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!

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

Read more of Toni’s blog posts here!

Stinking Thinking: Anxiety

Stinking Thinking: Anxiety

Stinking Thinking: Anxiety

Philippians 4:6-7 and Matthew 6:25-26, 31 and 33

Philippians 4:6
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication (humbly asking) with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:25-26, 31, and 33
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not your life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather in barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.”

Stinking Thinking refers to the negative thoughts that torment us especially when we are HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired; thoughts such as a distorted view of God and self, negative thinking, justification, fear, and anxiety. We will address each of these topics so we can discern between the lies we have believed over the years and replace them with God’s truth. Our goal is to equip you so you can have victory in these areas.

I become anxious when I negatively project into the future without God in it. When I do this, I feel weak, hopeless, and discouraged. My head and eyes are cast down and I feel like giving up. But when I recognize I am looking inward, then I remind myself that my help comes from the Lord and I look up to heaven. God has promised us in His Word, that He will meet all of our needs. Are you not of more value than many sparrows? But unfortunately, I did know Him nor did I trust Him, as a result I have made some very bad decisions because I did not trust Him with my future.

I thought I could minimize my anxiety by trying to control everyone and everything. But I realized this was impossible to do and it was very frustrating and emotionally draining. I used to jump in to fix and rescue people because I would become anxious about all the what ifs. I was sinning against God by not trusting Him with my marriage, my children, my business, and ministry. I remember in my journaling, God telling me, “Get out of my way you are preventing me from working.” IN ALL CAPS, TOO. God was not happy with me. God showed me that my lack of trust in Him was a sin and putting others before Him was an idol. I repented and turned away from my sin and turned to God and now I am not anxious about anything, because I know God will provide for all my needs and my family’s needs as well. I am finally free.

Let me ask you, what are you trying to control?

Are you feeling anxious?

 

Blessings,

Toni

Read more of Toni’s blog posts here!

Stinking Thinking: Justification—Justifying My Sin

Stinking Thinking: Justification—Justifying My Sin

Stinking Thinking: Justification—Justifying My Sin

Genesis 3: 8-13 and Proverbs 11:14b

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Stinking Thinking refers to the negative thoughts that torment us especially when we are HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired; thoughts such as a distorted view of God and self, negative thinking, justification, fear, and anxiety. We will address each of these topics so we can discern between the lies we have believed over the years and replace them with God’s truth. Our goal is to equip you so you can have victory in these areas.

I define justification, more specifically justifying sin, as the belief that I am making a right or reasonable decision, when in fact the opposite is true. I have heard almost every excuse to justify a woman’s choice for an abortion; I had several myself. I allowed the enemy to isolate me and to lie to me, just like he did to Adam and Eve when they ate the forbidden fruit and sinned against God. As a result of my sin, I rushed to make my decision and not ask for help or discuss it with anyone. It’s the one thing we as woman don’t ask for help with, why is that? We talk to our friends or family about other decisions we make, but why not this one? I believe the enemy immediately swoops in and starts flooding our minds with all kinds of chaos, coupled with lies, fear, and anxiety. This combination is overwhelming to our minds and we scramble to stop the noise in our heads so we can return to normal. I did not have my abortion until my second trimester, but I had my mind made up immediately I was going to have an abortion. I had to wait months to have my procedure because I didn’t follow protocol and ate before my first scheduled abortion so I had to reschedule. I had to make 2 abortion appointments! Perhaps God was giving me a way to escape, but I wasn’t seeking His counsel. Instead I felt justified in my decision to move forward with the abortion.

The reasons I used to justify my abortion were the following: I believed the lie that my baby would be severely deformed because I was doing heavy drugs, drinking excessively, and smoking 2-3 packs of cigarettes per day. I was still in college in Ohio with no job and I thought I can’t have a child now! I believed the father of the child would leave me to raise the child on my own. But the biggest reason was that I was afraid to tell my parents. I regret that I did not have the courage to admit to my parents that I made a mistake. I never gave them an opportunity to have a say in my decision because I took matters into my own hands. My fear and pride prevented me from telling the truth, I wish I would have told them, because I could have my 40-year-old son with me today. But I cannot go back and change my past, all I can do is learn from it and understand why this broken frightened woman could not tell her parents the truth. I remember when after watching the movie, “Unplanned”, I was at my laundry room sink and the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart, “Every child in the womb is mine,” tears filled my eyes and I replied, “I know Lord and I robbed you of the baby in my womb and I am so sorry.”

