Freedom!

Last Christmas I was at my parents house celebrating the holiday.  As the family grows with spouses and kids, each addition make their spacious house smaller.  My daughter always sleeps in their study which is full of books that they have used and read for years.  They have an amazingly comfortable futon that serves Graces sleep needs to a T. I was getting her ready for the day while we were there and my eyes panned over to the bookshelf.  I stopped short when my eye picked up on a book that holds a special place in my heart.

 

I stopped and immediately skimmed through the pages to find the blessed line that changed my life.  After a few minutes I found it, the line read, “Don’t faint precious child of God, soon in the midst of your days, your day of jubilee is coming.”

My mind went back to that day in my history….

 

I remember being completely overwhelmed with my circumstances that particular day.  My ex-husband had just left for work, and I found myself needing a touch from my Savior.   I was in bondage in so many ways, I felt as if I had no hope.  I remember the amount of stress that day hurt physically.  As soon as he left the house I ran for the life-giving message my bible would bring, at that time I was reading this particular devotional from Kay Arthur.  It was a day by day devotional, and that day I needed a message of hope which manifested in a single sentence and ended with “your day of jubilee is coming.” After I read that sentence, I went on my own study about “jubilee” and the significance in the bible.  You can read it for yourself in Leviticus 25.  The idea of “the year of jubilee” was significant to me that day.  I learned that every 50th year was to be set aside by the Israelites and in that year they would proclaim a release through the land from debts, captives would be set free, and people would return home. It also was a year of rest and celebration or jubilee.

 

The word “jubilee” has stuck with me all these years as my little message from God.  I knew He spoke loudly to me that day so many years ago. He promised me release from my bondage, and He fulfilled it.  When I need it, (which is a lot these days) God allows me to see that word somewhere.  It may be in a song or a commercial.  It may be on a brand of product at a store, but when I see it, my promise is once again solidified in my mind.

 

God brought me back to that passage of scripture last week and reminded me of His power at work in my life.  After my little study session last week, I stood speechless.  He showed me once again fresh things from His word that are rich in meaning to me personally.

 

I wonder today if you feel in bondage to someone or something.  I know what it’s like to feel forsaken, tattered, worn, worthless, insignificant, taken advantage of, made fun of, hopeless, ugly, stupid, and overwhelmed.  Let me remind you today, that we serve a God that can change your circumstance with one fervent sincere call out to Him in prayer.  He promises that no matter how you feel, His love is stronger.  Any emotion regarding your circumstance He is able to overcome.  If you are ready to break free from the bondage you find yourself in and claim a time of jubilee in your life, He is waiting.

 

I leave you with Jesus saying this in Luke 4:18,

 

The Spirit of the Lord in upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor.  He has sent Me to PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF THE SIGHT TO THE BLIND. TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD. (year of Jubilee)

 

The very freedom from your bondage lies in a touch from Jesus.

What do you leave behind?

I am sitting right now on a teeny tiny airplane headed to the next speaking engagement that the Lord has so graciously allowed me to have.  It’s been one of those days.  You know the kind I am talking about.  You get to the airport only to find out that the airline, without emailing you, has changed your flight to 3 hours later. Then you stand in a line and wait for someone to reschedule your flight because ain’t no way you showed up 3 hours early for nothing.  Then you get on the plane only to find out that you are the lucky winner of a seat between to healthy men.  Then you get airplane sick because you read the whole flight and didn’t realize you were dizzy until you stood up.  You get the picture I’m sure.  Well, I walked outside to get on my connection and sat on this little plane for quite sometime waiting for takeoff.  The flight wasn’t full so we all took dibs on who got the empty seat, and lucky enough, I got to sit in a row by myself.

 

I was looking out the window thinking to myself, what is taking so long and saw a luggage cart being driven by a man drive right beside us.  As he took the curve, two pieces of luggage spilled out of the side of the “security” flaps onto the road.  The man in front of me turned around and ask me if I had seen what had happened and we both laughed about the incident, because the man driving the little luggage cart never even turned around.  As we drove off we saw a pink suite case and a black suite case laying on the pavement alone.  I said, “looks like he didn’t care about the luggage he left behind.”

 

As I sit thinking of that statement, it’s taken on a whole new meaning.  I see Christian’s everywhere, doing the Christian thing and keeping it to themselves.  They go to church every sunday, and they have prayed the salvation prayer to give them some fire insurance, but they don’t share their faith.  Besides the “rules” no one knows that they hold the key to everlasting life.  Some Christians are content living a rule-keeping Christian life, without power.  Can you be a Christian without using the power that lies in your heart?  I suppose you can, but why on earth would you?  Think, my beautiful friends, about those that you may leave behind.  Wouldn’t it be a travesty to live your whole life around people that aren’t Christians and you never share what you know.

 

We get so busy plowing through our little personal lives without regard to our true mission here on earth.  Our mission is to spread the glory of Christ and share what Jesus has done for us.  Don’t so get to caught up in your feelings or insecurities that you care more about your them than your mission.  Consider the people around you your assignment, if they aren’t Christians THEY NEED WHAT YOU KNOW.

 

Since my divorce, I have decided that my life WILL COUNT FOR THE FURTHERANCE OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST.  The petty things of this world hold no candle to the fulfillment of watching a life change for Christ and the reward that comes from Christ because of it.

 

I have to admit that sometimes I freak people out when I meet them, but the people in my path know where I stand with Christ, and I make no apologies for it.  My insecurities are not worth someone else’s eternity.

 

Don’t leave them behind.

Who do you listen to?

