Break Free From Bondage

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Gal 5:1

It was never God’s intention for His people to live in bondage. However, we live in a fallen and sinful world. Without the cross through the sacrifice of Jesus, we would not have the opportunity to receive eternal life through salvation.

Through that one selfless act that Jesus did, we are set free.

Whatever has you wrapped up in bondage, there is a way out through deliverance.

The Lord wants you free from addiction, free from poverty, healed from sickness, released from your emotional or psychological prisons and released from guilt, shame, and condemnation.

You don’t live there anymore. There is a place called grace and mercy. It’s full of compassion and love. You can’t get lost on the way there because Jesus will meet you exactly where you are.

You may have traveled a long, hard road with many detours along the way but God is faithful and just. He waits patiently at the door waiting to embrace you, teach you and bless you with His abundant promises for your life.

The Lord’s ways are sure. His path is straight. Nothing is too hard for Him to handle.

There will be tests of your faith, lessons to be learned and transitions in life that are unexpected. The ultimate plan is in God’s hands. Are you willing to surrender? Are you ready to pick up your cross and follow him?

Just take one step of faith. He is waiting at the door for your arrival.  

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Till I Found You by Phil Wickham

What’s the difference between trust, faith and belief?

 

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Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7

Do you wonder if trust, faith or belief means the same thing?

Although they sound the same or at least very similar, these words are not the same. However, they are part of the same family, per say, and weaved together in various ways.

TRUST

  1. A reliance on the integrity, veracity or reliability of a person or thing.
  2. Something committed to one’s care for use or safekeeping.
  3. The state or position of one who has received an important charge.
  4. Confident expectation; hope
  5. In commerce, credit
  6. To rely upon; to commit to the care of another
  7. The property or thing held in trust as in relation subsisting between the holder and the property so held.
  8. A combination of business firms formed to control productions or prices of some commodity.

In the world, people rely on the trust of their spouse, friends, doctors, teachers and other people in their communities. They depend on their opinions, advice, judgments, criticism, and perspectives. They depend on their status, position and intellect.

For the most part, they are self-reliant and value the ideas and opinions of others. Some people may even listen to the instruction or opinion of others before following their own minds.

The problem with trusting others is that they may not always use wisdom and could lean you towards the wrong decision. You may not have clarity on the right answer or correct decision to make (depending on the situation).

When making sound decisions, you should have a peace within which can easily be found through the Holy Spirit. When you put your trust in Him. You will eventually experience change. At times, you will wait endlessly for divine guidance with no answers in sight but you must remain diligent despite the circumstances. There may be a lesson to be learned while waiting for direction.

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Idolatry is another issue that arises by trusting in material things. Money, houses, fame, and fortune are all forms of idolatry. You may even be addicted to your cell phone or the internet. Whatever you put before God, will become a form of idolatry.

As a person strives for more, they become dissatisfied with their life. They begin to compare and judge others. The birth of greed, jealousy, envy, and depression cradles the mind and soul as they continue to pursue fleshy passions or possessions.

The Lord is the only source of real and complete satisfaction. When people fail you or objects become old, lost, stolen or broken, Jesus is the one and only who satisfies and quenches the trust in a dry, parched world.

FAITH

  1. Belief without evidence.
  2. Confident trust
  3. Belief in God; the Bible
  4. A specific religion
  5. Anything given adherence or credence to a man’s political faith
  6. Allegiance

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In the Bible, it states, “Faith is the evidence hoped for the evidence of things not seen. Heb 11:1

In this culture, it seems foolish to believe in something that you cannot see. Have you ever heard the popular saying, “Seeing is believing?” This statement reinforces the belief of the natural realm or physical world while dismissing the reality of the spiritual one.

It’s not easy to believe in something you cannot see but everyone does it every day whether they realize it or not. The act of breathing is a form of faith. This simple yet necessary activity gives us life each and every day. Not one of us has ever seen oxygen but we know it exists.

The closest we ever got to see it is in the middle of winter when a puff of smoke comes out of your mouth or nostrils. The Lord also provides similar ways to reveal himself to us if we acknowledge His presence.

