Happy Independence Day!

John 8:36 (AMP) So if the Son makes you free, then you are unquestionably free.

Acts 13:38-39 (AMP) So let it be clearly known by you, brothers, that through Him forgiveness of sins is being proclaimed to you; and through Him everyone who believes [who acknowledges Jesus as Lord and Savior and follows Him] is justified and declared free of guilt from all things, from which you could not be justified and freed of guilt through the Law of Moses.

The United States of America is two hundred and forty six years old today. I do not know about where you are (for those that life here in the states), but celebrations have been going on all weekend. Our city held their fireworks show and Freedom Celebration on Saturday (two days ago). Our neighbors were shooting off fireworks all night last night. Tonight the city next to us has their fireworks and festivities. We have not made plans to attend a single one. We would have done it when the kids were smaller. We would go now if it interested them.

What does it mean to be unquestionably free? My definition of freedom is probably different from yours. My definition is tied to my peace. My peace of mind. Torment is not freedom. Worry is not freedom. Anxiety is not freedom. To me, that puts me back in bondage. When I get that way I have to dig deep and ask myself, what has put me back in bondage.

John 14:27 (AMP) Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]

There are moments that I allow my peace to be taken. I allow myself to worry about certain things and thought of certain people. I allow myself to get upset when I allow another person’s torment to affect me (this usually shows up in annoyance). I am not as nice as I would like to be sometimes. I have allowed that freedom of peace to be taken. Here is the great thing about Jesus. He already paid the price for me to take it back. I do not need to beat myself up about what happened for me to lose it. I do not need to feel guilty or shameful. I (with the help of the Holy Spirit) put my thoughts back in line and focus on what is important to bring me back in line with peace.

Romans 14:17 (AMP) For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking [what one likes], but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Take back your dependence on all the wrong things. Put your focus back on Jesus. He is the one who gives us the real freedom. Peace is part of that freedom package. No matter what the legislature is saying and doing. No matter what your family may be saying and doing. No matter what the news outlets (some depend on social media) are saying and doing. What did Jesus do? He came so that we could establish His Kingdom here on earth. With what? With righteousness (not by dead works), with peace and with joy.

Galatians 5:13 (AMP) For you, my brothers, were called to freedom; only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the sinful nature (worldliness, selfishness), but through love serve and seek the best for one another.

When I can seek the best for others, I know that love has brought me to the place of perfect peace.

Happy Independence Day!

A willing offering

Philippians 2:14-17 (AMP) Do everything without murmuring or questioning [the providence of God], so that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish in the midst of a [morally] crooked and [spiritually] perverted generation, among whom you are seen as bright lights [beacons shining out clearly] in the world [of darkness],  holding out and offering to everyone the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to rejoice greatly because I did not run [my race] in vain nor labor without result.  But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith [for preaching the message of salvation], still I rejoice and share my joy with you all.

Colossians 3:17 (AMP) Whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus [and in dependence on Him], giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

1 Corinthians 16:14 (AMP) Let everything you do be done in love [motivated and inspired by God’s love for us].

Providence is the protective nature of God, trusting that I have a future. Can we just do everything He tells us in His Word without questioning if He has our best interest in mind? It gets more challenging, we are not promised that it will not be hard. We are anointed for the hard stuff. Paul is telling us to do EVEN IF your life is the offering. The race I run, the labor it brings forth, is not in vain. The sacrifice and service of my faith is for the salvation of others (the real prize)!

When God speaks to you to do something, do not be concerned with why not someone else. I have learned that when He calls you to it, He will equip you for it. When I started speaking, I was not great at it. It was actually very painful to watch. I had to trust that the words He gave me were impactful. My heart motive was not to make a name for myself, but to make Him famous.

I am not waiting on the situation to be right so that I can shine. I have never been into that “it’s my time to shine” when it comes to serving. Why do we need to feel like if we are not elevated then we really are not doing anything. Paul said even if I am being poured out as a drink offering. Pour all of me out Lord. Use everything that you have placed within me.

In the first part of 2 Kings 4, Elisha comes across a widow and her sons. She had a great debt and man she owed the debt to was coming to take her sons and make them bond servants. Elisha asked what she had. She replied only one jar of oil. He instructed her to get all her jars and even borrow from friends and neighbors. As she began to pour out of the single jar into the other, per his instruction, every jar was filled. She poured until the last jar that had been gathered was filled. Then she was instructed to first pay off her debt and then live off of the rest.

What if we applied that same principle to Matthew 6:33? But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also. This is exactly what Paul was telling us in pouring out our lives as a drink offering. The anointing you have needs to be poured out. You are not called to this alone. Notice the widow needed the help of her friends and neighbors. Paul even refers to himself as a bond servant to Christ. Does not mean I have a debt to pay off? No, Christ paid that debt. My hearts desire should want to pour my life out because of His great love sacrifice. However, when I think of my needs first am I really trusting in the providence of God?

Colossians 3:14 (AMP) Beyond all these things put on and wrap yourselves in [unselfish] love, which is the perfect bond of unity [for everything is bound together in agreement when each one seeks the best for others].

I want the best for you. I hope you feel the same way about me. If it takes me pouring myself out to be a drink offering for Him, so be it! Now, do not take me to the extreme. I do believe in rest. If you do not allow Him to pour back into you, then you will be pouring out of self. We cannot grow glory to glory without taking time with the Holy Spirit and the body that He called me to (for equipping). Pouring out has to be healthy. There is a fullness to this Gospel. I pray you dig more into your Word today to find out just how full your life can really be!!

