"Whom the son sets free is free indeed!"
Luke 17:15 -19
"And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan."
The story of the 10 lepers is an interesting one. They all cried out to Jesus to receive his mercy and compassion and healing. They all got the healing they wanted, but one of them, the minute he saw he was cleansed, turned back to worship the Lord. The others just went on about their business.
The one leper who turned back to give thanks had a higher sense of understanding, appreciation and introspection. He took it in. As a result, he not only received healing, he was made whole spiritually speaking.
We all claim to be 'Free in Christ'. But Are We Really Free? Our freedom in Christ goes beyond our soul's salvation and escaping hell's fire.
We have been made free to live out the life God created us to live. You are free to be the real 'YOU'. No more bondage keeping you back from having the impact you should be having in this world. You are free to live out your purpose.
I'm sure that the leper who turned back had a testimony he couldn't help but share with others. He had a personal encounter with Jesus, the miracle worker, healer and that was going to be his platform for sharing with others. He can now be used to change lives.
Every time we allow God to use us, we are giving back. We are saying 'Thank You God For All You've Done For Me'! We become like that leper who went back and fell on his face! When was the last time you 'Fell ON Your Face Before God'? This should be a regular occurrence in our lives when we engage in deeper retrospection.
WHEN YOU ARE FREE:
*You are free to share
*You can be vulnerable and unafraid
*You can rejoice with others and support their triumphs
*You can face your inadequacies
*You can 'Apologize' for wrongs you've caused
*You will always strive to speak only what is true
*You will choose honesty over deception
*You will accept God's balm for healing your hurts
*You will fulfill your God-given purpose on the earth
*God''s power can be manifested in your life
If you do the opposite of the above, you are still living in bondage. Some of us are still walking around in 'Grave Clothes'. Always remember this; it will never matter what you claim if it doesn't line up with what is seen!
Can others see your freedom in Christ? Are they experiencing it when they come in contact with you? You don't want to be a question mark in the minds of others.
Don't be a 'Bible Quoting Christian'!!!!! Lay it on the line for people who are in need. Minister your testimony and how God showed up for you. After you minister, give a verse that is relative to the situation. This will help to solidify God's word in the heart of the person.
Some of us go around shelling out Bible verses and never back it up with a relative point. Bible verses, in my opinion, need to be accompanied by love and compassion with understanding. "People don't care about what you know until they know how much you care!"
Don't be selfish with your 'Christianity'. If you have an experience that could help a person, use it! Give whatever is necessary! If it makes you feel vulnerable, so be it! People need to see that! It can be effective!
Don't hold back from sharing freely. Some of us we act as if we were born saved.
"WHOM THE SON SETS FREE IS FREE INDEED!"
ARE YOU REALLY FREE?
The life that others see will tell on you!
"For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds, says the Lord."
"The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
When we think of childhood, we think of innocence, sweetness, happiness, love, toys, and family. There can be differences in description depending on who is doing the describing.
When God created children, His intentions were that they be wrapped in the warmth and comfort of loving parents and nurtured in a healthy way. God never intended for children to lack love and security and protection.
Be that as it may, once sin came in, anything and I mean anything and everything became a threat against innocent children.
Dysfunctional families have become a normal occurrence in our society, unfortunately. The Bible tells stories of various dysfunctional families and the hardships they had within the walls of their homes. God even gives us a glimpse into the far reaching consequences on individuals from such situations and their development as an adult.
God never hides the ugly stuff from us. Look at King David and his dysfunctional family situation. His was a blended family that consisted of eight wives, and I believe only seven of them bore him children. There was rape, incest, jealousy, violent sibling rivalry and hatred among his offspring.
In Jacob's family there were children born from two blood sisters, Rachel and Leah, and concubines. Look at the hatred Joseph's brethren had for him. They got rid of him and lied to their father, Jacob, concerning his disappearance.
Abraham and Sarah had issues involving their children. Ishmael, Hagar's son, made some negative remarks. He was having problems that his parents failed to pick up on. Sarah saw it and acted when he started mocking his younger brother. Eventually, the blended family had to be separated.
