9: 50 Days Freed

There are some groups of believers out there who believe that being forgiven is a license to sin. ‘Well Jesus will forgive me of it so I can do it’. This type of thinking is destructive and will lead down a path of irresponsibility and problems. We are called to throw off our sinful ways and work to live a life of freedom.
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13
What does the sinful nature look like you may ask? Well Paul gives a clear picture a few verses down in Galatians 5:19-21.
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.
God desires that we live a life free from the above list. Why would God give us such a list to avoid? Does he not want us to have any fun? No that’s not it at all. God provides us with boundaries because he knows the dangers outside of the boundaries. He created them to keep us safe from the path to hell.
Inside of Gods boundaries, there is an abundance of good things. Paul describes them as well, in verse 22-23.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
So do you want to build up for yourself a life in Christ that is full of evil or good? What kind of man or woman do you desire to become? Jesus calls us to follow him in the path of righteousness. Today choose life. Choose to avoid things that satisfy our sinful nature.
This isn’t always easy, especially if you’re a new follower of Jesus. Ask Jesus through the Holy Spirit to start working on you in areas he wants you to clean up. The relationship with Jesus you have started on isn’t boring, far from it. Try him and see. Avoiding these things without a relationship with God will not bring you closer to God. Only through Jesus can we have the freedom of a relationship with God.
Jesus, we want to walk with you daily. Our sinful nature tries to take over daily, we ask Holy Spirit to keep us strong to avoid those dangers. Let us be an example in our change and walk so others will see you in us. Burn in our hearts that they matter to you so they matter to us. Amen

8: 50 Days Freed

As we have been looking into being freed in Christ we have slowly been working towards the key to freedom. God sent his Son to provide grace which is the key to escaping the bondage of sin. This grace was not an easy burden for Jesus to carry. He had to endure much and took on living among us so that He could be a worthy sacrifice.
All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2: 3-5
Since the time sin entered the world man has sacrificed many things to try to appease the sin that separated us from God. For thousands of years the Israelites sacrifices, animals and birds to God for this very reason. But the sacrifices themselves were not the answer, much like today, the heart behind the sacrifice is just as important. Jesus came into this work a child like any other human. The distinguish him, God sent him to a virgin, to show the world that this baby was not just an ordinary child. If Jesus had been born through the conception of Joseph and Mary, then his claim of being the son of God would be in jeopardy. It wasn’t easy for Joseph to accept this but that’s why he had his own visit from an angel. He was to accept this woman as his wife as he was to raise Jesus as his own.
Unlike the different children in the bible that were foretold by angels, Mary wasn’t given any special instructions on how to raise him. Jesus had an ingrained knowledge of right and wrong and because he wasn’t born of two sinful humans he was the only one ever born without sin. Samson was born with a list of things he was to avoid so he could fulfil his calling as a Nazareth. Jesus was born with a connecting to God, that we can never imagine. He grew up just like we did, we don’t believe he was sheltered off in a monastery until the appointed time like some movie where the hero shows up to save the day. No, we know from scripture that Jesus went where his family went. We know he learned his earthly fathers trade of carpentry. Jesus experienced everything we would, yet he always chose to not sin against God.
We see the depth of Jesus love in serving God when we see his cries in the Garden. He in his prayers asks that this sacrifice he must be fulfil be taken, yet even in his request, he turns it back to God saying ‘your will be done’. As a man he had a desire to remain, I don’t believe it was a selfish desire but a self-preservation desire. No man wants to die, yet Jesus accepted what needed to be done because he saw the bigger picture and what the sacrifice would accomplish. Without the sacrifice of the sinless man, we would still be trying to appease our sins with the blood of animals. Jesus death on the cross was the last sacrifice needed so that man could experience grace and an appeasement of sin unlike never seen before.
How can we apply this grace to our lives? Why would we even want to? Sin separates us from God. God desires to have a relationship with you. It is why you were created. Sin is the dividing stick that decides where we spend eternity when we pass on from this earth. If you want to spend eternity alone disconnected from God, then the path of sin will take you there. The grace given through the sacrifice Jesus made brings us into the love and joy only found in a freed relationship with God. You can only find this by asking Jesus to rescue you from your bondage of sin. Jesus can be your advocate, the one who stands in your place and when judgement is being delivered to those in sin he will stand there beside you crying out “this man is free, I have taken his sin”. Have you accepted Jesus sacrifice? Are you ready to make that step? Make the choice today, don’t delay for you do not know what tomorrow will bring. Delaying making a choice is an, unfortunately, a choice on the path of sin.
Father, many reading this have not yet experienced your grace. I pray that even today they cry out to you and are freed. Let them not delay another moment in hopes that they can choose later. Later may never come. Open their eyes to the truth, send someone to speak to them, maybe even words form today’s message that there is no way they had read it, but making it ring true. Work in the hearts of those who have accepted to share their faith with a passion unseen in many years. Move mightily in this world so that the people will know you are God. Amen

