Freedom in Christ

Freedom in Christ

John 8: 31-32, 34-36

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him. “If you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

Quote from Ravi Zaccharias, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”

We were all born with a sin nature, because of Adam and Eve’s fall in the garden, when Eve took the fruit and ate it and gave it to her husband to eat also, that’s when sin entered into the world. Sin is destructive and we are all servants to sin. Because of our sin nature we are proud, selfish, liars, disobedient, drunkards, and murderers, etc. We do not have the ability to stop this destructive cycle until we meet the only one who has never sinned, His name is Jesus our Savior and Redeemer.

What does freedom in Christ mean? Freedom in Christ means I no longer belong to Satan and I am no longer a slave to sin, doing things that are ungodly. I have a new nature, the Bible says when I confess and repent (turn) of my sins and believe in my heart that Jesus is the Son of God, that I am born again. I am now born of the Spirit of God. I am adopted into God’s family. When I become born again the Holy Spirit now indwells me. I now have the ability with the help of the Holy Spirit to make good God glorifying decisions.

Jesus’s death on the cross paid my sin debt, He was my propitiation, my substitute, He paid the penalty for all my sins and the sins of the whole world when He died on the cross 2000 years ago. Because of His death for me, I am now blameless before God, my sins have been covered by the blood of the Lamb, all God sees is Christ righteousness. God rescued me from the clutches of the devil, who once held me captive, and placed me in the palm of His hand. I now belong to God.

As a believer in Jesus I have freedom from the Great White Throne judgment, which is for those who do not know Jesus as their personal Savior. There is a literal place called hell that was created for the devil and his angels. It grieves the Father that any one will be in hell. This is the reason I am sharing this with you today, it is God’s desire that no one should perish but all have eternal life, I am giving you this information now so if you are unsure of your relationship with Jesus now is the time to get that secured. I am available to talk, please email me at arwsg4u2@gmail.com, and we will discuss this further so you can know for sure you have eternal life and that when you die you will be in heaven with Jesus.

If you are a believer you stand before the judgement seat of Christ, the Bema Seat, you are judged based upon things done on earth good or bad. You will receive rewards or you will have rewards taken away. You are guaranteed a home in heaven forever. A place where there is no more sorrow or death or crying, where God will wipe away the tears from our eyes.

I have freedom to live my life in a new way. Instead of being selfish and prideful I am a servant of God, I am His hands and feet in this world, to minister His love, grace, and compassion to all around me. I am now more concerned for others needs than my own. The least I can do is serve Him for what He has done for me. I have a new life, a new purpose, a new family and a home in heaven when I die. I also we see my sweet Joseph my son who I aborted 40 years ago. What a sweet day that will be, I can’t wait to kiss my son’s cheek and to hug his neck.

 

Discussion Questions

Have you ever confessed and repented (turned away) from your sins to God and do you believe that Jesus is the sinless Lamb of God that died on the cross for your sins?

If you are unsure of your relationship with Jesus, please email me so we can talk in greater detail.

 

God Bless you,

Toni

Read more of Toni’s blog posts here!

Fleeing from God

Fleeing from God

Jonah 1-2

When Jonah decided to go against God’s plan for him, he took a ship to Tarshish, the opposite direction of Nineveh, to flee from the presence of God. God continued to pursue Jonah but it was impossible for Jonah to get away from God.

God sent a great wind and a mighty tempest so that the ship was almost broken. (Jonah 1:4) Even the mariners were afraid, men who were used to the sea and storms, but they knew this one was different. Jonah tells the mariners that he is a Hebrew and that he fears the Lord, the God of heaven and he tells them to throw him over board, so that the sea would become calm. (Jonah 1:8-12) The mariners were exceedingly fearful, but God in His mercy prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah and he stayed in the belly of the fish for 3 days and 3 nights. God had to isolate Jonah to get his attention, finally he cried out to God, (Jonah 2) and God rescued him and Jonah did go to Nineveh and all were saved.

When I think back at my abortion, I see that I too was fleeing from God. I isolated myself from Him and my family. I allowed the enemy to lie to me and tell me, “Your parents will never accept you and the baby, it’s a big mistake. Take care of it now before anyone finds out.”

