Journey To Freedom

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”  Luke 4:18-19

Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them.  Luke 7:22

I was going to wait till tomorrow to write this week's blog.    Tomorrow I have my next scheduled visit at the doctor and will find out if my bloodwork is good enough to start my last 5 days of chemo.   It's been put off each week of the last two and I wanted to wait to write another blog till I knew what my status was.    But... the last couple of days, as we have celebrated America's birthday, the subject of freedom has been on my mind.   As most of you know, America is not the country of my birth, England is.   The Fourth of July always brings a smile to my face as I think of the celebration of the fight for freedom by the country of my adoption over the country of my birth.   However, I am very happy to identify with the great nation of America, so much so that last week I FINALLY mailed my application for citizenship (along with the fee) so that after over 35 years of living as a "resident alien" I can finally become a permanent citizen of this wonderful country!!!  

I love the quote from Luke 4 (above) which is taken from Jesus first sermon He preached.   In this passage He "proclaims" liberty to the captives and then "sets" at liberty the oppressed.   He also "proclaims the acceptable year of the Lord."  This refers to the Jewish "year of Jubilee" which can be translated a "year of liberation."    This was Christ's message and His mission statement.  In Luke 7, He refers back to that message in showing evidence to John the Baptist (who was in prison and about to lose his head).  He declared that whether or not He was fulfilling His message of freedom was proof that He was who John had proclaimed Him to be.   Christ brought freedom throughout His ministry in the form of healing those afflicted with sickness or injury and loosing those bound by evil spirits, but He provided eternal freedom by giving His life on the cross and rising again three days later victorious over the chains of death.

I believe there is a desire for freedom put in each of our hearts by God from conception.   There is a natural resistance within each of us against outside oppression of any kind whether that comes from a government, control imposed by specific people in our lives, or bondage to an addiction that seeks to dominate us.   But, should the fight for freedom be primarily about me or about something much bigger?  It appears through history that those who fought the hardest for freedom may not necessarily have experienced much of it themselves.  Many of them chose to live free, even if that shortened their life, rather than live a longer life in bondage.

Those who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 had much to lose in their stand for freedom.  Most of them were personally wealthy and had substantial property.  It would have been much safer for them to remain silent and watch from the sidelines.  John Hancock (the largest signature on the document) was one of the richest men in America and suddenly he had a high price on his head.    Each signer became a specific target of England "none who had property or family was spared.  Most lived to see their families killed or separated forever and their property sacked.  Nine signers died of wounds or hardships during the war.  Many died in poverty ("   I think also of the men & women of our military who have given their lives defending the freedom of so many that they never knew.    They paid the ultimate price that they may live free of the oppression of others and doing all they could to pave the way to freedom for others as well.   The founding fathers were not perfect in their pursuit of freedom as the evil of slavery remained in this nation for more than a hundred years afterwards, but the constitution they created (and the ongoing stand for liberty throughout the generations) increasingly brought more freedom as time passed.   This nation is not perfect, but it remains one of the freest nations in the world, and in many ways is more free now that it was when it began.  It's true as Albert Einstein said that freedom "is only possible by constantly struggling for it."  Our responsibility is to do what we can in our time and generation to provide more freedom for others.

In your cry for freedom what is the bigger picture?  As I have walked through my journey to freedom from cancer this year I ultimately want to do more than just get over this disease and go about my life doing whatever it is I want to do.  I think that is the big lesson that I am still struggling to learn.   I believe the greatest motivation to fight for freedom from sickness, addictions, anxiety, and life's struggles of various kinds is not just for the individual themselves but for those who's lives they can impact and need them to be free.   If I'm honest, there is still a big part of my thinking that wants to put this cancer behind me so that I can do just what I want to do with my life.  That is not freedom, that is selfishness.  I don't want to be guilty of that as I continue to ask God for my physical healing.    I must do all I can to make sure that the lessons I have learned during this time (that I have talked about in my blogs) will not go to the wayside once I am back to full strength.  

To bring real liberty, my personal journey to freedom must be about others much more than about myself.   To live my life in a way that brings the freedom Christ paid for to my daughters, the community in which I live, and to whatever people and places God has given me a voice.  At this moment, I have not been asked to stake my personal finances and life on the fight for freedom for others but if it one day comes to that I pray that I will have the courage to do what the founding fathers did, and so many more after them.   As our ultimate example, Christ proclaimed and paid the price for freedom for a mankind that may or may not accept the freedom that He purchased.   So I believe the freedom we fight for must first and foremost please the One who paid the price for the greatest liberty of all, freedom from the penalty of sin and death.

So... as another "Independence Day" comes and goes, I encourage you to fight for freedom in your own life in a way that honors Christ.  But, don't just desire freedom for your own benefit, keep your eye on the bigger picture.   There are many lives affected by the life that you live, let it be your desire to live in a way that brings freedom to others even more than it does for yourself.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog, please continue to pray for me as I pray for you and that freedom may continue to ring in our lives.  God bless.


Carol Puckett - July 5th, 2021 at 5:20pm

Thank you Matthew! This has so touched my heart. And I’m so proud that you have become a citizen of the United States of America! Will be praying for you this week and thanking God for healing you!

Matthew Chapman - July 5th, 2021 at 8:01pm

Thanks Carol! I’m not a citizen yet but I will be in time to vote in the next election! I’m praying for you as well. You are a blessing.

Retha Wilson - July 5th, 2021 at 8:12pm

Blessings Pastor Matthew. God is more than Able . Roman 6. Freedom from the sins that destroy the life the best life. Gods desires for our life. Still praying for you

Matthew Chapman - July 6th, 2021 at 2:27pm

Thank you so much Retha!!

Elizabeth - July 6th, 2021 at 12:43am

So grateful for your insights once again. They are thought provoking and powerful. Like you say, we impact on the lives around us and must always keep the bigger picture in mind. I often say to my family we are so blessed to live in a place that upholds freedom and I personally am going to pray that I can facilitate this in others. Thinking of you as you visit the have certainly made a huge positive impact on many people’s lives Matthew - class yourself as a freedom fighter!

Matthew Chapman - July 6th, 2021 at 2:28pm

Thank you Elizabeth!! I appreciate your encouragement so much. Let fight for freedom together!!

Tammie Fenner - July 6th, 2021 at 5:52am

Freedom is something many people take for granted. I’m glad that you’ll be a US citizen soon. You are a blessing ❣️Praying for this last round of chemo. As I’ve said in the past…..God’s got this!! 🇺🇸🙏🏻

Matthew Chapman - July 6th, 2021 at 2:28pm

Hi Tammie. Thanks so much!! Very grateful for your prayers & yes glad to finally get my citizenship in the works!!