Thursday, September 15, 2005

Freedom From Enslavement

We all have heard the phrase, "pride comes before a fall." When we look up the term "pride" in the dictionary, there are several positive meanings given to the word. There is also the opposite negative meaning. This negative type of pride often leads to disobedience against God. Disobedience means lack of obedience or refusal to comply; disregard or transgression. It is sin. When pride takes the place of Someone higher than us, we see this meaning:

3. a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority; conceit; arrogance.

At the end of the definitions, we find synonyms which provide an even further explanation of the negative application of pride:

Pride, Conceit, Egotism, Vanity imply a favorable view of one's own appearance, advantages, achievements, etc., and often apply to offensive characteristics.

Pride is a lofty and often arrogant assumption of superiority in some respect: Pride must have a fall.

Conceit implies an exaggerated estimate of one's own abilities or attainments, together with pride: blinded by conceit.

Egotism implies an excessive preoccupation with oneself or with one's own concerns, usually but not always accompanied by pride or conceit: Her egotism blinded her to others' difficulties.

Vanity implies self-admiration and an excessive desire to be admired by others: His vanity was easily flattered.

Solomon talked a lot about vanity in Ecclesiastes. He lamented how everything he tried, tested, or tasted was "meaningless" - useless, irrational, pointless, foolish, and empty - an exercise in futility. And remember, these words are from one who "had it all" - tremendous intellect, power, and wealth.

The tone of Ecclesiastes is negative and pessimistic, but it is filled with practical wisdom (how to accomplish things in the world and stay out of trouble) and spiritual wisdom (how to find and know eternal values). Solomon's approach to life was honest. All of his remarks relating to the futility of life are there for a purpose - to lead people to seek true happiness in God alone. He was not trying to destroy all hope, but to direct our hopes to the only One who can truly fulfill them. Solomon affirms the value of knowledge, relationships, work, and pleasure, but only in their proper place. All of these temporal things in life must be seen in light of the eternal.

The purpose of the book of Ecclesiastes is to spare future generations the bitterness of learning through their own experience that life is meaningless apart from God.

Isn't it interesting to note that Solomon was looking back on his life, much of which was lived apart from God? Who better to learn from?

This shows us that pride of self leads to disobedience and sin. In order to be freed from such enslavement of sin, we need to confess our sins, specifically, wholeheartedly, completely and humbly before Almighty God.

Ecc 12:13
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.
Ecc 12:14
For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good, or whether [it be] evil.

The following is Charles Stanley's "In Touch" devotional for today, September 15, 2005.


Freedom From Enslavement
COLOSSIANS 3:5-9

Sin cannot dominate a believer who throws himself upon the Lord's mercy. The Father is faithful to restore a broken relationship between Himself and His beloved child by crashing through prison walls built by disobedience.

For our part, we must confess the specific bondage that holds us, since denial blocks the healing and freedom that God offers. Whatever the nature of our sin, the problem is ultimately spiritual, not simply a weakness or social ill. Treatment meant to ease our emotional, mental, or physical discomfort will not prove fully effective until we acknowledge the spiritual aspect of our difficulty.

Though sin is uniquely spiritual in nature, the reasons behind wrong behavior are often emotional. Emotions trapped deep within the believer—like insecurity, inadequacy, or lack of self-worth—begin to work their way to the surface, causing the individual to search out ways to satisfy or escape the feelings. For instance, at one time in my own ministry experience, I allowed myself to be overextended. Out of a sense of inadequacy, I was driving myself to succeed in "God's work," which turned out to be the responsibilities He gave me plus anything else I thought needed doing for Him. I discovered that freedom from bondage is a choice.

As Paul explains, Jesus' followers must lay aside their sin. For me, that meant putting away my misguided drive to succeed and taking a long rest. Through the Holy Spirit, we voluntarily surrender our chains in order to gain freedom in Christ.

IN TOUCH® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 IN TOUCH MINISTRIES®, ITM, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia, USA, used with permission. All rights reserved. This content and more resources can be found on www.intouch.org.



This Month’s Devotionals

Copyright © 2005 IN TOUCH Magazine. In Touch Ministries. All Rights Reserved.

4 comments:

Christinewjc said...

A great follow-up in Charles Stanley's devotionals!

*******
16 September


Freedom in Christ
JOHN 8:31-36

Freedom is a much-loved ideal within any people group. As believers, we are heirs to the ultimate liberation from transgression and from a wasted eternity in hell. If sin does snare us, Christ promised that the truth would be our key to freedom.

The truth is our recognition of who we are in Him. We are sons and daughters of an unconditionally loving Father. Jesus' sacrificial death covered our sins and made intimacy with God possible for each of us. Consequently, the Holy Spirit indwells every believer so that we are imbued with His strength and wisdom. No sin can defeat the God who spoke the universe into existence, so neither can wrongdoing dominate a life committed to His purpose. But sometimes we turn our minds from the things of the Lord to temptation. Unless promptly repented, sin can cause us to surrender our liberty in small portions until we are imprisoned. The easy choice is to shrug our shoulders and accept our hindered lifestyle. But God's plan dictates that troubled believers reclaim their freedom in Christ. As His children, we depend upon two promises: He will answer prayer and supply all our needs. (1John 5:14-15; Philippians 4:19)

Therefore, God hears our cry for mercy and forgiveness, and He responds by unlocking the door of our prison. The walls may seem too high for escape or too well established to break, but the key is always in our hand: the truth of who we are in Christ—a free child, saved by God's grace, forever victorious over the bonds of sin.




