Tag: freedom

Mar 13 Egypt or Wilderness?

direction-1033278_640The Israelites.

For several hundred years they had not been in charge of their fate and lived as slaves.  They never really had the freedom to choose what to do, where to go, or what to eat.  And had no time to worship You, or even think about what their future might hold.

All they knew: slavery = more of the same.

And while their freedoms had been stripped away, there was stability and security in what they had.  Barring illness or disobedience, they were provided for, albeit to keep them in working condition for the Pharaoh.

So in this newfound freedom after leaving Egypt, when problems rose, like no food or water for two million people, it was a big deal.  And they were not prepared to cope.

Those things had been provided for them before.  And even though their labor had been hard and bitter, it was at least predictable.   So during these times, it was so easy for one of them to look back to when there was a bit of security and minimal provision; and convince others that what was behind them was preferable to the unknown ahead.

Lord, how many times have I preferred the predictable to the unfamiliar?  It takes courage to step out in a new direction, to get up off the couch of complacency.

I go back and forth between disbelief at how the Israelites rebelled against You even in the presence of the observable and awesome miracles; and being able to understand where they were coming from.

Father I pray You would help me be courageous in accepting what comes from Your hand.  If it requires change on my part, let me be willing to take the necessary steps without whining and complaining.

Remind me of the times in the past when You have rescued, delivered and supported me through difficulties and challenges.  Let those memories add to my faith and increase my trust in You.

And I will say, “whenever I am afraid I will trust in You” and “walk before You in the light of life”.  Amen

Numbers 20:1-13; Psalm 56:3,13

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Jan 31 Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

“Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

pzvi92s-zms-lifelike-creationsTwo blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard Jesus was passing by they called out. When You stopped, You asked what they wanted You to do for them. They asked for their sight. You had compassion on them and healed them. What a miracle!

I depend on Your mercy as well. And Your mercies are new every day. But if You were to ask what I want of You, I am already so blessed, it would be hard to answer.

You have already given me eternal life in Your presence for all time. You have forgiven my sin. You have allowed me to be born in a time when most disease is treatable, water and air are safe to drink and breathe, and injuries do not usually become life threatening.

I have no fear of wild animals attacking as I live in a safe place. You have placed me in a country where I have freedoms that most in the world do not. I can worship You freely, I can travel where I want, can vote for my form of government and live my life in peace within its protected borders, without persecution.

You have allowed me to be born into a loving, supportive, Christian family who raised me to love You. And who gave me not only adequate food, shelter, and an education, but loved me and encouraged me.

You have protected me and saved me from more tragedy and trauma than I know about. And have blessed me with a husband and children, and friends. I live in a beautiful place where every day I can look to the mountains and be reminded of Your strength and majesty.

I enjoy four seasons with all the consistent changes that come with them; weather, wildlife, life cycles of plants, flowers, trees. I have full use of all my senses that can take in the beauty around me and see your infinite diversity at work in birdsongs, floral aromas, the lushness of grass, the chill of fresh snow, the painted sky at sunrise and sunset.

As I think of all these things, my heart overflows with gratitude and thanksgiving.

Forgive me for not voicing it every day. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You!

For as many days as I have left on this earth, there will always be something to thank You for. And when I pass into that next part of our eternal relationship, “I will enter Your gates with thanksgiving in my heart, and enter Your courts with praise!”

Matthew 20:29-34, Psalm 100:4

Dec 12 a famine of the Word

Famine hunger

Father, You showed Amos two punishments, judgments for Israel and then said “This will not happen.”  You relented, yielded, turned away from those judgments in favor of another.

What a heart You have for Your people that You withheld the punishment they deserved out of Your love.  You knew they would not be able to bear up under it or survive.

How often have You spared me from the punishment my words and actions, my sins deserve?  No doubt, daily.  Were You not my Sovereign Lord, I would not survive.  Thank You for Your mercy.

You told Amos “The days are coming when I will send a famine thorough the land – not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the Words of the Lord.”

This was certainly fulfilled in the four hundred years between the Old and New Testaments, when no further prophetic word was given.  But it can also be true of our world today.  Right now, I can enjoy the freedom to worship You, to study Your Word, to attend church.  But even now, the reading and public speaking of Your Word is being called ‘Hate Speech.’

Hate Speech is said to offend, threaten, or insult groups based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits.  Many universities, for years the havens of “free speech” have adopted codes prohibiting speech that offends any group based on the traits listed above.

