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Posts Tagged ‘#freedominchrist’

Have you ever seen a dog that spends it’s days tethered to a post or pole? It might be aggressive and mean or it might pace nervously, but it also might just lay there in acceptance of it’s confinement situation.

I am not so excited to see such an animal, tethered alone. Certainly we have tethered our beasts, but it was while working outside ourselves (we tend to pick out the beasts that are flight risks), so that they can be with us, rather than alone inside.

But tethered, alone … that seems a recipe for fear

There are animals that, having been tethered for much of their lives, when untethered, remain in the confines that they have been left in. It is as though their physical chains have converted into mental ones, staying tied up, even when they have been set free.

To experience real freedom is to move beyond the confinements, the chains of the past … to move freely, into new places.

Sometimes, as individuals (but even as larger communities) who have accepted the freedom given to us through the work and blood of Jesus, we, like a tethered dog, remain in our original place of confinement … even if that is only in our minds.

We sit at the gate that is opened up wide for us to walk through, yet our minds remain tethered to the stake of our past.

There is one thing can move one so tethered to the past … trust.

Trust in others around us, who wrap their arms around our shoulders and whisper, “you can do it, take the first step,” or the call of all that is in front of us … freedom in Christ.

Galatians 5:1 reminds us that “freedom is what we have–Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free people, and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again.”

We need to keep reminding ourselves that God is trustworthy … now lift that head and run free.

“Fear can keep us tethered,
terror can clip our wings,
but trust eases pain.
Hope can lighten the sky.
Love makes us courageous.”

Call the Midwife

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setufree-title

I LOVE to be proven wrong … especially when it means that something better than I had imagined is the truth.

There was a day, last week, when I was delightfully wrong.

A student came up to me and asked if he could interview his mom for a project. At this point, two things went through my mind … one I thought, and the other I spoke.

The one I thought, but didn’t say was, “what the heck have you been doing for the month you have had to work on this project?”

The one I thought-through, and actually voiced was, “of course, but you do realize you will have to be ready to present your project by no later than next Tuesday?”

He nodded his head, in full confidence … I smiled, turned my back and rolled my eyes, as I walked down the hallway, doubtful.

Two days later, he raised his hand and said he would be ready to present.

I felt nauseous … very nauseous.

You see, when we, as Educational Assistants, walk through the educational process with a student, their assignments becomes our assignments. Their successes or failures can easily become our successes and failures.

So he stood up, and began to share, not just what he discovered by interviewing his mom, but a fantastic slide show, and his own story about the diagnosis that was his, and how it has affected his life.

Now, this could sound sad, except that he credited his mom (and dad) for helping him to overcome the struggles he was born into and with. He expressed thanks for giving him, not only a home, but a family and hope for the future.

He not only revealed truth, but told how the truth of the Bible had set him free, through the love and devotion of his parents who chose to live out the love of God, by choosing to love and care for him.

I have known this young man for about eight years. I remember (as his peers who heard his presentation) him cowering under a desk, sobbing. I remember his fears, his lack of confidence in his abilities.

But this day, a brave and confident young man, got up in front of his peers, and told the truth about his life.

And freedom reigned.

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post called Where is Jesus this Christmas? In this post I was reflecting on our expectation, as Christians, that the world around us acknowledge our faith (i.e. wishing us a Merry Christmas, rather than Happy Holidays … by the way, the root origin of the word ‘holiday’ is holy day).

So, I decided to put my actions where my computer key-tapping fingers are, and do myself a little Festivus experiment.

Since the writing of the post, in early December, I have been intentional in wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. I have done so at every grocery store, retail business, coffee shop and restaurant. I have done it at my hair stylist’s shop, the gas station, with neighbours, and to strangers who I have held a door open for.

Despite the fact that many (I would guess most) of the people who I interacted with, are probably not confessing followers of Jesus Christ, and despite the fact that one of two business have declared that their employees would not be wishing customers a Merry Christmas,

not one person returned my Merry Christmas with anything but, “Merry Christmas” in return.

NOT ONE!

So, fellow followers of Christ … could it be that this has become an issue because we  have failed at initiating the conversation?

Paul tell us, in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

What we need to remember is that Paul is not referring to slavery at the hands of non-believers, but slavery to the laws that they, as Jewish believers, held so dear.

Paul continues in his explanation of freedom in Christ …

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” (v. 13-15)

Hum … could he be saying that if we do not love each other we might destroy each other (and the very reason for the Christ mass / Christmas?). Then he continues with a fruit bowl filled with something that can nourish us, and those around us …

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

 

Folks, the world will follow our lead … but we need to lead, and we need to do so from a place of love, not the law.

For, as Jesus, himself, reminds us, (Matthew 5:13-16):

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Want a New Years (a new Life) Resolution?:

If we are the light, shine like we are reflecting the one who came at Christmas and who resides in us.

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