I could go on and on. One's childhood greatly impacts their adult life for the better or for the worse. The bad choices parents make spill out onto their children. More than not, young people are subject to repeat the mistakes and failings of their parents. There are some exceptions to the rule.
I have done my research and have found that most children who grew up under stressful conditions or the lack of parental love, vowed to never do the same with their children, but sadly, they repeated the same acts and sometimes worse than what they experienced. They really meant it at the time that they are enduring such atrocities, but they didn't understand the affect their childhood would have on them and so, they were hard pressed to brake the cycle.
Since children are not responsible for their upbringing, God gives special promises to them. One of the things that is hard to understand is why God has allowed these negative things for some children. That was the million dollar question I had for God, being a child of abuse, neglect and abandonment. It took some time to see a little of why I was subjected to such things. The rest I will never know, in this life. With God's help, I was able to break the cycle by the time my children came along. It took great conscious effort and sticking to all that I hated when I was a helpless child.
God does give healing and help! But if it wasn't for His grace and mercy and great compassion on me, I don't know where I would have ended up, seriously. I lived from pillar to post, all God's doing as a way of escape and preservation. God is merciful and kind that way.
Parents have an awesome responsibility to their children, after all, children never ask to be born! We bring them here!
If you are in need of healing and help from a childhood that has negatively impacted your life, know this, God knows all about it, He sees your situation. He knows why you are the way you are and His arms are opened wide to you. He has a heart full of love for you; just stop long enough and have a serious heart to heart with Him!
1 Samuel 1:2, 7
"And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat."
In everyone's life time, they can name at least one person who did something to hurt them. I'm not talking about an incident that was merely a misunderstanding or unintentional. I'm speaking about a deliberate act, or an attack of some sort.
Usually, the first response to such treatment meets with anger, contempt and perhaps an argument or retaliation follows. It's not easy to handle situations that are clearly unwarranted or unjustifiable.
Here we have the story of two women, Hannah and Penninah. Although they were both married to the same man, Elkanah, the main source of the problem they were experiencing was simply due to one woman's inner struggle.
In my book, To Be Called, "Girlfriend", is a Privilege, I go into detail about the awfulness that occurred between these two wives.
Penninah was fruitful and had babies, while Hannah was barren. Penninah, the Scripture calls, 'An Adversary' of Hannah. She was constantly taunting Hannah with the fact that she was barren and childless. This oppression caused Hannah to become depressed.
When people are attacking others on the regular, it becomes a health hazard. It's a serious thing.
Hannah tried telling their husband what was eating her, but he, like most men, couldn't enter into her pain. He couldn't relate and as a result, he added insult to injury. He meant well, but it added to her pain.
Yes, Hannah, by God's divine decision, was barren. This gave Penninah no right to cause her grief and offense. There are a lot of 'Penninah's ' in the "Family of God'. Too many, in my opinion.
So what was the 'Real Problem' here? Was this about Hannah being barren? I THINK NOT! This was not Hannah's problem. It was Penninah's problem projected onto Hannah, every time they were around each other.
First of all, it is enough for one man to be able to handle one woman, let alone two. Somebody in the equation ain't gonna be happy or satisfied! Two women aren't going to receive 'Love' in the same way or to the same magnitude, and that's a fact!
Penninah saw how much Hannah was loved compared to what she was getting. She was having the babies for the man, but his heart was with Hannah. This lack of emotional love was driving Penninah to do the things she was doing against Hannah.
Jealousy is, "I want what you have", while Envy is, "I not only want what you have, but I will do everything in my power to keep you from having it, whatever it takes." Envy can result in someone's demise.
We know how the story ends. God steps in based on Hannah pouring out her heart and He allows her to become pregnant. What a way to shut Penninah's mouth and stop her dead in her tracks! I love when God shows up and steps in to protect, vindicate or deliver his people! Nobody can do it like God can! That's why we should never take matters into our own hands when we are being oppressed by others.
The world is filled with 'Hurting People'! They are in great pain. Much of their pain has to do with their childhood. Yes, their childhood, and past issues that were never resolved. Many of them have legitimate complaints, but they never sought out counseling, so, they become adults who keep spilling out on others. It's a serious problem.
