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Liberated to Live and Love

Psalm 22:5

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? 2 O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. 3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. 4 In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. 5 They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. 6 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. 7 All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: 8 "He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him." 9 Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. 10 From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

11 Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. 12 Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. 13 Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. 16 Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. 18 They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing. 19 But you, O Lord, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. 20 Deliver my life from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs.21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

22 I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. 23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! 24 For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. 25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows. 26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the Lord will praise him– may your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, 28 for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations. 29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him– those who cannot keep themselves alive. 30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. 31 They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn– for he has done it.

February 12, 2009
Liberated to Live
Psalm 22:5
History is replete with stories of slaveholders who dominated the helpless, and wicked rulers who tyrannized entire people groups. These are obvious cases of bondage. Less evident–but damaging nonetheless–are the widespread instances of enslavement to emotional wounds and sinful acts, habits, and attitudes. People oppressed in this way cannot break free.

Thankfully, Christ came to earth to release us from captivity to sin. He said of Himself: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me . . . He has sent me to . . . to set free those who are oppressed" (Luke 4:18, 21). 

How can you take advantage of this terrific offer of freedom? The first step is to recognize that you are controlled by a spiritual problem known as sin. Second, trace its roots, if possible–ask, Why do I indulge to the point that I am mastered by this temptation? Some possible answers are insecurity, fear of failure, pride, and past abuse. Third, choose freedom. Trust the Lord to help, and believe that His Holy Spirit will enable you to do whatever is necessary. God does not want His children enslaved; He wants them free to live  (John 10:10). Fourth, cry out to Him for help.

God will answer by acting in your best interest. Perhaps that means freeing you immediately. Or He may decide that the best process for you will take time, in which case a struggle might lie ahead. Either way, you can be certain that the Father knows what is optimal for each of His children. His chosen course of action will enable you to experience freedom and abundance.

Thank you, Lord for You know what is best. 

You see my heart.  You know my groanings…how weak, tired and hurt I am.  I am to be blamed, for I have allowed myself in my weakness to succumb to temptation.  Lord, I admit before You that I fear failure, and am proud.  For years, I have prided myself on a false notion of success and deluded myself to believe that I was intelligent.  Moreso, I sin by comparing myself to others and by worrying of what tomorrow and several years thereafter would bring.  Lord, I am sorry.  They have become horrible, horrible habits that I can’t get rid off by my own strength. 

Thank You for pointing these out to me by allowing these present trials and struggles in my life.  Beyond being a time of "crisis," this is a time of opportunity…a dark age yet also a bright one, the worst of times yet also the best.  And Lord, the key to choosing the positive is by choosing to cling to You and focusing on You alone, because You, oh Lord will surely deliver. 

Although these times are painful, thank You because I know You are polishing and refining me for Your purposes.  Lord, I just cry out to You.  See my broken heart, Lord.  It’s not much; but Father, I offer it to You for I know that You’re the only One who could make mend it and make me whole once more. 

Lord, I know fully now, You’re telling me that there’s no turning back.  Yet fully letting go of the past and notions of what could have been is painfully difficult.  Oh Lord, please help me.  Help me let go of those things so I could fully cling and grasp your Hand that’s ever ready to pull me out of the quagmire and lead me into the future.  Please never tire of me, though I may be stubborn. 

For your even more stubborn love for me that You even died and rose for me to save me from my sins, and to give me an abudant life for eternity, I so thank you Lord. 

In Your name I pray, Lord Jesus, my Savior.  Amen. 

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