Christ Traded HIS Freedom So That You Can Be Free From Your Burdens

When guilt, shame, or fear, try to entice you to come back, just say no! Click To Tweet

Freedom has set you free

To give the ultimate gift of freedom, Love laid down His life for the sake of another. This unselfish act of sacrifice allows freedom to reign so that others do not have to live in bondage.

What is it in my human nature that causes me to forget the “freedom from bondage” part on a daily basis?

In my human nature, I quickly forget that I am free. Guilt tells me I deserve the pain in which I live and shame reminds me of my story. They are the ball and chain I drag relentlessly. Guilt and shame are key ingredients for a recipe of disaster. Together, the two of them convince me that I deserve every ounce of my suffering. Nine times out of ten, I give in and believe them. I pick up my chains and follow, because it’s easier that way.

However, the cross is not easy. Maybe it is the blood, the guts, the gore of an actual human suffering unto death, but I don’t think the cry of Christ to His Father “Why have you forsaken me?” portrayed easy. The Savior of the world could have removed Himself from the suffering situation in which He found Himself. He could have used the excuse, “It’s just easier this way.”

It is for the freedom found in living free that Christ died. He gave me a choice to accept or deny.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.”

Galatians 5:1

Freedom from my past

My past is an ugly place…

Journey to Chaoticlifeoflauren.com to read the rest!

Letting go is hard, but the price is paid. Set down your chains and back away slowly. Click To Tweet

 

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Get out of My Way — Learning to Forgive Myself

Mean people suck and I don’t like them.  Period.

I met up with Mrs. Meanie the other day and found I still can’t stand that lady.  I walk right into an awkward situation with her frequently; she needs to just go away permanently.  Trapped in a never-ending conversation, I squirm and wiggle trying to weasel my way out.  Feeling cornered, I give in.  I surrender to my fate and roll with the punches.  I tell myself that I deserve what she has to say and that my situation is my own doing and I need to accept this as a part of my life; this is my punishment.  Walking away with my tail between my legs, I slink into that dark place in my cave and plan to resurface someday, maybe.

I am mean, I am ugly, and I am certainly my own worst enemy.  Yes, I am Mrs. Meanie.

Like many, (anyone else cares to raise your hand here?) my past is filled with shameful events.  I convince myself that I am the worst of all evils, that no person on the face of the planet would ever stoop as low as me.  I cower in shame, beating myself up with a barrage of insults.  I remind myself to look down, “don’t let anyone see you.  Don’t let anyone see who you are.  You are a vile evil creature.  Speak to no one.  If you talk, they will realize you are a fake.  You are about as worthless as they come for what you have done and you will live with this shame for the rest of your life.  Don’t tell your story.  Don’t talk about your past.  Bury it deep within yourself and cover it with shame.  Live in this guilt, because it is what you deserve.  You deserve to live in hell.”

I would love to tell you that Mrs. Meanie’s words are exaggerated to make a point, but that would be a lie.  Those words and much, much more (too viscous to speak in polite company), run on a continual loop between my ears.

2 timothy 2-1

On the journey up the mountain of forgiveness, I have found it is me who needs forgiveness from myself.  This doesn’t mean I am condoning what I did.  This does in no way make my actions correct or remove any and all fault.  Simply put, it means that it is time to say “His grace is sufficient for me.”  Bigger than saying it, is believing it.

His grace–the grace I do not deserve.

I confess I look to others for forgiveness–begging and pleading and come up empty time and time again.  But God, He offers it freely with no strings attached.  He writes in the sand for me.  He writes words that speak directly to my heart and says “Your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more.  You’re my little girl, I created you.  My truth is all that matters in your life.  Who does my Word say that you are?  What does my truth say about you?”

What does His Truth say about me?

