Does hardship never throw us for a loop?  Are we naïve enough to think we can stand firm on our own?
Wouldn’t you agree that being set free to find our own way would be daunting—even impossible?  Wouldn’t you feel a bit like Snuffy dangling above the dangerous seas?  Can’t you just see those shark’s teeth all around?  We’re no match for Satan’s lies and we’re not strong enough to stand our ground as the deceitful  world stalks us.  If Christ simply set us free, we’d soon be lost again.
But there’s little cause for alarm.  May I suggest that you take a few minutes to read John 17:11-26?  (I’ll wait.)
Isn’t it amazing—and comforting to read those words?  Jesus talks about you and me as if we are his most treasured possessions!  He pleads with the Father to remain with us and to protect us in the world.  He longs for us to be filled with joy as we journey through this life.  He asks the Almighty God to keep us Christians unified, knowing with certainty that we are loved—and always will be.  He even wants to live in us, providing strength and comfort and hope in all things.  All this for the people he set free!
We have no reason to fear the devilish sharks, because we have God’s Word that we are not defenseless.  He is with us.  When temptation or deception circles us, readying for the attack, God’s Word guards us and keeps us.  And finally, after we have stood the test with his strength, Jesus himself will take us to the place of total security and endless peace.  This is the freedom to which we were set free.  Safe and secure in Him.  Always.       
In Jesus, Pastor Unke
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