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Let Freedom Ring!

I’m not sure how long you have been walking with the Lord but we’ve been besties for 40 years – and I am always astounded at his relentless pursuit, acceptance & love for his kids! At his constant desire to keep us walking forward to live FREE in every area and season of life.

I was chatting with one of my long-time friends a few months ago about how it seems we finally get free in one area and then God turns around and asks us to walk in freedom in another area - year after year – season after season – getting free of one darn idol or issue after the other...that we didn’t even know was a problem in our lives.

It’s like we just get free in one area and then ‘oh my gosh’, all of a sudden, our eyes are opened to another way we need to be free. We must be really messed up humans! I wish I could tell you that I wake up every morning with a smile radiating from my face, with faith filling my heart, that my mind thinks only thoughts that line up with God’s word, and my mouth says all the right things with just the right tones... but that’s not my reality.

I am in a constant battle in all these areas. In fact last summer on our way driving home from vacation, Rob and I were discussing some of our goals for this coming fall and year... and it was awesome!! We were connecting – it was beautiful… But then it was my turn to drive and he got irritated because I wanted to stop and get a Starbucks, so I wouldn’t fall asleep. Being a typical male, his irritation stemmed from the fact that he didn’t want to go ‘out of our way’ because he was on a mission to get home. But seriously, we were in no hurry at all, what’s an extra 15 min? Come on!! Anyhow, he did take me to Starbucks – but I could tell he was NOT happy.

So when I got out of the car to go in, I had a talk with myself that ‘no matter how much of a stinker he was acting like, or how irritated he still was when I got back in the car, I was going to be a kind human, a loving wife, just swallow my pride and deal with it.

As you probably have figured out – that DID NOT happen – I got in the drivers seat, looked over at him, and there he was in the passengers seat with his earphones on... basically pouting. So... I gently pulled one of the ear buds out of his ears and just went off. It was terrible. I said all kinds of stupid things I wish I didn’t say. But I just thought it was ridiculous how big of a deal he was making this! Normally, he likes to take a walk to get a hold of himself before he says too much - but this time – he was trapped – he couldn’t get away so he said stupid stuff back... at one point he asked to stop and let him out of the car and at another point, I asked to get out... it was a doozy. (Do you feel better about yourself now?)

Of course we apologized... and still love each other and it’s all good! But I told you that story to illustrate that we all need FREEDOM! LIVING A FREE LIFE is hard and it’s a journey we will be on the rest of our lives. We all need freedom in different areas, at different times. Sometimes we have to keep working on the same area over and over... ‘hello LAURA with your mouth!’ We all WANT to live free... but struggle to do so.

The great news is: Galatians 5:1 (msg) says, “Christ has set us free to live a free life!” Jesus died on the cross to set us free from sin and death, from sickness and lack, from every bondage, from anything that holds us back, so we can live free! 

Of course the million-dollar question is: ‘How do we really LIVE FREE?’ We’d need books and seminars and eons of time to adequately answer this question and dig into this subject, but just to whet your appetite.

I took a little survey from some of my closest friends asking what the top 3 things are that help them live free and here’s what they said:

  • Routine

    Stick with what you know works for you
  • Laugh

    Don’t take life or yourself too seriously
  • Exercise

    Get those toxins out
  • Nature 

    Get out and enjoy God’s creation                                    
  • Balance

    Of grace with yourself and asking God ‘to search me and see if there is any offensive way in me!’
  • Surrender

    Stay in a trusting - dependent – love filled – ‘have your way in my life’- relationship with God.
  • Perspective Shift

    Perspective is the only thing that changes results without changing the facts – "Be grateful for what you do have instead of focusing on what you don’t have!"
  • Daily Quiet Time

    Worship, reading the Bible and speaking God’s promises, praying, journaling, gratitude, sharing your faith.
  • Relationships

    Accountability + increases the joys & reduces the burdens

ALL of these ideas are fantastic tools to help us LIVE FREE! My guess is that if we all participate in a few more of these practices... we will live with a whole lot more freedom! 

