Thursday, December 31, 2015

Like the Woman at the Well


(YouTube: Fill My Cup, Lord - Gaithers)

“Like the woman at the well…I was seeking for things that could not satisfy…And, then I heard my Savior speaking…Draw from that well that never shall run dry…Fill my cup, Lord…I lift it up Lord…Come and quench this thirsting of my soul…Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more…Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole…”  (song lyrics from Fill My Cup, Lord)

Please first read John 4:4-26, 28-30, 39-42.

There are many people in this world who are like the Samaritan woman.  Perhaps, you can identify with her.  Maybe, you know someone like her.  Or, she may have even been you at one time in the past.

This woman was minding her own business when Jesus came up to her during the day.  He initially asked her, "Will you give me a drink?" (v 8)

She didn't understand the reason He would even talk with her.  She was a Samaritan woman, and He was a Jewish man.  Back in those days, the Jews did not associate with the Samaritans. (v 9)

However, after talking with Him for some time, she realized that He knew more about her than she knew about Him.  How could that be at that particular time?  She didn't even know Him.  He was a complete stranger to her.  Yet, He knew her and told her everything about herself during that daytime encounter at the well.

Let's read part of their conversation for a moment.

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband.  The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.  Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.  Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.   God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When He comes, He will explain everything to us.”

Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

(John 4:10-26, NIV – emphasis added mine)



Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Nothing is Ever Wasted

Nothing is ever wasted in God's kingdom.

Have you ever thought about it?

Everything that you have gone through in your life is used for your good and God's purpose (See Romans 8:28).

Think about Joseph for a moment.  He is a great example for the purpose of this lesson.

After everything he went through in his life, God not only brought him through all of it but brought him out better than before.

Joseph had God-given dreams.  Perhaps, he was very young and naive at the time because he prematurely shared those dreams with his family specifically his earthly father and older brothers.

As a result, his brothers caused all kinds of problems for him.  They were initially jealous of him and his big dreams that he shared with them.  They made fun of him and treated him poorly.

They threw him in a deep pit.  Then, they sold him into slavery.  Lastly, they made it look like he had been killed by a violent animal by tearing up his prized robe and putting animal blood on it (See Genesis 37).

What the devil meant for Joseph's harm though, God turned around and used for His purpose and plan (See Genesis 50:20; Jeremiah 29:11).

Even though Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery, he came out better off in the end.  God promoted him and increased him over the years afterwards.  He became ruler over a successful and prosperous land.  His biological family experienced hardship and suffered during a famine in their particular region.  Since they were in the midst of a crisis, they came looking for assistance.  They wound up in the land where Joseph was in charge of everything.  At first, they didn't even recognize their own younger brother after all of the years had passed since he was sold into slavery.  However, Joseph had the opportunity to meet and speak with them during their time there (See Genesis 38-50).

He told them, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives (Genesis 50:20, NIV)."

Joseph recognized that his older brothers were used by the devil to hurt him, but now God was using it for his good to save many people in the land.

The same is true for you.  All of the hardships, trials, challenges, and struggles that you have endured may have been meant for your harm by the devil, but God is going to use them for your good as well as for His purpose and plan.  Many people will be saved as a result of everything that you have gone through in life.  You will also come out better and stronger in the end.

God has great plans for you.  Do not allow your temporary circumstances in life to make you forget that truth.  His plans are better for you than you may even physically see with your own eyes right now.  His plans are for you to have a hope and a good, successful, and prosperous future (See Jeremiah 29:11).


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sacrifice on the Altar

Please first read Genesis 22:1-19.

God told Abraham to take his one and only son, Isaac, and sacrifice the boy to Him.  Abraham had wood, a knife, the fire, and Isaac with him.  He took all of the necessary items to perform the sacrifice on the altar.

His young son questioned his father beforehand.  Isaac asked Abraham, "...Where is the lamb for a burnt offering (Genesis 22:7b, NKJV)?"

