Sound of Freedom

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.” I Peter 5:8-9a (NLT)

Having spent most of my adult life around military bases I now can recognize the sound of commercial and military aircraft. In San Diego we lived under the flight path of the International airport. Every few minutes a plane would pass over us. It became normal for us. We also could tell the difference between the military helicopters, the medical helicopters and the police helicopters. It was our normal.

When we moved to our current home, Dale asked for a quiet location. No airplane noise, no traffic noise, just quiet. We have that. When the occasional airplane flies over our home we joke that we did not give them permission. On occasion we hear a military aircraft. We recognize the sound and one of us immediately heads outdoors to see what is flying over us.

It seems we miss the sound of freedom, which is what the sound of military jets is.

Our daughter lives in the same area we did as a newly married couple. There are several military air bases in this area. Often, throughout the day we hear and see the sound of freedom. I never tire of it. I love to see the jets in the sky practicing their maneuvers.The ability to fly jets through the sky, dipping and speeding across the expanse above us brings my heart a swelling pride in our military.

The young people with the ability to fly these awesome aircraft are also the ones who rush in to battle when there is a need. They practice so that at the first call they can defend our freedom, our country, our way of life. They give their life for ours.

Our Savior did the same thing. He willingly gave His life for our freedom, our way of life, for each of us personally. He is the mighty warrior, He is dressed in armor, He will defeat the enemy of our souls.

On this earth we can have many enemies, both human and the enemy of our souls seeks to destroy us by disease, broken relationships, and by others. Like our country can stand behind the warriors that defend her, we too can stand behind the Warrior, who died for us.

Gift Wrapping

47 years ago, Dale thought about investing in the 3M company. It was the first year he saw me actually wrapping gifts. I loved using tape. Every corner was crisp and clean and sealed with tape. It became a running joke throughout our marriage, especially at Christmastime.

Wrapping gifts was my favorite part of Christmas. I love the paper, the ribbon, and the tape. I’d never tire of wrapping and even volunteered to help others with their wrapping. People considered me odd. I was always disappointed when the last gift was brought out of the bag and was finished. Everything was wrapped in stockings also. Little bows of ribbon adorned each stocking gift.

Yes, I know it was excessive. It was me. Put me in a room by myself and I was close to heaven. I would pray over each gift for the person receiving the gift. I still do that.

This year the tape use was down by 90%. The ribbons? Just a bow tied on. No little ornaments tied to them. Stockings? Half wrapped and some just thrown into them.

I finished wrapping most of the gifts we are giving this evening. I am sore and tired. I haven’t gone to all bags, but it was tempting tonight.

I whined about a sore back during dinner. I left my mess laying in the dining room. I will get to it later on. I put the packages under the family tree, but didn’t spend several minutes making it look perfect. I may do that later this week.

I was amazed at the difference even from last year. I never thought I would get this way.

As I pondered this, it occurred to me that the fussy ribbons and bows are just window dressing. Important, yes, but not necessary.

From that thought came the remembrance that the most precious gift I ever received was not wrapped. It had no tags on it. No beautiful ribbons. None of that. In fact, the most precious gift I have received came from a brutal and messy situation. The Giver of that gift died for me. The little baby that we celebrate this time of the year was born to die for us. Was born to give us salvation. Was born to be tortured and beaten and crucified for me.

I have recognized this each year. Yet, it hit me a bit differently this year. I think of the Grinch, who realized that ““Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.”

Perhaps we all need to think about this. That infant that we pause to think of during this season, is the reason we give the gifts. We try to find the perfect toy, the perfect outfit, the perfect whatever. When what we are meaning with gifts is a reminder that we love people, love family, love those who have stood beside us during the year. We give because we have an example of the perfect gift.

““For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NLT)


He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Mark 14:35-36 (NLT)

According to Strong’s Concordance, the term Abba means, “Father, customary title used of God in prayer. Abba, approximating a personal name, framed by the lips of infants betokens unreasoning trust. Father expresses an intelligent apprehension of the relationship by the child. The two together express the love and intelligent confidence of the child.” The New Strong’s Concordance.

The above verse shows Jesus’ relationship with His Father. He addresses Him with a child-like expression and an adult expression. We see His trust in His Father as He is about to go to the cross for us. In my opinion, this is a prayer for strength and compassion and trust in what is about to happen.

How often are we in a position where we want to pray like this? We know God is in control, that He loves us and yet do we approach Him in a child-like way? Do we have a child-like trust in Him? Knowing, from experience in times of looming appointments or situations I tend to allow dread to fill me instead of trust. In those times I have to put myself into a quiet place alone to truly remember that I trust in God to do what is appointed for me.

There is a man in our church who is an example to me when he prays. His prayers begin with ‘Papa’. A simple address for a mighty God. The first time I heard him pray I was stunned at such a familiar greeting. As he continued I realized that this man knows God. He spends time with Him and is accustomed talking with Him. There is no straight laced formality. He comes to our God and is honest with Him.

It is an incentive for me to get to the place in prayer where I can imagine myself crawling up into our Father’s lap, leaning in and listen to His heartbeat. When I was a child I remember being at an aunt’s house with my parents. The adults were sitting around the table talking and I climbed into my mother’s lap and sat curled up, listening to her heartbeat while she talked with the others at the table. It was a comforting moment in my memory. I have had those times in prayer also. Those are the times where I can truly say, Abba, Father, Papa, I trust you.

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15 (NLT)