The Yoke of Freedom?

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt 11:28-30 ESV

While exploring Freedom, I ran across this verse and while some may view this verse as encumbering it really is the way to true freedom. I looked up the word yoke. Most if not all of us know what a yoke is. It’s the wooden piece that you put on two animals, typically oxen, who will be plowing a field. When the yoke is put on the animals they are stronger, especially if and when they work together. The yoke keeps the animals in step, it makes them stronger, it keeps them from growing weary because they are not carrying the load by themselves.

I think that what this means is when we put on the “yoke” with Jesus that we begin walking in step with Him, We learn from Him, we can lean into Him for strength when things are tough, and we ask Him to guide our steps. Yes a “yoke” that you would put on the oxen is heavy to pick up. But when you put it on the animal’s shoulders they are not in pain, they would only be in pain if they were working against the yoke. It’s the same in my relationship with Jesus. When I am walking in step WITH Him, when I am spending time in His word, when I am asking for His guidance and His help in any matter then my day to day life is much easier. I am not saying I don’t come upon something that is hard or sad. But I am much quicker to turn it right back over to Jesus when my steps are in sync with Him. If I work against Him is when the hard stuff really comes my way. That’s when the anxiety creeps in, that’s when I am seeing it in my attitude and when things of life just start to wear me down.

Jesus says in this verse “I am gentle and lowly in heart”. This word lowly is translated humble. Jesus’ gentleness and his humility do not come with judgment, only peace and help. He is really not trying to give us a list of dos and don’ts. He is just saying “walk with Him” not against Him. and then we will find the rest that our souls need. Finding the rest that my soul needs in Jesus is what brings my heart freedom! When I am operating with His yoke on me, when I am trying to walk in step with Him, I’m not saying I do everything right or perfect (not by a long shot). There is only one who is perfect. But what I am saying, is that when I operate with His yoke I make more right decisions than wrong ones. I use my time and my resources more wisely, I have more peace in the circumstances that concern me that pass any human understanding. The more I walk WITH His yoke the more I lean into His strength, His compassion, His humility, His guidance and His love. This yoke brings freedom.

Please pray for our service industry today. Small businesses, restaurants, travel industry. You may not be ready to sit in a restaurant yet and that’s ok, but if you can, order curbside and be sure to tip well if you can!


So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 ESV

Yesterday we pointed out that Jesus was talking to the Jews “who had believed him”. The Jews went on to say back to Jesus that they had never been enslaved to anyone. They didn’t quite understand this freedom that Jesus was talking about. Jesus explained to them what it means to be a slave to sin. Being a slave to sin is one who is practicing sin. What is that? That is continuing to do that thing that Jesus has asked you to lay down. Whatever it is. It is becoming enslaved to a habit or a practice that is detrimental to you and that takes your focus away from God.

We live in a free country, yes we have been asked to stay home more lately than ever before because we have been in the middle of a pandemic. However, as a general rule we are able to come and go as we please. We can bow our heads and say a prayer at a restaurant or not and no one is going to waltz in and take us to jail for it. We take this thing called freedom for granted and it is hard to grasp what Jesus is saying here because as a people group, all the people I know personally have never been truly enslaved to anyone or anything. Our view of freedom is not much different than that of the Jews who were speaking to Jesus in that day. But that’s not really what Jesus was talking about.

Let’s talk about something simple, take shopping for instance. Shopping in and of itself is not a bad thing. We all have to shop to survive. You shop for your groceries. shop for things you need for your household, shop for clothes to wear or even just for pretties to lay around. None of those things in and of themselves are sin. But for the person who has their credit cards maxed out and can’t afford to pay their bills and debt has become their focal point of their every day then shopping may be a sin. I have just given you one simple example. This can be anything that we focus on more than God. It consumes you, you become enslaved to it. Whether it be shopping or if it be anything else. If it has become more important to you than your relationship with Christ then it has you enslaved to the sin of it.