Restoration takes more than me

Philippians 3:12 (AMP) Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own.

There are many benefits of our Reconciliation through Christ besides just “going to Heaven” but they can remain dormant and non-beneficial until discovered and used. My husband posed this question to us a couple of Sunday’s ago: “Am I walking in the Freedom of Reconciliation today?”

Your relationship with God is as deep as you want it to be. Your freedom is to the level that you set it.

Luke 10:19 tells us that Jesus gave us the ability to exercise authority over all the power of the enemy (Satan); and nothing will harm us. I want to remind you that you cannot do this alone. You were not meant to do it alone.

Have you ever heard this? “I work out my own salvation!” That is taken from Philippians 2:12 and we use it as a defense mechanism because we do not like being corrected. We are taking it out of context. You see quoting this and stating “I work out my own salvation” is not the character and nature of God. Actually, in the original Greek it is not quite stated like this. The New American Standard Bible has the closest, because we all know from grammar classes, punctuation is important.

You should not quote verse 12 without 13: So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure.

You cannot do this separate from the Holy Spirit. You are not alone to work out your own salvation. You need to know and read His Word, but if you do not have the Holy Spirit you are limited. You will quote verses out of context and live half free.

There was also something else that God gave us to help in our restoration. He gave us each other.

Ephesians 2:18, 22 (AMP) For it is through Him that we both have a [direct] way of approach in one Spirit to the Father.  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens [outsiders without rights of citizenship], but you are fellow citizens with the saints (God’s people), and are [members] of God’s household, In Him [and in fellowship with one another] you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

The devil will try to tell you that since you are the only one like you in your family that you do not belong, that you are an alien, that you are an orphan. Even though you DO belong to a family, he will do everything he can to keep you from the full benefit of salvation. I know what it is like to feel like you are not included. My husband and I are the pastors. Do you know how hard that is to be the leader? Someone once said that if you want to please people sell ice cream. However,I cannot become all that He created me to be if I do not fellowship with my church. I am not talking about gathering to eat food. Am I being authentic in my growth with them so that they can encourage me? Not just one sided to where they are vulnerable and I just can’t because of my lack of trust in the very body of believers I am called to. I need to walk in fullness. I have to let the body do what it is suppose to, even if it hurts (just a little secret, growth is suppose to hurt).

Ephesians 4:12, 16 [and He did this] to fully equip and perfect the saints (God’s people) for works of service, to build up the body of Christ [the church]; From Him the whole body [the church, in all its various parts], joined and knitted firmly together by what every joint supplies, when each part is working properly, causes the body to grow and mature, building itself up in [unselfish] love.

The five fold ministry is essential in equipping the saints (the born again believer). Do you have a pastor? Do you allow them to correct you? There are good ones out there that want to see the best in you. The body of Christ is also essential to each other. We are no longer our own person. My restoration was for a bigger purpose than myself. I should be encouraging you to grow. You encourage me to seek the Holy Spirit in my growth!

Love is the unselfish concern for others, to see the best for them. This goes against the culture of “do what is best for you.” That shows a total lack of trust in the Father. Do you honestly think that if you did something that was better for someone else that He would not see to it that you go the best too? Let us grow past looking out for ourselves and serve one another.

Let us get back to the main question: “Am I walking in the Freedom of Reconciliation today?” We cannot do it apart from Jesus and the Father. We cannot do it apart from the Holy Spirit. We cannot do it fully without each other. You were not meant to work it out alone. God’s desire is for you to be whole. Let the Holy Spirit and the body of Christ do its work.

Love Revolution

John 15:12 (AMP) “This is My commandment, that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another, just as I have loved you.”

This is smack in the middle of the part of Jesus telling us to abide in Him.

John 15:16-17 (AMP) You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed and placed and purposefully planted you, so that you would go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit will remain and be lasting, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name [as My representative] He may give to you. This [is what] I command you: that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another.

I am going to put this all together for us.

John 14:12-15 (AMP)  I assure you and most solemnly say to you, anyone who believes in Me [as Savior] will also do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these [in extent and outreach], because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name [as My representative], this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified and celebrated in the Son.  If you ask Me anything in My name [as My representative], I will do it. If you [really] love Me, you will keep and obey My commandments.

What were the commandments? See John 15:12.

Do not be afraid to do something kind for someone else. Give up a Saturday to help a stranger. Be willing to give away something in order to meet the needs of someone else.  

If you genuinely want to do something, you will find a way to do it.

Refuse to do nothing.

Do not let the fear of becoming overly involved keep you from being involved at all. Do not let the fear of falling into “works” salvation be the reason you do not aggressively want to serve. It is the intent of the heart.

After the early council deliberated on if the Gentiles had to be circumcised to show their salvation or to seal their salvation. It was deliberated that they did not. Actually they talked about the continuation of a lot of the Jewish rituals. The only thing they told Paul to do was:

Galatians 2:10 (AMP) They asked only (one thing), that we remember the poor, the very thing I was also eager to do.

There are literally thousands of ways you can give and spread love if you will search for them aggressively.

Jesus’ disciples saw Him daily helping people. He listened to them. His plans were interrupted so that they knew they were seen. Our words and prayers are important, but our actions carry the weight of our love. Let’s start a love revolution!!