Our opponents, as were Jesus' enemies, are annoyed by our freedom claims. Most of the world sees a shackled Christian, burdened with rigid demands and negative restraints. Jesus proclaimed that discipleship brings four freedoms.
It brings us freedom from fear! We never walk alone because we are always in the company of Jesus. Some children are burdened with unspeakable fears about all sorts of things. I was one of those kids, very sensitive, and needed an extraordinary amount of reassurance about almost everything. When there was a death in the family, all I could think about for over a year was the fear of dying. I had no one (I thought then) that I could talk to about it and would quietly cry myself to sleep in the night, wondering if I would wake the next day. Maturity in the faith will take away all fears! PTL.
It brings us freedom from self! Many have struggled with who they are. In Jesus' care, He is able to recreate us until we are brand new. We don’t have to behave the way others think we should. Sometimes it is worth the risk to break out and live the way WE think Jesus would have us live! Living on the edge with our Lord is quite an adventure.
It brings us freedom from other people! A disciple no longer cares what others think because he only seeks to please Jesus. (Can I say “AMEN” to that?) I am experiencing a painful situation right now with someone I hold very dear to my heart. This person is disappointed in some of my choices and has held those things against me for 18 months. Although I cherish the love of this one about whom I speak, there is nothing I can do to recover that relationship while they hold onto that root of bitterness. As long as I am in the center of God’s will, forgiven by the Grace of God, I am covered by His love and that is enough!
It brings us freedom from sin! We all know our own sins which overpower us and bring us personal shame. Only in Jesus are we able to break free from that captivity. What a magnificent truth that is! (I John 1:9) Jesus alone has the power over the shackles of our past. And He is the One to whom we place our trust everyday. Hallelujah! I no longer enable the world to dictate how I feel and I do not have to be affected by their judgment of my life. I will take my chances with the judgment of God who knows my heart better than anyone.
GospeLines Prayer:Righteous Father, I am grateful that you have not allowed others to judge me, for if they could, they would cancel the freedom You have given and hold me accountable for the sins I have confessed to You. I stand before You as a sinner, imperfect, faulty in my behavior, careless in my attitude, but corrected by your righteousness. To You ONLY do I confess my unworthiness, and ask forgiveness for all my sins. Restore me to your Holy presence. Hallelujah for Your love and grace to all of us! Amen and amen.
"For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it]. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop." Mark 11:24-25 (Amplified Bible)
Evangelist Joyce Meyer was here in Houston at Lakewood Church recently. I had the opportunity to attend to hear God’s word through her. During her discourse, I learned a few things about faith.
ØFaith is active, not passive.
ØWhile exercising faith to have a need met, you must “walk in love.” Galatians 5:6.
ØFaith can be a defensive and an offensive weapon.
ØFaith grows and must be stretched. Stretching beyond our comfort zone hurts.
ØFaith also requires forgiveness.
Most of us will not experience the unspeakable pain of a Columbine, the Amish or Platte Canyon school shootings. What horrific acts that we may never understand.
As I watched the circumstances unfold on TV in the Platte Canyon case, I was moved by the victim’s parents’ compassion and their ability to turn such a tragedy into “random acts of kindness” in such a short time. In the midst of their anguish, they live a faith that is almost unfathomable to me.
These parents have stretched beyond anyone’s expectations. Most of us would probably have remained sequestered for a period of time, only letting a few witness our private grief while we go through the motions. But, they have witnessed to the world in a most public way.
How precious is the time we have with our loved ones. We don’t know when we’ll be called home or under what circumstances. This family has shown us, by their example, that the “Kingdom of God is in us” despite our circumstances.
Whatever pain we’ve experienced is miniscule compared to their loss. All of the misunderstandings, the hurtful words, and the emphasis placed on such unimportant “things” – how shallow we are as human beings!
We have a great capacity to “walk in love,” but have let the evil one take hold of our thoughts and actions and we have missed so many blessings.
GospeLines Prayer: Father, help me put on love. Give me the courage to have grace under pressure. Your grace and love are more than sufficient. Whenever my steps begin to falter, help me remember Ephesians 6:16-8 (The Message)--
"Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out."
