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Posts tagged ‘freedom’

Freedom

 

  ~ John 8:36 “If The Son therefore shall make you free, Ye shall be free indeed.”

We recently celebrated Veteran’s Day. I honor veterans, those in active service, and their families for the sacrifices they make. I am reminded of the phrase, “Freedom isn’t free.”

I want to reflect on a different freedom today. I am talking about spiritual freedom. One definition of freedom is the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. There is financial bondage. We can be free from this worry when we remind ourselves that God said He would supply all of our needs.

Physical and emotional pain can hold us captive.  During suffering, we can find comfort in knowing that Jesus is our healer. We can be victorious in mind and spirit even before we experience it in the natural. We find hope during depression, by knowing that Jesus said He is our peace.

This kind of freedom also isn’t free. Jesus has already paid the price, however. In hard times, especially, our prayer life should be determined and focused.  Worship, praise, and spending time with God are essential. It is important to study the Word. Be diligent to meditate on scripture to build faith. Listen to teachings from mature, proven ministries. They can offer valuable tools to use in spiritual warfare.

I know many who have had challenges this year. I myself have experienced them. We, at Gateway Believers Fellowship, have also faced some as a whole. We have stood together during this time.

Corporate prayer is a part of the strategy we use against the enemy. Encouragement for one another has been evident. Apostle David Coker and other wise leaders have brought timely messages. We are now celebrating many victories. This is due to the stand we took, and being obedient to the leading of Holy Spirit. You will reap in due season, if you faint not.

Maybe you are imprisoned in some way. I urge you take the steps that we, at Gateway Believers Fellowship, have taken. Holy Spirit directed us through this process. We will continue to follow His leading. He desires to do the same in your life. He will guide you to victory. Remember, who The Son makes free is free indeed.

~ Connie Robinson

Image Credit: Freedom © Jess Hall via freeimages.com

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The Hamster Wheel

For the past week or so, my thoughts have been all over the place. I haven’t really had anything to write. That always bothers me. Then, the phrase “Focus and filter” came to mind. I thought, That is exactly what I need to do!

Instead of letting questions and frustrations swirl around in my head, I need to stay focused. Today I choose to focus on what I am grateful for. I am going to focus on the fact that my basic needs are provided for. I have food, clothing, shelter, and a way to get from place to place.

I am going to focus on the fact that my health is good. I don’t have to go to the doctor several times a week like in years past.

I am going to focus on the fact that I am more mobile. I am able to move around more and sit up for longer periods of time.

I am going to focus on the fact that my mind is sharp. I am able to research things and help other people in the process.

I am going to filter out the negative thoughts. The thoughts that say, “Well, maybe I should have done this. Why did I do that? Why did I say that? What if this happens?”

There is such a thing as getting in your own way, and I have been doing JUST that. Those thoughts have been flooding my mind, bringing confusion and sadness. I thought that God was unhappy with me. I should have prayed more. Maybe the words of my mouth have hindered my faith!

During these times, I would ask Mama questions. So many questions. Sometimes the same ones. She said, “It’s okay to ask questions, but when you start obsessing over things, it’s not good. You don’t have to do that. Just shake those thoughts and move on.”

Boy, did I want to move on! I was tired of feeling like this. I was tired of my brain being in overdrive. I saw myself like a hamster on a wheel just going around and around. I didn’t want to stay on that wheel. I wanted off, pronto!

Mama reminded me each time I said something about God being unhappy with me that it simply wasn’t true. She pointed out that I had been saying, “I should… I wish… I’m not doing enough….”

Who is the subject of that sentence? I am. “You are still thinking that YOU can do this,” Mama said.

That’s right! I can’t do this. I have to have God’s help! I’ve got it now. I have been unhappy with myself. During prayer time, God told me, “You need to forgive yourself, Madison.” Man, that is hard to do. I know myself. I know my weaknesses.

But, get this! SO does God. And He has already forgiven me. I had laid some cares and worries on the altar a few weeks ago, only to get focused on something else. I was focusing on my shortcomings. I was focusing on the lies of the enemy. Every time I would talk about my physical pain, the devil said, “See, you’ve made a negative confession! You have nullified all of the Scriptures you have said.” All the while, my faith was being strangled and I did not even realize it!

I couldn’t see what was happening because my mind was a mess. Yes, I was reading the Bible and confessing who I am in Christ and what God has done for me. It wasn’t until I repented for worrying and trying to carry the cares of this life that I became free. I wasn’t depressed anymore, and my mind was clear again.

Yes, I will mess up again and again. But what I have to realize is that God is greater than all of my messes. I can trust Him to heal my mind just like my body. If you have been like me, in a seemingly endless cycle of confusion, fear, and sadness, ask God to forgive you for trying to do things your way. And be assured that He who has begun a good work in you WILL complete it!

