Posted by: judyhitson | September 17, 2022

Freedom of the Heart

Freedom of the Heart
by Judy Hitson

1 Samuel 16:7 ERV But the LORD said to Samuel, “Eliab is tall and handsome, but don’t judge by things like that. God doesn’t look at what people see. People judge by what is on the outside, but the LORD looks at the heart. Eliab is not the right man.”

How can our hearts be free?

We humans look on the outside as we read in our key verse today but the Lord looks on the heart of people.

There are two profound insights I discovered in my walk with the Lord that you may be familiar with. These verses deserve our attention as we consider freedom of our hearts.

The first Scripture passage I’m referring to is Jer. 17:9-10 NKJV
 “The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
 Who can know it?
 I, the LORD, search the heart,
 I test the mind,
 Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.

The second Scripture passage is Ezekiel 36:26-28 NLT
And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.
“And you will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago. You will be my people, and I will be your God.

The Lord began to set my heart free when He revealed the contrast of my old heart and new heart long after I was born again. Learning to walk in the Spirit and to walk in His love takes time. For many years I  considered my heart as described in Jer. 17:9. Recalling a time I coordinated a small group of women,  I shared this verse as the state of our hearts. One of the women said, “But Judy, you have a new heart now. She shared Ezek. 36:26 and my heart about leaped out of my chest. This fresh revelation and understanding set me free from the bondage of believing I still walked with a deceitful, wicked heart. Praise God for humbling me to learn and grow in the Spirit. When we are with Him, we will be like Him but until then we continue to mature in Christ. 

Prayer: Father in heaven, help us surrender all to You for Christ’s sake by Your Spirit and mature in the freedom of our hearts. Amen.

Posted by: Administrator | September 3, 2022

Freedom to Labor and Rest

Freedom to Labor and Rest
by Brenda D. Flowers

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (Col. 3:23-24, NKJV)

On the first Monday in September, Americans celebrate a national holiday, Labor Day. It is a day originally set aside to correct injustices in the work places and to honor workers and their achievements, giving workers a day to rest and spend time with their families. Many Americans, especially young ones, may not realize why this holiday was instituted. 

To explain the history of Labor Day, I recommend watching this short engaging YouTube video, “Labor Day”, with the children in your lives. (See PBS Learning Media/Labor Day/PBS.Kids -You Tube.) I found this lively video by searching the question, “How Do I Explain Labor Day to My Child?” 

As Christian parents, grandparents, and teachers, it is good to help the next generation to know history based upon truth. I try to consider the sources and then check the stated “facts” with other sources, comparing facts provided from research of primary sources and from a sound Biblical world view. 

Ask the Lord to help you know truth regarding your country’s history and biblical history. 

In an on-line article, updated a year ago, entitled “ Labor Day 2021” (www.history.com),  the author described the suffering of many Americans in the late 1800’s, “People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks.” Many people protested their harsh working conditions. This was one reason Labor Day was established.

When I was a child, I thought of Labor Day as a day to get ready for school. My school in Cincinnati, Ohio, began the day after Labor Day. Sometimes my family did something fun together, but I don’t remember ever discussing why we had this holiday. It was the end of summer fun to me. 

Dr. Benjamin P. Dean, Ph.D. wrote an interesting article entitled, “Labor Day: A Christian Perspective” (www.ciu.edu). His summary statement is worth remembering and sharing, “Celebrating Labor Day invites us to remember that it is God who makes possible the creative and productive work we do in all fields of human endeavor. We can respect the sacredness of God’s own work of creation as well as the value and dignity God has infused within all labor for His glory and the building of His Kingdom.” 

This Labor Day, I want to meditate on how Jesus paid the price to right the injustices of the world. He knows our sufferings and intercedes for us. We have been given freedom in His Life. 

We can find our true rest in Him. 

I am thankful that God is helping me to see it is He who instituted the pattern of work and rest. When He created man (and woman) in His image, God gave us value and purpose. He gives us creative and important work to bring His Kingdom to earth and joy knowing He gives us the power to do it, by His indwelling Spirit. 