Abraham answered his son, "...God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering (Genesis 22:8a, NKJV)."

When they got to the physical place, Abraham began all of the preparations for the offering.  He built the altar and put down all of the wood in an orderly fashion.  Then, he got his son and bound him up.  He placed him on top of the wood on the altar.  Lastly, Abraham took his knife and got ready to physically sacrifice his only son, Isaac.

However, an angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven.  Abraham answered, "Here I am (Genesis 22:11b, NKJV)."

Then, He told Abraham not to harm his son.  He now knew that he feared the Lord, since he was going to sacrifice his one young son.

Abraham turned around and saw a ram in the bush.  He sacrificed the animal that the Lord provided in place of his son, Isaac.

The angel of the Lord again called out to Abraham.  He said, "Because you have not withheld your son, I will bless you and multiply your descendants.  Your descendants will possess the gates of their enemies.  All the nations will be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice (Genesis 22:16-18 - paraphrase mine)."

Could you do it?  Would you do it?  If God specifically asked you to sacrifice a prized possession, would you be able to do it?  Out of obedience to God, could you do it?

There are many people and/or things that get in the way of our personal relationships with God every single day in this world.  He desires to have all of us to Himself and for Himself for His purpose and plan.  He is a jealous God---a consuming fire (See 2 Corinthians 11:2)! 

Often He blesses us with people and material possessions in our lives.  However, He never wants them to personally take the place of Himself nor our personal relationships with Him.  He never wants anything or anyone else to consume us or possess us.  He desires to be the only one who possesses and consumes us.

What is currently possessing you?  What is now consuming you in life?  Is it material possessions?  Houses?  Cars?  Money?  People?  Work?  A position?  Another relationship?  A calling?  A ministry?  A Life Group?  Another small group? 

Whatever it is, make sure that it does not take precedence over God and a personal relationship with Him.  Otherwise, He may ask you to lay it down.  At any moment, He can request that you sacrifice that other person or thing on the altar.

Know that it is always for your best though.  He wants you---totally, completely, wholeheartedly.  He desires a personal relationship with you over anyone or anything else. 

Depending on the version, the specific phrase, ‘fear the Lord,’ is listed in the Bible over 100 times.  Therefore, it is very important to Him that everyone fear Him in a holy way.  He always wants us to revere and honor Him above all (See Exodus 20:3; Acts 9:31; 2 Corinthians 5:11). 


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.  


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

True Gifts of God's Grace

"Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!  Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:9-12, NKJV)."

In this particular passage of scripture, the author of Matthew primarily spoke about prayer and the answers to prayer.  When you really think about it though, it also applies to other aspects of our Christian lives.

For example...

If someone comes up to you and asks for you to specifically help them in a certain way, then you decide to do it your own way.  How does that really help the person?  
A person must really make themselves available to others.  In order to truly be disciples of Jesus Christ, we must live like He lived and give like He gave---fully, completely, wholeheartedly---without holding anything back and certainly not giving in a way that is not helpful to the other person.  

In the book of Romans, the author talks about all believers being living sacrifices.  What is a living sacrifice?  Jesus was the prime example of a living sacrifice (See Romans 12:1).  He gave of Himself, His time, His talents, and His other resources.

If we are also to be living sacrifices, doesn't that mean we also give of ourselves?  We also give of our time, our talents, and any other resources.

To be a living sacrifice is to be "holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12:1, NIV)."  That particular verse also says that it is our "true and proper worship (Romans 12:1, NIV)."  God desires true worshipers--true worshipers who worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth (See John 4:23-24).

Therefore, true worshipers are living sacrifices.  Living sacrifices are true worshipers.  They worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth.  They generously give of themselves, their gifts, their time, their talents, their money, and any other resources.

Consequently, when people generously give, they also make sure that the receivers are truly ready to receive the gifts.  They also make sure they are sending the gifts to the correct physical location.  Because in order for it to be a true gift, they are sent not only in the right spirit but with the right mindset and heart for the receiver.     