Another example is music. No one has ever seen music yet it exists. Although we hear it, we will never be able to see or touch it. Just like the Father, the Lord speaks to us within our spirit but we must be still enough to listen to the whisper of God.

BELIEF

1 The acceptance of something as true or actual

2. That which is believed true, as a creed

3.  Religious faith

4.  Confidence, trust

5.  An opinion

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The mere definition of belief opens up a Pandora’s box because there are so many belief systems in this world. So many opinions and perspectives of different cultures, ethnicities, races, religions, and regions. This aids in the chaos and confusion because everyone has their own opinions and what they feel is believed to be true.

The Lord loves us so much that He has given us freedom of choice. He does not force us, manipulate us or persuade us to believe in Him. He allows us free reign to seek Him or reject him.

Independence is a beautiful thing. However, when we depend solely on ourselves and the world system, it leads us to misery, deception, confusion, and frustration.

If you allowed a child, complete freedom to do what they wanted, they would self-destruct. They would probably eat all the candy, cookies or ice cream they wanted. Plus, they would watch TV or play video games all day and night and leave a mess in their rooms as well as the whole house.

Well, we are no different. We would choose all the pleasures of this world and ignore the consequences of our actions.

The Lord has defined certain principles and guidelines to abide by for our good. This is not to hurt us but to protect us. The Lord is a loving Father who guides us along life’s journey. There is a multitude of promises that align with the Lord’s instructions waiting for us. He is not waiting for the first chance we mess up so he can punish us if we do something wrong. He is full of compassion, grace, and mercy. However, you must be willing to cleanse your heart of all sin (repent) and walk as an example of Christ. The Lord has many gifts and treasures to enjoy on this earth as well as in heaven.

The Lord asks that you trust Him, walk in faith and believe in Him at all times.  Commit to His ways for His love endures forever.

Prayer

Lord, Thank you for being a loving Father. I honor and worship you in spirit and in truth. Help me to walk in your ways. When I mess up, let me be quick to correct my mistakes. I pray that you will give me a measure of faith that will shift all obstacles blocking my path. I rebuke all fear, self-doubt, addictions, temptation, anxiety or depression. Help me to trust in you alone. Reveal yourself to me in new ways and may I receive a fresh revelation. I believe your promises and I stand on your word in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

Count it All Joy

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We can count it all joy when we fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:2-4

Life as a Believer

Living your life as a believer in Christ is never easy. We are supposed to resemble a Christ-like nature which consists of walking in the fruits of the spirit. However, living a life of self-control, long-suffering, gentleness, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity and faithfulness (Gal 5:22) takes discipline and your character can be challenged in a selfish, chaotic world.

Without the power of the Holy Spirit, we can never accomplish and fulfill these characteristics and traits of Christ without the guidance and strength of Christ working within us.

As a believer, you may be constantly scrutinized or criticized by the world because you claim to live a so-called “Perfect” life. They may also expect you to be judgmental and point out the faults of others. Far too many believers have a “hypocritical nature.”

Unfortunately, some believers receive a bad rap because of misrepresentation due to other believers who are not walking as a true representative of Christ but walking in a religious spirit rooted in legalism.

With so many denominations and backgrounds, it’s a melting pot or hodgepodge of multiple belief systems which makes it even more confusing for a non-believer to justify why they should even change their life or go to church.

Little do non-believers understand, there is no such thing as a “Perfect Christian.” That’s the reason why Christ paid the penalty of sin on the cross. We are redeemed by faith through Christ. We are called to love each other despite our character flaws, mindsets, beliefs or lifestyles.

You may not feel worthy or you may feel like an outcast when surrounded by a congregation of believers. However, the Lord desires and chooses you. Every one of us is broken or flawed in some way. No one is perfect. Jesus loves you!

People may watch and wait for you to fail, fall or mess up. There is no doubt a lot of pressure to live as a believer in the flesh. In fact, there is no way possible to achieve a life as a believer while living in the flesh. It’s a spiritual journey.

As a believer, once you realize that you’re delivered from people and their opinions, you will no longer appease others but have a stronger desire to please the Lord. You will no longer be controlled or manipulated by peers, teams, groups or audiences because you don’t have an appetite to blend in or be accepted by your associates, friends or even family members.