God has provided the Way to freedom as we enter into purposeful work and rest. May we honor Him by working out of His rest, giving Him the glory in all that we do.

ABBA, I pray that we will wake up to the injustices that are still present in our fallen world. May we live our lives in ways, each unique, that please You, following Jesus and being a part of His Story. 

You teach us how to balance work, rest and play. May we show others the patterns You instituted that bring fullness of life and joy. In Your Son’s name, Jesus, we pray. Amen 

Posted by: judyhitson | August 19, 2022

Freedom to Overcome

Freedom to Overcome
by Judy Hitson

Rev.12:11 YLT and they did overcome him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life — unto death;

Whom did they overcome?

We read in Rev.12:9 NASB And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world…

We can overcome Satan through Christ who set us free, John 8:36. We are not alone to fend for ourselves when we are in Christ and Christ is in us by His Spirit. The Lord wants us to walk in peace through trials and tribulations and  overcome the world with Him, John 16:33.

God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, and of love and of a sound mind, 2 Tim. 1:7.

Have you been born of God?

The Bible tells us in 1 John 5:4-6 NKJV For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is He who came by water and blood–Jesus Christ….

There are two kingdoms.

Col.1:13-14 NLT For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

When I was born again, it was a dramatic experience for me, like coming from death to life. I was blind but now I could see. The Holy Spirit gave me life. My spiritual eyes were open. I began reading the Bible; it came alive to me. The Lord was speaking to me in personal ways. He brought women in my life who invited me to a weekly prayer group and to Bible studies. My life changed from worldly interests to become a woman of the Word, delivered from fear and filled with faith in Christ.

There were difficulties to overcome in relationships with my family and church family as I went from practicing religion to grow in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, my Lord and my God.

Those early years in Christ were awkward for me to talk with others. Instead of speaking truth in love, I spoke truth in anger. I fell prey to the tactics of the enemy which turned people away rather than lead them to Christ.

Praise God for deliverance and inner healing ministries where I found help to be delivered from religious spirits and be healed from the inside out to overcome old sin patterns. There are many facets to this new life in Christ and lessons to learn to overcome the enemies of the flesh, the world and the devil. Maturing in Christ is a process with freedom in the Spirit to overcome each enemy.

Prayer: Thank You Father in heaven for freedom in Christ, for His shed blood and for the help of Your Spirit to overcome enemies of the flesh, world and devil. Lord grant me ears to hear and a heart to heed what the Spirit says to the churches to overcome in Revelation 2-3. Amen.

Posted by: Administrator | August 5, 2022

Freedom to Groan in Release

Freedom to Groan in Release
Allowing Holy Spirit To Intercede
by Brenda D. Flowers

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8: 26-27, NKJV)

Children of God, we have victorious freedom as we allow Holy Spirit to intercede through us.

Recently, I have realized more and more the power in the release of the sound of His groan. When I am overwhelmed by sadness, Holy Spirit truly comforts as I trust Him in this release. I find a place to be alone and let the sound of His groan go forth.

We can trust that God truly intercedes and helps us in our times of need.

As I was preparing this blog post, I was guided to watch a beautiful testimony of Joni Eareckson Tada. She shared how God helped her by showing her that Holy Spirit intercedes for her.

 Joni has impacted me by her testimonies and her obedient life in service to the Lord for more than forty years. It touched me that I was led to the YouTube video in which she was talking about Romans 8.

As a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down after a diving accident at the age of seventeen, Joni chose to believe the promises of God for her. Joni testifies that God gives her His victorious power to live here on earth as a bold witness. She releases her cares to the Lord and He helps her every day.

 I am very thankful to be in the body of Christ with people, like Joni, who love the Lord and are not afraid to testify of their sincere faith.

When overwhelmed by life’s circumstances, it’s okay to admit to God we feel helpless.