Memorable Quotes:

"True gifts of God's Grace are not sent into outer space while the receiver is here waiting on earth."  

"People must be able to physically and/or spiritually receive gifts in order for them to truly be gifts of God's grace."  

"It is not a true gift of God's grace when you send the gift into outer space while the person who is to receive the gift is actually here on earth."


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Faith Comes by Hearing...

"So then faith comes by hearing..."  (Romans 10:17a, NKJV)  

Did you catch that?  Faith comes by hearing...  What are you hearing?  What are you listening to...?  Who are you listening to...?  

Our faith comes by hearing it.  Of course, it greatly depends on the object or the person that we are hearing and listening to at any given moment of any given day.  

Are you listening to the television news anchor reporting all of the bad events of the day?  Are you hearing all of the bad weather reports on the radio?  Are you listening to patients in the hospital speaking about all their illnesses, diseases, sicknesses, ailments, and infirmities?  

What are you hearing?  What are you listening to...?  

The rest of that particular scripture references says, "...hearing by the word of God."  (Romans 10:17b, NKJV)  

Are you hearing the word of God?  Are you listening to the word of God?  Better yet, are you listening to God?  Are you hearing God?  

Our true faith comes by hearing God---His still, small voice speaking to us---by hearing what He thinks and says---by hearing His word.  


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

Leaving the Past Behind

Please first read Genesis 19:14-26.

"But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt."  (Genesis 19:26, NKJV)

Lot received word from some men that the Lord was going to destroy the city.  He was told to take all of his family and get out of the the region immediately.

They all obeyed the orders they received from the Lord.  He destroyed the cities where they had left earlier.  Everyone and everything was destroyed there.

Then, Lot's wife looked back behind and she became a pillar of salt.  She was destroyed for looking back.

Lot's wife looked back and was destroyed for doing so.

What can we learn from this part of scripture?

For one, we need to obey the Lord because He has our best interest at heart.  Also, it does not do us any good to look back behind us.  If anything, it can have tragic consequences for us and our loved ones.

There are also plenty of other lessons to learn from that particular passage.

However, in the Apostle Paul's letter to the church at Philippi, he talks about forgetting those things behind.

"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 3:13-14, NKJV)  

Like Paul, he encouraged the believers there to press toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call in Jesus Christ.  He did not want them stay stuck in the past but to forget everything behind them.

In the same way, God does not want His children to be stuck in the past.  He desires all of them to forget everything behind them and move forward into the future.  He wants them to move further into their God-given purpose and plan.  Be who He has created them and called them to be for His perfect will.  Then, and only then, will God truly be honored and glorified in and through them.


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

By His Stripes'....

"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed."  (Isaiah 53:5, NKJV – bold emphasis added mine)

Jesus was wounded for all of our sins.  He was bruised for all of our transgressions.  Everything was laid upon Him for us.  By His stripes’ we are healed!

God knew ahead of time exactly what He was doing for us.  He made all of the provision for us.  Nothing was left out. 

Yet, there are many believers within the body of Jesus Christ who are taking everything on themselves.  Perhaps, it is lack of knowledge (See Hosea 4:6).  Maybe, they feel guilty.  There may be those who actually believe they need to take some of the blame. 

Whatever the reasons, we need to let them all go into the sea of forgetfulness where God has left them (See Psalm 103:12).  We also need to believe and receive everything that Jesus died to give us (See Mark 11:22-24; John 10:10b).  First, we must know what all that entails in this life though.

When Jesus was crucified on that cross for us over 2000 years ago, He died for more than just our own personal sins---past, present, and future.  He took everything on Himself including death, disease, illness, sickness, ailments, infirmities, and whatever else (See Isaiah 53; Psalm 103:1-5; 1 Peter 2:24).  He bore all the pain and suffering for us.  He became the curse for us.  He destroyed the works of the devil for us.  He put the devil under His feet. 

