7 Indicators of Religious Bondage & 7 Ways Out

On my walk today I noticed with new eyes, all the barbed wire lying around the place, that has been cut down from the many fences that were used to separate all the land into paddocks. IMG_1507 Now the barbed wire has been pulled down and in some places you can see it rolled up and pinned to a pole here and there. In some cases, there are coils of it lying in the grass where it’s been left. In another place, along the path, there is about 2 feet of barbed wire standing up out of the dirt as if it has grown there. It isn’t even in the paddock or attached to a pole, it is literally under the pathway and sticking through ready to catch anything that brushes past it. It is quite out of place.  There are traces of it everywhere.IMG_1508

All this reminded me of religion. One might ask of another “What barbed wire are you wrapped in?” and they might reply “Oh, I’m Pentecostal” or “Good works and bible study”. Another might answer “Oh yes, I’m all caught up (entangled) in what other people think of me”, “I’m ensnared in keeping up appearances” or “I’m always trying to make sure that I’m living the right way and avoiding the wrong way”.

Religion is bondage. It is binding just like barbed wire. When one is caught on, in or by barbed wire, it is very difficult to escape and to do so really hurts. To be free of barbed wire once caught, generally means you’re in for a bit of agony, at the very least some torn clothes if not torn flesh to some degree. If you’ve ever experienced this you know what I’m talking about. Getting yourself free from religion is just like that.

But how do you know if you’re bound by religion?

  1. You’ll feel a separation between you and other Christian brothers & sisters
  2. You’ll be concerned with what others think of you on a spiritual level
  3. You’ll see yourself as different to other believers  (usually, more spiritual than them)
  4. You won’t have a genuine sense of freedom
  5. You’ll be bound to some expectation of performance
  6. You’ll be crushed with disappointment in yourself when you sin in front of others
  7. If you do recognise any of these religious ways in your own life, even hating them, you feel powerless to change

So on this land where I walk every day, I was reminded by seeing these traces of barbed wire, how the Lord Jesus has removed the separation, the division, the fences if you like, amongst His people, His body.

Paul says ;

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).

14For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.…(Ephesians 2:14-16)

He has made us One New Man just as this land here is one lot of land, far and wide and no longer divided and separated by barbed wire.

The Lord wants us to be free of religion, remember it wasn’t the sinners but the religious leaders of His day that Jesus continually rebuked. However, it is a very real challenge to get ourselves free of it once we’ve been caught by it and to do so is often a very long and painstaking process.IMG_1512

Yet, our Lord Jesus is always cutting down the barbed wire of religion that has seized many a heart. One of the nastiest aspects of religion is that we never realise how deep it goes. It has been described by many who have gone through and are still going through this process, as a rabbit hole.

Jesus often frees us by connecting us with others who have been freed also, who can then help us.Only a free person can help free a person. So if you sense that you have been caught in the barbed wire of religion and you want to get free so you can roam and explore the entire land that is Jesus Christ Himself, I’d like to encourage you to ask the Lord to help you find others who have been freed. From their place of freedom in learning to live by His indwelling life and not by religious strongholds, just sharing life with them will support you greatly in your journey toward freedom. I know it has been paramount to my ‘losing my religion’ which is ongoing.

Ways in which being with Christ centered believers who are free from religion, can help;

  1. We learn Christ
  2. Christ is revealed in us
  3. We begin to know for the first time what freedom really is
  4. We learn for the first time what God’s greatest purpose is
  5. We begin to understand who the church is
  6. We begin to love the church and see Christ expressed in every member
  7. The gifts of Jesus to the church become apparent and free-flowing

Jesus said “I have come to give you life abundant.” Paul said “It is for freedom’s sake that Christ came to set us free”.

As T. Austin-Sparks writes, “How did Paul come out of his narrow Jewish conceptions about the Messiah? Simply by the revelation of Christ in him, and as that revelation grew his liberation increased…it was the revelation of Christ which was emancipating him, leading him out, freeing him all the time” (By T. Austin-Sparks from: All Things in Christ – Chapter 1).

Are you free today friend?

 

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Jesus Revealed in a Bread & Butter Plate!

 

Sesame Street plate

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10:15).

Even though I’m 47 years of age, I love this plate and I use it almost daily. I bought it myself a while back because being plastic, it doesn’t let my toast go cold! I bought it from the children’s products in the supermarket aisle……… yes, there is definitely a child in me who is alive and well!  🙂

This morning however, as I looked at it, I could hardly believe my eyes! This is what I saw in a children’s plastic Sesame Street bread and butter plate;

Around the edge of the plate is the great cloud of witnesses (the saints who have gone before us) rejoicing in the freedom of Christ that is theirs and rejoicing over us who have not yet gone to sleep but are also in Christ.  They, like us, are all wearing their helmet of Salvation which is Christ who has given them access to the glory of God which is seen in Jesus Christ as represented by the suns in the picture.