“But He said to me, “MY grace is sufficient for you, for MY power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  Be strong, little girl, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, remember you are not saved or forgiven through anything you can do or earn.  This is a gift, from me to you because I love you so much.  Get up out off the ground and stand here beside me.  Don’t be afraid to tell your story because it has a happy ending, MY ending!  Set the suitcases of your shame and guilt here for me to carry, lighten your load by accepting my grace and taking my hand.  Let’s walk your Journey of a Million Miles together.  My yoke is easy, and my burden is light! (2 Corinthians 12:9, 2 Timothy 2:1, Ephesians 2:4-10, Matthew 11:30 in my own words.)

It’s easier to climb the mountain of forgiveness without a heavy pack. Click To Tweet

my grace is sufficient

The beauty of Christ–every word written is Truth.  He will never change His mind.  He is the only one who can forgive and forget, as far as the east is from the west.  If you’ve ever run east to get to the west, you know that the distance between the two is impossible to span.  Basically, He places what we offer to Him for forgiveness in an unretrievable space that doesn’t exist.

And His grace?  Well, His Grace is just enough for me; forgiven and forgotten.  Go and sin no more!

 

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Forgiveness: 3 Things I’ve Learned Through Life’s Hurts

Forgiveness

We are told to forgive, not necessarily for the offender but for those of us who have been offended.  Forgiveness helps us in our mental, emotional and spiritual health.

Matthew 26:28 says, “This is my blood, which seals God’s covenant, my blood poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

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Colossians 3:13-14 says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

The Bible contains many scriptures on forgiveness.  In the NIV translation, the topic of forgiveness is mentioned one hundred fifty times.

What I’ve learned about forgiveness is this:

  • Are we to forgive when the offense is so serious as to cause physical, mental or emotional disabilities? I think we are commanded to forgive no matter what the offense. Jesus went to the Cross and shed His Blood FOR EVERY SINNER!
  • Does this mean we are to confront and “work” through this forgiveness with a serious offender? I don’t believe that is necessary for effective forgiveness to take

Many times a conversation with a person who has hurt you can be an unsafe place to be; it can be unsafe physically, mentally and emotionally.

  • I don’t believe God expects us to take control of how this plays out in the flesh. He’s a bigger God than that, and can indeed work the situation out for both parties.

Sometimes the offender will come into a relationship with Jesus because of our forgiveness.  Sometimes that change in the offender comes at the very end of his or her life. That’s ok, at least the change occurs.

I think the point I’m getting at, and something I’ve had to learn over my adulthood is that we can’t control the other person.  We can only control how we react to an offense.  Many times I’ve had to intentionally hand over the offense and the person who needs forgiveness to Jesus.

My prayer is this, “Lord, I don’t know how to fix this.  I need for you to take care of it for me.  I trust that you will do that for my peace of mind.  Somehow, convey to the person who hurt me that you loved him or her and died for him or her just as surely as you did that for me.”

And this, I believe, is forgiveness. Sometimes we verbalize it and sometimes it is necessary to let our Father handle it.

 

me

Gloria is a wife of 43 years, mother to 2 grown sons, grandmother to 6, Biblical Counselor, blogger, and experienced leader of women’s organizations.

Gloria Boone has a rich personal history that uniquely qualifies her expertise as a healer of hearts.  Overcoming the life challenge of growing up in an alcoholic home, Gloria has utilized overcoming her own struggles as a catalyst for ministry to others.  As a Certified Life Coach at Destiny Coaching, Gloria’s passion is to invest all of who the Lord has made her to be into the personal growth of those the Lord brings into her path. The Mission of Destiny Coaching and Gloria’s heart is to impart HOPE to all who wonder about their purpose and calling, offering a clear path to individual destiny. Please visit Gloria’s site  Destiny Coaching

 

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Beyond Comfort

The journey up the mountain of forgiveness begins in simplicity, Seek Him First.  It is the one place all journeys should commence. Under my power, I will fail.  In Him alone I find success.

All to Jesus I surrender

Through my intentional choice to let go of my known way of life, an entirely new world is made known.

When an entirely new world opens up, it allows Him to do a new thing. God is all about new.

“Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:18-19

Forgiveness is for me; it is for my heart and my heart alone. Will the universe know I forgave it for the injustices heaped upon me? Will the streams run uphill or the birds sing in unison when I let the pain of the past escape the death it deserves? No. Not at all. Instead, all the Heavenly hosts will rejoice singing “glory hallelujah!”  One more heart has prepared Him room.  A ticker-tape parade of praise falls from Heaven above when one heart makes room. When there’s room, He takes up residence, when He takes up residence, He is Lord.

Stop the presses! I’m not there yet. Hold the confetti, deflate the balloons, I’m standing at the base of this mountain wondering “how the heck?” Maybe I should wander the desert just a little while longer, say forty more years? Maybe seventy, while I set up camp here and make a garden? God won’t forsake me in the desert; He will never leave my side no matter how long I stare at the base of this mountain. He sits and patiently waits for me to take a step, just one step, in an ascending manner; waiting to be Lord of all.

Comforts of the Past

My troubled heart is stubborn and unyielding. I do not want to let go of my known way of life. I’m so comfortable in slavery it’s become common and familiar. I know the rhythm of the waves and can predict the tide of my life with haunting accuracy. When I take that first step up the mountain of forgiveness, I leave the comfort of consistency behind.

My confession, I long for a pattern. I long for repetitious, every day the same boring day as before. Consequently, I drown in the pond of stagnation. I never know when the bottom will fall out of my world; therefore, I do everything I can to keep it as stable as possible. Climbing this mountain could and will change everything.

I have worked for so many years to translate the language of the mystery in which I live to find predictability in the chaos. I am comfortable here. In my comfort, however, I become complacent. It’s only through Christ doing a new thing that my faith deepens, and my heart is emptied leaving room for Him.

My gentle savior reminds me that He did not call me to permeate in the pond of stagnation, this is not my home, and a rolling rock gathers no moss. My life is a journey from here to there. Here is not my home, but there is a long way off.

“Take up residence in me, allow me to be your home. Where ever you are, there I am also.”

Forgiveness will only do one thing for me, set me free. I’ve been captive for ages, wanting to be free.  I’m clueless as to what freedom looks like, but long to find it and learn how to live in it.

I have seen too much, been hurt too deeply, and live bound in fear. I’m afraid that if I leave the comfort of predictability that I will have to walk through hell again. I cannot do hell again. I have been down on my knees begging for life and seen horrors unimaginable through the unknown, unpredictable world. I do not want to step out of comfort, seeking forgiveness and the uncharted territory it will bring.

I’m scared.

I am afraid to walk a new road again. I walked a new path once, and it led me straight into the pit of despair. I tell myself this is an entirely different road paved with the promises and strength of the Almighty.

“…‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel, you will become level ground’…” Zechariah 4:6-7

I am in the palm of His hand; He’s got my back! He knows every hurt in my heart and every tear I have shed. He saved every tear. They are sitting on a shelf marked “grace.” He has covered them with His blood spilled out for me.

God never pushes beyond what I can withstand; He has promised to walk beside me through the valley of the shadow of death. He gently nudges me and allows me to climb at my pace. When I tell He who draws the boundaries that I have exceeded my limitations, He uses His unique God chalk to draw new boundaries then reminds me I am still well within the lines. He desperately wants to do a new thing within my heart. No more old, stop living in the past. His way new opens up an entirely new world right before my eyes. Taste and see!

Psalm 34 eight

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see--how good God is! Blessed are you who run to Him. Psalm 34:8 Click To Tweet

There is no going around, only up. My deepest desire is to see Him, to know His freedom and the only way to accomplish my heart’s desire is up. Deep cries out to deep as I place one foot in front of the other in an ascending fashion as I set out to make room in the inn of my heart; a journey up the mountain of forgiveness.

 

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Beauty in the Struggle

“God can do anything, you know–far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!  He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.  Glory to God in the church!  Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!  Glory down all the generations!  Glory through all millennia!  Oh, yes!”  Ephesians 3:20-21 MSG

My God, the creator of Heaven and Earth, tells the sun when to rise and the sky when to rain.  Even the wind and the waves obey His commands.  Knowing that His word is Truth overwhelms my being and renews my spirit with Hope.   

