Free Indeed

“For truth is truth to the end of reckoning.” 

Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

John 8:32, 36

We often joke at the yarn shop that the biggest lie we tell ourselves is “I will remember that.” So, we don’t write it down and by the next day we are struggling to remember exactly what we said we would not forget. While that may be the biggest lie we tell ourselves, it is probably not the biggest lie we believe

In the Bible study Get Out of Your Head, Jennie Allen says that the lies we tell ourselves fit in one of three categories:

  1. I am helpless.
  2. I am unlovable.
  3. I am worthless.

The enemy will use these lies to try and make us utterly useless to the cause of Christ. We get so caught up in listening to the lies that we become frozen, unable to move forward. In order to break free from this bondage, we must recognize Athe origin of these lies.

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. John 8:44

The enemy is a liar. He has been at work on the earth a long time, and he knows just how to punch our buttons. It is usually so subtle that we often don’t realize what is happening. If we want to be free we need to recognize his tactics; however, there is something even more important: knowing the truth.

When federal agents are train in how to identify counterfeit bills, they don’t study fakes. They study the real thing. The biggest key to being spiritually free is not to study the enemy or his lies; it is to study truth so that we can identify the lies when we hear them.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

When you start hearing that little voice in your head, counter it with the truth:

  • When it says, you are helpless, say:
    • For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
  • When it says you are unlovable, say:
    • “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” I John 4:10
  • When it says you are worthless, say:
    • But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Ephesians 2:4-8

Jesus Christ is the Truth, so when we know the Truth, He will set us free. However, we have to choose to accept the truth and make it a part of our everyday lives or we are still living in bondage to those lies. The best defense is to have an arsenal of weapons, so get in the Word and write verses on sticky notes or index cards and keep them at the ready. When the enemy attacks, follow Jesus’ example when he was tempted and point him back to the Word of God because what God says is all that matters

What lie is the enemy telling you? More importantly, what does God say?

Believe It!

“Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said: ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’

‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.‘”

From Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

How many of you remember Ripley’s Believe It or Not? It was a television show in the 80’s that gave facts and stories that stretched the imagination. Lately, it seems to have been a theme in my life. I just finished reading The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz, which was originally published in 1959. The concepts and exercises he gives on being successful are still applicable today, but one of the major points was to get rid of the word impossible from your vocabulary. He said if you believe it is possible, you will find a way to accomplish it, but if you think it is impossible, you will be blocked from ever accomplishing it. There is a biblical correlation to this idea.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

1 Corinthians 13:12

In the Polar Express, the main character is a little boy trying to decide if he believes in Santa Claus and ends up riding a train to the North Pole. At one point he meets a hobo who tells him, “Believing is seeing.” We like to be able to see everything laid out before us, fully explained and concrete, but the spiritual life is not like that. Sure, sometimes we get glimpses of things, but for the most part we are trying to see through a dirty window.

Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.

John 14:11

Yet, if we look around, we can see God at work all around us. When we believe that He is who He says he is, then we see the world and events differently. Just looking at nature, really looking, shows us they we don’t really understand what is possible. Some animals can re-grow lost limbs. A tornado destroyed a church but the podium and the Bible on it remained untouched. Like the White Queen said, the “impossible” happens all of the time.

For with God nothing shall be impossible.

Luke 1:37

The trick is knowing who God is and what His will is. If God wants it to happen, He can make it happen regardless of the constraints of the universe because He created the universe. So, when we live in His Will, then we live in the sphere of the impossible being possible.

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Matthew 17:20

A mustard seed is one of the tiniest seeds on the planet but out of it grows a tree. It is an example of a faith in that it starts small and then grows into something that can stand time and the elements. When we believe in God and follow His Will, things will happen in ways that only God could accomplish.

What has God asked you to do that seems impossible? If He has given you a dream, a calling, He can and will make it happen if we only believe. But, it doesn’t stop at believing. If we truly believe, then we have to take a step of faith or a leap of faith if you will. We may not see the whole path laid out before us, but we know the next step. Once we take it, God will show us the next one, and so on.

So, get rid of the impossible and ask God to give you a heart and mind that imagines what great things He will do. Then do the next thing until what seemed impossible becomes not only possible but reality.

Fear Not!

Fear. A knot forms in my stomach, I clench my jaw, and I feel the world closing in around me. I want to run and hide, but where? Then, I remember the safest place to be, so I go there and find peace and comfort. Where is that, you might ask? It is the presence of God through prayer, Bible study, and worship.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:18

The enemy’s two biggest weapons are fear and anger. When we listen to the world, all we hear is a good dose of both of these. When we are under spiritual attack and sometimes verbal assault, we have a defense: the sword of the spirit, the Word of God. It is a source of comfort and the only effective means of routing the enemy. We need to remember that is not people we fight against but a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12). Spiritual battles require spiritual weapons, so use the Word of God as a source of comfort and a means of taking down our spiritual enemy, Satan, and sometimes we are our own worst enemy.