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9a, NKJV)

Prayer: Lord God, thank You for the beautiful promise of Your intercession for us, Your children. May we understand fully the freedom we have to come to You in our times of need, knowing You will help us. Your sound of intercession provides release. You give us the strength to do Your will, living victoriously. May we boldly testify of Your help in our lives and may we honor You: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Posted by: judyhitson | July 29, 2022

Freedom in the Spirit

Freedom in the Spirit
by Judy Hitson

2 Cor. 3:17 NLT For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Do you know the Lord?

Have you received the Holy Spirit?

If you answered yes to these questions, then you may recall times you tasted freedom in the Spirit. Praise God, His Spirit gives life, John 6:63; 2 Cor. 3:6.

Let us heed the Lord’s instructions to walk and live in the Spirit and not lust after the flesh, Gal. 5:16, 25.

It is only possible to walk in the Spirit and to walk in love by the Holy Spirit. For where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.

A thought keeps coming to mind that I believe is from the Lord. That is “free will.”
It is vital to use our God given free will to make right choices. We all can relate to times in life we made a wrong choice. We can probably relate to times we made a good choice but discovered it was not the best choice. Let’s face it, in order to have freedom in the Spirit, we must choose by an act of our will to go God’s way, not our way. We cannot live our own selfish way or the world’s way and expect to have God’s freedom in the Spirit in our lives.  

As the Good Shepherd, Jesus tells us who are His sheep, that we hear His voice, He knows us and we follow Him, John 10:27.

How can we hear His voice?
By His Spirit in us.
John 16:13 NKJV However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

We see in the latter verses how the Lord speaks to us as our Good Shepherd and how the Holy Spirit speaks to us. It is a profound blessing to learn to hear God’s voice. The next blessing for us to grasp is for the Spirit to speak through us, Matt. 10:20  NLT For it is not you who will be speaking –it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Pause and take time for reflection. Pray Ps. 139: 23-24 ERV
God, examine me and know my mind,
Test me and know all my worries,
Make sure that I am not going the wrong way,
Lead me on the path that has always been right.

Posted by: Administrator | July 16, 2022

Stand for Freedom

Stand for Freedom
Teach the Truth
by Brenda D. Flowers

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, … (Psalms 33:12a,  NIV)

     On the 4th of July, many Americans including me celebrated our country’s independence and great heritage. As I reflected on the reasons for our celebration, I read the Declaration of Independence. It was on July 4th, 1776, that the Continental Congress had formally adopted this Declaration. As I read over the words of this historical document, I realized how the ones who were willing to sign this document declared their trust in God and His Providence. Notice these important words near the beginning and end of the document:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness….

…And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

     I wonder how many people living in America realize the great sacrifices paid by men, women and children in our history. Thankfully there were Christians who stood for freedom.

     Many of our country’s leaders over our history were passionate about their stand for freedom because they knew personally the freedom Christ brought to them. They wanted to live in a place where they could be free to worship the one true God without tyrannical rule stripping them of that right.

    Christians in America’s history were well aware of their battle with unseen evil forces. Yet, they were willing to stand for truth in the face of evil, trusting God’s protection.

    When I was a child, I was taught about our Christian heritage in public school. I am concerned that this is not the case today.

     How many American children or young adults today have read the original historical documents related to the founding of our country or have studied  primary sources documenting the faith of many of our leaders?

     The Lord gives us, as Christian parents and grandparents, a great responsibility to teach our children truth.

      A good resource is wallbuilders.com. This site is dedicated to “presenting America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built.” It is important for Christian Americans to help the next generation realize how many of our leaders truly knew where our freedoms originated.

Prayer: Lord, help us Christians to be bold in our faith to help the next generation know how our freedoms originated. May we stand for freedom and teach the Truth. Amen

Posted by: judyhitson | June 21, 2022

Freedom in God’s Love

Freedom in God’s Love
by Judy Hitson

1 John 4:8, 16 NLT…..God is love

Imagine for a moment the very being of God, who He is, His character, is love.

What does that love look like to you?

