God Breaks Defeating Bonds

“People are enslaved to whatever defeats them.”   2 Peter 2:19

You know the hindering feeling.  The constraining ‘hitch’ in your gitty up of that old stinking habit you just can’t seem to break.  Maybe the habit is a thought you feel compelled to continue replaying.  Give some real honest thought to the truth, you “are enslaved to whatever defeats” you or controls you.  Sweet things, it is past time to END this battle.  The good news?  It has already been nailed to the Cross of Christ so all you have to do is decide you are ready to be through with it, leave it on the Cross where it belongs, engage with the grace Jesus gives, and walk in your victorious calling.  This cloud of heaviness that seems to be covering God’s people should not be!

Let’s investigate some word meanings from 2 Peter.  Being enslaved is “to control someone by keeping the person in a bad or difficult situation where the person is not free, or to make a slave (person legally owned) of someone.”  (Cambridge Dictionary)  Do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that through the blood of Jesus you are no longer enslaved to sin?  That you have been purchased out of the hand of the enemy and you are no longer enslaved to him or this world system?  By maintaining a mindset that desires repentance you remain free.  YOU ARE FREE!

Whatever‘ is used to emphasize a lack of restriction in referring to anything.  

‘Defeats’ is the Greek word hēttaomai and means ‘to make worse, to vanquish, to be inferior, to overcome, to be made inferior to, to overcome, worsted, to be conquered by one, forced to yield to one.’  Feeling defeated will make you feel inferior.  Feeling defeated will make you feel overcome and conquered.  Feeling defeated will force you to yield to destructive emotions that belong nailed to the Cross.
“He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and broke their bands apart.”
Psalm 107:14

“And now I will break his yoke from you and will burst your bonds apart.”  Nahum 1:13 ESV

Does it stir your emotions to think the enemy wants you to be inferior to things, for things to overcome you, for you to be conquered, and for you to be forced to yield to debilitating things?  In Christ, we are empowered to be victorious, not powerless and enslaved to defeat.  The enemy will try to convince you to accept your bondage and remain enslaved.  Stand strong and do not accept defeat in areas where Christ has given you the victory!

Are we more of a stranger to freedom and quite comfortable with what controls us?  What has the mastery of you?  DIVAs, we owe Christ more than this.  How about if we honor His name more by not walking around with such sad faces and hearts that are heavy because of emotions out of line with the Truth!  Are we not called Christ Followers?  If Christ is ahead of you and you are FOLLOWING Him would you really and truly have such long faces and perpetually heavy hearts??  Do we think that our attitudes because of our enslavement to defeat will bring anyone else to Christ on our watch?  Christians should be the ones in this world that corner the market on JOY!  Do we have hard times?  Indeed.  But…they are short lasting.  These times come and go and change like the wind.  Eternity is around the corner; Jesus is bringing it soon.  Let’s spend our days smiling because of what lies AHEAD.  Through the blood of Jesus God has forged a way for you to do this.

Prayer:  I know what the blood of Jesus has done in my life.  I am no longer enslaved to defeat because the blood of Jesus has broken my bonds and therefore I joyfully burst into freedom.  Freedom to smile and experience true joy.  I do this not only for myself but for all those watching.  In the powerful name of Jesus I thankfully receive His abundance and liberty.

How will you respond?

∞When you have powerless thoughts, immediately reject Satan’s lies. Verbally respond by saying, “Get away from me Satan. You have no place in my redeemed life. I am in Christ and Christ is in me.  I am no longer enslaved to defeat.”  Encourage yourself to smile when you feel your emotions suggesting you have no reason to.  It is a lie; choose to see the Truth instead.  Truth is absolutely, all encompassing, completely overwhelming… JOYFUL!

∞Write today’s Scripture verse on a 3×5 card and 1) Commit it to memory, 2) Believe it, 3) Repeat it often.

In His grace,

Amanda

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The Danger of Anger

‘”Be angry and do not sin; on your bed, reflect in your heart and be still.”  Psalm 4:4

Be angry and do not sin.  Those were always a puzzling string of words to me.  I read something more about it the other day that made sense to me so I wanted to elaborate on it with you.  It goes something like this…do not sin by letting anger…control you.  We are advised here to think about what is causing our anger before falling asleep and if we wake in the night, to think about it again; all while being silent/still/waiting.

