By Beth Calhoun
My husband and I were riding a motorcycle through the mountains surrounding Seattle, Washington where I saw road signs: “Chain-Up Area” (See “Chained Up.” He is Your Life. August 28, 2018). These signs reminded me that because of the unfathomable love that the Lord has for me, He warns me about something that I may be thinking, about to do or already doing that is not His very best for me and possibly harmful. If I heed the warnings, I will experience victory and not face negative consequences. However, what if I ignore the warnings and keep driving full speed ahead? What if I continually choose to do something I know is wrong? If I ignore repeated warnings from the Lord, I will soon be struggling as though putting on chains and living in bondage because I am trying to hide something. This lifestyle is not the abundant life for which Jesus died for me.
I felt a heaviness in my heart while thinking about the damaging consequences of ignoring the warnings of the Chain-Up Area. I wondered, in what areas have I ignored the warnings? Do I have chains on? Do you have chains on? Chains of busyness; chains of an eating disorder; chains of infidelity; chains of insecurity; chains of slothfulness; chains of gossip; chains of debt; chains of apathy, chains of...
Thankfully, the heaviness was short lived and the love of the Lord washed over me as there was another sign on the other side of the mountain:
CHAIN-OFF AREA AHEAD
God’s love is unconditional and His grace so amazing that through His perfect love for us and our trust and love for Him that ANY chain can be removed! The Chain-Off Area is available for each of us! Even if we repeatedly ignored His warnings and willingly made poor decisions, His powerful and perfect love can and will set us free! His plan for us is to live a life of freedom and abundance in which to constantly praise Him.
If we are struggling with a secret and have invisible chains, there is hope! “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us” (Romans 5:5 NIV). Because of Jesus Christ leading a perfect and sinless life and laying down His life for us, we are able to walk in victory.
Directions to the Chain-Off Area:
1. Acknowledge that we have chains on and ask for forgiveness.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NIV).
2. Memorize Scripture. Write out verses and put them ever
“I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:9 NIV).
3. Confide in a safe and trusted spouse, friend, pastor and/or seek professional help.
“Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16 NIV).
4. Seek the Lord.
“…seek the LORD your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut. 4:29 NIV).
5. Remember there is no condemnation.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who
are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1 NIV).
6. Accept that you can be free!
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36 NIV).
No quick-fix-chain-removal formula exists. We can only walk in victory one second at a time. Those seconds of victories will become minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and then years. Taking one moment at a time, will lead us to long-term victory and an abundant life.
Lord, thank You for Your perfect love that casts out fear, thank You for Your unconditional love that sets a captive free, thank You for giving Your life so that I may walk in freedom, thank You for the victory that I can have in YOU. Thank You for Your amazing grace that allows me to walk in freedom in order to live a CHAINS-OFF LIFE!
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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, make their home in central Arkansas. They have five grown children and are grandparents to wonderful grandchildren. 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.