Today is a rainy, cold, yucky inside type of day.  Building walls and climbing mountains in the great outdoors lie in wait for sunny skies.  With deadlines fast approaching, sitting idle leads to frustration.  Equally, no internet connection angers me when I need to accomplish tasks inside.

However, there is a kind of beauty in the struggle.  When my mission in this yard is complete, my hands will touch every bit of this land, the land that God has graciously given.  When His mission is complete my Creator will reach every bit of this heart He calls home.

Search me, God,and know my heart

As I write, God breathes His life onto the page weaving the words into my everyday.  The struggle dances in my midst daring me to find it’s beauty.  He is good, and His lessons are pure.  In the trenches, deep within the fight, God meets me where I am and proves His goodness time and time again.  This mountain of forgiveness and my internetless estate hold no difference.

Selfish intentions of others affect my dreams and my desires as I idly sit.  God knows my heart, and selfish intentions of others are not my rocks to carry. Click To Tweet  My focus, my rocks, and my forgiving heart is my mountain to climb on this chilly day.  He knows when I rise and when I sleep and it is well with my soul.  

“Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin–oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!–
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!”

Verse two and three from “It Is Well With My Soul,” Horatio Spafford, 1873

This gray permeates my being, and my soul is downcast within me; it is here I dwell on you, Lord.  As deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves consume me.  In the day, you direct your love towards me, while I sleep your song is with me.  You search me, Lord, and you know me.  You know when I sit and when rise.  You know every thought in my head before I think it.  You surround me day and night; your hand is ever upon me.  I lift my eyes to see the clouds; you made these!  Not one of them is out of place.  You call every star forth by name.  You are God, creator of my rocks and lover of my heart.  Even in the gray, my heart longs to reflect your light. (referring to Psalm 42:6-8, Psalm 139:1-5, and Isaiah 40:26-28) 

Moving rocks to build one wall and tear down another.

I must move rocks to build the retaining wall in this yard.  As well, I must move the stones that surround my heart’s wall.  There is beauty in the struggle of rock moving.  With every stone I relocate, I climb the mountain of forgiveness in my heart.  Leaving no stone unturned, I search my land for the perfect rocks while He searches my heart to reveal His perfection.  Every rock on my tangible wall represents a prayer of forgiveness within my heart.

“God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, His merciful love couldn’t have dried up.  They are created new every morning.  How great is your faithfulness!  I’m sticking with God (I will say it over and over).  He’s all I’ve got left.  God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks.  It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God.  It’s a good thing when you’re young to stick it out in the hard times.”  Lamentations 3:22-27 MSG

Yes!  Stick it out through the hard times.  Stick it out void of the internet.  Stick it out when rocks are massive and anger binds forgiveness; inch by inch, stone by stone, there is beauty in this struggle.

His promises cover each frustration, and He catches the drops as they roll from my cheeks.  I have a jar at the foot of the cross drenched in blood; I bear them no more.

There is beauty in this struggle, for in the journey I find God.  

There's a kind of

Looking Back to Press On

Standing knee deep in years of fallen leaves with overgrown vines and green briars woven through every branch stretched up to the heavens, once again, this yard leaves me overwhelmed.  A February deadline looms overhead to prepare the section of land I never finished.  A dozer will soon arrive to level the earth, move rocks, and remove tree stumps.  Even in the dead of winter, my jungle has no end in sight.  I pray the weather is conducive to yard work.  

Looking back to press on

I recall the climbing of Mt. Bierstadt, one of Colorado’s fifty-four fourteeners.  When I looked ahead, all I saw was a gigantic pile of rocks climbing to forever.  If I wanted to succeed, I needed to place one foot in front of the other and trudge on.  As I turned around to gaze at the view and return what little oxygen I could find into my lungs, I saw how far I had climbed; the mountain in front of me grew smaller and smaller.  I stood in awe.

