The Daily Scroll

Passing the Test of Liberty

By Gene Markland

 Reading today’s headlines, we learn of constant challenges to our liberty. Terrorists’ threats against our nation, economic turmoil, and political struggles are on our minds. But hasn’t that been a constant in the history of our country?

From the very outset of our nation’s birth, our forefathers passed the test of liberty in places like Bunker Hill and Valley Forge. But there has come a steady stream of trials and tests to our nation that we have had to pass in order to remain free. We mustn’t forget the Alamo, the battle of New Orleans, or Gettysburg, and our current heroes who fight a war against global terror.

There has been a test that each generation has had to pass for liberty. And these tests are always given to the individual. A woman, who we’ll call Maria, had always wanted to become a United States citizen, but could not pass the test. Well, after praying with a CBN prayer representative, Maria passed the test of liberty and became a United States citizen!

There once was a young boy named Tommy who was brilliant at an early age. Born and raised in a rural area, he read all of his father’s books by the age of six and had a hunger for knowledge that was unquenchable. He was tested many times in his life but at the age of 14, his father passed away, leaving him to assume the role of head of the house.

In spite of life’s circumstances, he entered college at the age of 17. Maintaining his home with his mother and siblings, at the age of 24, Tommy passed the bar exam and became a lawyer. When he was 27 and away working in another city, his home burned down and he lost all his prized possessions, including his extensive library. In time, he rebuilt his library, had an illustrious career, and passed the test of liberty.

Harriet Powers, a woman freed from slavery after the civil war, suffered hardships and struggled to pass the test of liberty. She was an expert seamstress who made quilts to help support her family of nine children. Few black women could write in those days, but Harriet told the stories of the Bible with the figures she sewed into the panels of her quilts. To see Harriet’s quilts was to get a visual of the great stories of the Bible. She passed the test of liberty and led her family into the free world.

The greatest test of liberty, however, came in a garden in Jerusalem. The Lord Jesus passed the test of liberty for all mankind when He submitted Himself to His Father and said,

“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Luke 22:42).

He sacrificed His liberty for ours, even to His death on a cross. Now we have liberty in Christ, eternal life that no man or devil in hell can take from us. When we accept Christ Jesus as our savior, we are free!

The test of liberty is an individual test, which we must pass daily. Our struggle, whether spiritual, physical, or financial, is not in vain. Just as we reap the rewards of those who have passed the test before us, we pass the rewards of our tests on to those who come after us.

The Apostle Paul wrote,

“As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good” (2 Thessalonians 3:13).

So, pass the test of liberty and be an over-comer like Harriet Powers, the freed slave whose Bible quilt hangs in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC today. Or Maria, who passed the test of liberty and became a United States citizen at 96 years of age! And finally, let’s not forget Tommy, who at the age of 33 passed the test of liberty when he penned these words, “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” (Thomas Jefferson, July 4, 1776).

stories of the Bible with the figures she sewed into the panels of her quilts. To see Harriet’s quilts was to get a visual of the great stories of the Bible. She passed the test of liberty and led her family into the free world.

The greatest test of liberty, however, came in a garden in Jerusalem. The Lord Jesus passed the test of liberty for all mankind when He submitted Himself to His Father and said,

“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Luke 22:42).

He sacrificed His liberty for ours, even to His death on a cross. Now we have liberty in Christ, eternal life that no man or devil in hell can take from us. When we accept Christ Jesus as our savior, we are free!

The test of liberty is an individual test, which we must pass daily. Our struggle, whether spiritual, physical, or financial, is not in vain. Just as we reap the rewards of those who have passed the test before us, we pass the rewards of our tests on to those who come after us.

The Apostle Paul wrote,

“As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good” (2 Thessalonians 3:13).

So, pass the test of liberty and be an over-comer like Harriet Powers, the freed slave whose Bible quilt hangs in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC today. Or Maria, who passed the test of liberty and became a United States citizen at 96 years of age! And finally, let’s not forget Tommy, who at the age of 33 passed the test of liberty when he penned these words, “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” (Thomas Jefferson, July 4, 1776).