7: 50 Days Freed

Life outside the relationship of God may seem to be all fine and normal but those who are outside his grace are living for nothing. Those who are living for nothing can and will be caught up by anything that sounds like it gives hope and freedom. But anything other then a relationship with Jesus is false hope. In reality, it can actually add more chains to their bondage and solidify the hold the enemy has on them. There is a reason we must be bold and willing to share our faith with others because they are unaware of their condition, they have either convinced themselves or have been convinced that everything is okay.
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Ephesians 2: 1-2
The choice that every man has to make is not easily swallowed. Many will argue that it isn’t fair that once choice determines where we spend eternity. Some hold off and make the claim I will wait for another day to make my choice, let me live my life now. Unfortunately, any choice even a delay is a choice not to accept the gift God has given to us; grace in Jesus. Some will say well if they never heard about Jesus how can they be accountable, I ask you this if you don’t take the time to tell them who then is responsible? We have been called to reach all nations with the Good news about Jesus. If every follower of Jesus took the time each day to share the love of Jesus with one person imagine the impact it would have on this world.
There are those who have given in to the darkness, either by choice or by their actions. This is a scary thought that someone would choose this, but it happens. The spirit guide, the fortune tellers, those running seances and others dabble in the occult opening their hearts and souls up to be playgrounds for the enemy. Other through acts that alter their minds, with drugs illegal or not, alcohol, entertainments and all sorts of perversions. We don’t know for sure but one might assume that those people we see on the news who choose to do some heinous crimes against women, children and even genocides may be filled with the enemy. Demonic possession and infilling are biblical and still relevant today. The enemy is covert in his operation as not to make a scene but he is using people to do some pretty sick things. I say this not to scare you but remind you that Jesus died for them to, there is freedom for those who the enemy feels he has a solid grip on.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) Ephesians 2: 4-5
All mankind is called to be in a relationship with God. It is ingrained in our very being. We work to fill this void with many things and none will truly satisfy expect him. That is why many are easily susceptible to the enemy because they accept anything in hopes of finding something. It is also why Jesus made it clear that if we free someone from being possessed that we need to show them Jesus love to fill up the hole left behind lest the demon return with his buddies find the hole open and jump back in making things much worse. You might be reading this and are like ‘I could never tell a demon to leave a man, that is so weird, or I don’t have that power’. But you do. If Christ lives in you then you have the authority he has given you. He told his disciples that with the Holy Spirit they could do the same things he did and more, they had to trust him. The disciples did cast out demons and we can too. Please don’t take this and run around town looking for people to exorcise. Not my intent for you. But be prepared that if it ever happens you are confident that Jesus has given you an authority in his name to do what must be done.
Freedom, you have it lets start sharing it. Like I said earlier if ever believer told one person a day the world would be changed. Will you accept the mission you are called to, reaching the lost at all cost? To sit idly by and expect some else to do the work doesn’t cut it anymore. We need all hands on deck, everyone who calls God their Father stepping up, young and old as there is not retirement in Christ. We who are free need to share the freedom with other.
Father, empower us to reach the lost. Prepare us for the unexpected and show us your glory. Let us not be overwhelmed by sin and despair, but encouraged that those we talk to really do desire a relationship with the creator. Motivate your people to stop helping the enemy by being lazy and start scaring him with our evangelism. When the people of God stand up and start working on the mission he will tremble and go into defensive mode. It is time for the children of God to go on the offensive and spread the kingdom to all nations, including our friends, family and coworkers. Use us to show freedom to others. Amen

