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On June 6th 1944, 150,000 men were packed into landing craft and transport planes to assault  Hitler’s Fortress Europe. It would be the death knell to one of the greatest threats to peace in human history. I’m privileged to be based in the part of England where that huge operation was launched and where the eyes of the entire free world were fixed that day as freedom hung in the balance. D-Day was a costly invasion that facilitated a desperately needed liberation. 

Following the Normandy Landings, on this day in history, King George VI addressed a frightened nation with these words: “We ask not that God may do our will, but that we may be enabled to do his. We, who remain in this land, can most effectively enter into the sufferings of subjugated Europe by prayer, whereby we can fortify the determination of our sailors, soldiers and airmen who go forth to set the captives free.

2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ, the son of God, invaded this world to carry out a mission to liberate humanity. Through his sinless life, sacrificial death and glorious resurrection, he reversed the curse of death and decay for anyone who would simply receive him. Real freedom only exists on the other side of our response to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

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In such a short space of time we have witnessed the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and the coronation of King Charles III. Recently, I met a lady who had witnessed not two but three separate coronations, the middle one on this day in 1953. I was reflecting on the story when the then Princess Elizabeth was just 25 years old and on a royal tour to Kenya with her husband Prince Philip. She was climbing a tree for fun when news arrived that her father, King George VI, had passed away. For any newly married young woman it would’ve been a life changing moment. But for Elizabeth, she climbed that tree as a princess and came back down it as a queen!

The Bible talks about a different individual who climbed a tree to see Jesus. He was not a member of a royal household, but a crooked tax collector who was probably also avoiding the people he had ripped off. Jesus called his name and told him to come down from the tree. As a result of that encounter, he changed his ways, he went up the tree with a shameful list of personal failures but came down with a clean slate and a new identity because of Jesus. If you hear his voice today, come down from the tree!

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