A few years ago my husband and I found ourselves having to make a very unpopular decision.  It was a decision that would affect our little family in the most dramatic way.  Everything we knew would change, and everyone we knew would not be on board.  We found ourselves completely torn over the decision and kept it quiet for several months telling only our parents until we knew that we had heard from God.  After we were confident, we shared it with those around us.  It was hard.  It hurt.  I remember the resounding question that we faced was, why didn’t you come to us and gain some perspective.  That question is hard to answer when you are staring some great friends in the face.  But we knew that God had spoken to both of us extremely clear.  When God speaks, whatever He says is the answer.  Some of our friends tried to talk us out of the decision, but we remained confident in the fact that God was working.  If Eddie and I didn’t make the unpopular decision we would not be experiencing what we are today.

 

In my reading this morning I was so intrigued by these verses in Galatians 1:15-16,

 

But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and CALLED me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I DID NOT IMMEDIATELY CONSULT WITH FLESH AND BLOOD.

 

Wow, Paul said something amazing here!!  Paul was on his way to persecute Christians, and God got ahold of him and He got saved!! Right when Paul got saved he knew that he was called by God to preach the gospel, something that he was persecuting other Christians for doing minutes before. If Paul would have consulted his friends right after his conversion, he would have been laughed at and would have been heavily influenced to NOT preach the message of grace. After all, Paul’s friends were the same guys that wanted Jesus dead.  If Paul would of listened to them what would that have done for the message of the gospel???  Paul, the greatest missionary that ever lived, could have been silenced because of the advice of men.

 

Don’t get me wrong here, God a lot of times confirms His call on your life through godly counsel.  My challenge today is when you are sure that God is telling you to do something, ask God to confirm it through GODLY counsel.  As women, we have a problem of asking anyone who will listen for direction, and although well-meaning, some people are not in tune with what God is telling you to do. When you ask everyone you run the risk of being talked out of one of the most amazing moments of you life.

 

This passage in James is a great guideline for advice.

 

the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  James 1:17

 

When God speaks, listen.

Do you cling?

Last week Eddie was out of town and for the first time in a while, it was me, by myself, with my kiddos for a few days.  I have to say, I was enjoying having my undivided attention on Grace and Jude.  I took a break from working for a few days to fully enjoy the alone time with my kiddos.  I had asked the kids what they wanted me to make for supper one night.  Grace chimed in first to say that she hadn’t had my lasagna in a while, Jude followed suit and before you know it I was listening to a duet of “We want lasagna, we want lasagna”.  So, after I dropped Grace at school Jude and I headed to get the ingredients.  When we got home, I quickly made the lasagna so Jude and I could play some ball before he had to take a nap.  I was just about done with the dish and Jude couldn’t wait for me to finish.  He wanted to go outside right then.  I told him to go ahead outside and wait for me.  He ran out with the ball and bat in his hand anxious for me to follow as soon as I could.

 

About two minutes later I hear a squeal unlike a squeal I have heard before and I see Jude’s little spiked hair as he runs around the bar to where I was standing.  His cries were desperate, his eyes were wide and completely terrified.  In an instant I was trying to figure out the problem, he couldn’t speak, just scream.  As I frantically looked him over, I saw a large amount of fire ants around his ankles and all over his shoes.  Without another second, I stripped him as quick as possible and put him in the sink. In about .7 seconds I had washed all the ants off of his legs and we were surveying the damage.  After calling the doctor about what to do, and getting her assurance that a visit to see her wasn’t necessary I smothered his little ankles with cortisone cream, and held my little man for a while.

 

Even now, when I think of Jude’s face, it makes me emotional.  He ran to me, in the midst of his urgency trusting that I would know how to help him.  He didn’t care about being scolded earlier in the day, or that he might of been upset with me about giving Grace a piece of candy for helping and he didn’t get one.  At the point of his crisis, he was clinging to the fact that he knew I would help, no matter what.

 

In Joshua’s farewell address in Joshua 23:8 he tells the children of Israel this,

 

But you are to CLING to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day.

 

The use of the word cling in this passage is captivating.  In one of Joshua’s last statements his charge was to cling.  The children of Israel knew what it was like to be hopeless.  They knew that in some of the situations they were faced with without God’s utter might, they would have been completely wiped out as a nation.  They recognized desperation, and they knew Who their Deliverer was.  Even still, Joshua said “cling”.

Why did he give this charge?  Because Joshua knew how easily they wandered from the Lord.  He knew the temptation for them to rely on themselves, when there was not impending danger.

 

Isn’t it so true that in a panicky moment like Jude and the fire ants, or news from the doctor, or a pink slip at work, or a letter that you get in your mail, or wondering where the money is going to come from to pay the mortgage, we CLING to the Lord.  Clinging in rough times seems so natural because we need a Savior.  Then there are days when we just get paid, and the kids are behaving, or we get a promotion, and we are just doing well that we tend to forget where those blessings come from. We slack in reading our bibles and praying because we are doing ok without it. When things are good, sometimes God is the farthest thing from our mind. Why is that?  He is the same God, and worthy of the same adoration.

 

If you are doing well, it isn’t because you are super smart or got it all together, it because God is blessing you. He loves you so much that He wants to bless you, just like you love to bless you children.  Don’t forget in the great times in your life to praise Him for his goodness, and have the attitude of still being desperate for Him.

 

King David in the Psalms is the perfect example of CLINGING to the Lord.  He knew when times were bad that God was HIs only hope, and when times were amazing God was the only reason.

 

I leave you with this.

 

Psalm 107:1

 

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.