Freedom In The Lord From The 4th Step

The church I am privileged to attend held Resurrection services Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday. This year we decided it would be a blessing for us to attend on Good Friday. The afternoon began with a tornado watch along with threats of a severe thunderstorm. My kids insisted we continue in our plans even though there were indications that the clouds would drop their rain any minute. During the drive, the sky lite up with the boldest lightening strikes I ever recall seeing. My mind immediately flew to Matthew 27:45 which tells us, “From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over the whole land” as Jesus hung on the cross. My heart was thrilled sensing the Lord setting the scene of His story for anyone willing to enter. As we approached the church, lightening bolts stretched from the heavens to the ground and I loved it all the more! The bold lightening, the flooded streets, the driving wind – we were sure to be soaked! I dropped my kids off under the church’s covered entrance and found a spot in the packed parking lot. I realized that even with the umbrella, remaining dry would indeed be impossible. I removed my shoes and jacket and jogged barefoot through the parking lot and into the church. As I made my way, I was aware that the rain was cleansing and my bare feet ran with a newfound freedom. I felt as if I floated into the church. Do you remember the verse last week from Psalm 118:19? “Open the gates of righteousness for me; I will enter through them.” I recalled that verse as the gates (doors) swung open to the church that night and I entered in. How altogether lovely is our Savior, our King, our Door of the Sheep, our End of the Law, our Lamb of God, our Living Bread and Water, our Passover…our Beloved!

I assumed I would receive odd looks as I walked into the packed church with no shoes and with no intention of putting them back on!  Instead, I noticed the smiles of others as we shared an acknowledged moment of carefree freedom. A freedom in the Lord I have not experience in a while! The kind of freedom that comes when you don’t care that the clothes you are wearing are getting soaked from the rain – because you have been blessed.  The kind of freedom that comes from running barefoot in puddles and then entering a ‘proper’ place with no desire to even slip the shoes back on again, sensing a desire that others feel the same – because you have been blessed.  Praise God! Thank you Lord that when you beckon us to enter Your story we can’t help but get soaked to the bone by Your refreshing and it is impossible to remain untouched!

Psalm 123
I life my eyes to You,
The One enthroned in heaven.
Like a servant’s eyes on his master’s hand,
like a servant girl’s eyes on her mistress’s hand,
so our eyes are on the LORD our God
until He shows us favor.
Show us favor, LORD, show us favor,
for we’ve had more than enough contempt.
We’ve had more then enough
scorn from the arrogant
and contempt from the proud.

Eugene Peterson said, “We would very soon become contemptuous of a god whom we could figure out like a puzzle or learn to use like a tool. No, if God is worth our attention at all, he must be a God we can look up to – a God we must look up to. The moment we look up to God (and not over at him, or down on him) we are in the posture of servitude.” Can you also see how this can be applied as we lead a sacrificial life – placing others’ needs above our own?

I also find this interesting in light of our current bible study. In the Bait of Satan it reads, “A slave is one who has to serve, while a servant is one who lives to serve.” Are we Christians who serve with a resentful attitude? Do we “live as slaves to a law from which we have been set free?” Galatians 5:1 tells us “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” “Do we remain a slave in our hearts?” Do we “not realize we have been liberated to serve so we continue to fight for our own benefit” rather than the benefit of another?

“Like a servant girl’s eyes on her mistress’s hand, so our eyes are on the LORD our God until He shows us favor.” Historically, a servant would watch the master’s hand intently for a gesture signifying approval. Do you have an expectancy as you lift your eyes in anticipation of His favor? The One enthroned on glorious praises bestows His favor on you because He loves you and because He knows the arrogant enemy of your soul has unleashed more than enough scorn and contempt.  Praise God! Hallelujah our Rescuer is omniscient and is a gracious Savior!

Let’s read/memorize Psalm 123 this week and move on to Psalm 124 next week. Thank you Lord in advance for our success! Do you have any experiences to share from last week? If so, share it in your ‘comment’!

In His grace,
Amanda

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