Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Freedom To Move

Jesus stood in the temple and read aloud from the prophet Isaiah saying, “…He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives…” (Luke 4:18).  He then later said of Himself “If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36).   Jesus was declaring that to all people that the Liberation of Mankind was Himself and a large part of His mission is releasing us from captivity of every kind. 
            One of the stark contrasts between anything that is bound and anything that is free has to do with movement.   A person who is in prison has restricted movement, limited range of living.  A slave’s life is also restricted to the territory of their enslavement, and they are forcibly held to only one address.
            However, when the Liberator and Freedom-Maker comes into our lives, His intention is to set us free all the way down to our cell level.  And with the full freedom we have been given, a new range of motion is also given to us.  We can now go places we’ve never been before and do things that that our old prison never allowed us to do.  Just as 3 million Jews set free from slavery in Egypt went on an adventure into the unknown with their freedom, the natural outflow of our freedom is movement within a limitless territory where the Spirit leads us to meet new people and do things we’ve never done before.
We weren’t set free to simply remain fixed where we have always been and wallow in our good fortune.  No – for every area that we are set free, there is immediately an opportunity to jump around excitedly and do things we have never done before. Freedom isn’t just clarified knowledge and understanding, it’s also action and movement.  There are new places to go, new people to meet, new miracles to see take place, new wars to fight and battles to win.
If the set free prisoner never leaves the prison grounds, he is woefully underutilizing and even wasting his freedom.   Likewise, all of us who have been set from all sin, and given the Spirit without measure to never leave the safety of the shores we’ve grown accustomed to, is a tragedy. The gift of our freedom means it’s time to visit new mission fields, discover new vistas and try new things.   It was for freedom that Christ set you free.  Live large, enjoy trying new things, dance in a new way, go somewhere. 
I’m reminded of a man that once said that the first 3 letters of “Satan” is “SAT,” and the first two letters of “God” is “GO.”  Let’s go into the highways and the byways together, bringing the chain-shattering love of Jesus into the desert-like places around us.

- Matt Peterson

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Twist Ties & Gliders

Can't walk on water yet, but I do love to water ski.  My parents taught me how to ski when I was a kid.  I was young,  but old enough to have seen Jaws and a creepy piranha movie.  To calm my fears and keep scary water creatures away, I sang “Jesus loves me” while getting all situated in the water.

If you've skied before, you know there's only slight adjustments you can make that will either bring you riding on top of the water or force water to bend your body like a twist tie around a bread bag. The thrill of gliding across the waves is INCREDIBLE. However, I'm also very well acquainted with the feeling of water beating my body at 30mph and forcing itself into every opening in my head.

Sometimes, when I'm dissatisfied with life, when I feel like I can't see through the spray of stress, or I'm just complaining - the Lord shows me a picture of water skiing.  I know what it means... the tiniest adjustment can either get me up and gliding or I can continue painfully plowing out the water with my face at high speeds.

One of the easiest, most effective adjustments we can make is thankfulness.  As we thank the Lord for everything he’s given us – the ability to see colors, the dirty clothes in the laundry basket, yogurt bars on a hot day, we start to lift out of the water. As we praise him, we rise above the spray and start to see things with a new perspective and an expectation grows in us for the goodness of God.

1 Thessalonians 5
 16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Today let’s sing “Jesus loves me” and ski.

- Wendy Horvath