Larry Roques

Larry Roques

The Pastor's Journal of House of Joy Church


Freedom Isn’t Free



Galatians 5:13-14



For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”



Repeatedly we are admonished in the both the Old and New Testaments that the escape from bondage and the embracing of freedom is God’s way.


He has never in mankind’s darkest hour held the design for our lives to exist in a framework of imprisonment.  Instead, he continually fashions himself to be the liberator and the maker of atonement that we would not see our water level at darkness, but instead see the light of his grace that leads to our salvation and freedom.


Jesus told us in the Gospel of John Chapter 8, verse 36 that “whom the Son sets free is free indeed.  Jesus taught in parables, but he did not preach in metaphors. He said exactly what he meant. Understanding that the freedom we enjoy did not begin with men, or a flag, or a piece of paper is a fundamental understanding that we all need to capture and embrace in our hearts. The freedoms we enjoy in this great land are not the beginning, but just a fraction of a work that was begun in a corn crib in Bethlehem and ended in a garden tomb outside Jerusalem. It is in these truths that we can apprehend the life that reverberates to us that  “FREEDOM ISN’T FREE.”







1 Thessalonians 5:16-22



Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.



Gratitude is a human quality that slips more in the ratings every day we live.

We have a propensity to forget the good things that God has done for us. We become relaxed in our devotion to the Lord. We sacrifice our walks with God upon an altar of mortal life. The creations become more important than the creator.


The Psalms are a reality check in Gratitude. The ability to walk in thankfulness to God in every circumstance is a challenge that daily meets us midstream in life. So many of us only know thankfulness in the scope of our situations. We know jailhouse religion, hospital room religion, poor house religion, courtroom religion, Lawyer’s office religion, doctor’s office religion, marital breakdown religion, unemployment line religion, sick child religion, sick spouse religion....and I’m sure there are many I have missed.


The true test of thankfulness toward God....the kind of thankfulness that is real is how close you stay to God in good times and bad.  Paul told the church at Thessalonica to REJOICE ALWAYS.....PRAY WITHOUT CEASING....and in EVERYTHING...give thanks to God.






Ephesians 4:26-32


“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.



One of my favorite new cult classic movies is “Mars Attacks”. In the script, there is a scene where the president, played by Jack Nicholson...extends his hand to an invader Martian’s hand in friendship and utters the words “why can’t we all just get along”......just before the Martian ends the president’s term of office, along with his life...sometimes it seems like mankind’s best efforts at cohabitating on this planet are just about as futile.


Civility is a scriptural concept and therefore it is encircled by Godly truths rather than the philosophies of man. The difference is that the philosophies of man are dependent upon the responses of man to find truth in their precepts. Civility as a Godly principal is entirely independent upon the response given by another to judge its validity. The simple truth is that our validation comes not from man’s approval, but from obedience to God’s word.


The simple, but sad, truth is that we will never “all just get along”. But living according to God’s Golden rule will bring us to a level of life that we can never attain on our own apart from and understanding and embracing of God’s love and grace.






Romans 10:1-4



Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.


The obscene degree of negativity and evil speaking that is currently littering the countryside of our nation is alarming. It only takes one or two pundits with a platform high enough reach the masses to change the atmosphere of a nation from tolerant to tyrannical. I think everyone of us has at one time or another fallen victim to fear and faithlessness to the place where we ourselves lose hope in the quicksand of public opinion.


Social media is a veritable petri dish of half-truths and propaganda emanating from every side. If Facebook could produce usable fuel based upon the lies and false information disseminated every minute of every day on its news crawl, the energy crises would decisively be over. If one quarter of the energy used on Facebook to sow strife and create hard feelings were used to weave peace and knit hearts together, can you imagine the great things we could do for the cause of the Gospel in this world.


James 3:18 tells us, “Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”  Understanding true patriotism is not trying to create another uprising based upon politics. It is standing firm on a holy cause. Revolutions still happen in murderous, lawless nations and there has never been resolution in any of those places. The difference in what happened here and what continues to happen in Godless places is that they do what they do for religion and not God. Our ancestors did not come here for freedom of religion....they came here for freedom from it. Man invents religions...God is the author and finisher of our faith....and in our found freedom.

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