New Creation

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

—2 Corinthians 5:17

 

Who was that person I used to be?

What were my thoughts

In my old identity?

How did I reason that I’d be fine

Not trusting in God’s ways

But counting on mine?

Imprisoned with guilt, confusion and shame

My heart was filled with hurt and blame

Jesus came and filled my heart

His gift to me—a brand new start

Who was that person I used to be?

It matters not

Because today I am free!

 

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Truly Free

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
—John 8:36

It’s easy to think of spiritual bondage in certain ways.

Someone could be in bondage to alcohol.

They might be in bondage to drugs or a worldly lifestyle.

But what about things like depression or anxiety?

Someone could be in bondage to those, too.

Even negative self talk could keep a person in bondage.

The actual list of bondage makers would be long, wouldn’t it?

No matter what is keeping us from being free, Jesus can rid it from our lives.

No matter what “chain” is holding us fast– keeping us from God’s best– Jesus has the power to break it.

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Freed Me From My Chains

Truly I am your servant, Lord;
    I serve you just as my mother did;
    You have freed me from my chains.

—Psalm 116:16

 

Being a mother, the second part of this verse stands out to me–

as my mother did;

What faith have I modeled for my children?

Have they known me as a servant of the Lord?

Have they watched me serve Him and chosen to do the same?

The last part of the verse speaks of freedom.

So many things in life can be likened to chains.

Chains that bind and constrict.

Chains that keep us from moving forward.

There are no situations or circumstances that are greater than God’s power to control them.

God can set us free.

In that freedom, we are loosed to serve Him in love and gratitude.

As we do this, we are creating a legacy for our children.

 

 

 

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Be Free

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

–John 8:36

 

While walking on the beach, I noticed a some kites near the late afternoon sun.

I paused for a moment to take some photographs.

Kites are a magnificently simple mix of light wood, plastic or paper.

They take to the skies with the proper wind to lift them high into the atmosphere.

Flowing gracefully, it’s easy to compare them to being carefree.

Kites aren’t really free, though.

They’re tethered to the ground by a string.

Someone is still in control.

There is freedom to be found in that control, however.

We are free in Christ.

Free from so many burdens and free from the penalty of sin.

Someone is still in control.

We are tethered to the heart of God by our faith in Jesus.

With our lives being redeemed, we are now free to live forgiven lives, guided by God’s love.

Are you free?

 

 

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No Condemnation

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

–Romans 8:1

While visiting a family member in a hospice house, I noticed a vase of crimson and cream colored flowers on the counter of the nurses station.

Delicate petals, bright with a glowing hue, giving a silent testimony of life and beauty.

For those who are in Christ Jesus, there is hope, because there is no longer any condemnation.

 

 

 

 

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Release to the Captives

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While visiting family for a Christmas meal earlier today, I noticed a ceramic statue in the living room.

This work of art seemed to speak of freedom as the open hands were releasing a bird to the sky.

We may know freedom, as well.

Freedom that only Jesus can give.

Freedom to everyone who is downtrodden.

Luke 4:14-19 reads:

And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit; and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.

     And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book, and found the place where it was written,

     “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME,
            BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.
            HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES,
            AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
            TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE DOWNTRODDEN,

     TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”

 

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release

The Benefits of Freedom

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Christ has freed us

so that we may enjoy

the benefits of freedom.

Therefore, be firm in this freedom,

and don’t become slaves again.

—-Galatians 5:1

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What does it mean to be free?

The dictionary says,

“to make free; set at liberty; release from bondage, imprisonment, or restraint.”
In the verse above, what if we thought of it this way?
“Christ has made us free, set us at liberty, released us from bondage, released us from imprisonment, and released us from restraint.”
Butterflies are a perfect picture of a creature released from bondage.
As a caterpillar, they cannot fly.
Trapped within the chrysalis, they cannot even move along the ground.
But then, freedom comes!
As they emerge from the the darkness around them, they are suddenly flooded with light and with wings made for flight, they soar into the air, free to fly!
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benefits of freedom

Free, You Will Be

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There was just something about watching the kite in the distance that made me want to photograph it.

Even then, I thought of freedom.

Kites are free to flow in the breeze, to glide wistfully in the invisible currents of air above.

Yet, they are held securely by a tether.

Attached to the string, they will not be lost.

John 8:31-36 reads,

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

True freedom is found only in Jesus.

It may seem strange to consider that being held securely by His love and power brings us freedom, but it does.

Tethered to His mercy and grace, forgiven and free—we are free indeed.

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free indeed correct

No Condemnation

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Jesus paid our debt.

There is no condemnation for those who know Him as their Savior.

No condemnation.

Only forgiveness.

Life with Him, now and forever.

Blooming for eternity as a testimony to His power and His love.

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So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

—Romans 8:1-2

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condemnation

Set Me Free

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When they were still very far off, I spotted them.

The flock of white ibis were headed my way and I wanted to photograph them as they came near.

Graceful and silent, they flew by, the evening sun giving some of their feathers an orange glow.

They were flying free.

When we discover God’s great love and forgiveness, we are offered freedom.

Freedom to fly away from our old way of life.

Freedom to soar without guilt or condemnation.

Are you free today?

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Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures forever!

 Let Israel say,
    “His steadfast love endures forever.”
 Let the house of Aaron say,
    “His steadfast love endures forever.”
 Let those who fear the Lord say,
    “His steadfast love endures forever.”

 Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
    the Lord answered me and set me free.

—Psalm 118:1-5

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set me free

The LORD Sets Prisoners Free

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What is holding you captive today?

Are you in a prison surrounded by the guilt of poor choices in the past?

Does a tall fence of hopelessness seem to frame the future?

Does regret cause you to stay within the confines of low self esteem?

Whatever is keeping you in your spiritual prison can be banished by God.

He sets prisoners free.

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Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.

 He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
 He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
     the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.

—Psalm 146:5-8

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prisoners

You Will Be Free Indeed

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It was a beautiful time of day to stand on the dock at the lake.

Flowers were in bloom along the water’s edge.

The birds flew quickly past in front of me.

They were free.

They could go anywhere their wings might take them.

Free to soar.

Free to glide almost effortlessly in the space God created for them.

We can be spiritually free.

God has created that reality for us.

Are you living in that freedom today?

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To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”  Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

—John 8:31-36

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Stride Freely

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Sailboats fascinate me.

Something about them catches my interest every single time I see one out on the water.

This time, it was a rather large boat on the ocean.

Drifting along with sails spread out, the wind above the sea carrying them along on a bright and sunny day.

I took several photographs of the boat, capturing its journey in still snippets of time.

Describing the scene would be easy.

Free.

Unhurried.

Sure.

The definition itself draws me in.

Psalm 119:43-48 from The Message reads,

Don’t ever deprive me of truth, not ever – your commandments are what I depend on.  Oh, I’ll guard with my life what you’ve revealed to me, guard it now, guard it ever;  And I’ll stride freely through wide open spaces as I look for your truth and your wisdom;  Then I’ll tell the world what I find, speak out boldly in public, unembarrassed.  I cherish your commandments – oh, how I love them! –  relishing every fragment of your counsel.

What if I didn’t have God’s truth deep within my heart?

What if I didn’t know how He wanted me to act?

What if He had never revealed anything to me?

I would be lost and desperate.

Bound by confusion.

Uncertain.

Thankfully, I am not without God’s truth and direction.

I can “stride freely through wide open spaces” as I grow closer to Him, like a sailing vessel out on the open seas.

As I find more truth and more wisdom on my journey, I am changed—day by day—into the person God wants me to be.

Free.

Unhurried.

Sure…..

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