But if you refocus your life to Jesus and ask Him for help with your sin then He can and He will set you free from that sin. I used shopping but it could be anything, it could be worry, overeating, gossip, maybe even fear. Whatever you have in front of you that interferes with your relationship with Christ that is what is enslaving you. Jesus, the Son truly wants to set you free from anything that you have set up in your mind as more important than Him. What is consuming your time? Your mind? Your finances? The Son truly wants us to be free in Him. He wants to walk us through whatever our worry is and that my friend is the only way to true freedom.

Please pray for the Pastors and church leaders as they are trying to find ways to reopen our churches that will be safe and will be glorifying.

Truth = Freedom

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:31-32 ESV

The latter part of this verse gets quoted in Christian circles quite a bit. “The truth will set you free.” And I do believe it to be so. However, to really know the freedom that the truth brings you have to look at the whole statement of these verses. There was a bit of a process here that Jesus was pointing out. First Jesus said this to the Jews who had believed Him. The truth will not set free a non-believer. In fact it can be quite the contrary I would think. I believe the Holy Spirit can be at work in a non-believers life pursuing him or her to come to Christ. I look back at my own salvation experience and can see God’s hand on my life before I became a believer. I can see the people and circumstances that were in my life that were drawing me to Him. I was not a believer yet and a lot of the things I can see and I experience were in my childhood but with my hindsight I can surely see God’s hand all over my life. But I can also see the ways I was in bondage to my own thoughts, yes even as a child and to my sinful nature. And yes I do believe that to gain salvation I simply had to trust in Him and believe in Him.

However, freedom in Christ only comes to me when I am abiding in His word. When I am reading and studying His word. And it’s a daily practice, it is not a one time thing. If I miss a day in His word, whether I really do not pick up my Bible and read or let’s say I read it but I am distracted by thoughts, worry, my to do list, I can feel the old habits of anxiety and the bondages begin to get a grip on my heart and next thing you know I am not walking in the Freedom Christ brings but I am a slave again to circumstances or my own thought life.

It is only in abiding that I can gain the true Freedom that Christ brings. Every day when I have my quiet time I picture myself laying down at the cross all of the things that are concerning me. I pray for my family, I pray for friends, I pray for things of the world. And every day or at least some days I know that a phone call that comes or a thought I have I tend to pick up some of those worries and carry them around with me. It’s like I have this pack that I pick the worries back up and put them into it. Some days I pick more of them up than others. Or at night sometime, anxiety runs deep for me in the middle of the night, so if I wake up in the middle of the night I have a pack as big as Santa Claus that I am filling up with worry and thoughts. But in the morning, I picture myself dragging that pack, no matter how big it is from the worry that I took on the day and night before, and I start laying it back at the foot of the cross. Oh I had laid it down before and shouldn’t have picked it up again but I am human and I do this. But when I practice this, when I take the time to abide in His word and spend time laying it all down, I find that I can walk in the Freedom He gives me. I also see that I don’t seem to pick up as much when I make this my daily practice.

Please pray for the educators and students today. I know school years are in the process of being completed but there are still big decisions to be made about how we will open back up next year.


Freedom in Christ

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (Gal 5:13 ESV)

Keeping on this theme of Freedom this week, we will continue to explore the Freedom that we have in Christ. Many people who do not enjoy the Christian life or understand it/us look to us and wonder when we talk about this Freedom why you do not just go about and do whatever you want to do and just keep asking God to forgive you. If He is a gracious God and if Freedom in Christ means that we are free then that is the way we could live, right?

