Celebrate Freedom

The law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2

After being kidnapped, held hostage for thirteen days, and released, New Zealand news cameraman Olaf Wiig, with a broad smile on his face, announced, “I feel more alive now than I have in my entire life.”

For reasons difficult to understand, being freed is more exhilarating than being free.

The law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2

For those who enjoy freedom every day, Olaf’s joy was a good reminder of how easily we forget how blessed we are. This is also true spiritually. Those of us who have been Christians for a long time often forget what it’s like to be held hostage by sin. We can become complacent and even ungrateful. But then God sends a reminder in the form of a new believer who gives an exuberant testimony of what God has done in his or her life, and once again we see the joy that is ours when we are “free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2).

If freedom has become boring to you, or if you tend to focus on what you can’t do, consider this: Not only are you no longer a slave to sin, but you are freed to be holy and to enjoy eternal life with Christ Jesus! (6:22).

Celebrate your freedom in Christ by taking the time to thank God for the things you are able and free to do as His servant.

What are you thankful for? Share on our Facebook page:
Facebook.com/ourdailybread.

Living for Christ brings true freedom.

By Julie Ackerman Link 

INSIGHT:Some of the spiritual giants of the church were profoundly changed by Paul’s Spirit-inspired words in Romans. One of those was Martin Luther (1483–1546), a German theologian, writer, and reformer of the church. As a monk, Luther struggled with the impossible task of trying to be righteous on his own merits or works. The words of Romans 1:17, “The righteous will live by faith,” led Luther to realize that justification (being made holy) is through faith by God’s grace alone. God through His Word lifts the burden of sin and sets us free.

Who can you share the freeing words of Romans with today? Alyson Kieda

The Truth That Sets Us Free

John 8:31-32

God desires the best for each of His children, but sometimes we become trapped in habits, thoughts, and negative emotions that interfere with His plans for us. Today’s passage, however, shows us the way out: If we continue in God’s Word, we’ll know the truth that sets us free from whatever is holding us in bondage.

To continue in the Word means to be consistently reading and applying it to our life. Then we’ll know what God says and be able to recognize the traps that threaten to ensnare us.

What’s more, we’ll better understand the benefits that accompany our salvation and enable us to stand firm without being led astray. These benefits include our …

Position. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we’ve entered into a personal relationship with God. Now, as His children, we have ready access to His throne, along with the assurance that He’ll hear our prayers.

Provision. God gave us His Word to guide and encourage us.

Promises. By relying on the magnificent promises He has given us, we’ll “become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world” (2 Peter 1:4).

Protection. As we walk obediently with Christ, He strengthens and protects us so we won’t fall into Satan’s traps (2 Thess. 3:3).

The first step toward living in freedom is to recognize any sins, attitudes, or negative emotions that are dominating your life. Then ground yourself in the truth of Scripture and claim God’s promises and provisions by faith. He’s ready to help the moment you cry out to Him.

Glorious Liberty

“Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21)

This verse contains the first of 11 occurrences of the Greek word eleutheria, “liberty,” and defines the basic spiritual message of this splendid word. Because of sin, God has subjected the whole creation, animate and inanimate, to “the bondage of corruption.” That is, everything is governed by a law of decay—a law of such universal scope that it is recognized as a basic law of science—the law of entropy, stipulating that everything tends to disintegrate and die.

Christ died for sin, however, and defeated death so that He will someday deliver the whole groaning creation from its bondage into the glorious freedom from decay and death that will also be enjoyed by all who have received eternal life through faith in Christ.

This ultimate, perfect liberty can even now be appropriated in type and principle through looking into “the perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25), the Holy Scriptures.

When we become children of God, the Holy Spirit henceforth indwells our bodies, and “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

Sometimes, however, Christians may abuse this new freedom from the law of sin and death, turning it into license, and this becomes a tragic perversion of Christian liberty. “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).

While not abusing our freedom in Christ, we must nevertheless “stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free” (Galatians 5:1), and look forward to the glorious liberty of the ages to come. HMM

“The right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.”

Judges 5:19-31

Let us now take the remainder of Deborah’s noble song—

Judges 5:19

They were ready volunteers. Their hatred of Israel made them eager for the battle. They sought no other reward than that which they found in oppressing the nation they so much abhorred. Satan has his volunteers—shall any of us need pressing to serve the Lord?

Judges 5:20

The heavenly hosts entered the lists. The elements took Israel’s side. The rainy constellations were in the ascendant. The clouds blazed with lightning, and tremendous water-floods poured from them.

Judges 5:21

The torrent-bed being suddenly swollen, washed away whole armies of men.

Judges 5:22

The frighted horses pranced till their unshod hoofs failed them. Sisera’s boasted cavalry became useless, and his chariots of iron an encumbrance to his army.

Judges 5:23

The laggards of Meroz are cursed, not for what they did, but for what they failed to do. Fear made them neutral, and neutrals in a patriotic war are detestable. “I would thou wert either cold or hot.” Earnest spirits feel great indignation against good-for-nothing indifferents.

Judges 5:24, 25

Sisera saw the milk, but not the nail, and many tempted ones are in the same case.

Judges 5:26, 27

Lowly was Jael’s sphere, but she did for Israel her very best, therefore was she as much blessed as Barak who led the thousands of Israel to battle.

Judges 5:28

This is a beautiful picture of the disappointment of the women at home when their warriors returned not in triumph. They reckoned without God, and therefore their expectation failed them. The next epithet is ironical.

Judges 5:29, 30

Thus, in imagination, they divided the spoil of a victory which was never gained. How often have the enemies of the church reckoned upon her overthrow, and rejoiced by anticipation; but hitherto the Lord hath helped us.

