Tag Archives: freedom in Christ

Ezekiel 13-15; Psalm 136; John 5

What did he say?

Then this message came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, prophesy against the false prophets of Israel who are inventing their own prophecies. Say to them, ‘Listen to the word of the Lord. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: What sorrow awaits the false prophets who are following their own imaginations and have seen nothing at all!’ (Ezekiel 13:1-3, NLT)

What did the Lord say?

“Therefore, tell the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Repent and turn away from your idols, and stop all your detestable sins. I, the Lord, will answer all those, both Israelites and foreigners, who reject me and set up idols in their hearts and so fall into sin, and who then come to a prophet asking for my advice. I will turn against such people and make a terrible example of them, eliminating them from among my people. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 14:6-8, NLT)

What did the Lord say?

One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?

“I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”

Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!

Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, 10 so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!”

11 But he replied, “The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”

12 “Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded.

13 The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. 14 But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, “Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.” 15 Then the man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him. (John 5:5-15, NLT, emphasis added)

When there’s so much to take in in the story, it’s easy to miss the message by considering the setting, interpreting a message, looking at the Pharisees. What did the Lord say? If I look past the descriptive sentences and focus on the dialogue, what did the Lord say? What if he said those words to me? Just these words: “Would you like to get well? Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk! Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.”

Something even worse than being hindered and ineffective for 38 years. Something even worse than watching everyone else take action and rise victorious. Something even worse than blaming others, feeling abandoned, being stuck, or feeling self pity.

Lord, you’ve not been silent. You speak your word to people who may not want to hear or listen. This reading today (beyond what I’ve selected) tells me so much that you’ve said–about truth, accountability, error, sin, forgiveness, judgment, and more. You didn’t tell that man at Bethesda, “Ah, you’re a sinner so you’re just going to keep on sinning. It’s ok. Stay where you are.” You offered him a choice, told him to take action, and reminded him about who he is: NOW YOU ARE WELL. SO STOP SINNING. Oh, if I would just keep your words high above all the other distractions–a setting, a message, a body of people and their judgment. If I just kept your word as my focus–to choose you, to take action, to remember who I am in you. Could it be that simple? To lay down my excuses and my feelings, and just follow you to freedom and victory?

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 49-50; Galatians 4

Dear God,

Thank you for freedom. Thank you for knowing me, loving me, calling me your own–a daughter, your child. Thank you for fighting for me, dying for me, delighting in me, singing over me. You give me what no one can ever take away. Today, I celebrate.

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir. (Galatians 4:4-7, NLT)

Today, I celebrate freedom.

Before you Gentiles knew God, you were slaves to so-called gods that do not even exist. So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world? 10 You are trying to earn favor with God by observing certain days or months or seasons or years. 11 I fear for you. Perhaps all my hard work with you was for nothing. 12 Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to live as I do in freedom from these things, for I have become like you Gentiles—free from those laws. (Galatians 4:8-12, NLT)

Freedom.

28 These are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said as he told his sons good-bye. He blessed each one with an appropriate message. (Genesis 49:28, NLT, Jacob’s last words to his sons)

I filled in the blank of the goal planner when asked my definition of success: being true to who God made me to be, living (it out) unapologetically and free.

Father God, you know my heart and you bless me deeply. Thank you for giving me the only blessing that matters–yours.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Kings 16; Titus 2; Hos. 9; Ps. 126-128

“As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience. Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them.” Titus 2:1-15 NLT

I am so grateful to have had older, wiser, godly woman mentors in every season of my life. From singleness to marriage to children…they have encouraged me, spoke the truth in love and gave me a hunger for God’s word. They were humble and would admit their need for Him. They showed me what it was like to live for Jesus. They walked with me through painful and joyful times. I pray that I can be that person for someone else. Even when I don’t feel adequate, God can use me the most through my weakness and surrender. He is weaving a testimony of faithfulness and victory in my life. I wonder who needs to hear my story? Who needs to know that on the hard days when sowing the seeds can be tiresome, that it matters. That God will make something beautiful from it one day.