When you encounter needy persons such as these, think twice about how you handle them. Don't make their problem, your problem. By all means, let them know how you feel about what they are doing, but don't get in the pig pen with them. They are a mess! Pray for them, but don't spar with them. Set boundaries for them. Walk away from altercations that are unwarranted. Don't add fuel to the fire. Commit them to God.
Hannah learned where to take her anguish and pain and it paid off! God is a compassionate God and when we cry to Him, He hears and He sets His plan in motion. He allows situations for our benefit, but He never approves of ill treatment, disrespect or unwarranted situations. He is able to avenge you and I in such a way where our integrity remains in tact and He gets all the glory and honor.
So, if, or the next time you find yourself in a similar situation, remember, "HURTING PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE"! Bow your head, say a prayer, and keep it moving!
AFTERNOON MEDITATIONS AND FOOD FOR THOUGHT!
Mark 5:22-43 (entire story)
"And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, and besought him greatly, saying, my little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live. And Jesus went with him; and many people followed him and thronged him. And a certain woman, who had an issue of blood twelve years, and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, when she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment."
Sudden interruptions that are not welcomed, can make us very upset! We have our day planned out to the tee and something comes along and totally trashes it. We are now really upset, angry and frustrated.
Think about how Jairus felt. His daughter was sick unto death, and he came to the Lord for His help. As the Lord was going with Jairus, He was interrupted by a woman who touched the hem of His garment. That got Jesus' attention and He stopped to find out who it was that touched Him. Jairus is standing there with the anxiety of his daughter's life being on the line, and Jesus stops in the midst of an incredible crowd to find out who touched Him? Are you serious? Not only that, but Jesus also stopped to hear the woman's problem and He healed her.
While Jesus deals with the woman with the issue of blood, Jairus is told, too late, your daughter died. Oh no! What pain, what disappointment, what grief! Ah...but Jesus' heard what was said and He brings comfort and peace with hope to Jairus! Long story short, Jesus goes to the house, and raises the 12-year-old daughter of Jairus, from the dead!
That divine interruption in Jairus' case, was powerful! He came to Jesus to get his daughter healed, but instead, she is raised from the dead. What he may have thought to be an obstacle (woman with the issue of blood taking Jesus' time), turned out to be a divine opportunity!
No doubt, Jairus knew the Lord as a healer, but now, he knows Him as the all-powerful one who can speak life back into a once dead body! His faith is now increased drastically compared to what it was when his daughter was alive. The Lord had this divine interruption take place so that Jairus would get to another rung on the ladder of spiritual growth! Also, all those who knew his 12-year-old daughter had died, would now have the opportunity to place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ! This interruption went way beyond Jairus' need!
How often, when our day or set of events is interrupted with an unwelcome intrusion, we get 'pissed', so to speak. Been there, done that. I have learned that all things work together for my good (Rom 8:28). I have learned that God's agenda comes before mine.
There are things that God is trying to do in each one of our lives. He is more concerned with getting us to the next step or rung on the ladder of spiritual growth. He is more interested in us being drawn just a little bit closer to Him. So, He offers these divine interruptions to give us the opportunity to see him in a more powerful way.
Sometimes these interruptions are God's way of getting our attention. Perhaps we haven't been praying and reading or connecting with Him in our hearts. Maybe we are following from a far off, like Peter, or we are just spiritually stagnated.
Instead of seeing an interruption to your day and plans as a negative thing, try to see it as a divine interruption with a godly opportunity attached. Even if you can't figure out why God allowed it, just know, it was necessary and perhaps at a later date He will give you a glimpse into what He was doing.
"And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf."
Often, the focus of this story is on the Prodigal, the one who left his father's house. It is rarely addressed in ministry or teaching about his brother (that I've heard).
Every time I come across this portion in Scripture, I focus on the Prodigal's brother. Having been a 'Prodigal' myself, I'm quite familiar with that half of the story.
So, what was the young man's problem? Why was he upset when his brother returned home and why did he feel entitled to the fatted calf and the celebration above his brother?
I've learned, via first hand experience, what enters the hearts of some of those who never found themselves a 'Prodigal'. I've learned by the behavior of some, thank God not all, that the Prodigal, or a Prodigal has no privileges. They forfeited this when they left. I was even told, not by words, but by action, and treatment, that I wasn't suitable to participate in certain 'Christian' functions. I was kept out of many things even after being fully restored to the Lord.
