Freedom

True Freedom Is When We Trust In Him

Freedom

Freedom

“When we trust in Him, we’re free to say whatever needs to be said, bold to go wherever we need to go.” Ephesians 3:13 (The Message)

I keep reading bibles verses that apply to my life and to my glorious group that is reading “Anything” by Jennie Allen. {It’s still not too late to join, check out my posts here and here.}

I pray that each of us is hearing God’s voice deep within our hearts and souls as we work on surrendering our lives to Him. For in Him, we have great freedom!

blessings,

Hope

P.S. I’m so thankful for She Reads Truth and their Ephesians bible study! Join in.

SheReadsTruth

I’m linking up with the following communities today!

Rose Garden

We’re Saved By Faith

Rose Garden

God’s Beauty

Last week I wrote about the difference between faith in Jesus and doing good works to get us in right relationship with God. And according to Galatians 3, it’s not about the rules but about giving our hearts to Jesus. In other words, it’s about faith.

Well, this message has really been marinating and brewing in my life. I’m seeing signs and receiving messages all the time about its truth.

First, I was reviewing last week’s sermon from the church that I have been attending, Reality SF. The church has been doing an awesome series on Discovering God. Basically, we are learning about God’s attributes. This week’s sermon is about God is mercy and grace. The pastor showed us that God’s grace and mercy is in the Old Testament, Exodus 34:6-7 and in the New Testament in Ephesians 2:8.

God has always been both merciful and full of grace as well as being the very things themselves. (Hope you catch the difference)

“And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin by no means cleraing the guilty, visting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.'” Exodus 34:6-7 (NKJV)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8 (ESV)

Amazing! So the same message given in Galatians is also given in Ephesians and Exodus. It is by faith not our works that we are saved. It is by God’s grace. 

So I think the next ah-ha moment came when reading the rest of chapter 3 of Galatians. In verses 3:21-22, The Message translation, states that

“If such is the case, is the law, then, an anti-promise, a negation of God’s will for us? Not at all, it’s purpose was to make obvious to everyone that we are, in ourselves, out of right relationship with God, and therefore to show us the futility of devising some religious system for getting by our own efforts what we can only get by waiting in faith for God to complete his promise. For if any kind of rule-keeping had power to create life in us, we would certainly have gotten it by this time.” Galatians 3:21-22 (MSG)

Wow! If rules were the key to our salvation, then we would have already been saved. And there would have been no need for Jesus to come and die on the cross for us. Religious systems are not enough!

We were given the rules, the Mosaic law, because we were not mature enough to respond freely in faith to the living God (see Galatians 3:23 (MSG)).

However, now we have to grow up and choose Him and have faith in him!

I’m personally so thankful that I don’t have to rely on religion or rules to be saved. For this very fact, I give thanks to Jesus!

Still pondering this wondrous grace,
Hope

P.S. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

I’m linking up with the following communities!


SheReadsTruth

stitched up heart

God, Please Be My Shield

stitched up heart

stitched up heart

“If you have been a fool by being proud or plotting evil, cover your mouth in shame. As the beating of cream yields butter and striking the nose causes bleeding, so stirring up anger causes quarrels.” Proverbs 30:32-33 (NLT). 

The Amplified Bible further expands on verse 32 by stating, “If you have done foolishly in exalting yourself, or if you have thought evil, lay your hand upon your mouth.” 

As I am following the SheReadsTruth group with reading Proverbs, this verse really speaks to me.

I realized yesterday that I’m keeping score in my relationships. Instead of being appreciative for what others do, I’m comparing what I do for them to what they do for me. I want things to be “equal.” I want to be treated fairly. And I used to not think this way or be this way. In fact, I’ve been told time and time again, that I’m too giving and self-sacrificing…

I think… No, I know why and how I’ve become this person. I’ve been hurt — betrayed — abandoned — taken advantage of — manipulated — and not considered, especially emotionally.

I’m protecting myself from being hurt, used, or even abused, again.

