Journey From Bondage to Freedom

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I’m in bondage. Fear has taken ahold of me. I’ll be honest with you readers it has been quite awhile since I have been able to go to church, mostly for health reasons but that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t be listening to the tape of the service and even longer since I’ve read my Bible. Some Christian Right? I known overwhelming fear and while watching “The Fighting Temptations” twice yesterday with two different friends, (I thought the movie would be a blessing to them, but I think it blessed me the most).  I needed what it shared, my church and being in the choir was the first blessing it gave me, remembering the joy for it. But then when my friends were gone came the real blessing facing hard ugly truths about myself, and this to share with you, also terrifies me, but I know honesty and transparency is what is required. So as my stomach churns, I progress.

Phillipians 4:6-7  “In nothing be anxious, but in everything by prayer and thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.” 

The Bible makes it very clear that we are not to fear! That we are to put our trust in the Lord. It is that simple. He promises peace if we just trust, pray and thank Him, easier said than done.

I did say that I’m in bondage and yes that as I sit here I realize I have been most of my life. Fear has been the main underlying storyline of my life that, and a general feeling of unworthiness. This last week I’ve been drowning in fear.

Letting myself fear is a sin of not putting my trust in God the creator of the universe. How can I be so arrogant? Could it be that I feel unworthy of His love? His grace? His care? How can I say I put my faith, my salvation in His hands, yet I don’t trust Him with my health issues, with my families issues, with my friends? Do I really believe God to be the God of gods and the Lord of Lords? The Holy Father of the Son of God Jesus Christ who died for my sins? If I do how is it that this magnificent God is not worthy of my trust?

Matthew 6:25-26 “This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t so or reap or gather into barns, yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?”

You would think that these two verses, especially the last sentence would calm me and put my mind at ease; to know that the God of the universe thinks I’m of more worth than the birds of the air. I wish I could honestly tell you that the nerves in my stomach the overwhelming fear of the unknown has been comforted, it has not.

Matthew 6:27 “Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying?”

Makes worrying seem rather futile doesn’t it? I know it does to me logically as well, but that doesn’t change the truth of what I’m really feeling, anxiety/fear/worry still.

Matthew 6:28-30 “And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was not adorned like one of these! If that’s how God cloths the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you – you of little faith?”

There it is again He will take care of us with not just adequate care, or good care, but adorned by God. He clearly tells us all over His word how much He loves and adores us. Yet my sin, my shinning folly is staring back at me from the words I’ve just typed, ” – you of little faith”. I’ve been out of a Bible study and of my own studying of the Word, away from church, and only talking with God for a very long time. I know our relationship needs more than that my faith has lessoned. I’ve fallen. My God help @me! Save me from the fear, the worry that permeates my being. Help me put my heath issues in your hand!

Matthew 6:31-34 “So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat? or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

There is the answer on how to actively stop worrying! First we must make the decision to obey God by letting Him know what’s our my heart. Phillipians 4:6 “in everything by prayer and thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God. ” We need communicate with our Lord, pour out whatever it is that is weighing us down, He wants to know it all. After all He already knows it – He’s waiting for us to let Him in. As I type this I realize I haven’t really been letting my Lord in. Father forgive me. Even better when we take everything by prayer and thanksgiving, making them known to God it will eliminate the worry!

Now before you call me crazy let me try to explain if it isn’t clear. When we give  our worries to God and thank Him for answering our answering our prayers (in advance) we have no need to take them back, thus causing us to worry that day. If we are tempted to take the item back we are commanded to pray in everything by prayer and thanksgiving, to let our requests be made know to God, it doesn’t say that there is any time limit. That we can only come to Him once a day, no! Our Father knows our frailties and loves us. He never slumbers or sleeps, available 24/7, 365, praise Him!

Better yet, that promise goes on to, Phillipians 4:7 “And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.” Not only will God eliminate worry He will replace it with a peace that surpasses all understanding! How does that sound for a promise? All we have to do is come to God in prayer and thanksgiving. He is such a gracious Father. There is no way that we can comprehend His peace but to experience it is a blessing of being a child of the King.

