Freedom

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Once there was a Sea Bass named Fin. He lived off the coast of Lewes, Delaware. Fin went to school with all the other fish, loved swimming in the water, and playing water tag. Fin was just a normal fish. However, Fin had one desire, a desire for freedom. Fin would lie awake at night thinking what it would be like to be free from the cold, wet water. He would imagine the pleasure of having sand under his fins, the warm sun on his back, and experiencing the cool ocean sea breezes. “Yes,” he reasoned, “That is true freedom.”

Fin often talked about his desire for freedom with his parents. “Dad, have you ever been out of this annoying water?” “No, God made me a fish, and God made you a fish. God designed you to swim in the water. God’s design always works. So stay in the water, son.” Fin didn’t want to believe his father. “I don’t care what Dad says, I want to be free!” thought Fin.

Eventually, Fin had his chance. He slipped out of his school, and swam relentlessly toward the glistening beach. Each moment his excitement heightened. “I just need to get out of this cold, wet water. This water is bondage. Freedom is being able to do what I want.” Suddenly, Fin was only one wave away; he paused for a moment, and then he rode the wave and shot out onto the beach.

“Yes! Freedom!” He felt unspeakable pleasure as he sensed the sand under his fins, the warm sun on his back, and the cool ocean breezes. “See,” he considered, “Dad was wrong. God was wrong. This is true freedom.” With that, he basked in the searing pleasure of the moment.

But, all was not well. Unexpectedly, Fin felt it getting hard to breathe. The sand that once was so pleasant started to cause a great irritation. Beating down on him was the sun, which he thought would be delightful, but was now making him miserable. The nasty ocean breezes were drying his scales. He tried to swim, but found he couldn’t. All he could do was flop around on the dry, irritating sand. “This is not freedom, this is bondage!” Fin realized.

Longingly, he gazed at the water, “If only I could get back in and experience the energizing, refreshing ocean. He tried and tried, but all his flopping was of no use. He could not return to the water by himself; he needed help. Then, almost instantaneously, he felt the smooth, tender hands of a child lifting him up, and pitching him into the ocean. Finally, Fin realized that true freedom is not freedom to do whatever he wanted, but true freedom is freedom to do what he should do.

So many people, like Fin the Sea Bass, are longing for freedom. They believe that God’s design is somehow keeping them from some great pleasure. From the very beginning, when Satan deceived Eve by saying, “God is not letting you have everything. Look at the fruit; God’s design is restricting your pleasure and freedom.” The problem is that sin’s pleasure is only for a season; it doesn’t last. God’s design does last. Following God’s design is true freedom. So when Satan suggests that the pleasure of lust is freedom, that pride will grant fulfillment, or that bitterness is a right you have, remember the story of Fin the sea bass. Realize that the wages of sin is death, but God is waiting with open hands to throw you back into the vast ocean of True Freedom.

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” ~ John 8:36

A Tool in His Hand

A Tool in His Hand

Words of care go unsaid, and words of kindness go unspoken,

The love that once bound the family together has been broken,

Father, and Mother, Sister and Brother, all have shattered hearts,

The peace that once ruled the home is now all in scattered parts,

Others begin to wonder how this tragedy could have ever taken place,

The family only wishes that the past year could be entirely erased.

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Some people tried to keep it from happening, but all attempts were in vain,

Some people talked about it all, others just looked on in pity and shame,

I don’t know what I could do, what help could I even offer to give?

Why should I get involved? People might talk. I have my own life to live,

How could I help? This problem is to hard, it is to complicated to understand,

Yet, here I am God. If you want to use me, I’ll be a tool in your hand.

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God sees the family’s problem, and God knows their hurt and their pain,

God loves them still, in spite of it all, He calls them each by their name,

He cares for them, and knows the shame and the guilt that they feel,

He wants to restore the scattered parts, and their shattered hearts He wants to heal,

But who can He use to show them it’s possible? To show them His love is so grand?

Who will bring His peace? Who will be His instrument? Who will be a tool in His hand?

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God, I’ll be a vessel for Your use. I’ll be Your instrument. I’ll be a tool in Your hand.

