Feels Like Freedom

Feels Like Freedom

I have my Bible, my journal and a bottle of water. I step into the pitch-black sanctuary and stand still for a few seconds waiting for my eyes to adjust. I am alone in the spacious room and as the door closes quietly behind me, I take a deep breath and let my shoulders fall and relax.

Sometimes I find a seat near the back. Other times I walk through the darkness and sit cross-legged on the floor right in front of the church platform. The darkness envelopes me and I tell myself to leave all concerns and worries outside. I remind myself that this is my special moment to be alone with my God and not to clutter it up with problems, at least not just yet.

After a while my eyes pop open as I hear someone enter the church sanctuary and begin to quietly set up music gear on the platform. My friend, the worship leader notices my presence and we silently nod a greeting to each other. I open my journal in the soft light and talk to God a bit with scribbles on a page.

Before long I am swept away with gentle music and beautiful words that perfectly express what is happening in my heart and mind.

“You surround me… You breathe out and I breathe in, you surround me and it feels like freedom… It feels like liberty. Too wonderful for me… You surround me… Surrounded by your glory, surrounded by your love… Clothed in your grace… I love when you surround me… In you I breathe, in you I move, in you I have my being… I breathe you in and I breathe in you. You take me places I’ve never been before… Feels like freedom, feels like liberty. I love when you surround me… I am surrounded by the sound of your music… I am surrounded by your voice, by the beat of your heart. Your music carries me… I am overwhelmed by your glory.*”(Sacred Space Sessions Vol. 2)
-Bob Book

Soft lights around the perimeter begin to light the auditorium. I stand and walk in a slow rhythm with the music. I am singing the words to the songs directly to God. To my Father. To my Friend and King. I feel surrounded by His love. Surrounded by the beat of His heart.

Others have entered into the worship by now, but it feels like an intimate moment between my God and me. These are my favorite moments. When I am enveloped in His love and it seems that nothing is impossible. Nothing is too big or too difficult for God. I am breathing Him in and basking in His love.

Today I am sitting in my home looking out the window at another rainy day. The music from one of my favorite CDs has taken me on this flashback trip. Back in time, to a season when I worked at a church and slipping into an empty sanctuary was a special treat. Now I am sneaking back into the past and pulling the experience into my present. The music is flowing around me and I am overwhelmed once again with the beautiful freedom of being surrounded by such a great love.

In Psalm 139:5, David is singing or praying to God. “You hem me in behind and before…Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.”

I love the idea that being surrounded by God feels like freedom. Being hemmed in by God before and behind can feel like liberty because of love. Everything comes back to love doesn’t it?

A few verses later David says, “How precious are your thoughts about me O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand.”

The rain is falling outside. My coffee cup is full and my heart is full. To be surrounded by the love of God is more than enough for me today. It feels like freedom.
*Music/Lyrics by Bob Book – Brilliant Book House and Bob Book Music


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Today…I Will Smile. Yes, Today I Will…

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Today…I will smile, even if it doesn’t come naturally. I’ll look past the trouble and annoyances and find reason to smile.

A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face; a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day. Proverbs 15:13 MSG

Today…I will pay attention to those around me. Family, friends, someone I happen to see once…I’ll notice and see them. And I’ll share kindness.

Today…I will find the positives in my life…the good in the midst of the trials. And I’ll give thanks.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

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The Antidote to Worry

 “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me

–John 14:1.

How many times have I read this verse? Quite a few, yet because I am prone to worry, I come back to it again and again.

John 14

Isn’t it easy to grab hold of a verse and try to stick it onto our souls like a bandaid? As if one quick fix and the bleeding of our hearts will stop.

No more worries and no more struggles.

Yet bandaids will not cure the troubles of our souls, any more than pulling a single verse out of context will fix our brokenness.

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When Waiting for Answers and the Indwelling of Peace

Winter Sky

I cannot begin to remember and count all the different times I have wanted to know how God is working in and through a particular situation and also wanting to desperately know when I will have answers. I think it was my pattern for life especially as a younger Christian without a lot of spiritual growth under my belt, so to speak.

Too numerous to count are the times answers did not come on my timetable, but as I have walked longer with the Lord, I have learned more about the process of waiting. Learning about waiting is not an easy or pleasant experience.

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New Beginnings…All Year Long

New Beginnings
A new year makes me think of new beginnings. The move to a new calendar feels like a fresh start—a blank page with all sorts of possibilities. It’s easy to think now is when everything can change.

Then as January progresses into February, the newness wears of. The New Year’s resolutions are long forgotten and life feels the same as it was.

Or have we just stopped looking for the newness in our everyday?

New beginnings don’t depend on the change of the calendar year. God gives us a new start every day.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions (mercies) never fail.

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When the Waiting Gets to Be Too Hard

Psalm 62.5I remember as a child waiting in anticipation for my birthday or for Christmas to arrive. Time moved slowly and the waiting dragged on forever.

As an adult, that time moves much more quickly. It seems like Christmas is around the corner again before last year’s gifts are put away. And birthdays…well, each one is not quite as exciting anymore. The anticipated wait doesn’t drag anymore. Now it flies by.

Waiting for the calendar page to turn—that’s not so hard. Unless time ends, one month will flow into the next, guaranteed.

But waiting on God? It. Is. Hard. Some days waiting on God feels impossible.

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Be who you are…

be yourself
At a time when just being a young black man in America is enough to get you killed—you know what I’m talking about, you’ve read the headlines—I wonder what the other mommies tell their sons. All mommies worry about their sons, don’t they? All mommies tell their sons to be careful, to be respectful, to stand up for themselves, walking in the Truth of God in whose image they are made, right? Are other mommies afraid for their sons?

Here is what I know of fear.  I am sufficiently realistic to acknowledge that I will never be free from them. However, I declare that they are not the boss of me, and will never paralyze me to the point of immobility.

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Setbacks and Relapses

LonelinessOne step forward, two steps back.

That’s the way it seems to go sometimes, doesn’t it? I’ve just recently been there, and it is so frustrating. The encouraging buildup to change becomes short lived. Progress is fleeting, and patience is in short supply.

So, what do we do when our slow movement forward quickly slides backwards?

Remember the positive change we did see. Change takes time. Whether we’re waiting for emotional healing, improvement in a health condition, a job offer, changed attitudes, an ease in difficult finances, or whatever it might be, it often usually takes more time than we would like.

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