Judges 5:31

Amen! Amen! Under the gospel we dare say Amen; but our wrestling is with principles, not men; with error, sin, Satan, unbelief. O for brave hands of men and women to smite these foes.

 

The foes of Zion quake for fright,

Where no fear was they quail;

For well they know that sword of might

Which cuts through coats of mail.

 

The Lord of old defiled their shields,

And all their spears he scorn’d;

Their bones lay scatter’d o’er the fields,

Unburied and unmourn’d.

 

Let Zion’s foes be fill’d with shame;

Her sons are bless’d of God;

Though scoffers now despise his name,

The Lord shall break their rod.

 

Our Mutual Ministry Of Exhortation

Hebrews 3:13

If you want to fulfill God’s plan for your life, there’s one thing you must not do: Don’t forsake the daily fellowship and encouragement of other believers! Hebrews 3:13 tells us that we need to “… exhort one another daily…” But what does it mean to “exhort”?

The word for “exhort” that is used in this verse comes from the Greek word parakaleo. It is a compound of the words para and kaleo. The word para means alongside, and the word kaleo means to call, to invite, to speak, or to beckon. When these two words are compounded into one, it gives the picture of someone who has come closely alongside of another person for the sake of speaking to him, consoling him, comforting him, or assisting him with instruction, counsel, or advice.

Because it is so helpful when someone comes alongside to support you in this manner, this word is often translated in the New Testament as the word encouragement. Jesus used the word paraklete, a derivative of parakaleo, to describe the Holy Spirit as the “Comforter” in John 14:16.

These verses make it abundantly clear that we need to both give and receive encouragement from other believers on a daily basis. This is such a vital principle that the tense used in the Greek language calls for continual action. In other words, we are not to just encourage one another once a week; we are to make this a matter of lifestyle. We must get into the habit of encouraging one another, doing it so often that it becomes a daily practice!

Think how encouraging it is when someone cares enough to take you to lunch, call you on the telephone, write you a note, or go out of his way at the office or church to come to you and ask how you are doing. It is especially very strengthening to know that someone really cares about you if you’re going through challenging times!

But rather than fixate only on your need to be encouraged, try taking your eyes off yourself to see those around you who are also in need of strength. Think of someone you know whom you can strengthen by coming alongside him to speak words of comfort, consolation, or bravery. Maybe you can take that person to lunch; call him on the telephone; drop him a note; or go out of your way to see how he is doing. Remember, you’re not the only one who needs encouragement!

We all need encouragement from brothers and sisters in the Lord who will lovingly attach themselves to us—watching us, making observations about us, and finding ways to provoke us unto love and good deeds. But we must also turn around and do the same for other believers. That’s what the Body of Christ is all about!

So recognize that when you’re feeling down and left out, you need fellowship with people of faith more than ever. Jesus understood this principle. When He went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray the night before His crucifixion, He asked Peter, James, and John to come pray with Him. Jesus needed their fellowship and strength that night, or He wouldn’t have requested it.

Recognize your need for others—and acknowledge that others need you as well. The daily exhortation and encouragement of other believers will help you stir up your faith to hold fast to your confession until it becomes a reality. And as an added side benefit, you will experience more deeply the Presence of the Lord in your life through the joy of knowing and loving other people of like faith!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I want to be a major source of blessing to people in my life! Help me to quit being so fixated on myself and to see how I can become a strength and encouragement to others who are around me. Your Word commands me to be involved in giving daily encouragement. And since I am seriously committed to obeying Your Word, I intend to find a way to encourage someone who needs strength today!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I need to be encouraged! God’s Word commands me to be encouraged daily, so I choose to believe that encouragement is what I need. I recognize my need for others, and I acknowledge that others need my encouragement as well. The daily exhortation and encouragement of other believers will stir up my faith and help me hold fast to my confession of faith!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. How does it affect you when someone goes out of his way to check on you or to see how you are doing?
  2. How does it affect you when no one ever asks how you are doing or what is new in your life—when it seems like everyone is ignoring the fact that you also have needs in your life?
  3. Are you involved in giving strength and encouragement to others, or are you just concerned about receiving it from others? Where is your focus? Is it on yourself or on the needs of other people as well?

Rather than fixate only on your need to be encouraged, try taking your eyes off yourself to see those around you who are also in need of strength. Think of someone you know whom you can strengthen by coming alongside him to speak words of comfort, consolation, or bravery. Maybe you can take that person to lunch; call him on the telephone; drop him a note; or go out of your way to see how he is doing. Remember, you’re not the only one who needs encouragement!

 

Creating God In Our Image

As our society continues to slide into its moral and spiritual abyss, we believers tend to follow suit by calibrating our view of God downward, in order to ensure the fact that the stark contrast between our duplicity and God’s holiness is not too obvious.

 

After all, it’s tough to keep one foot in each camp if the contrast between the two is too great!

 

In truth, the gap between man’s perception of God and the reality of the true God is shockingly greater than most of us can ever imagine. Isaiah the Prophet, for example, when visited by the Holy One declared,

 

Woe to me!I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” (Isaiah 6:9)

 

One way we calibrate our view of God downward is through rationalization:

  • We rationalize the filth we regularly drink into our system through “entertainment“. God’s standard however is that,

[You] will set before [your] eyes no vile thingIf anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think on these things.” (Psalm 101:3a; Philippians 4:8a)

  • We rationalize our self-indulgent lifestyle. Christ’s calling however is that,

If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it.” (Luke 9:23, 24)

  • We rationalize our work ethic. Christ’s warning however, is that,

Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20)

 

CREATING GOD IN OUR IMAGE by rationalizing our flesh-driven behavior? The Word of God does not allow us that option:

 

“Make every effortto be holy.” Because, without holiness no one shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)

 

 

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