Come as You Are

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Jesus welcomes the broken-hearted, the sick, the addicted, the poor, and the widowed. Jesus does not discriminate. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.

There is no such thing as guilt or shame. Once you repent of your wrong thoughts, intentions, attitudes, wrong actions and behaviors, it is erased for eternity. The Lord remembers our sin no more. (Heb 8:12) However, that is not an excuse for us to live careless, reckless and carefree lives. When we mess up, we must continuously begin again and make an honest effort to change for the better.

Through the Fire

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The world will pull you in many directions and you will fall into many problems or difficult circumstances.  Just when you feel doubt, fear, insecurity, or discouragement creeping in, the Lord will step in and give you comfort, peace, strength, and reassurance whispering, “I got you!”

You can only achieve this experience and deeper revelation while resting in the secret place of the most high (Psalm 91:1) which starts by building a foundation on His word, persistent prayer, and continual praise and worship.

In the quiet hours, the Lord will reveal himself to you in unspeakable ways. Although you will be thrown into many trials, tribulations, and test, each test is preparing and positioning you for greatness. It strengthens and grows your faith in Him. He may not quickly rescue you from the fire but He is sure to walk with you through the flames just like he did with Shadrach,  Meshasch, and Abednego. (Dan 3)

Spiritual warfare is an opportunity for God to demonstrate his power. The Lord will make the enemy your footstool. (Mark 12:36) Put on the full armor of God and He will fight every battle. (Eph 6:10-34)

For every test is perfectly designed by the master’s hands to shape and mold you into what He wants you to be. There is a specific purpose and assignment He created for you to complete.

No Matter What it Looks like You’re Not Coming Out Smelling Like Smoke

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You may feel unqualified. You may feel like Moses who felt like he did not have the skills or abilities to defeat Pharaoh and lead the Israelites through the Red Sea. However, the Lord chose him for a specific purpose and for a specific season. Your insecurities, flaws, quirks, lack of education or experience is not a prerequisite for God’s work.

The Lord chose the most unqualified people to represent his Kingdom to preach the gospel, cast out demons or defeat giants. The one thing that has been the thorn in your side may just happen to be the one thing God uses in your life to promote you.

The Lord calls the weak to confound the wise. (I Corth 1:27)  The same problems, situations, and circumstances that you’ve dealt with or may be dealing with is part of your test, part of your story and the bigger part of who you’ll become.

Despite what you go through, with Jesus, you will come through the fire untouched. You will come through in victory!

Through patience and faith, you will inherit the promises of God. It takes strength, endurance, and courage to walk with faith, hope, and trust. In the meantime, count it all joy!

Related Scriptures

James 1:12

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Heb 8:12

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

Mark 12:29-31

29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

James 1:5-8

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. 

I Corth 1:27

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

I Chron 16:24

24 Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations.

Eph 6:10-24

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:

22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.

23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. 

Wings of Freedom

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Photo Credit: laur720.deviantart.com

 

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” Psalm 100:1-2

As we step into 2015, we hold great expectation and goals for the New Year. We anticipate change whether good or bad, but either way we go forward with hope or anxiety entering into the unknown.

As we confess our resolutions, plans and goals, we may feel overwhelmed, yet hopeful of what is to come. However, we often put a time limit on success. When we don’t meet those expectations, we experience disappoint and we feel like a failure.

We live in a time-based society. We are consumed by hectic schedules and unrealistic demands. The Lord is not limited to time. He orchestrates our lives according to His intricate plan for our lives. He plants the right connections, family, friends, enemies, challenges, obstacles, struggles and experiences in our lives for a purpose. Some people are just for a season while others are rooted in our lives for longevity. “Each experience is not a result of luck or coincidence. It is the result of His divine plan. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer 29:11.

The ups, as well as the downs, are part of our development and growth process. It doesn’t take much to praise God in the easy times. However, when we are locked into bondage, it is hard to trust, praise, read the Bible and rest in the Lord.

