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Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

In the book of Ecclesiastes, The Preacher shares with the reader his observations about life. His conclusions, are that yes, life does have meaning. But the meaning lies in how we live. A life that is lived in constant pursuit of material gain, one where the acquisition of excess comes at the cost of emotional and physical sacrifice is to me a life that is in constant motion…but for all the wrong reasons. The Preacher called it vanity. And I agree.

Everyone must and should earn their own way. That is not in question. But to what degree? The hustle and bustle of a daily “grind” can be toxic to us if we despise the very activity that we rush off to each morning. It can also be detrimental to our health as it is bound to produce an unnecessary amount of stress on a daily basis. Yet, for the sake of recognition and/or material gain, we will endure such a level of un-fulfillment until old age relieves us of that task or the toxicity of it all fills us with disease.

Life does have meaning when looked at from the right perspective. It is a gift from God. And not only did He give us life, He gave us “directions” (the Bible) on how to live it. All we need to do is ask for His guidance and help in understanding and following those directions.

Once we understand the real meaning of life – what our true purpose is – we become free to put everything else into its proper perspective. Revelations Chapter 4, verse 11 tells us why we were created:
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

And The Preacher sums it up in Ecclesiastes Chapter 12, verse 13 by saying, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

Everything else we do should be secondary.

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I imagine a hawk is somewhat comfortable believing it is the conqueror as it captures its intended prey.  And creatures of the ground are not pacing the cement, back and forth, worrying about when and where their next meal is coming from.  No, they just do, by God-given instinct, what they are created to do.  Hunt, catch, eat, and repeat.

We were created to do something too.  We are not here by accident.  But for a lot of people it feels that way.  There are many people who don’t know why they’re here, and so it creates a kind of aloofness.  A what-does-it-matter kind of mentality.

We are told in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

So, this is why we are here – to honor and obey the One who created us.  First and foremost.  Is that all you say?  No.  But this must be the number one priority.  And it is possible to love, honor and obey God and have a fulfilling life despite those who do not think the two can go hand in hand.

We can have and pursue other desires, interest, dreams and goals as long as they do not go against the Word of God, as long as they are not causing us to behave in a way that would be displeasing to Him.

This world can be a dark, disappointing place.  And if you are trying to get through it on your own, without the power of God, without the saving grace of Jesus Christ, then your journey can become even more difficult to travel.

You DO have a purpose.  You were created to serve God.  “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”  Revelation 4:11

(“…thou hast created all things…” that includes us)

Accept your role – God’s gracious gift.  I know sometimes it doesn’t feel like a gift when you’re struggling.  When it’s an everyday problem just to survive.  When your refrigerator is empty and so are your pockets.  I know.  I’ve been there.

But if God created you for His glory, then He most certainly will not forsake you if you don’t forsake Him.  Be thankful, and start walking in the light you were meant to walk in.

Everything always looks clearer when the Son is shining on them.

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I just finished reading a blog by someone who spent a few days in a psych ward.  It was  interesting to note the point she made that no one there had to pretend to be anything  other than what they were.  Everyone could finally remove their everything-is-okay mask, and let the real person out.

I’m sure a lot of you know what that mask is.  It’s the one that hides the real person, and covers the everyday flaws that we all possess.  I’m also sure a lot of you know that wearing that mask day in and day out is hazardous to your health, and is in itself, enough to drive you over the edge.

I know I do.  I used to wear that mask.  But then I accepted Jesus Christ into my life, and as He changed and continues to change me, I learned that you can only be what you don’t want to be for so long.  I learned that you can only not be that which you long to be for just as limited a time.

After that…a slow, subtle death begins, and rather than put your dissatisfaction on display for all to see, you don your own personalized mask.

But you’re still dying inside.

Whatever area of your life is causing you to wear a mask – or maybe you have to wear more than one mask – is an area that you need to turn over to Jesus Christ.  This is just one of the reasons why, if you don’t have a relationship with Him, you need one.  And it is not the most important reason…the salvation of your soul is.

Trying to be what other’s expect you to be; trying to act in a way that fits in with everyone else’s’ expectations of you takes its toll.  But for the Christian, we are not living for the praise of mankind.