While the intent is good, to protect people groups from racial slurs, intimidation, and threats, it is becoming more popular to also outlaw scripture and categorize it as “hate speech.”  Already Christian speakers on radio have been told to watch what they say about topics that are considered politically incorrect, lest they lose their funding and rights to broadcast.

Father, give the leaders of my country godly wisdom to know where to set the limits of public broadcasting, so that people are protected, but religious freedoms are not restricted.  Don’t let us throw out the baby with the bath water.

There may come a time in my country, where believers have to go underground, smuggle Your Word, and study it in secret.   Father, help me hide Your Word in my heart so I have a storehouse of scripture for times of famine.  Help me share what I know of Your Word with others so they can be fed on Your Word and not hunger or thirst, and turn to other gods.  While I can, let me feast on all that You show me in Your Word.  Let me never go hungry.

Thank You for Your Word.  Thank You for the freedom I have to enjoy it and worship You.  Thank You that I can trust my future to You.  I “put my hope in You both now and forevermore.”  Amen

Amos 7:1-6; 8:11-12; Psalm 131

 

Dec 6 Rebellion to Repentance

american-flag-1020853_640

“Hear the word of the Lord, you [Americans], because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: ‘There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.   There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.  Because of this the land dries up, and all who live in it waste away;’”

 

Father, as Israel was in its idolatry and rebellion, so is America today.  My heart grieves for the way my country and its people have fallen so far away from the godly, moral values America was founded on.

When I was growing up, I heard older people saying that what one generation tolerates, the next takes to excess.

At the time I was proud to be in a generation who was finding “freedom” in establishing new social norms that were allowing equality between races and genders and socio-economic groups.  But what I have seen is that many of those freedoms were taken advantage of, and prostituted for monetary gain, selfishness, power and corruption.

I see that in my country, there is no faithfulness to You.

Even my freedom to express my spiritual viewpoint is being stifled when it is not ”politically correct.”

The list You gave Hosea of  “cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery” sounds like the description of most of what Americans call entertainment.   Forgive our sin Father, turn the hearts of the American people back to You and bring healing to our land.

You tell me “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken and endures forever.”  Father, I know I will endure forever as I have eternal life with You.  Help me now, in this life, not to be shaken from Your truth and what I know to be right.  Give me strength of faith and of character to walk in obedience to You, not in the way of the world.  Let me be faithful and acknowledge You in my land.

“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so You surround Your people both now and forevermore.”

Let me feel You surrounding me, encompassing me Lord: shielding and protecting me, lifting me up.  Thank You that You are faithful to all Your promises.  Amen

Hosea 4:1-3; Psalm 125:1-2

 

 

Nov 8 May the Truth set us free

usa-1491734_640Father, as I read this section of Psalm 106, I fear that I personally, and my country, have together made the same mistakes Your people made in the desert.  They were not satisfied with the life You gave them; even the miracles You performed to deliver them from the hand of the enemy who had relegated them to slavery for generations, and then was set on destroying them.

In the wilderness at Meribah where You brought water from a rock for them to drink, they rebelled against Moses and Your provision.  They forgot that You had done something so mighty as parting the Red Sea for them, and delivering them from the hand of Pharaoh and his army.

Instead, they focused on their fleshly desires, doubting You could quench their thirst.  I too, sometimes focus on my own desires rather than the great blessings You have already worked in my life.  And I too respond with whining instead of faith.

When they came into the Promised Land, they “mingled with the nations and adopted their customs.”  I fear I have done the same by participating in the social customs of my times.   I and my country, have mingled godly beliefs with the socially acceptable values of the times.

What You call sin is no longer looked upon as sin.  People today seem to have no concept of what is right and wrong, and so no self-governing set of morals that direct or protect them.

Many things in my culture take the place of passion for You.  Sports teams, fame, money, power, shopping, alcohol and drugs, status, cars, beauty, youth: so many things have become idols in the lives of so many, even believers.

“They sacrificed their sons and daughters to false gods.  They shed innocent blood…” Father, I grieve over the number of babies who have been sacrificed on the altar of “choice” and “convenience.”  This land is desecrated by their blood.   And it defiles the people involved because of the act of taking a life.

But it also exacts a price they often pay in long-term emotional and psychological damage, not to mention the spiritual battle that they have lost in giving over ground to the enemy.

