Please click on the video below for today’s post. :)
Please click on the video below for today’s post. :)
Please click play on the video link below for today’s post. My apologies if you’ve received this twice, the blonde is having technical difficulties! ;)
I’m looking forward to celebrating Independence Day this week. For most of us this day brings to mind backyard BBQs, children waving sparklers at dusk, and families crowded onto blankets enjoying the local fireworks show. And let’s not forget about those red-white-and-blue desserts! Taken a step deeper our reflection definitely includes a gratitude for all the freedoms we have in the United States and appreciation to all those who made them possible.
As I anticipate this day I cannot help but think of an even greater freedom also earned at a huge cost. One that’s caused me to stand unashamed knowing my deepest regrets are completely forgiven, one that broke the chains of an addiction I’d given up hope conquering, and one that reminds me every day that I’ve been made new. This freedom is the victory we have over sin and death through Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57) It’s definitely worth celebrating every day!
1 Peter 2:16 challenges us, “Live as people who are free . . .” This is a great statement for us to stop and contemplate as we consider the freedoms we have. Are we living as though we are free from sin and death or are we still waiting for that day to come? Maybe we’ve given up hope of it’s coming. And that’s where things need to change. The battle has already been fought and the enemy conquered. Let’s commit to living in the victory already won and truly “live as people who are free”!
In a place far removed I can only look back and remember what I once had: a beautiful, joyful home where I always had enough; a Father who loved me deeply despite my many faults. Now all is lost, thrown away by self-indulgence and pride, and I’m left with nothing.
But there is something . . . I can barely see it. On a hill far away stands a rugged cross1 holding a human form writhing in pain, whose triumphant cry rings out to me: “It is finished!”2 Suddenly the earth shakes, a curtain is torn, and far in the distance I see my Father running towards me.
Oh what “amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.”3 Taken up into my Father’s arms and clothed in robes as white as snow I am redeemed. It is finished!
“He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.” Colossians 1:20b-22 (NLT)
1The Old Rugged Cross by George Bennard, 1913.
3Amazing Grace by John Newton, 1779.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)
I have to confess . . . I don’t enjoy cleaning! I know some of you do, which is beyond my comprehension. You’re welcome to come over any time if you need more to clean! Now granted, I don’t like sitting around next to dirt and clutter, but I wish the process to cleanliness was more pleasurable for me. Out of all the household chores I detest dusting the most and vacuuming the least. With vacuuming I know I’ll receive the instant gratification of a clean floor with the simple push of a machine.
With spring’s arrival we may be considering what needs a deep-cleaning around us, but it’s also a great opportunity to see what needs a deep-cleaning inside us. Has dust gathered on certain areas which need to be used more often? It’s easy for me to neglect practicing the fruit of the Spirit in my life—I could always stand to show more love and patience to ALL those around me (in His strength). Or have other areas become cluttered and some items need to be tossed out? It’s so easy for self-indulgence or discouragement to sneak into my life and start crowding out the good. Time to take them to the curb!
Cleaning our homes can be just like cleaning our hearts—we may want to avoid it because it can be hard work, but the end result is well worth it. Let’s ask ourselves today if there is something that needs to be tossed out from our lives. Is there anything that needs a thorough dusting and then be put into use more often? Let’s remember the blessings that will come when we do.
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10 (NLT)
We most likely have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s Resolutions. We’re excited at the chance of a fresh start they bring, but have also experienced the disappointment caused by their lack of longevity, despite our best intentions. Regardless of the possibility of failure, it’s hard for us to resist the chance of starting new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
This year my New Year’s Resolution is to experience that “rich and satisfying life” Jesus promised we would have through Him. It’s not that I don’t already possess some of it—there are certain areas of my life that I experience it every day. But when looking more closely, I see areas of my life where I am missing out and caught in poor habits or stuck in worry and fear.
Want to join me in making a change? What’s getting the best of you that isn’t from Him? What’s going on in your heart (emotions), soul (relationship with God), mind (thoughts) and strength (actions) that are taking you away from God’s best for you? Let’s allow Him to make some changes in us this New Year and experience the abundant life He offers every day of 2014!