~ Madison Sanders

Image Credit: © Alexander Limbach via Dreamstime

– See more at: http://www.gatewaybelievers.com/articles/hamster-wheel#sthash.ApvP7CI7.dpuf

OCCUPY!

The church is waiting on the return of Jesus. We read the Bible and it is confirmed. We see the signs of the times that were predicted thousands of years ago coming to pass. God told Isaiah the prophet. I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it thee. ~Isaiah 48:5 One of the greatest signs to come to pass is the Nation of Israel returning to its homeland.

Whether your belief is pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, or post-tribulation of Jesus’s return it is okay. I like what I heard said; Just be ready at any time.” Jesus said no man knows the day of His return, only God knows.

I remember when I got saved in 1973. I thought Jesus would come back any second. Many years have passed, but I’m still believing in His coming. As a young Christian, I remember telling my insurance agent I didn’t need any life insurance. He was a very wise man. He told me that Jesus said to occupy till he returned. He explained we were to live each day expecting Jesus to return while staying busy. We are to live life doing God’s will helping others.

Most of us have heard the saying, “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good.”

The Body of Christ, the Church, is supposed to have an influence on the world. We are called to be light and salt. Light dispels darkness and salt preserves. It seems the Church has let our light become very dim. We are setting back and seeing darkness take over our nation. Don’t be deceived. God’s judgment is coming to America if we don’t repent.

It’s time to awake to righteousness. We as the Church can change our nation and our future. The Church has been divided and fragmented for too long. It’s time to come together and keep God’s commandment to OCCUPY. If every Christian would pray and do their part we can turn things around.

Are we going to sit back and do nothing? If so, don’t be surprised when America is a third-world country and we lose our freedoms. Please pray and encourage your brothers and sisters to pray. We can preserve this nation and our future if we band together as the Church.

2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” We have the answer. Let’s use it, Church!

~Ricky Robinson

Image Credit Porch Light © switt via freeimages.com

– See more at: http://www.gatewaybelievers.com/articles/occupy#sthash.VMObVssP.dpuf

Where is the Excitement and Love?

How many remember the excitement you felt as a child on Christmas morning? You ran downstairs, that is if you had any, to the living room where your Christmas tree was located. With every step closer to the prize, thoughts of what Santa left you under the tree flooded your mind. Then FINALLY, you were standing in front of the tree! Underneath the tree that was once bare, sat packages wrapped in shiny, festive paper topped with beautiful bows of a variety of sizes and colors. If you were like my house, you had to wait until dad took his position. You know the position. The one where he is the one who hands out each precious package to you so slowly that you could almost burst open yourself! Being a military child, not a brat, you KNEW to NEVER open anything ahead of dad. As you grow up, the excitement doesn’t go away but it does change.

Recently I have walked in such an excitement that what I felt as a child on Christmas morning was diminished greatly. You see we had our second Bible Study in Canon a few months ago. As I was traveling from work to go pick up the key that would open the door to the Canon Community Center I was getting so excited about the Bible Study that I was teary-eyed. I was EXCITED beyond measure. When I went into the city hall to collect the key, it was if I had received the key to the city of Canon along with gold. I treasured that wonderful little key. God was going to do a great things in Canon that night, and I was going to be a part of it! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss an opportunity to be a part of something that God is doing. It is not enough for me to come to church, worship, listen to a sermon of truth, and then go home. Something has changed inside of me and I like it! I was tired of just barely getting through the day to collapse on the couch and go to sleep just to repeat everything the next day. My life has purpose and I realize that each time I go out visiting people to let them know that God loves them. It’s not about me!

If you find yourself not being excited about coming to church to hear what God has to say, I challenge you to do something about it. Go out on a visitation one Saturday, come to Oasis on Friday night, or come to one of the Bible Studies during the week. There are three. One in Canon, Hartwell, and Royston. God wants us to tell the world about Him and His love, but He can’t do it without us! We can’t do it until we get our priorities lined up and get off our bottoms and do something! I guarantee you that it WILL change your life, if you let it. There is just something SPECTACULAR about sharing the love of God with someone.

 

~Ronda Sullivan

Image Credit © Gift Box Ivan Prole via Freeimages.com

Tug of War

We’ve been talking about strife for two weeks now at church. Last week, I wasn’t able to go, but I listened online. As soon as she went through the checklist, it became so clear to me that I wasn’t in strife with anyone in particular. I was in strife with myself.

You say, “How can that be?” It’s like a tug of war. I know the Bible verses about who I am in Christ. I am chosen, accepted, one of His beloved. I’ve heard that for years and to some degree, believed it. But in the back of my mind were the lies.

The lies that started out as a seed grew because I thought about them. I thought I was unlovable. I thought I wasn’t wanted. I felt unwanted. I so desperately wanted to believe that God loved me right where I was, but I just didn’t see how it could be so. I began to rattle of the list of why nots in my head. You shouldn’t love me, God, because I am broken. My body is scarred. You shouldn’t love me, God, because I don’t even know how to love You. You shouldn’t love me because of all the mistakes I’ve made, all the times I’ve disappointed, You. You shouldn’t love, me, God! How do You love me so deeply and without reservation?