God had pursued me also and he gave me a way to escape. the first time I went for my abortion, I was partying the night before. I was hung over and needed food, so I stopped on the way, but when I got to the clinic, they said I could not have the abortion because I ate. When I think back to that day, I drove myself and I was all alone. what was I thinking? That’s the point, I wasn’t thinking clearly. Whenever I have made decisions based on fear, they have never been good ones. But I didn’t allow this bump in the road to stop me from having the abortion. I bought into the lie that my child would be deformed because of my heavy drinking and drug usage. This was something I had to do; I didn’t see any other options.

I finally did have my abortion on December 10, 1980 and at that moment everything changed. My heart was broken, my body was broken and my spirit was broken. It was the worst decision I ever made in my life. My heart goes out to you precious sisters who were forced by someone else to have an abortion against your will.

I struggled with depression, crying episodes, feelings of isolation and loneliness. I still continued with the drinking and drugs and thoughts of suicide started entering my mind. I just wanted the pain to go away. Then one glorious day I heard the gospel for the first time on January 2,1994 and in 4 weeks I had given my heart to the Lord and asked Him to forgive all my sins and to heal by broken heart. From that moment and going forward I will never have to feel alone again. I have a Savior who will never leave me nor forsake me. Thank you, Jesus.

God has a beautiful plan and purpose for your life too. In Jeremiah 29:11, “FOR I KNOW THE THOUGHTS I HAVE FOR YOU, SAYS THE LORD, THOUGHTS OF PEACE AND NOT OF EVIL, TO GIVE YOU A FUTURE AND A HOPE.” God can turn the darkest times in your life into something beautiful for His honor and glory.

I pray this blesses your heart.

Blessings,
Toni

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Less Control & More Trust

Less Control & More Trust

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding: In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.

Who or what are you trusting in: yourself, another person, an institution, or God?

I learned at a very young age to take control of every area of my life, that unfortunately was not a good thing. A 12-year-old is not mature enough to take on such a responsibility. I controlled my voice, I did not use it, I controlled how I performed in school, sports, and in anything I set my mind to do by practicing until I could do something perfectly. When I was older, I controlled my weight by taking speed and diet pills and exercising excessively. I controlled what others perceived about me by wearing a mask to hide my true feeling and identity.

Relinquishing control was not a comfortable thing for me, because I didn’t trust others not to hurt me. I became very self-sufficient and proficient in all I did. I had a huge wall around my heart that no one was going to penetrate, not even God. I grew up with a distorted view of God; He was angry and He would punish me if I was out of line, this is what I heard and saw as a child. Church was dark, they spoke in another language, it was not warm and welcoming. So, I attributed these attributes to God. I felt He was dark and harsh and unloving; nothing could be further from the truth.

I had everything under control so I thought, until my life and health started spiraling out of control, I couldn’t stuff anymore and my health was failing, my marriage was on the brink of divorce, and I didn’t know what to do. I was plagued with suicidal thoughts because I just couldn’t deal with my depression and self-loathing anymore. This was not a life it was a prison; I was just surviving I needed someone to take my pain away, someone I could trust to love and accept me for who I was. Did such a person exist?

Dear One I want you to know that there is such a person, His name is Jesus, He is the only one who will love you right where you are, He will never hurt you or force you to do something against your will. He is kind, loving, dependable, faithful, merciful, forgiving, and He is your Savior and friend. Why not relinquish control of your life to God, honestly what do you have to lose at this point?

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.

 

Blessings,

Toni

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Boundaries—Why Are They So Important?

Boundaries—Why Are They So Important?

Psalm 34:18, Jeremiah 29:11, John 3:16

Personal boundaries, as defined by Psychology today, “Are the limits we set with other people, which indicate what we will accept and what we consider unacceptable behavior towards us. To know our boundaries comes from a healthy view of ourselves.” When that view is distorted due to emotional trauma as children (whether we did not get the love and care from our family which is a Type A Trauma or we were sexually, emotionally, or physically abused as children which is Type B Trauma). All these experiences as children cause us to have a distorted view of ourselves, God, and others and it prevents us from maturing into healthy stable adults. (Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You, A Life Model Book)

This distorted view of ourselves especially those of us who have had abortions opens up the door to all kinds of unhealthy and destructive behavior. God created women to love and nurture their children and then we did the opposite. Our hopes and dreams as young girls are dashed, and we are now open to all kinds of unhealthy destructive coping mechanisms and ungodly behavior to deal with our pain. Our very souls are tormented and we feel desperately alone, depressed and even suicidal.

