Through a Prison

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“In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel

Ephesians‬ ‭4:1‭ MSG‬‬

In light of this: God can do more than you can ask or imagine. 

In light of God’s ability, not your ability.

In light of God’s worthiness, not your worthiness.

In light of God’s power, not your power – RUN on the road God has called you to travel.

God has not called you to run on someone else’s road but your road. 

This is your journey, your family, your school, your job, your road. 

The road God has called you to travel has more to do with your character than your career- who He wants you to be rather than what he wants you to do for a living.

Paul’s road led him through prison but he did not see it as God’s failure but as an opportunity for God to use him where he was. He saw it as a part of his path.

Paul went to prison but did not stop there nor was he defined by it.

Paul’s identity was defined by his relationship to God through Jesus and by his passion to share that truth with everyone that crossed his path: guards, fellow prisoners, politicians and anyone else who God brought to him.

This is how you are to do it: anchor your identity in Jesus and share the good news of the gospel with every person who crosses your path. 

Who are the people you are surrounded by in your everyday life? 

This is who God wants to reach through you. This is who God wants to use you to encourage, love, and share the good news of the gospel with today.

Set your heart to love, your hands to serve and your feet to run your road empowered by God’s amazing grace. 

What is the Point?

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The point is to advance.

The word retreat is first and foremost a military term. It means to get off the battlefield, to quit fighting, back out and regroup.

In life it is better to lose the battle to win the war. In fact, fighting the battle when your exhausted, wounded and discouraged never works.

I didn’t necessarily feel like I was any of the above, but I used the opportunity to ask myself (well, ask God) the hard questions: How was I really doing?

The point of retreat is to advance. To grow, to gain territory, authority and move forward in your life with God.

“May God look you full in the face and make you prosper”. (Numbers 6:26 MSG)

The word for prosper in the original Hebrew is “shalom” and often translated as peace:

It means:
1) completeness, soundness, welfare, peace
a) completeness (in number)
b) safety, soundness (in body)
c) welfare, health, prosperity
d) peace, quiet, tranquillity, contentment
e) peace, friendship
1) of human relationships
2) with God especially in covenant relationship
f) peace (from war)
g) peace (as adjective)

When God looks you full in the face be prepared to be challenged. What will He challenge? God will challenge any area in your life where sin has grown like a wild weed that is chocking out the life out of your life.

I have come to treasure the gift of repentance.

There is no freedom without repentance. There is no freedom like the one that comes from recognizing your sin and being able to lay it down before God. There is no greater sense of peace than the one that comes the moment after receiving God’s forgiveness. There is no greater sense of purpose than accepting God’s power to make a 180 degree turn and change.

This doesn’t just happen once. It isn’t reserved only for “the first time” you recognize you are a sinner in need of salvation but is a privileged right of every child of God, no matter how long (or how little) you have walked with God. It is the ONE thing that keeps your relationship with God thriving and alive.

Get before God and ask Him to “look you full in the face”.

Every day.
Once a week.
Once a month.
Once a year.
Whatever it takes.

The more the better. One of the reasons I need to go away by myself is that I need the time and space to squirm, to be real before God, to mourn my own weaknesses, own my mistakes and get neglected areas of my heart right with God. I can’t do this with my family around- my husband would keep trying to “fix” me and my kids would be worried.

The point of retreat is to advance.

And that takes courage because after repentance comes life change.
God gives you the power but you have to apply it to your life.

Be brave.

I want God’s prosperity in my life. In my mind, my heart, my health, my relationships and my ministry. But that means some things must change. I love the quote that says “if you don’t like where you are at, change it. You are not a tree”.

No, you are not a tree, you are a child of God.

The point of retreat is to advance.
The point is to be brave and following through on the things God told you to change.

The point is to prosper.

When was the last time you asked God to look you “full in the face”?

What things to need to be brave about?

When was the last time you found freedom through repentance?

Overcome

I got a text yesterday from a former student who is in South Korea serving in the Armed Forces. How blessed I am to still be a voice in her life even when she is half a word away. For this, I love technology. She was writing me to let me know how much yesterday’s blog encouraged her and ended her text with these words:

” I know I will still have frustrations with it but I know that I can overcome them with God in my life”.

What I love about her (so many things ) and her statement is the understanding that we will “still have frustrations”. God doesn’t take away our humanity or our emotions but He gives us His Word and His power to deal with them. We are not going to wake up one day and be “free” from all the emotions that we don’t want to feel. But everyday that we walk with God, He teaches us how to work through them, deal with them in a healthy way and walk in His truth instead of the enemies lies.

I am working on getting my book “Points On Perspective” ready for publishing and was working yesterday on Point #4:

From God’s perspective my thoughts are more important than my feelings”

It reminded me that the real battle of our lives is fought on the battlefield of the mind.

“The soldiers in this spiritual battle fight fiercely with the weapons of thoughts. Satan is the father of lies and he is the general the enemy forces. He speaks in lies as if it was his native tongue and he directs the princes of darkness under him to do the same. Their weapons are thoughts filled with lies, seeking to kill, steal and destroy the mind. Often the enemy will use our own thoughts our own memories or past thoughts established in our “old life” to sabotage the “abundant life” in Christ Jesus.

Our Father in heaven in Heaven is the general of the allied forces and His weapon is truth. Ultimate, complete and powerful words of truth. His weapon, the one that is divine and demolishes strongholds is His Word – His Thoughts.

What is our part in this battle? I believe that we are to be guards at the gate. We are to command every thought to stop before it continues on. To identify itself as friend or foe. Those thoughts that are from God will be allowed to pass through to the camp of mediation. Those thoughts that are from the flesh or lies from the enemy, they are to be handcuffed, gaged and taken captive to sit in the jail house of Jesus: Obedience Hall.”

Cindy Grasso
Points on Perspective, pg 68


“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. “(Romans 12:21 NIV)

Living an overcoming life in Christ means that we feel the emotions, but choose what thoughts we meditate on.

Our emotions are not guides, they are signals.
They tell us where we are at, not where we should go.

Feel the emotion all the way through.
Check your thoughts.
Choose what you meditate on.
Choose to meditate on the truth.

You have be re-created in Christ and that means: you are made (re-made) to live an overcoming life.

My prayer for you today is that you are able to recognize and live it fully, freely and are filled with overwhelming joy and thanksgiving .