Because of what He has already done for us, we do not have to receive any of what the world and/or the devil tries to throw our way.  Everything has been taken care of for us.  We are redeemed from the curse.  The devil is under our feet.  We already have the victory!  We just walk in it by faith in Jesus (See 2 Corinthians 5:7).

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:  “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.  (1 Peter 2:21-24, NKJV - bold emphasis added mine)

Jesus said, "It is finished." (See John 19:30, NIV)  He really meant it.  Will you choose to truly believe it?  Will you receive everything Jesus died to give you including His divine healing and health for you?


Copyright 2015.  Dawn Freeman.  All rights reserved.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Jesus in the Wilderness

Unfortunately, there are many people within the body of Christ today that do not fully understand their true identity in Christ.  Therefore, they wander around their so-called wildernesses for many years without experiencing the promises from God. 


The Church of Entrepreneurs recently had a podcast where I briefly spoke about the children of Israel’s wilderness experience and then shared more fully the wilderness experience of Jesus Christ.  Follow along in your Bible as I used various scripture references in this message.

Jesus in the Wilderness


If you would like a copy of the transcript of this particular message, please email me at kdawnf@gmail.com.  Thanks!


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved. 






Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Believers' True Identity in Christ

Our spiritual identity is one of the most important aspects in our Christian walk.  Yet, still today, there are many people even within the body of Christ who do not truly know their spiritual identity.  It is foundational to being, doing, and having everything Jesus died to give us in this world.  

Listen to a recent podcast from The Church of Entrepreneurs where I spoke on "The Believers' True Identity in Christ."  Get out your Bible and follow along as I point out many scripture references.


The Believers' True Identity in Christ


If you would like a copy of the transcript of this particular message, please email me at dawn@dawnfreeman.org.  Thanks!


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved. 




Friday, August 7, 2015

None by Comparison

There is a tendency to compare ourselves with others in today's society. Whether it's done intentionally or not, it's difficult not to do so at times. The world tries to pressure us by putting all kinds of images and stereotypes out there. They try to tell us you have to look a certain way, act a particular way, do this, do that, or whatever else.

As difficult as it may be at times, there is a better way. It's God's way. He doesn't want us to compare ourselves with others.

He made us all unique and special. We all have different spiritual gifts. First of all, we each have a general purpose but we were also created with individual specific purposes. (See 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 27-30)

In the Apostle Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus, he talked about being made alive in Christ. He mentioned our individuality and overall purpose.

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

Paul wrote another letter to the churches in Galatia and encouraged them to do good. He wanted to make sure that they weren't deceived when helping each other though.

"Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else..." (Galatians 6:4, NIV)

In a letter to the church at Corinth, Paul defends his ministry. He spoke about his letters being “weighty and forceful.” (2 Corinthians 10:10)

He wanted the people to know that he was the same whether through his writing or in person. Also, Paul was not like others.

"We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise." (2 Corinthians 10:12, NIV)

Within the body of Christ, sometimes there is a tendency for us to compare ourselves with others who have similar spiritual gifts, ministries, or the like. However, this part of the Apostle Paul's letter to the church at Corinth serves as a great reminder for us not to do so.

He continues, "We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you. We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:13-14, NIV)

We need to remember that we have a certain sphere of service God has specifically assigned to us individually. Therefore, we need to keep our focus on our particular sphere and not anyone else’s area.

And when we do work, we need to do it wholeheartedly as well as do it unto the Lord and not people. (See Colossians 3:23-24)

In addition, the Apostle Paul talks about the sphere of activity within his ministry. It can also be applied to our own sphere of activity in our ministries and work for the Lord.

"Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory. (2 Corinthians 10:15-16, NIV)

We do not need to go beyond our assigned territory and limits God has given us. Of course, we can hope that our regions will greatly be expanded as our faith increases just like the Apostle Paul. He goes on to talk about boasting in the Lord.