The day I grew weary of my worldly lifestyle, I can remember thinking about how much time I wasted and what the others, who had not left, had accomplished spiritually during the time I was gone. I thought, to myself, everyone is so far beyond where I presently am. Then the shocker came when I returned.
I didn't know about this sense of entitlement thing. It definitely wasn't on God's radar or His viewpoint at all. Not one Christian has ever earned anything to be entitled to, in the first place.
The Lord, Himself, taught me an important lesson through what I experienced and it is this; cultivate, value and appreciate a relationship with Him and I will have the right Christian perspective and response toward others. Period!
The Prodigal's brother failed in that regard. He, in his heart, and mind, felt more valuable than his brother and resented his father's actions of love towards his son despite the terrible sinful lifestyle he lived. He also felt that he should not have been forgiven. Yet, the Prodigal's brother harbored a secret sin. The sin of 'Self Righteousness'. His heart wasn't right. He even failed to appreciate all that he had been given while in his father's house. He also failed to enter into what made his father happy and how he felt about his children.
The Prodigal's brother's heart was filled with pride. He was just living in his father's house, but he hadn't taken advantage of what it meant to be 'in' his father's house.
God has compassion and a heart of forgiveness for those who are lost or in a backslidden state. His greatest desire is for them to return. When a son or daughter of the Lord is truly repentant and sorry for their sin, we have a duty and an obligation to them. We are to nourish them, encourage them, and welcome them back into the fold. Better yet, when they leave the fold, we should feel a burden and some responsibility to go after them!
Since my experience, I have learned the importance of these things. I eagerly look for repentant hearts and the opportunity to embrace them.
Make sure that a person can 'See' what you 'Say' you believe!
RULE YOUR SPIRIT!
"He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules his spirit than he that taketh a city."
We all get angry and we all have a need to express that emotion when the situation calls for it! God has no problem with that! Even the Lord got angry and expressed it when he went into the temple and saw them selling stuff for money. He turned those tables upside down and drove the vendors out of there. It was His temple, He could do that!
Anger is a natural emotion that must be expressed. The issue is in how we go about it.
We have all been in situations where we wanted to 'Wipe The Floor' with a person, 'Tell Them Off', 'Slam Them', or 'Throw It In Their Face'. Perhaps on occasion, we have done exactly that.
I was in a situation, recently, where I became angry with just cause. I had archives of stuff that I could have unleashed on the person, but I held back. I expressed my anger in a respectable manner, telling the truth in love and letting them know how I felt. I didn't minimize the situation or sugar coat it. Despite their bitter, angry, hateful comments, I held my ground. After a while, I realized that they were more interested in 'Slinging Hash', and 'Tossing Blame', so I walked away.
It is important not to loose yourself when in conflict with others. If there is no meeting of the minds, it's futile to keep going back and forth on an issue that won't be resolved amicably. I realized that this person's bitter hateful accusations was coming from a deeper source that had nothing to do with me. They had legitimate gripes, however, the way in which they were communicating only showed how much pain they were in and how helpless they felt. I understood that. With that understanding, I refrained from going blow for blow. Although they refused to take responsibility in the matter, I saw how messed up they were and actually pitied them and began to pray for them.
It takes good understanding to be able to rule your spirit and to know when to walk away. It's not easy. Anything worth doing will never be easy, but it is necessary. Why expend good energy for something you're never going to get? Only God can get their attention and address their need. Only God can arrest them emotionally and humble them.
What was in my favor was the fact that I had a resource called 'Prayer'. That's the best thing to have in your arsenal in situations like that, especially situations you have no control over. I took to praying and telling God all about it. It was done! I left it with Him.
Be angry and sin not, the Scripture says. We can get angry, but there are boundary lines we should never cross. There are things that I no longer get angry about, like in the past, because my anger is deferred by having good understanding. I don't enjoy feeling or being angry. It's a joy killer and a downer. I decide what is worth getting angry over. I pick my battles and the unavoidable stuff, I try to handle as wisely as possible.
There are things that God will do for us, but how we respond when we're angry isn't one of them. We are to rule our own spirit!