We are always ill-advised when we decide to indulge our anger by allowing symptoms of murmuring, rebelling, and sinning to occur.  I love this wording, “seasonably suppress and mortify your unadvised and sinful passion, lest it breaks forth to your ruin.” (Benson)  The clause ‘be angry and do not sin’ may be rendered, ‘Be moved’, (namely, in opposition to carelessness and carnal security) ‘and sin not’. This is important and instructive advice and an exhortation to all.  “One principal means of preserving us from sin is to have our hearts properly affected with divine things, especially with the fear and love of God, with a holy reverence of his glory, in awe of His majesty, and a dread of His justice and wrath.” (Benson)

Do you commune or reflect on the condition of your heart while upon your bed?   We are to calmly and deeply consider our conduct from the day and what we have done amiss while in the silent of the night in order to bring calmer and wiser thoughts forth.  If we are in the habit of composing our tumultuous minds and passions and examining the state of our heart and lives we should then anticipate the answer of our consciences.  You should ask yourself if your thoughts and plans meet divine approval?  The verse does not advise us to lay on our bed and fume, to wall off our hearts, or to rehearse future sinful thoughts.  The notion presented is to question YOUR behavior (no one else’s) and honestly look for the errors.  Be ready to repent as opposed to running through a litany of excuses to cover your thoughts and behaviors.  Let’s instead ask, “Is my heart at rest?  Is my spirit void of fear?  Is any guilt oppressing me?”   If you awake during the night, meditate upon God, and the peace that comes only through Him.

How much better off would we be if we did not take the counsel of evil advisers or the counsel of our own will and passions but instead consulted our better feelings, our generous emotions, the Word of Truth, the Spirit of the Living God, and acted accordingly?

Let’s move to another idea.  You have heard of ‘premeditated murder’.  Premeditated is defined by Merriam Webster as that ‘characterized by fully conscious willful intent and a measure of forethought and planning’.  We also know ‘premeditation’ regarding sin can occur as a result of yielding to anger and therefore allowing wicked thoughts to be stirred.  If we get into the practice of following the advice of Psalm 4 this dangerous premeditation will cease.  We can do this.

“You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.”  Matthew 5:21-22a

The word translated judgment both times in the Matthew verse above is the Greek word ‘krisis’. (Does it remind you of our English word crisis?)  Krisis is defined by Strongs as a decision (subjectively or objectively, for or against); by extension, a tribunal; by implication, justice (especially, divine law): — accusation, condemnation, damnation, judgment.

Let’s hear this loud and clear:  the working of divine judgment is used regarding acts of murder as well as regarding anger towards a brother.  Just to be sure, a ‘brother’ is a fellow believer in Christ.  So this ‘brother’ can be your spouse, child, neighbor, parent, or sibling.  Do we really want to subject ourselves to God’s judgment???  Satan has cleverly convinced us to IGNORE THIS.  We have bought the lie that it is fine to have anger stewing in us and have disconnected the notion that our out-of-step-with-the-Truth actions come as a result of this stewing anger.  Let’s wise up DIVAs.  There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus, only opportunities for change.

Last night I heard the old phrase, to err is human to forgive is divine.  To be human means we will make errors but God has offered to cover us in His grace so that we are able to step out in a divine act and forgive.  Have you ever considered forgiveness as a divine act?  Maybe if we did we would practice this grace more often.  It is an incredibly powerful tool.

Challenge:  Let’s try ‘reflecting in your heart and being still’ for 3 nights in a row.  See if the counsel of the Word does not bring revelation and truth to your life.  God is faithful.

In His grace,

Amanda

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Woooooooooo, Pig! Sooie!

Greetings fellow sojourners!  Yes, it does say “Woooooooooo, Pig! Sooie!”  Sounds crazy to someone who is not from Arkansas (like me, you don’t need to be a UA football fan to know the call 🙂 ), but anyone who has lived in Arkansas for less than a month is well familiar with this ‘call’.  It is something so common to Arkansansans as the Braves tomahawk chop is to Atlanta Braves followers.  You just know the call, right?!

Ok, so what does this have to do with anything anyway??  A few months ago while my family was in Florida, we visited my mom and her friends at Santa Rosa Beach.  As we were looking down the coast they mentioned, “That house down there belongs to Mike Huckabee.” I thought it was so interesting and was curious if they had ever seen him while they were walking along the shore.  They said, “No.”  I guess the answer was not interesting enough for me so I asked if they ever saw him around town or maybe just knocked on his door?  I mean, they were all from Arkansas so why not?! 🙂  Anyway, my mom responded with the funniest thing I have heard her say in years.  She reacted with, “What are we suppose to do when he opens the door?  Say, Wooo, Pig! Sooie?!”  Because we all know that someone from Arkansas can not resist a Razorback call without responding with at least a smile!  I laughed and laughed.  And if I am allowed to say…I find the call quite funny.  At one point in time, there were even videos of me in diapers being taught how to “call the hogs” with a Woooo, Pig! Sooie!   Please don’t tell anyone 🙂 .

