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!

Give Your Love Away

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Jesus commands us as the second of the two things we must do to complete the law of all the prophets.  Being Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”

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When we share the love that God has given to us we are in essence reflecting God’s love to those that we love.

When we have love in our heart and lives we won’t be gossips and hurting people by spreading hurtful things with an untamed tongue.  When we love we won’t be jealous and envious of others, rather we will join them in the joy of their fortune. When we love we won’t wish ills on others but rather be praying for blessings for them.   We will be looking for a way to be a blessing to them rather than caught up in our own lives.  We will be vigilant about noticing signs of distress that may mean that they need our assistance because that is the least that you would do for your own body.

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It may seem impossible or radical but let’s really think about our neighbor and not to be noisy but out of love and concern be attentive to what is going on in their lives.  Let’s open our hearts and doors.  No more driving in and out of your garage and into your house never even knowing who your neighbor is.  Walk down your sidewalk and introduce yourself.  Stop at the mailbox long enough to greet others in your apartment complex, who knows it might be an opportunity to show some love if not at the least a smile and you may make someones day.

This world has become very isolated but we don’t have to let it stay that way.  We can choose to look for opportunities to connect to others be that playing it safe by just being friendly or taking a chance and actually showing love to someone.

When I lived in England I learned a song, I believe it’s called, “Magic Penny”.  The lyrics go:

Love is something if you give it away, give it away, give it away, you end up having more.

It’s just like a magic penny.  Hold it tight and you won’t have any, but lend, spend it and you’ll have so many, they’ll just roll all over the floor.

For, love is something if you give it away, give it away, give it away, you end up having more.

So may I challenge us to look for ways to give our love away?  God has an unlimited supply to restore and refresh us with.  Like the song says if we hold our love tight we won’t have any, it becomes a stagnant pond useless to anyone.  We must think of our love as a fountain where water never grows stagnant or rushing waterfall that’s mist nourishes all the plants that surrounds it.

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

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 21 Grateful I Can Change

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Today I’m grateful that I can change with the help of God.

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Max Lucado puts it well in, “Grace for the Moment: A 365 Day Journaling Devotional” in January 21st entry called, “A Heart Like His”.

God wants us to be just like Jesus.  Isn’t that good news?  You aren’t stuck with today’s personality.  You aren’t condemned to “grumpydom.”  You are tweak able.  Even if you’ve worried each day of your life, you needn’t worry the rest of your life.  So what if you were born a bigot?  You don’t have to die one.

Where did we get the idea we can’t change?  From whence come statements such as, “It’s just my nature to worry.” or, “I’ll always be pessimistic. I’m just that way.”…Who says?  Would we make similar statements about our bodies?  “It’s just my nature to have a broken leg.  I can’t do anything about it.”  Of course not.  If our bodies malfunction, we seek help.  Shouldn’t we do the same with our hearts?  Shouldn’t we seek aid for our sour attitudes?  Can’t we request treatment for our selfish tirades?  Of course we can.  Jesus can change our hearts.  He wants us to have a heart like his.

What a blessing it is to know that change is possible.  If we are living with the cancer of bitterness we needn’t die with it.  Jesus can give us a heart of love and forgiveness that will kill the cancer of bitterness.  If we are hanging on to things of the past Jesus can help us to live in the present and let loose of the past that only hurts and interferes with our todays.  As the poem says, you won’t find God in the past He isn’t, I was, and don’t look for Him in the future He isn’t, I will be, look for Him in the present because His name is, I Am.

I’m so grateful for where God has brought me from already and I look forward to where He is going to bring me to in my journey to become more and more like Jesus.

Let Jesus do the work He has in store for you to bring you into His likeness.  We all must remember our place at the wheel.  We are the clay and He is the potter, longing to mold and make us in His likeness.

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

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!

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 7

Today I found myself blessed with the reuniting of a dear friend and her family.  She is blessed with a wonderful husband and the sweetest 16 year old daughter I’ve met in a long time.

I’m so grateful to God for bringing us back together again after two decades of being apart.  God is so good!  I’m also grateful for Facebook for being able to find her in it.

Since we’ve found each other we both have been through a lot and it was so good getting to catch up in person today!

Never take friends for granted they are also so very important.  May I encourage you to keep in contact with your friends from your youth.  This friend was from back in college and that makes her so special because she knows my history and my family and that is just something that can’t be replaced by anything else.  So if there is someone you have been wondering about may I suggest that if your involved with someone but the person your thinking about is a same sex friend look them up and let your loved one know if you find them.  Share how they are a part of your life with your loved one and include them in it.

I’m fortunate enough that my loved one was a part of my girlfriend and my’s past in college.  We were all a part of a group called Zeta Chi.  My it was so good hearing those words again today.  It’s been years since I’ve heard those words and I miss all those special people that were a part of that college group.

My prayer is that God will reunite me with some of the other women of that group in the future.  We shared things in the past that are special and I care about those girlfriends very much and have a fond place in my heart for them.

Lord bless all my friends those I’m in touch with and those I may be reunited with  and those that I may have to wait until I’m with You in heaven.

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

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 6

Today I am still grateful for God’s creation but in a more intimate way.  I have a little Chihuahua Schitzu mix.  Other then my Lord and boyfriend she, Tessa is the love of my life and cheers me on a daily basis.

Last December the Lord directed me to her at the shelter and I have been blessed by her calm nature for a Chihuahua and rare barks.  The above photo is when I first got her.

She does love to kiss, which I am attempting to curb.  I don’t care for her tongue in my mouth which happens far too often than it should have.  She loves to cuddle whether it be mommy, daddy or a new friend.

She delights me and it is a blessing from God to watch her each day and her antics and the fun personalities that she shows me.  She loves to play.  One of her favorite games is what daddy calls rabbit.

He uses two fingers as ears that are attacking her.  She absolutely loves playing with her daddy and I love watching them play together.  They are so cute.

She likes to perch on her tower.

I’m so grateful to God that He had the creativity to create dogs they are, other than God and other human’s, man’s best friend or third or second if you don’t know God best friend.  Sorry to be so serious but I believe that even in enjoying God’s creation we must keep our priorities straight.  Even though animals are wonderful we mustn’t let them take the rightful places of God and human companionship.  But even so I would not want to be without the blessing of my dear Tessa of whom I’m so grateful God directed me to.

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