“If only I could build an exit ramp.  Something that would allow me to escape the rules and the never-ending expectations.  Why doesn’t he realize that I’m just not cut out for this kind of life?  That he and I would both be happier if I were on my own?” 

Sound familiar?  It should.  Thoughts like that are repeated daily, as people try to define freedom in their own terms. 

We all long for authentic freedom – the power to make choices yourself, and joyfully live with the consequences.  The good news of our relationship with Christ is that He came to set captives free! Unfortunately, many believers fail to experience that freedom because they pursue a counterfeit form of it in one of two directions

In one of the most often-repeated stories in the Bible, Jesus reveals God’s heart toward His children.  It’s the story of a father with two sons – an older one who served faithfully for many years, and a younger son who longed to be “funky and free.”  Each son pursued and believed in his passion.  Neither understood the life of joy and abundance their father wanted to give them because each pursued passion in his own terms.  One sought it through pleasure, the other through outward performance.  To the younger son, freedom meant license to do what he pleased.  To the older brother, freedom meant legalistic obedience to the rules. 

At any given time, you, too, can be a Prodigal or a Pharisee.  All it takes is a desire to find freedom apart from an intimate love relationship with God.  [click to continue…]


CrownIt was one of the most significant turning points in Israel’s history.  A day when elders behaved like spoiled children – deciding what they wanted, then fitting the problem to their solution.  A day that set their course for hundreds of years.  An event that, prompted by fear and ambition, abandoned the character and calling of a nation.  And yet, compared to other great events in the family-nation’s remarkable history, this day is seldom remembered.

In a time when influence was wielded by men and women who knew and walked with God, Israel’s leaders wanted more.

They wanted to be like everybody else.

“Give us a king,” they said.

Samuel didn’t like it, and took it personally.  “Relax,” God says.  “They’re rejecting Me, not you.  But now you know how I feel.”

Human nature tends to swing between two extremes:

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