But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. (2 Corinthians 10:17-18, NIV)

Knowing that it is the Lord who commends us and no one else will help us work much harder for Him and rest much easier in Him. We do not need to compare ourselves, our journeys, our paths, or ministries to anyone else or anything of theirs. There is none by comparison.

We can trust God with our ministries, our purposes, our callings, our assignments, and anything else He has for us. For God who has called each of us is faithful, and He will complete that which He has started in us individually. (See 1 Corinthians 1:9; Philippians 2:12-13)


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

"Lord, What About Him?"

Jesus finished having an important conversation with His disciple, Simon Peter.  During this particular conversation with Peter, He asked him if he loved Him.  Not once, but three times.  Peter told Jesus that he loved Him.  Then, Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep.  At the very end of their conversation, Jesus said, "Follow Me!" (See John 21:15-19 - paraphrased and emphasis added mine)

Let's pick up now with verse 20.

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”)

When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” (v 21)

Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”  Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.  (John 21:20-25, NIV)

Let's go back up to verse 21.

When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

Peter asked Jesus an important question that day.  One that requires a little more attention on our part at this time.  "Lord, what about him?" 

How often do we ask Jesus that same question?  "Lord, what about him?"  Or..."Lord, what about her?"  "Do you seeing what he is doing?"  Do you see what she is doing?"  "Do you seeing what he is not doing?"  Do you see what she is not doing?" 

Did you notice Jesus' first response to Peter though?  “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 

In this particular instance, Peter is very much like many of us within the body of Christ.  He seemed to care more about the other disciple's response or lack of response to Jesus.  He was too concerned about the other man's response and not his own response to the Son of God.  In part, he was comparing himself to the other disciple.  He was too busy thinking about the other person's business and not taking care of his Father's business.

It is much more important to concentrate and focus on what Jesus is telling us than being concerned about what others are doing or not doing for Jesus.  We need to pay more attention to Jesus and His instructions to us.  We also need to pay less attention to whether others are listening to Him and obeying Him.

We have all been given a specific calling, assignment, and task in God's purpose and plan.  We are all accountable to Him and only Him.  Therefore, we need to do our own part and not concern ourselves with everyone else.  We need to be about our Father's business.  Allow God to take care of all the other disciples of Jesus Christ.  He is very capable.

When we stand before God on judgment day, He will not ask us what others did for Him.  He will only ask us about our part.  He will only ask us whether we were obedient and faithful to what He had called us and equipped us to do for Him.  Let's decide today to only be about our Father's business, and let Him take care of everyone else's business.


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Be Brave Challenge Day 1: "Selfie" Video



I have never done a "Selfie" video before.  It's not my cup of tea so to speak.  However, this is not really about me.  It's about Jesus and what He has done for me.  It's about Him and what He wants to do for you.  It's about God, my faith journey, and my God-given ministry.


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Be Brave Challenge Day 3: Show & Tell

This is my current work space for writing, blogging, seminary assignments, or whatever else.  It's a little messy at the moment.  However, it's an organized mess.  I know where everything is now in the stacks on the desk. 


 
 
 
 
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Be Brave Challenge Day 2: "Is This You?"

You are a Christian lady who struggles, strives, and endures through hardships, trials, and difficulties in life.  Perhaps, you are a perfectionist who procrastinates on projects.  Maybe, you are a Type A personality who is very driven, demanding, strong, independent, and confident.  You have got it all figured out.  You are a success.  You really enjoy your work.  You are so productive.  You are making a contribution in this world.  You enjoy life.  You want to understand others more. 


However, you may be putting up a front and keeping up the charade.  You are just putting so much time and effort into everything.  You feel like you are getting nowhere fast.  You keep spinning your wheels in life.  You are in a rut going around the same hamster wheel.  You are going around the same old mountains in life.  You believe that you have to be everything to everyone.  It is so difficult to do it and keep it up though.    