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2017 presents me with a giant mountain to climb both in making this house a home and in my spiritual growth as well.

When I look at this uncleared part of the yard and the winter weather in which to clear it, I am overwhelmed, to say the least.  When I turn around and look up the hill towards the house at what I’ve already accomplished, I am encouraged.  Never in a million years did I dream of such accomplishments.  One step, one day, and one forest fire at a time.  (**ok, with this fire thing, don’t think I’m a pyro or something like that.  My disclaimer states that fire is a serious matter and is not taken lightly.  Although I, somewhat, jest about burning the yard, please keep in mind my disclaimer.  I have taken a serious oath to burn responsibly)

I smile as I say that.  You and I both recall how I spent the summer trying to burn the yard that would not burn.  I only needed to wait for the right season.  Everything has its time and place, and the season for burning the jungle is winter!  No doubt, it is still hard work out there, but in time it will all be worth the effort when I’m eighty drinking iced tea in the shade of a beautiful place (provided I install an escalator to move me from the top of the hill to the bottom and so forth).  For now, I climb the mountain, remembering just where I began.

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Spiritually, this is no different.  I have a mountain in front of me, more like a cliff to scale with no ropes or skill.  Fortunately enough, I only need to press on.  He who made me is more than sufficient and will equip me as I climb with all I need.  I must be willing to journey and not quit when the going gets tough.

He who made me is more than sufficient and will equip me as I climb with all I need. Click To Tweet

My mountain?  (long pause and deep breath)  My mountain is the mountain of forgiveness.  I do not want to climb; I want to walk around it no matter how many years I have to wander aimlessly in the desert.  Six months ago, God called me to forgiveness, and I flat out said “nope, not ready to let it go.  Unforgiveness is my familiar; it is all I know.”

In my Malachi prayer at the beginning of Advent (Malachi 3:1-2), I prayed, “prepare my heart for the coming of Christ, refine me.”  In my Psalm 139:23 prayer, I whispered, silently, under my breath, “search me, O God…” He heard me.  He searched.  He wants to refine me because I want to see His face.  I want to see Him badly enough that I am surrendering to the mountain.  I will intentionally climb; I expect to see God every step of the way.  He is the only one upon whom I will place expectations.

He does not fail nor does He falter.  EVER!!  

Yes, this mountain is overwhelming.  To let go and truly forgive, I must go back in time and write forgiveness over each and every hurt.  Did I mention, I hate my past?  Scared to death at the base of this mountain, I look back and see how far I’ve come.  Never in a million years did I dream of such accomplishments.  Yet here am I, looking out over a vast land that never ends.  I watch the thunderstorms below me and can see just how far He has drug me, kicking and screaming at some points.  Nonetheless, I am here.

He does not fail nor does He falter. EVER!! Click To Tweet

While I scale the mountain of forgiveness and try to make this house a home, I will be intentional.  I don’t feel like being accidental anymore (you and I both know accidents still happen, like burning half the forest yesterday.  Who knew years worth of knee deep leaves would burn so far and fast with twisted vines scaling every tree).  I am still not sure what the word “intentional” looks like fashioned into my world, but we shall discover that, together, on this Journey.

2017, look out, here we come!!  I promise you this year, we will laugh (as I am still not ordinary), we will cry (because the past is killer, but it hasn’t killed me), we will praise, we will worship, and we will grow in life together.  He called me out onto the water, where feet will fail because I asked Him to.  “If that is you, Jesus, call to me.  Tell me to get out of this rut I call life and tell me to walk on this water with you.”  He did, it was Him.  I have not sunk.  As the storms toss me about, the borders of my faith begin to fade opening up the limitless.

I’m looking back to press on.

Intentionally seek His face and then expect to see it.  

I promise, you won’t be disappointed, but don’t be surprised when He shows up.  Expect Him, watch eagerly, He will not let you down.  I’ll stake my life on it!

Ready, set, let’s do a new thing!

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19