Over 20 years ago, I began attending CedarCreek Church. I didn’t volunteer, and I didn’t belong to a Group. I was not connected at all to CedarCreek, or Jesus. I was experiencing many of the “isms” Lead Pastor Ben spoke about last weekend, especially pessimism. I was a slave to negative thinking. In short, I was a mess.
I decided I needed to find a new church, so my daughters and I visited a church near our home. The service began with praise and worship. I still remember several singers who were singing and jumping around out of sequence. It was different from what we were used to and felt chaotic. All of a sudden, a woman was running up and down the aisles waving a banner and screaming: “He paid the price for freedom.” I was shocked! I looked to my right at my oldest daughter, who can be very serious, and her eyes looked like they were going to bug out of her head. Then I looked to my left at my jovial daughter, and she was laughing hysterically. I visited that church looking for hope and peace, but I left feeling overwhelmed and confused.
Jesus led me back to CedarCreek. The next week, I spoke to Pastor Rick Dushane before the service and set up an appointment to meet with him the next day. We spoke for over two hours. He helped me so much. He stressed the importance of getting connected and suggested I join Kathy and Rick Shortridge’s Group. I learned about and experienced Jesus in that Group. I was loved and accepted by my fellow Christ-followers, and eventually, I went on to lead my own Group.
Since then, God has blessed my life in so many ways. He continues to change me as I spend time with him and other Christians. I am overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for all the amazing people who loved and supported me along my journey. Most of all, I am so grateful for God’s grace. He met me where I was and changed me. He handled my mess and filled me with his love, peace, and joy. I am no longer a slave to fear or inadequacy. I am God’s beloved daughter.
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we can call him, “Abba, Father.”
I will never forget attending that church or the lady who was running around yelling, “He paid the price for freedom.” She was so right. Jesus paid the price for our freedom! Looking back, that event was the beginning of the amazing, life-changing journey God planned for me, and I am forever changed because of it.
What are you a slave to? What do you need to surrender to Jesus? How did Jesus pay the price for your freedom?
Jesus, I praise you for your amazing grace. You love me so much that you are willing to meet me in my mess and change me. Please fill me with your love, joy, peace, and hope. You paid the price for my freedom. Praise God, I am free. Free to love you and others. Free to let you work through me. Free to fulfill the purpose you have for my life. You are such an awesome God. Amen.
This post was written by Marsha Raymond. Marsha has been happily married to her husband, Jeff, for 30 years. They have two grown sassy and fearless daughters. She loves spending time with God, her family and friends, reading, riding bicycles, yoga and walking.
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