Recently, my husband and I rented a motorcycle to tour the beautiful and mountainous area surrounding Seattle, Washington. As we rode on the Chinook Pass and travelled the steep road to Mt. Ranier, I noticed road signs that I had never seen while living in the warm and flat lands of Florida. The signs read
Chain-Up Area Ahead
Warnings signs were posted for travelers to pull off the road and put chains on their tires in order to safely travel during the severe snow and ice seasons.
As I contemplated those signs, the Lord reminded me that before I am about to do something that would put unhealthy chains on myself He warns me. His word says
“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man and God is faithful who will not allow you to be
tempted beyond what you can handle, but with the temptation
will provide a way of escape so that you may be able to endure it.”
1 Corinthians 10:13
My own fleshly nature and/or the enemy will tempt me in my thoughts. Ultimately, I am the one who chooses my actions. In the midst of being tempted, there is always a way of escape. The actions that I choose will either lead me to bondage in the Chain-Up Area or away from bondage and into freedom!
When I have gluttonous tendencies, buying a half gallon of my favorite ice cream “just to have on hand for company” when I really know I will eat it all myself- leads me to a Chain-Up Area. If I am not being disciplined in my spending, going shopping and spending frivolously leads me to a Chain-Up Area. If I am not being a good steward with my time, turning on the tv or getting on social media leads me to a Chain-Up Area. If I am struggling with insecurity, comparing myself to everyone around me leads me to a Chain-Up Area! And less obviously, if I am staying busy doing good things and do not have time to do the things that God has called me to do then this definitely leads me to a Chain-Up Area. My list and maybe yours is endless.
Thankfully, according to God’s word, whenever I am faced with temptation, there is going to be a way of escape. I can choose to buy a banana rather than ice cream; I can choose to ask a friend to go for a walk rather than shopping; I can choose to read a book, clean or cook rather than watch tv or get on social media. I can choose to remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) rather than compare myself to everyone around me. I can choose for Him direct my steps (119:133) rather than tell Him what I will do. If I do not choose to take the way of escape then I am choosing to pull into the Chain-Up Area and figuratively put chains on myself. Jesus Christ died for me and for you so that we may live a full and abundant life (John 10:10) and a life of freedom in Him (Galatians 5:1). What ways of escape can you choose to take?
Oh, LORD, the next time I am faced with temptation, help me take the way of escape and totally avoid the “Chain-up Area”.
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.