My readings for #MyHopeNotebook this week emphasized that we don’t have to fear because we have hope in God:

Day 9: The Lord is everywhere.

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

Isaiah 11:9

Day 10: I will not be afraid because God can defend no matter how great the size of the enemy.

Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.

Psalms 3:2-6

Day 11: When we desire the things of God, we will be full of life and firmly planted like a tree.

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

Proverbs 13:12

Day 12: With God all things are possible if we believe.

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

Mark 9:23

Day 13: We don’t have to fear because we have hope in his mercy.

18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; 19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. 20 Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield. 21 For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. 22 Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.

Psalms 33:18-22

Day 14: We don’t have to fear because no matter what happens God will take us through.

But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Isaiah 43:1-2

Trials will come. That is a given; however, we don’t have to fear because God is with us. When you feel the fear or anger creeping up on you, turn off the news and social media and open the Word of God. It is a refuge of comfort, peace, and power over the enemy. While you are at it, don’t forget to grab the shield of faith because the Sword will do you no good if you are wounded by the enemy’s darts. Put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6), and let perfect love cast out fear. Then let the peace of God fill you so that it overflows into an angry world.

Fear not!

Trust and Obey

Trust and Obey is a song I have sung in church since before I can remember. It’s as familiar as a favorite sweater, but because it is so familiar, it is easy to overlook the words. It is even easier to overlook the meaning of the words much less how they should work out in our daily lives. Trust is easy when the going is smooth and even, the road stretched out clearly before us. Trust is something else altogether when the road is full of curves, the end unseen, and rain coming down so hard you cannot see the next curve until it suddenly appears in front of you.

Passage after passage in the Bible tells the story of people, ordinary people, called to step out in faith and trust and obey. They were asked to do build a boat when there had been no rain, pray fire down on a soaking wet altar, or walk on water. We think how amazing those people were but they are no different than us. They were merely believers who trusted and obeyed. Saying we trust means nothing until we actually obey, actually take a step forward in faith.

To walk out on the water sounds so difficult, but we have to remember Peter was looking at Jesus and hearing his actual voice calling to him. In John 20:29 the Word of God says, “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” It takes more faith to trust and obey when you can’t see at all. I was watching Field of Dreams this morning while I was eating breakfast and trying to get motivated. The whole story is one of trust and obedience and not understanding why he was asked to do things that made no sense while his world seemed to be crumbling around him. His obedience is rewarded in a way he never dreamed with the fulfillment of worldly needs (money to pay the mortgage) and spiritual/emotional needs (a chance to make it right with his father).

It is hard to continue to move forward on a path that the world says is not logical or practical. It is hard to trust when bills loom in the distance and we don’t see how it will get paid. We are tempted to fall back into old patterns of trusting on what the world says is the way to go, but God says, “Trust. I am doing something new” (Isaiah 43:19). We will never see God work in glorious new ways if we never step out. God is working in the background for our good (Jeremiah 29:11)we just have to hold tight to the promise and Trust and Obey.

Trust and Obey

Perspective

The way we feel about life and any given situation often has to do with our perspective. Two people can look at the same set of circumstances and have two totally different responses. Take for example having to get up to go to work. One person may get up with dread, while another may get up thanking God they have a job. There are usually at least two ways to look at a circumstance: negatively or positively. How we choose to look at our circumstances can vastly affect both our attitude and our response.

In Numbers 13, the 12 spies come back from Canaan with their report. Ten of the spies gave negative reports:

31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we…33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

They saw the land was good, but they decided the negatives were too overwhelming to be overcome. They did not even want to try.

On the other hand, Joshua and Caleb were positive and enthusiastic, “30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” They were ready to take the land, fully believing they could overcome any obstacles in their way. What was the difference?

Caleb saw the promise of God, a land flowing with milk and honey. God was fulfilling his promise, and all they had to do was take possession of the land. The others saw themselves through the eyes of their enemies, as grasshoppers, instead of through the eyes of God, as conquerors in His name. It doesn’t matter what those around us think; it only matters what we believe. If we believe God’s promises, and we do our part, God will follow through on his part. If we believe what the world says, we will never even attempt what God calls us to do. We fail before we start.

So, we should face our circumstances from our belief in God, knowing that he is molding us into the person he envisioned us to be. Sometimes that takes us through challenges that look insurmountable, but if we remember that God is on our side as long as we follow His will, we can know that He will make a way for us. It doesn’t matter what the world thinks; it only matters what we believe because our response to circumstances will be a reflection of that belief.

The next time you are tempted to complain about a circumstance, take a moment to reevaluate the situation. Pray and ask God to reveal His will to you. It could make a real difference in your attitude as well as your response no matter what the outcome.