Yet, You “took note of their distress when You heard their cry…and out of Your great love You relented.”

Father, I am in distress and I cry out to You: for my personal sin and for the sin of my country.  Forgive, Lord.

I acknowledge and agree with You that I and my country have acted in rebellion in going our own way without following the path You set before us. And that my country and I have participated in social customs and values that have become a snare to us, even to the point of idolatry.

Lord I turn away from anything that seeks to take Your place in my life.  Forgive us for focusing on the flesh over the spiritual.

“Save us Lord our God…that we may give thanks to Your Holy name and glory in Your praise.  Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.  Let all the people say, Amen!”

Psalm 106:32-48

Sept 20 Freedom in Christ

yes-661437_640When my first son was small, I remember wanting to avoid having a child who yelled “no” all the time, so I tried to avoid saying “no” to him if I could.  Eventually, I did end up having to say “no” much more than I wanted.  It was such a convenient way to help him understand what was allowable and what was not.

There were so many ways to tell him what he could do because so many things were permissible.  Yes, he could walk on the sidewalk, or on the rocks, or in the grass or on the bricks, or holding my hand or with granddaddy, but “no” was the quickest, easiest way to make the point that he could not walk in the street.

And it wasn’t long before he learned “no” himself and with it came the desire to rebel.

How similar is my life of freedom in Christ.

There are so many things that are good to choose from, it would take a lifetime to list them all.  For instance, I can be told to speak to people in love, in truth, instructing, encouraging, in kindness, with joy, with laughter, individually, in groups, tell jokes, share stories…the list could go on extensively.  But it is simpler to give someone a standard of communicating by saying “don’t lie”.

And yet, this creates a list of “no” that I find myself focusing on, filling my thoughts with the negative.   When I focus on the “no” more than all the things that are “yes”, it gives me a sense that godly living is restrictive.  And the desires that have “no” in front of them are the things I spend more time thinking about so I can try and avoid them.

So when I hear “walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh”, it is immediately freeing!  It changes my focus onto all the freedoms that the Spirit gives me!

When I am so focused on all the great things the Spirit shows me I can do, I will be so busy doing those things, that I will not have time think of the desires of the flesh.

And by doing the “yes” things the Spirit invites me to, I will automatically be avoiding the “no” things, without even thinking about them!

Father, let me see past the “no” statements to the freedom in the “yeses”!  Help me reframe my thinking by looking to all the things the Spirit leads me to.  Let me bless others with all the yesses.  Let me live in the blessing of Your “‘yes”.  Amen

Galatians 5:13-26

Aug 29 The veil is torn

06_GNPI_098_Jesus_Dies_1024“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away”!   What joyful words! Father, there was a curtain, a veil in front of the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle and in the Temple. It separated the people from Your personal presence.   Only the High Priest went inside the veil, and only once a year, to make atonement for all Your people.

But when You died on the cross in Jerusalem, the actual veil in the Temple there was literally torn. It was ripped in half from top to bottom, forever giving access, through the cross, to the Holy of Holies. To Your presence.

Where You are “there is freedom”.   But the world and the evil one seek to take that freedom away. The philosophies of man say there is no absolute truth, and that morality is relative to the times and accepted behaviors of whatever society I live in.

The world would have me walk around veiled by falsehoods that deny Your existence, Your power and Your authority on this earth. They deny You are the Creator, and encourage me to worship false idols, or even myself as “god.”

Father, help me see clearly, and not “drink the kool-aid” of these false beliefs. Do not let me be veiled by anything that would keep me from You. But let me “with unveiled face, reflect the Lord’s glory, being transformed into His likeness …”. So that others around me also see You through me.

Rid me of those things that are not of You: selfishness, greed, pride. Let me produce the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, faithfulness…

“Send forth Your light and Your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to Your holy mountain. To the place where You dwell.” Father, let me know Your truth, from Your Word, so well, that I recognize any falsehood. That way I will not be led astray by anything counterfeit. Keep me securely established and living in Your presence. For there is “my joy and my delight”. And I will praise You. Amen

II Corinthians 3:11-18; Psalm 43:3-4

July 25 We make choices

Seek_Truth_by_BeautifullyEvil

Father, You give me choices, and in You I am free.   Strengthen me to make the right choices, godly choices.