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 “Your love of liberty – your respect for laws – your habits of industry – and your practice of the moral and religious obligations, are the strongest claims to national and individual happiness “  (George Washington 1789)

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“But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28) 

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“Jesus replied, “I assure you that when the world is made new and the Son of Man sits upon his glorious throne, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.“ (Matthew 18:28-29)

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“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)

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“the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?”  “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” (Matthew 17:19-20)

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 Father to the Fatherless

Billy was a young man who grew up hard. He came from a poor family and acquired the responsibility to work at an early age. Having barely known his Father, Billy had to learn how to be a man from his uncle and his grandfather.

His mother read the Bible to him and tried to fill his father’s shoes but there’s only so much that a single mom can do. But, she tried her best. From his earliest memory Billy loved music and couldn’t wait until Sunday morning at church. The choir director called for the choir to come forward, meaning that anyone who wanted to sing could come to the stage and join the choir. Billy always jumped at the chance.

Later in life, he had a couple of short visits with his father, but if Billy didn’t contact him, he never contacted Billy. Years passed until a major event happened in Billy’s life. He and his wife had a baby daughter. Billy wanted her to know her grandfather and he her.

Billy’s heart was so full of love and appreciation to God for this beautiful baby that he contacted his father to share the news and extend an invitation to come. A short visit ensued but ended as quickly as it began. Through the coming weeks Billy was generous with pictures and news of the baby, which he shared with his extended family including his father, who lived in another state.

The time came when Billy was preparing to vacation with his family and pass nearby where his father lived. Naturally he assumed that his father would love to see his granddaughter so a phone call was made to make arrangements. When Billy asked for a time to come his father said that he was busy that weekend. When Billy proposed another time he got the same response, too busy. After several attempts to schedule a time to just drop by, Billy got the message. His father had no interest and did not want to see his granddaughter, or his family.

With a broken heart, anger began to rise up within him. A lifetime of rejection culminated in this fresh rejection of his new baby girl. In anger tempered by righteousness indignation, Billy finally stood his ground. He told his father, “All my life you have rejected me. I have suffered at your hand through no fault of my own. Now you are rejecting my daughter! I will not have her ever ask me, ‘Daddy, why doesn’t Granddaddy love me?’ Oh no. From this moment forward I will not give you another opportunity to reject her again. You want to be left alone? You got it!”

That was the last time they ever spoke. Billy broke down as he hung up the phone. He went to the men’s room, locked the door, stood over the sink and wept. Tears of pain, regret and hopelessness flowed like a river down his face. Rejected and alone, he grieved. Not only did he grow up without his father, now his precious daughter wouldn’t have a loving grandfather. The loss was too much to bear.

With a firm grip on both sides of the sink, Billy slowly raised his head and came face to face with his image of pain in the mirror. In this moment, in the depths of his despair, his heavenly Father spoke to his heart.

“Son, He said, I am your Father. My love for you is unwavering. I have always been there for you. When you sang in the choir, I was there for you. When you are lost in indecision, I guide you. When you and your team won the city basketball championship, I was present cheering for you. And when your daughter, whom I formed, was born, I was there rejoicing with you. Son, I am with you always.”

He continued, “Your earthly father may have let you down but son, here in heaven you have many fathers, and they all love you. Take comfort and peace in this fact my son.”

The Bible describes God as, “Father to the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5 NLT).

Jesus said, “For the Father himself loves you dearly” (John 16:27 NLT).

From that day forward Billy always said a special prayer on Fathers Day to his heavenly Father to recognize Him on that special day. It always ends the same, “Happy Father’s Day Father! I love you!

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When the people recognized Jesus, the news of his arrival spread quickly throughout the whole area, and soon people were bringing all their sick to be healed. They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed.” (Matthew 13:35-36)