I was blessed to hear Mike Huckabee speak at our church a few weeks ago and I appreciated immensely what he had to say.  One of his testimonies related to his wife’s serious neurological diagnosis over 4 decades ago.  I could relate.  My husband also had a serious neurological diagnosis.  His wife recovered after no small amount of effort on either of their parts.  My husband pretty much did the same so I could emotionally relate.  He then shared how he and his wife visited people in the hospital facing similar critical situations hoping to encourage them in the truth and even cry with them if that is what they needed.  On this point, I could not relate.  You see, you have to have had a great deal of healing emotionally and acceptance of what has happened in order to go forth in strength and try to bring encouragement to someone else walking that path ~ and it is not easy.  I realized that night I still to some extent view myself/ourselves as victims of an unfortunate event instead of recipients of the healing power of Almighty God and therefore have a testimony.  Shame on me, I know God better than that!

“They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not love their lives in the face of death.”  Revelation 12:11

Mike Huckabee spoke of his testimony in order to say that in his experience, God allows us to suffer trials at times in order to bring us to an alternate path He desires us to walk.  He explained that what we might call disappointments, God might call a detour.   I guess I never choose to look at that time in our life as a detour or even a disappointment but only as a horrendous nightmare.  Mike Huckabee encouraged me to look at that ‘detour’ instead of as a thief but as a different path which still leads to victory.  It felt good.  I could relate!  Right there in the middle of service, I wanted to shout “Woo, Pig! Sooie!”!  Yes, I really did.  If it would not have been disrespectful maybe I would have.  My mom has suffered an indelible loss recently and to be able to laugh with her about the absurdity of knocking on Mike Huckabee’s door and greeting him with a “Woooo, Pig! Soooie! was just what my heart needed.  So yes, in my heart I cried the ‘call’ because I could relate and I hoped one day she could relate.  And it will take the loving, grace-filled power of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, just like it has in all of our lives.  I could be wrong, but I bet if I had cried out Woo, Pig! Sooie! it would have made him smile.  Thank you, Mike Huckabee, for making me smile at something I never thought I would be able to.

Thank you, Jesus, for giving us the strength to smile at dreadful memories because we know deep in our hearts that events the enemy hopes will indelibly harm us, You intend to turn it around for our good.  I think the rest of that verse (Ge. 50:20) is intriguing. “To  accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”  Have you ever considered one of your trials was meant to be shared as a testimony in order to help save someone else through your encouragement and the sharing of the Truth?  Count on it.  Let’s not keep the victory in our trials so secret, someone needs to hear it.

So here is your challenge.  Do you have something you have been labeling as a fear, a pain, a setback, a disappointment, a _________, that is past time to turn into a testimony that will do some good for someone needing encouragement?  Maybe even help ‘save their life’ as they know it now?  Allow God to turn your pain into gain ~ for you and someone else.  Can you relate?

In His grace,

Amanda

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Freedom Attained Under God

It was  July 4, 1776, in Philidelphia.  The Declaration of Independence, primarily authored by Thomas Jefferson, declared colonial freedom from Great Britain’s dictatorial rule.  Liberation was so important to these colonists they were willing to stand against the backlash that would most certainly come from the determined King of England.   He certainly would not allow this self-proclaimed freedom to come easily for these insurgent colonies!  We should always keep in mind that freedom, as well as slavery, does not come without a price.  July 4th, 241 years ago, marked the birth of this great United States of America.

I find this most fascinating.  John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail saying,  “It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.”  Not being there ourselves, it might be easy to not consider their emotional experience.  But we should always remember what they did didn’t come without a price.  It is easy to think of July 4th as an opportunity for a break in our typical schedule or a day of relaxation but let’s not turn it into something about us.  Shall we instead have a heart that stands firm, a mind that remembers, and a voice that rejoices?

Can you think of anything that does not come with a price?  The bondage of slavery comes with a price ~ you are giving up what Christ died to give you.  The broken chains of freedom also come with a price ~ it takes persistence and focus to stand and claim the truths of God.

Let’s take a look at some Scripture you can stand and claim regarding your freedom.  This freedom was paid for by the blood of the Darling of Heaven, the Prince of Peace, the Alpha and Omega, and Lamb of God:

“Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.”  Galatians 5:1

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:32

“Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.”  John 8:36

“In my anguish, I cried to the LORD, and He answered by setting me free.”  Psalm 118:5

“Now since the children have flesh and blood in common, Jesus also shared in these, so that through His death He might destroy the one holding the power of death — that is, the Devil — and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death.”  Hebrews 2:14-15

“He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners.”  Isaiah 61:1

“Creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children.”  Romans 8:21

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”  2 Corinthians 3:17

“For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. ”  Galatians 5:13

I pray you have a thankful remembrance of those who have gone before you and stood boldly for the cause the freedom in the United States of America.  Even more so, that you would have a thankful remembrance of what Christ has done to secure your freedom.   Let’s stand firm in this freedom and never succumb to the lies emitted from the pit of hell that desire to enslave us again in chains.

Happy Freedom Day!

In His grace,

Amanda

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