Asa started out with such fervor for You. He tore down the idolatrous worship places. He led the people to seek You and worship You as they should. He sought Your deliverance from military enemies. And You gave him victory, and rest on every side.

Like Asa, I can trust in Your promise: “The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you…But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” Father, help me seek You in all the battles I face. In truth, there have been so many times already, when You have come through for me.

You have saved me from close calls. You have stopped calamity when it could have been much worse. You have provided resources and solutions I never could have seen without You. You have brought unique answers that I had never imagined to problems that seemed unsolvable. You have acted in my life in ways that seem nothing short of miraculous!

Yet, like Asa, I am also guilty of forgetting to seek You, neglecting to ask for Your help. When Asa was faced with another battle, he took silver and gold out of the Temple to bribe another ruler to withdraw support from the enemy. It was a foolish thing. And he paid for it by being at war the rest of his reign.

It reminds me of the words to a song You gave me:

In other times I knew Your will

And I became the vessel You would fill

Why is it hard now, to take a stand

When I have seen the power of Your hand?

You give me choices, in You I’m free, O Lord, strengthen me

 

Lead me, hold me, guide me, Lord enfold me

Cover me with the blood of Calvary, and be with me, be with me

 

Lord let me make Your strength my own

Let me feel it flowing from Your precious throne

Right by Your side, O let me be

And let me feel Your power washing over me

You give me choices, in Christ I’m free, O Lord, strengthen me

Strengthen me Father, to seek You always. Whatever the problem, whatever I face. Let me never make the mistake of thinking I can ‘handle it’ without You. I know when I seek You eagerly, I will find You. And the reward of Your peace will be mine. Thank You! Amen

2 Chronicles 14:1-16:14

June 18 You know what I need

prayer answers

Father, how reassuring to know that You listen to me; that You pay attention to my prayers. You listened to Elijah when he was so burned out. And to the believers gathered in Jerusalem who interceded for Paul’s release.

I too, have had times when I felt burned out; when I had done all I could possibly do, and was at the end of myself. With Elijah, You provided for him and gave him a plan. You appeared as an angel and fed him, then gave him directions for a personal meeting with You.   When he responded that he was overwhelmed and done, You gave him release from his ministerial duties.

You allowed Elijah to anoint replacements. Hazael and Jehu would take over the battle against the idolatrous rulers and people. And Elisha would become the next prophet. You heard the needs of Elijah and answered. How reassuring to know that You know me and know my limitations too, and will always have a plan to help me cope.

The believers in Jerusalem prayed; You responded with an angel to released Peter from prison, sparing his life. This was a miracle, as he was literally shackled to two guards, and under the watch of sixteen of Herod’s soldiers!   How heartening to know that when You answer prayer, physical restrictions cannot limit You!

Already in my life I have seen answers to prayer. Sometimes the answer is “Yes”. Sometimes it is “No” for one reason or another, or “Wait”. Sometimes, it is “I will answer your prayer, child, but I have a better plan.” And I am usually amazed that You find ways of answering that surprise and delight me: things I had never thought of!

Thank You Father, that You are not limited by what I can think of as solutions to difficulties and problems. Thank You that Your power is not limited; it is boundless! Thank You that You are merciful and wise in Your answers: not always giving me what I ask for. Thank You, that You, the God of the Universe, listen to and answer prayer. Amen

I Kings 19:1-21; Acts 12: 1-19

May 4 Freedom isn’t License

“In those days, Israel had no king and everyone did as he saw fit.”

What a gruesome and shocking act to read about in scripture. Yet this is what it took to wake up the Israelites to how bad things had gotten. I wonder, God, what it will take to wake up the people in my country? We do not have a king. But we have so many freedoms that pretty much everyone does as they see fit.

We take the lives of the old and infirmed and call it mercy. We murder the innocent unborn and call it choice.   We legalize immorality and call it lifestyle. Then our lawmakers vote raises for themselves and we stick our heads back in the sand.

You love the people, O Lord. But bad and wrong decisions abound. We have been misled. Even when You came in person from heaven and testified about heaven, not many believed You. It seems it’s still that way today.

usa-1491732_640

Father, lead our nation back to You. Return to every believer the joy of their salvation. Bring a Revival of faith to our country that will return godly morality and love for each other as a way of life. Move us forward to be the greatest nation because it is in God we trust!