6: 50 Days Freed

There are some who have taken the freeing power of Jesus and created a system where they use their freedom as an excuse to sin. Why shouldn’t I have the freedom to do whatever I want, I am forgiven for it. This mentality may work for a moment but to create a life and routine reveals the heart of the man. One can only dance around in the snake pit so long before they are bitten.
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Romans 6: 1-2
The grace extended to us on the cross was sufficient to cover all our sins past, present and future. But it was never meant to become an excuse to sin. The power of sin was defeated but sin will not be completely destroyed until the day the enemy is thrown into the pit of fire and the new heaven and new earth are put in place. As Paul writes to the Romans we don’t need to dabble in sin to prove the grace of God. He displayed that already for us on the cross and when we accepted his forgiveness.
When we accept Jesus as our savior and redeemer his grace removes the sin that we give him to remove. We accept his grace but there are times where we hold on to sin and tuck it away trying to hide it from him. Those secrets that “he doesn’t need to know about” are not really hidden from him. If we don’t give them to him it becomes like a cavity, it may not bother us right away but one day if not treated will become an unbearable pain we will have to deal with, it will be exposed. If we do not deal with it then the temptation to live in sin will be increased.
Before we accepted Jesus we were living in a cheap motel room, when we turn our lives over to him he checks us out of that flea-bitten motel room and checks us into a 5 star hotel. So why then do we insist on returning to the cheap motel room? It could be because we feel comfortable there, or all our stuff is still there. Jesus asks us to leave that all behind. He promised life and life abundantly, we need to stop clinging on to the things from our past that kept us from him. This doesn’t mean we have to change our personalities to follow Christ, our uniqueness is a trait of God. But we need to leave behind all the things and traits that cause us to sin. To use an old cliché, we need to Let Go and Let God. Let go of the things that work to hold us back from our new life in Christ, and let God show us how to live life in freedom. You won’t be disappointed with your choice.
As you read this today I am asking you, are you living life anew and fresh in Christ? Or are you trying to incorporate your old life, walking through the same snake pit you were before accepting his grace? Maybe you haven’t accepted his grace yet but have heard all about it and want to. This could be your first time hearing that Jesus loves you and wants to connect with you. Whatever the case I pray that you will see God for who he is and that he loves you. The creator of the world loves you and completed a plan to free you from sin.
Father, I pray today that those reading this will step out of sin and live lives aimed at walking with you. It isn’t easy and we all make mistakes, but we choose to follow you. Thank you for your grace and how it has freed those who accept it. Move among your people to share this grace with others by telling them about you and inviting them to church. For those reading this who have not yet experienced your love, I pray that even today they will experience you for who you are. Use me today. Amen

5: 50 Days Freed

I have heard of hostages and prisoners who after months or years of being held in captivity becoming infatuated with their captors and even choosing to return to them. Nils Bejerot, coined the term Stockholm syndrome from an odd occurrence where during a six day bank robbery the four hostages would not testify against their captor during the trail. Although only named in the 1970’s this has been around since the beginning. Take a look at Lot’s wife, they were freed from a city where the most heinous things were happening, yet during their road to freedom Lot’s wife had to look back to see what she was missing. It cost her life.
“If only the LORD had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.” Exodus 16:3
Moses followed what God had called him to do and with amazing signs and wonders from God, Pharaoh finally let the people go free. The Israelites were the very definition of slaves. They did all the dirty work for the Egyptians, they were possessions, not people to be used as needed. Yet here on their road to freedom they started reminiscing about how good it was back in Egypt. They had accepted the lifestyle they were living in as just the way it is. The hope for more was lost and they almost feared freedom as it was unknown.
Our love for the bondage of sin could be considered Stockholm syndrome, we have fallen for a life that is not good for us. And to make it worse we will defend it to the point of rejecting truth. We see believers, some we may caller pillars of the faith, throw it all away to return to the bondage of sin. The allure of a life of no regrets and no accountability is strong for some. They have created an image in their head that to follow Christ is the bondage and that to shake off the chains of ‘religion’ will give them the happiness they desire. The enemy is shrewd in his schemes and has manipulated mankind in this regard. But we need to make people aware of this. Religion isn’t what freedom is about, it is about a relationship, freedom is in the relationship between God and the individual.
How do we then free ourselves from the notion that our life before Christ is more exciting and has more to offer? When the Israelites considered going back, God provided a way forward, feeding them. Life in Christ is one we need to experience first hand. To be a believer alone is hard and not what God intended. The family of believers found in churches are there to encourage, support an disciple. It is in that environment where we become who we were meant to be. Getting involved in the mission of reaching the lost will re-centre your desires and what gives you joy. When you receive joy, which we should be seeking over happiness which is fleeting.
Are you stuck in captivity and need freedom from sin? Jesus is waiting to free you, all you need to do is ask him for free you. Maybe you have accepted Christ but the world is calling you back into sin, pray, read the word and connect with other believers, they are going through the same struggle. But as a family, you can overcome these struggles. Don’t fall for the lie that the sin has more to offer.
Father, I pray that those who have left you for the world of sin would realize their misstep and return to you. Watch over them and bring them back to the family. Those who may be reading this and haven’t yet accepted you, I pray that even as they read this, make a choice to ask Jesus into their lives and break free from the bondage of sin. Work in the hearts of every man to see the truth that sin abounds, and the only answer is Jesus. Work in your followers to share the love with those around them, let your love overflow their lives. Amen

