Thursday, June 30

Ah, Sweet Freedom!

What comes to your mind when you think of freedom? How about…

*free with no curfews
*free with no restrictions
*free to go where you please
*free to be with whomever you desire
*free to do what you want when you want
*free with no strings attached to anyone or anything

If we follow after these, are we truly free? The truth is that the world gives us a false perception of freedom. It leads us down a dark path, sometimes with no return.

So, what is freedom?
Part of the dictionaries’ definitions says that it means exemption from the power and control of another, not in bondage.

Jesus died to release use from our bondage to the enemy, “For He has rescued us out of the darkness and gloom of Satan’s kingdom and brought us into the Kingdom of His dear Son, who bought our freedom with His blood and forgave us all our sins.” (Col. 1:13-14 TLB)

If Jesus disentangled us from the enemy’s web of bondage, then we need to heed Paul’s advice to the Galatians, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (Gal. 5:1 NKJV)

Therefore, freedom does not mean free to do what one pleases. We cannot go back into sinful ways. As Peter said, “Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.” (1 Peter 2:16 NIV)

Freedom is never free; it always comes with a price tag. Somewhere along the line, someone had to pay for whatever freedom we enjoy. Just as many have lost their lives in service to this country to give us physical freedom from our tangible enemies, so Jesus gave His life to give us spiritual freedom from our invisible enemy...for eternity!

God sent Jesus to free us from sin, as the Word says, “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” (Rom. 6:14 NLT)

We cannot keep returning for a taste of the world, like nibbling on appetizers. Pretty soon, we find ourselves eating a full meal of it, all the way through to dessert, and paying a different kind of price for it.

When we accept the Christian life,
we welcome a new form of rule into our lives. I know, sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Free when controlled. It is freedom from the world and freedom in the Lord.

Paul told the Colossians, “You have died with Christ, and He has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world?” (Col. 2:20 NLT)

Only when we are under the control of the Holy Spirit are we then truly free, as Paul said, “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Cor. 3:17 NLT)

When we know true freedom in Christ,
we are then released to be all that God created us to be as we follow that True Path God has designed for us, which is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.

The disciple John wrote, “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” (John 8:36 NLT) But do we place our lives totally in His hands, trusting and depending on Him to have authority over us? How free are we?

We should again heed Paul’s words to the Galatians, “For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” (Gal. 5:14 NLT)

My prayer for you all: “Dear friends, God the Father chose you long ago and knew you would become His children. And the Holy Spirit has been at work in your hearts, cleansing you with the blood of Jesus Christ and making you to please Him. May God bless you richly and grant you increasing freedom from all anxiety and fear.” (1 Peter 1:2 TLB)

**Though this is a repost, I thought it appropriate for the blog chain on the topic freedom. I hope you will visit the other entries listed in the right sidebar for the month of July.


Monday, June 27

A Lesson from the Dog

Sydney is a Blue Healer, maybe even a mix of sorts. Rather hard to tell. She has brown eyes and mostly black hair, some spots are mottled with white.

She likes to stay very near us, practically clinging to our feet when one of us goes into another room, even the bathroom.

Sydney is a good dog, actually very obedient. She does drive me nuts sometimes by trying to outsmart me and see if she can get a treat, acting like she wants to go out. Sometimes, she wants out just to come back in for a treat. You see, we give her a treat if she doesn’t bark. She doesn’t always get one!

But she has one bad habit...

...she loves to get in the garbage and tear up used tissues! I don’t think she eats them, just tears them up.

If we point to the tissues and ask her, “What’s this, Sydney?” or “Who did this?” we get a hilarious response...

...she turns her head to ignore her wrongdoing. She’ll turn completely around and look in the opposite direction, as if to say, “Who me? I don’t see anything!”

Oh, my! Don’t we behave the same way with God?

Obedient, yet sometimes, when the Lord points out some bad habit or wrongdoing, we turn the other way as if to say, “Who me? I didn’t do anything!”


Because David desired to be rid of those sins prowling around in his heart that might escape his attention, he said to God, “But how can I ever know what sins are lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.” (Ps. 19:12 TLB)

Do we recognize our wrongdoing?


After committing a sin, are we in anguish only that we got caught and now have to face the consequences or that we have wounded the heart of the Father?

Do we even blush? God said of the Israelites to Jeremiah, “Are they ashamed when they do these disgusting things? No, not at all—they don’t even blush!” (Jer. 6:15 NLT)

Do we say to the Father, “I am deeply sorry for what I have done” (Ps. 38:18 NLT)?


