7 Days of Freedom, Day 7: Serve

Flag 3 pngFor you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5: 13

serve [surv]

verb

  1. to act as a servant
  2. to render assistance; be of use; help
  3. to have definite use
  4. to render active service to
  5. to perform the duties of (a position, an office, etc.)

Independence Day is the celebration of the birth of the United States of America. It marks the day our founding fathers declared the colonies to be a free and independent nation apart from the rule of England. Freed from service to England, the colonists could enjoy “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

As Americans, the freedoms bestowed upon us by our Constitution allow the opportunity to live and work as we choose. Freedom is what makes our country great. God has also given us freedom, but according to our verse, we haven’t been freed to live for ourselves. We have been freed from the tyranny of sin and self to serve God and others. Please read the verse above again and notice the connection between liberty and serve. What is the basis for the giving of self through service? Love.

In the Greek, serve means: to be a slave (a very unpopular term for Americans), to serve, to do service, to zealously advance the interests of anything; devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests.

As Christians, we need to devote ourselves to serve God and others, and to the advancement of His kingdom on earth.  How can I serve my family? How can I help my neighbors? How can I use my gifts to share the Gospel? How can I give to the hungry? By asking these questions, and praying for God to bring us opportunities, we can live a life of service.

Action Points:

  1. Take a walk through your neighborhood or town and ask God to open your eyes to the needs of others.
  2. Today, identify and act on a way to serve a family member, a coworker and a neighbor.
  3. Ask God to show what selfish attitudes or habits you need to be freed from so you can serve others.
  4. Please take several moments to pray for our service men and women who serve their country and put themselves in harm’s way that we may be free.

God Bless America.

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“serve.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 02 Jul. 2015. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/serve>.




7 Days of Freedom, Day 6: The Law

Flag 3 pngFor the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:2

law1 [law]

noun

  1. the principles and regulations established in a community by some authority and applicable to its people, whether in the form of legislation or of custom and policies recognized and enforced by judicial decision
  2. the controlling influence of such rules; the condition of society brought about by their observance
  3. a system or collection of such rules

THE LAW has always been a big scary concept to me. As a recovering worrier, I have often been afraid of breaking a LAW I did not know existed … as you know ignorance of the LAW is no excuse. God, however, hides His law from no one. In the Old Testament, He clearly spells out the Ten Commandments. In the New Testament, He shortens the Ten Commandments to two: love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.  Love God, love others.

In the Greek, law transliterates as nomos which means a precept, an injunction, a rule of action, a set of behaviors that leads to God’s approval. Torah, the Hebrew word for law, refers to Mosaic law. It is by the flawless keeping of God’s law one may go to heaven … unfortunately, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Even the keeping of the New Testament short list (see above) is an impossibility. Fortunately, God’s Word offers us something besides the LAW of sin and death  … the law of the Spirit of life, otherwise known as GRACE.

Because Christ offered His perfect sinless life as a sacrifice, we may live for Christ, and one day join Him in heaven. We must acknowledge our sin and need for a Savior, and accept Jesus death on the cross as payment for our sin.

Grace over LAW. Life over death. Righteousness over sin.

Action Points:

  1. In what ways are you still trying to earn God’s approval?
  2. You know God’s law, the one you broke about twenty years ago, that you think is unforgivable? It was paid for 2,000 years ago at the cross. It’s time to let it go. Thank God for His forgiveness and sacrifice.
  3. Now that you’re free, what do you need to start doing?

God Bless America.

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Please enjoy the music below.

 

“law.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 01 Jul. 2015. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/law>.




7 Days of Freedom, Day 5: Stand Firm

Flag 3 pngFor freedom Christ has set us free;

stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1

firm [furm]

adjective:

  1. not soft or yielding when pressed; comparatively solid, hard, stiff, or rigid
  2. securely fixed in place
  3. indicating firmness or determination

What is the first directive God give in Galatians 5:1? He asks us to stand firm.  Notice God does not ask us to fight, run, or sprint, but to stand firm. In the Greek, stand firm transliterates as steko, which means, to be firm, to persist, to persevere, to be stationary. Thayer’s Lexicon gives us the prescription of how to stand firm: to persevere in godliness and fellowship with the Lord. When we  face temptation, despite our feelings, we need to continuously obey God’s Word and consistently meet with Him. In short, follow and fellowship. Stand firm.

When we trace steko back to its root, it also means “to have a steadfast mind.”

After we have been freed from sin by Christ, under what conditions can we be subjected again to slavery? If we move … if we do not stand firm.

