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Dave and Kathy Nelson

Wisdom of the Week
by Pastor Dave Nelson of Libby, Montana

Until my retirement in May 2011, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week (WOW) devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.  To read more WOW visit our website at www.wisdomoftheweek.com 

Enjoy this week's devotional!

June 17, 2024

"FREEDOM DAY"

     A central issue that  caused the American Civil War (1861-1865) was slavery, not merely on a moral basis but also due to the economics of slavery and the political control of that system involving states' rights. The Dred Scott vs Sanford Supreme Court decision in 1857 which endangered Northern anti-slavery forces created tensions which led to the war. An enslaved African American named Dred Scott sued for his freedom after he was taken to a free state, arguing that living in a free state should nullify his status as a slave. The Supreme Court ruled that enslaved people were not citizens of the United States and, therefore, could not expect protection from the Federal Government or the courts. The opinion also stated that congress had no authority to ban slavery from a federal territory. (We have a similar battle raging today over the issue of abortion).

     President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation Jan. 1, 1863, but it wasn't until April 9, 1865 that Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his troops to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.  On May 12, 1865, the final battle of the Civil War took place at Palmito Ranch, Texas. On May 26, 1865, the Civil War officially ended when General Simon Bolivar Buckneer of the Army of Trans-Mississippi agreed to terms of surrender. 

     Then General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston Texas on June 19, 1865 with an announcement that, after more than a century of slavery and years of war, it was officially over-- all slaves were now freedmen. This was the last community in the west to know of their freedom.  A big celebration ensued, one that has continued to the present. It is called "Freedom Day," or "Juneteenth" (combining June and nineteenth).  Now "Juneteenth" celebrations are held all over the country and world with barbecues, red-velvet cake, ice cream, red punch, watermelon, dancing, music, bands, singing, parades, praise worship, rodeos and sporting events. 

     A long battle still lay ahead, but now the slaves knew they had been officially declared free. Experiencing that on a daily basis would come with great challenges, some of which are still ongoing.  

     Spiritually, all of us began in this world in bondage to the sin nature we inherited from Adam because of his disobedience in the Garden of Eden. David wrote: "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me" (Psa. 51:5).   It is not that the acts of giving birth or conceiving are sinful, but that from the moment of conception, a person possess a fallen, Adamic sinful nature.  In his epistles, Paul refers to it as "the old man"  (Ro. 6:6; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9) or "the flesh" (Ro. 7:18; 8:1,3), or "the old self" (Ro. 6:6).  We sin because it is our nature to do so.  We are slaves in need of emancipation.  Paul said, "...but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin" (Ro. 7:14). But in His mercy and grace, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to become sin for us not only to pay the penalty of sin, which is death (eternal separation from God), but also to set us free from the bondage of the old sinful nature.  Through sending us the Holy Spirit at the moment we trust in Christ for salvation, Christ comes to live in us, and through Him we have the power to not sin.  We have the Divine Nature indwelling us (II Pet. 1:3).  We have been united with Christ in His death and resurrection. "Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism (of the Holy Spirit...I Cor. 12:12,13) into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life...Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin...Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Ro. 6:4-11).  "For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son (saved from the penalty of sin), much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved (from the power of sin) by His life (that He now lives in us)" (Ro. 5:10). 

We have been "freed from sin, that we might become slaves of righteousness" (Ro. 6:18). 

      So, on this "Juneteenth" of "Freedom Day," as we celebrate the freedom granted to the African American slaves in our country, if we know Christ as Savior, we can celebrate our freedom both from the penalty AND the power of sin in our lives. PTL We have been set free!  "And you shall know the truth, and the  truth shall make your free.  If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed" (Jn. 8:32,36).  

     When was your "Freedom Day" when you were set free?  If you aren't sure you have been set free, why not celebrate today by personally accepting what Jesus did on your behalf at the Cross through His death and resurrection.  He will set you free and you will be "free indeed!"  Jesus said to His disciples, "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father, I have made known to you" (Jn. 15:15).  "What A Friend We Have In Jesus!"

Forever His,
Pastor Dave

Weekly/Monthly Schedule

Sunday:

  • Summer services

      10:30 am: Worship Service

  • Fall services (During the school year)

       9:30 am:  Sunday School for all ages
     11:00 am:  Worship Service

  • Potluck Fellowships will follow the morning service – 2nd Sunday (see calendar for any changes)

Monday:

 6:30 pm:  Prayer meeting at Faith Bible Church

Wednesday: 

6:00 pm: AWANA (during the school year, September through April)

Thursday:

5:15 pm:  Music Team Rehearsal
6:00 pm:  Elder Meeting – 2nd Thursday

Saturday:

 7:30 am:  Men’s Breakfast and Bible Study – 3rd Saturday