And as much as all of this makes sense to my human mind, I realize that it is not the way to live. In essence, I’ve closed off my heart. Or where there was an opening, a vulnerability, there is now a little scar.

And over time, I’m sure that I’ve amassed several scars. That’s why the picture of the stitched up heart really struck me. I’m sure my heart really looks like this one – a bit beaten up.

I don’t think you can go through life, if you are really living and loving, without getting any scars or places that you need to protect. Places that we may think need shielding.

So, then I read back over Proverbs 30 and saw this verse.

“Every word of God is pure, He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.” (NKJV)

Yeah, that’s right. I’m shielding my own heart. Taking score. Remembering past hurts so that people don’t hurt me again.

I’m supposed to let God shield me … be my shield. Protect my heart, my life, and my soul.

Once again I am reminded of the power of God and this relationship that I am building with Him. I’m reminded of my sin, my errors, and my human frailty. And frankly, I’m reminded of how much I need God.

Last night in my church’s community group, we discussed the power of confessing.

“Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart].” James 5:16 (AMP)

So I am confessing this fault of mine to all that read my blog. Please pray for me. Please pray that my heart can be spiritually healed and restored. [It feels so strange asking, but I know I need to ask and pray anyway.] Please pray that I am able to build a new community where I live in spite of my shortcomings. God knows that I feel alone because I moved and had to leave behind my community.

Hopefully, some of you will share your struggles at this time so I can pray for you too.

Wishing you hope, joy, and peace in God,

Hope

SheReadsTruth

Linking up with my favorite online communities: Ann at The Holy Experience, Unwrapping His Promises (at Scribing the Journey), and Getting Down With Jesus!

Mom and baby me

A special happy birthday and lots of thankfulness

Mom and baby me

Mom and baby me

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1 (ESV)

Yesterday was a BIG day.

Two of my absolute favorite souls had a birthday yesterday.

My mother! And my doggie!

Each day God urges us to give thanks. It was so easy yesterday!

Well my thanksgiving is simple. I give thanks for the two bright spirits in my life.

Honor your father and mother. Matthew 19:19 (NLT). 

My mother has always been more like a best friend. A confidante. I can tell her anything. She has always stood by me and supported me with her whole soul.

She never stops believing in me and affirming my dreams – big and small.

And although the relationship is not perfect – no relationships are – it is a blessing. I am so thankful for her.

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15 (ESV)

Mom and Marley

Mom and Marley – Birthday Buddies

And my sweet little dog, Marley, has given unconditional love that only a dog can do.

His little face lights up every time I come home. And he follows me throughout the house. He is my little shadow.

My life would be so empty without his spirit.

Our animal companions are truly a blessing.

I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise. Psalm 138:1 (ESV)

I encourage you to take a moment out of the day to be thankful for the special souls God has put in our lives.

Wishing you hope, joy, and peace,

-Hope

[I’m linking up with the following soul affirming communities. Please take a moment to check out their wonderful blogs.]

Sunroom - Office Door

Meeting God in the Secret Place

Sunroom - Door to my prayer place

Sunroom – Door to my prayer place

“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Matthew 6:6 [NKJV]

This morning I awoke to Oswald Chambers thoughts on Prayer Choice and Prayer Conflict in his daily devotional entitled “My Utmost for His Highest.” [If you are not reading this blessed text, you should be. You can even read it free online.]

When I saw the title I immediately thought, I don’t have a prayer conflict. I love to pray. I do however need to get serious with my time committed to God each morning.

I’ve noticed that if I don’t stick to reading the Word first thing in the morning or allowing extra time in the morning to do so, the day just gets away. And I usually get around to reading the bible later in the day… but it’s risky.

Life always has a way of getting in the way. Emails. Phone calls. Or in my case last week, freak accidents and emergencies.

All of these “life reasons” make it even more critical to put God first. And for me, that means meeting with God in the secret place, first thing in the morning. And I believe meeting God first allows Him to order our day.

