Introduction to Freedom

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From Pastor Ryan Rush

Friends,

Freedom is a topic we especially love in America, but this love of freedom actually comes from how God designed us. Did you know that you were MADE to be free? Sadly, lots of people go through their entire lives without really enjoying the freedom God has for them because they get stuck behind barriers that the Lord never intended for us. These “walls” can be barriers built with bitterness, shame, pride, greed, or even confusion. The GREAT news is that Jesus has given us all the tools we need to reclaim the freedom we might have lost. That’s what this Freedom emphasis is all about. I’m praying that we would all invite God to examine our hearts for any unseen walls that might be holding us back from the life He intends for us to live. Would you join me in this adventure of freedom? I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store!

Blessings,
Ryan Rush

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How to use The Freedom Devotional

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This devotional is intended to lead you into a deeper, more honest place in your relationship with God. To receive the most from the devotionals, it is important to set aside 10 to 15 minutes each day to seek God through prayer and reflection.

These devotionals are written in a format that includes three sections:
1) My Story
2) His Story
3) Your Story

The “My Story” section of the devotional is the writer of the devotional sharing their heart and personal experience with the specific devotional topic for the day. The “His Story” section of the devotional is portions of God’s Word that focus on the specific devotional topic of the day. Lastly, the “Your Story” section of the devotional is set aside for you to reflect, pray, and invite God to speak to you and lead you to freedom.

Please know you are being prayed for daily as you seek God through these devotionals. May God do a powerful work in our lives as He tears down Walls so we can live the life we were created to live!

Day 1: Why Freedom

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“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” –Isaiah 61:1

This Scripture was fulfilled through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to save us, heal our hearts and set us free. However, the enemy works hard to deceive us in ways that keep us from experiencing freedom in Christ. We struggle to accept the truth of our identity in Christ and we try to heal our own hearts and change our lives apart from Christ. Walls are created in our relationship with God, separating us from living the life we were created to live.

We need Jesus to heal our brokenness and set us free from the enemy’s lies so that we can experience freedom to live the life we were created to live. As Jesus heals our hearts and sets us free, we experience true fulfillment in Jesus Christ, transforming our homes and community with the gospel of Jesus Christ.


My Story

The past couple of days I’ve struggled with fear, worry, condemnation, insecurity and doubt. I have felt unseen Walls in my relationship with God. I’ve looked within my heart to see any sins that needed to be confessed. I tell God that I am struggling and need His help, yet I continue to struggle. I begin to question my ability to help anyone experience freedom because of my obvious lack of personal freedom. This question leads to a series of questions about my heart and I begin to feel unqualified to serve in ministry. I have the thought that maybe I should just quit – give up. As I hear the thought to quit and give up, I realize that I’ve actually been under spiritual attack the past couple of days. How did I miss the onset of this attack? Why did I wait until the thought of giving up to recognize the presence of the enemy?

The answer is because the enemy is often very subtle. The enemy does not want us to recognize him at work in our lives. The enemy wants us to focus inward and our futile attempts to change the condition of our hearts, relationships and lives. The enemy doesn’t want God’s children to recognize his attacks on our lives and he certainly doesn’t want us to know how to experience freedom from his attacks.


Freedom Week

Freedom Week is a time to seek God’s presence in our lives. As a church, we set aside a specific time to seek freedom from any unseen Walls in our relationship with God. We seek freedom from ways that the enemy has worked in our lives to create fear, shame, condemnation, pride and any other Walls in our lives. We seek freedom to hear more clearly from the Spirit and experience a greater revelation of God’s love for us. We seek freedom from a false sense of who we are so that we can walk in our true identity as God’s sons and daughters.

There is a lot at stake during Freedom Week at Kingsland. Some of us are being attacked in such a way that the enemy is tearing our families apart. Some of us don’t recognize the lies we’ve been told but are weary from trying so hard to cover our insecurities, shame and condemnation. We are secretly exhausted from wearing the mask of performance and isolation. And some of us have experienced freedom in our lives and God has even more He wants to do in our lives.

God is for our freedom. The enemy is against our freedom. Our freedom changes our lives, changes our families and ultimately God gets the glory. The Gospel is proclaimed as a result of transformed lives and His story becomes our story. Yes – a lot is at stake during Freedom Week.


Where Are You?

After the enemy’s attack on Adam and Eve, they hid from God. Scripture tells us in Genesis 3:8-9, “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. So the Lord God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”


Prayer

Ask the Lord to help you answer these questions:

  • Where are you in regards to seeking God and freedom in your life?
  • Where are you possibly hiding behind the Walls of performance, shame and fear?
  • What Walls were identified as a result of taking the Walls Assessment? (Go to Kingsland.org/walls to complete the Walls Assessment)
  • Ask God to show you what you need to surrender in order for you to experience more of God’s presence and freedom in your life.
  • Ask God to show you any lies that you believe about spiritual warfare.