So, what does God say?  How are we to live according to His requirements?

We are to be DISCIPLINED to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”  Luke 6:46

 We are to be OBEDIENT to the commandments of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  (John 14:15)

 We are to be FOLLOWERS of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”  (Luke 9:23)

 We are to put Jesus FIRST before everything and everyone.  He becomes the center of our life.

Jesus said, “…for no man can serve two masters:…”  (Matthew 6:24)

  The apostle Paul said in Romans 8:38-39:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

This can be your wonderful legacy also!  And you won’t have to pretend anymore.

If you will accept Jesus Christ into your life as your Lord and Master, acknowledge your sinful ways (as we all have) and confess a desire to change from those ways (repent), you can just go to the Father with all your cares, needs, and concerns.  You can approach Him with humble confidence, thanking Him all the way, and praising Him.

Some people may think that I still wear a mask because I don’t get bent out of shape about most things.  But that’s the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling in my soul, and I pray to God regularly for strengthening and renewal (when needed) of my faith.  I ask for wisdom and guidance so there’s no need for me to contradict myself by getting all bent out of shape, is there?

I’m not pretending.  I’m not wearing a mask.  And you don’t have to either.  Jesus Christ will set you free from all pretenses if you let Him.  And remember…being freed by Jesus Christ is being free indeed!

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Surrender

This little survey is meant for everyone to take a look at his or her own soul.  You take a look at yours, I’ll take a look at mine.

1)  What is the #1 most important thing or person in your life?  Is it God?

2)  Have you made up your own beliefs about God?

3)  Have you ever used the phrase, “Oh my God”, in a casual way (i.e. you weren’t even thinking about God when you said it)?  Or have you ever used the Holy name of Jesus Christ as part of a filthy cuss word?

4)  Have you ever dishonored or disobeyed your parents?

5)  Have you ever acted hateful or thought hateful things about someone else?

6)  Have you ever lusted after someone?

7)  Have you ever stolen anything?  (It can be as small as a…Suzy Q or as big as a car.  If it wasn’t yours, and you took it…that’s stealing.)

8)  Have you ever told a lie?  (This includes little “white” lies)

9)  Have you ever wished that you could take something away from someone else or wished you had what they had?  That’s called covetousness.

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions you are GUILTY!

And so is everybody else.

“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  Romans 3:23

But what is sin?

“Every one that doeth sin doeth also lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”  1John 3:4

Therefore, sin is the breaking of God’s law.

So, if you answered “yes” to one or more of the questions above like I did, that means you have broken God’s law, which makes you a what…?  Sinner – that’s right.

BUT

Jesus Christ paid for our sins when He suffered and died on the cross!

I surrendered my life to Jesus, and I was forgiven of my sins.  God said He would remember them no more.  He has sent a helper, the Holy Spirit, to help me live a life that is pleasing to Him.

And what did I have to give up?  What did I lose?  Let’s see…cussing, acting in a hateful manner, lying, stealing, fornicating, disrespectful behavior.  Hmm…aren’t those all the things that have the world in the messed up state it’s in now?

For all of those who are saved, and all those who know God’s commandments but do not obey Him, it’s like crucifying Jesus Christ over and over again.  I asked this question before:

How long do you think God is going to keep waiting on you before He says times up?  It’s over!

I, myself, am not willing to take that chance.  I live my life for Jesus Christ, and I am living.  Once I decided to drop the anger and the attitudes, to forgive and not hate.  I became free.

Sometimes, because I am still a work in progress, I speak too quickly when I should be listening.  Sometimes, I form an opinion without adequate facts.  But the marvelous thing about having Jesus in my life is that He let’s me know in my heart and conscience when I have done, said or thought something I should not have.  I pray for His guidance, and I can count on Him.  And He has  NEVER let me down!

You can be free too – if you want to be.  You don’t have to live with attitude.  You don’t have to be weighed down with hatred and anger and whatever else plagues you.  You CAN have peace and direction.

That’s what God wants to give you…and more.  That’s how He meant for you to live.  But you have to trust Him.  You have to surrender.

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