“When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.” Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy! Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams in the desert. Those who plant tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.” Psalms 126 NLT

Dear Father, I praise you for who you are. Thank you for always meeting me where I am at. Thank you that you hear my prayers. Thank you for the people that you have brought into my life at key moments. I know it wasn’t by accident. You love me that much, to show your love through others. Help me to live with an eternal perspective. Amen.

“Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects the city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.” Psalms 127:1-4 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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1 Kings 1; Galatians 5; Ezekiel 32; Psalm 80

Restore us, O God;
    make your face shine on us,
    that we may be saved. (Ps 80:3)

Restore us, God Almighty;
    make your face shine on us,
    that we may be saved. (Ps. 80:7)

Restore us, Lord God Almighty;
    make your face shine on us,
    that we may be saved. (Ps. 80:19)

The Israelites were under attack once more and about to be overtaken by a foreign enemy. They had not obeyed the Lord, they worshipped false gods, and about to suffer what God warned them would happen. As the psalm progresses, I found it interesting how the pleas had changed. I could feel the urgency of the request growing—almost as if God’s place in the writer’s heart was being restored. I know there are times I need God, but I think I only half need him because in my mind I’ve really got everything under control. My prayers certainly reflect that attitude. Then there are times I REALLY need God. Only his sovereign power can intervene. As I pour out my heart to him, I am overwhelmed by the great need I have for him. I think this writer was working through the realization of what was about to happen and called upon the strength of the LORD God Almighty.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Gal 5:1)

God never meant for us to be enslaved. It was not until sin came into the picture that humanity suffered bondage. We have looked to other things to satisfy the longing only God can fill in us. Those “things” entrap us. Our enemy uses them against us in our weakness. In my own power, I cannot overcome them. When I stand firm, yoked to Jesus, I am not left to my own devices. I cannot wander from him. I don’t have to go through anything alone. Because of Jesus, I am no longer under the Law. His death on the cross and my belief in him has saved me. He paid the price I could never pay.

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

From a heart of love and knowledge of God’s grace and forgiveness, I can choose to love and serve others. It is not always easy for my sinful flesh to do this. I don’t always want to love my neighbor. My flesh has ugly thoughts sometimes. I admit I sometimes serve out of sheer obedience and not with a cheerful heart. But it amazes me how my heart follows my actions. When I take “self” out of the picture and allow God to work through me, it changes everything. Something I thought I would hate becomes something that fills me with joy because I could feel God’s pleasure in me.

I have learned that freedom comes with boundaries. God sets those boundaries for us. The Israelites pushed beyond those boundaries God set and suffered the consequences. God heard their cries and came to their rescue. He does the same for me. I have suffered the consequences of my actions and see them now as teaching moments—though I admit I didn’t at the time! Even in those times, I can look back and see his goodness, his lovingkindness towards me, and how he only wants what is best for me.

Oh Lord, my journey with you has been such an adventure. You have taught me so much, and continue to do so through your word, through the teachings of others, and through life experiences. How many times have I learned to do it right because I am such a stiff-necked child and did what I wanted to do, and you let me fall? Yet, every time, you gently pick me up and give me an opportunity to try again. Thank you, Lord, for the freedom I find in following you. Thank you, Lord, for the freedom I have from the bondages that weighed me down. I gladly take on the yoke of Jesus. In his name I pray, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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1 Kings 3; 2 Chronicles 1; Psalm 42; Romans 8

Heading into a new month, I consider the goals I’m setting, but first, I lay down the things that are heavy on my heart. Fear. I list the things that I’m afraid of, and new questions emerge–what if? I shift my gaze and ask new questions–what is the next right thing, the next loving thing; what is God’s will for me in this situation? How can I honor God?

Solomon asked for wisdom to lead, and how blessed I am too to have a Father who doesn’t hold back love or wisdom, in fact, gives me his Spirit to intercede when words fail me!

I thirst for God, the living God.
    When can I go and stand before him?

Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
    I will praise him again—
    my Savior and my God! (Psalm 42:2,5-6, NLT)

I praise him, my Savior, my God.

I can walk in the Spirit. (Singing freedom!)

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. (Romans 8:5-17, NLT)

 

I’m not a slave to fear. I am a child of God.

Deeply, completely, eternally grateful.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 1 Kings, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Romans, Uncategorized