No Longer a Slave

No Longer a Slave

A slave is a person who is held in a permanent position of servitude to another; a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.  Imagine being the legal property of another human being?  The idea brings up a tremendous sense of outrage in those of us who have been blessed to live in a nation renowned for freedom, as well as a sense of regret, shame and deep sorrow over our nation’s past history.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have been set free from all types and forms of bondage or slavery.  Hallelujah!

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  (Joh 8:32)  Jesus is the Truth who sets us free.  Jesus tells us that He IS the Truth in John 14:6.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed . . .  (Lk 4:18, emphasis added)  Jesus read these words in the temple in Nazareth.  In Luke 4:21, Jesus went on to say:   And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  Jesus clearly states that HE is the fulfillment of this passage originally found in Isaiah 61.  Jesus sets at liberty ALL who are oppressed.

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.  (Joh 8:36)  This Scripture could easily read:  “Therefore SINCE the Son makes you free, you are free indeed.” 

Think about this:  Jesus has set us free from all bondage, both external and internal. 
In Jesus we have been set free from:

  • Fear – Fear involves torment. The perfect love that Jesus bestows upon us casts out fear. (1 Joh 4:18) Our Savior and King does not use fear as a tool–ever. 

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”  (Rom 8:15)  Please see also 2 Timothy 1:7.

  • Sin – We have been set free from sin. (Rom 6:18)  We are not under the rule of law but we are under the rule of GRACE.  (Rom 6:14)  There is only one thing it is permissible for us to serve, and that is righteousness“Sin is a power within that is trying to draw you away to worship idols, to compromise, to go and make yourself God rather than submitting to the living God.” ~ Andrew Wilson
  • Death – In Christ, we have received eternal LIFE.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  (Joh 3:16)
    In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.
     (Pro 12:28)

Rejoice in and appreciate the liberty that our Savior has given to each of us.

We Need One Another

We Need One Another

Human beings need other human beings!  Everyone wants to be loved, welcomed, and valued.  There are times in life when sorrow or disappointments overtake us when we simply need human contact.  We may need a touch on the hand or a smile or hug.  We might need someone to encourage our faith.  Or we may simply need help moving a heavy dresser or bookcase.  The Scriptures give us insight into this topic.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.  10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.  But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.  11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.  And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  (Eccl 4:9-12)

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.  (Pro 17:17)

Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed.  Faithful are the wounds of a friend . . .  (Pro 27:5-6)

Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel. 10 Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend,
nor go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity; better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.
 (Pro 27:9-10)

As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.  (Pro 27:17)

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.  (Jhn 15:13)

. . . that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.  (Rom 1:12)

People who have a lot of friends have proven themselves to be friendly. (Pro 18:24)

When the enemy wants to harm us, one of the tricks that he will use is to separate us from dearly loved friends or relatives.  (Pro 16:28; 17:9)  That is one of the enemy’s favorite past times—destruction.

Jesus is truly our best friend and Savior.  He loves us and pours out His blessings upon us as a result of His love.  One of the most beautiful gifts that He gives to people is the gift of friends!  Our faith is not intended to be lived out in the wilderness by ourselves.  We are intended to live within a community of faith, and an extended community of family and friends.

Friends give us wise counsel, warmth, help of all kinds, laughter, and encouragement.  Just knowing that we’ll be seeing a friend in a few days, can brighten our outlook and fill a person with joyful anticipation.  Often, when the Lord wants us to know how very much He loves us, He will send a caring friend (or several) to wrap their arms around us and tell us how very much they love us.  They may even send us an email, text, or greeting card to enumerate all of the things that they like about our friendship. 

Value your friends and remember to show your appreciation to them.  Don’t try to be a solo act; God intends us to have friends! 

How to Grieve After the Death of a Loved One

How to Grieve After the Death of a Loved One

These are some of the Bible characters who experienced loss and sorrow:  Job, Naomi, Hannah, and David.  We can see that grieving (mourning) is a normal human experience that comes to all people at some point in their lives.  There is nothing wrong with grief or mourning.

Grief can serve a purpose in that it can revitalize our assessment of life.   There is a boundary to grieving—after a season, it comes to an end.  Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.  (Ps 30:5)

One very important truth to remember is that God is always faithful, even in times of mourning. 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  (Ps 23:4)

You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?  (Ps 56:8)

The Lord not only sees our tears, but He accumulates them!  He sees our tears and our grief, and does not disdain them.  Rather, He accompanies us in our grief.  He supports us with the knowledge that He is with us; He’s in control; He is praiseworthy; and that He will carry us through into a good place.

Be still, and know that I am God . . . (Ps 46:10a)

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night . . . (Ps 91:1-2) 

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  (Rom 8:28)

Thankfully, the Lord is strong and He desires to carry our burdens, including this very heavy one.  (Mat 11:30) 

In the grieving process, it’s vital to communicate our grief to the Lord.  Feel free to pour out your heart to Him.  We can see this happening in various Psalms.  (Psalm 13; 23:4; 30:11-12; 56)  Note that the psalmist frequently ends in a different emotional state than when he began—often by praising God.  God hears us, and He understands what we’re going through.

You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.  (Ps 139:2)

As we share ourselves with the Lord, we’re able to open our minds to His truths.  We come to sense His love, His faithfulness, and His comfort.  As we turn to the Lord and communicate with Him, His peace settles within us.

Another way in which we can help ourselves as we mourn, is to speak with trusted friends, church members, and relatives about our pain and loss.  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  (Gal 6:2)  We, as members of the body of Christ, know that we’re called to “weep with those who weep.”  (Rom 12:15b)  As we share our stories with the Lord and with loved ones, we can actually lessen our grief.

The Lord is the One who is the anchor of our souls (Heb 6:19), and He cares for us.  (1 Pet 5:7)  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  (Heb 13:8)  So we KNOW that because the Lord never leaves us, He will forever be our anchor, our beloved, and our security—into eternity.  God bless you.