Reason to Celebrate

I had my birthday last week.  My birthday is a day-- the day I entered into this world and a day that has been set apart to mark every passing year of my life.  I thought that last year would be the last February 11 that I would celebrate (actually be happy to have another one).  After 45, all other birthdays I was sure, would come with the feeling that probably the best of life was behind me. It would be time to grow old gracefully. Never did I think last year at this time, that God would have me reflecting back on life as I worked through the pages of Breaking Free.  Another birthday has come and gone and I can confidently say that thinking my birthday last year would mark the end of the best years of my life was wrong. This Bible study is helping me to grasp how far God has brought me since the day the chains fell off. I am humbled and overwhelmed at the grace of God.

What Beth Moore said about truth and perception is so true. What is true and what we perceive about it may be two different things.  The truth for me is that there were a lot of great things in the first 45 years of my life -- dreams that came true, and happy surprises, relationships that enriched me, not to mention coming of age and maturing in the incredible time where now I hold a computer in my lap, a cell phone in my hand, and the windshield wipers on my car come on automatically when it rains!  

But I don't feel any sense of the best has passed me by. In fact, at 46 I am more hopeful, more content, and am more comfortable in my skin than I was at 36. The truth is that there were a lot of difficult things in those first 45 years. Those painful things have shaped my life even more than the great things that I am so blessed to have as my life story. The other truth is my God is a Redeemer.  He took all the "junk" that I thought would mark me forever and changed it into something beautiful. Pain I thought I would want to forget has become a precious reminder of the grace and mercy of our Great God. On birthday 46, I am find myself more grateful than ever that God was willing to give me more than I ever dreamed I could have---not material things, but eternal things--unimaginable riches in Christ that came to me through grace alone. Believe me, I fought it---worked hard to convince God I was unworthy and yet God still loved me. There is no way I deserve to live with such an assurance of being loved by God, living in hope, and knowing that if I don't get another day on this earth, millions upon millions of days await me in eternity with my Savior.

These things aren't true in my life  because I am special, or the exception, and because I'm real proud to "have it all together." I don't!!! I never have. Everyday I recommit myself to live for Christ. I fail---often; still I press on. As I have prayed for the ladies in my classes this week, I am feeling that some may be losing hope. They are tempted to give up on believing they'll never be free of their chains....they are being confronted with truth and they are letting a lie be added to it. It goes like this: "I don't have to put myself through this. Who am I kidding?  What I have is as good as it gets." THAT IS A LIE!!!!  And it is a lie Christ-followers believe all the time. Weary and heavy laden with guilt and shame they choose to believe the lie rather than the Truth has come to set them free.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.  James 1:24-26
Listen. Look. Learn. Continue. Be Blessed. 


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