I love to see friends and family outside having plain old fun. Summertime is like a welcome mat for reunions and festivals with vendors, barbecues, and inflatable bounce houses for the kids. This summer several people participated in Juneteenth celebrations. Across the country, these people had a high time commemorating General Gordon Granger’s announcement in Texas of the emancipation of all enslaved people. That day many of the slaves celebrated in the streets and that’s the gist of what Juneteenth is all about.I find it interesting that there was a bit of a delay in the news getting to Texas. But considering there were no computers and cell phones, it’s understandable that it took a while for the slaves and others to find out that they were actually free. For some time before then, they continued to toil under their old identity as oppressed people, completely unaware that they were legally free men and women. It’s completely different from the recent rescue of a boys soccer team in Thailand. Though we’re more than 8,000 miles away, Americans were able to receive news of their freedom at the moment it happened. That’s how much things have changed. But have they really?

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

God made sure that we have the Bible to get the message to us that we are free. He’s also given us pastors and teachers to help reiterate the message.

You know Jesus went through a lot to make sure that we had the opportunity to live free from the devil’s control. Still, I believe that there are times that we continue operating in life as if what Jesus did made little difference at all in our lives. Some of us just accept that we have issues in an area and don’t worry about trying to break free. But I, like many others, have come to announce to you that life doesn’t have to be that way. That “thing” doesn’t have the power to oppress you anymore. You have been set free. You just don’t know it.

Jesus took those stripes and hung on that cross for a purpose. If we just accept our issues, trials, and tribulations without hope that things will get better, we’re living as oppressed people rather than the new creation for which Jesus paid a high price.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” -2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

That person who couldn’t say no is gone. You are a new creation. Jesus is the King of kings, and when you make the choice to connect with Him,  you become a part of his royal priesthood.

Did you hear that? You are royalty. I can’t imagine Prince William or Prince Harry and their families wanting for anything. If it is in the Queen’s power to do it, I feel sure it would be done. Well, you’re a part of the kingdom of God.

“Your crown has been bought and paid for. Put it on your head and wear it.”  -Maya Angelou

Cassandra Woods is an inspirational author and speaker who has seen God’s word become real in her own life. She finds great joy in sharing God’s love with other women and encouraging them to develop an intimate relationship with God. Cassandra is married to Christopher and is the mother of four young adults. To read more about her, click here.

Look on for a copy of Cassandra’s book Rise Up: Keys to Overcoming.  

Cancer diagnosis. Company downsizing. Financial challenges. These are just a few of the storms that Cassandra, alongside her husband, found herself in. 

What do you do when you’ve cried out to God, and the only response you can seem to get is silence? What do you do when life throws its worst punches at you? The answer is simple:You Rise Up!

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