So, how long does it take you to confess a sin? Thirty seconds? Thirty minutes? Thirty days? Or thirty years? The moment you know you have done something against God’s Word, do you confess it only to rush out the door to do it again? Where is repentance?

The proof of the pudding, so to speak, of repentance is, as Jesus said to the Pharisees, to “Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart].” (Matt. 3:8 Amp)

Removal of Sin

It is by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross that “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Eph. 1:7a NKJV)

When God forgives our sins, He removes them “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us,” (Ps. 103:12 NKJV) tossing them “into the depths of the ocean,” (Micah 7:19b TLB) never to emerge.

He forgives and forgets our sins. The only memory of them is in our own minds, not God’s! God dumps our sins into the great abyss but we’re the ones with the fishing poles!


After we succumb to one of the enemy’s pretty packages of temptation, what is the aftermath? What do we forfeit? Our peace, our joy, our relationships with others, answers to our prayers, and even our fellowship with the Lord.

Consequences are attached to sin. God does not wave a magic wand over our sins to make the repercussions disappear. However, as Jesus took the punishment of sin for us, Paul said, “Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” (Rom 5:20 NKJV)

Restoration Afterwards

God gives us a sure-fire-get-back-into-fellowship guarantee, “And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, He will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.” (Rom. 5:9 NLT)

Pursuing our own ways takes us on a detour away from Home. However, the Father always anxiously watches for our return and welcomes us back with open arms.

Rejoicing in Restoration

Isaiah said in the Old Testament, “I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For He has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness.” (Is. 61:10 NLT)

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice for the forgiveness and cleansing of our sins, we rejoice and are able to say, “Thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 15:57 Amp) Amen!

Are you ignoring your sin or are you happy dancing in the victory of your forgiveness and restoration?

**This is part of Peter Pollock's One Word at a Time Blog Carnival


Wednesday, June 22

Are You Dressed and Ready for the Big Day?

Photo via

(Recently, Stephanie Shott asked me to be a guest poster on her blog. This is the post that I share with you today. I hope you will hop over and visit her wonderful blog.)

From the opening pages of the Bible, God relates to His people in a closeness of companionship so intimate that He compares it to a marriage relationship, as He said to Israel, “For your Maker is your Husband.” (Isa. 54:5a Amp)

In the closing pages, this relationship remains paramount, for the Father sent His Son as the heavenly Bridegroom to woo the heart of the perfect Bride into holy oneness with Him. The chosen companion suited for the heavenly Bridegroom as Peter says, “for you have been chosen by God Himself…you are holy and pure, you are God’s very own.” (1 Peter 2:9 TLB)

The Bride’s Preparation

In the ancient, Hebrew betrothal tradition, the groom departed from his bride-to-be to build the couple’s new home, which took approximately one year. During this time, the bride prepared her bridal necessities and equipped herself for her new life. All her wedding finery had to be ready at a moment’s notice, for she never knew when her bridegroom would come to snatch her away.

When the time came, the bride wanted not only to look her very best for the one she loved but also to be the very best for him, to be a good reflection on his name and his character. You see, the betrothed couple was considered married, yet they were not allowed to live together. Therefore, her behavior reflected on him.

How is Christ’s Bride living?

How is the Bride of Christ spending Her time while waiting for Her Beloved Bridegroom to snatch Her away? Is She preparing those things necessary for Her nuptials?

Does She love Him with all Her heart and soul, or does She entertain other loves? Is She doing the things the Holy Spirit leads Her to do? Is She studying the Word? Does She rearrange Her schedule to make prayer time a priority? Is She a good reflection on Her Beloved’s Name and character? Just what exactly is She doing to make Herself ready?

How does She look? How is She dressed?

Would a bride go to her wedding naked? Would you consider her appropriately dressed for her grand day of aisle-walking if her beautiful, bridal gown was covered in mud or big blotches of stains? Would she want to greet her beloved in that condition? No, of course not! A bride is immaculately dressed in her pristine, wedding attire, looking her absolute best for her bridegroom on their wedding day.

Likewise, is the Bride of Christ dressed in her pristine, bridal finery and ready for Her day of divine marriage? Or is Her garment dirtied with the stains of the world? Things like doubt, worry, unforgiveness, complaining, judging, gossip, lying, adultery, pride, impure thoughts, busyness, internet porn, other addictions, or anything else that grieves the Holy Spirit?

Have these mud-slings diverted Her focus from Her Bridegroom? Has She forgotten that Her behavior reflects on His Name and character?

Jesus asks His Bride, “Do you love Me more than these?” (John 21:15 NKJV)

James tells us of the one who remains true to Her Beloved, “The Christian who is pure and without fault, from God the Father’s point of view, is the one who...remains true to the Lord-not soiled and dirtied by his contacts with the world.” (James 1:27 TLB)

Is the Bride ready?