Freedom Prayer

LORD, thank you that you’ve called me out of darkness and into your light. Thank you for giving your life for me so that I can be healed and set free from any kind of Wall in my life.

You know every lie that the enemy has told me. You know where I need healing and freedom in my life. You see the Walls in my relationship with you and with other people. I confess that I don’t have the power to heal my heart, free myself or change my life. I need you to show me where I need healing and freedom and I need you to help me trust you to lead me to freedom.

LORD, heal my heart and set me free from anything that is separating me from living the life you created me to live.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

Day 2: Freedom Basics

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“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” –John 8:32

Lies about God

In Genesis 3, we have a clear picture of how the enemy works in our lives. The enemy assaulted Adam and Eve’s relationship with God. The enemy lied about what God said to Adam and Eve in an attempt to destroy their relationship with God. Their story forever changed as they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and darkness entered their lives. They responded to their brokenness in the same way we often respond to our brokenness. Adam and Eve hid from God and tried to cover up their guilt and shame with fig leaves (Genesis 3:7).
God could have left Adam and Eve to suffer in their guilt and shame, but He called them out of hiding, out of darkness and into the light of His presence. Instead of rejecting Adam and Eve in their sin, God embraced them. This is exactly what God did for us through the Cross. He embraced us in our sin with His great love, covered us with the blood of Jesus and delivered us out of darkness into His light (Romans 5:8, Colossians 1:13).
Jesus describes Satan as “a liar and the father of all lies.” (John 8:44). The enemy’s first lie to Adam and Eve was about God and he saw the devastating consequences of that lie. An important lesson we can learn from Adam and Eve’s story is that:
  1. The enemy (Satan) lies to us about God
  2. We need to recognize the enemy’s lies
  3. We need to reject the enemy’s lies.
Along with lies from the enemy about God, another problem many of us have in relating intimately with God is the result of unhealed and unresolved wounds from our past. Our wounds are opportune times in our lives for the enemy to lie to us because the lies feel real – they often match the pain of our emotions or painful experience. Over time, we believe these false images or perceptions about God to be true.  Simply put, we believe the lies and Walls are created in our relationship with God.

Your Story

The following are common lies we believe about God. Ask God to help you identify any of these lies you may believe about Him.
    God is disappointed in me.
    God is not good.
    God doesn’t really care about me.
    God doesn’t delight in me.
    God is not pleased with me.
    God wants to punish me.
    God needs me to earn His approval.
    God loves others more than He loves me.
    God is not really present in my life.
Ask God to reveal any other lies you believe about spiritual warfare.
Which of these lies have caused the most pain in your life?

Freedom Prayer

Father, my relationship with you has been wounded by these lies I believe about you. The lies have kept me from trusting you completely, receiving the depth of your love for me and kept me from experiencing a deeply intimate relationship with you. Lord, I’m so sorry for believing lies about you. I need to be set free from every lie I believe about you. My heart needs to be healed of the hurt these lies have caused me. Father, take my heart and heal it. Uproot the lies from the soil of my heart and remove them completely from me. Break the power of these lies off of my life and set me free. I choose to believe what your Word says about you.
I accept your great love for me and your powerful grace!  
In Jesus Name, Amen.

Day 3: Freedom Basics Cont.

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!” –2 Corinthians 5:17 

Freedom from Lies about Ourselves

It is essential that we know what God says about us for us to experience freedom.  We receive messages at an early age about who we are and those messages are based on what God says about us or on what the world, the enemy and others say about us.  The messages we hear about ourselves, the things that we say about ourselves and especially the way we think about ourselves is powerful and impacts every area of our lives.
For example, Walls are easily created in our relationship with God when we believe the lie that “I’m not good enough”.  The lie leads us to try to earn God’s approval and make ourselves good enough for Him.  When we believe the lie that “I am a failure” or “I am a disappointment to God”, Walls develop that separate us from receiving God’s love and grace.

Identity in Christ

Our identity answers the question “Who am I?” The enemy certainly wants to answer this question for us. He tells us lies about our identity at a very early age in our lives and continually lies to us about who we are. Scripture tells us that we are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). The enemy hates that we are created in God’s image and certainly doesn’t want us to reflect God’s image. The enemy lies to us about who we are to hinder us from living the life we were created to live, distorting the very image of God in our lives.

His Story

We see a powerful picture of how God sees us in Matthew 3:17 as God speaks His blessing over Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” The word “pleased” means to think well of, approve, take delight or pleasure in. Obviously God is speaking about His beloved Son, however it is also a picture of our own hearts. We need to know God loves us, approves of us and delights in us. Of course, God does not approve of the sin in our lives, but He is well pleased with us, approves of us and delights in us because we are His. We belong to Him and our lives are hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3). When our Father looks at us, He sees His Son. This is the only way we can be holy and blameless in His sight (Ephesians 1:4).  And, this is our Identity in Christ.