So how can we stop this destructive cycle of accepting and enabling unhealthy behavior from others? First, we must realize we have a Savior and a friend who is the lover of our soul, and His name is Jesus. He is the only one that can heal our broken spirits, our broken bodies and our broken minds. Psalm 34:18 ESV “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves the crushed in spirit.” He is the only one that can take the disaster we have made of our lives and restore order and peace. And He alone can give us a new hope, new dreams, a new purpose, and a new life. Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

In childhood, I did not learn what healthy boundaries look like. I became a people pleaser at a very young age and as a result I allowed people to take advantage of me and treat me very poorly and I never said a word. I wondered why I never truly felt loved by others; what was it? I was allowing all kinds of unhealthy behavior because I didn’t love and respect myself, especially after my abortion. I now despised myself. I didn’t understand why others didn’t treat me with love, kindness and compassion. I realized they cannot give what they do not have. But that took many decades for me to come to that understanding. I also recognized that they did the best they could with what they had and I released them into God’s Hands and started praying for and forgave them.

We all have our wounds and issues from our past, which causes us to be self-consumed and blinded, and we cannot see how we are hurting others closest to us. Only God can give us awareness and the courage to stop accepting unacceptable behavior and establish healthy boundaries. For the first time, I used my voice to explain my boundaries and insist they be respected. There was some push back but I was not going to waiver. At first, putting up boundaries is hard to do. But as God heals us, we get stronger, bolder and more courageous, and we no longer want to just exist, we want to experience the abundant life Jesus came to give us. The first step in recovery is recognizing my life is unmanageable and I need God to help me.

Dear One, I want you to know that God loves you so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross for you. (John 3:16) Have you received this gift of love and forgiveness from God? If not you can do that today? If you do know the Lord, then ask Him to help you to love yourself and to have courage to put up boundaries and no longer accept unhealthy behavior. He will help you if you ask Him, He did it for me and I know He will do it for you too.

 

 

Blessings,

Toni

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The Deception of Selfishness

The Deception of Selfishness

Genesis 3:6, Luke 1:38, 2 Corinthians 12:9, and Hebrews 12:2

Selfishness is being consumed with thoughts regarding self and not being concerned about others and what the consequences of our actions would have on another person. Sin is pleasurable for a season, but it is very destructive to us and those who love and care for us.

Where did selfishness start? It started with Adam and Eve in the Garden, in Genesis chapter 3:6 we read, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.” Eve’s desire to be like God knowing good and evil caused her to become self-absorbed and only thinking about what it could do for her and not what the sin would do to her relationship with God or her husband. She had no idea that her sin would plunge all of mankind into sin, despair, and death. Perhaps if she would have thought for one second prior to taking the fruit, wait God told me not to do this, He loves me and has provided everything I need. Why would I go against Him? The devil caused her to doubt God’s love. Instead she felt she was entitled, it was her right to this, and God was holding back something good from her. But the truth was He loved her so much He was protecting her, because He knew the destruction that would be done as a result of her choice. Just like with us when we had our abortions. God gave us a way to escape, but no, we had our minds made up and we were doing this! All the while His heart was breaking for us because he knew our very souls would be shattered into a million pieces and we would be devastated and, we would struggle with our choice for many years to come. God allows us to make our own choices just like He did with Eve. God wants us to choose to love Him and obey Him.

I had a conversation with a pro-choice woman, and as we were talking, she said how much she loves children and that they are a gift. And I thought, how can she love children and still be pro-choice? Then it dawned on me that she has bought into the feminist ideology. The lie feminism tells women is, this is your body and your right to have an abortion. They do not want to be accountable to God, they want to be in control. They want to decide what is right or wrong for them and they want to be like God, just like Eve did. The world tells them whatever feels good, do it, you deserve it. They have put their selfish desires for control and have made themselves into little “g” gods, having control over their own bodies and destiny. They do not see that abortion is terminating a life. Instead they see it as self-serving and self-preservation and they are courageous for doing so. And they become angry when anyone tries to take their control away. Because deep down, they know it’s a baby, but they would rather sacrifice their child’s life for their selfish desires.