4: 50 Days Freed

The bondage of sin that entered the world when Adam and Eve disobeyed God did not just affect mankind. The whole creation was placed into bondage slowly starting a cycle of decay. Adam was entrusted to take care of the earth, look after all that was in it, that was his to be his main priority in life. When sin entered his priorities changed from looking after the earth to looking after himself and his family.
For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. Romans 8:20-21
There is a reason that people are determined to fight for the planet. We have an innate characteristic that binds us to this earth, one to take care of it and protect it. Not because we are bound by it, but because it was our original role. Many have taken this to extremes, worshipping the creation over the creator. The earth was made for us to use and maintain but never to worship. It was meant to point us to the creator God showing us he loves us so much to give us such beauty.
The earth worships God, the earth itself is not an entity or being but nature is connected to the creator. If we won’t worship the rocks will cry out. The earth moans in the wake of childbirth. These references may sound human-like, but they resound of an earth trapped in bondage waiting for the day it gets back to the original plan. Revelation promises that when Jesus returns he will set his kingdom here on a new earth. This earth will not be destroyed but reborn. Restoration of the way it was, the return of the Garden, a revival of animals gone extinct. My thoughts anyways, but when freedom comes the natural disasters that plagued us now will be gone. The earth settling down and finally able to rest and spin with peace.
How does the freedom we hope for the earth relate to us? This bondage that was put on the earth is put on us. Whether we choose to believe it or not. The earth only has to look forward to its realise from this bondage. It cannot get any relief until that time. We, on the other hand, have been given the answer to our bondage problem. Jesus has provided a way free from the bondage of sin. We no longer have to stand idly by and wait for the freedom we can take hold of it in our lives and start living free. Once we have been set free we must make it our life’s mission to share it with others. If we don’t who will? Don’t expect someone else to do what God is calling you to do. Free people can free people.
Father, I pray that today you will rescue others from this bondage of sin that is holding people down. Work in their hearts to accept the freedom Jesus has for them if they would only humble themselves and ask him for the forgiveness of their sin. Motivate those who are believers to share their faith with others. Help us as caretakers of this earth to respect it and keep it healthy as it too is struggling under the weight of sin. Come soon Jesus and set up your new earth. Amen

3: 50 Days Freed

In our searching for freedom we expect that to achieve what we desire there must but a complex way to get there. So many people strive to be good enough to earn their freedom. In this, there is a hope that they might be freed, but inside they have an uneasy feeling that maybe they just aren’t good enough. It seems lately that the world wants to go to Heaven and if your good and do good things then you should be fine. As believers in Christ, we know the Bible tells us differently.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
How many funerals for those friends and family member, who you never ever seen set foot in a church or profess their faith, hear that they are up in heaven? Why do they say this? Because it gives them hope. One religious group believes that if we on earth pray for our dead we can change where they end up for eternity. Unfortunately, it is too late for them, their choice was made when they took their last breath. If they died in the bondage of sin, the bible is quite clear where they go. I am not trying to upset anyone here but as believers, we need to wake up to the reality that every day thousands of people are heading to hell without knowing the freedom in Christ.
But why is this happening? Jesus in this verse clearly shows us that in him there is freedom. There is life in the choice he made to die on the cross for our sins. Yet mankind has taken offence to the church calling it a crutch and a place only in existence for the gullible. The proverbs tell us the Fool in his heart says there is no God.
Another group of religious folks believe that if you sin you must pray to their god and do many good works so that he might be appeased and they might go to heaven when they die. Those who follow Christ do not have to hope they will be going to heaven. There is an assurance that they are free from sin and in the Fathers book of life. Jesus said they are free indeed, not they are free perhaps. We all know people who are trying to be good to get to heaven. What we need to be doing is showing them that good works which are great cannot get you into heaven. We need to point them to the freedom in Christ Jesus. They don’t need to stop doing the good things, but when they have accepted Christ the good things they do are because of what he has done for them, not to get his attention. He already knows who you are.
Jesus came to set you free. We cannot achieve freedom from sin on our own. Maybe you have been trying to rack up points to get to heaven, doing good things in hopes of a better afterlife. It is time to look to the Savior to free you from the sin that keeps us all from heaven. Jesus will set you free, not just free but free with an assurance that you are heaven bound.
Father, I pray for those reading this who have not yet been freed from the bondage of sin. I pray today right here right now where ever in the world they may be that they turn to your Son Jesus and ask him to forgive them of their sin and free them. Some who choose to follow will receive oppression from their peers, families and countrymen, I pray for their protection from attack. Gather them together with other believers who will disciple them. I pray for freedom from sin for all, use me to reach my world with your love. Amen