Is Christ’s Bride ready for Her day of snatching away? When the heavenly Bridegroom arrives, will He find us with a mopey face, hair covered in the ashes of doubt and worry, breath smelling of negative words, and dressed in a ratty, old rag of self-pity, ripped and spotted with worldly residue?

Or will He find us as “a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Rev. 21:2 NIV), adorned with a smile on Her face, joy in Her heart, songs of praise on Her lips, and be dressed in a pure, spotless gown of holiness?

Oh, sweet believers, may our lives be so holy and our readiness so complete that we shall have no sorrow when the Bridegroom comes calling for us, His beloved Bride.

“Behold, the bridegroom cometh!” (Matt. 25:6b KJV)

Are you ready?


Sunday, June 19

God's Reward


Thursday, June 16

Are You Full of Dynamite?

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” (Eph. 3:20 NIV)

I’ve been pondering this scripture lately. Deep in thought about it. Stirring me to search my heart and question myself...

* Am I allowing the Lord to work His power in me?
* Am I obstructing His working through me to others?
* What am I doing to clog up the works?

Do we all have God’s power working in us? Let’s dig deeper into this verse and see...

* Now: this word in Greek does not mean at this moment of time. It means but, moreover, and, also, etc.

* able: the Greek word is dunamai, meaning to be able or possible, be of power, powerful, to have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources or through a state of mind, through favorable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom.

* immeasurably: is from three words, meaning...

1) over, above, beyond, superior to, more than, etc.
2) the point from which motion or action proceeds, from, out of, etc.
3) in the sense of beyond, superabundant in quantity or superior in quality, excessive, over and above, more than is necessary, surpassing, etc.

* power: the Greek word is dunamis, which comes from dunamai, and means force, miraculous and inherent power, strength, ability, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth.

* work: energeo (which comes from the Greek word energes from which we get our word energy) is the Greek word and means to be active, to effect, efficient, be fervent, be mighty in, work, work effectually in, to be operative, showing oneself active or display one’s activity.

But what is the moreover and also? The previous few verses (14-19) tell us...

* that, according to His glorious riches, the Lord would grant us to be strengthened with might through His Spirit
* that Christ would dwell in our hearts through faith
* that we would know how wide, long, high, and deep is the love of Christ and be rooted and grounded in His love
* to know that this love transcends or surpasses knowledge
* and that we may be filled with the fullness of God.

If we were to rewrite all this, it might go like this: According to God’s riches, as Christ dwells in our hearts through faith, perceiving His endless love as above our knowledge of Him, we are filled with God’s fullness.

Moreover, He is then powerful, having the ability to do more than necessary, over and above all we ask or imagine, according to His dynamite, miraculous power and strength that is active, effectual, and operative in us.

In other words...He can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine only if we allow His power to work within us.

If we have this dynamite power in us, is it efficiently working? If our pipes, so to speak, are clogged with sin of whatever kind, it acts as sludge to contaminate His Presence, and His power will not flow. We must be cleansed and filled with God’s holiness for His miracle-working power to be operative in us.

Is His dynamite power efficiently working in me? I wondered, so I asked myself...

* What works go undone?
* What wounds of others go unattended?
* What heartaches of others go uncomforted?
* What needs of others go unmet because I do not listen to the Lord’s leading or I harbor some sin, thereby, not allowing Him to work efficiently through me?

When Jesus sent out the disciples, He gave them “power and authority” (Luke 9:1) over demons, to preach the kingdom, and to heal the sick.

The Greek word used here for power is, again, dunamis. Exousia is the word used for authority and also means privilege, force, mastery, token of control, delegated influence, jurisdiction, and so on.

That same power and delegated influence has been given to us, if Christ lives in us. Isn’t that an awesome thought?

If we are “a dwelling place of God in the Spirit,” (Eph. 2:22 NKJV) then His living power and energy resides within us, working as we agree with Him to accomplish His works.

Oh, if only we could begin to grasp the magnitude of His dynamite power and allowed Him full reign and rein in our hearts, how much immeasurably more could we do for the Lord?

~Lord, I am Yours to command. Cleanse me of all that would hinder the flow of Your love, Your Spirit, and Your dynamite-power. Work Your will in me that I may bring glory to Your Name and be a reflection of Your mighty power, love, and grace to others. Amen!


Monday, June 13

A Houseguest is Coming

*Hope you all don't mind a rerun.*

I received a message the other day to expect a houseguest, a special friend coming for a visit, someone with deep needs. Since I love giving and love my friend, I was excited at the prospect of helping out in any way I could.