Consider the facets of God’s love in the love chapter of the Bible:

1 Cor. 13:4-8a NIV Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of  wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails;…

Here is a profound lesson I learned from this passage of Scripture. Bear with me if you are familiar with it. Read I Cor. 13:4-8a and insert Jesus for the word love. Think about the depth of God’s love. Then insert your name in place of love and note your areas  of needed change.  Pray for God’s transformation to love as He loves. Take time to apply this.  

To experience freedom in God’s love, we must first receive His love through a personal relationship with Him through Christ. As we bask in the wonders of His sacrificial, everlasting love, we learn to love Him because He first loved us, 1 John 4:19 NKJV.

Freedom in God’s love, I believe, is the most important freedom for us to experience and practice in daily living. What is important is faith expressing itself in love, Gal.5:6b NLT. Love is the fulfillment of the law, Rom.13:10 NASB. Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity, Col.3:14.

While listening to the Kari Jobe song, “Love Came Down,” I was struck remembering my experience. The lyrics of this song confirmed times love came down in my life with assurance of God’s love for me, His forgiveness of my sins and setting me free in His love. No longer do I hide in shame, disgrace and fear. Freedom in God’s love freed me to confess and repent of my sins and be in awe of His great salvation through Jesus Christ.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, Rom. 5:8 NASB.

Prayer:  Father in heaven, thank You for Your amazing love for us that You sent Your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins and give us eternal life with You. Thank You Jesus for leaving us Your Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit empower us to love others as God loves us. Amen.

Posted by: Administrator | June 7, 2022

Freedom to Enter God’s Rest

Freedom to Enter God’s Rest

by Brenda D. Flowers

     Have you ever had times when you had trouble sleeping because of internal unrest?

     Before I became a Christian, I often had nights of restlessness as I felt God’s conviction, recognizing a void in my life. Yet since I became a follower of Christ, I have continued to have occasional times of inner struggle, times when I battled worries, fears or cares of this world.

     Recently, I had such a night.

      I awoke in the middle of the night suddenly and felt attacked by anxious and accusatory thoughts. I recalled the verse, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but …, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12, KJV) I tried to battle the negative thoughts by focusing my mind on good things. (Phil 4:8) I also tried to cast away the worry thoughts by saying to myself those are not my thoughts, but I still couldn’t get back to sleep. After close to an hour of struggle, I still felt restless and frustrated because I was still awake. Then, after more internal wrestling, I decided to get out of bed to pray. Honestly, I felt physically and emotionally drained and somewhat depressed.

     As more worry thoughts regarding delayed answers to prayer came to mind, I wondered if these thoughts were really my thoughts. I prayed, “Lord, please forgive me for my anxious thoughts.”

     I sat still and quiet for a few more minutes in the dark. Then, I heard internally the soft whisper, “Enter into My rest.”  I listened more intently as I again heard these comforting words, “Brenda, enter into My rest.” Suddenly, I felt the sweet calming assurance of God’s presence. I felt God’s love like a big warm hug and felt His peaceful urging to go back to bed. Gone were my feelings of restlessness and fear. Once my head touched the pillow, I went easily back to sleep and when I woke the next morning I felt refreshed.

     As I thought about that evening’s struggle, I realized I had been striving in my own strength to  battle the negative thoughts. I had not been fully trusting in the Lord for my rest. His sweet words reminded me that I have freedom to enter into His rest, but I must choose to enter. 

     Meditating on God’s Word, we see more deeply the rest God has provided for us:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28, NKJV)

And to whom was God speaking when he took an oath that they would never enter his rest?

Wasn’t it the people who disobeyed him? So we see that because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest. (Hebrews 3:18-19, NLT)

Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of us come short of it. … For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. (Hebrews 4:1 & 10, NKJV)

I will both lie down in peace, and sleep: For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8, NKJV)    

LORD, Thank You for providing the way for us to enter into Your rest. We no longer need to strive in our own strength to overcome anxious or fearful thoughts. We are grateful You keep us in perfect peace as we rest in You. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ victorious name we pray. Amen

Posted by: judyhitson | May 24, 2022

Freedom in God’s Peace

Freedom in God’s Peace
by Judy Hitson

Col. 3:15 NKJV And let the peace of God rule in your hearts…….

