Friday, June 30, 2017

Freedom in Christ

*Note:  I have shared this post in July of 2015 and July of 2016, prior to the United State’s celebration of July 4.  This year, I have done a bit of revising.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath set us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”  (Galatians 5:1 KJV)


On Tuesday we (those of us in the United States of America) will be celebrating our freedom, won at a great cost from Great Britain.  On July 4, 1776, many brave men (and women) in an act of defiance stood up against the world power of that day, declaring their independence.  This was an act of war.  Many individuals and families paid a very steep price; because of this, we have the freedoms and independence we now enjoy.  May we never take our freedoms and independence for granted!  

Personal Photo

For those of us who are Christians, we are in a war too; a spiritual war, fighting against a spiritual enemy—Satan—who wants our soul.  We do not fight alone.  We fight along side our brothers and sisters in Christ.  However, our best and most important help comes from our Savior, Jesus and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

Have you ever considered that our freedom—freedom from sin and death—eternal separation from a holy God was also won at a great cost?  By dying and arising from the dead, Jesus set us free from bondage to sin, death, and the grave—we are liberated!  This freedom is fully paid for by Christ Jesus—He asks for our heart in return. 

Being set free by Christ sends us on an amazing journey—a journey that is unique to each person.  This journey takes us places we never thought we would go; we will likely do things we never thought we could or would do (for me that is preaching in the form of filling in for pastors who are away and teaching Sunday school).  We will meet many people who will teach us, bless us, and challenge us.  And yes, our hearts will break at times for many reasons.     

To read more about freedom in Christ please read my previous posts: Salvation, A New Creation, and Counting the Cost.

Much like the colonists, who were subjects of Great Britain, we are in bondage to sin, until we see our sin for what it is and that we cannot save or free ourselves from the chains of sin.  It is when we acknowledge the work of Jesus Christ and invite Him into our heart that we are set free.

Image from Pixabay

We are free in Christ—this freedom is not freedom to do as we please; it is freedom from the burden of sin and the burden of the Old Testament laws, rules, and regulations (but not the Ten Commandments).  It is freedom to love (agape) others and to serve others. 

Spend some time in the coming days, reflecting on your freedom in Christ.   

What does it mean to you, personally, to be free in Christ?

What have you been set free from by Jesus?

During Sunday morning worship one of the songs we sang was This is Amazing Grace.  While singing I realized how appropriate its message is when considering our freedom in Christ.

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear God of Love, thank You for setting us free.  We recognize all that You have done for us.  Thank You for the gift of living in America and for those who have stood up for what is right, so that we can live in freedom.  It is in Jesus and Jesus alone that we are saved and set free; thank You Jesus for Your amazing gift of salvation.  Teach us to walk and live in the freedom that we have in Jesus, the One who set us free from Satan’s grasp.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen. 

From My Heart to Yours,


Happy 4th of July to my readers in the United States of America!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Study Time!

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)

For a few weeks I have written about a possible series on the Holy Spirit (see Pentecost and WorshipTime:  Pentecost); that series will prayerfully be starting at some point this summer.

Image from Pixabay

The task ahead is arduous; therefore, I will be taking the time to diligently study, read, reflect, write, and pray.  While I have a working outline to guide my studying and writing, I realize the outline will likely change as I learn and grow.


As Paul admonishes his young protégé, Timothy, to study in order to rightly handle, divide the Word of God.  The word “study” in the above passage is to be diligent, to do the necessary work (study, meditation, and prayer) to be approved unto God.  I believe this series is important enough to take the time it deserves in study, prayer, and preparation.  Similar to writing a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation, this series will not be written quickly.  God will hold me to a higher standard (see James 3:1).

Image from Pixabay

All of that said; I will post when I am able.  Please do not give up on me if I am silent for a few weeks at a time.

Image from Pixabay

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Lord, thank You for the multitudinous blessings You pour out on Your children.  Guide us to take the necessary time in Your Word to learn more about You, others, and ourselves.  Help those of us who preach, teach, and write about Your Word to diligently study Your Word in depth and divide it correctly.  Thank You for instilling in us a hunger for more of You, for more of Your Word, and for Your Holy Spirit Who empowers our Christian walk.  In Jesus’ Name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,


Friday, June 16, 2017

Happy Father's Day!

*Note: This is an edited post shared in 2015 and 2016*
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  (Ephesians 6:4 KJV)

This Sunday, June 18, 2017, is a special day.  A day we set aside to honor those special men in our lives who are fathers—biological and adoptive—as well as spiritual. 

It has been said that any man can be a father but few can be a daddy.  (Fathers create—and can leave, while daddies are there for their children—they nurture and help their children develop.)  They are the ones who discipline and love and protect.  It takes a special man to be a daddy. 

At the outset, I realize some reading this post will have had a challenging relationship with their earthly dad, or perhaps a beloved dad has passed away, or a dad is no longer dad due to a variety of health issues and/or dementia.  My prayer for you is that you will experience God’s comforting, healing presence in the days ahead.

Moreover, there are some reading this post who had a dad that passed away before they had a chance to know him; this is true for me.  Father’s Day can be challenging, yet it is possible to experience the loving presence of God.  

Family Photo Thanksgiving 1971 one of the few photos I have of my dad and me together

I am thankful for some special men who the Lord brought into my life—some for a short season and others for a long season.  I am especially thankful for my spiritual dad who has mentored and discipled me in the faith and taught me so much about living for, loving, and serving the Lord over the last several years.  God knew that I needed a godly male role model and brought him into my life at just the right time. 

Personal Photo

Who in your life is a spiritual father?  How can you be a spiritual father (or parent!) to someone in your life?