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Once we’ve poured our requests to Him, He commands us not to worry, Matthew 6:34 “…don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  As the promise gives us peace, the command keeps us in the present. As Matthew 6:34 says, tomorrow (and as for that the next day and the next have/ [mine]) has enough worry for itself. The promise helps us stay in the present taking our requests to the Lord. The command protects us from living outside of the promise, which is what I was doing. Lord forgive my foolishness!

Joy – A Fellow SoJourner!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 18

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Today I’m grateful for my thorns in the flesh.  There have been times that I  wish they weren’t there but they keeps me dependent on God and that is where I want to stay.

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If these thorns are the only way that I will continue to rely on God and not myself and not to become prideful, then I say, “Praise God for them!”

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m no super woman I still have times when I scream and cry to God, “Why me?” “Can’t You take these things from me?”

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  –  2 Cor. 12:9

This verse is such a comfort to me, it means I don’t have to attempt to do it on my power that God is waiting to show His power through me.  What a blessing.

So thank you Lord for what You have seen fit to give me and I will do my best to be grateful for all that You give me blessings and thorns.  I know all are for Your glory and for my benefit.  Just as a loving Father does for His child.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Isaiah 43:1b, 4

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Not only is God gracious enough to redeem us and call us by name but we are precious in His sight.  If that isn’t something to praise God about I don’t know what is.

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It is also something that should do wonders for your self-esteem.  If you and I are precious and honored in the sight of God then who are we to say anything different about ourselves?  I’m preaching as much to myself here as to anyone reading this.

I’ve had a hard time with my identity in Christ but these verses make it very clear that we are something very special to God and for us to cut ourselves down or beat ourselves up is contrary to God and thus sin.  Ouch!  Rather harsh to look at it that way isn’t it?  But when we get real with ourselves and God we can see it for what it is and anything contrary to God and His righteousness is sin.

Maybe it’s time for those of us that struggle with this to start stashing away the Word of God in our hearts, so when we are tempted we will hear the truth and the truth will set us free from sin.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 14

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Today I’m grateful for the fact that in Christ I am a new creation.  The old is gone and the new has come.

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.  Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.  We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  –  2 Cor.  5:16-21

How can one not be grateful for God making it possible for us to be new that we might be reconciled to Him?  What an honor and blessing!

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God could have wiped His hands of us so many times in history.  With the first sin He could have decided I’m done with them they made their choice against Me, but that’s not who God is.  His love wouldn’t allow Himself to turn His back on humanity when humanity has turned it’s back on Him time and time again.  Anytime that He did divorce Himself of mankind once they cried out to Him, He responded.  That’s just the way of love.

God’s ultimate act of love was; that He loved sinful man so much that He sent Christ to pay the penalty of our sins thus reconciling us to Him and making us new and the righteousness of God through Christ.

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If God never did anything else for me my entire life I would sing His praises my entire life for this awesome blessing!  Hallelujah!!! Praise the Lord, God Almighty!!!  Thank you my Savior for dying for me and all sinners!!!

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 12

Today I’m grateful for my Lord and how gracious He is to me.

The more we’re grateful for the more things come to mind to be grateful for.

“My mom taught me years ago that Thanksgiving is about remembering to focus on good things, even in the presence of bad things.  Recent experience has shown me how remembering those bad things can actually bring divine goodness and mercy into sharper focus.  In the context of being lost, being found is more wondrous.  In the context of being persecuted, finding acceptance is more precious.  In the context of being sick, being healed is more miraculous.”

I’m grateful to God for all that He has allowed me to go through!  A bad marriage so that I may appreciate and recognize a wonderful relationship.  Being in a wheelchair so that I can appreciate being out of the wheelchair.  Being Bi-polar with it’s ups and it’s downs so that I might rejoice in the beauty of a normal day.  Not everyone knows that gift.  Maybe you know it for other reasons of things that you suffer through to enjoy a day of peace and rest from it.  I’m grateful for my parents divorce so I could see my dad and stepmom’s marriage and love for one another.  What a gift that was to me!  I thank God for being homeless, so I appreciate all the shelters He’s provided me and my lovely apartment now.  I thank God for both my dad and stepmom’s lives, what an example they set.  I thank God their in heaven out of all the pain they were in at the end of their lives. It has taught me to cherish the living while they are still here.  I’m grateful for the abuse in my life, now being treated lovingly like a lady is all the sweeter.  I thank God that He saved me from myself, life is now so precious to me.  How could I have ever been so determined to end it?  Praise You Father for rescuing me from that mentality!