Welcome to Dawn Freeman Ministry!  You are the right person.  I can help, serve, encourage, educate, inform, and inspire you.  Go to my website at www.dawnfreeman.org.  Email me at dawn@dawnfreeman.org and get on my email list.  Thanks!  
 
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Monday, June 1, 2015

This will be a Sign to You...

I love the story of the birth of Jesus for many reasons.  We can learn so much from this story in God's word.

I have been thinking and meditating on one specific part of His birth story though. 

"This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."  (Luke 2:12, NIV - emphasis added mine)

Before that scripture verse, there is a lot to read and understand---much depth.  We can gain knowledge, insight, and wisdom from this particular passage. 

Let's pick up with this story, starting in v8.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”  (Luke 2:8-15, NIV - emphasis added mine)

An angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds, and they were terrified.  Does that remind you of anyone else in the Bible? 

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins."  (Matthew 1:20-21, NIV - emphasis added mine)

An angel of the Lord also appeared to Joseph in a dream.  This angel also told Joseph to not be afraid.  However, in this case, the word was spoken to Joseph to take Mary home to be his wife.  This prophecy was given by the angel to Joseph about his future with his wife, Mary.   

The previous passage in Luke was also a prophecy from the angel foretelling future events regarding the birth of Jesus.  However, in this specific part, the angel spoke to the shepherds about the expected environment surrounding Jesus' birth.   

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.  Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.  This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved----and that by God.  For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have."  (Philippians 1:27-30, NIV - emphasis added mine)

Paul wrote this letter to the believers in the church at Philippi.  He was encouraging them to live worthy of the Gospel.  He wanted to make sure that they knew to stand firm in the spirit and strive together in the faith.  He told them that it would be a sign to them.  Their opponents would be destroyed, but they would be saved by God. 

We are not to live by signs in this natural and physical world.  However, God does speak to us as His children.  Often throughout scripture, He uses phrases such as "This will be a sign to you."  God prophesies through other people.  He spoke through the angel to the shepherds regarding Jesus' birth.  He also spoke through an angel to Joseph in a dream.  In addition, He spoke through the Apostle Paul and foretold what the Lord had told him to the people in Philippi.  God tells us, His children, what is to come regarding His purpose and plan for us. 

Some people need signs in this natural world, before they will actually believe God and His promise to them.  However, God does not want us to live that way.  Neither does Jesus as He spoke about signs and wonders in John's account. 

"Unless you people see signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe."  (John 4:48, NIV)

Jesus had said this to a royal official before the man's son had actually received his physical healing from Him.  He seemed somewhat 'put off' or irritated by the man's doubt and unbelief beforehand.  He wants all of us to trust and believe Him.  We just need to take Him at His word.  Additionally, we need to know that He first reveals things to us by His Spirit before they manifest in this world.

"...What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived"---the things God has prepared for those who love Him---these are the things God has revealed to us by His Spirit.  The Spirit searches all things even the deep things of God.  (1 Corinthians 2:9-10, NIV - emphasis added mine)


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

"Feed My Sheep"

Read John 21:1-14 for more of the background story beforehand.

Jesus' disciples had just caught some fish---153 large ones.  Upon Jesus' request, they brought it to Him.  He told them to come and eat with Him.  This was the third time He appeared before His disciples after He was raised from the dead.  (See John 21:10-14)   

After they finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love Me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed My lambs.” (See John 21:15 - emphasis mine)

Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of My sheep.” (John 21:16, NIV - emphasis mine)

The third time He said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”  (John 21:17, NIV - emphasis mine) 

In this specific passage, Jesus wanted to know if one of His disciples named Simon Peter really loved Him.  Before Jesus was crucified on the cross for the sins of the whole world, this particular disciple had denied even knowing Jesus---not just once but three times.  (See John 3:16; John 18:15-18, 25-27)

Years ago, Jesus spoke to my heart about feeding His sheep.  I did not completely understand it at the time.  However, it has become more clear since then. 