God Our Father, Will Always Find You

This is the story of a girl who is often lost but always found…. When I was a little girl, around age 5 or 6, my family and I were traveling and along the journey we stopped at a gas station. I was a curious kid filled with wonder, so everything to me was an adventure including this ordinary trip to the store. Naturally, I began to explore; leaving my parents and siblings in the dust. After a while I finally decided to look up and to my dismay, my family was nowhere in sight. My whole world started to shift as I realized I had wandered too far. I made my way to the front of the store and sat on the curb in defeat. At that moment, I looked up and I saw my dad running towards me with open arms and heart on his sleeve. He couldn’t be more thrilled that he found his daughter, it was a beautiful reunion.

If you have attended Shoreline for more than a year – then you’ve heard my dad preach this story a little differently, but this is the way I see it. My dad has never stopped finding me. I am so blessed to have the earthly father that I do. This story is the first example of me losing myself in the world, but it certainly wasn’t the last. I have lived a life filled with satisfying my curiosities and I have lived a life filled with grace meeting me at every turn.

In case all of you haven’t heard, here is a little bit of my story… During my college years I found myself struggling with addiction. How I got there is irrelevant, but like I said before I was a curious girl and nonetheless ended up with a severe dependence on drugs and alcohol. I was up to my neck in shame. Life was pointless, I never attempted to take my life but I definitely wished I didn’t exist. Once again I found myself sitting on a curb in defeat and just like before my dad came to find me.

I woke up one morning to a letter from him. With the utmost grace and compassion he revealed to me a gut feeling he wasn’t able to shake. Without any condemnation he told me that if I needed help, all I needed to do was say the word and he would be there. You know what happened next – right?… there was a beautiful reunion. I was so ready to be found. This is the kind of dad I have.

I know right? I have a pretty amazing dad… But let me be the first to tell you, so do you. My dad is only human, and he scores pretty high on that scale but still he is only a man. What I didn’t tell you, is that he actually left that store without me. He made it half way up the street when he realized that he was traveling with one less kid. It’s all good now, we laugh about it often and it makes for a really good story, but can I tell you something? God will never forget you, and he will always find you. His love never quits.

Maybe you haven’t had the best earthly father and maybe there is even pain surrounding the word “dad’. But just as real as your pain, there is real a God, a father that is greater than your hurts. Let him find you. Rest in the reality that you are completely, in every way his child and he is your father.

- Danielle Koke

Be Her Freedom

There was a Samaritan woman in the Bible who was living a pretty messed up life. One day she encountered Jesus at a well, and her whole world changed. Jesus accepted her in the middle of her bondage. He valued her in spite of her sin. He forgave her, loved her, and set her free to the core of her being; so much so, she recognized he was the Messiah.

He was the one she had heard about who could save her.

In her day, it was unheard of for Jews to associate with Samaritan’s. And for her personally, she picked a time of day to draw water where she was unlikely to encounter anyone. She didn’t want attention at the well. She just wanted to do her business there and be on her way. To her surprise, Jesus was there at the well resting. And not only was he resting, he wanted to carry on a very personal conversation with her. That was a divine appointment for her that day, a chance encounter with a strange man who turned out to be the Messiah. She was so excited about how JESUS set her FREE – she dropped her buckets and ran and told the entire village what Jesus had done for her.

The people were intrigued. They wanted to know for themselves if he was truly the Messiah as she said, so they went and found Jesus. In John 4:42 we see their response. They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Can you believe it! ONE woman who got set free – set a whole village free!

In the same way, when we get FREE – we have the potential to set everyone around us FREE!

That’s because, free people – free people!

We might live thousands of years later, but we girls haven’t changed much. When something good happens in our lives, we can’t hold back from talking about it – proclaiming it – sharing it! In fact, it’s one of our best character traits – the gift of gab. Whether it’s a pair of shoes we found on sale, or our kids who won a swim competition, or how Jesus set us free in some area – we feel compelled to tell our friends!

There is absolutely nothing on earth more exciting or rewarding than getting free and then using our freedom story to help others get FREE! All around us are women, just like us, longing for freedom.

Perhaps they don’t even know they are in chains, they just don’t feel content or joyful. Perhaps they do acknowledge their pain, but they don’t know how to find healing. We are set free for HER – to BE HER FREEDOM!

God has a divine appointment for you here in this season.

He has something he wants to reveal to you, something personal, something that will cause you to experience the depths of his love and grace. God has a plan to set you free FROM all that is holding you back, and free TO live with joy and purpose.

SHE LIVES FREE! Just as the Samaritan woman did, let’s use our freedom story to bring others along so they too can find freedom. Please join me – let’s get free together and BE HER FREEDOM!

- Laura