Your Story

The following are common lies the enemy tells us about ourselves.  Ask God to show you what lies you believe about yourself.
I am too far gone. I have done too many bad things.
It’s all up to me.
I must work harder.
If I work and try harder, maybe God will love me more.
I am a failure.
I am a disappointment to God/others.
I don’t have what it takes.
I am stupid/not smart.
There is something wrong with me.
I could never be what God wants me to be.
I am such a loser.
I am such a fraud/fake.
I’m not lovable.
I’m not important.
I don’t need freedom from anything.
Ask God to show you any other lies you believe about yourself.
How do you think these lies have impacted your life?
List 3 things (people, events, experiences) that have shaped your perception about God.

Freedom Prayer

Father, forgive me for believing what the enemy said about me. I reject these lies and ask that you break the power of these lies from my life. These lies caused so much pain in my heart and life. Jesus, I need you to heal my heart and set me free from the power of these lies. Help me accept and believe what you say about me.
I ask this in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Day 4: Power of Words

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by Ryan Cook
“Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” –Proverbs 18:21

My Story

Words have amazing power in our lives. The very creation around us was made by the power of the words of God. God invites us into the creative process of life by allowing us freedom to create words. We can use words in many wonderful ways to bless, encourage, build up, teach, instruct, and shape the world and lives of those around us.
However, in our sinful and fallen state, we have the option to use words that can also tear down, hurt, wound, condemn and even destroy someone. The enemy of God also knows the power of words and will speak lies to us to destroy us. These lies only have power when we come into agreement with them, but when we do, it can bring new levels of pain and burdens.
As a young boy, I experienced some personal rejection and set-back. Instead of turning to the life-giving words of God, I began to listen to the life-taking lies of the enemy. I began to believe the lie that “I wasn’t good enough.” This terrible lie caused deep pain that I attempted to cover up and heal on my own by having success. Success in school, relationships, sports, and even church. I became a full-blown ‘performer’ in my life – full of pride and fear. Fear of failure that would confirm the lie, and full of pride because I was healing myself.
When God graciously showed me this lie, I repented for agreeing with it, and for living out of the lie rather than the truth of God. As I continue on my freedom journey these days, I am very aware of the words I speak to others, and the words I receive from others. When the enemy tries to bring lies, I turn to God’s words of truth for my identity, my healing, and my guide.

His Story

Jesus says in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” Jesus has won the battle for our lives and salvation and he offers us the blessing of abundant life. We must draw near to His live-giving words to combat the enemy’s lies.


Your Story

What are the words that have impacted our life? Have you had someone speak words of criticism, rejection, condemnation or judgement over you? Have you listened to a lie from the enemy and believed those words? Are you turning to the life-giving words of the Lord for healing and blessing?

Freedom Prayer

Father, thank you for showing me words that wounded me. I ask that you heal me and set me free from the pain of those words. Father, you know the profound way those words have impacted my heart and life. Break the power of those words from my life and heal me of the damage those words caused. Help me to accept your Word and what you say about me and my life.
In Jesus Name,  Amen.

Day 5: Freedom from Pride

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“But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  –James 4:6-7

My Story

I have a love/hate relationship with pride. I hate to admit that I have pride. I hate the way my pride focuses on me. I hate the way pride creates a wall in my relationship with God and other people.  However, I love the temporary feeling of safety pride gives me. I love the temporary sense of being in control pride gives me. I love the temporary relief of shame pride gives me.
The truth is that pride is a trap. Pride traps my heart behind a wall of defense that keeps me from being honest with God, honest with myself and honest with others. Pride isolates my heart and does exactly what the enemy intends it to do. Pride steals the gift of grace in my life and leads me to perform, strive and seek other’s approval.
I need God to help me admit that I have pride. I need God to expose the hidden pride in my life. I need God to help me believe that pride doesn’t protect me, empower me or heal me of shame.  I also need God to free me of my selfish desire to gain other’s approval and praise. I need freedom from pride.

His Story

Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death – even to death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-8).

Your Story

Ask the Lord to help you identify pride in your life. Consider areas in your life such as your position at work, your children, relationships, ministry, appearance, possessions, accomplishments – where is there pride?
How often do you attempt to do things in your own strength (without asking God to help you)?
How quickly do you acknowledge when you’ve done something wrong or done something that is hurtful to another person?

Freedom Prayer

Father, thank you that I am your son/daughter and you love me. You see the pride in my heart and you know why I’m vulnerable to pride. I confess my pride to you and ask that you forgive me for being prideful. Lord, break the grip of pride from my life and set me free. Give me discernment to recognize when I am being prideful and grant me your grace to refuse what the enemy offers with pride. Teach me to walk humbly before you and with others.
In Jesus Name,  Amen.