If we really love Jesus, we will do what He wants us to do and go where He wants us to go. 

What is He speaking to you about now?  Whatever it is, know that He loves you.  Ask Him to help you to go and do whatever He is asking of you.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."  (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV) 


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

"Where is Your Faith?"

Jesus asked His disciples, "Where is your faith?"  They had all been traveling in a boat together when a huge storm came up.  Jesus had been sleeping in the boat after a day of ministry.  His disciples woke Him up because they were afraid of the storm.  After Jesus calmed the storm, He asked them this very relevant question.  (Luke 8:22-25)

I have found myself in situations where I should have asked other people, "Where is your faith?"

I didn't think of that question at the time.  However, looking back now, that was the right question to ask other believers.

Awhile back, I was having a phone conversation with a friend who I hadn't talked to in a couple of months.  I shared with her some personal good news as well as some of my prayer concerns or requests.  As I shared with her my concerns, at every turn, she gave me a negative and worldly view instead of a good and Biblical perspective.  It caught me off guard.  I didn't expect it from her because normally she was a supportive, encouraging, and praying-type friend. 

We previously had shared some good times in life and ministry when we lived physically closer together.  Yet, the distance had not only separated us physically but also spiritually over recent months.  We weren't in the same place physically nor spiritually.  After our conversation, I was just stunned.  What had happened?  Or, better yet, what had not happened?

A personal conversation with another friend also surprised me.  After a women's Bible study and prayer group meeting, I requested to speak to the leader in private.  I shared with her some personal information regarding my spiritual journey.  I expected her to speak life to me and over the situation that I shared with her.  Instead, she spoke death.  She even told me there was no hope. 

What?  No hope?  I thought to myself after our conversation.  Unbelievable!  A leader of a Bible study group telling me, 'There's no hope'.

Afterwards, I had to encourage and pray for myself as well as pray for her.  There is always hope.  Jesus is our hope!  With God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). 

Why didn't she think that?  Why didn't she say it?  Perhaps, she was having a personal crisis of faith at the time.  I couldn't believe it though.  We had finished Bible study earlier where she talked about speaking life.  Now, she was doing the opposite.

Anyway, to both of those ladies and any others who are now lacking faith, I have to ask..."Where is Your Faith?"


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

We Learn What We Live

Children learn what they live.  I am sure that you have heard that one before.  It is actually the title of the written work, Children Learn What They Live, by Dorothy Law Nolte published in 1972.

Recently, I was reminded of specifically the title because it is also a good and true sentence.

I was working on a paper for seminary in the last couple of weeks.  I was having a difficult time finishing it.  It was already late.  I had already missed the deadline for the on-time submission.  However, as I was working on finishing it up, I heard my mother's voice inside of my head saying, "Get it done!  Just get something down on paper, and get it done."

It has been more than 20 years since my mom passed away.  Yet, while growing up and being in school, those kind of words came from my mother to me usually when I was working on a paper or another school assignment.

I have always been somewhat of a perfectionist and, at times, procrastinate until the last minute on projects such as research papers.  My mom on the other hand was not that way.  She was more of the get it done, matter of fact, straight forward, practical type of mother.  Of course, I am also a lot like that in my life. 

But, when it normally came to doing school work, I was not that type.  I believe it helped me having her there with me telling me, "Get it done, Dawn!  Get something down on paper.  Get it done!"

We all need people like that in our lives.  People who will motivate, challenge, and inspire us to be our best selves.  People who will push us to the limits in a good way.

I am glad that I had her there with me at the time.  As I mentioned earlier, I can sometimes still hear her voice after all of these years which brings me to another point.

"Train up a child in the way (s)he should go, and when (s)he is old (s)he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6, NKJV - emphasis added mine)

By my mother helping me during my earlier years in school, I am able to still hear her voice in the way that she would want me to go in school---specifically during seminary now. 