Regardless, I will sing to You all my life! I will sing songs of praise to You as long as I live! I will meditate on Your Word. Praise the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord! Amen

Judges 19:1-20:48; John 3:27-36; Psalm 104:33

May 2 All His benefits

“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…”

gratitude-1251137_640

O Lord, if I took a whole day, I could never list all the benefits You lavish on me. I take so many things for granted. Often I don’t even think about how every breath that I take is from You! And I should be thankful.

Beginning when I wake up in the morning, I am thankful that I do wake up! And that I can breathe clean air in a warm bed, in a secure house, with a family I love, with food to eat and clean water to drink and bathe in. I have more clothes in my closet than some people on this planet ever own in a lifetime! I have many pairs of shoes.

It is a choice for me to eat breakfast or not. And if I choose to eat, I have several options of clean, untainted food in a kitchen with running water and convenient appliances to make food preparation almost effortless. My fridge keeps my food cold to preserve its freshness until I want it. Then, at the turn of a switch or the push of a button, I can cook it. Another button and my dishes are washed.

Just this part of my day is blessed far more than most of the people on this earth.

I live in freedom to be what I want to be, go where I want to go, with whom I want to be with. I can choose my career, my husband, my entertainment. I can worship You in the open however I want, read scripture without fear of arrest or imprisonment. I can attend public church services without being detained and beaten, or having my property seized, or my life forfeited.

When I step outside my house, I see a beautiful sky, majestic mountains, flowering trees, gorgeous flowers. We have warm, rainy, windy Springs, temperate Summers, gorgeously colored, cool Falls, and crisp, snow covered Winters – all four seasons in a beautiful and varied environment rich with birds of many kinds, singing their Spring songs and migrating south in the Fall.

On top of all this, You preserve my life, forgive my sins, deliver me from the oppression and deceit of satan. You show me love I did not earn, and pour out mercy and compassion on me I do not deserve. You satisfy my desires with good things, or remove those wrongful desires from me. You answer my prayers, guide me with Your wisdom, encourage me with Your Word, and have promised to take me into paradise with You for all eternity.

Father, help me remember every day to thank You for something. Open my eyes to things I take for granted, and accept my praise for Your goodness. Remind me at the beginning of every month, to come back and read Psalm 103 and spend time “forgetting not, all of Your benefits”. Amen

Psalm 103

Mar 13 Egypt or Wilderness?

direction-1033278_640The Israelites. For several hundred years they had not been in charge of their fate and lived as slaves. They never really had the freedom to choose what to do, where to go, or what to eat. And had no time to worship You, or even think about what their future might hold. All they knew: slavery = more of the same.

And while their freedoms had been stripped away, there was a stability and security in what they had. Barring illness or disobedience, they were provided for, albeit to keep them in working condition for the Pharaoh.

So in this newfound freedom after leaving Egypt, when problems rose, like no food or water for two million people, it was a big deal. And they were not prepared to cope. Those things had been provided for them before. And even though their labor had been hard and bitter, it was at least predictable. So during these times, it was so easy for one of them to look back to when there was a bit of security and minimal provision; and convince others that what was behind them was preferable to the unknown ahead.

Lord, how many times have I preferred the predictable to the unfamiliar? It takes courage to step out in a new direction, to get up off the couch of complacency.

I go back and forth between disbelief at how the Israelites rebelled against You even in the presence of the observable and awesome miracles; and being able to understand where they were coming from.

Father I pray You would help me be courageous in accepting what comes from Your hand. If it requires change on my part, let me be willing to take the necessary steps without whining and complaining. Remind me of the times in the past when You have rescued, delivered and supported me through difficulties and challenges. Let those memories add to my faith and increase my trust in You.

And I will say, “whenever I am afraid I will trust in You” and “walk before You in the light of life”. Amen

Numbers 20:1-13; Psalm 56:3,13

Jan 31 Thank You thank You thank You

pzvi92s-zms-lifelike-creations“Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard Jesus was passing by they called out. When You stopped, You asked what they wanted You to do for them. They asked for their sight. You had compassion on them and healed them! What a miracle!

I depend on Your mercy as well. And Your mercies are new every day. But if You were to ask what I want of You, I am already so blessed, it would be hard to answer.

You have already given me eternal life in Your presence for all time. You have forgiven my sin. You have allowed me to be born in a time when most disease is treatable, water and air are safe to drink and breathe, and injuries do not usually become life threatening. I have no fear of wild animals attacking as I live in a safe place. You have placed me in a country where I have freedoms that most in the world do not. I can worship You freely, I can travel where I want, can vote for my form of government and live my life in peace within its protected borders, without persecution.