Chambers writes:

Get into the habit of dealing with God about everything. Unless in the first waking moment of the day you learn to fling the door wide back and let God in, you will work on a wrong level all day; but swing the door wide open and pray to your Father in secret, and every public thing will be stamped with the presence of God.

Amen. I don’t know about you all but I need God’s stamp on everything in my life. I need his stamp on my thoughts, words, and actions. I need God’s presence in my family, in my relationships, and even in my neighborhood.

Dave Lomas, the pastor of Reality SF, the church I’ve been attending recently, asked the congregation in his message “We are Theological”: “Are you individually allowing the ultimate reality of Jesus to shape your daily reality?” And he said we must be radically centered on God.

Being centered on God means meeting Him in secret prayer, private prayer. It means being disciplined, controlling our thoughts and emotions, and not allowing our minds to wander during this special time.

We focus our hearts and minds on God – so we hear Him.

Chambers writes:

When we live in the secret place it becomes impossible for us to doubt God, we become more sure of Him than of anything else.

I’m seeking to live in the secret place where my faith is so strong and unwavering that I never doubt God. With steadfast faith, God will become the center of our lives.

Then, we become a people centered around Jesus, and live lives centered on Jesus. God is ordering our day. With God, we will have renewed strength to meet all of life’s challenges.

Those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. Isaiah 40:31 [AMP]

Will you join me in the morning and meet with God in the secret place? Do you have any advice for keeping this morning appointment? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.

Wishing you hope, peace, and joy,

-Hope

[I’m linking up with the following soul affirming communities. Please take a moment to check out their wonderful blogs.]

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Proverbs 9:6

Working to Leave My Simple Ways and Walk with Insight

Proverbs 9:6I am new to the Christian walk, and each day I am learning something new.

By participating in the She Reads Truth online bible study and journaling group, I am getting deeper and deeper into understanding how to live God’s way.

We are reading the book of Proverbs, which I discussed earlier, is the Manual for Living.

And God will not let me simply read about the ways to live without showing me if I am really listening.

Well, He tested me this week. And when I’m quiet with myself, I know that I failed.

See, I got into a disagreement with my significant other and said some words and things that I am not proud of. I actually cursed at him. And truthfully, this was not the first time. We had established this pattern of arguing, which included cursing and yelling.

Before this week, I’d really thought nothing of it. I would justify it with – well.. he upset me, so he deserved it. Or more commonly, I’d think – he said those words to me or he started it. And he may have! Somehow now, after reading Proverbs and getting closer to Christ, those excuses don’t amount to anything. They are just that – excuses.

This past week Christ showed me an ugliness in myself that I want to fix. My mouth, and how I emotionally communicate. I want to get better for myself and to live more like Christ. And I’m sure it will benefit all of my relationships too.

It’s hard to admit these faults to myself and to my online readers, but I’m striving to be honest and authentic in hopes of encouraging others through my struggles. Maybe you can identify with me?

With God, we are never alone. He is always with us – listening, guiding, and advising.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 [NKJV]

The funny thing is that God had been putting resources in my path the whole time. I’d seen Lysa TerKeurst‘s new book, Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions, a couple of weeks ago and thought about reading it. And several of my girlfriends had been emailing about the exact issue – our mouths, our words, our emotions.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14 [NKJV]

Well, it’s time to work on this area of my life. So, I purchased the book and began reading it. And I already feel a sense of healing as I’m learning more about myself and how to deal with emotions. In discovering this book and listening to other women’s stories, I also realized that I am not alone and not crazy. It is simply an area to work on. We all have places where God shows us “the brokenness” to make us better and closer to Him. I’m accepting this challenge to improve in this area.

I’d love to hear if you also struggle to communicate better emotionally. And if you are interested in an online bible study for Unglued, I’m thinking of starting one here – online!  Please reply in the comments or email me. In the meantime, check out Lysa TerKeurst’s video for her book and bible study. Amazing!

Wishing you hope, joy, and peace,

-Hope

[I’m linking up with the following soul affirming places.]