In the Scriptures we read that dads are to teach their children about the Lord and treat them with decency and respect, as we see in the above passage from Ephesians.  However, many times this does not happen; children end up hurting and lost, looking to others for the guidance they need.  Some times those they look to do not provide the right kind of guidance—sadly, they end up even more hurt than before.

Despite our relationship with our earthly fathers, we can have a relationship with our Heavenly Father.  He is an amazing, loving daddy.  We can cling to our Heavenly Daddy, like a young child clings to his or her Daddy when hurting or afraid.  Our Heavenly Daddy can and does help us to not be afraid.  He loves us so much; longing only for a relationship with us!

For those of you who are not fathers, thank you for being spiritual fathers!  Spend some time thinking about how you can help the fatherless.

How can you reach out to those without fathers?

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Father, thank You for the fathers who gave us life and love.  We thank You for those fathers who teach their children about You.  Encourage the men who are not fathers in society’s eyes—help them to see how they can be spiritual fathers.  Encourage fathers who only see their shortcomings and failures to see what they do well.  For those who do not have fathers or have a difficult relationship with their father, grant them comfort; help them to find spiritual fathers to guide and direct them.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,


Friday, June 9, 2017

Worship Time: Pentecost

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  (Acts 2:1-4 KJV)

In an attempt to keep the concept of Pentecost (June 4, 2017) and the gift of the Holy Spirit fresh in our minds, I would like to offer this opportunity to worship our Redeemer, Sustainer, Savior—our Lord Jesus Christ.  Currently, I am in the planning stage of on a Holy Spirit series—launch date is to be determined.  
Now let us worship the Lord!

There’s a Sweet, Sweet Spirit

O Spirit of the Living God

Breathe on Me Breath of God

Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart

Spirit of the Living God

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Lord of All, as we journey onward through this year encourage us to fan the flame within us, so that we will burn ever so brightly and be hot for You alone.  Remind and encourage us to keep the spirit of Pentecost alive in our hearts and minds each day.  Help us to keep our hearts ready to receive a Pentecostal outpouring of our own.  It is only through the baptizing in the Holy Spirit that we will have the courage, strength, and ability to live a Christian life.  Through the Holy Spirit’s work Jesus’ disciples were empowered to do what they could not do before—be bold witnesses for Jesus—we, today, need that same empowering.  Thank You Lord, for sending Your Holy Spirit and for His work in us and around us even today.  In Jesus Name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,


Friday, June 2, 2017


*Note:  This is an edited post from Pentecost 2015 and 2016.  I will most likely be starting a series on the Holy Spirit; please stay tuned.

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared unto to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”  (Acts 2:1-4 KJV)

Image from Pixabay

Sunday, June 4, is Pentecost, the day we celebrate the birth of the Church.  It is a day of joy, a celebration of God’s gift of the Holy Spirit to His children.  Without the Holy Spirit we could accomplish little—what little we did accomplish would be in our own power and/or strength.  (As a side note: on May 15, 2005, I was water baptized.  In the future, I will share more in a post dedicated to water baptism.)   

Pentecost is the fiftieth and last day of the Easter Season—when the gift of the Holy Spirit was given to the church (for more please read Acts 2).  The Holy Spirit came to those who had been waiting and praying for the One promised by Jesus before His ascension.

Image from Pixabay

Likewise, we too, may have to wait for the Holy Spirit to baptize us, to empower us to live a Christian life and to do the ministry God has equipped us to do. (Many times this is separate from the Holy Spirit’s indwelling in us at the moment of our conversion.  At some point in the future, I will address this in an additional blog post or series of posts.)  Receiving the Holy Spirit baptism changed things for me in a very positive way. 

The color red, symbolizing the tongues of fire that came down upon the apostles and those gathered together, is the color of the church at this point in the year.

What else does the symbol of fire represent to you?

What comes to mind?

What does fire do (cleanse, purify, destroy)?   

Image from Pixabay

Yet, Pentecost is much more than this.  Pentecost is when Jesus’ promise (see John 14:15-17) to send a Counselor, a Comforter to be with and empower those He left behind was fulfilled.  It was at this point that the apostles had the power to preach, to heal, to speak in tongues (unlearned languages and spiritual languages), and to cast out demons.

Without this gift of the Holy Spirit, the disciples would have remained fearful (and stayed in hiding) of the religious and political authorities.  We, likewise, without the Holy Spirit are weak, yet when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we can do great things!  Consider the great men and women of faith who have done great things for the Lord (for some examples please see Believing God: Those Who Believed God).

I believe this gift—the baptism of the Holy Spirit—with the speaking of tongues and everything else received by those early followers of Jesus is still available to us today.  It has not died out as some believe.  Just because we do not see certain things much, if at all, today does not mean that the gift given at Pentecost is no longer available to us.  More likely, it is due to us getting too smart for our own good!  Fear gets in the way too.  The Holy Spirit is not to be feared; He is a gentleman and will not come where He is not welcome, nor will He behave in ways that would cause fright.

Image from Pixabay

What experiences have you had with the Holy Spirit?

Have you experienced Pentecost in your life?

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; It is expedient that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:”
(John 16:7-8 KJV)

Please join me in prayer:

Dear Jesus, Thank You for fulfilling Your promise of sending the Holy Spirit to us. Thank You for the work that the Holy Spirit does in our lives.  We realize our need for the Holy Spirit’s empowerment to live as a Christian and to walk as You walked, Lord.  Without the Holy Spirit baptizing us, we will rely on our flesh to live as we are to live and to fulfill the ministry that You have called us to; something that we cannot do for the long haul.  Come Holy Spirit, fill us with Your presence and empower us to do what we cannot do on our own.  In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,


Come Holy Spirit, Come!

Image from Pixabay