This Month’s Devotionals

Copyright © 2005 IN TOUCH Magazine. In Touch Ministries. All Rights Reserved.


IN TOUCH® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 IN TOUCH MINISTRIES®, ITM, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia, USA, used with permission. All rights reserved. This content and more resources can be found on www.intouch.org.

Roger Lordblessed said...

Blessings on you, Sister Christine! Your blog is mighty wakeup call to all the nations! I have shared its wisdom with many of my friends in Thailand and we discuss it earnestly and with passion. Speaking of the Lord is a great way to make new friends!

Your post today speaks well to my conditions. Life in a fundamentalist Mormon community is total slavery! Every aspect of life in my town was run and controlled by the same vicious cult. We were abandoned to our fate by the so-called LDS Church, thereby proving them to be the most apostate and wickedest whoredom on the face of the earth. I believe the whoredom condition spoken of in the Bible is meant to be a reference to spiritual licentiousness - which I have found in every established church on earth. Only a new church under the direct guidance of the Lord can capture in a new flock of fish. That is why my friends and I are building a Temple dedicated to the risen Lord -- because we believe the Lord will return very soon! We want the Lord Reborn to have a temple fit for the Divine Majesty, from where the Lord can command the nations.

I love sharing stories about our Lord God and God's healing power over us. I wonder Christine - what are the gifts the Lord has given you? What errors did the Lord free you from? And what new powers and freedoms do you have now only with the guidance of the Lord? The Lord has healed me from many terrible illnesses and heresies. Praise the Lord!

The Lord blesses all of us abundantly through faith!frw

Christinewjc said...

Hi Roger,

How exciting to learn that this blog is being shared with people in Thailand! Is that where you live?

I don't have a lot of time to post today, but I wanted to say that earlier posts here at my blog share parts of my testimony/conversion in Jesus Christ and some divine appointments that I have experienced through sharing the gospel with others.

As far as spiritual gifts are concerned, I have been told by others that I am successful at teaching, evangelism and sharing God's Word with others. I have taken spiritual gifts tests in the past, and those three gifts seem to register most often at the top. I love to share the Bible and defend the faith of Biblical Christianity. This is why I have a website, message board and two blogs dedicated to both endeavors! Scripture tells us that without Christ we can do nothing. So, any spiritual gifts cannot be boasted of because they are from, and of, the Lord himself!

Jhn 15:5 I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:


Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

I am so glad to read that the Lord has set you free from illness and heresy. Sometimes our worst circumstance(s) in life can be turned to the complete opposite; ultimately turning it for good. The cross of Christ demonstrates this fact to us. The result of the terrible crucifixion was the joy of the resurrection to life!

This is the redeeming work of the Lord that shows how much He loves us. When He saves us from our former life of sin and rebellion, He continues to work in our lives (sanctification) and wants to transform us into being more and more like Christ. This is the transformation through forgiveness, mercy and grace that may not ever be seen by those who don't know the Lord; but is so clear in our own individual lives. I, like you, want to share it boldly, as we should. But not all will welcome the message. All we can do is share it and pray that the Holy Spirit knocking on the door of the unsaved heart(s) will quicken their spirit to let Him into their lives!

Seeing how God has worked in our individual lives is so awesome! When we trust God and believe without seeing first, it is THEN that He rewards us with seeing irrefutable evidence of His presence in our lives!

In Christ,
Christine

Roger Lordblessed said...

Hello Christine!

Yes, I do live in Thailand now, where I am sharing the word of the Lord with a thirsty folk. Many hearts have been turned to the Lord in recent years. Yet, many still turn away. I have had many people shut their doors in my face, harass me, call me names, etc. Yet, I know the Lord is with me, andI know we will prevail!

I moved to Thailand under the Lord's command, Christine, for the Lord has warned me that America will soon not be a safe country for those who worship God. Already we see the forces of atheism and Satan taking over the land, with the pledge of allegiance being desecrated and with homosexuality being forced on our folk. Already gay "marriage" is legal - how long will it be before it is mandatory for everyone? I do not want to see that day, but I fear that that is near.

God spoke to me and told me to seek a new land for the mission of the Lord, just as God reached out to Lehi and Columbus in ancient days. I believe that as they sailed West, we must sail West, to Asia and Australia, where the Lord is opening up new hearts! I have met people all over Korea, China, Indonesia, and Thailand, who have opened their hearts to the Lord God of Israel and All! Praise the Lord!

I agree with you that we must give all praise to the Lord. Trust me, I was nothing before I came to the Lord - I wasted my life away with gambling, with heresy, and with immoral women. Now I follow the chaste path of the Lord. The Lord has been the recipient of my love alone. The Lord has given me many gifts, such as the gift of the Bible and the gift of community with the Lord's people. I am so "Lordblessed" - hence my name! Greatest of all, the Lord has given me prophetic gifts, and so I praise the Lord and act as a warning to all nations not to fall away from the Lord. We only have a few years left to turn our hearts around - but if we do, the Lord will bless us greatly and cleanse the earth of our foes.

Praise the Lord!