So, I did what every woman would do, I started cleaning the house…

Knock, knock, knock!
Yikes! I’m not ready. However, I opened the door anticipating my friend but found a dirty beggar asking for a handout. Sorry, I said. I’m busy. Try next door.

…then I started preparing special food…

Knock, knock, knock!
Aha! Must be my friend! Opening the door, this time I found a member from church collecting canned goods for the hungry. Sorry, I said. I’m busy. Try next door.

…then I put out the good towels and tablecloth…

Knock, knock, knock! Now what? Irritated, I flung open the door and found a neighbor’s child collecting clothes for homeless children. Sorry, I said. I’m busy. Try next door.

After everything was finished, I was pooped so I sat down to rest. Looking at my watch, I began to wonder what happened to my friend who was in such need. Doesn’t she know I’m waiting here to help her?

No more interruptions. No more knocking. As I decided to just sit there and wait, the Lord began to whisper to my heart…

I knocked on your door three times today but you were too busy to let Me in. I am your Friend. I said I would come to visit because I had needs. I sent you the needs but you didn’t accept them as from Me. You received Me not. If you had responded to what I sent, you would have enjoyed sharing a precious fellowship with My people and with Me.”

Hanging my head in humiliation, I listened as He continued…

“Didn’t I tell you that when you did something for one of the least of these, you were doing it to Me? Will you turn Me away again next time?”

If He knocks upon your door today, will you open up to welcome Him as your honored houseguest? How will He appear, as the dirty beggar, the church member, the child? Or maybe as the person sitting in the back church pew crying, the young father with small children and food stamps, the neighbor down the street dying of AIDS, the single mother working two jobs to feed her children?

Who will you welcome? Whose needs will you meet?

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyo hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev. 3:20 NKJV)

This is part of Peter Pollock's One Word at a Time Blog Carnival. Click to check out the other entries on the topic of home.


Thursday, June 9

Fresh Air?

Fresh air. That’s the topic for the blog chain for June. (You can read the other entries for the month in the right sidebar.) I thought about skipping it. Nothing came to mind. Nothing. Zero. Nada. Zippity-doo-dah!

But on the day I was going to beg off, I opened the windows in the house. What a beautiful day! Low humidity. Crystal blue sky. Wispy white clouds. Gentle breeze. And the sweet serenade of the birds’ trilling.

I turned the window fan on in the kitchen to bring in that wonderful aroma of fresh air. Ahhh! One of my favorite things! My body loves that cool, clean, fresh air. I love spring and fall when those crisp breezes come to visit. My whole body smiles and sighs a big thank you!

As I sat down to write, my mind wandered back many years, MANY years, to before I began school. My parents and I lived with my grandparents on a large, self-sustained farm. That means we had pigs, horses, cattle, dairy cows, chickens, turkeys (they really are dumb), ducks, and the obligatory barn cats. We even had our own dairy, orchard, flower and vegetable gardens, and great places to run and play.

One of my most precious memories of those days is of my sweet grandmother. She had one of the workmen plant a bazillion jonquils and daffodils along the hillside by the creek. Every spring, as the frozen stream melted into new life, giggling up bubbles over the rocks, the flowers burst forth into a sea of yellow.

At one point, the stream split and came back together, creating a small, I mean tiny, island. Granny had a footbridge built to the little island. We would pack our lunch and go to the island for a picnic. I remember the brisk air, fresh and redolent with a multitude of blossoms.

These days, I’m not as fortunate to enjoy the outdoors. Besides weather changes and conditions, numerous other things aggravate the fibromyalgia that affects my body. I also cannot bear to be in a place where the air is too warm, stuffy, or stagnant. I feel smothered.

Have you ever been in a place where the air hung so close, so stagnant, so confining that you could barely catch your breath and you craved fresh air?

The same is true of my spirit; it hates to be smothered and stagnant with a myriad of troubles and attitudes. It needs the breath of the Holy Spirit to breathe fresh life into it. Someone once said, “Breath is Spirit. The act of breathing is Living.”

After fashioning man, God drew near him as His Spirit hovered and “blew into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2:7 Masoretic Text)

The breath of living. That breath of God, that divine inspiration, still infuses man, supplying him with the vital breath of the Lord’s likeness. He is our Life, the very breath of our souls.

The Lord “Himself gives life and breath to everything,” (Acts 17:25a TLB) “the soul of every living thing is in the hand of God, and the breath of all mankind.” (Job 12:10 TLB)

(Some of this is from The Breath of the Almighty. You can read it here.)