It’s a question I have struggled with for years. But tonight, I had an epiphany. When Mrs. Linda was speaking tonight, she said, “You need to say in the mirror ‘I love you.’”

Years ago, I had gotten past thinking I was ugly. But tonight, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I don’t think I have ever told myself I loved myself. Ever.

Just her words caused tears to fall silently down my face as she spoke. I hoped I could hold it together for the rest of the message.

At one point, I wanted to run. Not run out into the building, but into the bathroom and have a good, long cry. I literally felt like I was breaking inside. As she said, in order to fully surrender to God, I have to love myself. I have to quit listening to the lies the devil tries to play over and over in my head.

Since I have graduated, things are different. Nothing outwardly to focus my time and energy on. This season in my life has been one of brokenness before God as never before. This season has been a time of prayer and wanting more of Him.

Yes, this strife has been an inward battle. A battle in my mind, will, and emotions. The constant push and pull. The strife within myself has made me re-examine things.

I want to rid myself of those belittling thoughts. I want to love myself. I want to see myself as God sees me. He sees me as whole. As His daughter. We are all human flesh. There is nothing I can do to change that.  But, I can put on the whole armor of Christ and combat those negative thoughts and feelings. With His grace, I can learn to look at myself in the mirror and say, “I love you, Madison. I love you right now, in the midst of the mess. I love you.” I am no longer going to entertain those thoughts of “What do you have to give?” Why even look in the mirror?”

It’d be so much easier just to duck my head underneath the covers than to deal with my self-image and the things that are holding me back.  I am not a quitter, and I will not take the easy detour on the path to full surrender. God, help us all to pursue peace with others, our neighbors, and ourselves. For only then, will be truly rid of strife.

 

~Madison Sanders

Image Credit © Tug of War Oliver Tam via free image.com

– See more at: http://www.gatewaybelievers.com/blog/tug-war#sthash.jHFz3PzC.dpuf

Salute to our Veterans

Freedom is not free. We live in a nation where our motto is, ” Land of the free and home of the brave.” Since the founding of America, men and women have laid down their lives to keep our liberties. I am part of the “Baby Boomer” generation. A high percentage of the population, in my generation,  are Vietnam Veterans. Our parents were veterans of World War II and the Korean war. When it came time for my generation to step up to the plate we accepted the challenge.

On September 11, 2001, America was attacked. We had enjoyed peace, prosperity, and freedom for many years. Suddenly fear and uncertainly faced our nation. What would we do as a nation to preserve our peace and freedom? The American flag became our standard. Our sons and daughters arose to defend our nation.

I am so proud of all our Veterans and Active Service Members. Every generation alive has risen to the battle cry to preserve our freedom.I know there are a lot of problems facing our nation. We have a secret weapon so few other nations have; Prayer warriors, Christians who know the power of prayer. We might have the greatest military machine and the bravest service members, but God is our keeper.

“Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” ~Psalms 127:1

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” ~Psalms 33:12

God bless America and all our veterans.

~Ricky Robinson

Image Credit © US Flag Thomas Pate  via sxc.hu

Friends for Life

I have a friend on death row in the state of Florida. We met in 1968 in Charlotte N.C. at a military induction center. We had both enlisted in the Marine Corps. Tom and I went through boot camp and Vietnam together. After we got out we stayed in touch, we became life long friends.

One night I was watching the 11 pm. news. The reporter was telling about a man who was arrested for three counts of murder. When I heard Tom’s name it floored me. We have all listened to news reports about tragedys without it affecting us.

When I heard this one I was shocked. They had arrained Tom from N.C. to Florida to stand trial.While he was in jail we were able to communicate by phone. He was convicted of three counts of murder and given the death sentence. Tom was placed on death row in 1981. It took me until 1984 to get on his visitor list because I wasn’t a relative. He has been on death row for 31 years.

Since his incarceration, both of his parents have died and all of relatives have forsaken him. My wife and I are his only contacts on the outside. He was pretty much railroaded through his trial and conviction.  Basically, he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. For 31 years he has maintained his innocence and has been in the appellet system trying to get a new trial. I believe in the power of prayer and the faithfullness of God. My wife and I have been there for Tom and have shown him God’s unconditional love.

As I was meditating on what to write about, the Lord reminded me of his faithfullness. I just want to give God praise and thanksgiving. We take his faithfullness for granted at times. No matter where we are in life his faithfullness abounds. He uses people, things, and circumstances to work his goodness toward us. We need to be greatful every day for his blessings, not just one day each year.

I would ask that you remember Tom in your prayers and never take your freedom for granted.

~Ricky Robinson

Image Credit © MEN’S HANDS
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