You have allowed me to be born into a loving, supportive, Christian family who raised me to love You. And who gave me not only adequate food, shelter, and an education, but loved me and encouraged me.

You have protected me and saved me from more tragedy and trauma than I know about. And have blessed me with a husband and children, and friends. I live in a beautiful place where every day I can look to the mountains and be reminded of Your strength and majesty. I can enjoy four seasons with all the consistent changes that come with them; weather, wildlife, life cycles of plants, flowers, trees. I have full use of all my senses that can take in the beauty around me and see your infinite diversity at work in birdsongs, floral aromas, the lushness of grass, the chill of fresh snow, the painted sky at sunrise and sunset.

As I think of all these things, my heart overflows with gratitude and thanksgiving. Forgive me for not voicing it every day. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You! For as many days as I have left on this earth, there will always be something to thank You for. And when I pass into that next part of our eternal relationship, “I will enter Your gates with thanksgiving in my heart, and enter Your courts with praise!”

Matthew 20:29-34, Psalm 100:4

Dec 12 A Famine of the Word

Father, You showed Amos two punishments, judgments for Israel and then said “This will not happen”. You relented, yielded, turned away from those judgments in favor of another. What a heart You have for Your people that You withheld the punishment they deserved out of Your love. You knew they would not be able to bear up under it or survive. How often have You spared me from the punishment my words and actions, my sins deserve? No doubt, daily. Were You not my Sovereign Lord, I would not survive. Thank You for Your mercy.

Famine hunger.png

 

You told Amos “The days are coming when I will send a famine thorough the land – not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the Words of the Lord.”

This was certainly fulfilled in the four hundred years between the Old and New Testaments, when no further prophetic word was given. But it can also be true of our world today. Right now, I can enjoy the freedom to worship You, to study Your Word, to attend church. But even now, the reading and public speaking of Your Word is being called ‘Hate Speech’.

Hate Speech is said to offend, threaten, or insult groups based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits. Many universities, for years the havens of “free speech”, have adopted codes prohibiting speech that offends any group based on the traits listed above.

While the intent is good, to protect people groups from racial slurs, intimidation, and threats, it is becoming more popular to also outlaw scripture and categorize it as “hate speech”. Already Christian speakers on radio have been told to watch what they say about topics that are considered politically incorrect, lest they lose their funding and rights to broadcast.

Father, give the leaders of my country godly wisdom to know where to set the limits of public broadcasting, so that people are protected, but religious freedoms are not restricted. Don’t let us throw out the baby with the bath water.

There may come a time in my country, where believers have to go underground, smuggle Your Word, and study it in secret.   Father, help me hide Your Word in my heart so I have a storehouse of scripture for times of famine. Help me share what I know of Your Word with others so they can be fed on Your Word and not hunger or thirst, and turn to other gods. While I can, let me feast on all that You show me in Your Word. Let me never go hungry.

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the freedom I have to enjoy it and worship You. Thank You that I can trust my future to You. I “put my hope in You both now and forevermore”. Amen

Amos 7:1-8:14; Psalm 131

Dec 6 Rebellion to Repentance

american-flag-1020853_640“Hear the word of the Lord, you [Americans], because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: ‘There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.  There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Because of this the land dries up, and all who live in it waste away;’”

Father, as Israel was in its idolatry and rebellion, so is America today. My heart grieves for the way my country and its people have fallen so far away from the godly, moral values America was founded on. When I was growing up, I heard older people saying that what one generation tolerates, the next takes to excess. At the time I was proud to be in a generation who was finding ‘freedom’ in establishing new social norms that were allowing equality between races and genders and socio-economic groups. But what I have seen is that many of those freedoms were taken advantage of, and prostituted for monetary gain, selfishness, power and corruption.

I see that in my country, there is no faithfulness to You. That even my freedoms to express my spiritual viewpoint are being stifled when they are not ‘politically correct’. The list You gave Hosea of “cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery” sounds like the description of most of what Americans call ‘entertainment’.  Forgive our sin Father, turn the hearts of the American people back to You and bring healing to our land.

