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Freedom to Change

DowntonAbbeyI started watching the first season of Downton Abbey on Netflix. If you’re not familiar with the show, you can read more about it here: Downton Abbey.

While watching a scene with Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes, I paused to write down something Mr. Carson told Mrs. Hughes. He said, “What would be the point of living if we didn’t let life change us?”

His words of wisdom struck a cord with me, especially since I marked 2013 as my Year of Freedom

Let’s face it–all of us have faced life-changing events in our lives. Whether it’s changing our relationship status, losing or gaining family members, new employment, or even dreams coming true. Those events prevent us from remaining stagnant.

Imagine if life didn’t change. Imagine if we woke up at the same time every morning, wore the same outfit, ate the same breakfast, styled our hair the same way, went to the same job…yawn, just writing that sentence is boring.

Change is so necessary to embrace the blessings God has in store for us.

I have friends who are resistent to change. One hesitates to try new foods. Another resists visiting new places.

Often, fear is a reason why many are afraid of change–fear of the unknown. And I totally get that.

Before Thanksgiving, I did some devotional reading and came across a verse in Psalms 112:7-8 that reads, “He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.” 

That verse struck a cord. You see, I struggle with bad news, especially when things are going so well. I guess you can say I can be an optimistic pessimist at times. When things are going so well, a tiny thought in the back of my mind wonders when the good will come to an end. 

I can’t live my life in a bubble, hoping and praying nothing bad happens. 

All of our life events–even the bad ones–change and shape us into the people we are today. God can use those dark times to shine His Light. When our hearts are steadfast and we put our trust in Him, He will guide us during those life-changing events. 

After all, life happens with or without our consent. I encourage you to find freedom in living–freedom to face the future with boldness and courage, freedom to trust, freedom to embrace God’s blessings without fear, freedom to change.

Your Turn: Are you a Downton Abbey fan? Do you have a favorite character? How has life changed you? How do you face the future?

Lisa Jordan
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One Word for 2013: Freedom

In the debuting hours of 2013, I had a dream. A group of people who have been in and out of my life had gathered for some event that I don’t remember. Just that singing was involved. That part of the dream stayed with me.  

We were about to sing a song about God. Someone asked if we were singing about God or a god. I stopped everything and pronounced, “There is only one God. We may have other gods in our lives, but we must embrace the one true God with freedom.”

Since 2009, I’ve chosen one word to focus on for that particular year:

  • 2009–Change
  • 2010–New Opportunities
  • 2011–Hope
  • 2012–Believe

Each of those words builds upon the previous year’s word. As I look back, I’ve seen growth in myself as a Christian, a wife, a mother, a childcare educator, a writer. Every area of my life has been affected. 

Around the beginning of fall, I began pondering my word for 2013. I had just bought Debbie Macomber’s One Perfect Word. Then, in November, Beth Vogt hosted a My Book Therapy Monday Night Chat about choosing One Word for 2013. Rachel Olsen visited the chat and mentioned her new book coming out in December called My One Word (co-written with Mike Ashcraft) 

When I attended the ACFW conference in September, my favorite workshop was hosted by Allen Arnold and Jim Rubart about writing with freedom. As I pondered my books to write in 2013 for my Lakeside series, freedom became a core theme.

I felt God was guiding me in that direction, so for 2013, I will be focusing on Freedom. Freedom from past regrets. Freedom from bridled guilt. Freedom from fears that hold me back from change. Freedom to embrace what God offers me. Freedom to be His daughter with abandon. 

During yesterday’s devotional reading (At the Feet of Jesus), I read Joanna’s words:

“Maybe you’ve discovered, as I have, that most New Year’s resolutions have little effect on day-to-day life except to add a burden of guilt and a feeling of failure. Continually striving, yet never arriving.” She added verses in Hebrews for reflection. 

I wrote out Hebrews 4:16 in my prayer journal: “Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

What a great verse to celebrate the debut of 2013!

Whether you choose to make New Year’s resolutions, choose One Word to focus on, or do neither, remember God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, but one of courage. As you plan out your year, consider how you will embrace what He has to offer. Approach Him with confidence and know He is with you always.

Your Turn: Did you choose One Word for 2013? If so, how did you determine that word? How will you use that word to gude you through 2013?

Lisa Jordan
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What Does Freedom in Christ Mean to You?

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1 NIV

The United States will celebrate Independence Day on Wednesday. To those of us who live in the States, it’s a day filled with parades, picnics, fireworks and good times with families and friends. The day celebrates our freedom. We are an independent country.

Christians around the world celebrate freedom on a daily basis–freedom in Christ.

What does this mean?

God loved us so much He sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins. In the Old Testament, when sins occurred, blood needed to be shed, so animals were sacrificed. 

With Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Old Testament ways were no longer necessary. Jesus paid the price for us. 

Humbling.

Being a Christian means being freed from our old lives of sin and being reborn to a new life in Christ. Many people think being a Christian restricts us with a lot of rules and regulations and “thou shall nots.” That’s not it at all.

Our time on Earth is temporary. 

Upon our deaths, we will receive the consequences of our actions. By accepting Jesus as our Savior, believing in only one God who created the heavens and the Earth, by confessing our sins and asking forgiveness, we will have an eternal home in Heaven. If we choose to continue a sinful lifestyle, the Bible tells us the wages of sin is death.

Just like the Declaration of Independence frees the United States from British rule, Jesus frees us from a sinful death through His sacrifice on the cross. And we need to celebrate that daily…fireworks are optional.

 

Your Turn: What does freedom in Christ mean to you?

 

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*Photo credits:

  • Statue of Liberty photo ©Scott Jordan 2009 
  • Fireworks photo ©Patrick Jordan 2008
  • Light cross photo ©Mitchell Jordan 2011
Lisa Jordan
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