Sin is never justified. Looking back at our first parents, Adam and Eve. We see they pointed their finger at someone else to justify their sin before God. The exchange is quite interesting and we use the same tactics today. In Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit, God is calling to them, “Where are you?” God called Adam by his name wanting him to confess his sin but instead he justified his sin and accused the woman who God gave him, and Eve likewise accusing the serpent. Instead of taking responsibility for their sins, they blamed someone else. Their pride prevented them from humbling themselves before God and repenting of their sin. My pride prevented me from asking my parents and God for help in my abortion decision. Instead I listened to the devil, and I suffered for years as a result of my decision.

We are here to help you make life affirming God glorifying decisions in your lives. Proverbs 11:14b, “In the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Please reach out if you are struggling with making good decisions.

May I ask you a few questions?

What were your reasons for your abortion(s), that at the time you felt were justified?

How do you see your decision-making process now?

What were the lies you believed?

What is the truth that God has shown you?

 

Blessings,

Toni

Read more of Toni’s blog posts here!

Stinking Thinking: Negative Thoughts

Stinking Thinking: Negative Thoughts

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 and Philippians 4:8-9

Stinking Thinking refers to the negative thoughts that torment us especially when we are HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired) or have thoughts such as a distorted view of God and self, negative thinking, justification, fear, and anxiety. We will address each of these topics so we can discern between the lies we have believed over the years and replace them with God’s truth. Our goal is to equip you so you can have victory in these areas.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God for pulling down of strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself above the knowledge of God, brining every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

Philippians 4:8-9 NKJV

“Finally, brethren whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received, and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with.”

All of us know a person who can suck all the air out of a room because every word that comes out of their mouth is negative. Have you ever experienced that before? It is emotionally draining to be in the company of a negative person for a long period of time, before we too are dragged down into the pit with them. Are you plagued with negative thoughts?

The enemy is continually trying to trip us up, because his goal is to get us to focus on the negative things, instead of all the things we should be thankful for. Do you have a gratitude list? If you don’t, I suggest you do one today, and write down all the things you are thankful for. When you feel a negative thought coming on, just get out your list and remind yourself, God is still on the throne and He is in control and He is aware of everything that is going on in the world. He uses all of it for His purpose and plans in all of our lives. We must remember God is good all the time, and He is love, that is His character. He never changes, He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

The battlefield truly is the mind, that is where spiritual warfare starts and that’s where we have a choice to take it on or not. Right now, we are experiencing a worldwide pandemic, many are fearful, but as believers we need to be seeking the Lord even more now, so we have His perspective on this. What are you focusing on now? Do you feel peaceful and hopeful or depressed and hopeless?

I have a list of Biblical truths that I read over every morning to remind myself that I am adopted and loved by God. This is how I put my armor on to protect myself from the fiery darts of the enemy.

Who I am in Christ, to Combat Rejection.

I am worthy.

I am loved.

I am accepted.

I am adopted.

I am confident and competent.

I am a child of God.

I have the Holy Spirit within me.

I am victorious in Christ.

I have a home in heaven.

Nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord.

I am valued by God, I am His precious child, I have a home in heaven.

I will fear no evil!

When I read this every morning it protects my mind from the lies and negative thoughts that the enemy wants me to focus on. When I don’t read my list, I am vulnerable to the enemy’s devices; I am impatient, unkind, and easily frustrated. Lord You are showing me that today in fact, I must make time with You each morning; You are my priority, reading Your Word daily is food for my soul, praying is a time for me to hear from you and to talk to you, and journaling is a time when I go even deeper with You seeking your wisdom and wanting so much to hear from you to lead and guide me in my life and in all I do, because I want my life to be pleasing to you and I want you to be glorified through it. Thank you, Lord, for reminding me and convicting me of that today.

Father in heaven, I pray for each woman on this call and for the women on-line reading this blog. I pray they will seek you with their whole heart. Show them how much you love them in a very real and tangible way. Protect them from the lies and negative thoughts of the enemy and help them to focus on the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. Renew their minds daily as they read Your Word. Heal them and bind up their wounds as only You can, for you only, are their Mighty Counselor and Great Physician. Meet them where they are and lead them by Your righteous right hand. Forgive all of their sins and heal them Lord. Thank you for Your love, mercy, grace, and compassion upon them. We pray this in the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Do you struggle with negative thoughts?

How often are you plagued with these thoughts?

Is there a person or situation that causes you to start thinking negatively?

What have you done to help protect yourself from this kind of negative thinking?

Blessings,

Toni

Read more of Toni’s blog posts here!