You tell me “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken and endures forever.” Father, I know I will endure forever as I have eternal life with You. Help me now, in this life, not to be shaken from Your truth and what I know to be right. Give me strength of faith and of character to walk in obedience to You, not in the way of the world. Let me be faithful and acknowledge You in my land.

“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so You surround Your people both now and forevermore.” Let me feel You surrounding me, encompassing me Lord: shielding and protecting me, lifting me up. Thank You that You are faithful to all Your promises. Amen

Hosea 4:1-3; Psalm 125:1-5

Sept 20 Freedom in Christ

yes-661437_640When my first son was small, I remember wanting to avoid having a child who yelled ‘no’ all the time, so I tried to avoid saying ‘no’ to him if I could. Eventually, I did end up having to say ‘no’ much more than I wanted. It was such a convenient way to help him understand what was allowable and what was not.

There were so many ways to tell him what he could do because so many things were permissible. Yes, he could walk on the sidewalk, or on the rocks, or in the grass or on the bricks, or holding my hand or with granddaddy, but ‘no’ was the quickest, easiest way to make the point that he could not walk in the street. And it wasn’t long before he learned ‘no’ and with it came the desire to rebel against it.

How similar is my life of freedom in Christ. There are so many things that are good to choose from, it would take a lifetime to list them all. For instance, I can be told to speak to people in love, in truth, instructing, encouraging, in kindness, with joy, with laughter, personally, with others, in groups, tell jokes, share stories…the list could go on extensively. But it is simpler to give someone a standard of communicating by saying ‘don’t lie’.

And yet, this creates a list of ‘no’ that I find myself focusing on, filling my thoughts with the negative.   When I focus on the ‘no’ more than all the things that are ‘yes’, it gives me a sense that godly living is restrictive. And the desires that have ‘no’ in front of them are the things I spend more time thinking about so I can try and avoid them.

So when I hear “walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh”, it is immediately freeing! It changes my focus onto all the freedoms that the Spirit gives me! When I am so focused on all the great things the Spirit shows me I can do, I will be so busy doing those things, that I will not have time think of the desires of the flesh. And by doing the ‘yes’ things the Spirit invites me to, I will automatically be avoiding the ‘no’ things, without even thinking about them!

Father, let me see past the ‘no’ statements to the freedom in the ‘yeses’! Help me reframe my thinking by looking to all the things the Spirit leads me to. Let me bless others with all the yesses. Let me live in the blessing of Your ‘yes’. Amen

Galatians 5:13-26

May 11 Meeting needs abundantly

Consider the great love of the LORD !

They:                                                              But God:

 

Wandered in desert wastelands with no place, no home; hungry, thirsty, fading

 

Led them by a direct path to a city with a place for home, good food and drink, revitalized them

 

Depressed, prisoners, suffering in chains, in bitterness rejected the Lord

 

Freed them, broke their chains, brought them out of darkness and gloom, loved them
Rebelled in foolishness bringing suffering upon themselves, dying

 

Healed them, saved their lives
Sought adventure and wealth, befallen by tragedy, discouraged, lost

 

Delivered from distress, calmed storms, provided safety, brought them home
Were needy Blessed them, lifted out of their affliction, increased their numbers, fed them

 

Imagine what He is willing to do for you !! And me!!  Amen

Psalm 107:1-43

May 4 Freedom isn’t License

“In those days, Israel had no king and everyone did as he saw fit.”

What a gruesome and shocking act to read about in scripture. Yet this is what it took to wake up the Israelites to how bad things had gotten. I wonder, God, what it will take to wake up the people in my country? We do not have a king. But we have so many freedoms that pretty much everyone does as they see fit.

We take the lives of the old and infirmed and call it mercy. We murder the innocent unborn and call it choice.   We legalize immorality and call it lifestyle. Then our lawmakers vote raises for themselves and we stick our heads back in the sand.

You love the people, O Lord. But bad and wrong decisions abound. We have been misled. Even when You came in person from heaven and testified about heaven, not many believed You. It seems that is still the way it is today.

usa-1491732_640

Father, lead our nation back to You. Return to every believer the joy of their salvation. Bring a Revival of faith to our country that will return godly morality and love for each other as a way of life. Move us forward to be the greatest nation because it is in God we trust!

Regardless, I will sing to You all my life! I will sing songs of praise to You as long as I live! I will meditate on Your Word. Praise the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord! Amen

Judges 19:1-20:48; John 3:27-36; Psalm 104:24-35