This great cloud of witnesses are lifted above and outside of time, this planet Earth, the Kosmos or world system which is represented by the ‘jungle’ in the centre of the plate. The world is currently a jungle fraught with dangers and deception as under the prince of this world, Satan. Yet those who are in Christ are not part of this world.

The whole body of Christ, those gone before and those of us who are still alive, even though in this world that is a jungle indeed, experience the joy of knowing the Lord, as represented by the word ‘fun’.  Even though we may be in the middle of dark times and earthly circumstances, we as believers unto Christ can have fun! The joy of the Lord is our strength! What is the joy of the Lord? Jesus! Jesus is the joy of the Father and Jesus is our strength! And He came to give us life abundant and that abundant life is Christ Himself!!

Just like the Sesame Street puppets, we all have one Master, we are each created and of one Creator. We are all so different from one another, some are grouchy, some eat too much (I fit into too many of these descriptions!), some are young, some old, some simple, some complicated. Yet we are all accepted in the Beloved. And Sesame Street is for children! We are the children of God! We are heirs of the Father with Jesus Christ His begotten Son!

Finally, the bread and butter plate is a perfect fit for this analogy as Jesus is real food and real drink. He now lives through us and feeds the world through His body.  We ‘serve’ the Lord Jesus as He served the Father and through us His body, the Lord Jesus continues to present Himself to the world today.

Thank You Jesus!!!

 

 

 

In Painting Doors & Delayed Property Settlements

Recently a dear friend of mine started on a project around her house. She had all the internal doors in the house replaced due to many having been worn and damaged. Once the new doors were installed, it was up to her to prime and paint each one.

She told me how it took 5 hours one day to prime only 4 of the doors. She told me that although she would have wanted to have the job finished rather quickly, she had come to accept that she could only continue on her flexi-days from work so this would make the project take a lot longer.  A job that was expected to take only days is now going to span over weeks.  Sound familiar? Israelites wandering in the desert? Joseph waiting for his dreams to be fulfilled?

Can’t we just see the ways of the Lord in this?

I’ve seen that often the Lord will put a burden or a dream or a vision in our heart. He starts off showing us a need that is there, (e.g. the damaged doors). Then He gives us a vision of that need having been met and transformation having taken place (e.g. a desire to see new, clean doors). He then equips us with the know-how and tools to start working on this project (e.g. knowing about priming and obtaining the necessary tools, primer material, brushes, paint).

I look at my life and realise that for me, often from this point, I want to hurry the job along because I prefer instant transformation and I haven’t always liked the personal effort involved in co-labouring with Him in His transforming me!

My family and I have been waiting for 2 years for a property settlement matter to conclude, following the death of my father.  It has been an enormous lesson in waiting and trusting the Lord, and putting our hand to the plough with all that is required of us on our part while being powerless to determine the outcome. Waiting….waiting…waiting…..yet all the time the Lord has been transforming us in areas of finance, letting go of sentimentality and learning dependency on God alone. Priceless lessons.

How often the Lord MAKES us wait. If we fight Him, hopefully we will eventually come to the end of ourselves and give up. Then like my friend, we can learn to accept that it’s going to take time for the best result and there’s nothing we can do about that, in fact it is in our best interest that it takes the time it does take! The end result is better! That’s the process of transformation. Jesus is not only the author of our faith but the perfector of our faith! He is!

Seeing Jesus in the every day things really thrills me and I pray that our eyes are open to see more and more of Him this way. God can use anything, even painting doors and delaying property settlements to teach us something of Himself and to forge something of His character into us.

  • Patience – He is patience!
  • Humbling – He is humility!
  • A quiet, gentle spirit – He is gentleness!
  • Intimate time with Him – He wants this!
  • Trust – He is trustworthiness!
  • Being faithful to the task in His call against all opposition – He is faithfulness!
  • Being able to give testimony to His faithfulness to us – He is faithfulness!
  • Learning more about who Christ is, as we get to know Him along the way – He wants this!
  • Learning to co-labour with him – We are in Christ and Christ is in us!
  • Putting His agenda before ours – He is Wisdom!
  • Concerning ourselves more with the getting to know Him than getting an ‘end result’ of our preference and in our time – He is selflessness!

One But Three in The Australian Redgum Tree

Three in One - The Godhead revealed in the Australian Redgum

Three in One – The Godhead revealed in the Australian Redgum

 I saw this tree the other day – this beautiful Australian Redgum.

It has three trunks in the one.

What an incredible and simple explanation of the community of the Godhead.

One but yet three.

Three distinctly different but of the same life, the same origin, the same purpose.

Never before have I seen so clearly in nature, the revealing of this Holy Community, that is our God.

Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

No morphing of one into the other, no swapping and changing, no ending of the one and becoming the other.

You are so beautifully revealed Lord, in a tree.