Excuse my language but when people ask me what I think is going on in this world, I share what I sense God is saying to me, “In a nutshell, All hell is breaking loose. Jesus is coming back. Get ready for His return as the bride of Christ.”

We can walk in God’s peace in the midst of wars and rumors of wars and in the midst of these uncertain times.

How do you experience God’s peace in these days?

For me, there are a few ways I experience God’s peace. My favorite way is to get into His presence in the early morning with instrumental Christian music. This blesses me to have God’s peace in His presence with fullness of joy, Ps. 16:11. This is time to worship Him in Spirit and truth before I read His Word and spend time in prayer.

When sudden fear comes or anxiety strikes, I stop and take in three deep breaths. Breathing in our triune God, Father in heaven, Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith and Holy Spirit who gives life. Then I receive the peace of God in a divine exchange for any enemy disturbance of the flesh, world or devil.

In the storms of life, I declare Jesus’ words, “Peace be still!” Mk. 4:39. The Lord tells us that in this world we will have tribulation but in Him we may have peace and overcome this world, John 16:33.

What is peace?
I hear, Peace is a sense of calm.

Looking at Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary definition I found:

Peace-1. A state of quiet or tranquility; freedom from disturbance or agitation; calm, repose.
2. Specifically, absence or cessation of war. 3. General order and tranquility; freedom from riot or violence. 4. A state of reconciliation after strife or enmity, peaceable or friendly relations; agreement, concord.

True peace is a wonderful state of being for mankind which can only be experienced through the God of peace. See Rom. 16:20; 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 13:20.  

We don’t have to live in fear and anxiety, doubts or uncertainty. For God is certain. He offers us His peace as we believe in Him and His Word.

Closing Prayer: Praise God from whom all blessings flow, including freedom in His peace.

Posted by: Administrator | May 12, 2022

Freedom to Commune with God

Freedom to Commune with God
by Brenda D. Flowers

   On Easter (or Resurrection Sunday as I like to say),  I participated in a joyous worship service at a large church in middle Tennessee. During the service, the pastor led the congregation into worship with these wonderful true words, “Jesus is risen.”

Many in the crowd along with me responded, “He is risen indeed!”

  I thought about how Christians all over the world were announcing this good news. I prayed the sound of our declarations would touch many people who had not yet experienced new life in Christ.

As I prayed, I recalled times when I had said those words but did not fully grasp what Jesus accomplished for me.

My thoughts were redirected as I heard the pastor lead us to prepare ourselves for “Communion”. We took time to examine our hearts as we prayed the Lord’s Prayer.

The pastor then shared words from the gospels of Matthew and Luke, elaborating on the events of that first “Lord’s Supper”:

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”  (Matthew 26: 26-29, NKJV)

 “…do this in remembrance of Me.”(Luke 22:19c, NKJV)

As I listened to these words, I thought about how Jesus wanted His disciples to realize He was the Way to communion with God. Jesus’ words explained the purpose of His broken body and shed blood, pointing to His death on the cross.

Jesus wanted His disciples to follow Him, using the bread and wine as emblems of remembrance. This intimate fellowship dinner was instituted by Jesus so that the Good News of His Kingdom would be carried forth.

I love how Holy Spirit inspired the writer of Hebrews to explain this beautiful truth:

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.(Hebrews 10:19-23, NKJV. Good to read all of Hebrews 10)

I am thankful for the freedom to commune with God.

Prayer:

Lord, open the eyes of our hearts to see and understand Your Word by Your Spirit. Help us grasp what You accomplished Jesus when You came to earth in a human body, lived a sinless life, taught us how to live, died for our redemption and rose in glory.

Thank You for freedom to commune with You. Help us to always remember Your great sacrifice, Jesus. Amen.

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