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Freedom comes at a cost
Pastor's corner
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Today’s key scripture verse: “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty”.
—    2 Corinthians 3:17

This weekend, we celebrate America’s 234th birthday. Let’s be mindful that freedom is never free. Somebody pays the price. Liberty County is blessed and honored to have Fort Stewart. We can proudly say that our neighbors and friends are “freedom fighters.” The military families who live here faithfully endure the daily sacrifice of having loved ones deployed. As we celebrate, it is important to acknowledge the courage and bravery it takes to wait for a spouse, a parent, a son or a daughter to return from the dangers of a war zone.
As a military community, we should pray for our soldiers and take every opportunity to support their families until the soldiers return home safety.  
I believe one of the greatest freedom stories ever told can be found in the book of Exodus: “It came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 12:41 NIV).
Freedom for the Israelites came after many years of slavery. During this time, they continually prayed and cried out to God for help. But it was only after Pharaoh accused them of being lazy, refused them time off for worship and increased their workload that God issued these special orders to two freedom fighters by the name of Moses and Aaron.
“Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. Because of my powerful hand, he will let the people of Israel go. Because of my mighty hand, he will drive them out of his country.” God continued, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as the Mighty God. But I did not show them the full meaning of my name, the Lord. I also made my covenant with them. I promised to give them the land of Canaan. That is where they lived as outsiders. Also, I have heard the groans of the Israelites. The Egyptians are keeping them as slaves. But I have remembered my covenant.
“So tell the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord. I will throw off the heavy load the Egyptians have put on your shoulders. I will set you free from being slaves to them. I will reach out my arm and save you with mighty acts when I judge Egypt. I will take you to be my own people. I will be your God. You will know that I am the Lord your God when I throw off the load the Egyptians have put on your shoulders. I will bring you to the land I promised with an oath to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I lifted up my hand and promised it to them. The land will belong to you. I am the Lord.’
(Exodus 6:1-8, New International Reader’s Version)
Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor. It must be demanded by the oppressed.”
Freedom is costly. The cost for the Israelites was many, many prayers and 430 years of forced labor. The cost for the Egyptians was many, many disasters to their livelihood and land. The cost for was Pharaoh 10 vicious plagues (including the death of his firstborn son). The cost of freedom is so great that when it is accomplished, a celebration of independence comes naturally.
On the other side of the Red Sea, the children of Israel burst into a song of celebration, singing: “The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. The Lord is a man of war. The Lord is his name.” (Exodus 15:2-3)
Today, let’s remember our soldiers overseas and celebrate the freedom God has given us in America. Sing a new song to the Lord today and have a happy 4th of July!

Deason is the pastor of Liberty Prayer Chapel and the director of the Liberty County Manna House.
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