In the midst of writing this, I made one of my daily comments for everyone to have a good day on Facebook, “Happy Monday, everyone! Smile! May your day be filled with progress, provision, encouragement, and good surprises! Enjoy! :D”

My cyber-friend Dana Pratola responded, “Wow, Lynn, it’s always nice to see one of your encouragements on here. It’s like a breath of fresh air. ♥” I laughed and asked her if she was part of our blog chain. I thought she was teasing me.

But isn’t that what we are supposed to be: a breath of fresh air to others? If the Lord has shared His precious breath with us, shouldn’t we be that holy, fresh breath to others who may feel smothered and stagnant? Shouldn’t we be encouraging rather than whining and complaining?

Is your spirit smothered with circumstances, stagnant with negative attitudes? Have you allowed the Almighty to breathe His Life back into your spirit? Can you say as Job did, “The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4 NKJV)?

May you know that precious breath of fresh, Eternal Life as He infuses it into your body, soul, and spirit.

P.S. I happened to read on a new cyber-friend’s blog, The Widow Lady, about a fund for kids, The Fresh Air Fund. I couldn’t resist passing it along...

THE FRESH AIR FUND, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Nearly 10,000 New York City children enjoy free Fresh Air Fund programs annually. In 2010, close to 5,000 children visited volunteer host families in suburbs and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada. 3,000 children also attended five Fresh Air camps on a 2,300-acre site in Fishkill, New York. The Fund’s year-round camping program serves an additional 2,000 young people each year.


Tuesday, June 7

Word-filled Wednesday

“Why is everyone hungry for more? ‘More, more,’ they say. ‘More, more.’ I have God’s more-than-enough, more joy in one ordinary day than they get in all their shopping sprees.” (Ps. 4:6-7a Msg)

Check out Word-filled Wednesdays at Internet Café


Thursday, June 2

Through a Mist of Care

Photo by Rachael Taylor

*I felt led to rework this old post and repost it. I pray it blesses you...

“Come to Me,
all of you who are weary
and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.”
(Matt. 11:28 NLT)

“Come to Me...” Do we heed those words? Do we go to the Lord to drop all our burdens at His feet? Or do we usually carry those heavy loads all by ourselves? Or do we give them to Him and, then, snatch them back again?

Peter said, “Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.” (1 Peter 5:7 TLB)

“...all of you who are weary...”
Don’t we weary ourselves with worries, even though Jesus gave the command to “not worry about your life”? (Matt. 6:25a NIV)

You know how the dictionary defines worry, don’t you? To torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts, fret, or be in a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.

Hmmm...actual or potential problems. How often do we torment ourselves by fretting over those problems, whether real or the imagined what-ifs? Instead of focusing on the Lord, we permit those worries to divert our focus, causing ourselves more anxiety.

“...and carry heavy burdens...”
David said, “Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is distressed.” (Ps. 143:4 NKJV) Overwhelmed is defined as to envelop oneself, be feeble or faint, or grow weak. Distressed is defined as to be desolate, grow numb, appalled, devastated, ravaged.

David said he was overwhelmed and distressed because “the enemy has persecuted my soul.” (Ps. 143:3 NKJV) Sometimes, we walk around hunched over like a question mark, bent from the burdens we let the enemy pile on us.

Allowing worries, whether real or imagined, to envelop us produces a mist of care, concealing our view of our precious Lord. Our path becomes fogged, our spirit suffers, our prayer languishes, and our relationship with the Lord deteriorates.

Jesus said, “Will all your worries add a single moment to your life?” No, of course not. “So don’t be anxious about tomorrow.” (Matt. 6:27 TLB, Matt. 6:34a TLB)

“...and I will give you rest.”
Rest. Refreshment. Such as, “He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.” (Ps. 23:2b-3a NKJV)

When we keep our minds focused on the Lord, “[He] will keep in perfect peace all who trust in [Him], all whose thoughts are fixed on [Him]!” (Isa. 26:3 NLT)

Do we fix our thoughts on Him or on our worries and cares? Do we release our grasp on them to receive what He offers us?

No godly soul ever grew in intimacy with the Lord or gained spiritual sight of His presence by carrying a load of burdens or worries. When difficulties blur our vision of our Beloved, we relinquish the very thing we seek: hearing the whispers of His heart, feeling the comfort of His arms, and knowing the peace of His nearness.

Therefore, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers.” (Phil. 4:6 TLB)

Is there a mist of care obstructing your view of your Beloved? Walk through that mist of care and you will see the image of your Beloved with His outstretched arms. Drop your burdens there at His feet. And as the old song says, “You’ll never walk alone.”

“Come to Me...and I will give you rest.”