Friday, April 28, 2017

The Truth Shall Make You Free

From: Francis Harper

The Truth Shall Make You Free

Dear Ones,

I recall the words, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32), written in stone on the exterior wall, above the entrance of the library at Iowa State University. Jesus is the source of all true freedom. As he said, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).

The Proven Pathway to Freedom, by Oliver North
from his book True Freedom, reprinted from Prayer Lines

By 1978, I had known Colonel John Grinalds for about three years. He was on the fast track through the ranks. Top of his class at West Point and highly decorated for his two tours in Viet Nam. Oh, there was one other characteristic that set Grinalds apart. He was one of those “Christians.” Whatever that meant! Along with all the usual training and administrative manuals on his desk, he kept a Bible. Right there in plain sight. And he read it.
Grinalds was assigned as a Battalion Commander to the Second Marine Division and he honored me by asking me to come along as his operations officer. I was happy to hitch myself to this rapidly rising star. In my new role, I was third in command, responsible for the training and preparation of a 2,000 men unit for deployment to the Mediterranean.
One morning, about two weeks before we were due to deploy, our battalion was conducting a training exercise. I had just adjusted the antenna on an armored, amphibious vehicle and spurning the ladder on the side, I jumped to the ground. Big Mistake! Instant memories of my 1964 car accident flashed through my pain-racked mind. I had re-injured my back in exactly the same place. Aside from the wish for unconsciousness, my one overriding thought was, “I just blew my chance to deploy with these men.” I knew from having experienced a similar re-injury in a 1973 parachute accident, that I was due for at least two weeks of hospitalization and bed rest. I lay writhing on the ground. I could not feel my legs.
Before a medic could arrive, John Grinalds showed up. Next thing I knew, he was putting his hand on my legs and saying, “I’m going to pray for you.” “Pray?” I thought. “I’m lying here in agony and you want to pray?” But what I said aloud was, “Uh, Colonel, don’t you think we could just do this the usual way? You know, get a helicopter; go to the hospital . . . ?”But Grinalds just ignored me. He called out, “Lord Jesus Christ, You are the Great Physician. Heal this man.” In that very instant the pain just disappeared. Soon the feeling returned to my legs. When I was ready, Grinalds helped me to my feet. Astonished, I came out with one of the most insane utterances in my life. I said, “Thank you, sir.” At that, Grinalds grabbed me by my jacket and pulled my face up tightly to his. “Don’t thank me,” he said sternly. “Thank your Lord and Savior. He is the Great Physician. You have to turn to him.”
The incident was the two-by-four God used to break through my thick-skulled resistance. I had it in my head that freedom meant taking care of myself, forging my own path through the jungle of life’s challenges. I knew that God was there to help, but I expected Him to follow my lead. What I came to realize was that He had been leading all along and that I had not done well at following. I had been placing my faith in myself, yet He had been telling me over and over, “You’ll only be truly free when you know and trust Me.”

We all need to be set free from all the frailties of the mortal state in which we exist. “Lord, deliver us from all forms of idolatry. Help us worship only you. Liberate us from pride, greed, selfishness and every ‘sin which doth so easily beset us’ (Hebrews 12:1). Forgive us when we fail and take away our guilt. Deliver us from the dreadful tools of the devil: deception [deceiving and being deceived], depression, delusions, distractions, doubt, discouragement and despair. Let us ‘be free, indeed.’

In Jesus name, Amen.”

Love to all,
Francis Harper

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