Daily Devotions

Freedom within a Fence

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"My soul is consumed with longing for your ordinances at all times."
(Psalm 119:20)

 When I was in high school, I ran Cross Country. Every week, one of our routes was past two elementary schools in town. One school had a fence around the playground that we thought imprisoned the children. The kids would run every inch of that fence, from beginning to end. They would run up to the fence and cheer us on, or give us a hard time, and we would snap the fence in the hope of it hitting a few in the face.

 

The other school had no fence, and the kids were freed from the limitations of a fence. We never got close to the kids at that school. While they were free from the limitations of a fence, the lack of boundaries meant the kids didn't feel safe in the great expanse of the playground. They all huddled around their teacher, by the school doors. Who was really free, the ones with, or without the fence?!  

When I was growing up, I considered many rules and laws to be human-made limitations that kept humanity from fully experiencing the joy of real freedom. The Biblical laws seemed outmoded and arbitrarily restrictive. Oh, the folly of youth!

Sure, some of the laws in Scripture are outmoded by twenty-first century standards, but those laws saved lives, protected people, and provided safety in the ancient world. Other laws are more universal in nature. Thou shall not lie. Thou shall not kill. Thou shall have no other god before me. Etc. These laws and many others are in the best interest of society, in all times, and in all places. Without these rules of conduct, society would fall into chaos and self-destructiveness.

Today, consider the laws we are required to follow. Which ones do you break, and which ones do you follow. Do you never go over the speed limit? Are even universal laws arbitrary? For example, are there times when killing is appropriate? Then, thank God for the laws that define our lives and give us more freedom, not less. When we have clear boundaries of acceptableness, we can live free within every inch of God's blessing. God's laws and rules are made not to limit our joy, but to experience the fullest expression of freedom.

Thanks be to God!

God Delivered Me

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"Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place." (Psalm 118:5)

 The Lord delivered the Psalmist. The Lord delivered you and me. I've been delivered from my sin, and brought into newness of life. The older I get, the more sinful I realize I have been. My unworthiness is ever before me, yet God has delivered me by grace.

 My first semester of college was an academic mess. At the beginning of my freshman year, I got the lead in a play and spent hour-upon-hour memorizing a vast amount of lines, all in old English. The play was a success, but my grades suffered. I was worried that I was not "college material." God put caring people in my life throughout that Christmas holiday and, by second semester, I had my priorities in better order. My academic life improved dramatically.

 

The word "distress" in Hebrew, can also be translated "restricted," "narrow," or "tight." When the psalmist was in a tight spot, God brought deliverance. God helped the psalmist, when she/he was in a bind, and couldn't fix it on her/his own. Deliverance can only occur when God is part of the process. So prayerfully invite God into your "tight spot." Let God help you work it out.

 
In your devotional today, remember a "tight spot" you were delivered from. Perhaps, through grace, God saved you from humiliation. Maybe God pulled you up, when you were so low, you couldn't stand on your own. In your heart, you know your example of deliverance, and how you had to rely on God's compassionate hand to guide you safely through. Offer God your

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