There is another woman in the Bible, who had a choice to be selfish or to obey God. Her name was Mary, the mother of Jesus. When she found herself with child from the Holy Spirit as an unwed teenager, she risked her very life because she should have been stoned, which was the law; or she would have been divorced from her betrothed Joseph. But instead she was courageous and said to the Angel in Luke 1:38, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” I pray we will look to Mary as our example, a woman of courage who loved and obeyed God, especially when it was hard, or inconvenient, or difficult; she never wavered. She showed us that God’s grace is sufficient and we can be victorious, if we keep our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.

Thinking back to your own abortion, how were you selfish?
In what ways are you now trusting God and wanting to obey Him?

 

Blessings,

Toni

Read more of Toni’s blog posts here!

Why Are Women Afraid to Share Their Abortion Secret

Why Are Women Afraid to Share Their Abortion Secret

Why are we fearful to share our abortion secret?
John 10:8-11

What is holding Christian women back from admitting this sin and coming forward to ask for healing? Why do women in leadership feel they cannot share they had an abortion? Will their ministries be less effective? I don’t think so. I truly believe when women in leadership come forward and admit this publicly, it gives the rest of the women sitting in the group or congregation, permission to come out and share as well.

The stats provided by Care Net tell us 4 out of 10 women identify as Christians and attend church at least once a month. These women are the first to have an abortion for fear of being found out. The enemy lies to them and tells them they have to take care of this quickly because they are a Pastor’s wife, or daughter, or they are in leadership; it has to be a secret and no one can find out. So, they quickly go to the abortion clinic and have an abortion. Afterwards they are a mess emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. This is wrong!!! The church and Christians should be the first ones to say we are here to help you, please do not terminate your child’s life because you made a mistake. There are other life affirming options available. That’s what the MLD course through Care Net does. It equips believers to come along side these women and men, to give them information about abortion and the life affirming alternatives, to pray with them, to share the Gospel with them, that Jesus died on the cross for them so they can have freedom, forgiveness of sins, and a new life; and to walk with them on this journey so they don’t feel all alone. This cycle of death in the church needs to stop and I pray Pastors and leaders’ eyes will be opened to this truth, and they will be willing to do something about it.

John 10:8-11 saysAll who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door, if anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come but to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

The enemy hates everything that God created, especially his most beautiful creation mankind, because we are created in His image and are given a living Spirit. God created us to have a relationship with Him. But He gave us a free will also. The enemy, since the beginning of time, in the garden has lied to us and caused us to doubt God’s Word and His love for us. When we as believers go against God’s best for us or break His laws, we sin. That’s when the struggle begins and the enemy then has a foothold in our lives. That’s where the church is now. The enemy has these women and men who have aborted their babies, in bondage, isolation, and torment. He wants them to keep this a secret, because he wants to prevent them from experiencing true peace with God, forgiveness of sins, and he certainly doesn’t want us, (those who have been healed from our past abortions) to tell others that there is hope and healing in Christ. More people need to hear the truth from us, I pray our voices will be louder than the enemy’s, so people can truly be set free.

How can we encourage Christian women sitting in our churches every Sunday to share their secret of abortion? I believe they must hear someone’s abortion story; they need to see a face associated with an Abortion Recovery Ministry or Bible Study. Then they can feel safe to come forward. But for some reason the church is hesitant to share this from the pulpit, I’m not sure why. I am praying that God will raise up bold and courageous leaders who have had an abortion, to step up and share with other women to encourage them to step out also.

Let me ask you, why did it take you so long to come forward to admit you had an abortion?

Tell me your story. What did God use to get you to step out and come forward for healing?

As a result of your healing what has God called you to do?

Will you join me to stop abortion in the church and come alongside other women to encourage them to break this cycle of death, in exchange for one that leads to life, freedom, and peace?

Blessings,

Toni