Bob Haley

Bob Haley

Our Founding Fathers included in the Declaration of Independence this memorable line: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.”

This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s certainly important as it reminds us that we are endowed by our Creator with these rights. The government does not endow these because the higher authority is God.

Life is certainly the greatest of these three. Without life, it would be hard to have liberty or pursue anything.

The Apostle John begins his gospel account acknowledging “Through Him (Jesus) all things were made: without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life and that life was the light of men.”

Our creation, the essence or light of who we are, our very life, is a gift from God.

We commonly hear the “gift from God” statement with newborns but not so often with teenagers. The wonder of new birth diminishes as time passes. Thank God for grandchildren that remind us once again.

Life is a gift. A good life has options.

Real wealth is not an accumulation of money but rather an abundance of options in life. True poverty is to not have any options in life.

God grants us liberty to choose our direction. From the very beginning, He placed us in the Garden and gave us the options to eat from all the trees. In order to give us liberty, He excluded one tree’s fruit.

“I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food … but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

There it is — a choice to obey God or to taste the forbidden fruit.

God gave us the liberty to choose our own direction. Like the cows straining through the barbed-wire fence to graze on the greener grass, we chose of our own free will to eat from that forbidden tree.

Liberty or free will is a gift from God as well. Without a choice for self-direction, we are merely robots in a preprogrammed existence.

God knew before creation that we would choose poorly and He already had a rescue plan ready for us. That rescuer is Jesus, His own son.

The whole purpose of Jesus leaving heaven to come into His very own creation is to reconcile humanity back to God. It is to repair the damages that sin has caused so that we can be reconciled with God by our own choice.

Again, God gives us the liberty to choose Him.

We have God-given liberty to choose our direction in life. It is His hope that you choose Him in all things.

If your liberty has resulted in separation and the loss of hope, God gives you the One who has already paid your penalty, Jesus.

May you pursue true happiness that can only be found in Jesus this holiday weekend.

Bob Haley is assistant pastor of Christ United Venice.


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