I’ll be a channel for Your Truth and Your Mercy to flow through, like an hourglass with sand,

I’ll need Your help, when I try to help, and I’ll need Your truth and love that you give,

I know the life I live is not my own, for it is in Your life that I live,

I need Your knowledge, and wisdom, to help me understand,

’cause I want to be a tool in Your hand.

If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, [and] prepared unto every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21

What did you get?

Do you remember everything you got for Christmas last year? Two years ago? 5 years ago? Unless you’re a person who records everything in a little book, your answer is probably, “No”. Sure you might remember that candle, or set of screw drivers, but after a while you just kinda forget about the gifts you received. Maybe you said thanks a time or two when you received it, maybe you even sent them a thank you card out of duty, but it is not something you bring up every time you see the person who gave you the gift.

You probably can recall some of those gifts when you were younger, like when you got those socks or that old antique that your parents said you “had to wait ’til you’re older to appreciate”. Do you remember your disinterest? Do you remember how you just tossed the gift aside looking for something better? Maybe just last Christmas you had to act like you were thankful, when on the inside you were thinking, “I really don’t need another pair of fuzzy socks.” You have also probably felt guilt, when you felt you should get a gift for someone because they gave you a gift the year before.

Now I am not going tell you that you just need to appreciate things more, or tell you that if you thought of all the people who would just love a sweater in the shape of a heart, it would be so much easier to be thankful, or that if you would just act like you loved it, you would.

I am, however, going to say, “Don’t do that with God’s gift!” Don’t forget God’s gift in a year or two. Don’t just toss it aside. Don’t look for something more interesting. God did not give it out of duty, but out of love. We didn’t deserve God’s gift. We already have a Scrooge at Christmas, we don’t need one at the Cross.

For by grace are ye saved through faith;

and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:” ~ Ephesians 2:8

Redemption

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They sat there by the city wall, at the close of the day,

This city was their prison now, they would never find the freedom way,

They had fallen for pride, and loved idolatry,

Now the true and only living God has brought them to captivity,

They had fallen asleep in self and sin,

and now they were here, with this city as their prison.

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Hark! Hear the watchman, hear the watchman call,

Publishing peace, salvation, and good tidings for all,

Awake! Awake! Oh, Jerusalem Awake,

God can redeem again, make no mistake,

Shake off the dust, and the gathering dirt of sin,

Put on the garments of righteousness, O daughter of Zion.

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God is reaching down, He has rolled up his sleeve,

Break forth into joy, God’s hand will redeem,

Depart, Depart! And leave this prison,

Walk out through the city’s gates, and from your life of sin,

God will go before you, leading the way,

and He’ll follow up behind you, and beside you stay.

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So break forth into singing, for God reigneth over all,

Have beautiful feet, and bring to others the redemption call,

Be the watchman, and lift up your voice,

Jerusalem sing! Ye waste lands rejoice!

For God’s hand is mighty, and He is able to save,

He came to redeem, and brought redemption when His life He gave.

I Remember

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I remember the day that I first laid my eyes on you,

I remember the day that we stood together and said “I do.”

I remember the day that I first held your hand,

And I remember the day that our family began,

I remember your eyes, and I remember your face,

I remember your arms, and your warm embrace,

I remember your love, and I remember your touch,

And I remember you, Oh, I love you so much,

And all through the years you were there by my side,

I remember the times we just sat together and cried,

I remember the meals that you made for me,

I remember the love and the discipline you showed for our family,

I remember your laugh, and I remember your smile,

I remember your hope in the midst of a trial,

You would hug the children and and grandchildren when they came to stay,

and you would wave them goodbye when they went on their way,

I remember the day when you left the bounds of earth,

I still feel the pain, I still feel the hurt,

The family gathered together when they heard of your dying,

and as we remembered the memories we all were crying,

How can I go on? Now that I’m alone?

I will feel all the pain, every time I look at your cold gravestone,

I can no longer wait till you come home to me,

When I wake-up in the morning you won’t be the first person I see,

Yet, I remember that I am not alone, for God is with me here,

I know that I am not alone for God has cast out every fear,

I know that I can go to Him with all my cares,

I can cry out to Him, He will hear my prayers,

And even though we buried you in the sod,

I know you are not there, I know you’re with God,

So if God is with me, and God is with you,

I believe that you and I shall be reunited too.