No! Being Free in Christ does not mean that we can use this Freedom as an “opportunity for the flesh”. What does that even mean? Paul put this language in because there may be some who would clearly try to use the freedom that Jesus has given us to their own gain. He knew there would be some who would think they could go on living their life the same old way and just say “I’m sorry” and that God would continue to forgive them. But that is not what will truly make you free. The freedom that God called us to is the breaking of the yoke of the bondage of sin. Not permission to continue to sin. Sin is still sin, whether we are a christian or not. If we are a christian and we sin, however, we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us and He will not allow us to continue to gratify the flesh and our own thoughts and to live a glorious life in Christ. When we are not Christians, we probably do not feel guilty for the sins we commit. But it is still sin. The difference is this, we do have that conscience living inside of us in the form of the Holy Spirit when we sin as Christians. But we realize that not only is our sin against others or even ourselves our sin is also against God. The conscience that we get from the Holy Spirit doesn’t just condemn us and make us feel bad about our sin but it directs us and shows us how the sin hurts God, hurts others and even ourselves and then how to turn from that sin so that we can love others, love ourselves and love God. Any guilty conscience that you may or may not feel over sin when you are not a Christian, or not walking in the Spirit, is just that, it is condemning and loathsome. It only entraps and brings us more and more into bondage. It is a slippery slope and it is not somewhere I want to live. I am not saying that I do not or will never sin again. I am still of human flesh and I know that sin creeps in but my desire is to ask the Holy Spirit to direct me and to convict my heart of the sin and show me how to turn from it so that I can LIVE in the Freedom of Christ.

Please pray for the medical professionals today.

The Cost of Freedom

Happy Memorial Day! Memorial Day is when we remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. It actually first came into existence as Decoration Day and it was designated for the purpose of decorating the graves of those who had died in defense of their country in the Civil War. The original date was chosen because it was not the anniversary of any particular battle. I think maybe that way it couldn’t be honoring one side or the other of the Civil War because, well when lives are lost we are all losers. But when Freedom was gained we all became winners. (Those last 2 sentences are completely my thoughts, the rest of the paragraph are facts.)

Decoration Day became Memorial Day over the years and it began to be a way to commemorate all U. S. Soldiers who had died in a war. And in 1971 began being observed the last Monday in May. It also is a federal holiday which is why most offices and banks are closed. While most of us celebrate it as the the beginning of Summer it is truly a day to remember that our Freedom isn’t free and that there were mothers who lost children, people who lost spouses, children who lost mothers and fathers. People lost their lives fighting for our freedom.

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. (Gal. 5:1)

Christ came to earth to die on the cross for our freedom as well. And as a Christian, I want to remember the U S Soldiers who gave their life for me but I also have to remember that Christ died on a cross to set me free from the bondage of sin. I have to remember that every single day, not just on a set aside day. Christ died on the cross to set me free once and for all and I asked Him into my heart and my heart was sealed for the day of redemption. However, the latter part of that verse, that says “Now make sure you stay free and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law” that is what feeds my every day need to sit at His feet and soak in some time with Him. You see I am a feeble minded woman and if I don’t come to Him daily and remember His cross and remember that He has set me free then I fall right back into the pit of self doubt, worry, self absorption, self destruction, self exaltation even. Left on my own without my Savior I know that I am not being the person, the woman God calls me to be. The person that He gave His life for. And when I start falling into those pits what I end up with is self loathing! But for Christ and what He did for me on the cross, I AM FREE! For the U. S. Soldier and what he or she did for us on the battlefield we are all Free.  Be sure to take a moment today and remember the soldiers but also be sure to take a moment today and remember Christ! And then, MAKE SURE THAT YOU STAY FREE!

Please pray for the President, and all of our government leaders today!!


Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. But as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you – see that you excel in this act of grace also. (2 Cor 8:6-7 ESV)

in 2 Corinthians chapter 8 Paul begins this chapter bragging a bit on the church in Macedonia. Apparently the church of Macedonia was in a time of trial and hardship yet their giving was beyond their means. Because of their giving they were also a joyful people. If I am reading this chapter correctly it appears that the Corinthians had started out in ministry and in their faith walk giving of their resources and their time. But maybe their times had gotten hard and they had started tightening their belt so to speak but in the tightening maybe their giving had scaled back even more than they would have originally planned. Paul sent Titus to the Corinthians with his letter to show the Corinthians that no they did not have to give to the point of being burdened but that they should be giving out of what they had. And that if that was what they were doing then their abundance would supply the needs of others, but it would come back to them when they were in need the abundance of others would supply for them.