Every day the old Wisconsin shepherd would take his sheep to the fields, carrying with him his violin and his battery-powered radio. He would tune his radio to the classical music station and play along with the great orchestras directed by the master conductors of the day. He wrote a letter to the most noted maestro of his time, asking that in the next concert, to play one note, an A, so that he could adjust his old violin, which, over time, had fallen out of tune. The world-renowned conductor had his orchestra pause in the midst of that concert to play that note for the shepherd, to get him back in tune.
GospeLines Prayer:Master Conductor of the universe, I am grateful that in the midst of all you do, you have time to get me back into harmony with your master plan. Grant that my music will be sweet to Your ears and a blessing to others who might hear your voice in me. Amen and amen.
When the boss says, “Go take a flying leap!” some people will get right to it with no questions asked. But I’m an engineer, and I need to know all the possible outcomes before I do something crazy like that.
About 15 years ago I was working in an engineering department for the Detroit’s “Big Three.” We were struggling with a project that was already behind schedule; but, I really wanted to run a few more tests – just to be absolutely sure…
My Boss called me into his office and pointed to a plaque on his wall:
“There comes a time in every program when you have to shoot the engineer and go into production.”
In other words, sometimes you can be absolutely sure… sometimes you have to go with what you know and take the rest on faith.That’s not just true in engineering…
“There comes a time in every Christian’s life when they have to ignore their doubts and put their faith in the Lord.”
El-Shaddai, one of the Hebrew names for God, can be translated as “The God Who is all Sufficient.” In Genesis 17:1, the Lord Abram and said, “I am God Almighty(El-Shaddai); walk before me and be blameless.” What was the Lord saying?“Trust Me, Abram!Have faith, Abram!What you know about Me must overcome what you don’t understand!”(Gen. 17:1; Ex 6:3)
Again in Exodus 6:3, the Lord said, “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty (El-Shaddai), but by My name the Lord (Jehovah) I did not make Myself known to them.”He told them He was El-Shaddai, the all sufficient God Almighty; but, He did not reveal everything about Himself to them.They were not able to answer all their questions or be absolutely sure… they were required to act on the basis of things they could not figure out on their own.
Has God ever led you right up to the edge of disaster and asked you to take the blind leap into a future you could not see? When the chill of fear has frozen you in place, do you listen to His voice urging you to ignore rational thinking and place your faith in Him like you never have before?
“…Put your finger here; see My hands.Reach out your hand and put it into My side.Stop doubting and believe.Thomas said to Him, My Lord and my God!" (John 20:27-28)
May we see the things of God that He shows us every day and accept Him as El-Shaddai – All Sufficient.May we stop doubting and believe.May we respond to Him like Thomas, “My Lord and my God!”
Horatio G. Spafford was a Christian man who overcame bitter sorrow. He lost his only son to pneumonia at age four, and most of his earthly possessions were destroyed in the great Chicago fire. Overwhelmed with grief his doctor recommended in November 1873 that the family go to England for a spiritual and mental renewal. The day before the voyage he was detained by personal business, so he sent his wife and four daughters ahead, and he was to follow a few days later.
On November 22, their ship was struck by an English ship, and twelve minutes later it sank. Mrs. Spafford survived but her daughters were lost. When she reached Cardiff, Wales, Mrs. Spafford cabled her husband “Saved alone.” Shortly afterward, Spafford sailed for England to be with his wife. He told the ship’s Captain to let him know when they were at the place where his daughters drowned. On the high seas, near the place of the tragedy, he wrote these words.
“It Is Well With My Soul”
When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
‘It is well, it is well with my soul.’
Chorus: It is well, It is well.
It is well, it is well with my soul!
Tho’ satan should buffet, tho’ trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded, my helpless estate,
And has shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin (Oh the bliss of this glorious thought)
My sin, not in part, but the whole.
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds rolled back like a scroll,
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend,
“Even so”-it is well with my soul.
GospeLines Prayer:Heavenly Father, I cry out to you with heaviness; the burdens are greater than I can bear alone. My faltering faith has brought a dark cloud of doubt upon my soul. It covers the light of your existence; my personal despair brings gloom instead of sunshine. I beg you, Lord, to awaken within me a fresh anointing of your joy. Let the songs of your angels ring once again in my heart, so that I may feel your presence once more. If you cannot remove this thorn which inflicts me, at the end of the day, give me a measure of hope so that I may still say “It is well with my soul.” Praise the Lord, praise the Lord! Amen and amen.