“…We shall be caught up together, to meet the Lord in the air…” ~ 1 Thess. 4:17

Justifying the Means

We as human beings, especially as Christians, try to justify the means if the result is right. We try to do this even if it contradicts God’s Word. We reason, “But look at what happened as a result!” “See how it turned out in the end!” “Even though it might have been wrong, it all worked out.” We think the means are justifiable because the result is right.

In the Garden of Eden Satan tempted Eve, “You will not die. Your eyes will be opened. You will be like God.” Eve could justify the means, because the result seemed good. She could justify breaking God’s Word, because the result was good.

Abraham justified his lie (the means) in order to save his life. After all, he could not have lots of descendants if he was dead. Sarah would be taken anyway, why not save himself and his descendants and hope Sarah would be able to come with him after a while. As it happened, things did turn out okay, Abraham lived again with Sarah, no damage was done, except for Abimelech’s loss of respect for Abraham. Abraham justified his lie as a way to procure a good result.

A second time Abraham lied in order to save his hide. Abraham had adultery with Hagar in order to have descendants. Isaac followed in his father’s footsteps, justifying the means in order to have a good result. God told Rebekah that the elder would serve the younger, so when she helped Jacob steal the blessing, she justified the means to help God out. David could justify killing Uriah the Hittite because the result was favorable, “We can’t have the people know that their king is an adulterer.” Ultimately, Caiaphas figured it was expedient that one man (Jesus Christ) should die for the people. All these people justified the means, lying, adultery, trickery, and murder, because the result seemed right or necessary.

We feel it is okay to lie in order to protect people, such as the Jews in Nazi Germany. We think it is fine to kill in order to save others or ourselves. We think we are doing right because the result is right, even though the means may be wrong. The righteous lie, and the godly killings, do not exist. It is just us trying to make it seem like doing wrong for the right reason or the right result is okay.

When it come to evangelism, this idea is very prominent. Some religions justify prostitution as way to bring others to their faith. Christians may justify serving alcohol at church so they can preach to the drunkards while they are there. Some churches may try rock music or dancing routines in order to bring people in. “But it works!” they claim. We cannot justify the means because the result is good. Why not have Non-Christian pastors, so, as they are preparing for their next sermon they might be in God’s Word and eventually they might come to Christ.

Satan tries to pollute the Church with the idea that we can do something bad in order to accomplish a good result. We must not justify the means because the result is right or scriptural.

God is still God!

God is still God

By

Caleb R. Martin

 

Winter has ended, and spring has come,

The leaves are green, and bumblebees hum,

The flowers bloom, the grass is green,

The birds sweetly sing, by the laughing stream,

Happiness and bliss, do increase,

Relaxing in God’s grace, His joy, and peace.

 

And God’s still God, He is still the same,

God is still God, He still lives up to His name,

When there is peace and joy and rest, He still is there,

When there is beauty, love, and happiness, He still does care,

So on the mountain high, or the valley low,

God is still God, no matter where I go,

 

Summer fades, and the green leaves turn brown,

Rain clouds come, the thunder sounds,

The battle’s hard, the way is rough,

The pain is sharp, and the going’s tough,

Struggling hard, fighting for air,

Muscles ache, and things don’t seem fair,

 

 

Yet, God’s still God, He is still the same,

God is still God, He still lives up to His name,

When daylight runs, and nighttime comes, He still is there,

When smooth turns hard, and hope is marred, He still does care,

So on the mountain high, or the valley low,

God is still God, no matter where I go,

 

So whether, winter or spring, sunny or rain,

Mountain or valley, healthy or pain,

If the way is soft, or the way is rough,

His love is steadfast, His grace is enough,

Though my circumstance always seem to change,

God is still God, He is always the same,

 

Yes, God’s still God, He is still the same,

God is still God, He still lives up to His name,

If I’m happy or sad, forgiving or mad, God is still there,

He is still open for business, He is still reaching out, He still does care,

So on the mountain high, or the valley low,

God is still God, no matter where I go.