Why has Christ set us free? So we can be free … free to love  Him, free to serve  Him,  free to take His message to the lost of the world.

Over the holiday weekend please take time to pray for our nation’s citizens and leaders, that we will stand firm in the Biblical truths that shaped and formed our great nation.

Action Points

  1. In order to pray and act efficiently, we must be informed. Please click on the following link to read about current hot-topic issues in the United States. Citizen Link
  2. Is there an area of your life you need to firm-up? What steps do you need to take to stand firm?
  3. How can you help your family stand firm?

Please enjoy the music below.

God Bless America.

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“firm.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 28 Jun. 2015. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/truth>.




7 Days of Freedom, Day 4: Glory Hallelujah!

Flag 3 png16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

glory [glawr-ee, glohr-ee]

noun

  1. very great praise, honor, or distinction bestowed by common consent; renown
  2. adoring praise or worshipful thanksgiving
  3. a state of great splendor, magnificence, or prosperity
  4. the splendor and bliss of heaven; heaven

In the original Greek, glory descends from the word doxa, which means magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace; a thing belonging to God (emphasis mine). Because glory belongs to God, it is a word that is uncommon to the current culture. The less God we allow, the less glory will be revealed.

In the Old Testament,  God’s shekinah glory appeared as a consuming fire, a pillar of cloud, or brilliant light. Shekinah, a Hebrew word for glory, descends from the word shachan, which means to dwell or tabernacle. In the Old Testament, God’s glory dwelt between the cherubim. In the New Testament, God’s glory tabernacles with men, by the indwelling presence of His Spirit in the heart of each believer. Hallelujah!

According to the verse above, when we accept Jesus as our Savior, the veil is lifted, and we see the glory of God. Matthew Henry states, “This light [glory] and liberty are transforming; we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory (v. 18), from one degree of glorious grace unto another, till grace here be consummated in glory for ever.” And as we are transformed, we reflect His glory to those around us.

Trying to define God’s glory is like trying to capture the wind. Who can explain it?

There are a few things I have learned over the years about God’s glory. There are as follows:

  1. God will share His glory with no one.
  2. By using our gifts, we can bring God great glory.
  3. We are to do all things to the glory of God.
  4. In our present state, we cannot see the full-on glory of God and live.
  5. The earth is full of God’s glory.

Glory refers to God’s perfectness, power, holiness, and  goodness, in short His God-ness. If we were able to explain His glory, we would be able to explain God Himself. The Great I AM. That is perhaps the best explanation glory …  it is who He is. Glory Hallelujah!

Action Points:

  1. How can you use your gifts to bring God glory?
  2. How can you glorify God in your present challenge?
  3. Look for God’s glory today in nature and praise Him!

 

God Bless America.

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 “glory.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 30 Jun. 2015. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/glory>.



Seven Days of Freedom, Day 3: Free

Flag 3 png

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

Psalm 118:5

free [free] adjective

  1. enjoying personal rights or liberty, as a person who is not in slavery
  2. pertaining to or reserved for those who enjoy personal liberty
  3. clear of obstructions or obstacles, as a road or corridor
  4. enjoying political autonomy, as a people or country not under foreign rule; independent

One of my European cousins has often commented on the American’s obsession with freedom. I must admit, I love the freedoms granted by our Constitution. Why? Because freedom means choice. It means I am free to be who God created me to be.

Freedom is also a very important spiritual concept, more important than national freedom. In fact, a person cannot be completely free unless they have been set free from sin. Most Americans have not experienced the bondage of physical slavery, but we all have been in bondage to sin. But because Jesus died for us on the cross, we have been set  free.

The Hebrew word for freedom used in the verse above is merchab which means a broad roomy place. or wide expanses. Merchab is derived from the root word rachab which means to grow large, to grow wide. One of the things Jesus  frees us from is distresses, metsar in the Hebrew. Metsar, which means trouble, pains, or tight places, when traced to its root also means,  stomach. From the previous definitions, we can infer our worries keep us small, stunt our growth, hem us in, and tie our stomach in knots.

Ironically, Jesus sets us free so we can experience true freedom by becoming … slaves of Christ. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. When Jesus sets us free, we are free indeed.

Action Points

  1. A slave does the will of his Master. What area/s of life are you still controlling?
  2. Because you are safe in the hands of your Master, what are you free to do?
  3. What are the blessings of living according to the will of the Good Master?
  4. How does being a slave of Christ bring freedom?

God Bless America.

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We hope you enjoy the music below.

“free.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 28 Jun. 2015. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/firm>.