The secret to this is tucked away in the verse just preceding the verse quoted in the beginning. Verse 5 states “but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.”

We should always, whether it be in giving of our resources or our time give ourselves over to God first and ask Him to direct our giving. When we do this, when we give ourselves over to God and we ask Him for direction and then we follow through it completes Grace in us. And I am so preaching to myself in this. I am so guilty myself of thinking I don’t have time for this or I don’t have the resources/money for that without ever consulting God in how He wants me to use the minutes/time/resources/money that I do have. I pray that I will let the Grace of God fill me up and overflow in me so that I may show acts of Grace to others.  Completed Grace

Please pray for your service industries today. And if possible, eat local, shop local, and by all means when appropriate tip well!

Grace Teaches

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, (Titus 2:11-12 ESV)

Many times when I am reading and something grabs me if I can’t quite figure out what I think the Lord is trying to tell me that is when I start digging. First I will usually go to other translations such as The Passion Translation or The Message. I do like to read out of the ESV or CSB for my daily reading but I also like to back it up with these other translations as I am asking the Lord for clarity on a particular verse or subject. (Remember my simple brain)

We are exploring Grace this week so the word grace is what grabbed me here and I started reading and re-reading these verses. Then I went to The Passion Translation and I truly loved how it read.

God’s marvelous grace has manifested in person, bringing salvation for everyone. This same grace teaches us how to live each day as we turn our backs on ungodliness and indulgent lifestyles, and it equips us to live self-controlled, upright, godly lives in this present age. (Titus 2:11-12 TPT)

First thought here is put plainly God’s marvelous grace, manifested in Jesus brings us salvation. The further thought here is “this same grace teaches us how to live each day”. I LOVE THAT!! God’s grace was manifested through Jesus. The grace that Jesus exhibited to us by coming to earth and dying on a cross is what our salvation hangs on. But His GRACE goes beyond that. His Grace is ours every day to train us and to lead us and to guide us through every day. We can’t do this thing or at least I can’t without His Grace. I know that I have salvation but I want my salvation to mean something daily not just where I’m going when I die. There is a Psalm that many times in my life when times got hard and life seemed to be throwing me a curve ball or two I have had to cling to. And I truly believe it to be true.

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Psalm 27:13

This doesn’t mean that life will always be perfect but I do believe that life is meant to be good. And it’s His Grace which is training me how to live that is going to also train me how to see His goodness.

Please pray for your pastors and church leaders today as they are figuring out how to open things back up.

Gifts of Grace

Today I was reading in Ephesians chapter 3.  I want to highlight a few verses here.

For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles — assuming you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that he gave me for you. (Eph. 3:1-2 CSB)

I was made a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of his power. This grace was given to me – the least of all the saints – to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of Christ, and to shed light for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things. (Eph. 3:7-9 CSB)

In this chapter and particularly in these verses Paul is saying that he has been given the power to preach and to proclaim by the gifting of God’s grace. Now I know I can be guilty of thinking of Paul as someone who is way up there on a pedestal. Paul was the author of most of the New Testament and so many of our direction of how to live this christian life come from his writings. So I can tend to put him way up on a pedestal as someone who I can have nothing truly in common with. At least Paul after his conversion, that is. But Paul was just a man, we are not meant to put him on the pedestal. Truly verses like this where Paul points out that his preaching of the gospel is nothing more than a gifting of God’s grace on his life is what validates this point. So if Paul’s writings are meant to give us direction and to give us purpose in this life what can we glean from these passages.

Again, I come to you as a simple minded woman but I do believe that if God can gift Paul with grace to preach that God is gifting me with grace for something. And I believe that this means that God gifts all of us with grace for — something. I believe that sometimes God has to gift me with grace to love certain people. God gifted Paul with grace to love the gentiles, some of the very people he had persecuted in his former life. Can God gift me with grace to love people that maybe I, in my humanness do not find very lovable. Paul states here that God gifted him with the grace to proclaim Christ to the gentiles. God gifted him with his calling. I believe God is gifting me with the grace to do things for Him that I, again, in my humanness would not feel qualified to do. And I truly believe that if God is gifting Paul with grace to love the gentiles and to accomplish His will that He will gift me with grace to love others and to accomplish the things that He has called me to do. I believe He will also gift you with grace to love others and to accomplish His will!