A Prayer

“Dear God, how thankful I am for your gracious rescue!  Help me to remember, every moment of every day and night, to live in a way that shows my gratitude and thanksgiving to you.  In Jesus’ name, amen.”

By Lisa Harper  November 22nd  entry “Growing Deep Roots of Gratitude”  from “Daily Gifts of Grace: Devotions for Each Day of Your Year”

Both the above quote and prayer are from the same place.

I know this is after Thanksgiving but is it ever too late to thank God for all He’s done for us?  I think this is a good daily exercise.  Let me know what your thankful for.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

God is Good!!!

Been on vacation where there was no internet reception so that is why I’ve been so silent.  When I got back I went to a Women of Faith conference that was wonderful!!  It was totally anointed by God and I learned so much.

Didn’t sleep much Friday night so excited about what I learned at the conference.  From Ken Davis: “God is the author of JOY!!” [me-who am I to stifle God’s JOY? I’ve done it far too long and been far to serious for my own good.] “Perfection is not a requirement.” [me-reason for my seriousness is I thought I had to be perfect.  What a relief! I hope and pray I get it this time.  God has been working with me on this.] “No matter the circumstances God is good ALL the time.” [me- God’s not good just some of the time, or in good circumstances WHATEVER the circumstances are God is GOOD! That means when we don’t understand what He’s doing, when are hearts are breaking, when our spirits feel crushed and dry – God is still GOOD! For me personally that means whether I’m balanced, on a manic high or suicidal God is still GOOD!  The circumstances may have changed but He has NOT CHANGED!!!! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever! Amen.]

This has gotten me thinking, if God is the author of joy and I’m His creation and His child shouldn’t I be radiating that joy at all times?  I no longer need to worry about being perfect Ken Davis has explained that that is not a requirement, so no need for me to fret anymore.  I can be my imperfect self and joyful that God loves me in my imperfection.

And isn’t even more freeing to know that God is good no matter what the circumstances are?  We are free to joyfully praise Him for His goodness.  Better yet trust Him for what He is doing in our lives and no matter how painful let the author of JOY give us the JOY that only He can give to see us through those circumstances.  That not only gives us JOY but PEACE.  Wouldn’t you like some of that in your daily life?  It’s there for the taking all we need to do is seek Him.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

What Should People Be Saying About You?

In Proverbs 27:21 it says,

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives.

When I read this I got to thinking, what kind of life am I living?  Yes I get some very nice words for my blogs on occasion but is that enough?  What is God calling me to do?  I’m to be a light at the top of a hill.  A beckon that guides the way.  That is something people are grateful for and may even praise.  Not that I am anything of myself without God and ultimately all the praise goes to Him.  But am I causing people to praise Him?  I fear not.

I want my works to withstand God’s testing.  I want my Heavenly Father to say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”  I don’t want to be one that makes it as just one who barely made it through with what little effort put in burnt in the flames.

Lord, make me a powerhouse for You.  I want to hear the praises rise to glorify You and cause people to come to You by the droves.  Lord, give me a fire that burns within me that cannot be quenched.  Cause me to call those who don’t know You to You.  I want to be used mightily of You.

I know this is going to take work on my part and I’m ready to go into the hidden areas of my life and release them to You for healing and renewal.  I give You every part of me, the horrible parts of my past, the things that scare me about the present and the hopes and dreams and fears of my tomorrows.  They are all Yours Lord.  I put them and leave them at the foot of the cross.  Help me not to return to them unless You need me to to learn and grow, other than that I release them to Your mighty power and wisdom.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!