Of-course You have revealed Your community in a tree. A Tree. A tree of life. A tree of death and holy sacrifice. A tree of which we are the branches. A tree on which You bear the fruit. A tree with leaves for the healing of the nations. A tree that shelters the birds of the air. A red tree. Stained with blood of love’s sacrifice. A tree in which the blood-sap pumps strong and pure through every vein and tiny sinew. A community of Life. A tree in which we have been grafted. A full and majestic, gigantic tree.

You Oh Lord, blow me away. Truly, You have revealed Yourself in the earth so that man is without excuse.

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made,so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20

The Sun and the Moon

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

  Psalm 19:1

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In November of 2012, my husband and I travelled across to the West Coast of Australia, (Perth) from where we live on the East Coast.  The group of saints we were staying with took great joy in showing us a WA sunset, where the sun was setting over the water as we hadn’t seen this before……for us on the East Coast, it always rises over the water.   So this was spectacular.

Sun setting in WA, Australia

Sun setting in WA, Australia

It reminded us of Jesus, as the True Sun (Son of God) going down into the waters of baptism, by means of His death into the earth by the cross.

Sun sunken into the water in WA, Australia

Sun sunken into the water in WA, Australia

As we watched the sun disappear into the water, leaving its remaining sunlight in the beams through the clouds………………………….

Remaining sunlight, WA, Australia

Remaining sunlight, WA, Australia

….we turned around to see the moon rising behind us.

Moon rising

Moon rising

 This reminded us of the church, how she reflects the light and radiance of the Son.

She looks like the sun, but only reflects it to the earth for the world to see by the light of the sun.

When Jesus was crucified and went into death, the church was born out of His side and now she too, has been called to be a light to the world, as Christ IS the Light of the world.

Jesus lay down His life for us, so we could live in HIS resurrected life.  The moon and the bride reflect the light of the Sun in the darkness of the world. She lives out of His resurrected life!

She lives because He died for her! and now lives in her!

My husband says, the sunrise every morning is a reminder that Jesus is alive! He has risen and even gives us a daily reminder of this glorious truth! When we watch the relationship between the Sun and the moon, we see that every day the sun goes down and the moon rises, as a daily reminder of His death and the birth of the church, that we have now become

the righteousness of God!

Thank You Jesus, for You are seen in all of creation, in most marvelous ways. Your glory fills the earth, day and night and Your bride radiates with Your reflecting majesty.

Jesus never leaves us! He is with us in His body! He lives in you and me! His glory fills the earth! Even in the darkness!

Jesus in food!

Jesus said He is our real food and real drink (John 6:25-59)

I don’t mean this to sound sacreligious – please bear with me …….

The other day as I was eating my muesli for breakfast, I saw Jesus in my muesli.  No, I don’t mean that the seeds formed a shape of Jesus! I saw with spiritual eyes that Jesus is my ‘roughage’, He’s the one that fills my life to rid me of all the junk that resides inside. He is like the fruit, nuts and seeds that are all natural and full of nutrients. Jesus is like this, in that all that is in Him is organic, of God, and He alone is my nutrient. He alone is my goodness. He is sweet to the taste, sweeter than honey and the honeycomb; The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether. 10They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. 11Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward.(Psalm 19:10).

He is my daily food, He sustains me and keeps my inside healthy.

I Used to Hate Fireworks

The Jesus Explosion!

The Jesus Explosion!

I used to hate fireworks. Being a dog lover, they always drove me crazy and I felt they were such an invasion into the safety of my little four-legged friends, and all the four-legged friends in the community. I’d hear horrible stories of dogs running away and getting hit by cars, getting lost, being petrified and going crazy, because of the noise. I thought they were the height of ignorance and rudeness. – let me say, if you have a dog, be sure to look after them and keep them locked in and safe when fireworks are going off!

But some months back, Jesus showed me Himself in a new way…….

Jesus is like a fireworks display. A firecracker ascends in one piece up into the sky till it can’t be seen. Then, high and hidden from sight, it explodes into a million radiant lights that descend upon the earth and all that see it are amazed and are in awe!

The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam–that is, Christ–is a life-giving Spirit. (1 Corinthians 15:45, NLT)


Jesus ascended into the heavens, returning to His Father, as one man. The disciples gazed upon him going up into the heavens. Jesus had said that when He left them and returned to His Father, that He would then send His comforter, the Holy Spirit. So as Jesus ascended, He then returned by His Spirit into the lives of all the many millions of believers throughout history since that time, and now lives in the hearts of all who are His own. This is the explosion of Christ on the earth, in the lives of His people – He went up as one, and became many! The world looks on in awe and wonder – “They will know we are Christians by our love”.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.(1 Corinthians 12:12, NIV)

How amazing is Jesus? How bright and colourful and radiant is He? He’s explosively wonderful!!!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows”.(James 1:17);

“I am the light of the world. … Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. .” (John 8:12);

“Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” (John 12:36)

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, …”(1 John 1:7).