We all have different prisons: A failed marriage, a friend or family member who has committed suicide or has died in a tragic accident, depression, drugs or alcohol addictions, poverty, job loss, a natural disaster aftermath or terminal illness. We struggle with our identities:  Low confidence, self-esteem issues, jealousy, competitiveness, egos and status. We may even be in a good place in life, but still feel like we can’t breathe; stuck in routine and trapped in mediocrity.

All of our life issues sends us on an emotional rollercoaster ride that is rooted in fear, anxieties, abuse, torment, confusion, isolation, procrastination, temptation, sadness and discouragement.

When we have negative feelings and experiences, it sucks our energy dry. We are stagnate and idle. We are unable to focus or can’t seem to move forward.

The best thing to do when you have moments of despair is to praise the Lord no matter how hard it may be. I know this sounds crazy, but it’s true.

However, if you are dealing with serious issues such as a chemical substance or physical, verbal, emotional or sexual abuse, you will need to seek rehab and/or counseling immediately.

All throughout the Bible, music is emphasized. The whole chapter of Psalms exhorts the Lord. The Lord inhabits the praises of His people. It is the best way to get God’s attention. This is a form of worship and communication with God that builds relationship not only in the good times but in the worst of times.

Satan’s desire is to shut our mouth in prayer and worship. His whole goal is to steal our joy, hope, faith and truth. He wars with us to establish lies into our minds and hearts. However, where God is present the devil can’t reside. Where there is light, darkness is obliterated.

Do you ever notice when you listen to music you start to feel better when you’re down? Music speaks to our soul. It is powerful force. It stirs up emotions. When we listen to worship music it lifts our spirit. It encourages and inspires us. It gives us hope to go on. When you sing to the Lord, you open your heart to Him. You rejoice in his love, grace and mercy. Even through pain, you begin the healing process.

It’s not about how we feel inside when we are singing or listening to music, but it’s because of who God is that makes worship so special and powerful. When you magnify Him, your problems become smaller and you enlarge His territory to work in your life. Your focus in now on the solution and not the problem.

Whatever trouble or prison you may be in, open your mouth and shout unto the Lord for He is worthy to be praised. “Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song.” Psalm 95:2

We are transformed by His power. He has kept us under the safety of His wings. We are released from whatever is holding us back once we renew our minds and align our thoughts with God’s thoughts. This is a season of action and redemption. Accept no limitations as we move forward in faith with high expectation in this New Year.

In 2015, receive God’s promises and blessings for you and your family.

Singing praises to the King, we are set free, in Jesus Name.

“And at midnight, Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundation of the prison were shaken and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bands were loosed.” Acts 16:25-26.

“Thou has turned my mourning into dancing thou has put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness.” Psalm 30:11

Resurrection Power

“And behold, there was a great earthquake, for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door where Jesus laid. His countenance was like lightening and His raiment was as white as snow. And for fear of Him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Jesus which was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as he said. Come see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and behold, He goes before you into Galilee, there shall ye see Him.” Matt 28:1-7

The death, burial and resurrection is the most important declaration of faith we can pronounce in our hearts and in the world. Jesus is alive and lives within us. As another Easter passes away, we should keep the remembrance of Jesus’s sacrifice with us daily.

We should walk with the authority that Jesus has given us. We have the same resurrection power that Jesus has because He lives within each believer. Time passes, weather shifts, people change, yet there is one man who walked the earth over 2000 years ago who was crowned with thorns, falsely accused and sentenced to death. At one moment, the crowd was raving over him and the next minute, they yelled, “Crucify Him!” He was mocked and beaten while He stumbled carrying a wooden cross. “But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we our healed.” Isaiah 52:5

“He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. Isaiah 52:7

He is a man who does not change. His love remains the same. No matter what we’ve done we can ask for forgiveness. It’s a special, unconditional love that the human mind cannot comprehend. It is a deep-rooted love that allowed Christ to take the penalty for our sins. He did not come to condemn the world, but to redeem the world. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever shall believe in Him, will not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

So, as we go about our week, let’s carry Easter in our hearts and minds daily and share Jesus’s story with a lost and desperate world.

“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I’m with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen Matt 28:19-20