Please pray today for educators and students! Summertime is upon us! School years are wrapping up, however different it seems. It’s truly time to start looking ahead!

By Grace you have been saved!

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, (Eph 2:4-8 ESV)

So what is this grace? This grace we receive from God. Webster defines it as unmerited favor by God. When Paul says “By grace we have been saved” it is because it is nothing that we have done. We are only offered this gift of salvation because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Oh we have to accept the gift, we have to receive the gift. But that is our only action in this transaction. God is lavishing us with the “exceeding riches of his grace”. He has as much as you want, and more. He is begging us to receive His grace.

Have you ever been given a gift that was unexpected. Maybe at Christmas or your birthday, or just because. And you were a little embarrassed because you didn’t have a reciprocal gift to give back. But what do you do? Do you refuse the gift? Or do you take the gift and show appreciation for the gift? Or do you go on and on about I wish I had something to give back. It can be an awkward situation. But with God the gift of Grace that he lavishes on us, the exceeding riches of his grace, well the only way to show our appreciation is to accept the gift. We can never in a million years truly repay the gift of Grace that he lavishes on us. We can however, accept the gift, and live in the gift, and relish the gifts of his Grace.

Please pray today for our medical professionals and front liners. We include nurses, doctors, paramedics, the drivers, the clerks, the housekeepers at the hospital. Lord we pray that they will be seen and lavished with your grace today!


Every year I ask the Lord to give me a word for the year. This year he gave me 2. We are going to explore one of them this week. In years past He has given me words like Peace, Restore (where I came up with the name) and Hope! The year that he gave me the word Restore was all about renewing my heart and mind and when He was giving me back my confidence in Him and who He is and joy in my own salvation.

The year he gave me the word Peace did not exactly look like I thought it would, but what it did for me was gave me something to hold onto when circumstances and things going on in my life did not feel very peaceful and hopeful. The word and scripture related to the word held me during some pretty rough times that year. So I have learned that when He gives me a word not to put all my eggs in one basket so to speak. I have learned to set aside my own expectations of what it means and just trust Him that He will guide me.

Hope was my 2019 word and it was definitely a year where Hope was more paramount than the prior years and it set my feet on a better path and gave me Hope in what God was doing, in what I could do and for other circumstances in my life.

So the word this year is Grace. The verse that He attached to this word was:

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2.Cor. 9:8

What did I think at the beginning of 2020 when God gave me this verse? I guess in a way I thought that His grace would help me to work for Him. I was thinking very simplistically. Which tends to be my way. What have I learned thus far in 2020 about Grace? I have learned that not only do I need His Grace in my life every day that I need to extend Grace to others every day. We are hearing a lot about things opening back up and a lot of people saying it’s too soon.  We are hearing it’s a conspiracy and we are hearing some say how real it is. Some days I am not absolutely certain where my heart lies in all of it. I miss my friends, I miss my church, I miss being social and being able to go shop when and where I want. And let’s face it I really really really want to get my nails done. But I also do not want to get sick neither do I want to go out and then bring this virus home to my husband. I worry about the economy, and when things will be “normal” again. Some days I really don’t know what to feel or to think. But what I do want to do more than anything, is to give Grace to others and to receive Grace! I want His Grace to overflow to me and I want to let mine overflow to others. When I encounter someone who is not sure where their heart lies or even someone who knows their mind better than I know mine and they are steadfast in their thinking, I want to extend my Grace to them. We are all living a very different life than we did a few months back or than what we envisioned. We all have to process it in our own ways.

Lord help me as I give Grace! Lord bless me with your abundant Grace overflowing!

Please pray for our leaders in government today. Our President, our Governor and everyone in between who are making decisions!