Beauty From Ashes Videos


Saturday, July 4, 2009



Two hundred and thirty three years ago, there was no United States of America. The British Empire ruled a great portion of the world without question, and one of her colonies was overburdened by massive taxes levied by a government in which they had no representation. On July 4th, 1776, their discontent and outrage at unfair treatment led our Founding Fathers to draft and publish the Declaration of Independence, in which they recognized in our most fundamental document that all men are endowed by their creator with rights. Those rights do not come from government, but from God, not from politicians, but from providence. Our nation was undoubtedly founded by men who loved God and Jesus and sought to bring about a system whose structure was based in the Word of God. The freedom they sought, and for which they fought, is the very same freedom which Christ promises all of us, if we are willing to fight for it.

Being free, the state of not being bound in slavery, is represented by the word eleutheroō (e-lyü'-the-ro-o) in the Greek, meaning to make free or to set at liberty. I learned something profound in Teen Challenge. We, especially us Americans, tend to think that freedom is getting to do whatever you want, but I think we have it wrong. True freedom is not getting to do what you want, but not having to do what you don’t want to do anymore. Romans 6:18 says that we are made free from sin, no longer slaves to our selfish desires and unholy impulses. It is a past tense verb, completed and final, it is passive, meaning that it was done for or to us, and it is a continual action. While Paul does say in other places that we are able to do whatever we like, the point he stresses over and over again is that we don’t have to do the things that we used to do anymore. If you know Christ, you are not bound by the old habits, thought patterns, attitudes, fears, lusts and addictions that you were before. II Corinthians 5:17 says that you are a new creature; old things have passed away and all things have become new. Ephesians 4:22 tells us You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; because if we make the decision to get rid of those things, the Holy Spirit within us will give us the power to follow through.

It is a fact that you have been set free. It is confirmed when you choose to leave behind you the things that have had you bound up and the Spirit gives you the ability to do so. Once you have put off the old man, then you can put on the new man, a new way of thinking, a new way of life. It is only by continually choosing to reject and bury the sinful things of the past that you can walk in the redeemed, victorious life for which God has purposed and destined you. Celebrate this Independence Day, not by reveling in your right to do whatever you want, but by rejoicing in the fact that you no longer have to do what you don’t want. You don’t have to sin. You don’t have to let yourself down. And that is the greatest freedom of all.

God bless America, and may we once again bless Him.

In His service,
Steve Shematz

© 2009, Steve Shematz

Steve Shematz is an over-comer of a 30+ year addiction to pornography. He is a graduate of Teen Challenge International and served on staff with Teen Challenge for 5 years. He is married to Beauty From Ashes™, Co-Founder & CEO, Pastor Julie Shematz, an over-comer of sex trafficking, exploitation, drugs, suicide attempts & offense from within the church. Their lives are testimonies of God's ability to produce beauty from ashes. They are committed to reaching & rescuing those that are lost & hurting, teaching & demonstrating to them how they can walk in the destiny God planned for them & then training & sending them out to help others find the freedom and wholeness found through a relationship with Jesus Christ.