"By this I know that thou favor me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me."
When I came across this verse, I had to think back on all the times Satan, and everyone he tried to use against me, failed! I went down memory lane and had to worship God because He and He alone was in my corner fighting my battles!
There were times when Satan decided that he would set things up so that I would feel as if all the walls were closing in on me. He threatened me, and oppressed me, and invoked fear. He used unbelievers, and believers in his attempts to level me and to send me back into the world. He lied on me, cursed me, and hung me out to dry. There were times when I uttered the same thoughts David did when Saul was chasing him down. David said that he would eventually die at the hands of Saul. Saints, I'm still standing, I'm here, and with a powerful testimony of God's grace and mercy!
When we are going through tough situations, we forget to remember what God told us about Satan. God says he is a liar from the beginning. Satan is a Pathological liar and he is the accuser of the brethren.
So, as I went down memory lane (my trials and afflictions), I saw that no matter how hard things got and how difficult it was, God never let Satan get the best of me. God never allowed him to overpower me to the point of giving up or loosing faith. God always made a way of escape for me and when God said, 'NO MORE', there was NO MORE! Satan was under God's control when it came to all the events in my life. On top of all of that, God granted me miracles and tremendous blessings (temporal and spiritual)!
Saul never killed David! The devil was behind King Saul's threats and behavior, but God was always in control!
Joseph's brethren had it out for Joseph and set a plan in motion, but it all worked for Joseph's good and God preserved his life although one brother suggested killing him. God prospered Joseph in the end and gave a good whipping to his brethren in the most non-violent way (Romans 8:28).
King Sennacherib of Assyria threatened King Hezekiah and wrote a letter to him full of violent threats. Hezekiah took that letter and spread it out before God and God turned things in his favor (2 Kings 18:13-19:37).
Be assured that because of God's favor that rest upon His own children, we are safe!!! In the midst of our trials and afflictions, it may not feel like it, but we are safe in His arms!
Know this, that anyone, be it another believer or anything that rises up against you, it won't prosper! Shame on anyone who calls themselves a 'Christian' who rises up against his brethren for harm. God will whip every last one of them! Though they may be His, He is for unity and love, and He won't look the other way on evil acts from any of His children!
God is standing close by watching every detail of your life. The enemy, Satan, can't go any further than God allows. Remember Job....look at what God allowed and how it all turned out for him because he held on to God in the worse of times.
God's favor rests upon you so be encouraged!
"The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
I have always been an insomniac, so I wake up like clock work at four in the morning. Over the years, I have learned how to use that time wisely. I start praying.
Prayer is work, but it works! Yesterday, I sent up a prayer request and I knew it was up to God to sign his 'Yes' or 'No' to it. Well...I got my prayer answered and it was a 'Yes'! I love when that happens! God even cares about the mundane things in life.
The more I felt my need for God, the more I began to establish a strong prayer life. It moved from my 'To Do List' to 'DON'T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT'! I am not comfortable with doing anything on my own without the Lord's guidance and assistance.
It takes time to pray! It really does! I mean, really pray....to pour your heart out and say all that you need to say, keeping no secrets, kind of prayer! It takes time and work to do it everyday!
In the movie, War Room, one could see the conscientious effort it took for the old lady to pray like she did. She left nothing out! She was emotional about it. That's what fervent means. You have to really mean what you are saying with all sincerity in your heart, after all, God already knows, but He loves when we come to Him as our Father and confide in Him.
Prayer pays off in ways that are beyond our understanding. There's always a blessing and reward for doing what God asks of us. So why is it that we fail at having strong prayer lives??? It's a faith issue. A lack of prayer shows that we do not trust God for our lives. When you trust someone, you believe everything they tell you and you hang on every word. You know that they will do what they said they would do for you. You also know that they have your best at heart and would never do anything to harm or hurt you. You also are confidant that they love you.
I wouldn't like it one bit if people only called on me when they needed something from me or when they felt helpless or afraid. We should never take God for granted. He is not a genie in a bottle; and the open door that He has so graciously extended to us isn't there for us to take advantage of selfishly.
May we always be found in prayer mode everyday and through out the day. God is there for us 24-7 and always takes His calls!