God is so good and amazing!  He give us our parents, siblings, relatives, friends, and others in our lives.  Everyone has a part to play in God's purpose and plan for us (See Jeremiah 29:11).  They all help lead, guide, and direct us into the path that God has for us. 

Who has influenced you in your life?  Will you take the time to tell them, "Thank you!"?  If they aren't still living in this world, will you then "Thank God!"?  Thank Him for giving you that person, those people, whoever they may be or may have been to you for all the years they have been in your life.  They influenced you.  They helped mold you, make you, and shape you into the person you are today.  God used them whether they acknowledge, realize, know, or understand it.  You are now better for having had that person or those people in your life.

"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."  (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Running the Race

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  (Hebrews 12:1-3, NIV)

There is a tendency in this world to get our eyes off of Jesus and onto our natural circumstances.  The devil would like to distract you, hinder you, interrupt you, and shake you up in this world.  He would like to keep you from being and doing all you were created and called to be and do for God's purpose and plan. 

Jesus did not allow the enemy to hinder, distract, interrupt, or shake Him up.  He did not allow the devil to keep Him from being and doing all He was created and called to be and do for His Father's purpose and plan.  We cannot allow the enemy to keep us from being and doing all we were created and called to be and do for our Father's purpose and plan (Jeremiah 29:11-13).

There is also a tendency in this world to compare our spiritual journey and life to the journeys and lives of others in the world, specifically within the body of Christ.  It is another tactic of the enemy though.  None of us have the exact same purpose and calling in God's plan.  None of our paths will look exactly alike.  Sure there may be some similarities, but we are all different.  We all have different purposes and callings in our creator's master plan. 

Let's briefly look at the journeys and lives of the Apostle Paul and Jesus' disciple, Peter.

Paul was called by God to be an apostle (Romans 1:1-5; 1 Corinthians 1:1-3; 2 Corinthians 1:1-2).  He did not just decide for himself that he was an apostle.  God specifically created Paul to have that calling and purpose in His plan.  Therefore, Paul became all that God created him to be and do, but it was not Paul's own doing.  It was God's doing.  Paul said himself that he did not deserve to be an apostle because of his past (1 Corinthians 15:9).  "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.  No, I worked harder than all of them---yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me (1 Corinthians 15:10)."  God worked in and through Paul to accomplish His purpose (Philippians 2:12-13).  Paul went on to do much for God's Kingdom, because he knew who he was created and called to be in God's plan.  He suffered and endured much for the Gospel (Acts 16:16-40).  He boasted in all of his weaknesses and sufferings (2 Corinthians 11:23-30).  He boldly spoke and preached throughout the regions and land where God had called him.  He also wrote much of the New Testament. 

Peter was a disciple of Jesus Christ.  He was only one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ back then.  Despite the calling on his life, Peter denied Jesus three times (John 18:15-27).  Jesus did not hold that against him though.  He did not condemn Peter.  God had a great purpose and calling for Peter.  He knew Peter would eventually step up and be the bold and courageous man He had created him to be for His purpose.  God gave Peter more opportunities to prove himself.  Despite his past and previous weaknesses, Peter was used mightily and powerfully for God's purpose.  While with the other 11 disciples, Peter preached the Gospel to a crowd of thousands of people on the day of Pentecost.  Due to Peter's obedience that specific day, nearly three thousand people accepted Jesus and were baptized into the faith of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:14-41). 

Neither one of these men began their journeys or lives well, but they both finished well.  Neither Paul nor Peter had the exact same calling or purpose in God's plan.  Their spiritual journeys and lives did not look the same.  They did not have or take the exact same path.  They did not look at another man's path, calling, or purpose and wish they were in the other person's shoes so to speak.  They concentrated and focused on what God had created and called them to be and do for His purpose and plan.  They kept their eyes on the ultimate goal---running their individual races and winning the prize that God had for each one of them (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).  They were both different men with different paths as well as different callings and purposes.  However, God powerfully used both of them to accomplish His purpose in His plan. 


Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.