…An Embrace of Freedom

i am free

My prayer, today, is that we embrace the freedom we’ve been given, as a gift, in Christ. May we boldly receive His forgiveness, declare “I am free”, live in it and love one another through it. Press play to hear the song on my heart.

You’re the reason I have hope / You’re everything I need and more / You made me / You made me free 

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. Galatians 5:1 (MSG)

…Meditation Moment : Matthew 6:14; Mark 11:25

quote 2

If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT)

But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. Mark 11:25 (NLT)

…Life Source Connection

stay connected

Well, I’m gonna go ahead and pull the pregnancy card here, and ask for your understanding in why I’ve been away for some time. I haven’t forgotten about JBA blog in the least bit, but with all of the competing to-dos, it’s been a challenge for me to prioritize these days.

All that to say, pregnancy, parenthood and all things baby have been occupying my mind over the last 7 months! Recently, the hubs and I took a child birthing class and learned (and saw) way more than I think either of us wanted to. At some point in the class, we were walked through the purpose and importance of the umbilical cord – which, in lamest terms, is the conduit between the baby and mother, via the placenta.

A fetus’ growth, development, oxygen and blood supply are all supplemented through this cord. Essentially, the cord sustains the baby’s life. If the flow of nutrition through the umbilical cord is inhibited (e.g., by being cut or severely tangled), the life of the developing fetus would end.

“I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much abundant fruit. However, apart from Me (cut off from vital union with Me) you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (AMP)

Jesus, aka the True Vine, is our umbilical cord. Just like the fetus who is nourished and developed via the cord, we are fed and in turn produce through the True Vine. Just like the unborn baby who cannot grow without constant connection through the cord, we cannot grow without constant, daily, minute by minute connection to God through Christ. The only way to get Who and what we need in order to walk this life out in the way He intended us to, is through Jesus (John 14:6).

Now, I realize that those of us who strive to live our lives as disciples, are familiar with the aforementioned concept (for lack of a better term) imparted in John 15. Yet, I do not want any one of us to take for granted the value in being intentional in remaining connected. Otherwise, He tells us that “Anyone who does not remain in Me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.” #notaboutthatlife

So, how do you purposefully abide in Him, so that you may be fruitful? How do you allow the sustenance, that only He can provide, continue to flow in your life? What will you begin doing, differently, to connect to the Source of abundant life?

My prayer today is that the Lord would encourage our hearts and increase our desire to make our constant connection, with Him, priority. To give us a thirst for His will and for wisdom, that we will in turn seek through the daily study of and meditation on His Word. That we will remain in Him by spending time with Him and conversing with Him, not just each day, but throughout our days. And, that we may grow in understanding and appreciation of His love by loving others with His heart.

Stay connected.

…Meditation Moment : Matthew 21:22; Luke 11:9

Heaven Quote by Billy Graham

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9

…Meditation Moment : 1 John 5:14-15

faith

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV)

…Friend that You Wish to Have and Keep

Friendship Quote

As my husband and I have rejoiced over the new, wonderful season we’re walking into, many of our closest friends have in turn rejoiced with and for us. Recently, NS gifted us with a wonderfully, wise book; LM surprised me with a pretty bouquet of flowers in my favorite color; SH followed up with an Edible Arrangement that I didn’t know I needed in my life (until that moment); KS thought enough of us to speak such life and encouragement via text at the crack of dawn one morning; BS & VS have given their hearts and unending support; and amongst other caring gestures, we’re so thankful that countless friends have offered their prayers and extreme excitement (specific shout out to my CF for her shouts).

I’ve mentioned before that I have the greatest friends, here. In the last several weeks, their aforementioned expressions of love have reminded me of just that. It’s both funny and heart warming to think that just years ago, I actually prayed for genuine, ride or die and selfless friends. It was at a time that I felt as if a lot of those that I called friends didn’t have the same heart for me, and a time when I did not have any ‘true’ friends in my local vicinity. But, boy, has God answered in ways that have far exceeding my expectations. For lack of a better term, He weeded out the people who were less than the greatest influences with ease – just because I asked; He revealed to me the hearts of longterm friends and He gave me an amazing, new addition of friends – just because I asked.

All in all, I am grateful for my true, loving, lasting, fruitful relationships. And, as with each gift, comes the responsibility of stewarding over it well. To consistently be the friend that I wish to have and keep, is my goal, and to in turn, actively appreciate the gifts God has given me.

Some time ago, my college roomie, EE, shared with me practical ways that her Pastor encourages us to be the type of friend we’ve been called to be. These practices have influenced and blessed my life, and helped me to strive toward my goal. Therefore, as we ask and thank God for the meaningful relationships that we have, let’s be motivated to continually be the following kind of friend.

Note: These tips have been loosely adapted from the Pastor’s guidance.

  • Committed – There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24 (NLT)
  • Confidential – A gossip can’t be trusted with a secret, but someone of integrity won’t violate a confidence. Proverbs 11:13 (MSG)
  • Honest – An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy. Proverbs 27:5-6 (NLT); An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship. Proverbs 24:26 (NLT)
  • Edifying – Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)
  • Enhancing – As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17 (NLT)
  • Prayerful – …Pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
  • ForgivingLove prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9 (NLT)
  • Loving & Selfless – There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 (NLT)

To each of my friends chosen family, you are literally an answer to my prayer. Thank you for exactly who you are and the role you play in my life. I pray that I am the friend to you, that you are to me. Love you mucho.

…Happy Independence Day

freedom

The United States observes today, July 4th, as our Independence Day. My prayer is that we all reflect on the gift God’s given us to be able to claim our freedom everyday (Galatians 5:1). See how Jesus Be A reflected our freedom in Christ in 2012 here.