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Dear Congregational Family,

Juneteenth: Those of you who read your “Portals of Prayer” devotion already today, read the story of why today is celebrated as the “day of freedom”, which is known as “Juneteenth” in Texas. It was on June 19, 1865 that the Union troops finally reached Texas with the news that the Civil War was over and that all slaves had been freed. This was incredible news for those who were still laboring in the bondage of slavery!

Ironically, the slaves had actually been declared free 2 ½ years earlier by President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863! Because the slaves had no way of knowing that they had been set free, the 250,000 slaves in Texas had continued to believe they were slaves, and therefore labored in that bondage. Thousands had died in slavery during those years, not knowing that they were free.

How similar it is in our world today. Most of the world continues to be held in the bondage of sin, death, and the devil; not knowing that Jesus has come, died and rose again to give them new life and freedom in Christ!!

Thankfully the Union forces pushed on to not only win the victory, but to spread the good news of freedom and to make sure that it was applied. As Christians today, we need to push forward and share the Good News of the Gospel, so that the Holy Spirit might apply it to the hearts of those who have not yet experienced spiritual freedom and life in Christ.

Increasingly, there are many in our midst who have NEVER heard the Gospel, and many others who have heard, but have never believed and understood the Good News. I pray that God will give your heart a growing desire to experience the joy of telling others about Jesus. (VBS would be a great opportunity!)

God bless you as we continue,

​ “Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God.”

Pastor Carlson

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